State of Decay 2 Walkthrough
State of Decay is a "play your own way" sort of game and the majority of the missions and events are RNG so an exact walkthrough is impossible. However, there is a lot of advice that I can offer to you to make your playthrough easier and more enjoyable. I'm going to start this walkthrough post-tutorial which is where most people will begin the game on their repeated playthroughs. Basically it's after you complete the Osprey military base and the introductory quests of the game.
The first and most important thing I can say for this entire guide is the game is at its easiest before you destroy the first Plague Heart. I strongly recommend you do the majority of your scavenging and gathering at the very start of the game; before you kill the first Plague Heart. After you kill the first Plague Heart Zombie Hordes start spawning as well as Freak zombies (Ferals, Bloaters, Screamers, Juggernauts).
Killing the second Plague Heart makes the amount of hordes and freak zombies you encounter significantly more common. To illustrate my point better I took a picture (below) of how many Zombie Hordes and Freak zombies were around my base camp after I took out multiple Plague Hearts.
Tip: If there are too many freak zombies up on your map, exit game and enter again to despawn everything. I feel like the longer you play the more Freak zombies spawn.
It's up to you how long you'd like to delay destroying the first Plague Heart; if you prefer a challenge then don't bother taking my advice and waiting to destroy it. Just smash it whenever you get around to it. I personally wait until I claim my second base and have at least 6 survivors before starting on all of the Plague Hearts across town.
Before I dive into the actual walkthrough; below you'll find a list of links and bullet points for you to follow below that will teach you the core mechanics and how to get the most out of everything you do in State of Decay 2. Click on the topic you wish to learn more about to be taken to that guide. I strongly recommend you read some of these as they'll provide you with tons of useful information for your play through.
How to Exploit Followers - Can trade with Enclave members that are with you in your own base (sell off shit you don't need this way easily). You can also scavenge whole houses and sell them to enclave members that are following you around.
How to Scavenge Effectively - Bring a follower with you from your base to take half the loot. Bring an enclave member with you to trade all of the loot to for influence. Setup an Outpost nearby to store all of the loot in your Supply Locker. Typically only store the Rucksacks in your vehicle to return to your base.
What Base Upgrades are essential? - If you'd like to know which buildings are must haves and which aren't check out this guide.
What is the best Ranged weapon? - Curious what the stats on each weapon do and which ones are better? This guide will answer those questions!
What is the best Melee weapon type? - Curious what the stats on each weapon do and which ones are better? This guide will answer those questions!
What are the best specializations for my Survivors? - Marathon or Backpacking? Swordplay or Striking? There are a bunch of different skill specializations in State of Decay 2, learn what each ones does and which combinations are the best in this guide.
What are the best Outposts? - This guide explains what every Outpost in the game does and it rates them from best to worst.
First 1/3 of the Game (Before Plague Heart #1)
In this part of the guide we're going to cover the things you should be doing before defeating the first Plague Heart. For the most part you're going to want to spend this part of the game collecting all of the resources you possibly can throughout your map. Typically what I like to do is gather everything within running distance of my Home Base followed by three or four trips to a nearby neighborhood to loot all of their houses.
To give you an example of what I typically do at one of the game's first starter bases, take a loot at my screenshot above. I made two rings on the map that give you an idea of the typical area that I cover for scavenging at the start of the game. What I like to do is enlist a Follower from my base and clear out their entire inventory except for Snacks. I do the same for my character too.
For the first two days or so of the game you'll only encounter Screamers as far as Freak zombies go and you won't encounter any Zombie Hordes. Use this time to your advantage and scavenge as much as humanly possible. Typically I can grab everything from around my base before I even see my first Juggernaut.
Tip: Collect cars around your base and use them to store Rucksacks that of any material you have too many of. When you store too much of one material your extra will start to decay.
What Items Am I Looking For When I Scavenge? - Check out this guide for useful information about what items to prioritize and which are barely even worth looting.
- When doing areas within running distance; take everything out of your inventory except a few Snacks. Do the same with your Follower. (Note: If you're still new at the game and not comfortable defeating four or five zombies at once then keep restoratives on you. Honestly though, at this point in the game so long as you don't sprint into a building full of zeds; making a ton of noise and attracting outside zeds too, you should be fine.)
- Visit all nearby locations. Be sure to check wooded areas too, you can find camps in there as well as different things to search. It typically isn't as barren as it appears on the map.
- Use Snacks to quickly travel to your base when you are wearing a Rucksack (levels Cardio quickly too).
- Find a Vehicle ASAP, get Gas too. Use this vehicle for extra storage when scavenging. Park it at a location between the houses you plan to scavenge so you still do some running around for Cardio levels.
- If you have a character with the Utilities skill build a Latrines early on; it's one of the easiest ways to level this skill. You won't keep the Latrines for long as it's a waste of a slot. You just want to upgrade Utilities to Electrical
- Build a Garden, a Workshop and an Infirmary. Make sure you have at least 6 beds for now too. Upgrade each facility when you can too (including Storage). This will take a decent amount of materials.
- Claim two nearby Outposts. I typically like ones that give Food and Materials. If you have a Garden then doing Medicine and Materials is probably better or Materials and Ammo.
- Upgrade your Command Center to Level 2 so you can claim a third Outpost in a nearby town/another area to scavenge
Also, you should start working on some of your Story Missions or any other available quests that pop up from people in your community. There will be quests you get from nearby Enclaves that you should be doing at this time too. Typically when you complete 3 or 4 quests for an Enclave you'll be able to ask one person from that Enclave to join your group (pictured below).
Doing this will disband the Encalve but that's a small price to pay for a new community member. Before selecting a Community member you should do the "Learn about survivor" option on everyone at the Enclave and see who would be the best choice. Here are the primary things you're looking for:
0. An available blank slot
1. Knowledge of Computers or Programming (Useful for Command Center Level 3 and other crafts)
2. Knowledge of Gardening, Agriculture or Herbalism (If you don't have anyone with this already)
3. Knowledge of Chemistry or Munitions (If you don't have anyone with it already)
4. Knowledge of Crastmanship or Construction (If you don't have anyone with it already)
5. Knowledge of Mechanics or Engineering (If you don't have anyone with it already)
6. Knowledge of Medicine, Surgery or Pathology (If you don't have anyone with it already)
7. Knowledge of Utilities or Electrical (If you don't have anyone with it already)
The only ones missing from this list are Cooking and every miscellanious skill such as Acting, Comedy, Music etc etc. For the most part you'll want to avoid any survivors that have a useless skill in their fifth slot; unless you already have a group of survivors that have every skill you already need. Knowledge of Computers, Gardening, Chemistry/Munitions and Craftsmanship/Construction are typically the most important ones for beating the game.
Before we take out our first Plague Heart it would be ideal to have a community of 6 survivors. We want enough to move into a bigger base in a high density zombie location. Most of the bases we want have survivors requirements of 6 or 8, depending on your map. If you can't get more than 6 survivors right now then pick a mid-sized base first instead of your maps largest bases.
Once you've completed a few quests from people in your community and recruited another person or two it's time to setup an Outpost in a nearby town. You want something far away from your base but within reasonable driving distance. A good example of where I would build my first Outpost is shown in the screenshot below.
The Outpost above is in the middle of an unscavenged town which contains two Plague Hearts. It's within running distance to three Plague Hearts which is great because I can stop by there after killing each one to restock on Ammo, Distractions and Molotovs. Scavenge everything around your new Outpost; place any and all items you get into the Supply Locker (or sell to an Enclave Follower if you have one) and any Rucksacks you get into a Vehicle that you'll drive back to your base once it's full.
Additionally, you should do any quests that pop up from your Community. Be sure to help all nearby communities as that's the best way for you to recruit new members. Especially quests that pop up called "Survivor in Need". Typically these quests have a much higher rate in ending in you getting a new community member.
It's up to you if you'd like to start killing Plague Hearts right now or waiting. Just remember that if you do start killing Plague Hearts you're going to have to change how you play the game.
When you start taking out Plague Hearts a few things change, the biggest is Zombie Hordes grow in size and Freak zombies become much more common. Right now the largest sized horde you'll probably face is 5 zombies. When two or three Plague Hearts are dead you should expect to fight Zombie Hordes of 10 zombies and a Freak zombie at the same time.
To make matters worse, noise becomes a much bigger factor. If you take out your gun to start blasting away at a Juggernaut that charges you and you have no silencer... You're going to draw in every nearby zed. Keep in mind too that most Juggernaut enemies are intentionally spawned nearby a Zombie Horde.
The Middle Of The Game (Plague Hearts & Becoming A Zombie Slaying Ninja)
The middle of the game will start after you destroy the first two Plague Hearts and with one of the first big decisions you're going to have to make - where to relocate your base. If you don't have a very large community yet (8 or 9 survivors) then you'll likely have to pick one of the medium sized bases on the map.
What type of base you want is mostly your call; check out my base guide below if you'd like to learn which bases are good and why. The only requirement I would say you should go out of your way to fulfill for a base is you want it to be in the thick of some shit when you first get it. Make your base in the middle of a town or area that is infested with Plague Hearts then spend your time clearing them all out. With everything being so close to your base it'll be much easier to clear it out since you can drag extra zombies back to your base to dispatch them.
Warning!: Do not drag Juggernauts back to your base along with zombie hordes unless you want to replace one of your current community members with a tombstone. Here is what happens when you drag a Juggernaut back to your unsuspecting base. This was my first playthrough of the game, it was on Dread Zone difficulty and I didn't know any better. That's my excuse.
At this point in time I advise you to start going through your Supply Locker and salvaging weapons you know that you'll never use. You should also go to a nearby Enclave and hire a Follower, bring him back to your base and vendor every single Luxury item that you have until the Enclave Follower runs out of Influence. Getting rid of Facility Mods that you don't plan to use isn't a bad idea either. All of the Facility Mods that increase storage of one resource you can get rid of (keep shelves as they increase storage of All resources) as well as all of the mods that provide temporary Water/Power. Just get an Outpost if you want Power and Water.
In State of Decay 2 there are TONS of different Facility Mods that you can find. Some of them are unique to certain Facilities and others can be attached to any Facility. To make things a little bit easier for you, below you'll find a short list of all the best Facility Mods that you'll want to keep. For more information and to learn about other useful Facility Mods check out my Best Facility Mods Guide. That guide will go into much more detail than the short list below.
Facility Mods To Keep
- Ammo Presses (Specifically Rifle Ammo is the most valuable)
- Shelving Units (Increase storage of all resources by 2)
- Signal Antenna & Network Signal Booster (Increase available Outposts)
- Compost Bin (Bag of Fertilizer, Garden Toolkit aren't bad either if you are growing Food)
- Advanced Biochem Station (Allows you to create the most OP items in the game like ScentBlock
From this point on as well you have the option of being much more picky when it comes to scavenging as well. I personally still gather every single item I come across but you don't have to be the same way. Follow the link provided for a list of the items you definitely want to pick up while scavenging.
If you are like me and you enjoy picking up every single item there is - I recommend you always have a Follower from your base so that you always have an additional inventory to work with. As well as start a quest with a nearby Enclave, or one of the a "Survivor In Need" escort quests. All of these methods will allow you a third Follower (so long as the quest is active).
At this point in time too you'll want to decide on a leader for your Community as well as start destroying all of the Plague Hearts in town. You can choose any type of leader for your Community that you want; each leader comes with different benefits that I will talk about in a guide linked to below. Keep in mind as well that State of Decay 2 is a game that is meant to be played twice, each time you beat the game with a different leader you'll unlock new boons that will grant you benefits on your next play through.
In order to choose a leader for your Community you will need to increase a member's standing to max which can be done by killing zombie hordes, freak zombies, turning in Rucksacks, completing quests and other various activities. You can track a member's standing in the Community tab. Even if you don't choose that character to be the leader of your Community, increasing their standing to 'Hero' will unlock unique benefits for your Community.
You'll be able to choose a leader for your Community before taking out all of the Plague Hearts on your map... However, you can't complete all of the leadership quests until you've destroyed all of the Plague Hearts. Depending on what your difficulty settings are there will be a different amount of Plague Hearts for you to destroy.
Once you beat the game you'll be given the option of adding Community members to your "Legacy Pool" which you can pick 3 survivors from every time you start a new game. For this reason, I strongly recommend that you start thinking about the items you want to bring with you to future games.
When you reach the final Legacy Mission in the game for your leader - the game will warn you that you're at the point of no return and give you the option of turning back. If you're unfamiliar with what Legacy Mission is the last one then pay close attention for this screen. When you see it, turn back and load up all your characters.
Note: You will have to cancel the Legacy Mission to switch characters but don't worry you can restart it again soon.
<Picture of final legacy mission warning>