Differences between state of decay 1 and 2
Skill specializations in State of Decay 2 add some depth to the game. When one of your character skills reaches 7 stars you'll be able to choose a specialization for it. At first you will only get to pick from two specializations per skill on each of your characters and the two skills you get to pick from are random.
Every single character in the game will come with at least 4 skills; Cardio, Wits, Fighting and Shooting that can be specialized in. Sometimes a survivor's trait can make it so these skills can't be leveled up, however. An example is if you have a character who is a Lung Cancer Survivor they'll typically only be able to get a total of 3 stars into Cardio. I recommend checking all survivors before inviting them to your Community for flaws like this; if this were the real world I would be encouraging a more compassionate attitude toward survivor's like this but, alas, it's a video game.
There are ways in SoD 2 for you to retrain certain skills after they've been maxed out and choose a different specialization, which we will be talked about later in this guide. For now, let's take a look at some of the specializations that you get to choose from and what they offer.
<add pictures for each specialization below>
Acrobatics: Doding and climbing are faster.
- Your dodge becomes a roll
- Flying Strike unlocked
Backpacking: Carrying capacity increased.
- Inventory slot unlocked
Marathon: Sprinting costs reduced and Fatigue accrues slower.
- Sprinting is free when you are lightly encumbered
Powerhouse: Stamina reduced for melee attacks, grabs and executes
Discipline: Stamina increased, higher light encumbrance limit and less durability lost per melee swing.
- Also earn +5 Stamina for each Melee kill
Resourcefulness: Increases inventory space and how many consumables you can hold.
- +1 Inventory Slot
- Can stack +3 more Consumables
- Consumables weight decreased
Scouting: Scouting range increased and passive enemy detection added.
- Container visibility range increased
- All containers are revealed when indoors
Stealth: Able to sprint while crouched and lower chance of "crash" when looting.
- Stealth kills are faster
- Silently open locked doors while crouching
- SPRINT WHILE CROUCHED
Close Combat: Reduced Stamina cost with no melee weapon.
- Execute standing enemies with a knife
- Added Close Combat moves
- Shove Attack added
Endurance: Increases health & trauma you suffer from is less severe
- Slam attack also unlocked
Striking: Blunt Weapon specialization; increases knockdown and your health
- Grand Slam AoE attack unlocked
Swordplay: Sword specialization; increases Lethality and your health
- Execute standing enemies with a blade unlocked
- Leg Sweep attack unlocked
Assault: Recoil reduced & kick attack while aiming.
- Increased firearm knockdown
- Shitty kick while aiming (you'll never use this)
Gunslinging: Aim Snap unlocked & faster reloads
- Aim Snap allows you to instantly target an enemies head at the cost of Stamina
Sharpshooting: Steadiness, bullet penetration and dismemberment improved
- All shots fired pierce through enemies
Weapon Handling: Guns Jam less & you can clear them in the field
- When you reload a jammed gun you'll clear the jam
As aforementioned, each character will only be able to choose from two of the specializations when they first max out a skill. Which two they get is random and the only way to get access to every specialization is with a respec book (shown below). There is a single exception to this; the unique Red Talon survivors that you can unlock with the Daybreak DLC don't use the specializations shown above.
Daybreak NPCs have a different set of skill specializations and you don't get to choose between two categories with them either. An example of the specializations you get on a Red Talon Community member are shown below. In general the Red Talon survivors are much more powerful in combat than your regular survivors; their biggest flaw is that you can't learn a fifth skill on them since they always come with one.
<Red Talon Operative unlocks>
Now that you know all of the skills in the game and what they do, it's time to go over some of the better skill combinations that you can do. If you don't want to go through the hassal of respecing your characters then I recommend that you wait until you know what skills you have access to so you know how you want to build them.
Below are a list of the skill combinations I liked most while playing as well as any good combinations that I found online.
Skill Specialization Combinations:
Backpacking & Resourcefulness = Mule
Marathon, Scouting and Swordplay = Ninja
Powerhouse, Discipline and Swordplay = Melee Fighter
Backpacking, Resourcefulness, Swordplay and Gunslinger = My favorite specializations
As mentioned earlier in the guide, you can actually respec your characters in State of Decay 2 and choose different specializations for them. To respec a character you will need to find a Mysterious Wandering Trader on a Friday-Sunday and purchase one of the manuals from them for a lot of Influence.
In addition to being able to respec your characters, there are also rare skill books in the game that you can get your hands on that'll teach any character without a fifth skill a useful ability of your choice. These books can be purchased from Rare Skills Traders which appear any day of the week. More on these traders below.
Mysterious Wandering Traders: These traders only appear on weekends (Friday - Sunday) and stick around for 4 hours. When searching for a Mysterious Wandering Trader there will be 3 different spots on your map marked and you'll have them until you locate the trader. Combat, Firearms, Mental and Physical Training manuals are all sold by the Mysterious Wandering Traders. They also sell many other extremely useful items, for a complete list check out the wiki.
Rare Skills Traders: These traders are extremely rare but they appear any day of the week. You can tell these traders apart from the others because they stick around for a total of 4 hours instead of the typical 30 minutes most regular traders stay for. These traders are the ones who sell all of the different skill books that can teach you a useful fifth skill.
Keep in mind that the Mysterious Wandering Trader will only show up on real life weekends. I'm fairly certain it uses your internal clock and you should be able to force them to appear by changing your internal clock but I can't confirm this. For those of you lucky enough to get your hands on some of the Rare Skill books or the respec manuals I strongly recommend you put them on the survivors you want to keep before completing the game. This way you can take them with you to future communities since they're such rare items.