State of Decay 2 survival guide: Our best tips


Be a better survivor.

State of Decay 2 is available next week, and ahead of release we’ve got a bunch of tips and tricks to make you a better survivor.

First time? Pick the valley. Trust us.

We’ve spent time in each of the game’s three boroughs and the valley is the most friendly. Things aren’t that different in terms of enemy difficulty between each, but the valley has the least amount of rocks and weird terrain.

You can take advantage of the relatively flat environment to wheel around in a vehicle, getting off main roads and efficiently travelling from one location to another as you learn the ins and outs of the game.

Use your map

Your map is your friend, used to plot out expeditions. Learn how to use it effectively, and quick.

In the map above, white areas are locations that still have resources to scavenge. Black-coloured buildings have been stripped clean. The grey circles around locations mean they’ve been fully scouted and cleared of zombies (though the latter can easily change).

Look for binocular icons on the map to scale and survey. That’s super useful for finding vehicles early on.

Be prepared

Every single time your character goes out, you should be prepared.

Every. Single. Time.

We made it a fast habit never to leave base without a melee weapon, gun, bullets, 8-slot backpack, meds and caffeine. Without any of those items, a horde of zombies can easily overcome you.

“But that way, you hardly have any storage space,” you may say. True, but there are ways around that — an AI companion and a vehicle. We’ll get to the vehicle in a second, but as far as companions go, all you need to do bring along an AI pack mule is speak to a survivor and invite them along.

The AI survivors are pretty good at fending for themselves, even without melee weaponry. Trust them to stick by your side and store items you scavenge.

Find a vehicle, and fast

A vehicle is your best friend in State of Decay 2. Many vehicles? Even better. Make it a priority to visit garages and gas stations for fuel and vehicle repair kits. When you find a vehicle, check to see if it’s running; if so, bring it back to base.

If the vehicle isn’t running, well, that’s what the repair kits and fuel are for. You can never, ever have too many cars, trucks, ambulances — whatever you can find.

Use your vehicle for storage

Got a vehicle? PERFECT. Take it out with you when scavenging to get to locations faster. When you find rucksacks and other goods, load up!

Each vehicle can take a different amount of cargo — a cargo van, for example, takes 9 items. When you’re in an area with a couple rucksacks, you’ll be happy you’ve got it.

Use your vehicle for quick item transfer

Don’t be an amateur survivor — move items you scavenge back to base in the fastest possible way.

Remember those all-important vehicles we were banging on about? Yeah, use them. Load up a vehicle’s trunk and then drive it into a parking bay back at your base (see the video below if you’re unsure of what they look like.)

Then, press RT to instantly transfer the item into your base. You can reload the trunk and repeat as much as necessary rather than travelling into the base itself, saving valuable time.

Tackle Plague Hearts the right way

Like we said in our review, try to avoid melee attacks whenever possible when dealing with a Plague Heart. You’ll end up winded and vulnerable, and plague zombies will wail on you causing your infection levels to spike. It’s lose-lose.

The ideal way to take care of a Heart is by using a sound distraction like a boombox near a Heart — that’ll draw the plague zombies away. When you’re in the clear, use an explosive like C4, Molotov cocktails or soda can bombs (in that order) to easily take Heart’s health down. Resort to guns or melees only when absolutely necessary.

Don’t worry if you catch the blood plague

Have an infected survivor? Don’t worry, they’re easy to cure.

All you need to do is ensure you’ve enough plague samples on hand. If not, find and smash some plague zombies (or go and take down a Heart) to gather needed samples. Then, head back to your infirmary.

Craft a cure, grab it from your item box and go and talk to the affected survivor. You’ve three hours to get this all done and the cure is instantaneous. No problems!

Be prepared to let survivors go

Your home base is constantly churning through food, meds, ammo, fuel and building supplies and that means you constantly need to be gathering said resources.

To be blunt: if one of your survivors is consuming a lot and helping a little? Get rid of ’em.

In one instance, a survivor with kleptomania was destroying camp morale. I let him go.

In another instance, a survivor had the worst skills ever and I knew of a potential survivor down the road with mechanics knowledge that I could potentially woo. The dead weight was let go in favour of the new hotness.

You can head into the menus to check out survivors. If there’s someone you want to exile, hit Y to queue the action up. You’ll need to go and talk to the survivor in person to do it, but it’s not that painful. You can do it.

Don’t be tight with your Influence

Don’t be afraid to spend your Influence, as it’s pretty easy to obtain. Our favourite way to spend big was to use the radio to find sources of needed resources at the beginning of the game, then the locations of Blood Hearts as we got closer to the end.

Hit up to access the radio, choose the option you’d like and voila — a new waypoint to hit up.

Gain Influence through trading

Need Influence, or need some storage space while out scavenging? Friendly enclaves and traders are perfect for either!

Our favourite thing to do at a trader’s location was scavenge items from around him or her, then interacting with the trader to give those items straight over. They’ll net you a decent amount of Influence that you can use to grab a new outpost, use with the radio or buy items from the trader. Easy!

That’s about all we have for now — what other tips do you have? Sound off in the comments area, below!

State of Decay 2 heads to Windows PC and Xbox One as part of the Xbox Play Anywhere scheme on 22 May. The title is also available free to Xbox Game Pass subscribers.

We reviewed State of Decay 2 here.