Game Discussion: State of Decay 2

Nightmare Max. How I made this game REALLY hard.

  • Posted on 27 September 19 at 01:16Permalink
    I wanted to make SOD2 as hard as possible while still being fun, so I came up with 10 rules to follow while playing. For lack of a better title, I just call it Nightmare Max. Since then, I've only been able to finish the game once. This list is just for fun. I'm sure others could come up with more stuff to increase the difficulty. (Note: I started doing the entire game on foot and trashed the idea because it slows the pace down to an insufferable level. It also makes a lot of missions, or multiple missions, basically impossible to complete because of timers, etc.) It still has to be fun!

    So here's the list:

    1. NO DEATHS. This is the big one. Any survivor dies, game over.
    2. No boons.
    3. Start with the first three randomly-generated characters you roll. No old characters. Everyone is brand new. I originally did this with three new survivors who couldn't have more than one star of cardio and fighting and no specializations, but found this was actually easier than just letting the game roll for you. This makes the first few hours of the game really tense as you don't have much of anything to deal with Nightmare-level hordes and freaks.
    4. You must recruit anyone who becomes available to recruit up to the max population. That means any lone survivor after a mission or one of any enclave that reaches Allied. You are allowed two exiles through the course of the game. Can't find anyone with Gunslinging? Too bad. Don't have the space at your base? Figure it out.
    5. One vehicle, the first one you pick, for the whole game. If your vehicle blows up, you're on foot until you fix it. This can turn into a real headache if you don't have a mechanic and can't find any mech books. Plus, you have to be careful about which vehicle you choose. You may spend a lot of time on foot looking for the right ride. You can upgrade it when that becomes available.
    6. Fast-search only. Doesn't matter if you're surrounded by hordes, are hanging on by a thread and have to scavenge. Either fast-search or leave.
    7. Only destroy plague hearts with solo melee. No explosives, fire, guns or companions.
    8. No projector leveling. If you're going to use facilities to level skills, there has to be a resource penalty - not just a threat escalation.
    9. Finish the game in the largest facility on the map with the maximum population.
    10. At least half of the plague hearts have to be taken out AFTER reaching the largest facility.

    Bonus 10A is that your leader must be a Warlord or Sheriff to maximize interaction with hostiles.

    I'm thinking of adding a number 11 that requires you to accept every mission you discover that will lead to facing hostiles. But early in the game that could be damn near impossible to complete as normal gunfire/melee from hostiles will kill you quickly, not to mention the headshots.

    Finally, there are no caveats. You have to deal with what the game throws at you, bugs and all. If your survivor dies because of a glitch, that's how it goes.

    Give it a try! See how long you last. :)
  • Posted on 27 September 19 at 06:29, Edited on 27 September 19 at 06:40 by BiggusDPermalink
    Once I finish the Sheriff boon in Nightmare Mode, I might try something like this out (at least the no boons, no deaths).

    This time I went with two Soundproofing randoms and a Lichenology random. This makes the game both easier and harder at the same time, since I have just gotten a cook, a chemist and a gardener so far. I need a computer expert and a mechanic as well. The 9th member can be whatever I guess. Soundproofing and lichenology are both of course very useful, but the start was very short on resources.

    While Nightmare Max seems like a really tough experience that is bound to get your pulse rising, it might be too punishing for me, given that I have played the game so much that the motivation to play more might not be there at all after finally finishing a glitch-free Sheriff boon.

    You could add "no suppressors" as well, just for kicks ;)

    I propose a light-version of Nightmare Max. Let's call it Nightmare Plus (or maybe iNightmare Plus?)

    Nightmare Plus

    1. You have to start the game in Nightmare Mode, and each time you move maps you have to pick Nightmare Mode.

    2. You have to start the game with three randomly generated characters who have one of the one-star community skills except Soundproofing, Lichenology and Fishing. You have to accept the first reroll each time, but they have to be three different ones. The full list (if it is updated) is here, under "other skills":

    3. No deaths or exiles of any of the starting three

    4. No boons

    5. The 3500-influence bases are banned
  • Posted on 01 October 19 at 22:52Permalink
    OOOH, your Nightmare Plus number 5 is a great one! Never thought of that. I'll have to roll that in.

    Number 2 is good, too. I can see where that would cause issues. I once rolled a starting three with Making Coffee, TV Trivia and Farting Around. Didn't last long.
  • Posted on 08 October 19 at 17:30Permalink
    So finally the Sheriff quest did not glitch out totally, but I went out of the car to finish off one enemy but they aimbot instadowned me, and on my way to safety to take a first aid kit, a bloater glitched into existence underneath my car and killed me. Fucking hell!

    Luckily I have other Sheriffs, but the chances of that working out is virtually zero. If they are no longer there, I'm out of this game.
  • Posted on 08 October 19 at 17:58Permalink
    ... the (remaining) three of them are camping cheese style on the roof of the factory! What the hell?
  • Posted on 08 October 19 at 18:00Permalink
    HAHAH I managed to snipe the leader - he just randomly peered over the edge and bam. Sorry for the spamming :D
  • Posted on 11 October 19 at 04:44Permalink
    While I like a good challenge, sometimes I want to take it easy too. I definitely feel like Nightmare mode is how the game is meant to be played, as it breathes life into the throwaway skills you didn't have any need for in the past. Dread zones honestly feel about on par with the original SOD's Breakdown difficulty level 7, but are rarely truly challenging unless you just have incredibly bad luck. Due to that ol' SOD jank we've all come to know and hate to love, quite often you find yourself fighting for your survivor's life thanks to a random piece of map geometry jumping out and insta-killing your car while you watch helplessly as you tumble through the air and end up half the map away because you had the gall to park too close to a potted plant.

    As such, and maybe because I'm a bit of a sore loser, I offer up what I like to call "Nightmare Light" (PC version only)

    If you use the Community Editor tool for your starters, you're allowed to have any 3 positive traits you want but you must choose one negative one, even if it's minor.
    Now, to keep this from being 'why not just play Dread mode' difficulty, there is a caveat: If one of your 3 starters dies, it's game over. Everyone else you get along the way is expendable, but your trio are the 'stars'
    Exit the game during the starting intro.
    Using the Community Editor, give yourself 8 food, 4 meds, 4 ammo, 8 materials and 4 fuel to offset the severe economy of Nightmare Mode and give yourself a little more breathing room for crafting and building early on without having to scavenge up 6 rucksacks just to build a workshop, infirmary and garden.
    Give your starting vehicle 10% gas so you can at least make it to the storage locker at the beginning to drop off old supplies if you're using repeat survivors. That starting walk is always so tedious.
    Finally, because cars are made of paper, give 6 of the map vehicles at least 20% fuel, so in case you get stranded (again) there's a chance you don't have to hoof it all the way home.

    These little adjustments make Nightmare mode a little more accessible for those of us who take issue with getting swarmed at an outpost by 3 massive horde spawns featuring ferals and juggernauts at the same time when you were crouching in the dark waiting for daylight while not wanting to miss out on the unexpected drama of Nightmare mode.

    happy zombie killing :3
  • Posted on 11 October 19 at 08:49Permalink
    "That starting walk is always so tedious."

    You're aware that there is usually a rucksack of fuel in the trunk of that car yes? Just break it open to find a can of gas. I rarely have to run to the starting base for this reason. There is even sometimes a can of gas in the trunk.
  • Posted on 11 October 19 at 20:53Permalink
    BiggusD said:
    "That starting walk is always so tedious."

    You're aware that there is usually a rucksack of fuel in the trunk of that car yes? Just break it open to find a can of gas. I rarely have to run to the starting base for this reason. There is even sometimes a can of gas in the trunk.
    Sometimes there is, sometimes there isn't, in any case, having to go back to get your starting vehicle is just a chore I don't look forward to.

    Speaking of... there's something I invite other people to try, because it just struck me recently.

    See, how I play the game is I tend to, in order to get a little bit of a head start, head to the nearest plague heart with my group as soon as the game starts and kill it for some quick loot and enough IP to make my first outpost. If I use legacy characters, I can sometimes kill 3 plague hearts before I even start my first base.

    However, recently I played the game the way you're SUPPOSED to play it, running to the first base and settling in right away, before killing any plague hearts. So far, the game has been WAY easier than I recall it being, because I almost always kill a few plague hearts first before getting to my base. Normally, by day 2, the zombie population is so dense that getting out of a vehicle almost always gets me attacked by at least a few zombies, and if any one of them roars, I'll have a full on horde situation just for getting out of my car. Playing the 'normal way' however, I've barely had that kind of thing happen to me. Am I just crazy or is there some kind of algorithm that ramps up the difficulty if you kill plague hearts before you settle your base?
  • Posted on 11 October 19 at 21:33Permalink
    Perhaps something happens after you kill your first plague heart. I don't know, it's always the very last thing I do. I don't even touch them before my team is fully maxed out with all the best equipment, and the base is completed - which happens on the fourth-fifth map.

    By that time, the zombie population and their aggression and alertness is at the maximum. But that hardly matters at that point.

    You attack a plague heart with sticks before even having a base?
  • Posted on 12 October 19 at 05:55, Edited on 12 October 19 at 05:57 by KJBossHossPermalink
    yeah, in Drucker County, I hit the gas station first to fill up the truck, then head to the blockade to pick up some better weapons, usually by then I have some kind of firearm. 3 survivors all slapfighting a plague heart can take it down pretty quickly. Once your partners are locked in on beating it up, you can run interference with the reinforcements since they don't get tired and won't stop attacking till it's dead. My record has been taking down 4 on day 1 before it's even the evening (Non-legacy starters)

    Looting the first plague heart will yield some kind of heavy hitting weapon, then you can move right onto killing the next one. If you have legacy characters, even if they're not decked out with the best stuff, they'll still hit hard enough to take down a plague heart in melee pretty quickly.

    In Cascade Hills, the military outpost will have something you can use to take out the S&B Plague heart, and finally Meagher Valley has the outpost down the hill AND the gun store right near the base. It's the easiest to start rushing Plague Hearts with.

    Maybe I just play the game differently because I almost never have to switch maps and the longest I've ever played a community has been 12 days, and by then I'll have the map 85% picked clean, too, but playing the game the way you're supposed to seems to have mellowed out the insane spawn rate I'm used to. More testing is needed.
  • Posted on 12 October 19 at 21:23Permalink
    But won't the two other survivors get hurt and infected?

    They are too damn stupid, so I don't let them anywhere near a plague heart. You're a walking zed lure, though, so if they somehow dodge the Plague Heart's attacks and don't get distracted, I can see how that would work just fine.
  • Posted on 13 October 19 at 07:03Permalink
    Actually, I've never had my 2 partners get hit by the plague heart blowback, as long as you've also moved out of range, they do a pretty good job of not dying, but you have to run interference so they don't get distracted and keep on the plague heart, because what they WILL get infected by are the plague zombies running up and grappling them. 2 survivors walloping away actually do a pretty good job of killing the plague heart fast, and any gun you pick up in the early goings is more than enough to just about finish it off. If you're real lucky, the military checkpoints you can raid will even have a thrown weapon to use, too.

    Update: I'm starting to really suspect that killing plague hearts before you settle the base does mess the game up somehow and make it think you're on like, day 50 or something. I did quick plays of 4 communities and played to the end of day 2. 2 that killed plague hearts early and 2 that didn't. The ones that did had plague hordes all over the place at sunrise with an incredibly dense population while the ones that didn't had more reasonable concentrations.

    Until other folks give it a try though, I can't say for certain it isn't just bad luck on my part. If it's not, then it's a pretty simple way of really increasing the difficulty without grinding to day 50 and not using challenge mechanics.
  • Posted on 13 October 19 at 08:11Permalink
    Even in Nightmare Zone, the first day or so is mainly just bird-chirping peacefulness if you settle the base right away and don't attack Plague Hearts. After that, their concentration and aggression gradually increases to reach the maximum. Since I just move bases once on the first map, reaching around 6 survivors, I probably only stay 5-7 days on the first map before moving on. I always consider the zombie density on the second map higher than the first - but that could just be that the density reaches maximum after a week or something.

    In other words, maybe it is the act of killing a Plague Heart that bumps the density to the maximum right away, not the part about settling a base first or moving maps. I usually take out a Plague Heart if it is really close to the base I'm settling in - so it doesn't happen until a few days because the starting base never have Hearts that close.
  • Posted on 13 October 19 at 13:29, Edited on 13 October 19 at 13:38 by KJBossHossPermalink
    Oh, I forgot to mention that the communities I DIDN'T kill a plague heart before getting a base still killed a plague heart before the end of the first day. I just had a base first, is the only difference.

    Again, I haven't done this enough times to really tell definitively, but it sure does seem like taking down a plague heart before you have a base tells the game to ramp up the population to a certain level as soon as you hit day 2.
  • Posted on 22 October 19 at 08:50, Edited on 22 October 19 at 08:54 by BiggusDPermalink
    A little evaluation of Nightmare Plus.

    No boons, 3 useless starting community skills (Recycling was good, the two others were Driving and one of the +6 morale skills) and no 3500 bases proved to be... an inconvenience, but not really making the game more difficult. At the point you want to limit yourself, your zombie-killing skills are probably very good, and so survival isn't really jeopardized.

    As such, Nightmare Plus needs an update in order for it to be an actual intermediate between normal Nightmare Zone and KJ's Nightmare Max.


    1. No deaths or exiles of the starting three (game over if one of them dies)
    2. You have to choose randomized survivors who start with NO community skills (so that you need books to teach them)
    3. You can only recruit survivors who have no community skills
    4. Max 6 survivors at any point (you have to exile before recruiting)
    5. No guns which have Burst or Auto mode options. (you can have them in your locker if you want to, but not use them - not even on the NPCs when you switch characters)
    6. You have to start the game in Nightmare Zone and whenever you move to a new map you have to choose Nightmare Zone
    7. No boons
    8. Infestation-clearing only allowed without the use of cars (you can drive there, but not use the car to smash zombies once you're there)
    9. No exit-to-menu/desktop to reset timers or zombie population to get out of bad or inconvenient situations, and no driving away to de-spawn (or other cheesing/cheating)
    10. Return home for every zombie siege (game over if you take the -3 ammo penalty)
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