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Nomadic Play-style is a term for players that moves much more than the average player scavenging and hunting, and is the complete opposite of the Settler Play-style, which encourages building and defending. The Nomadic Play-style relies more on a player's knowledge of the map and inventory management, along with extended combat skills in both Survival SP and Survival MP. The Nomadic Play-style tends to last until mid game, though very experienced players can make it last to late game.
Please note that the Nomadic Play-style guide is written on the basis of playing in the default map, Navezgane. This playstyle is of course achievable in other maps, but can be harder as players will not have pre-existing knowledge of the map.
The Nomadic Play-style is defined mainly by movement - 'nomad players' will always spend the daytime moving, either to scavenge or to hunt for other players. At night, nomadic players become more passive and tends to construct Base Camps to go through the night. As Nomad players will always be on the move, it is important for them to only hold important resources and weapons, and always consume or throw away things that are less important.
The most building a Nomadic player does are simply multiple makeshift Base Camps - using them only for a single night and then abandoning it and moving on afterwards.
It is possible for a Nomadic player to create multiple Outposts, giving them a place to restock their resources, stay out the night, forge materials and cook food. However, in multi-player, it is difficult to get multiple Keystones to protect these Outposts, and it is also difficult for a player to refresh claim delay for all these outposts at once.
When a player in multi-player starts having too much loot, it is imperative to build a single Outpost (more can be made should the player have more than one Keystone, but this is, as said, hard to maintain) so as to store the more important loot, and free up inventory space for the player to scavenge more.
In Survival MP, it is possible for a player to not build any camps at all but stay in a friendly player's base.
Nomadic players require the least amount of tools and weapons to do the most amount of tasks. The following lines explain the usefulness of each tool or weapon for a Nomadic player.
- The Stone Axe is the jack of all trades, and can do any job with decent efficiency (this extends to combat). It is also very easy to make.
- The Fireaxe is good for the felling of trees or when raiding as it technically does more damage against wood than the Stone Axe. However, it isn't very cheap to make.
- The Pickaxe is great against stone or metal based material, and is primarily used for mining. However, a Nomadic player tends to mine very little, thus the Pickaxe isn't such a great tool to carry around.
- The Shovels job is mostly fulfilled by the Stone Axe, and isn't such a good combat item.
- The Auger and Chainsaw are top-tier tools/weapons, but they require gas which is not very common. The making of Grain Alcohol for gas requires a pre-existing base.
Weapons are mainly classified into three types: melee, ranged and explosive.
Melee weapons forces the player to be in close proximity to zombies, and as thus it is generally considered unsafe. They are also ineffective against players due to firearms being more safe. However, melee weapons doesn't require ammo, and tends to be very high-damaging. Their cheap cost makes them a good choice for skirmishing against the infected.
Ranged weapons consist of mostly firearms, with the exception of the Crossbow. Firearms are much safer to use in combat scenarios than melee and explosive weapons as they generally allow the player to be as far as possible away from zombies or enemy players. However, all ranged weapons consume a single unit of ammunition. For the most part, ammunition can be difficult to craft - they first require a relevant Recipe Book, along with components that are either rare and/or require mining. As such, ammo other than arrows will be a rare commodity for nomadic players, thus firearms should be used sparingly.
Explosive weapons consist of all contraptions that cause an explosion that damages both entities and buildings. Though sometimes very powerful, explosives do not discriminate: they will affect everything in their radius.
Melee Weapons (for this case, the Auger and Chainsaw will not be mentioned as melee weapons).
- The Iron Sledgehammer is the most damaging melee weapon in the game and thus is a great tool to have at all times. Its usefulness extends to its ability to do decent damage to stone materials.
- The Hunting Knife is also another damaging melee weapon (a single blow to the head drops most zombies). Though it does less damage than the Sledgehammer, it has a faster swing speed and requires less Iron Ingots. However, its corresponding recipe book must be found before it can be crafted.
- The Stone Axe is also a crudely effective melee weapon as it gives the most item-to-situation efficiency. A patient player can opt for the Stone Axe as their main melee weapon, but should be mindful that it require more hits depending on difficulty, and should always aim for the head.
- The Pistol is a useful skirmishing weapon that uses the rather common 9mm caliber ammunition. However, it is bested by most other weapons, given its low damage per shot.
- The Shotgun and its sawed-off variant is one of the best skirmishing ranged weapons given that an accurate shot is capable of instantly killing even the strongest of infected or the most armoured of players. However, inaccurate shots that do not land all of a shell's pellets will not inflict that largest possible amount of damage. The sawed-off variant has a wider spread and is more useful against hordes. Also, Shotgun Shells are not very common.
- The Hunting Rifle doesn't have a very common ammunition, but can easily one-shot any zombie or player with a headshot with the highest damage of any non-explosive weapon. With its single shot magazine, it isn't fit for a rushing combat style but rewards patient players. The same goes for the Sniper Rifle, which is much more rare and less damaging, but has a scope for magnification and a 5 round magazine allowing more, accurate firepower to be brought to bear.
- The Crossbow makes dealing with hordes easier if the player is very accurate - they make practically no noise and will only alert zombies if they are hit but not killed. When fighting players, the element of surprise is crucial - the Crossbow isn't a great weapon in a straight fight.
- The SMG is a top-tier player-killing weapon, but requires extensive searching and ammo-making to be useful.
There are several bread and butter tactics that nomad players can use to improve their roaming efficiency and scavenging effectiveness.
Stop, Look, and Listen
It is important for roaming players to understand where they are and where they are going. It is recommended for a player to slow down and start assessing the area. Here is a list of things to watch out for when roaming.
- Zombies. Most of the time, they are easy to detect. However, they are also infamous for randomly spawning out of nowhere. In the normal difficulty, zombies are relatively easy to deal with when roaming, even if they are a horde. However, in higher difficulties, especially when the zombies are capable of running, it is wise to avoid conflict with zombies. They can also alert other players to your position should you aggro them.
- Players. In PvP, assume that everyone else is dangerous, thus it is a good idea to watch out for players. Only player characters can interact with objects, so the sound of the opening of doors, Forges or chests will mean that a player is nearby. The shuffling of feet can also mean a player, but this can be confused for the movement of zombies.