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Zombie Hunter University, Fairview

Dr. Raglan's Scientific-Minimalist School of Dead Frontier Weapons, Builds & Boss-Hunting

The Scientific-Minimalist Guide to Dead Frontier Armour

INTRODUCTION

Dead Frontier Armour is a deceptively simple subject. At first glance, it seems obvious that students should purchase the best armour they can afford - end of story. However, there are subtleties that we should not overlook.

To understand these subtleties, students need to understand some basic facts about armour: 

  • Armour serves two different purposes: Damage Reduction and Stat Enhancement. 
  • Armour comes in two different types: Strength and Non-Strength. 
  • Amour quality must be judged on two different criteria: Damage Reduction and Durability.

Failure to understand these facts can result in otherwise avoidable mistakes.

This guide provides the necessary details, in the following sections:

  1. Armour Purposes
  2. Strength and Non-Strength Armour
  3. Armour Damage Reduction and Durability
  4. Endurance: Base Stats vs. M.C. Stats
  5. Armour Recommendations

1. ARMOUR PURPOSES
Damage Reduction & Stat Enhancement

The obvious purpose of armour is to protect students from damage inflicted by zombies. Less expensive armour absorbs less damage; more expensive armour absorbs more damage. The more damage the armour absorbs, the less damage is inflicted on the student wearing it.

Less obvious to freshman students is that armour can act as a stat booster. Mastercrafted armour adds points in Agility and Endurance; a perfect Godcrafted piece of armour will increase Agility and Endurance by 24 points apiece, for a total stat enhancement of 48 points - equivalent to leveling up nearly ten times.

To put this in perspective, a Level 1 freshman student, whose profession offers no extra stats, has 25 stat points in Agility and 25 in Endurance. If that student is fortunate enough to somehow obtain a Godcrafted piece of amour, both Agility and Endurance will be boosted to 49. That student would have more Agility and Endurance than a Level 10 freshman without Mastercrafted armour.

Damage Absorption Vs. Endurance

Now let us consider the implications of these stat enhancements. Agility is fairly obvious: the faster a student moves, the easier it is to avoid zombie attacks; that is why Agility is commonly considered the most important stat - the one to increase first.

Endurance literally increases the amount of damage a student can endure. This is also important, but most build progressions raise Endurance last in order to raise other stats to optimize weapons. Therefore, until reaching Level 50 or so, the only way most undergraduates will increase Endurance is by using Mastercrafted armour.

For freshman students starting out in Nastya's holdout, this stat-enhanced Endurance can be more important than Damage Absorption. We can illustrate this mathematically with a couple hypothetical examples.

First, imagine a freshman student with 25 stat points in Endurance, which translates to 50 Health Points.

If a Dog Zombie bites this student, inflicting 10 Damage Points, the student's health drops to 40 points.

If the student is wearing a "clean" (i.e., no Mastercrafted stats) piece of Sports Amour, the incoming damage is reduced by 20% - from 10 points to 8 points - so after a single bite from the Dog Zombie, the student has 42 health points.

Suppose this student earns some cash and wants to upgrade to a clean Kevlar Vest, which reduces incoming damage by 30%. Therefore, the Dog Zombie inflicts only 7 points damage (70% of 10), and the student would be left with 43 health points - a slight improvement over the Sports Armour.

However, what would happen if instead of upgrading from a clean Sports Armour to a clean Kevlar vest, the student upgrades to a Mastercrafted Sports Armour? A single Mastercrafted stat point in Endurance is equivalent to 2 Health Points, giving the student the equivalent 52 points in Health.* The Sports Armour still absorbs 20% of the incoming damage, so the Dog Zombie inflicts 8 points of damage, knocking the students health down to 44 points.

In other words, Mastercrafted Sports Armour with 20% Damage Absorption and +1 Endurance does a better job than the clean Kelvar Vest with 30% Damage Absorption.

Of course, the math changes as more damage is inflicted. What happens were the Zombie Dog to inflict a second bite?

  • Wearing the Mastercrafted Sports Armour, the student would suffer another 8 points damage (10 - 20%), lowering the student's Health Points to 36.
  • Wearing the clean Kelvar Vest, the student would suffer an additional 7 points damage (10 - 30%), also lowering health to 36.

At this point, the effectiveness of both armours has proven to be equal. After a third bite from the Zombie Dog, the student would be worse off with the Sports Armour (36 - 8 = 28 remaining Health Points) than the Kelvar (36 - 7 = 29 remaining Health Points).

However, additional Mastercrafted Endurance stats would flip the equation back in favor of the Sports Armour. If the Sports Armour had +2 Endurance instead of +1, the student would have started with the equivalent of 54 health points instead of 52; therefore, after three bites from the Zombie Dog, the student would have received 24 Damage Points (8 + 8 + 8 = 24), bringing his Health Points down to 30. That would be 1 more Health Point that the student would have while using the Kelvar Vest.

Students should note that, in the example we are using, the difference between a 20% Damage Reduction and 30% Damage Reduction is very small (only 1 point), because the Zombie Dog's attack is weak (only 10 Damage Points). Therefore, it takes only a slight increase in the Sports Armour's M.C. Endurance stat to compensate for the difference in Damage Absorption between the Sports Armour and the Kevlar. If the incoming damage were greater, it would take a greater increase in M.C. stats to make the Sports Armour outperform the Kevlar. Nevertheless, this example is accurately represents the reality in the Blue Zones around Nastya's Holdout, where the typical zombie attack inflicts from 8 to 12 Damage Points.

Not only that: Armour does not last forever; eventually, it breaks. Broken Armour no longer absorbs damage, but Mastercrafted Armour still enhances stat points. Therefore, the Mastercrafted Sports Armour will continue to benefit the student even after the Armour breaks. After the clean Kelvar Vest breaks, it would do no good at all.

Bottom Line: Students should purchase amour with the best stats they can afford. When upgrading to new armour, try to get stats at least as good as the armour being replaced.

*NOTE: Before going any further, we should mention that Mastercrafted stat points in Endurance do not literally bequeath Health Points to a student, which is why we have been using the phrase "equivalent of." We will explain this is more detail below.


2. STRENGTH AND NON-STRENGTH ARMOUR

As mentioned previously, there are two types of Armour: Strength (or "Heavy") Armours require Strength to equip them; Non-Strength (or "Light") Armours do not. The effectiveness of both types overlaps to some extent, but there are advantages and disadvantages to both.

The main advantage of Non-Strength Armours is that there are no requirements to equip them. Theoretically, a beginning freshman could wear the most effective Light Armour available (in practical terms, the expense of purchasing and maintaining more powerful armours is a major impediment).

Strength Armours are less expensive to purchase and repair than their Light Armour equivalents. Also, Heavy Armours eventually outclass Light Armours. The most powerful Strength Armours (Vengeance Guard and X-Dusk Reactive) absorb 95% of incoming damage. The most powerful Non-Strength Armour (X-Dusk Mesh) absorbs 85% damage, but this is available only to students who manage to get into the Dusk Shop; otherwise, the most powerful Non-Strength Armour is the Hazard Mesh, which absorbs 80% damage. 

Because of the obvious advantages, undergraduate students sometimes rush to invest Stat points in Strength in order to equip Heavy Armour. This is a mistake. We will illustrate with an example that makes the math fairly easy to grasp.

Once again, let's imagine a Level 1 freshman student with 25 Endurance points, which translates into 50 Health Points. A single strike from a Red Rumbler (which delivers 50 Damage Points per Hit) would kill the student instantly.

The student invests 25 points in Strength, raising his/her total from 25 to 50 in order to equip a Corpse Carapcase Armour, which absorbs 50% of incoming damage. Now, when the Red Rumbler strikes, the student receives only 25 damage points, knocking his/her health down to 25. 

The student has effectively doubled the amount of damage he/she can endure. His/her health is in Serious condition, but a quick trip into the inventory for some medication will fix that. 

This sounds good, but let's look at an alternative scenario.

Instead of investing 25 stat points in Strength, the student invests them in Endurance, raising his/her total Endurance to 50 and, consequently, his/her total Health Points to 100. Now, when the Red Rumbler strikes, the student's health is knocked down to 50, putting his/her health in Serious condition.

Again, the student has effectively doubled his/her ability to survive incoming damage. The difference is that, in the second scenario, the student can also equip a Non-Strength Exterminator Mesh Armour, which absorbs 50% of incoming damage (the same as the Corpse Carapace). In this case, the strike from the Rumbler would inflict only 25 Damage Points, leaving student with 75 Health Points - still Healthy!

Clearly, a combination of base stats in Endurance and Non-Strength Armour is superior to Strength Armour alone. So when does it make sense to use Strength Armour? When no points are available to invest in Endurance because points have been invested in Strength to equip weapons.

Think of it like this: If the student in our hypothetical example had raised Strength to 50 in order to equip an Elite Level chainsaw (such as a Grinder), it would be possible to equip the Corpse Carapace Armour with no additional investment in Strength, so he/she may as well purchase one (assuming funds are available). 

Would it make sense to add another 5 points in Strength in order to equip a Reactive SLX Armour, which absorbs 55% of incoming damage? In most cases, it would be better to invest those points in Endurance and purchase a Non-Strength Exterminator Mesh GT, which also offers 55% Damage Reduction. The only reason to raise Strength for the SLX would be affordability: in an outpost where the cost of repairing an Exterminator Mesh (which requires Level 45 engineering skill) was exorbitantly high, a student might benefit from wearing a Reactive SLX, which can be repaired by Level 35 engineers. 

Bottom Line: Do not raise Strength simply to equip armour. Raise Strength to equip weapons; then equip whatever armour your Strength allows.


3. AMOUR DAMAGE REDUCTION AND DURABILITY

Armour reduces incoming damage. Where does that damage go? It is absorbed into the Armour itself. How much damage the Armour can absorb depends on the Armour's Durability. 

So the question arises: Which is better - an Amour that absorbs a high percentage of damage and breaks quickly or an Armour that absorbs a lower percentage of damage but lasts longer?

There is actually little room for error in this calculation, because, for the most part, as Damage Reduction increases, so does Durability. Still, there are a couple points worth making:

  1. Non-Strength Armors tend to have greater Durability than Strength Armours with the same Damage Reduction. Taking the example mentioned above, the Reactive SLX (Heavy Armour) has 120 Durability; the Exterminator Mesh GT (Light Armour) has 140. This is yet another reason not to raise Strength simply for the benefit of Armour.
  2. The limited-edition Corpse Carapace Armour has only 50% Damage Reduction, but its Durability is 400 - making it one of the most durable Armours available in the world of Dead Frontier.

Let us consider the implications of this second item. Are their situations in which the Corpse Carapace would be superior to, say, the Exterminator Reactive XT (a Strength Armour with 85% absorption and 220 Durability). The answer is: yes.

The Corpse Carapace is advantageous for looting missions far from major outposts, where repairing Armour might be expensive or even impossible. In an area where a student can reliably find medicine for his/her level, it is possible to continually heal oneself and not worry about the Carapace breaking for long periods of time, because of its Durability. (Of course, it is possible to carry spare armour, but ideally students want to keep all possible inventory slots open to hold the loot they find.)

This works as long as the Carapace receives only minor damage from occasional skirmishes. The equation reverses itself in the face of the massive damage associated with Boss Hunting. Even with maximum Endurance, the 50% Damage Reduction of the Carapace will do little good against a blow from a Black Titan; in this case, the Exterminator Reactive XT is preferable.

Bottom Line: Greater Durability is a significant advantage when looting away from an outpost.


4. ENDURANCE: BASE STATS VS. M.C. STATS

Above, we briefly mentioned that Endurance from Mastercrafted stats is merely the "equivalent" of adding Health Points. Now let us explain in more detail.

Once again, imagine a Level 1 freshman with 25 Endurance, yielding 50 Health Points. Adding 24 base stats raises Endurance to 49, yielding 98 health points - almost double the starting point. In this condition, a student could endure much more damage.

If - instead of adding base stats to Endurance - the student had purchased an Armour with 24 M.C.'d stats in Endurance, the student would still have only 50 actual Health Points, but the incoming damage would be reduced to mathematically simulate the effect of having 98 health points.

This may be hard to picture, so let's return to the example we used up top, of a Level 1 freshman wearing Sports Armour with 20% Damage Reduction and +1 Endurance. As you recall, a bite from a Zombie Dog inflicts 10 Damage points, which would lower an unprotected student's health from 50 to 40. A clean Sports Amour would reduce the damage 20%, from 10 points to 8, so that the student would be left with 42 Health Points after being bitten. However, a Sports Armour with +1 Endurance would leave the student with 44 Health Points after being bitten.

The way we described this above was that the +1 M.C. Endurance stat added the "equivalent of" 2 Health Points. In other words, it was as if the student had 52 Health Points instead of 50. Consequently, the 8 points of damage inflicted by the Zombie Dog lowered the student's health to 44.

What actually happened was that the M.C.'d Sports Armour reduced the incoming damage to a mere 6 points instead of 8. This additional damage reduction is not absorbed by the Armour and does not count toward degrading the Armour's Durability. The end result is the same as if the student had started with 2 extra Health Points.

To restate this in simple terms, starting with 52 and subtracting 8 yields the same result as starting at 50 and subtracting 6; either way, one ends up with 44.

Why does M.C. Armour Endurance work this way? Basically, this method makes sense. The reason becomes fairly clear if one stops to consider the situation carefully.

Continuing with our example of the freshman with 50 Health points wearing a Sports Armour with +1 in Endurance: What would happen if that M.C.'d stat actually added 2 points to the students health instead of further reducing incoming damage? Imagine zombies inflicted 50 damage points, lowering the student's health to a mere 2 points. The student returns to an outpost and takes off the Sports Armour to repair it - and immediately dies because losing the 2 Health Points from the Armour reduced health to Absolute Zero.

This does not happen, because the student has 2 Health Points with or without the Amour. The Armour's M.C. stats simply reduced the inflicted damage so that instead of losing all 50 Health Points to zombie attacks, the student lost only 48 points.

Bottom Line: Endurance from base stats and Endurance from M.C. stats appear to be the same but are actually different. 


5. ARMOUR RECOMMENDATIONS

Our first recommendation is based on the fact that, like many things in Dead Frontier, Armour comes in different "levels." In this case, the level indicates the skill an Engineer needs to repair the armour. The different levels are 5+, 15+, 25+, 45+, and 75+.

As a general rule, students should not purchase armour that is too expensive to repair in the outpost where they currently reside. For this reason, we suggest that under-graduates studying in the first four outposts (Nastya's Holdout, Dogg's Stockade, Precinct 13, Fort Pastor) avoid armour that requires Level 75+ engineering skill. Prices are simply too high until students graduate to Secronom Bunker.

Engineering Level 5 & 15: Non-Strength Armour

There are three Light (Non-Strength) Armours that beginning students might reasonably be able to acquire at the beginning of their academic career in Fairview:

  1. Sports Armour: 20 Durability; 20% Damage Absorption, Level 5 Repair Skill
  2. Zylon Vest: 40 Durability; 25% Damage Absorption, Level 15 Repair Skill
  3. Kevlar Vest: 60 Durability; 30% Damage Absorption, Level 15 Repair Skill.

None of these armours is particularly spectacular, but they offer adequate protection against dangers encountered during early semesters. All three have basically the same advantages:

  1. They are better than nothing.
  2. They are relatively inexpensive stat-boosters.
  3. They are cheap to repair.

We recommend the Sports Amour for freshman students looting Blue Zones near Nastya's Holdout. Zylon and Kevlar are good for sophomores in the Green and Yellow Zones around Dogg's Stockade.

There are no Heavy Armours that can be repaired by Level 5 or 15 engineers.

Level 25 Engineering Skill: Strength Armour

There are two Heavy (Strength) Armours that require 25 Engineering skill to repair:

  1. Flak Jacket: 80 Durability, 35% Damage Absorption, 35 Strength required 
  2. SN-42: 100 Durability, 50% Damage Absorption, 40 Strength required

These armours are well-suited to freshman and sophomore students developing chainsaw builds (such as Critical Build #3 and the Survival Build). In these builds, Strength is added early in order to equip a chainsaw before other grinding weapons become available. By Level 12 freshman can have Strength to 35 for a Ronan Pro; this enables the use of a Flak Jacket. By Level 16, sophomores can have Strength to 40 for a Steel MS 800; this enables the use of the SN-42.

Students developing Assault/Hybrid Builds will not add Strength until later: after developing proficiency for their primary looting weapon during their first two semesters (approximately Levels 1-24), they will begin raising proficiency on Strength-based grinding weapons during Junior semester (approximately Levels 25-36). 

At this point, the Flak Jacket is less useful, because most Juniors will be able to afford a Mesh SLX Light Armour (Engineering Level 35), which provides more Damage Absorption (40%). The SN-42, however, retains its value; in order to match its 50% Damage Absorption with a Light Armour, students would have to purchase a far more expensive Exterminator Mesh, which requires Level 45 Engineering repairs.

The affordability of the SN-42 (in terms of purchase price and repairs) is a boon to students with the necessary Strength. Those who do not raise that stat over 50 (for Chainsaws or some Shotguns) will probably want to hold onto the SN-42 until they graduate to Secronom Bunker.

Level 35 Engineering Skill: Non-Strength Armour

There is no Light Armour requiring Level 25 Engineering Skill. Students without points in Strength will have to upgrade to Level 35 Light Armour as they move into the more dangerous areas of Dead Frontier. Two options are available:

  1. Mesh SLX: 80 Durability; 40% Damage Absorption
  2. Mesh RX-2: 100 Durabiliyt; 45% Damage Absorption

These Light Armours fall somewhere between the Level 25 Heavy Armours mentioned above and the Level 35 Heavy Armours mentioned below. Their Durabilty and Damage Absorption are approximately equivalent to that of the Level 25 Heavy Amours; their cost (to purchase and repair) is equivalent to that of the Level 35 Heavy Armours. 

We recommend these armours for Juniors (approximately Levels 24-36) in the zones near Precinct 13.

Level 35 Engineering Skill: Strength Armour

There are two Heavy Armours requiring Level 35 Engineering skill to repair:

  1. Reactive SLX: 120 Durability, 55% Damage Absorption, 55 Strength
  2. Reactive XT800: 150 Durability, 60% Damage Absorption, 70 Strength

These armours provide more protection for the same scrap value and repair fees as the Mesh SLX and Mesh RX-2. They are excellent for use near Precinct 13; they are also adequate for Seniors (Levels 37-50) studying in Fort Pastor.

Only students working on Assault or Hybrid Builds will be able to equip these armours. Raising Strength to 60 for an AK 47 assault rifle enables use of the Reactive SLX; raising Strength to 80 for an FM Mitrail heavy machine gun or a Sweeper shotgun enables use of the Reactive XT800.

The Reactive SLX is a bit of a compromise (like the AK 47). Students are advised to hang onto it only as long as they hold Strength at 60 while developing other stats.

The Reactive XT800, on the other hand, is quite impressive: it provides more protection than the best Level 45 Light Armour, making it worth holding onto as an inexpensive backup armour even after Strength has been raised for Level 45 Strength Armours.

Level 45 Engineering Skill: Non-Strength Armour

As noted above, Light Armours requiring Level 45 Engineering repairs cannot match the Damage Absorption of Level 35 Heavy Armours. However the two Light Armours in this category are probably the most powerful ones that undergraduates will be able to afford:

  1. Exterminator Mesh: 120 Durability; 50% Damage Absorption
  2. Exterminator Mesh GT: 140 Durability; 55% Damage Absorption

In terms of scrap value and engineering skill, the Exterminator Mesh Light Armours are counterparts to Exterminator Reactive and Exterminator Reactive XT Strength Armours; however, the Exterminator Mesh armours provide less protection and break down more quickly. 

Nevertheless, the Exterminator Mesh Armours are the best choice for Seniors (Levels 37-50) with Non-Strength builds at Fort Pastor. The more effective Light Armours (Nomad Mesh, Shinobu Mesh) require Level 75 Engineering repairs, which are prohibitively expensive at this outpost.

Level 45 Engineering Skill: Strength Armour

Like the Exterminator Mesh Light Armours, there are two Heavy Armours in this category that will most likely be the best that Seniors can afford during their semester at Fort Pastor:

  1. Exterminator Reactive: 180 Durability, 70% Damage Absorption, 90 Strength
  2. Exterminator Reactive XT: 220 Durability, 85% Damage Absorption, 100 Strength

The Damage Absorption of the Exterminator Reactive matches that of the Level 75 Shinobu Mesh Light Armour. The Damage Aborption of the Exterminator Mesh XT exceeds that of all Light Armours (except the exclusive X-Dusk Mesh, which is available only to students who gain access to the Dusk Shop).

In fact, short of becoming a multi-millionaire, it is almost impossible to obtain armour with more Damage Absorption than the Exterminator Reactive XT. The Heavy Armours with greater protection are limited-edition or exclusive items (such as the Level 45 Dusk Reactive Heavy Armour), with correspondingly high price tags that makes them unaffordable for most students.

There is one other Strength Armour that requires Level 45 Engineering skills:

  • Corpse Carapace: 400 Durabilty, 50% Damage Absorption, 50 Strength 

A look at the stats reveals that the Carapace is an anomaly among Dead Frontier armour: it has the Damage Absorption of a Level 25 SN-42, but its Durability is greater than all but the most expensive Level 75 Heavy armour. 

To understand the armour's existence, it helps to know a little history: the Carapace is part of the "Corpse Gear" equipment that came out circa 2011. One quirk of this set is that the 100-proficiency Corpse Blaster shotgun requires only 50 points in Strength. This created the option of "Corpse" version of the standard Pistol-Shotgun Hybrid Build, incorporating Melee and Chainsaws. A student could raise Strength to 50 to equip the Corpse Blaster and a Corpse Grinder chainsaw - and use the Corpse Carapace armour.

Since then, other 50-Strength elite chainsaws and shotguns have become available, but no other armour specifically requires that amount of Strength. This makes the Corpse Carapace uniquely suited for builds that incorporate either or both of these weapons. By putting only 50 points in Strength, students can save points for Endurance and use an armour that can withstand an incredible amount of damage.

What is the Corpse Carapace good for? It is good for long trips, far from outposts where engineers offer repair services. The Carapace outlasts other armours because its durability is high and because it divides the damage evenly between the armour and its owner. The 50% absorption means students will take more damage than they would with heavier armours, but students with high Endurance looting areas rich with medicine for their level can survive long periods without returning to an outpost for healing or repairs. 

A Note of Warning: The Corpse Carapace is not good for hunting the most lethal bosses. Even with a large investment in Endurance, a student wearing a Corpse Carapace will likely succumb to a blow from a Black Titan or, worse yet, a Flaming Black Titan. Even if the first strike is not fatal, it will leave the student in critical condition, unable to escape and heal before the second, final blow falls.

Level 75 Engineering Skill: Non-Strength Armour

Graduate Students with Non-Strength Builds seeking greater protection in the environs around Secronom Bunker have a couple of relatively "affordable" alternatives:

  1. Nomad Mesh: 180 Durability, 60% Damage Absorption
  2. Shinobu Mesh: 260 Durability, 70% Damage Absorption

The Nomad is basically equivalent to the Reactive XT800 Heavy Armour; the Shinobu approximates the effectiveness of the Exterminator Reactive Heavy Armour. Fortunately, students who place points in Endurance instead of Strength will find that they can survive the dangers around Secronom Bunker quite nicely with either of these Armours.

There are other Light Armours in this category, but they are either exclusive (Dusk Mesh, X-Dusk Mesh) or limited-edition (Scavenger Mesh, Hazard Mesh) items - so far out of reach for the most students that they might as well not exist. 

Level 75 Engineering Skill: Strength Armour

Although it is virtually impossible to obtain armour with more Damage Absorption than the Level 45 Exterminator Reactive XT, Level 75 Heavy Armours have more Durability, which means they will last longer when confronting the dangers in the Black and White Zones to the east of Fairview city.

  1. Bio Reactive: 280 Durability, 85% Damage Absorption, 100 Strength
  2. Tatakau Reactive: Tatakau Reactive 390 Durability, 85% Damage Absorption, 100 Strength

In practical terms, these are the two most accessible armours in this category. The Steelcase Reactive is more expensive, because it is limited-edition, but it has less Durability than the Tatakau. The Scarab Reactive (also limited-edition) and the Vengeance Guard are excellent items, but astronomically costly. The X-Dusk Reactive is, of course, available only in the exclusive Dusk Shop.

None of these elite armours is truly necessary for survival around Secronom Bunker (although they may be of use to graduate students moving on to the Wastelands). Otherwise, the Bio Reactive and the Tatakau Reactive are the best armours that students need to obtain.

 

Matriculated

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