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Zombie Hunter University, Fairview

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

Scientific Minimalist Guide to Dead Frontier Builds: Introduction

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"Build" is a term that encompasses character profession, weapon choices, and the allocation of stat and proficiency points. Builds are designed to optimize the weapons and skills necessary to succeed at Dead Frontier. 


HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE

The Scientific-Minimalist Guide to Builds is required reading for the prep course, Dead Frontier 101. It may also be used as a reference work for students taking the Survival Courses taught at Zombie Hunter University (Survival 190: Nastya's HoldoutSurvival 290: Dogg's StockadeSurvival 390: Precinct 13Survival 490: Fort Pastor).

This guide will teach students the following essentials:

  • Build Types
  • Complimentary weapon choice combinations
  • Stat and proficiency requirements
  • Character professions suited to particular builds

Students or other parties not pursuing a graduate line of study may find the guide useful as stand-alone reading. However, for survivors who are not following the Theory of Scientific Minimalism, there are other guides that might serve as well.


BUILD OVERVIEW

A good build is essential to survival on the streets of Fairview. The weapons and the armor that one can equip, the ability to aim accurately, to reload quickly, to inflict maximum damage, and to outrun zombies - all of these depend upon the build.

All students are capable of carrying three weapons. It makes sense to use weapons with stat requirements that overlap, at least to some extent; otherwise, some weapons will be under-powered because stat points have been allocated to benefit another weapon.

Builds are essentially an on-going process, accumulating more stat and proficiency points each time a survivor levels up. Until upper levels (circa 100), it may be impossible to have perfect stats; therefore, many build templates offer compromises that will provide (for example) Reliable Accuracy rather than Perfect Accuracy.


PLANNING A BUILD

Students do not need to have their plan for the build set in stone before embarking onto the streets of Fairview. However, it is a good idea to have at least a general plan in mind, taking the following into consideration:
  • Consider which type of weapons to use
  • Determine what type of build is suitable for the preferred weapons
  • Plan to allocate stat and proficiency points to equip and optimize weapons as soon as possible.
  • Choose a character profession suited to weapon preference and stat requirements.

Because stat allocation is an on-going process, certain decisions can be delayed. For example, Hybrid Builds use only 80 points in Critical; Critical Builds use 112 or 124; consequently, a survivor need not finalize a decision about Hybrid-versus-Critical until reaching the 80-point cutoff. Likewise, the choice for secondary weapon can be delayed until the primary weapon proficiency is maximized.

However, a Profession must be chosen up front, and the wisdom of that choice will depend upon what students are planning to do later. Therefore, planning ahead is essential, even if there is some leeway to adjust later.

While perusing these templates, keep a couple points in mind regarding professions.

First, any profession can use any build. Some are more suitable because they offer stat and/or proficiency boosts that will enable students to complete their build sooner. However, if you truly aspire to be an Accountant using a Hybrid Build with Pistols, Shotguns, and Grenade Launchers, it is possible; it simply will take longer.

Second, professions can have an impact on financial concerns. Some students pick builds for economical reasons (shotguns offer cheaper grinding than machine guns; melee offers free looting). However, if a student becomes a doctor of medicine, he/she can earn a good living without looting at all. During an outpost attack at Secronom Bunker, for example, it is possible to earn over $100,000 in less than an hour. That is enough to purchase four or five boxes of expensive ammunition, making it possible to feed a Heavy Machine Gun without going broke. Engineers (the other service profession) earn somewhat less fixing armour; Scientists and Farmers supplement their income slightly by using/selling the food and medicine they make. They may not get rich, but the thousands of dollars they save and/or earn can go toward buying ammunition, minimizing the need to use an economical build.


BUILD TYPES

Builds fall into four categories, though there may be some disagreement about the precise definitions:

  • Critical Builds
  • Strength Builds
  • Hybrid Builds
  • Assault Builds

As the names suggest, Critical Builds emphasize the Critical Hit stat; Strength Builds emphasize Strength; Hybrid Builds are a mix of the two. Assault Builds are really just unfinished Hybrid Builds - relying on Assault Rifles until Strength can be raised to use Heavy Machineguns.

Critical Builds are useful early in the game, because the relatively low stat requirements can be achieved fairly quickly.

Hybrid Builds are more stat-hungry; students will probably need to passLevel 50 to complete such a build. Hence the need for Assault Builds, which can be completed before Level 50 and offer firepower equivalent to Critical Builds.

Strength Builds are largely used in the despicable practice dubbed "Player-versus-Player"  by the degenerates who indulge in killing their fellow survivors - an insane practice in a world where the dead walk. Consequently, this type of build falls outside the purview of Scientific Minimalism, which is designed to promote survival through cost-efficiency and mutual cooperation.


BUILDS AND WEAPON CHOICE: A MYSTERY EXPLAINED

As mentioned above, weapons should be chosen that work well with a build's stats, which in turn should be allocated to optimize all weapons being used. One aspect of this that can be confusing for freshman students is that some builds omit certain weapons even though those weapons fit the build's stat profile. Why is this?

The explanation is fairly simple: builds are not just about stats; they are also about combining weapons that complement each other. Consequently, a weapon can fit a build's stat profile and yet be relatively useless because other weapons already fulfill the function it would perform. 

Let's illustrate with an example.

Imagine a build that has developed Melee proficiency to 80. At this point the student could equip both a Sabre blade and a Kukri knife. The Sabre strikes once per second; the Kukri strikes 1.5 times per second. The slower striking speed of the Sabre is good enough for targeting individual zombies; the faster striking speed of the Kukri is useful when confronting multiple zombies. Consequently, it makes sense to equip both.

However, if the student has stat 40 points in Strength, he/she can equip a Steel MS800 Chainsaw, a grinding weapon that can be used against crowds of zombies. In this case, the Kukri no longer serves a useful function, so it can be omitted from the build development.

There is nothing to prevent a student from including a Kukri in the build; if the stats are optimized for the Sabre, the Kukri will work just as well. There simply will not be much reason to use the Kukri, because the chainsaw makes it superfluous.

The lesson students should learn from this:

Weapons are not just about stats; they are about usefulness. When considering a weapon, students should ask themselves what function it would serve in their build. If that function is already being served, the weapon is not necessary. 

In some cases, "usefulness" is a subjective assessment, based on a student's particular style and skills; therefore, students are encouraged to experiment to suit themselves. However, our recommendations are based on our best assessment of which weapon combination is most useful in each of our recommended builds.


BUILDS AND ARMOUR

Builds are primarily concerned with stat allocation in order to optimize weapons. However, one of these stats - Strength - also affects the type of Armour that can be equipped.

Students developing Critical Builds without Strength must rely on Light Armors, which absorb less damage than their Heavy Armour equivalents. They are also more expensive – both to purchase and to repair. 

Heavy Armour provide more protection for lower costs. However, the general rule of thumb is: Do not raise Strength only to equip Armour. Raise Strength to equip the Weapons in your build; then use that Strength to equip the best Armour possible.

For example, students with 50 points in Strength to equip Chainsaws have access to the Corpse Carapace, an effective but very expensive piece of limited-edition armour. Should students invest 5 more points in Strength to equip the less expensive Reactive SLX, which absorbs more damage? Generally, no - it is better to put those points into Endurance instead.

Students using Hybrid Builds with 100 Strength have access to the best high-end armor. In the case of Shotguns, the best high-end models require only 50 Strength, which provides an opportunity to stat-reset; students must decide whether moving those Strength points elsewhere are worth losing the use of Bio Reactive Armour. 


THE SCIENTIFIC MINIMALIST APPROACH TO BUILD PROGRESSION

Below we will provide some basic templates; each offers suggestions for the progression the build should take in terms of raising weapon proficiencies. These  suggestions are based on our Scientific-Minimalist approach to Dead Frontier.

Basically, this means that, instead of blindly raising a particular stat or proficiency until is is maxed out, regardless of its immediate usefulness, we recommend allocating points that will enable students to equip weapons suited to their current location.

Moving east through the color-coded zones of Fairview, earning experience and gradually leveling up, may seem like a slow but continuous progression. This impression is somewhat misleading.

Dead Frontier is more like a series of quantum leaps. As students graduate from one outpost to the next, they will experience of series of plateaus, each with its own challenges. Below a certain level, students are inadequate to the challenge; at the right level, they can succeed; after that level, any increase in skills is mostly wasted until students move on to more dangerous territory.

Our recommendations for allocating stats and proficiency during a student's stay at each outpost are based on what is necessary to raise the student to the necessary level, without wasting points that will not be necessary until later. These recommendations are guidelines rather than rules. Each student's own skill set and comfort level will determine what is right for him or her.

In general we assume students will spend at least 10 levels at each of the first four outposts, moving on when the food and medication easily found in a the current location are no longer enough to sustain life comfortably.

There are many schools of thought regarding builds and stat allocation. This text is by no means exhaustive, nor is it intended to be the final word on the subject.


BUILD TEMPLATES

Build Templates are useful tools that show how to allocate stats to optimize certain combinations of weapons. They present a long-term goal toward which students can work; each time a student levels up, the student will know what stats and proficiencies need to be augmented.

To some extent, Build Templates represent working compromises. To get all three weapons in a build perfectly optimized in terms of Critical Hit, Reloading, and Accuracy could require an investment in stats that is impossible to achieve until Level 100 or so.

By following templates, students can craft a build that makes efficient use of stats, insuring that all weapons work well enough to complete necessary tasks.

We recommend half a dozen templates with a variety of options.These are not the only possibilities. However, most other builds are variations on our six examples.  For example, Critical Builds can accommodate either Close Quarter Combat Rifles or Automatic Pistols (both of which require 112 in Critical Chance); Assault and Hybrid Builds can accommodate Revolvers or high-end Long Range Rifles (both of which require only 80 in Critical Chance).

Recommended Build Templates:

  1. Critical Build with Melee, Submachine Gun, Rifle
  2. Critical Build with Pistol, Submachine Gun, Grenade Launcher
  3. Critical Build with Melee-Chainsaw, Sub-Machine Gun
  4. Survival Build with Melee-Chainsaw, Shotgun, Rifle
  5. Assault-Hybrid Build with Pistol, Machine Gun, Grenade Launcher
  6. Hybrid Build with Pistols, Shotguns Grenades

UNDERGRADUATE & POSTGRADUATE BUILDS

At Zombie Hunter University, the Undergraduate Program covers the first 50 levels of a student's education. This is a logical cutoff point, because afterward, students no longer earn 5 stat points and 5 proficiency points for each new level; instead, they earn only 1 stat point and 2 proficiency points per level.

In practical terms, this means that the build that is in place at Level 50 is the one that students will be using for some considerable time. Hence, the goal of the Undergraduate Program is to develop a build to a point where it will serve students well during the long Postgraduate Program that comes after Level 50. The build in place at Level 50 is, in our terminology, the Undergraduate Build.

Every student's ultimate goal is to equip three 120-proficiency weapons, but that will not happen until after Level 100. Though no build is ever truly complete, we generally considered a build "finished" when it has raised three weapon proficiencies to 120 and/or has all stats in place except Endurance. This finalized build is the Postgraduate Build. 

All the templates that follow will instruct students on what the condition of their builds should be at Level 50. For time time being, we present this chart, which illustrates several options that can be realistically achieved with the proficiency points available as students approach that level. This should help students set goals for their Undergraduate Builds, which ideally will contain two elite weapons and a decent mid-level weapon.

For consistency sake, the chart assumes that students use a profession with no proficiency bonuses, unless otherwise noted.

Note that builds using pistols and/or melee require fewer levels to achieve the necessary points than builds using rifles. This is because all students begin with 5 points in pistol proficiency and 5 points in melee proficiency.

1st WEAPON

2nd WEAPON

3rd WEAPON

POINTS NEEDED

LEVEL

Alpha Bull (100)

Sweeper (80)

HK 69 (40)

220

44

Alpha Bull (100)

AK 47 (80)

HK 69 (40)

220

44

577 Rex (110)

Chicago Typewriter (70)

HK 69 (40)

220

45

Alpha Bull (100)

FM Mitrail (90)

HK 69 (40)

230

46

VSS Vintorez (100)

K-50m (90)

HK 69 (40)

230

47

Ironsight (120)

Chicago Typewriter (70)

HK 69 (40)

230

47

Alpha Bull (100)

USAN-12 (100)

HK 69 (40)

240

48

Alpha Bull (100)

M4/M60 (100)

HK 69 (40)

240

48

475 Magnum (110)

K-50m (90)

HK 69 (40)

240

48

Greyhawk 55 (120)

Sweeper (80)

HK 69 (40)

240

48

Greyhawk 55 (120)

AK 47 (80)

HK 69 (40)

240

48

VSS Vintorez (100)

M4 (100)

HK 69 (40)

240

49

Rex (110)

K-50m (90)

HK 69 (40)

240

49

Wakizashi (105)

Criss Victor (105)

M1 Garand (40)

250

50

Nodachi & Steel 090 (110)

M4 (100)

M1 Garand (40)

250

50

Alpha Bull (100)

AA-12 (110)

HK 69 (40)

250

50

Alpha Bull (100)

Vulcan (110)

HK 69 (40)

250

50

475 Magnum (110)

M4 (100)

HK 69 (40)

250

50

Greyhawk 55 (120)

FM Mitrail (90)

HK 69 (40)

250

50

Greyhawk 55 (120)

USAN-12 (100)

HK 69 (40)

260

50*

Spiker & Ripsaw G12 (120)

M4 (100)

M1 Garand (40)

260

50*

Ironsight (120)

K-50m (90)

HK 69 (40)

250

50*

Greyhawk 55 (120)

AA-12 (110)

HK 69 (40)

270

50*

*Can be achieved by Level 50 only with stat-boosting professions.

This Chart can be confusing. It does not directly display weapon progression from level to level. Rather, it shows several options for each level, depending on student choices. So for example, a senior with an Alpha Bull, an AK 47, and an HK 69 at Level 44 might raise Machine Gun Proficiency to get an FM Mitrail by Level 46; the same student could stick with the AK 47 machine gun and raise Pistol Proficiency to get a Greyhawk 55 by Level 48.

We have always chosen either an HK 69 Grenade Launcher or an M1 Garand Rifle for the third weapon. These are solid weapons that require only 40 points in weapon proficiency, making them achievable before Level 50 without shortchanging the first two weapons. Also, 40 proficiency points for Rifles leaves open the option for the Rebellion, which is slightly better than the VSS.

Here are lessons that students should take away from this chart:

1. It is difficult – though not impossible – to max a Primary Weapon, get a 100-proficiency Secondary Weapon, and a decent Tertiary Weapon by Level 50. To do this, students need to have a profession with some kind of proficiency boost, such as a Boxer, Fireman, or Police Officer.

2. Builds using Pistols or Melee have a 5-point advantage over other builds, because all professions begin with at least 5 points in Melee and Pistols.

3. Because it uses a Pistol, an Assault Build with an Alpha Bull, an AK 47, and an HK 69 can be achieved by Level 44. 

4. A Critical Build with Rifles, Submachine Guns, and Explosives requires an extra level to match the Assault Build, because the Assault Build has the advantage of starting with 5 points in Pistols.

5. The Wakizashi saves 5 points in Melee, allowing a student to quickly obtain a Criss Victor, which requires 105 points in Machine Gun Proficiency. The next viable option for a Sub Machine Gun does not appear until Proficiency 120 – which students will not achieve until after Level 50.

6. Unless a student gets both a 120-proficiency primary weapon and 100-proficiency secondary weapon, it should be possible to equip a decent 40-proficiency tertiary weapon by Level 50. 

7. Whatever the Primary Weapon – Melee, Rifle, or Pistol – the choice for Secondary Weapon tends to converge on the M4 assault rifle, because its low stat requirements are suitable to both Hybrid and Critical Builds.

Though it may not be clear from the chart, equipping Heavy Machine Guns before Level 50 presents difficulties because of the Strength requirements, which may lead seniors to shortchange other stats. Yes, students can equip an Alpha Bull revolver and an FM Mitrail heavy machine gun by Level 45; however, it would be easier on their stats if they raised Pistol Proficiency for the Greyhawk 55 first, then obtained the FM Mitrail around Level 49.

Matriculated

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