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State of Decay update: it’s a “Matter of Character.”

Benjamin Ebell February 15, 2013 - 3:25 pm

The latest State of Decay update explores the personality and physical traits of your survivors.

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Undead Labs’ State of Decay seems to be the kind of zombie RPG I can get excited about. Previously they’ve talked about the base building/gardening systems as well as combat and stealth, but in the latest update on their development blog they explored the thing that intrigues me about the game the most – characters.

You don’t get to create your character in State of Decay. Rather, you stumble upon them in the game world and have to decide whether to rescue them (and bring them into your group) or leave them to their fate. Their personalities and skills are determined by the game and it’s up to you on whether or not they would be help or hinder your survival.

Undead Labs has separated things into two groups: skills and traits. All survivors have the four basic skills: cardio, wits, fighting and shooting. Rated between one star and seven stars, they correspond to how much stamina you have, how fast you can search for supplies, how much health you have and the recoil after you shoot, respectively. These skills can be leveled up by using the ability, i.e. fighting zombies to level up fighting and running around to level up cardio.

Players can also have a fifth skill called a “personal skill.” Undead Labs gave the example of leadership, which increases the trust you can gain from other characters. Personal skills are determined by a characters background and aren’t available on every character.

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The other group is traits, which I like to think of as The Sims meets Dead Rising. Every character has a personality: chatterbox, selfish asshole, autocrat and braggart are only a few of the personalities Undead Labs gave as an example. Personalities don’t always mix, which is why it’s important to consider how many assholes are in the group and how that might affect group dynamics in the long term.

Other traits can vary from job history and hobbies to aspects of their personality. All of these traits influence what skills are available to a character, and they too vary greatly from being able to build more advanced things at your home base to knowing a lot about sports trivia. So if I’m a selfish asshole who can’t build anything and only knows how many Super Bowls a team has won, my survival chances just went down.

I’ve covered the basics here, but go to Undead Labs official blog to read up on characters at a more in-depth level. They give examples of some sample characters and how their personalities and skills can be helpful (or unhelpful) to the player.

The group building and role playing mechanics are one of the most attractive things about State of Decay, and the latest update has definitely peaked my interest in the game.

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