Dead Age 2

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Dead Age 2 > General Discussions > Topic Details
Harris Jul 18, 2020 @ 3:41am
If you struggle with combat
Hey, just lost on day 27 due to story reasons and decided to have a break and give a hand to anyone having hard time with combat. Whatever written valid for casual difficulty, won't bother going higher than that, as the game is Dark Souls as it is.

1) Weapons

Melee-wise it's Blunt > Blades. Blunt is a single strong attack, while knives are two weak attacks. The way armor works in the game first will always be the better.

True, blades might be more effective against enemies with low armor, but watching out for such enemies, trying to debuff them and building your strategy around that is a suboptimal hassle. With Blunt you'll get consistent damage no matter what you're fighting against.

Firearms-wise it's Pistols > Shotguns > Rifles. Pistols are single strong attack, rifles are multiple weak attacks, shotguns are in between. Single powerful attacks and low ammo consumption means pistols are your go-to. Shotguns are decent in having additional utilitiy from skills, Burst strips armor same way as molotovs, and there are some AOE attacks as well. Rifles are just inefficient with too low damage and too high ammo consumption. They need to be buffed or something.

Attacks-wise single target is almost always > AOE. Skills like 5 random attacks with rifles are very inefficient, as some enemies will always have high armor and you'll do minimal damage to them.

2) Understanding armor

Damage reduction is governed by defence (the most useful stat) and resistance (for some niche attacks like molotovs or smoke grenades). The important thing is damage reduction is flat, not a percent value.

For example, most zombie enemies in the game have something like 20-27 damage. If you have 0 defence, you'll receive all of that. But if you have 30 defense instead, they'll only deal 1 damage. This makes you very durable in combat late game.

Defense and resitance comes from levelling (though you get stats at random and can't influence that) and from gear.

Gear-wear the best armor is Heavy and Light US Army's - it's focused on defense and resistance, as well as chance to block. As for the gear you can craft, focus on bonuses to defence and endurance (stat that governs your hp).

Side note - the way damage reduction works makes even a minimal increase to your damage values worthwhile.

So make all your gear defense and hp focused, both weapons included, and get a heavy army armor for all of your party, and you're good.

3) Levelling your combat skills

Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do there. Like I noted, you can't pick which stats to raise, else dumping everything into defense or making "glass cannon" characters would be too obvious.

Levelling weapon skills doesn't give you more damage or accuracy - it only gives you new skills to use. Some are decent, others are simply not worth it. So levelling your weapon skill won't help you early on.

In my experience, 3 simple attacks with consistent damage > expensive 3 AP skill with some debuff that has a chance to trigger and the like. Don't bother with such skills, especially when you just started.

4) Engineering and hunting

Obviously, you can't have good gear early on, so your party will be squishy. You need a tank and additional source of damage that would work while your gear and stats aren't impressive. So dumping all your points into engineering/hunting until you max it out is one way to do that.

Early on hunting gives you summon dog - the dog is weak, but useful in the front row, soaking up damage for a while. Maxed hunting gives you tiger - better hp, more damage, a pretty decent tank until you get yourself high defense numbers.

Until you get dog and tiger, putting someone in the front row and using their melee defense skill which lets them negate damage is a go-to.

Engineering gives you small turret early, and large turret when maxed out. Both, especially the later, are solid sources of DPS and worth of using for tough fights.

Both dogs/tigers and turrets scale with level, so retain some degree of usefulness even late game.

5) Your character is your main damage dealer

Because of upgrades, your character will always have better combat stats than anyone else, hence having higher potential. You're better off focusing him at some weapons (in my case, blunt/pistols), while having two other party members experts at engineering and hunting respectively.

6) Pick your fights

Early on, lots of combat scenarios are deadly for you. Even later on, just rushing into combat is not advisable (if you can help it), unless you stand to gain something from it. Options to sneak, bribe, persuade etc are there for a reason.

Try to avoid specifically any fights with armed humans who are able to target you from the back row, where your tank won't help you and your defense is low. Advanced zombies (cemetery nuns, mutations etc) are also not someone you'll want to casually pick fights with.

7) Know your enemy

Read their abilities, what buffs they currently have. If they return fire on your attacks or resist all damage for some turns, just pick a different target or wait it out. By picking focus you don't lose anything as your AP carry over to the next turn, up to the max of 4.

If you're concerned with the damage you might take meanwhile, use defensive stance on your melee damage for a brief damage negation.

TL;DR
Blunt and Pistols are optimal choice in the long run
Early focus on engineering and hunting gives you strong summons that help immensely
Defense/resistance and endurance are most important stats, making your team bullet sponges
Levelling aside, you only improve through better gear, US Army armor especially notable
Design your character to be the main damage dealer
Pick your fights, avoid tougher enemies early, conserve your ammo and meds
Study what your enemies can do, and proceed accordingly
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Showing 1-15 of 15 comments
Zotmaster Jul 18, 2020 @ 6:22am 
Good write-up. It sucks a bit that defending has a cooldown, but I've also found that having tanks is absolutely critical. Even random events where you have a civilian or somebody else to take hits for you is tremendously welcome.
Harris Jul 18, 2020 @ 6:34am 
Originally posted by Zotmaster:
Even random events where you have a civilian or somebody else to take hits for you is tremendously welcome.

There are some niche hints as well, obviously. Like random Tessa as your starting character and enjoy two days of Jack tagging along, so OP that he's able to win fights all by himself.

Not only Jack can be abused that way, but doctors you get from escort quests - every camp has those. For a day you get a doctor that you stuck in the back row and get free heals, using less meds that you would otherwise.

Unfortunately, all damage NPC deal, including allied soldiers with rifles is a joke, so they are only good as meatshields. Not sure if that's the intended way, or simply shows my argument that rifles in general need a buff, but it's not realistic this way either.
Zotmaster Jul 18, 2020 @ 7:07am 
Originally posted by Harris:
Unfortunately, all damage NPC deal, including allied soldiers with rifles is a joke, so they are only good as meatshields. Not sure if that's the intended way, or simply shows my argument that rifles in general need a buff, but it's not realistic this way either.

I think it's both. NPCs just suck at damage in general, regardless of weapon. Having said that, the random spray attack that rifles have becomes a spray of 1's in the hands of an NPC.
Harris Jul 18, 2020 @ 7:17am 
There's another problem with that. Soldiers that you sometimes get as an ally are supposed to feel like a reward, like a recognition of your achievements, to help you with combat that gets repetetive late game. But at that point a summoned dog is literally of more value than such soldier.

Frankly, the whole progression (stats, gear, faction-bonuses wise) feels guided by the philosophy of "let's declare to the player he's got a bit stronger, while keeping him about as weak as he was before".
Good guide actually. I'm more of a shotgun guy, but pistols are indeed OP so far.

This guide should be pinned. Haha.
LucidJoe Jul 18, 2020 @ 5:23pm 
@Harris
You seem to be against rifles in your guide. I've gotten pretty far myself with a maxed out rifle character with high perception. I can see your point about lots of small random attacks being weak against high armor, but if there's only one enemy left and you've blown his armor off, a lot of the rifle abilities are really strong later in the game (imo).

You also don't seem to talk at all about adrenaline, and a lot of abilities (not just rifles) use it, which gives you an incentive to use abilities rather than just basic attacks all the time.
Last edited by LucidJoe; Jul 18, 2020 @ 5:25pm
Harris Jul 18, 2020 @ 8:56pm 
Originally posted by LucidJoe:
@Harris
rifles
adrenaline

Rifles. Well, you just said it yourself. It is a very niche weapon. Its attacks are inefficient, only ~50% of weapon damage per bulet, making it a questionable weapon already. I mean why bother, if pistols have 100% damage and shotguns at least have AOE with decent damage and armor stripping?

Sure, you will be able to deal significant damage IF you lowered a certain enemy's armor and IF that enemy had low armor to begin with.

But that sounds very gimmicky, inconsistent and unreliable. Right now levelling only gives more skills, not more damage or anything. There's always at least a couple ~30 armor enemies in any composition, making those 5 shots to random enemy very.. random.

Bottom line is - what do we need in a game where a mistake means death and said death is permanent? Consistency and reliability? Or gimmicks and niche usability?

That's not even talking about economic side of things - how fast the ammo is consumed, exactly because of low damage dealt by the way. It's the same to any zombie survival game featuring resource management, sniper rifles (here - pistols) will always be better because of higher damage per bullet and as a result, less bullet consumption, more resources available to spend elsewhere.

Adrenaline. It's never really explained in game and there are threads around here asking what it does. I'm not sure how that mechanic worth and if it does make the difference.

I explained my argument to the dev on why skills currently are something you shouldn't bother with.

Pistols last skill you get after heavy investment is adrenaline rush. It is 3 AP, 3 attacks of 100% damage each, 110% damage if enemy is stunned or vulnerable.

So, the ultimate epic skill Adrenaline Rush you get for levelling the tree throughout is literally the same thing as the very basic attack you get after 1 point invested. And measly 10% additional damage only comes in niche scenarios where you set the debuff with other character beforehand.

Not to forget, that debuff is not guaranteed to apply, and while trying to apply it you might as well leave the enemy with such low hp that using Adrenaline Rush is an overkill by far.

I've seen skills that rifles offer. Return fire might sound impressive, but doesn't actually work. It works only for enemies early game, when you don't have any defence to write home about. If you try to actively use it yourself, you'll quickly face two realities of the skill:

1) Only makes sense against human enemies, which you don't fight often
2) Still doesn't make sence as those usually have ~30 armor, preventing you from doing any significant damage

So my point here is not blades and rifles are trash. They are just inconsistent and unreliable as a go-to. And skills, as they are now, just don't provide enough incentive to use them over general attacks which cost 1 point to learn and allow you to spend points on other things - like alertness, so you can pick locks better, or biology, so at least you get more utility from your medkits.

You could somewhat argue that rank 4 rifle with armor piercing rounds would be less weaker. True, but it wouldn't be stronger to a similar pistol either, and imagine that resource investment to make it work.
bigsiegee Jul 18, 2020 @ 9:22pm 
If I were a dev, I'd listen to this guy for alpha-improvements/directions. I am a few hours/days into my first play through. Invested heavily into rifles and shotguns. Most the time my guys are hammering away with blunt weapons. That said - achievements require you to at least max out these ♥♥♥♥ skills once :P So, may as well be my first play through eh.
Darial Jul 19, 2020 @ 11:21am 
Harris' tips are spot on. Really helped my last run and got me to Day 27.
ralgur Jul 19, 2020 @ 3:28pm 
Originally posted by Harris:
Pick your fights, avoid tougher enemies early, conserve your ammo and meds

Early on, every fight is potentially deadly to me. How in the world do you avoid them? They're ambushes. I would try to go to an area near camp with LOW zombies/danger, and every time, I'd get ambushed. I didn't have time to get anything done. Never could stock up food and water.
Harris Jul 19, 2020 @ 7:48pm 
Originally posted by ralgur:
Early on, every fight is potentially deadly to me. How in the world do you avoid them?

By not walking into areas which are deadly, obviously! Stay away from the areas around West City and if you do need to go there early on (Tessa quest) pick the shortest route, or make good use of Jack as he is very powerful. Frankly, if you struggle, try starting over until Tessa is in your starting party - Jack will accompany you for two days then, and that's a lot of advantage.

Some of the areas are easier than others. For example, spots around Forest Grave are sort of "newbie zone" - you mostly encounter wolves there and you can quickly dispatch those with simple melee attacks. They have like 14 damage something as opposed to normal 20-30 of every other enemy.

And as for humans, there is virtually always a choice whether you'd like to fight them, or not. Don't attack them. Don't threaten them. Don't jump on them. Instead bribe, stealth, or avoid alltogether.

Your first goal is staying alive until you max out engineering/hunting - then you can summon tiger who helps soaking damage (and you can summon dog along tiger as well), and summon turret really helps with damage. This will dramatically increase your durability.

Later on, you'll get better gear with a ton of defense and enemies will barely damage you, so at that point is gets irrelevant what you do really.
neo_crimson17 Jul 20, 2020 @ 1:05am 
In my opinion, it's kind of silly to have a pistol out-dmg a rifle. Rifles generally shoot bullets at higher speed than a pistol. The bullets are also tend to be larger. large bullet + high speed = more damage on impact. Also in the game, it costs more rifle bullets per regular hit.
money3030 Jul 20, 2020 @ 1:19am 
Originally posted by neo_crimson17:
In my opinion, it's kind of silly to have a pistol out-dmg a rifle. Rifles generally shoot bullets at higher speed than a pistol. The bullets are also tend to be larger. large bullet + high speed = more damage on impact. Also in the game, it costs more rifle bullets per regular hit.

Pretty much the problem is Armor values, Rifle rounds would have better armor penetration but less impact damage than Pistol Rounds.

Shotgun is even more broken if you think about it, it does decent damage against armored enemies and good damage per shot.

Sadly Armour piercing rounds for Rifles are super late game anyway and still weak if enemy has a high resitance value or equal Protection and Resistance. Game does not support a full Rifle build yet due to Random Level ups and Skills not giving bonus stats (Unlike Dead Age 1 where you can dump skills in other Ranged trees to get more Perception)
Raven Jul 20, 2020 @ 1:49am 
@Harris: this is very helpful, you should put your tipps into the guides section ;-)
Last edited by Raven; Jul 20, 2020 @ 1:50am
Harris Jul 20, 2020 @ 2:19am 
Originally posted by Raven:
you should put your tipps into the guides section ;-)

Thanks, I'm considering it. I'd like to master the game first, which I'm pretty close to. Trying out some very cheesy strat that is actually game breaking. Shall post it later ;)
Last edited by Harris; Jul 20, 2020 @ 2:20am
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Dead Age 2 > General Discussions > Topic Details
Date Posted: Jul 18, 2020 @ 3:41am
Posts: 15