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The reason given for the merge is This article is written too much like a personal game guide/blog post. This is generally not the goal of most articles, but for pages like TLS:DZ Tips and Tricks, is generally more tolerable. (Discuss)
No! I need more time!
In the real world apocypse, its not likely to think that the undead would be kind enough to pause and wait for us to strengthen our borders, sprint the rest of our survivors back from missions, or hastily repair that trap. Fortunately for us, Con took the nicety to allow us to make last-minute adjustments to our defense strategy. Even so, whenever we see an infected attack it may send chills up our spines as we realized how woefully under-equipped we are. However, fear no more! There is finally an article that compares and contrasts defense strategies, and how to go about defending your hearth from both infected and the living raiders.
Overview and general guidelines Edit
PvE compound defenses, namely when infected rush your compound, are triggered periodically. PvE attacks will never occur when you're away from the compound or all survivors are returning from missions. They can happen whenever you have a survivor present in the compound, which includes just one. It's recommended when you're logging on after a while to wait a few minutes before launching a mission, because an attack may be triggered directly after you finish the mission. The result will be an under-manned compound, which can have fatal results.
There is a cool down in which the infected will not attack again, however this can be shortened or lengthened through various books or research. The infected that spawn will be the same level as your leader, thus it can be more dangerous for survivors who are several levels behind the leader. Its especially dangerous when your leader just achieved a level where new types of zombies spawn, or new gear is available, as you will initially be under equipped to deal with such foes.
PvP defenses, namely when another player's survivors attack your compound, only occur when you're logged off. If you attempt to log in during a raid, a message will display stating that your compound is under attack and you must wait before you can log in. There is a 24 hour(?) cool down after a successful raid in which you are placed under protection. This is to prevent a single player from being teamed up on.
Raids occur most frequently if you're apart of an alliance, if there's a community mission to kill survivors, or if you happened to trash-talk somebody in chat who's a similar level as you. For the most part, the broad community of Dead Zone will not be overly aggressive (at least not on the Kong server) but there are the few loose cannons who will attack people for the supplies, XP, or because they want to try something new.
General Tips Edit
Never, ever, equip melee for defensive purposes. It cannot be stressed enough. Unless you’re a very early level and don’t have guns and barricades, they’re effectively useless. Even during PvE attacks, as long as you have at least a decent defense scheme, there will be no need for you to ever use them. It puts your survivors at risk and won’t be at all useful unless they break through your barriers, in which case your survival chances are slim anyways. During a PvP raid a melee weapon only insures that you’ll lose that survivor and give your opponent a free kill and XP.
Always assign survivors to a barricade, never leave a survivor at a rally flag. Rally flags offer no protection for weapons fire and suppression, which is invaluable during a PvP attack. A survivor will move with basic AI during a PvP raid, however this more than often leads to them getting shot as opposed to them effectively engaging the enemy. During a PvE raid, you maintain control of the survivors, so the impact of having a rally flag is null.
Build barricades (long and short walls) before barriers (barbed wire and spiked wood) The reason being that the barricades have more health and also provide a defensive location for your survivors, which is useful during PvP.
Put a focus on upgrading defenses, as opposed to building new ones. As you progress through the levels the infected deal more and more damage to barriers, and some survivor weapons (particularly chainsaws) can one-shot all but the heaviest barricades. It's a waste of time and resources to build a barrier that won't meaningfully hold back the wave of infected, especially since you have to continually repair it after every attack. The amount of supplies you spend maintaining an under-level barricade is equal or greater to the cost it would take to upgrade said barrier.
Weapon and Gear choices Edit
Long rifles rule PvP. Often during a player-vs-player raid, the deciding factor turns into “who has the longest-reaching rifle and fires the most shots.” An assault rifle will butcher a long rife, but only up close. In getting up close, however, an assault rifle user will get easily picked off by a LR user. With that in mind, when assigning weapons to your survivors, always chose LRs over anything else. If you don’t, the consequences could result in attackers sniping your survivors from afar while you’re powerless to stop them.
That being said, however, LR’s do have a minimum range. If a zombie should be so lucky as to get up close to your LR-wielding survivor, it can begin to pummel your barricade (or worse, your survivor!) without you being able to return fire effectively. So one strategy to combat this is having staggered layers of survivors, so that if the front line gets overwhelmed, the second line can still effectively engage the infected. Alternatively, you can have one or two survivors with an assault rifle or other close-ranged weapon, though it’s still important to make sure they have as much range as possible.
Traps only truly shine in a PvP environment. Decoys are utterly useless in a PvE scenario, and don’t even render on the screen during an attack. Wire traps can be used effectively in funnels, because the basic AI of the infected won’t avoid walking through them. However, explosives are costly to maintain, especially in early levels, so they should be placed behind the front line as a last-ditch method of killing the infected. Alternatively, you could simply opt not to arm the traps and save them for PvP usage, however this also negates any wiretrap funnels.
Active gear is of minimal use, likewise. Survivor AI will never use active gear during a PvP scenario, and the only opportunity you'd have to use active gear during a PvE scenario either would be overkill, or not significantly increase your chances of survival. Grenades are best used against large clumps of infected, and they have to be still. Thus, you would have to have a large group of zombies right on top of your barrier, in throwing range of your grenade. You could always use it on one or two zombies, but given the rarity of active gear this would be a waste. If you had such a large group, however, at such close ranges, chances are even if you blow that group up you won't survive the end of the attack anyways.
Offensive Vs Defensive Edit
There's two ways of looking at compound defense. Either you have a defensive setup, where you wait for the attackers to come to you, or an offensive setup, where you engage the attackers right off the bat. Defensive setups are more effective in a PvE scenario, because infected will always come in a predictable manner. Players, however, are wild cards, and it's much more difficult to try and plan for every possible scenario that they may arise given a player attack. As such, many PvPers resort to an offensive setup, where you engage the attackers right off the bat. If you don't give the attackers a chance to plan an attack, or if you engage them right from the beginning and disrupt their plan, your compound is ultimately much safer from player raids. If they get up close, you're in trouble, as your reliance on long rifles with minimum ranges can be a detriment. This is why offensive layouts generally don't do as well in a PvE environment. They make the assumption that the attackers aren't going to make it to the walls, either because they have died or because they simply won't rush for fear of dying. Since infected have no such qualms, however, these offensive layouts can sometimes wind up being more fragile against a crashing wave of undead.
If you're gearing your compound towards PvP defense, one crucial thing must be kept in mind no matter which style you build: PvP defense isn't always about being able to kill the attackers. You just have to survive the 6 or 7 minutes that the attackers have to destroy you. Even if your traps never get effectively deployed, and even if your guns don't have the accuracy to effectively neutralize the attackers, as long as you keep them tied up jumping from cover to cover and disarming traps, they can't as effectively return fire, kill your survivors, or steal a banner. Supplies may be raided, but it's of minimal consequence compared to the cost of having an injured survivor or having a rival alliance get more points in the war.
Defense Strategies and Builds Edit
As stated earlier, there are two distinct "flavors" of compound defense. PvP, and PvE. While the overall goal is the same - keep the enemy from killing your survivors and destroying your base - the way the two styles pan out is much different. Strategies that may work well for defending an infected rush, may not stop a clever team of survivors. Likewise, the strongest trap and defense system against opposing survivors may not withstand the brutal wall of infected meat crashing against it. Finding a balance between the two is crucial, since it's difficult and costly to try and eliminate the possibility of one style happening, either through books or research.
While there's many different styles of play and building options, we'll cover four unique builds and compare them. Hopefully these will help you perfect your own style of play, and make a compound that's right for you. Many thanks to Sael, Chris, and Fresh for donating screenshots of their defense layouts.
PvE Style Edit
This style is fairly open. It's effectively a large funnel, which forces the infected to move in to a large area with overlapping layers of gunfire and profuse amounts of traps. By leaving large areas open, it encourages the pathfinding AI to take the path of least resistance and not have to break down any walls. This allows the survivors to statically place traps and weapons to maximize impact. Layered walls or heavy amounts of firepower are recommended, however, as you are allowing the infected to come straight towards you.
In the image you can see how the three gaps, one in the front and on each side, allow the AI to move straight towards the survivors. The layered walls on the flanks provide ample protection, however the clustering of all ten survivors insures that few infected will ever reach that wall. In the middle, wire traps form a deadly courtyard.
The defense layout makes good use of the simple AI given to infected. They will always take the shortest and easiest path towards a survivor, regardless of the danger it poses. While the shortest path may be straight through the walls and to the survivors, this would require pounding through several layers of walls. The AI instead opts to go around the walls through the gaps presented. This brings them directly into the line of fire of the survivors, and in the case of the large courtyard area, through four wire traps. Since all ten survivors are clustered in the middle, they're able to lay down a withering amount of fire on whatever approaches.
It should be noted, however, that this layout isn't effective for PvP scenarios. The sides of the compound are relatively undefended. A tactful group of survivors could potentially loop around the sides and enter into the building, clinging to the walls and making their way towards the middle gate. A well-placed grenade could take out the whole group of defenders in one go, without a shot ever being fired. Alternatively, since the survivors are equipped with rapid-fire weapons such as assault rifles and machine guns, a few LR's could pick them off at a distance.
Given the danger, the user of the above layout has opted to equip a whiteflag book (disables PvP raiding) so that it isn't a concern to be taken into account. It's highly recommended, if you run a defense scheme like this, to have likewise taken precautions against raiding or otherwise have some secondary defenses to protect the flanks. Having traps centered around the doorways or walls would be a good way to at least slow down the attackers.
Mixed Style - PvE Oriented Edit
This is a more balanced approach to compound defense, although it still has it's leanings more heavily towards defending infected rushes. It follows a basic player setup of "defend all three doors," which is effective. It's not generally recommended to have a balanced approach to all three doors, as this leads to having all three angles equally weak. Your survivors are spread out and more easy to suppress, and you generally don't have enough barricades to have multiple layers of walls to break through. Thus, in this particular build, one door has traps laid out for defenses, while the focus is more on the left and center sides of the compound. In the middle of the building are two small barricades, to make it more difficult for attackers to infiltrate the building. This is a gamble, because if attackers penetrate the left side of the compound then the survivors inside are effectively flanked. Since the largest concentration of survivors in in the middle of the compound, any attacker who is able to get inside the compound would then be able to neutralize them in a similar manner as the above compound - by using a well-placed grenade in the center doorway.
Although the supplies are located behind the walls of the outer defenses, and are effectively covered by the survivors, this is still a more PvE based approach because the layout is not offensive, as we'll see in other compounds.
Mixed Style - PvP Oriented Edit
This is another more balanced approach to compound defense, though is more weighted towards a PvP setup. It's still not a true PvP arrangement. The user himself stated that "it's not a very good defense unless you have beastly guns, and not even then." Due to it's positioning, it'd be easy for a group of survivors to flank the corners and then "angle raid," where they slow pick off survivors one by one. However, it is still more adequate for PVP than the previous layout because of it's survivor placing. While not entirely offensive like a true PvP arrangement, due to the fact the compound is out further than other builds, it allows the guns to more easily reach attackers - giving it a more offensive nature.
The supplies are scattered throughout the compound, mostly it appears on the outside. They're still within range of the guns, which means they're protected, however they're still more vulnerable as opposed to if they were inside the walls or right against them. Plus, due to the scattered nature, it leaves room for attackers to duck from cover to cover if they have smoke grenades. It's not a recommended setup for lower levels who may not have ranges that reach the whole compound.
PvP Style Edit
The last style of defense, geared heavily towards an offensive, anti-player role.
Unlike the precious defenses, this layout doesn't even attempt to guard the doors on the outside. There are two survivors stationed in the center of the building, which guard the doors, though ultimately it's not entirely needed because the building itself holds little tactical value. No attacker would be able to get a good enough angle to attack from inside the building, and there's no cover besides, so thus the building holds no strategic value for any attacker. The only thing they'd get out of the building is supplies, which is really only a minor target the higher up in levels you go.
On the right and center side, due to the forward positioning of the barricades and towers, the defenders can easily reach any attackers who spawn in on those barricades. Thus, unless you want to risk casualties, most attackers will spawn on the far side and work their way up. However there are numerous traps that stand in the way of the attackers and the defenders, and not a lot of effective cover. The attackers would be forced to hide behind the left corner of the building or try and work their way up the street, using the barricades as cover. All in all, it's an effective strategy for dealing with living opponents. For the non-living opponents, however, it may be a bit less effective.
Since the defense relies heavily on Long Rifles, which have a minimum range, a large group of infected could in theory break through the walls due to the reduce accuracy of the rifles in the minimum range. Since higher-tier zombies generally have several hundred health points a piece, it takes a decent number of shots to down one. RIOT and HERC infected, in particular, have projectile resistance, so it takes even more shots to neutralize those. Since the infected spawn on all sides, a good majority of them would spawn close to where the towers and barricades are. While they're going to get shot at right off the bat, those that make it close stand a better chance at breaking through. The compound does take steps to negate this by having a forward barrier, to try and stop the infected before they get to the minimum range, however if you aren't operating at peak efficiency, there is a very real danger that the infected could break through.