Missions are the primary form of gameplay in The Last Stand: Dead Zone. Survivors can scavenge for items and resources whilst battling the infected, earning XP in the process. Players may choose to automate a mission or to play it manually.
The Dead Zone is divided into several regions with their own separate levels. They will only be unlocked once the Leader has reached the same level as that region. Each region contains a number of locations divided into several types.
Each location has a level dependent upon the level of the region it is located in and the location type. It determines the strength and types of the infected present and is also the maximum level of the items that can be scavenged from that location.
Selecting one of these locations brings up the "Travel To Location" menu, where a set of useful information is displayed:
- Danger Level - Indicates the size and strength of the infected horde in the area compared to the survivors' strength. In order from low to high: Low Threat < 'unlabeled' < Moderate Danger < Dangerous < High Danger < Extreme Danger
- Mission Success Chance - The likelihood of success for automated missions, as well as the number of items found. The number of survivors assigned, their levels, their weapons, their DPS-increasing gear, and ability to heal, if applicable, will affect this. A combination of ranged and melee weapons provide an extra bonus. Equipped books also affect the chances of success for automated missions. In order from low to high: Very Low < Low < Moderate < Good < High < Very High.
- Return Time - The time it will take for the participating survivors to return to the compound. During this period, survivors will be away from the compound and cannot be assigned to other missions, have their equipment changed or participate in defending the compound. Return time scales with location level. The maximum return time is 4 hours, with automated missions capped at 6 hours.
- Ammunition Supply - The amount of ammunition in storage and the amount that will be consumed by going on the mission.
- Possible Finds At Location - Indicates the types of items that are more likely to be found at this location.
On this menu, the player can assign up to 5 survivors to each mission, as well as equip them with weapons and gear. Each assigned survivor must be equipped with a weapon before the mission can be launched. Survivors away from the compound cannot be assigned to missions, though those who are injured or tasked with removing junk piles in the compound can.[n 2] At least 1 survivor with a weapon must be assigned before the mission can be launched. In addition, missions cannot be launched if there are less than 10 minutes left before a server shutdown.
Players can choose to automate the mission by clicking on the appropriate option just above the "Launch" button. Doing so will multiply the Return Time by 1.5 (to a minimum of 10 minutes) and immediately complete the mission. Items obtained during an automated mission, as well as the dispatched survivors' statuses, are not revealed until the survivors return.[n 3]
Manual missions provide a higher chance of finding quality weapons and gear.
Once the mission is launched, if the player didn't choose to automate the mission, the assigned survivors spawn on the appropriate map in an exit zone marked in green,[n 4] though survivors may not spawn on (or anywhere near) an exit zone on some maps. There are typically several infected spawn points along the borders of the map, along with already spawned infected wandering the area.
Zombies and dogs attack in waves, where they will spawn until the population limit (determined by the level of the location) is reached. Once the limit is reached, no more infected will be spawned until all existing zombies are eliminated. When spawned, they will wander around until they are alerted, either by seeing a survivor or hearing noise generated by weapons, in which case they will move towards the survivor/noise source and attack anyone they see. The infected occasionally also attack in large hordes, preceded by a unique sound cue and blood stains on the edges of the screen.
The portraits of the participating survivors are on the bottom of the screen. They can be selected via clicking on their portrait or physical body. They can also be selected by pressing the 1-5 number keys, corresponding to the order of portraits, or by pressing the "Tab" key, which cycles through them. Once selected, a survivor can perform the following actions:
- Moving - Click on any empty space on the map. Holding "Shift" disables this action, allowing the player to attack enemies without accidentally moving a survivor.
- Scavenging - Click on a container. Brackets will appear over a searchable container when the cursor moves over them. The number of available containers on the mission, along with the number of containers that have been scavenged, will appear in the top-left of the screen
- Healing - Only a Medic or the Leader can perform this action. Click on a wounded survivor or their portrait while holding down the "Spacebar". The healer will then move towards them and attempt to heal them to full health. If either survivor takes any damage during this process, the healing attempt will be interrupted. Survivors who are suffering from an injury have a health block/restriction that cannot be healed until treated with medical items, or until they've automatically healed over time.
- Attacking - Click on an infected. The survivor will then attack that specific infected with a 10% accuracy bonus. If the targeted infected is not within the effective range of the survivor's firearm, they will fire from their current position at an accuracy penalty.
- Reloading - Press "R" or click on a survivor's weapon icon. The selected survivor will immediately reload.
Survivors with firearms will automatically attack any infected within their effective range while survivors equipped with melee weapons can begin moving closer at around twice their weapon's effective range, as long as the zombie has been alerted to any survivor's presence.[n 5] They will also automatically reload at less than 50% [n 6](if there are no infected within sight) or when their weapon is empty. They also have a base 2% chance of scoring a critical hit, which increases the damage dealt.
Survivors also have a small chance to dodge infected attacks, which is dependent on their Melee Combat skill and is increased if they are wielding a melee weapon. Dodging has a cooldown before the survivor can dodge again. Survivors cannot attack or reload whilst moving, scavenging or healing, and the latter two also disable dodging.
Survivors have a chance of receiving a minor injury if they are hit while below 50% health. When they do, they will lose a section of health that cannot be healed during a mission, and will require time or specific medical items to treat. Injuries may also penalize other stats, depending on the type of injury.
Survivors are incapacitated once their health is depleted, meaning they cannot perform any further actions and will receive a severe injury once the mission is over. They are depicted as lying unconscious on the ground and their portrait will be greyed out. Should all survivors be incapacitated, the mission will automatically end and none of the scavenged items or resources will be available in the compound.
There is a 7-minute time limit on all missions, shown as a timer on the top of the screen. Once the timer runs out, the mission ends and all survivors outside an exit zone will be severely injured. Clicking the icon in the bottom right allows the player to end the mission early, as well as checks if the survivors are in an exit zone. Survivors in an exit zone will have a green checkmark on their portraits, while those that aren't will have a red cross instead. Ending the mission early has the same effect as the timer running out.
Once the mission ends, the player is returned to the compound and a mission report will be generated. All items and resources scavenged during the mission are immediately available once it is completed, unless all survivors were incapacitated or if the mission was automated. The location will be locked for 22 hours, meaning that no further missions can be sent there until the lock expires.
There are a set of small tasks that provide extra XP during each mission. For the timed ones, the hidden timer resets each time the requirement is accomplished. They are:
- Massacre!: Kill x number of infected in a short period of time. The infected must be killed within roughly 3 seconds of the previous one to count.
- Slaughter!: Melee kill x number of infected in a short period of time.
- Go Boom!: Explode x number of infected in a short period of time.
- Efficient!: Search at least 3 containers in a short period of time. The container must be scavenged within roughly 5 seconds of the previous one to count.
- Scavenger!: Search every container on the map.
- Medic!: Heal at least 50% of the total combined Health of all survivors in the mission.
- Survivor!: Survive two horde attacks in the same mission.
- Cut It Fine!: Stay until there's less than 60 seconds remaining on the clock.
- Infirmary!: Heal at least two survivors at the same time.
- Killed Elite: Kill an Elite infected. An Elite Box will be awarded.
- ↑ In general, "Mission" denotes standard missions to zombie-infested locations within the Dead Zone, where zombies are the primary enemies, while "Raiding" takes place in another human player's compound, where their survivors are the enemies.
- ↑ They will be pulled from the task, meaning that removing junk piles will take longer.
- ↑ Oddly, while the in-game text claims automated missions will not add to Task progression, they still do so.
- ↑ In some maps, one or two survivors may spawn a little ways outside the exit zone. This does not affect gameplay, except that if the player wishes to leave immediately, they will have to move those survivors back into the exit zone.
- ↑ Survivors wielding melee weapons will NOT autonomously move if they are on an exit zone
- ↑ If there are an odd number of rounds (e.g. 7 for the AE-50) in the magazine, they will auto-reload at one round after the 50% mark (continuing the example, when it only has 2 rounds remaining).
- ↑ "How Uniques Are Made". Con Artist Games. Retrieved on 24 October 2014.
- ↑ Lucky & Skilled Update Post #182. Con Artist Games. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
- ↑ "Changelog - Infected Bounties". Con Artist Games. Retrieved on 24 October 2014.
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