State of Decay treats survivors almost as a resource. They are finite and random in location and skills. You will encounter a few consistent survivors regardless of your playthrough. However, the majority of the survivors are pulled from a random pool of skills, attributes, and names. As such, I will be going over how to recruit new survivors, as well as the skills they might posses.
There are two ways to recruit survivors: enclaves and using the radio at your home.
Start off by using a survey location to identify any enclaves of survivors and other locations of interest in a new area. Even if you are currently not interested in increasing your survivor count, it is always a good idea to do this. Once you identify an enclave, head to the house and ask the leader if they wish to join your rag-tag group.You might need to do random missions with them from time to time to increase their trust but, once that trust is high enough, you can recruit them.
Hit Back on the controller and LB/RB to navigate to the Home tab. Once there, navigate to the radio and ask to find new survivors. It takes about 20 real-world minutes for this request to be completed. Once done, you are either notified that the survivors would like to join you but they are currently under attack, or that you have new neighbors. If the survivors are under attack, head to the new icon on your map, and defend the enclave and ask them to join you. Otherwise, you can simply ask the survivors to join you.
Not every survivor will have access to every skill, but they do all have the same four basic skills. There are other unique skills that only some will posses. For example, Marcus has Leadership, but not everyone will have that skill.
Every skill has seven levels/stars.Each level increases the benefit that the skill provides and, at key levels, unlocks a specialization.
- Cardio: This skill increases your overall stamina. To level up, simply run until you are down to 25% of your total stamina. Repeat this process until you reach level 7. Remember, it is never a good idea to be low on stamina when you know you will soon be in a fight. It’s better to clear the area of zeds, let your stamina recharge, and then start leveling up your cardio skill.
- Wits: This skill allows you to search more quickly and more quietly the higher the level. To level it up, simply search every container you can.
- Fighting: This skill increases your vitality, as well as unlocks some special attacks for those characters who have access to them. To level it up, simply get into fights with zeds and mix it up. Use Y to push/kick and LB+Y to instantly kill a downed zed.
- Shooting: This skill increases your proficiency with firearms, allowing for steadier aim and less recoil. To level this up, simply shoot some zeds.
- Weapon Specialization: Once you reach level 4 in Fighting and/or Shooting, you can choose ONE weapon specialization related to that skill, so make it count. Whichever skill you choose, your proficiency with all the weapons in that class will go up based on how often you use them. You can choose one weapon specialization from the following: Blunt Weapons, Edged Weapons, Heavy Weapons, Pistols, Revolvers, Rifles, Assault Rifles, and Shotguns
- Special Attack: Based on the weapon specialization you choose, you will eventually be able to choose from one of two different skills unique to that specialization.
When you reach max level with each of the core skills, your survivor will gain access to a very beneficial, passive boost:
- Marathon - Your stamina drains 50% slower while running; OR
- Combat Endurance - Your stamina drains 50% slower while in combat.
- Ninja - No doors will be locked for you and searching will be silent unless you use LB+Y. You will also be able to sneak more quickly using LB.
- Rage - Gives a small amount of stamina back every time you kill a zed.
- Focus Aim - While aiming (LT), tap LB to slow time to steady your shot.
That's not all. Below is more help to keep you alive: