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I am as dusk come to ravish the light.


[3] Re: Dead Frontier's Complete Looting Guide (re-up)« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2011, 06:22:53 pm » Quote

I) Dealing with Enemies

This section, coupled with the next one, is the meat of this whole guide. This will be the biggest part and also the most important one. This is where you learn to loot without ever fighting. This is where you start learning the outrageous value of skilled dodging. In order to dodge this effectively, you need to know your enemies and their patterns thoroughly. This section will mention "moves" to use with their respective names. You can find those explained in details inside the next section. Let's split those enemies into categories for good measure:

The Walkers / Runners: 

Threat Factor:  0.5 / 5

This category regroups the normal / fat / burned versions of the male & female zombies. They all behave in the same patterns, with the exception of the burned ones. Those start running after you once they have been aggro'ed. The two other types will remain slow in pretty much every circumstance. 

They attack exclusively at melee range. Their attacks are slow and telegraphed. Low damage.

How to avoid them:

Piece of cake. In both their unaware or aggro state, you will be able to distance them by just walking. Running away will certainly neutralize their threat and let you loot easily. 

If they are near a body:

The circling move works very well for close range.  The drag move and the lead move work wonders to create space in mid-range.

How to fight them:

Very simple here, melee. One or two swings should do it. You can pretty much stand still if you are using Titanium Blades. The speed of your attacks will lock them in a stunned state.

The Spitters:

Threat Factor:   1.5 / 5                           2.5 / 5  (in packs)

This category couples the irradiated zombies and the bloats. Once again, their patterns are practically the same. The bloat is a bigger version of it's zombie counterpart with more life, damage and range. 

This type of zombie can attack with a slow melee attack or a medium speed ranged attack. Keep in mind that the bloat moves slower but has more range to it's projectile.

How to avoid them:

Avoid walking in front of them. The bloats have a bigger aggro range.  You can sneak up behind them quite easily, if you have good agility. An aggro'ed irradiated zombie will give chase at a considerable pace. The bloat will be slower, but a bigger annoyance if it gets close while you loot.

If they are near a body:

For the zombie, the sidestep move will work wonders. Circling is also a viable option here. The bloat might make circling difficult due to it's massive size. The sidestep move is your best option here -- caution is advised. 

The best option for mid-range is leading + the sidestep. Doing a drag is wasteful, unless your are facing a big pack of them. Also make sure you stand clear of the projectiles upon looting. You don't want to find an empty body and get covered in vomit. Trapping also works well.

How to fight them:

Disposing of spitters is quite simple. Just stay in melee range and circle them slowly. Always walk behind them and swing away. Fighting a Bloat is not recommended as killing it takes too long.  In packs you want to do wider circles and watch for the projectiles, they will tend to shoot all over the place.

The Tendril:

Threat Factor:    3 / 5

The tendril is a swift melee enemy. It packs quite a punch, a good range and can take some abuse as well. Their movement speed is rather considerable. They are managed easily in their unaware state. However, once aggro'ed you undoubtedly have to take them into consideration.

How to avoid them:

Keep a good distance and don't pass in front of them. Making a tendril aware of you presence will hinder your progress. They have medium aggro range. They will wander around slowly when unaware. If they notice you, they will walk your way at a faster pace. Do not hit them. Doing so will make them enrage and chase you a high velocity.

If they are near a body:

Their distance from the lootable and their state of awareness will be the determining factors here. 

At very close range, it is best you wait for them to wander a bit further before going in. If it is chasing you however, a drag is usually recommended. Experienced players can pull off the circling method if extremely careful. The Sidestep can work on the flat body (lootable) type, although not recommended.

At mid-range the best option is to do a Lead followed by a Sidestep.

How to fight them: 

Killing Tendrils is going to slow you down. However, it is advised to do so if they are in enraged status. Looting in this case would simply be too risky.

The best way to kill a tendril is by going in fast small circles around it. Keep running behind it and swing away. You can also kill it by doing StutterStep. Doing so might cause more aggro to come your way though, stay compact.

The Spider:

Threat Factor:     3.5 / 5

The spider is perceived by many as the most annoying enemy. It is a treacherous and fast opponent. The spider has a particular aggro behavior. It will either be very slow in it's unaware state or start giving chase absurdly fast, if you aggro it. It's only mean of attack is melee. It's swings are very destructive and can come from weird angles.

How to avoid them:

The spider's aggro range is shaped like a cone. You can walk fairly close behind it without catching it's attention. However, it will spot you from a very long range, if you are in front of it. Running is recommended if you have enough space to go around. If not, waiting or walking carefully behind it is the way to go.

If they are near a body:

Your best bet here is to wait for it to circle away and carefully walk behind it. Quickly loot and walk back away from it. This principle applies for mid-range as well. 

If a spider is chasing you, trapping/hooking + sidestep is a good option.

  • Note that you can loot a body with the Circling move if you are experienced enough.

How to fight them:

Same method as the Tendril.

The Brute:

Threat Factor:   2.5 / 5

These guys are excessively annoying. They are not dangerous in themselves, but they will slow you down considerably when aggro'ed. They move rather slowly and attack with a telegraphed / wide melee swing. They explode for some serious damage upon death.

How to avoid them:

Their aggro radius is similar to the spiders. Small from behind, very wide from the front. They also appear to be somewhat sensitive to your flashlight. Stay away from them at all costs, aggro'ing one will piss you off as you simply cannot kill them.

If they are near a body:

In mid-range, you want to be patient and wait for an opening without startling them. You can also execute a Drag or a Hook if you see an obstacle nearby.

If you are in close range with an aggro'ed brute. Bad decision making, you shouldn't end up in this spot. However, you can walk away and use the Lead effectively. Skilled players can also rely on the Circling method if the lootable is flat.

How to fight them:

Just don't, really. If you are incapable of shaking it off just skip the lootable and go to the next one.

The Leaper:

Threat Factor:    5 / 5

The Leaper is a scary foe. You should never engage them unless it is a matter of life and death. They will always move very slowly. Their attack is a wide melee range cleave that will kill any survivor in 1 hit.

How to avoid them: Stay away from them. I cannot stress this enough. They are the second to last enemy you want to aggro. Stay away from places with a lot of obstructions. Maintain a clear vision radius around yourself at all times. Be extremely cautious around trees. These guys will surprise you from under them and send you to your death.

If they are near a body:

Patience. Simply wait for them to leave and then you can loot.  If they are in mid-range, however, you can do a Drag. Make sure you save enough distance. If you loot and empty body while it swings you will die. Trapping is also effective here.

Do not use the Circling or the Leading methods with a Leaper.

How to fight them:

Fighting a Leaper is a bad idea. However, in some circumstances, you will have to. Your priority is to stay out of it's range and get to an open area. At this point, you want to revert back to the mid-range dodging methods from above. If you absolutely have to kill a Leaper, keep walking in circles around it. Make sure you stay behind it's back and that you use your melee weapon from it's very max range. Do not jump forward if it gets knocked back. Keep a keen eye on obstacles (notably; bodies).

The Siren:

Threat Factor:   6 / 5

The Siren is the looter's worst nightmare. While she has no attack and poses no direct danger, she will scream upon spotting you. This will cause massive aggro. She can spot you from very far. Be very careful. This is the enemy you want to avoid startling at all costs. Massive loss of time will be the consequence to pissing off that monstrosity.

How to avoid them:

Stay as far as possible. This is vital to your progress. Be on the active lookout for them and work your way around. Keep your eyes on the edges of the screen when you are on the move. If you have to pass near one, it is better to walk behind their backs, but they will generally spot you regardless.

If they are near a body:

At mid-range try to loot unnoticed by staying behind them and being silent. If a siren spots you in mid-range, you have to make a snap decision.

a) Not a lot of other zombies are around: In this case, you want to make a run for the lootable. Chances are you will find something which in turn will remove your aggro.

b) Many zombies around:  Accept the aggro, start running quickly towards the next lootable. From then on either loot if it's safe to or do a Hooking+Circling combination. 

c) If there is just too many zombies chasing you and you can't shake them off, you can fight. However, leaving and re-entering the instance is usually the best option.

How to fight them:

If you know for a fact that a Siren is about to spot you. You should take your chance and try to kill her swiftly before she screams. Other than that, just don't aggro them in the first place.  


In a loot run, bosses should be avoided at all times. If one shows up in an instance you are supposed to loot, skip the instance entirely. Just dodge the boss, make your way to your usual exit and resume looting in the next instance. Bosses are simply not worth the time, the cost and the risk during a loot run. The experience from a potential kill would go to waste as well, since you end your run on a suicide.

I am not going to go over dodging bosses in details. However, here is an overview:

-Titan: Running backwards in alternating diagonals is a good way to avoid them. Just time your direction changes to coincide with the start of their attacks.

-Mother: Just run away, really.

-Giant Spider: Same thing as Titan. Hooking can be a big help.

-Wraith: Stutter Stepping is efficient. The methods used for Titans and Giant Spiders are also effective here.

J) Getting Away with the Impossible (Advanced Moves)

This is, hands down, the heart of this guide. The moves listed here will give you an invaluable set of tools to loot faster. They should be practiced thoroughly and combined together for best results. I will include diagrams to help you visualize the motions as realistically as possible.

The first thing to be discussed here is the lootables themselves. They come in 3 types:  the sitting body, the flat body and the vehicles / mailboxes.

The sitting body can prove to be an annoying one. It will not allow you to walk completely through it. This makes close encounters more difficult. In the following diagram, the green shape shows you the lootable region. The black part shows which parts of it you cannot walk over.

The flat body is an all-around easier lootable to search. The area you can loot from is much bigger and you can cross it to your liking.

Last, but not least, the vehicle is the best lootable you can find. It allows you to put an obstacle between you and your enemies easily. Circling is very efficient while looting those.

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With this information and these properties in mind, let's take a look at the "moves" that will allow you to loot without ever fighting:


This is the most basic manoeuver of this list. Most of you have done this without thinking. It is, in fact, so simple that I almost elected to exclude it entirely. For completion's sake, the next diagram shows you what it consists of:

To do this movement, just take a sudden dash forward to outrun enemies and give you enough room to loot. By itself, this will only work when facing slow and average paced enemies.

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This movement is a variation of the Burst. It is used to create a small amount of space as well as time. You could call it the boomerang burst if you will. Here is the diagram:

This move is made in 2 parts. The first part is to make a dash towards your enemy to trigger an attack. The second part is to react quickly and follow up with a backward Burst. 

This move will buy you enough time with most walkers and spitters. To make it efficient against faster enemies, you will have to combine it with either Side Stepping or Circling.

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Side Stepping / Twitching:

This movement is simply a defensive variation of Leading. It's sole purpose is to create an infinite amount of space while standing on top of a body. Here is the diagram:

This only works against slow moving melee enemies and spitters (if done carefully). The idea of this move is pull off a Lead that will stop the zombie at the tip of the lootable. It is called twiching, because you will run back and forth while holding down the "F" key. If done right, your foe will stand in place. It will keep attacking, but you will avoid the blow everytime.

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Circling is very self-explanatory. It is a circular version of Twitching. It can be relatively easy to pull off, but it is very hard to master. Here are the diagrams:

As you can see in the first picture. The enemy is facing slightly off. This will cause it to miss. If you time your movement properly, you can keep its alignment wrong long enough to loot the body.

The second diagram is the same principle applied to vehicles. The enemy is represented by the blue circle the picture. This type of lootable makes circling a very efficient method.

It is literally possible to loot using Circling with a whole crowd aggro'ed onto you. It will take a very big amount of practice to pull that off safely, but it will come to you in time.

When used after another move, Circling is the best way to buy yourself that extra 1 or 2 seconds needed. By far, this will be one of your most precious tools.

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Trapping is a very efficient way to shake off annoying enemies or mobs. It is pretty self-explanatory. All you have to do is use an obstacle from the environment to hinder the progress of monsters chasing you. Here is a good way to do it:

In this case, it is done in 3 parts. There is, however, a ridiculous amount of ways to pull this off. Find one that suits you well and that feels comfortable to you.

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Hooking is a faster paced, less efficient, but time saving version of Trapping. It is invaluable to quickly shake off huge mobs of aggro'ed enemies and bosses. It is also a good time saver. It allows you enough time and space to get back on your feet. Here is the usual outcome of a nicely done Hook:

As you can see, this is usually a 3 part movement. The red line describes the path most of the enemies will take (in that situation). The more you practice this trick, the easier it will be to anticipate the directions they will take. The angle at which, you "hook' and also the shape of the object you run them into will affect their trajectory. Practice this a lot. Learn to pull it off instinctively and you will see great improvement in your loot runs.

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Dragging is the poor-man's version of Trapping. This is what you want to use when you have nothing to block the enemies against. Here is a quick example:

Simply run off away from the body and lure the enemies behind you. Then, do a quick turn and burst to the lootable. The faster your followers are, the further you need to drag them away. This move can be time consuming. It should be used on occasion against enemies that are difficult to Lead properly, such as the Leaper. There are often better options, though.

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Stutter Stepping:

Last but not least, the stutter step. This move is actually more of a fighting trick than a looting one. I will add it to this list regardless, as it proves very useful, in certain circumstances. Here it is:

As you can see, it is pretty straight forward  . The line depicted in this diagram is the path you should stay on whilewalking back. The small lines that cross the arrow are roughly the points where you should stutter.

In this scenario, what you want to do is keep walking backwards. When the tendril gets close, you slash away and start running for a split second. Then, you revert back to walking. Rinse and repeat. This will let you deal with tendril / spiders / bosses in an effective way.

K) Selling Your Loot

This section will be very short. It is just an optimized way of using town services and the Market Place quickly. Here is the order you should do things in:

- Resurrect (obviously).

- Go to the Yard.

- Scrap any weapon / armor / clothes that will not sell over scrap price by a margin of about 1,000$.

- Put your broken armor in your inventory (From the yard's screen).

- Go to the marketplace.

- Use 2x Nerotonins from your bags (via the medical services).

- Repair your armor.

- Sell everything else in order and by type. Using the Insert key is a big help here as it lets you write down values with the NumPad without erasing the numbers with the mouse manually every time.

- Deposit your cash in the bank.

- Go to inventory screen & re-equip your armor.

- Go to Inner City & start a new run.

L) Loot Run Variations

Another very short section. The only purpose of this is to remind you that looting does not have to be a chore. You can mix things up and get some good fun out of it. Fair warning: keep in mind that by altering the way you loot, you will diminish your profits.

That being said, here are a few variants that I have tried before:

The Casual Run:  Those are good to catch a break at times & have some fun. Go out there, beat the crap out of every Zed you see, grab some loot, poke at bosses with melee weapons, etc.

The Group Run: Similar to the above variation, although it can lead to relatively decent efficiency if done right. Bring some people with you, follow the techniques from this guide with them and protect each other.

"Grooting": As my friend Relentless would say   (I'm not forgetting you man). Grooting is the fusion of grinding and looting. Grab a bunch of ammo, go to End Zone and gun everything down, bosses included. Grab loot as you go to fill up the inventory slots that got emptied via shooting. This is a very fun variation and it favors leveling up as well as looting. Grooting can be done in groups as well.

If you know other fun variations of loot runs not mentioned in this section, feel free to PM me and describe them to me. I will add them up to this list.

M) Closing Words

At last, we reach the end of this rather extensive guide. It took over 20 hours to piece together. I hope that it will be of aid to many of you. Certain people might disagree with some ideas and principles in here. You have my blessing to debate about them in this thread -- I will most likely end up discussing them with you  .

This guide is my gift to this community. I have worked really hard on creating a good looting method for myself. I have also had very good success with it. Many of you asked me all sorts of questions about how I do things. Well here it is. I put everything in here, in one place, for you guys.

I hope you have as much fun reading this as I had writing it. Special thanks to my lovely wife for her support and proof-reading this wall of text   <3 Keep on looting!!!