So I've started playing STW since the 50% off sale, and to this point I'm making my way through Plankerton at PL25. I love the game so far, but I've noticed that way too many players are willing to head into defense missions without setting up traps of any kind, which I think is a huge mistake. If you've played BR, you'll know that being able to effectively out-build your opponent will win you most fights. Some streamers even say that building is more important than shooting in BR. I argue the same thing applies to STW. Personally, I see this game (particularly defense misssions) as more of a tower defense game than a shooter.
This guide is more of a beginner guide, since I myself am pretty new to the game also. However, I hope I can convey some of the things I've learned so far about traps.
I. Why should I build trap tunnels?
- The main reason I use trap tunnels is to save on weapon durability. A trap tunnel in the right place will do most of the damage for you, meaning you don't have to keep spraying your siegebreaker into a wave of common husks. By shooting your gun less, it'll take much longer to break and will save you huge on ores and powercells in the long run. I have a few legendary schematics that are maxed 2-star. Each one costs 11 silver ore, and I currently only have 20 in my backpack. I don't run into silver much to be honest, so having to craft even one gun is pretty heavy on resources. You also save extra resources since you're using less ammo, but the most important thing is that you're using less of your weapon for each mission.
- In comparison, crafting traps takes ingredients that are much more common and easier to target farm. Batteries and mechanical parts have a chance to drop with nuts and bolts, which you'll be farming regularly anyways for ammo; and there are plenty of guides for power farming nuts and bolts out there. Planks and twine are very common drops from trees, which you'll be farming anyway for wood. Mineral powder and rough ore are also very common drops from any rocks, which you'll be farming anyway for stone. The only problems in terms of trap materials for me are fibrous herbs and quartz crystals, but everything else I usually have plenty of from just playing the game through missions.
- In addition, great trap tunnels will be able to hold off husks that walk through it on their own. This allows you to charge into the back line and eliminate lobbers and flingers, or focus your shooting on smashers or epic husks.
II. Defenses: What not to do.
a. The classic: 1×1 or 2×2 box/pyramid around the objective… and that's it.
- As I explained before, you'll be using a ton of your weapon durability when you really don't have to. This tactic does work through Stonewood, even through most of Plankerton, but I really don't recommend playing this way. It can get hard to keep up with waves with only your guns/abilities, and you're bound to get overrun eventually. Especially when you get lobber waves, you should be using traps to get rid of common husks and go off to focus on mist monsters, lobbers, etc.
b. Walls-only defenses
- So I remember that the tutorial recommends using short walls so that husks are still slowed, but you can jump over them to get around. This is good advice, but that doesn't mean you should just surround your base with the short walls and call it a day. Again, you're bound to get overrun, and zombies will eventually get through these walls. In this case, I see most people frantically try to repair or rebuild the same short walls and then try to get back to shooting. This is bad because you'll be spending too much time building during the wave, and time spent NOT killing husks isn't good.
c. Wide open traps or arbitrarily placed traps
- This one is a bit better because at least you're using the traps, which will do damage while you have to reload or repair the base. However, it isn't a very efficient use of traps, since you'll be using more traps on a large area. Some traps set up in this way won't even get triggered by husks, and again you're back to wasting ingredients – bad. With a trap tunnel instead, you'll be killing the same amount of zombies, but with way fewer traps.
d. Blocking husk paths with walls with traps on them.
- You're using traps, but there's no point if husks will destroy them anyway. With trap tunnels, the idea is to put traps on walls that husks WON'T target, so that you can place them at the start and not have to mess with them (unless lobbers, sploders get to it first).
III. My trap recommendations:
a. Wall Traps:
- Wall Launcher: These are so underrated but so effective if used correctly. If you're base is on higher ground than the husk spawns, then you can use these along husk pathways up the mountain to push them back down off of cliffs. I also place these on any corners within trap tunnels to push the husks deeper back into the tunnel to make them take even more damage. In any case, they give your tunnels more time to do more damage.
- Wall Lights: I only really use these in conjunction with the wall launchers. These stun most husks, and since launchers take time to reload after each hit, the wall lights help to hold husks in position for the wall launcher to hit.
- Wall Darts: On any walls where a Launcher/Lights combo isn't ideal, then I usually just throw on wall darts extra tunnel damage. They have longer range (I believe 3 tiles?) than most damage traps, so putting these on walls where they can reach multiple tiles will allow them to do the most DPS.
- Wall Dynamo: I think I accidentally recycled my legendary wall dynamo schematic, so I haven't had a chance to try these out much. They might be more effective than darts in 1×1 sections of tunnel, since the darts won't be able to take advantage of their range anyway. They can also be placed on short walls, which occasionally comes in handy.
b. Ceiling Traps:
- Ceiling Gas Trap: These apply affliction to targets, which may increase your weapon DPS based on your perks. They do cost fibrous herbs, which I don't usually have more than 100, so I don't really use these as much as the electric traps which have ingredients that are more easily farmable.
- Ceiling Zapper: I believe these do the most damage out of the traps, but only to single targets. These can help clear out husky husks among waves if placed among electric fields.
- Ceiling Electric Field: These do AOE damage unlike the zapper, so for trap tunnel ceilings, I typically alternate in between zappers and electric fields to do consistent damage to the whole wave.
- Ceiling Drop Trap: I just found an epic one of these, so I haven't really used these much. Like the wall darts, these have a longer range, so I would recommend using these on top of ramped sections where the other ceiling traps aren't going to be able to reach the husks.
c. Floor Traps:
- Floor Launchers: I actually haven't started using these yet, but I imagine they can be just as effective as the wall launchers.
- Floor Freeze Trap: Like the wall lights, I use these with the wall launchers to hold the husks in place. They don't do damage, so upgrading them isn't really needed unless you want the durability from perks. They do cost quartz crystal to craft, so I don't get to use these very much, but they are very effective.
- Wooden Floor Spikes: These are pretty good because they slow down husk movement speeds, which allow your wall and ceiling traps to do more damage to them. However, they don't do much damage themselves and cost fibrous herbs to make the duct tape to craft. The good thing about them is that you don't have to upgrade them since the damage increase is pretty negligible, and the slow is the main point of these traps anyway.
- Retractable Wall Spikes: Does damage to everyone standing on it. I use a bunch of these because theyre pretty cheap to craft and do big damage to the wave.
- Healing Pad: If your traps aren't upgraded and your tunnels are still letting husks through, then having a healing pad around is helpful, but I don't use them much personally. Instead, I usually just try to extend the trap tunnel :^)
IV. Where do I put my trap tunnel?
- To know where to place your trap tunnels, you'll have to understand at least the basics of husk pathing/movement. On the minimap during defenses, husks spawn from purple clouded areas. From there, they will try to take the shortest possible path to their objective (ie – your base). Putting walls down /can/ altar husk paths, but if they aren't thick enough, husks will break straight through and into your base. If you sit and watch some waves of husks spawn, you'll notice they mostly all take the same path towards your base. Following this path, there should be at least one good choke point for you to set up your tunnel. Finding the choke points are important because they will get the most husk traffic, so putting traps here will be able to at least damage most husks. If husks spawn in a wide area, you may have to find multiple choke points in order to catch all husks with your traps.
- I loaded into a private Retrieve the Data match to try to demonstrate this. The husk spawn points are shown as soon as you find the balloon, so there is plenty of time to set up trap tunnels. This makes it a great mission type to practice setting up tunnels. I know in Fight the Storm missions, you can see the spawn points by depositing blu-glo, but sometimes teammates will activate the ATLAS before you get a chance to finish building. In Retrieve the Data, I think you at least get a few minutes before teammates can start to shoot the balloon down to start the mission early.
- So for this mission, I have shown the husk spawn point. From this perspective, the balloon I have to protect is off-screen to the left of my player. Based on this world generation, the husks spawn down in this valley and then walk toward the left side of the screen, up the ramp and onto my base at the top. The red arrow represents the paths the husks will take. I could place my traps down in the valley, but then I'd have to cover that entire floor with traps. Instead, I see that they all have to walk up that ramp to get to my base, so I can set up a trap tunnel at that choke point.
V. Basic Tunnel Design
- So now we get to put down the traps. I decided to put the trap tunnel right at the top of that ramp. I wanted originally to start it at the base of the ramp and have traps hitting the husks as they walk up, but I figured that would be too close to the husk spawns. I believe if buildings/traps are placed too close to the spawn points, they get destroyed by the storm, so to be safe, start your tunnel at least a few tiles away from there.
- Here is a short section of tunnel that kind of highlights how I build these things. At the top of the ramp, I place a wall launcher to knock them back down. This would've been much more effective if I was able to put traps along the ramp to hit them as they get knocked, but this is okay for now. On the wall to the right of the launcher (marked "A"), I placed a wall light to stun them in place. If you want, you can replace the floor trap with a freeze trap or wooden floor spikes to also help hold them in front, but the retractable damage is good as well.
- For the wall marked B, I edited it so that it's a half of a short wall. Without this wall, husks would cut that corner and would not be in range of the wall launcher, so having this here is really important so that they have to walk into the back half of that tile, which puts them in better range for the launcher.
- On the two walls marked C, I have just placed wall darts. We could have placed another wall launcher/lights combo there to knock them back into the tunnel, but I wanted to show the wall darts range. The darts on C-1 will hit enemies in the tunnel as well as those caught in front of the wall launcher. C-2 will also hit those in the tunnel, but will also reach husks as they are exiting the tunnel.
- On the ceilings, I just have zappers, but as mentioned before I usually alternate zappers/electric fields
- This tunnel is only 2 components long, so it wouldn't hold back many zombies, but you would be able to extend this out as long as you need. The main points here are that you hold enemies in place with wall lights or freeze traps, knock them back into your tunnel with launchers, and do damage in other parts of your tunnels with darts, spikes, zappers where it isn't ideal to use a wall launcher.
For wider "choke points" (2-3 wide), I usually something like below:
Didn't bother to fill with traps, but:
- Wall darts on full walls, dynamos on half walls that split the tunnel into lanes.
- Same zappers/electric fields on the ceilings
- For floors, I usually try to use wooden wall spikes or freeze traps since we aren't using launchers to hold them in the tunnel.
- You can make these as long as you need and can be easily extended even during combat if you underestimated the wave.
- I think the half short walls make their path a little longer, especially if they start to clog up. Not super necessary though especially if you have wooden floor spikes anyways.
- Keep in mind you should break any existing walls so you can place traps
So I hope this helps someone out there, because that means one less person in my lobby that doesn't help with traps :^) Even if you can't put down a full tunnel, I definitely recommend at least putting a few traps down along these choke points to help clear out waves. TY for reading! Let me know if I've missed anything and I'll fit it in :^)
edit: formatting stuff
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