Writing from the northernmost permanent settlement in the world, I bring you this guide. The storm has not yet reached here, so we don't need any heroes. All we are here is Survivors…
As a new player, one of the most daunting mechanics of Save The World is without a doubt Survivors. Opposed to Heroes and Defenders, at first sight they don't seem to do much, but they do make up a large portion of the content of (event) llamas. In this guide I hope to teach you the basics of Survivor Squads, why they are so important, and how to effectively fill them up. We will also touch upon the many kinds of level systems that Save The World has.
By the end of this guide, I hope you have a complete practical understanding of Survivor Squads to effectively set them up yourself.
Home Base Power, Commander Level and levels in general
First, a little bit about levels in Save The World; there are lot of different level systems in this game. Without worrying too much about the math behind them, let's briefly look at the kind of level systems there are.
Your Commander Level is the level that is found in the top right corner of the Lobby screen and is increased exclusively by Commander XP you collect from doing missions. The maximum Commander Level is level 310 and as you level up you receive rewards, like Evolution Materials and F.O.R.T. stat increases.
Your Home Base Power or simply your POWER is found in the top left corner of the Lobby screen, and is determined exclusively by your F.O.R.T. stats. The acronym F.O.R.T. stands for Fortitude, Offense, Resistance and Tech. These stats have positive effects on your Health and Health regeneration, Weapon damage, Shield and Shield regeneration, and Trap/Gadget/Ability damage respectively. You can increase your F.O.R.T stats by using Research Points, by gaining increases from levelling up your Commander Level, and one more very important way… When playing with others, you will receive party shared F.O.R.T. stats which will further increase your Home Base Power in the mission. The maximum Home Base Power level is 131 and can be boosted up to 140 in a party.
So, why Survivors?
Besides the F.O.R.T. stats awarded for increasing your Commander Level and the steady inflow of Research Points you can use to increase your F.O.R.T. stats, Survivors are the third leading part of your Home Base Power. The Survivors you collect as you play the game can be used to fill the eight so called Survivor Squads. These eight Survivor Squads grant points to your F.O.R.T. stats; there are two squads corresponding to each component of the F.O.R.T. stats. How many points each Survivor Squad grants is calculated from the Power Level of the Survivors in that squad (i.e. a combination of the rarity and card level), and some other synergies we will discuss later.
Note: yes, Survivors also have a Power Level.. don't worry, we'll get to that.
How do I acquire Survivors?
Survivors can be acquired from (event) llamas, certain expeditions, mission rewards and the event store. You can also transform Heroes, Defenders, Weapons and other Survivors into (higher rarity) Survivors using Transform Keys and some additional resources. Survivors are not to be confused with the mission type Rescue The Survivors. Contrary to what the name might suggest, this mission does not normally grant Survivors as a reward.
The Survivors Section
When you click on the Survivors Section from the Command Tab, you will be greeted by the Director and two subsections: Manage and Squads.
The Survivors menu
Manage: Here you can manage your Survivors; you can level them up, recycle them, favourite them, put them in the Collection Book or just look at them all together with the option to sort them in a plethora of ways.
The Manage menu
Squads: Here you can see and organise your Survivor Squads. After you select a squad, you also have some of the functionality from the Manage subsection there, like levelling up Survivors which are currently in your Squads; this is generally the easiest route to target specific Survivors you need to level up.
The Squads menu
As mentioned earlier, there are eight different Survivor Squads, with two squads corresponding to each component of the F.O.R.T. stats:
|F.O.R.T. Stat||Corresponding Squads|
|Fortitude||E.M.T. Squad, Training Team|
|Offense||Fire Team Alpha, Close Assault Squad|
|Resistance||Scouting Party, Gadgeteers|
|Tech||Corps of Engineering, The Think Tank|
A Survivor Squad consists of 1 Leader and 7 Squad Members. These roles are fulfilled by respectively a Lead Survivor and 7 Subordinate Survivors. When you first start up the game most slots in the Survivor Squads will be locked; as you progress through the game and complete Storm Shield Defenses these will gradually unlock.
Everyones favourite Epic Survivor.
Regular Subordinate Survivors (rarity Common up to Legendary) make up the majority of your Survivor Squads and can only be slotted in the 7 slots designated for Squad Members. Besides having a card level and a rarity, Subordinates have two additional traits: a personality and a set bonus, both these traits are indicated with a unique symbol on the bottom right of the portrait on the card. Their portraits are tied to a specific personality, but apart from that have no further effect on your Squads.
The level and rarity of a Survivor combine into what is the Power Level of the Survivor. Don't worry about the math, just remember that the higher the card level and rarity of a Survivor, the higher its Power Level is. When you slot a Survivor in one of your Squads, the Power Level of the Survivor is used to calculate the bonus it grants to the relevant F.O.R.T stat.
There exist 8 different personalities in the game. On its own these don't appear to do much, but they are very critical to your Squads as we will see in the next section. Lastly, every Subordinate Survivor has a set bonus. These are generally bonuses to specific elements like increases in Health, Shield Regeneration, Trap Damage or Melee Damage among others. For these bonuses to take effect, you must have slotted 2 or 3 Subordinate Survivors with the same bonus in the same Squad (whether it is 2 or 3 will become apparent when you slot the Survivors).
There exist two Mythic Subordinate Survivors in Save The World as of writing this guide: Joel and Karolina. These Survivors were added in dedication to two Epic employees who sadly passed away during development of the game. They can be obtained through the quests Joel's Pub and Portraits of Someone Special respectively, which are available after completing Plankerton Storm Shield Defense 5. They work the same as regular Subordinates, but both have a fixed personality and their rarity makes that their Power Level is higher than that of a Legendary Subordinate Survivor at the same level.
A Mythic Lead Survivor
Regular Lead Survivors (rarity Uncommon up to Legendary) are used to fill the Leader slots in each Squad and can be recognised by the crown symbol on the left side of the portrait. Like Subordinate Survivors, Lead Survivors have a personality, but instead of a set bonus, they have a specific job or leader match. Each of the 8 different jobs corresponds to a specific squad, and when you slot a Lead Survivor with the right job in a squad, its effective Power Level is doubled. Coming back to personalities, when the Subordinate Survivors in a Squad match the personality of the Lead Survivor, their effective Power Level will increase as well. With Regular Lead Survivors there is no penalty when the personalities don't match.
Mythic Lead Survivors are some of the rarest and most sought after cards in the game. They can be acquired from llamas and as an occasional higher level mission reward. There exist 24 Mythic Lead Survivors as of writing this guide. Each Mythic Lead Survivor has its own unique portrait and name, and besides there being three for each job, they all have a fixed personality as well. To reach the maximum Power Level of 131, you need to have a Mythic Lead slotted in every Squad. The bonuses for matching personalities and jobs applies just as with Regular Lead Survivors, but beware: if the Squad Members do not match the personality of the Mythic Leader, you will be penalised in the form of a reduction of Power Level of your Squad Members.
Cards of a Mythic Lead Survivor (left) and a Legendary Subordinate Survivor (right)
How to fill your squads (manually)
Setting up your Survivor Squads is a complicated task, but there are a few steps which can help guide you through the process.
- Start with slotting the Leads for each Squad where the Leader slot is unlocked. Prioritise slotting a Lead Survivor with the correct job in the corresponding Squad, even if you have a Lead with a non-matching job that has a higher rarity; the Power Level doubling the Lead receives from being slotted in the correct squad compensates for the lower rarity. If you have no Lead Survivor with a matching job you can skip this Squad and at the end slot one of the remaining Lead Survivors with the highest rarity.
- Slot your highest rarity Subordinate Survivors in the unlocked slots, starting with Legendary, then Epic etc. If you can match personalities of Subordinates with Leads in a Squad feel free to do so, but rarity is the most important in this step.
- Matching set bonuses should be your very last priority.
- The longest step of them all; tweak your Squads. As you acquire more Survivors you might be able to replace Squad Members with higher rarity Survivors, ones with different personalities, or upgrade a Leader. This might make Survivors available that fit well in other squads, or you might have to change up some Squads to match personalities with a new Leader. Sometimes it helps to just clear some or all Squads and repeat step 1-3 with your new Inventory.
If you don't want to spend time on setting up your Survivor Squads, there is an Autofill option available. This does work, but results are often not ideal, and setting up your Squads manually can sometimes make a difference of a few Power Levels with the same Survivors. Also, when you get to the point where you can start matching set bonuses, you will definitely need manual control of your Squads.
A full Squad; Leader matched, all personalities matched, set bonuses matched and everything fully levelled up.
Most importantly, don't be afraid to have less than ideal Survivor Squads at any time. Setting up and levelling up your Squads is time consuming and shouldn't distract you from the core game. In your day to day playing you can get away with being maybe one or two Power Level lower than you have the potential for, but take some time every now and then to tweak a few Survivors and maybe think about what to be looking out for in llamas.
If you made it all the way through, I hope you're now ready to tackle your Survivor Squads with confidence! Play around and most of all; have fun. Survivor Squads can supply you with a lot of small goals and achievements beside your quests throughout your time with Save The World, so enjoy the ride.
Good luck saving the World!
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