Frostpunk

I just beat Refugees on Survivor on my first try.

3890 1024x576 - I just beat Refugees on Survivor on my first try.
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No, really. I'm serious. I got a trash ending, but I /did/ it! And I had bad RNG and had to do an extra scout-hop to get the cannery, and it happened to be located at the furthest point away from my camp, /and/ I made a promise to build homes for everyone and failed on it, then ended the run with nearly maxed-out hope! Oh, and I don't even have 200 hours in the game!

What? Why doesn't anyone believe me? Is it because it's April 30th? Is that like April Fools 2.0?

Okay. Fine. Here's a video.

 

For the impatient (or people like me who will just never willingly watch a video for this sort of thing!), here's the crux of things:

  • https://www.reddit.com/r/Frostpunk/comments/9q1yoo/finally_cleared_the_refugees_survival_mode/e8615jw/ and https://www.reddit.com/r/Frostpunk/comments/ae3v8q/how_to_survive_survivor_refugees_without_canning/ (but just the "use sawdust" bit) basically told me everything that I needed to know.

  • Early techs: Beacon (and save resources to build it as soon as it's researched, and don't forget the extra 40 wood so you can immediately put a scout out. That said, I totally forgot to actually click the button for eight hours and I was fine.), Sawmill, Steam Hub, Drawing Boards, Generator Power 1.

  • Early laws: Child Labor (safe only), emergency shift (and then immediately use on your workshop so beacon finishes sooner), SAWDUST, Cemetery, Fancy Burials, Extended Shift (and then everyone's extended forever always).

  • This felt critical: When I placed gathering posts, I positioned them so that they only got the wood and avoided the steam cores. I put one down just for coal, too, but ended up having to use the post and unprotected gathering at the same time to make it through one point. The main thing is to avoid picking the steam cores up; I actually only ever used two in my entire run, and both were for the wall drill. In retrospect, I could've finished with just one core. I only ever upgraded it at the end to make the guarded outpost depots, and I ended up having way more wood than steel anyway. I really would've finished a bit sooner if I never upgraded it.

  • Use Faith so you get shrines and don't have to pay foreman with extra food. This makes the medical posts work fast enough that nobody ever becomes gravely ill unless you do something dramatic, like have people work out in Freezing or Very Cold.

  • Be careful about Public Penance and Nighttime Procession. Both of these force people to stay outside for extended periods of time, often in an area that's actually Freezing. If you must do either of these things, consider turning your generator up all the way and using Overdrive to try to bring the air temperature up. It turns out that the little marching animation all the people do isn't just cosmetic, and people can flood your medical posts if you use these abilities too often. Generally, if I use both on the same night, about 5-10% of my population will end up gravely ill within the next 24 hours. (Using only Procession seems to only make them normal-ill.).

  • Automatons are a dastardly trap. Don't use them.

  • I stayed with tents.

  • I only ever built one fighting arena and two churches. Placement was "okay", not perfect. The abilities on the churches and not breaking the promise ended up doing more than the ambient effect did. Same with the fighting arena. As such, all my tents were just stuffed wherever they could fit and would make sense so as to reduce coal usage by not needing to build as many Steam Hubs.

  • If you ever have to build a care house, either demolish it directly afterwords, or if you plan to keep it, make sure it's near your medical posts. People have to physically walk out from the care house and to a medical post for treatment, and if you're holding gravely ill there, this will form a nice little line of people who walk across the map and proceed to die right in the same spot every dang time. It'll actually massacre your population whenever they become gravely ill and you don't immediately have room for them in a medical post.

  • I never researched heaters or any coal efficiency. Two steam thumpers and eight posts (both the thumpers and the posts wholly unupgraded, except for steam) plus Shrines were enough, unquestionably. Shrines are life-savers.

  • Remember that you can rotate buildings by middle-clicking. This mostly helps with churches, workshops, and coal thumpers (so you can rotate them and make their coal pile come up closer to your steam hubs that already exist when you have regular thumpers instead of steam ones, and thus might actually be able to fit both gathering posts in near an already-built hub and not need to spend coal on more hubs).

  • Do your usual Cannery run, but no matter what sort of RNG you get, just make a hunter's hut (I made two, but in retrospect, I'm totally sure that one is sufficient), staff it, and make sure you're feeding people sawdust. You'll be fine.

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  • Seriously, sawdust is the solution. As soon as you use it here, you'll realize that this is what the devs balanced Refugees off of. Go Sawdust or you're in for a world of pain. It doesn't actually require wood as a resource, and it doesn't cause discontent, and you get six food per two raw. That's more than soup! The ~6-7% sick every night is entirely manageable.

  • Sawdust.

  • Sawdust.

  • SAW. DUST.

  • Make like five medical posts. Use overcrowding, not extra rations. Put them by a steam hub and call it good.

  • I prioritized the medical posts over the workshops due to issues with hope, but as long as you don't make stupid promises that you can't keep like I did, you shouldn't have that problem. THAT SAID, I heavily suggest doing medical posts first anyway.

  • I never upgraded the medical posts or made infirmaries.

  • I never upgraded the hunter's huts or made a hothouse until VERY late in the game, pretty much a day or two right before the notification for the first lords popped. Nobody starved through the whole game.

  • I never made an outpost, anywhere.

  • I never researched anything except to get a second scouting team. No movement buffs, no third team. I still hit every scouting location. (That said, I got the last one only a few days before finishing the run).

  • Make some stockpiles (no upgrades needed). Make at least one for coal, as well as one for wood and one for steel. If you do it early enough, make two for steel and wood as needed. These exist so, if you refuse any lords from entering, you can plop down the guarded outpost depots to finish the campaign really fast. If I didn't do this, I might've lost since I only had the tier-1 Wall Drill throughout pretty much the whole game (I really never needed more than that and a totally unupgraded Sawmill), and tier-2 steel mines. In a pinch, if you have hunter hangars and you really really need to get steel or wood nutty fast to rush the ending, just dismantle your hangars.

  • Play at 1x speed throughout the entire run. I'm not sure if this is superstition or not, but I feel like this makes the game way easier. I've heard theories about pathfinding working better at 1x (and thus people getting to medical posts and food faster, and presumably also getting to build and to their jobs), but I think most of it just comes from it giving the player more time to think about their current situation and what they /actually/ need, rather than always responding habitually to every situation and not really being aware of what's going on until it's too late to fix it. I don't even speed it up at night when nothing's happening, and that's usually when I realize that I should cancel that one tech that's already at 10% and research something else more prudent.

  • Finally, your own hope as a player seems to be the most important thing. I feel like this holds true for any run in Frostpunk ever. It's surprising how many situations I've managed to wiggle out of by just not dropping the run. Literally on day three or four, my hope bar went nearly to zero due to a failed promise, and I knew the cannery was in a bad spot, but I kept going just to see how it'd play out. It played out well. This is the norm for pretty much all of my runs. If you keep trying to get the perfect run with the perfect RNG and constantly reset when things go even slightly wrong, you'll never really know how much you can handle.

 

So there.

Tomorrow (today, technically) I'll be trying to get the achievements for Winterhome. I'll start with cheesing the two dreadnought-related ones on Easy, then go for bare minimum completion on Hard (Survivor doesn't count for Hard, except for Endless mode), probably do iffy and barely make it but realize where a ton of my problem areas are, then go straight for Survivor and get through it despite something terrible happening early-game. This is how all my Survivor attempts over the past three days have gone.

If you're having trouble doing a Survivor run somewhere, I suggest using a similar approach. Start on Easy (you can speed it up, just use it to learn the scouting map and general event flow), then do Hard (you can speed it up at night, but let it go slow from 5:50 to 20:00, as well as any night that you use an ability where people have to physically attend, such as Nighttime Procession) to learn what is and isn't a good idea. Don't reload your save; solve problems as they come up. Figure out what is and isn't realistically easy to work with. After that, just do Survivor. Don't bother with Extreme and practice runs if you're just going for achievements.

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