Note from Sanya: Y’all, I edited some of the questions for clarity and brevity. If my edits altered your intentions, I humbly apologize, and ask that you email me or comment here.
Not every question was answered. In some cases, we are still deciding on the answers. In other cases, the answer would reveal elements of the game we are intentionally holding back. In a few cases, I didn’t understand the question and I’ll take another swing. Finally, a certain number of questions were covered in past Q&As. If you asked something about vehicles, check out the vehicle Q&A, and so on.
The forum has a character limit, and I’ve had to break the Q&A into sections. Please read the first six posts in this thread before commenting.
Okay, rock it:
Q: Chrace123: When you send one of your survivors out on a mission, how are you alerted when they get into trouble?
A: Your home base has a communication center, one that is always manned by an NPC. She will get the panicked calls for help and relay the information to “you” (meaning whatever survivor you are playing at the time).
Q: Joey: If I'm about to die or don't have what it takes to get home, may I radio for help? And is there a possibility help may die on the way?
A: If the character you are driving has earned sufficient influence with your community, you will have some resources you can draw on, for inspiration, stamina, medical advice, and more. There are some resources you will have access to in return for earning the trust/support of other NPCs. But you can’t just summon any available survivor to come to your aid when you’re out and running into trouble. Go armed, and take no shame in fleeing.
Q: K-Man: Will all the playable characters be in the world [at the beginning of the game] or will some spawn/appear only if previous characters have died?
A: There are storyline characters already in the world when you log in for the first time. Others, and I’m told the vast majority, appear as you play.
If you manage to kill everyone that happens to be in the world in one miniature apocalypse of your own making (except for whoever you happen to be playing at the time), you may meet an NPC “who knows where to find a survivor” that has hitherto escaped you. But don’t expect to find anywhere near the number of survivors as you might have otherwise found.
Q: Joey: Are there any other characters who can get me items from outside? Ie. guns, survivors, jumbo jets.
A: No jumbo jets. But yeah, there are NPCs who still have connections, as implied by the last answer.
Q: No Good Names Left: Will there be [survivors in different] age groups, like elderly, teens, kids?
A: There are no young children, and the adults are mostly in their prime, though there is some variance.
Q: [Multiple]: Can all the survivors carry the same amount of weight? Are the survivors themselves of different physical type?
A: Survivors can carry different amounts of weight based on their character traits. There is variance in height, weight, and skin tone.
Q: K-Man: Is there a limit to the number of characters that can be in a community (given that I'll be able to feed them all and give them a place to rest)?
A: That’s a pretty big given! You could theoretically rescue every survivor in the game, given the ability to house them and feed them. But that definitely won’t be easy.
Q: (Multiple people) How do we change between characters? Can we switch during combat? Can we switch while we’re actively on a mission? Do we have to be in a safe area?
A: You can switch by talking to them, or you can switch via the Journal menu. You can switch to one of your family members (a survivor in your group that trusts you completely) anytime they are not busy (e.g. on a mission, or actively hiding because they are panicked).
Q: Thornboosh: Will there be other groups of survivors out there, or any non-zombie related enemies, that might be out to get you?
A: You will encounter other small groups of survivors who have banded together. You can either try to convince them to join your community, or do a little trading with them.
For SoD, we’ve made the decision to not have any human survivors actively seeking to do you harm. They might not like you or want to help you, but you don’t need to fear getting shanked in the dark by anyone that isn’t undead.
That is, you don’t need to fear it in the initial launch of State of Decay. I make no promises beyond that point.
Q: WhiteAvatar: [Do the NPCs spawn in a consistent location?] I can imagine the main NPCs with main back stories appearing at similar land marks, but what about the minor randomized npcs? are their locations randomized as well?
A: You’ve got it exactly right. The main storyline characters appear in the same places every time you play through the game, but the semi-random characters appear... semi-randomly.
Note that survivors will group up when they can, especially if they aren’t part of your community. They will also react to their immediate environment. From Phinney, our creative director: “For example, a survivor group that (randomly) settles into a grocery store will have food for trade (in exchange for cases of ammo.. .the universal currency), while one that settles into an industrial supply store might have construction materials to offer as well.”
Q: WhiteAvatar: How many survivors can you bring on a mission?
A: Most missions you run as an individual character. (Survivors have learned that running in groups attracts unwanted attention, and stealth is a priority for them when you’re not doing the driving.) There are some specific circumstances where you can call out a specific survivor to join you, but they’re special (and you’ll recognize them when you get into them).
Q: Swood: Is there some way to instruct the characters around you to do tasks; say, if you were in a scavenging group and also wanted to set up an ambush?
A: SoD does not feature an NPC ordering system, not like that. You can have other survivors come out and scavenge resources in an area you’ve discovered, and they will perform their appointed tasks at your home base. The will also take their cues from you in the field. If you shoot, they’ll feel free to shoot. If you are being stealthy, they’ll be stealthy.
Q: Major Warpath: Will NPCs know how to conserve ammo also or will they just completely Rambo it and waste resources quickly? Will they also be able to use bombs, landmines, grenades, and molotovs? Or are those just items that you use [when you’re playing as a character]?
A: NPCs (in this answer, I use the term to mean a survivor that is not currently being played by you) use guns and weapons, but do not use other items. NPCs are also pretty careful about using guns, mostly because it makes a ton of noise. They’ll look to you to open up the shooting.
Q: Thornboosh: Say your base begins to get attacked and overwhelmed. Is there an evacuate/abandon order you can give for everyone to get the hell out of there and run for their lives? Maybe set up a rendezvous point for your survivors to get to, or a second base to meet at?
A: Just a nit: You won’t be able to have a second official home base. You can have a base (with facilities you can add and upgrade) and you can have as many outposts as your base can support (no facilities besides supply storage). You can change bases if you find one you like better, but you can’t have two.
But the answer to the question you actually asked is no.