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State of Decay: Breakdown DLC (Tips & Strategies)

December 4th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Oh level seven, thou art a heartless witch!  The developers weren’t kidding when they said that the levels would get harder as you progressed from map to map…though I was expecting a gradual climb.  Level one through three?  Pfft…cakewalk.  Level four and five?  Eh…didn’t break a sweat, really.  Level six?  Okay, it’s sort of ramping up, but nothing I can’t handle.  Level seven?  HOLY MOTHER OF…AGGGHHHHH!!!!!

State of Decay: Breakdown DLC (Windows, XBox 360)

State of Decay: Breakdown DLC (Windows, XBox 360)

Playing level seven has been a real eye opener and forced me to rethink my normal strategies.  I’ve also made use of items I never considered before.  With that being said, I figured I’d compile a quick list of tips for those of you who are stuck in the earlier levels.  These tips can also be applied to the campaign, though I found the later levels of the DLC to be almost ten times more challenging.

1. When you start a new map, you’ll start with a small group of survivors and an RV.  The location will vary.  Immediately explore the structure or lootable items nearby…there’s usually a building or two within close proximity to the RV.  Once that’s done, head out and find a base in which to settle.  This is important, as establishing a base usually costs materials.  Wait too long, and your starting supplies will automatically dwindle with each passing day.  I made the mistake of quitting when starting a new map and had to find materials first to establish a base…point of the story, don’t wait to find a base!

2. When you’re about to move on to the next map (leave in the RV), take all of the expensive items out of the stash and into your inventory.  Your influence doesn’t carry over, but your personal inventory does.  After moving to the next area, donate the expensive inventory items back to the stash and you’ll find your starting influence to be a bit more plentiful.

3. In the earlier levels and the campaign, vehicles are plentiful.  Don’t be afraid to use them.  I personally honk the horn (“Q” by default) and draw all of the zombies out of the building I’m near and run them over.  After doing so, the building should be relatively clear.  Parking your vehicle as close as you can to the building is also a good idea in case you have to make a hasty retreat.

4. In the later levels of the DLC, vehicles are a bit more rare.  The tactic in tip #3 becomes questionable, as you’ll need to keep your vehicles running as long as possible.  A tools expert is almost a must, if you have one, so that you can upgrade your workshop to repair vehicles fully.  Vehicles also attract a TON of zombies in the later levels, making sneaking a more viable option.  Avoid running over zombies or hitting obstacles wherever possible.

5. I found the Savini residence in the southern part of the map to be the best place to hole up.  Its central location makes it ideal for sneaking and cuts down on travel time.  The church is OK, though you’ll often exhaust the nearby town’s supply before you have the materials needed to repair the RV.  The cluster of houses and buildings in the south have more resources, per capita, though can be a bit more dangerous.  The RV requires more repair work the farther along you get, so after a while, the church didn’t cut it for me.

6. In the later levels, exploring any building alone is very high risk.  I wait until a mission pops up that allows another person to tag along, whether it be a morale mission or some type of neighbor mission.  Once I have an extra body or two, I’ll hold off on completing the mission until I’ve looted a building or two AND have resources strapped to my back (materials, food, meds, etc.).  This won’t prevent you from kicking the bucket, but will improve your chances a bit.

7. Don’t even THINK about using a firearm unless you have a silencer.  You might have a very powerful shotgun, but the attention it might attract simply doesn’t make up for it, especially at the higher levels.

8. When it comes to base building, there are two valid strategies and it all depends on what kind of game you want to play.  If you’re looking to complete the level as quickly as possible, you can save your materials and stick with the very basic buildings.  This will free you up to repair the RV more quickly and get out of there.  If you’re looking to play that level a while, then upgrading should come first before repairing the RV.

9. I used to ignore those kitchen timers and dolls in the campaign, but realized that they come in handy in the later parts of the DLC.  Most of the time, I find either myself or my vehicle surrounded by zombies when looting a house.  These distractions will save you a ton of headaches and allow you to escape the situation without so much as a scratch if done right.

10. Bringing pills and snacks with you on a run is vital, even if it means limiting your inventory space.  A ranged weapon is also important, so as long as you can attach a silencer.  Freaks (bloaters, ferals, etc.) become more plentiful in the later levels and zombie strikes can cut your health in half.  In short, you’ll die much more quickly and being prepared may save your life.

11. Don’t be afraid to use your base’s special actions.  Your radio room, for example, can locate any of the five supplies on the map.  Your workshop will let you produce silencers, which is a must.  Just be sure that you’re being conscious of what these actions cost.  Influence is easily earned, but resources can be problematic and harder to come by in the later levels.

12. Most of the time, you can find materials and fuel in construction sites…keep an eye out for these.  Houses contain mostly food and medicine, though houses being remodeled will sometimes have materials stashed in a back room somewhere.  The structures near the warehouse in the lower left corner of the map (a home site) usually have a ton of materials.

13. Learning how to fight smart is probably the most important skill to learn.  Rushing headlong into a zombie horde is a great way to get yourself killed.  If you have a ranged weapon with a silencer, you can pick off groups from a distance and make them more manageble…this also works with infestations.  When in melee combat, don’t just spam the attack button.  Instead, use your finisher whenever possible (when you see the zombie on its knees or on the ground).  Saving stamina in this way will allow you to fight and stay alive longer.

14. I am normally one to promote moderation, but your supplies do dwindle day to day.  You’ll get more bang for your buck if you play over long periods of time in one sitting.  Some of us can’t afford to do so, which is understandable, just be prepared to see your resources drop when you next log in.

15. Once you build up your neighbor’s trust to max or near max, they’ll offer to leave their dwelling and move in with you.  This is great for the simple fact that you’ll have more peons…ermm…able bodies with which to work.  Scavenger missions are fairly dangerous the harder the levels get, but having extra hands when you need them is convenient.  Having ten or so is a good round number, though the more folks you have, the more food they’ll eat.  You can also only bring six with you to the next map (not including Lily), so don’t get too attached.

16. You know what’s awesome?  Doors.  Get behind one when you see zombies coming your way.  When they begin pounding on the door, charge at the door to knock them all flat on their back.  While they’re down, spam the finisher to quickly take them all out.

There you have it!  I’ll add more as I think of them, but this should get you started at least.  Good luck, fellow survivor!

You can check out my reviews of “State of Decay” and the “Breakdown DLC” here:



You can view my video series of the “Breakdown DLC” here:


  1. Derek
    December 18th, 2013 at 02:25 | #1

    Ray Santos – indispensable. use vehicle delivery every time it pops up, even if you don’t need one right away.
    p.s. – destroy the greade launcher rather than leave it in your stash. i had one of my peons take it up the watch tower and start shooting zombies with it. Worst day ever. He attracted probably 100 zombies and blew up all my trucks.

  2. mark
    December 29th, 2013 at 23:09 | #2

    One thing I’ve noticed that is seldom mentioned is when you earn one of the achievements that unlocks a character you can recruit them right away with an “escort” mission. I missed this at first. I do not know if you can do this in subsequent playthroughs by unlocking them a second time, but you can build a group of “hero” survivors on at least one playthrough. Of course, you can only take five with you to the next level…

    • Vincent
      December 30th, 2013 at 06:35 | #3

      Hi Mark,

      Good point! Once a hero is unlocked by satisfying an acheivement, you can indeed recruit them immediately. You won’t be able to unlock them again in the same way in future playthroughs, but they do show up randomly as neighbors if you have them unlocked. If you can recruit those neighbors through missions, they’ll become part of your group (like regular neighbors can).

  3. Richard Estepa
    January 4th, 2014 at 04:22 | #4

    Another good tip is to disperse high influence equipment before starting over again. Gives you a nice cushion to use what you need right off the start.

  4. Joe Dano
    January 7th, 2014 at 11:05 | #5

    I restarted Breakdown a few days ago after I realized I could bring more than one character with me to the next level. My current strategy is stripping the level 1 map of all useful items and building up my characters while the challenge is low (Already maxed out 1 random character and building up 2 heroes). Has anyone else used this as their strategy? Does it make sense? I would hate to get to a later level and realized that I wasted my time and energies.

    • Vincent
      January 7th, 2014 at 11:13 | #6

      No worries, you make perfect sense! That’s actually a very good strategy, that is…build up your supplies and stats on the earlier levels while supplies are plentiful and the difficulty easier. The downside is the time it takes to do so…you’ll be spending a lot of time play SoD that way, but if you’re patient, it pays off.

  5. will
    June 4th, 2014 at 06:52 | #7

    I am in the first level with 5 heroes (I think) and 23 people residing in Snyder Trucking. My goal is to loot the entire map the first level, for whatever reason. A couple of questions if you’ll indulge me:

    A. Is it possible to ‘thin’ my population of NPC’s without just sending them into an infestation with a 2×4? That really wrecks morale and is time consuming.

    B. Will Heroes ever go missing? I’ve checked in with them a number of times, but with the in-frequency with which I get to play, I’d hate for one to go all Jules and ‘walk the earth’.

    Any advice is appreciated, thanks!

  6. Ryan Lau
    February 3rd, 2015 at 00:33 | #8

    I’m wondering whether inventory left with survivors that are left behind carry over to your supply locker or if you have to manually strip all leftover survivors before going to the next level. I’m assuming the latter because I left one survivor behind after specifically checking for a particular weapon and noticing it’s conspicuous absence in my supply locker at the next level. Can someone please confirm? Thanks

  7. Dave
    February 4th, 2015 at 09:48 | #9

    @Ryan Lau, yeah, you have to take items from anybody you’re going to leave behind. Only items the people you take with you have in their inventory carry over.

  8. JacobRitter4700
    September 14th, 2016 at 14:24 | #10

    yea same happened to me but you need them for the grenadier character

  9. JacobRitter4700
    September 15th, 2016 at 06:29 | #11

    actually you can take all 25 or so survivors check in with them and talk to them tell them to go to the rv and theyll get on even though its full