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Saving to join FEMA

*UPDATED October 24, 2012*

​Often players of Please Stay Calm hear the price tag to join one of the bigger Safehouses and see it as an impossible goal, or something you can only afford at high levels. In reality, it’s not that difficult, even at low levels. It just takes a little bit of strategy, a little bit of patience, and a singular focus on saving for the goal of joining an awesome Stronghold full of awesome people.

So here’s how:

Super-short answer for the 1%:

Buy a bunch of credits with real money, convert them to cash and supplies and join up.

Short answer for the rest of us:

1. Stop Hunting.
2. Use all energy to scavenge. Look for a locked room every hour.
3. Use all stamina to duel favorables with a lot of cash.
4. Stop Hunting.

Longer answer:

​There are generally two types of players trying to save to join FEMA. The first are players under level 15 or so who have something of a grasp on the game mechanics of PSC and have decided to join FEMA. If that’s you, you’re in good shape ask somebody in FEMA to get you an invite to the FEMA Greenhouse, join it, follow this guide, and be patient. We’ve had multiple players under level 10 save up pretty significant amounts in a relatively short amount of time; just realize that it is not going to happen overnight.
​The other type of player (seemingly the majority who play PSC) tend to have a path something like this: They play around with this cool new zombie game a bit and get hooked. Athena tells them to hunt some zombies so they hunt some zombies. Athena tells them to join a Safehouse, so they find a cheap one to join or create their own dream Safehouse at the local Walmart Supercenter down the street. Athena tells them to hunt some more zombies so they hunt some more zombies. Then they hunt some more zombies just because, well, killing zombies is fun. Suddenly they are level 29, nobody ever talks in Safehouse chat or they can’t get anybody to join their dream Safehouse, they have a few scattered outposts here and there, and they can’t hold on to any real cash or supplies because their duel skill is 4 and they are constantly being farmed by other players. If this sounds familiar, it is not a big deal, you just need to play a little catch-up and use a slightly different saving strategy than a lower level player.

Scavenge:

​Locked doors are your best friend when saving. They produce about twice as many supplies as a regular scavenge, copious amounts of cash (normal scavenges do not have cash), and occasional duel items that you can use to protect your savings. Unfortunately locked doors only show up once an hour, so when doing a normal scavenge you should do the middle “search” option if you have trouble getting caught while doing a “scour.” In my experience, “explore” provides very few supplies, and while “scour” offers a lot of supplies and time, newer players sometimes have difficulty with it (if you need to “scour” for a mission, then disregard this and just scour). I also highly recommend that you acquire a stylus (you can get a 3-pack of cheap ones on Amazon for about $1.25) as they make scavenging much easier.

Duel:

​Dueling is an unfortunate reality in the post-zombie apocalypse. If you are not an aggressor, you will be a victim unable to hold onto anything significant. One of the most common mistakes people make in Please Stay Calm is letting their duel skill fall far behind their player level. That gap combined with a decent amount of cash/supplies on hand (which you will need) makes you an attractive target to somebody else saving who hasn’t let their skill fall behind.

Here’s the math on what you can win in a duel:

The max you can win is 10 times your player level in cash or supplies.

In order to win the maximum, both you and your target need to be carrying 200 times your player level in cash or supplies.

For example, a level 10 player would need to have at least 2000 cash and supplies on hand and attack somebody with the same in order to win 100 cash/supplies.

Or if you don’t like math, just remember to keep a lot of stuff and attack people with a lot of stuff.

​It can be difficult at any level to find favorable targets who are carrying a large amount of both supplies and cash, so I recommend concentrating on those with a lot of cash. You need an equal amount of both to join, but you will have more supplies than cash from all the scavenging, so if you can find a favorable that has both that’s great; if not, look for the cash. It can also be difficult to find favorables at all on your duel list if you’re at a very low level or if your skill has lagged behind. If that is the case, look for evens with a duel score lower than yours.​

Hunt:

​The best way to make cash is by using energy to hunt. Unfortunately that is also the best way to raise your player level (very quickly at lower levels), and when you use energy to hunt you can’t use it to scavenge. I only recommend energy hunting if you need to raise player level because your duel and/or scavenge skill is maxed out. Using stamina to hunt provides some cash, but later in the game it does not make up for repair costs. Stamina hunting may be a viable option for lower level players to make a little cash, but only once duel skill has caught up to player level.

Trader:

​If you have a well established network of profitable outposts, you probably don’t need to be reading this. If you don’t, you should establish one, just not right now. If you are under level 15, the outposts you can build are not very profitable anyway and if you are over 15 and do have the profitable outposts available to build, the cost of building them will take a significant chunk out of the goal you are saving toward. Therefore, I only recommend building outposts when saving in two situations. First, if you are at a high level and being farmed relentlessly, 48-hour outposts are a “safe” place to keep your resources, just recognize that it will take five collections (ten days) to recoup your investment. The other time you should build outposts is if your supplies are significantly ahead of your cash, you can use the surplus to build max (3 times your trader skill) 3-hour outposts in order to get your trader skill caught up, then once you’ve joined FEMA, you can start replacing some of them with the better outposts. FYI, you gain the option to build outposts that pay 500 supplies/cash every 24-hours at player levels 14/15 respectively, and outposts that pay 1200 supplies/cash every 48-hours at levels 19 and 20.

Healer:

​Postpone healing until you’ve joined FEMA; use that stamina to duel. Let somebody in FEMA know that you’re saving to join and we will help you out with healing, then you can repay the favor once you’re in.

While you should not be healing, you can take advantage of other people who are working on their heal skills.
Each day you should spend a little time on global chat. When anyone posts their friend code, add them to your friend list. (you can do this quickly by just taping their icon and hit the add friend button)
This will get you a decent sized friend base, and save you a lot of health packs.

The Arsenal:

​One thing I do recommend spending on before anything else is all weapons and armor available at your level. These will increase your duel score by quite a bit, especially at low levels. I suggest waiting to upgrade your equipment until you join FEMA because you will receive a 10% discount to upgrade costs once you’re in. However, if your skill is high and you are still losing a lot in duels, you should invest in some equipment upgrades.

Equipment:

​You should find enough defensive duel items from scavenging to keep one active almost all the time without having to buy any (don’t buy them, as cash is too scarce while you’re saving). Do so once you have a large stockpile of cash and supplies to increase your win ratio and make a little profit from those who attack you. Health packs are handy if you’re in the middle of a fight with a tough zombie, but they cost a lot of supplies, so you should hoard them and let other players heal you for routine healing. Posting “/medic” (without the quotes) in Global Chat periodically will post your friend code and should get you a decent amount of friends looking for somebody to heal.

Misc. Items:

​Food/Gold bars can be purchased in the black market. They cost 5000 cash or supplies and when you resell them your get back 4500, but until you do they are safe from duelers. You begin with only one slot for each and additional slots cost progressively more credits. If you are mid to high level and have let your duel score fall behind, an investment in several slots may be a good idea to make yourself a less attractive target for bandits. If you are low level and have concentrated on duel from the start, you won’t need these yet because you will be too difficult a target for most of your peers.
​The other Misc. items in your inventory that you find scavenging like brooms and rolling pins and backpacks can be sold for small amounts of cash, but they’re safe from duelers unsold, so you should keep them, then sell them all at the end of your saving if you need a small influx of cash. There is supposed to be a crafting update at some point in the future that will use these items, so you may want to keep them but you should have plenty of opportunities to scavenge more later.

Credits:

​You can earn a good amount of free credits every day by posting to Facebook, watching videos, installing apps, using Tapjoy, and inviting friends. This is not a guide on earning credits, but it is something you should be doing as part of your game-play. Or you can buy them. Once you have the credits you could convert them directly to supplies or cash, but a better use is to buy energy drinks and stamina pills that you can use to earn more than a straight conversion and increase your skills at the same time. Keep your eye out for good sales on drinks and pills.

Feel free to hit me up on Palringo at WarBurglar or whisper me in game if you have any questions.

UPDATE

There have been some changes in PSC since I wrote this guide so here is some additional information:

Vehicles:

​Vehicles are a new part of the arsenal but they are somewhat different than weapons and armor. Vehicles add to your offensive duel score but not to your defensive score and therefore should be purchased and upgraded only after all available weapons and armor. You may even consider postponing purchasing the pricier ones until after you have saved enough to join FEMA as they can be quite expensive and you shouldn’t need the duel bonus they provide to win regardless. They do have other uses however in that they get rid of outpost distance penalties and allow you to travel to nearby friends. Travel is especially useful on days when, for example, double supplies are scavenged at a specific type of location.

Healing:

​Healing has recently been changed to provide one supply per point healed and as a potential duel defense. According to an update posted on the PSC forums, “if 75% of your healer level is above your dueler level, the healer skill will be used to defend instead of the dueler level.” I still highly recommend that you keep your duel skill maxed and to postpone healing until you can afford the safehouse entrance fee, especially because dueling is a good method to gain resources at lower levels. However, if you absolutely detest dueling (as some players do), then maintaining a maxed heal skill may be a viable defensive strategy.

Inhibitors:

Another addition are Dr L’s XP Inhibitors.
As stated earlier, using hunt to get cash has the unfortunate side effect of causing you to jump player levels. This usually means your skill levels fall behind your player level which should be avoided.
You can however, buy Dr L’s XP inhibitor. This allows you to hunt zombies for cash while reducing the amount of player XP you get to 1% of what you normally would.
This is particularly useful if the daily bonus is double cash and player XP for hunting certain zombie types as often happens during events.
For example (depending on your hunt level) killing a particular type of zombie may generate a cash reward of $5,000 and 500 player XP. On a double cash and player XP day you get $10,000 in cash and 1,000 player XP. If you use the inhibitor you still get the $10,000 cash but only 10 player XP.
This can allow you to get a large amount of cash without going up levels

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