Tips and Cheats - (changing) Careers and Scavenging

Talk about Sarah's upcoming game in the Rebuild series.

Tips and Cheats - (changing) Careers and Scavenging

Postby bythelee » Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:16 am

Been playing about 200 hours now... this game has really hooked me in. Time for some tl;dr about what I've discovered.

In particular, a trick/cheat to change the offered career quickly and plentifully.

And some scavenging advice that may or may not be valid, but "feels" true.
I was steered into scavenging a particular way, through extreme disappointment with "safe" scavenging (inside the base, after claiming tiles). The results felt convincing, so I now scavenge this way by default.

1. Career choice / backstory:
One frustrating thing about Rebuild 3, can be the Career (backstory) options.
Frequently, a survivor (aka "colin") is recruited with a skill and/or perk, yet their career bears no resemblance to that skill. But the career is a "good one", and you want to select it, despite the "wasted" starting skill, and the illogical fact of a former professional having zero skill in that field...
In those cases, select the career (any option on the choice dialogue) to "lock it in", then send them to a school to train for their actual profession. Not that painful. I'm happy to do that. Makes the game more interesting, and makes schools mandatory.
(Veteran players will know that once you have made your choice, you are stuck with that person's backstory for the rest of the game. No backsies.)

But what about the few careers that have only skill-based first choices? (I count 15 such careers so far... 15% or so of the full list)

Do you REALLY want your Ivy League educated Scavenger to have to pick from Good Cook, Green Thumb, or Hoarder (to seal the Ivy League Choice), "losing" a preferred option of Crafter, Bookworm, or maybe First Aid that would be offered to an Engineer? They are destined to become the super-Engineer eventually - surely they should have been one in the first place? They've already been educated, after all...
Because, often, there is no way around losing that career choice, while you wait for them to "switch skills" in a school. By the time you get them converted to an Engineer, they are no longer Ivy League. Darn it!

In fact, changing school is often touted as the only way to force a colin to give a different choice of career, when you are offered one that fails to appeal. Some will randomly change over time. But some colins resolutely stick with the same old uninteresting first choice offered, no matter what you try. I have retrained one in all five skills, and still had the same first choice career months later.

But now I know how to handle that...

Career CHEAT: change the person's name
Sorry, you can't select the exact career you want. But there is a way to provoke multiple career options at that first dialogue. And quite possibly, go through the entire list of careers. Eventually.
Just change their name, to change the dialogue.

Above the backstory text, the colin's name is in bright red. (On PC,) You can click in that area, and type letters, to change their name. I do this by default, prefixing my colins with letters that identify their skill (L for Leader, S for Scav, F for Fighter etc).
I do this, to sort the survivor list into careers, since the survivors are listed alphabetically. Helps with quickly assigning newly found equipment, by grouping those survivors that can use it together in the rollcall list...

Recently, I discovered that IF YOU CHANGE THEIR NAME DURING THAT CAREER DIALOGUE, it will immediately select an alternative career for that person. So, A.Jimbob will have a different backstory from B.Jimbob, and different again for C.Jimbob.

With effort, it might be possible to cycle through the entire list of careers, but it is potluck what is offered and when. And sometimes, the same career does repeat. So, A.Jimbob might be the same career as E.Jimbob, but out of an an alphabet prefix of 26 tested today, I saw the same one offered 4 times, and a few others twice, out of about 18 different career options... all while the game was "paused" in the dialogue, so no time was wasted in training.

If no joy from those offerings, then you can provoke a whole new set by AB.Jimbob, ABC.Jimbob, and so on... Infinite naming options, means the whole list should be covered, given enough time and patience. (OK, not infinite, but limited to the maximum name length filled with a random combination of 26 letters and a few punctuation marks - that's going to be waaay more than the full career list, that's for sure!)

Click in the red text to edit the name, then click the (...) balloon to enter the career choice dialogue. If you don't like what is offered, cancel, click in the red to change the name again... rinse and repeat until you find the career you like. Yes, that easy.
Select a perk to lock it in - and then you can change the colin name to whatever you want, without losing their chosen career.

This might be considered "cheating", and I certainly don't do this for every colin. In fact, I've only done it for one!
Sometimes, I change career until I find one that "suits" the initial skill. Maybe three or four changes, no more. For maybe 10% of the colins. The rest just stick with what was first offered, as the game intends.

My one exception:
I recruited a very rare Private Investigator (blank, Fighter, Brave) who may well have Commander or Defenses Expert alternatives for Brave. He became a core member of my very first dream team, 200 hours ago. But this second one arrived as a Scav, without even a Firearms option for that blank choice. What use are Green Thumb, Good Cook, and Hoarder to a soldier?

Honestly, what PI would be a scavenger, and offer none of his pre-zombie skills upfront? What PI is ever a skilled farmer? I could accept him being an engineer (clever thinker...) but not a scavenger. The game is just dumb this way, not weighting career choices to the given skills - or vice versa.

I cancelled the dialogue, crossed fingers, and sent him to soldier school. But he was something else after he changed skill three days later. Darn it.

So, I started the alphabet naming cycle... About five minutes later, I got the PI option again, when I called him eight.Jimbob. Hooray!

I was just turning him back into what I was originally offered, but now retrained as a soldier, because I didn't want to "waste" the first skill-based perk with a scavenger option he'd never use again.
Is that cheating? I'm OK with it. I'm just sharing the trick I learned - it's up to you how to use it.

I used this cheat to make the backstory coherrent. He should have arrived as a soldier. Or maybe an engineer. If the game awards skills, then it should select from appropriate careers. If it selects careers, then it should assign appropriate skills. But it doesn't have that level of complexity. And since the career remains randomly changeable until you fix it by picking an option in the dialogue, I am forced to resort to... name changing.

Alternatively, if there was a way to select that career WITHOUT filling in the useless blank, I'd be very happy. This feels MORE real, since the people you find do not randomly change who they were, and what they did, regardless of what you ask them to do in your camp, or train them as. Nor would it change what they might have been doing to survive, before you recruited them (that's the only way I can justify a scavenger PI).
In reality, you are stuck with who you find. Even if that is a collection of Hairdressers and Telephone Sanitisers... Make the best of it... that's part of the challenge.

So, if the colin NEVER changed career options, despite retraining before choosing, then that would be fine by me too. Then you could retrain them before selecting their first perk, and be sure they'd still have the same career offered upfront. Only the skill-based perk choice will change.

Maybe the PI is "overpowered" and hence the random first choice is intended to balance it... but it's still possible that you might recruit a soldier PI - in fact, the default ini odds favor that!

It's up to you whether to keep on using what the game gives you, as intended, and as you should, or whether you want to make use of this workaround, either on rare frustrating moments like my "lost" PI, or all the time. Since I routinely rename my colins anyway, I have been inadvertendly doing this anyway. But mostly I rename AFTER, not before the career choice, so the mismatch of skills and careers is typical, and not caused by my renaming.

I also noticed that, when a married couple is found, they often have career backstories that match the skill of the other partner. Presumably this is to encourage keeping them together, and retraining one into the field of the other, that they can stay as a team. Lots of happiness benefits for doing that. Loneliness is beaten by pairing people up, that they can "do a mission with their buddy". And keeping family together, is most certainly stronger than mere friends sharing the experience. You just have to watch out you're not pairing enemies, or nemesis. And be careful with Devout - they will persude their teammates to become devout too. Same with Cultists.
In (mission) Vancouver, on Hard (starting survivor happiness 35%) my city is into the green average happiness in late game, with 50ish survivors. Just by pairing. Oh, and extra rations. That helps!

I should also mention:
If A.Jimbob gives you a lighthouse keeper, then even after you've tried many others, A.Jimbob will still give you a lighthouse keeper. Unique names correlate to unique careers. And retain that correlation, even though other names may correlate to the same career.
So, if you find a career you're not sure about, try a few more, then decide you'll settle for that earlier option, it'll still be there when you go back to the previous name! Just make a note, so you know what to go back to.
I had three such alternative options noted, before I found the lost PI at eight.Jimbob. I had done A-Z, tried a few random AB and ABC type of combinations, which really stirred up some interesting choices, but could spend all day randomly picking letters. So I went methodical, found that 1.Jimbob was not allowed, so went one.jimbob instead. Seven tries later... In all, it took about 50 goes, at about three seconds each. Click, type, click, cancel, click, type...

2. Scavenging tips:
Not certain if this is real, or imagined, but :

- scavenging unclaimed tiles seems to provide more (and better) stuff than claimed tiles. So scavenge first, then claim.
It is possible this is being obfuscated with the "remote is better" mentioned below. Because, the map is populated at game start, so "stuff" is pre-determined. On the other hand, having replayed some recruiting missions, while the tile with survivors is set at the start, the scenario of who is at that tile, easily changes with just minor alterations to the preceding events. So, I expect that what is found on a tile with scavengable goods, can vary just as easily.
Whether this statement is true, depends on whether the probability of what gets found includes factors for claimed/unclaimed, and perhaps "risk" (distance). There is a "policy" for scavenging risk, often only made available a long way into a map, that offers "fast and not much" or "slower but more thorough". So, the amount of stuff is most certainly variable.

- scavenging certain "buildings" seems to increase chances of finding appropriate stuff. Schools generate books and chemistry sets, Police Stations provide ammo and weapons, gas stations fuel, Hospitals provide medicine and Doctor's bags/Scalpels, and so on. This is not absolute, but more "probability". And again, I might be imagining it.

- scavenging adjacent to other faction bases, before they expand and "claim" the resources (meaning you can't scavenge there anymore) is just plain common sense, but you have to make the effort to scout as early as possible. (And avoid giving materials to the other factions, since they need it to expand...)
Fortunately, scouting is a zero-risk option, and even a level 1 survivor scouts as well as a dream team member.
Moore's Binocs (does the same as Improved Scouting research) can be extremely helpful, but it's like playing tetris to maximise their usefulness. Also, scouting one large tile (4 small tiles) will reveal all 8 of the adjacent tiles, saving 8 more scouting missions.

- You can scout inside faction compounds. So, just because you hit the map edge, does not stop you chasing their base along the edge, to find the far side. There is nothing to scavenge inside, though, so if you have a border and unclaimed tiles to see, go that way around instead. Or hop across as quickly as possible, without scouting every tile.

- scavenging far away, early on (with a high quality scavenger, hopefully with Hoarder perk) produces the best quality loot.
Good finds seem to fall away considerably, later on.
I make sure one of my campaign Dream Team is a scav.
At a map start, I scavenge unclaimed tiles to allow base expansion, while scouting as far and wide as I can with unused dream team / new recruits.
Then scout the borders of any discovered faction bases, and start scavenging/recruiting there instead. Potential recruits are forever lost when that faction expands, so if you want the best score, get them while you can.
Snaffling away the goods/people before they are lost, adds an extra layer of optimisation challenge.

PS: Best Careers:
While my typical dream team has a scavenger, a builder, and a fighter, with the Leader providing engineer and leader cover until recruits are trained, I've discovered some careers that produce more powerful soldiers than any true soldier. So now they fight in the early days..., and I don't have a soldier at all. And the Real Estate Developer leader perk makes all builders obsolete, except for a Fearless Reclaimer, if you can get one of those.

Top Dog - "bit of an accent" Scavenger. Although, he might be superceded by a "riffing the internet, review shows" scav later.
He was recruited with Green Thumb. It makes no difference to his fighting performance, but adds flexibility and can ease early game food shortages, and means he has four perks. He'd be just as powerful with the normal choices.
A not-so-great level 15 scavenger, trained to level 10, plus 5 for fireaxe and backpack (or special crowbar).
But Scrapper (level 3 career choice) adds all of that 15 to his defense skill. Train to level 10 defense. Plus 2 defense for the fireaxe. Plus one defense for the (completely indistinguishable except for text and stats) "special" crowbar ("for prying open stuff... including rib cages") that has 1 defense and 3 Scav (not the usual 2). So, (10+2+1) + (10+5) = level 28 fighter. (Or 29, using a big gun instead of the axe.)
In theory, you could create a Scrapper that also has Resourceful, adding 3 to both scavenging and defense. But my guy has Hoarder instead. He is primarily a scavenger, and the +10 materials he finds makes a big difference. He rarely but decisively steps in to defend.

I also have a level 19 engineer - Oceanographer - who is also level 24.5 fighter (bookworm, Macguyver (alternative option to scholar), Genius) 10 + 9.5 + 5 = 24.5
And a level 16 engineer - Law firm receptionist - who can be a level 26 fighter (bookworm, fighter, Macguyver). (10+3) + 8 + 5 = 26
Both engineers need special +4 science skill books, but these precious things are found often enough, and can be carried forward by the dream team. And they need big guns for the +5 weapon bonus.

The Police Officer leader perk raises their guns by 1, making them 25.5 and 27.
This does not affect the level 28 Scrapper, who carries an axe, but if the Scav takes a gun instead, the level 29 goes up to level 30... So, level 13 scrapper, and level 30 soldier... when you need it.
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Re: Tips and Cheats - (changing) Careers and Scavenging

Postby afifaadam » Sat Aug 20, 2016 5:04 am

Rebuild 3 is a really fun game overall with the kind of game play that keeps you coming back for more.Thay are definitely past the zombie wave crest, but those lovely creatures are still dragging their destroyed bodies towards us every opportunity they get. I do recommend this game as I had a lot of fun playing it.
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Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:13 am

Re: Tips and Cheats - (changing) Careers and Scavenging

Postby PuzzleMage » Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:54 pm

When you pull up the list of survivors, there are sorters at the top of the list. You can click on "Skills" and they sort by skill.

I rename my best 3 people with names starting with "A", so they sort to the top. Aaron, Abby, and Ace are my "A Team" and are fantastic.

I rename anyone with "Devout" as "brother" or "sister" so I don't accidentally pair them up with someone.

I agree that scavenging before you reclaim seems to give better loot, not 100% sure. Certain buildings yielding certain loot I'm pretty sure is true. I've seen that a lot.

You will get a different scavenging loot if you move your people, scavenge elsewhere for a tick, then move them back. This is definitely cheating.
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Re: Tips and Cheats - (changing) Careers and Scavenging

Postby James_Lionheart » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:34 pm

Thank you, thank you so much! You have NO IDEA how long I searched for this!
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Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:34 am

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