The story starts when Joe Wheeler (main character) exits his underground bunker where he has been living for the past 365 days, living on a 1 year supply of rations. You walk down the road to where you parked your car 1 year ago. It is obviously trashed but then, you see a zombie! The first mission is a tutorial but after that, you can go wherever you like.
You must keep hydrated, eat and sleep to stay alive and well. Food and drink can only be acquired through scavenging at the start of the game, but once you settle down, you can build wells and farms. You can sleep and store supplies in any building in the game (except faction buildings).
Followers and Communities
You wont get many of the more advanced missions done without a few other people who have your back. At the start of the game you gain 2 followers within the first few missions (Isham Seely and Alice Ivers). You must also give your followers all the basic supplies that you need (food, drink, etc.). You can also control these followers. There are loads of followers you can get who are mostly from towns and require a mission to be completed to gain their respect and trust. Followers are a vital part to building a community. A "community" is a safe place that you and all your followers can call home. To start with, you have a basic wooden fence and gate at the front entrance to your base that can block one way from zombies and raiders. Later, you can upgrade these to metal and have them all the way around your community. To have a successful community, it must be self-sustainable, which means that you could survive from only what you have in your base. For example a well, to have as much water as you need, a farm that grows enough for all your people and enough housing for everyone to sleep in. If you fulfill these simple needs, you have built yourself a successful community!
There are 5 skills:
Some characters cannot fully develop every skill but the max rating any skill can be is 5 stars. You level up your skill if you use that skill. For example: You shoot some zombies. That will help you level up your firearms skill and so on. There are also books you can carry that increase a certain skill by 1 (for example, a gun magazine will increase the firearms skill by 1.) Some characters start with 2 or 3 stars already in one category and some start with none it all depends on which character it is. Skills will also help you utilize that category better. For example: 5 star construction lets you build a lot faster than 1 star. 5 star firearms lets you be more accurate and deadly than one star. Try to maximize all of your follower's skills!