I know the dreaded Survivalist in my opinion it deserves a bit more love as I play it a lot and enjoy it, I'll just be going over a few things so I hope you enjoy.
Perk Bonuses and Skills
The perk bonuses for this class aren't all that bad especially the global damage resistance outdoing Berserker 15% and having heavy body armor is extremely useful, however the weapon damage is a bit under while other classes have 20-25% increase of weapon damage, but this class is a jack of all trades so it's to be expected.
Level 5 skills
Pick the skill of the weapon you are using or are going to use as this is a no brainer for extra reload speed, some weapons fall under both skills so it doesn't matter which you choose in that situation, make sure to look at what perks use that weapon.
Level 10 skills
I would recommend Melee Expert as the Survivalist main weapon of choice the Hemoclobber, it would be most beneficial for the increased speed to escape zeds faster, outrun Scrakes, and to put yourself in a good position for parrying/blocking Fleshpounders, Medic training is good if you are running a medic-like set-up for Survivalist but I never see myself using this skill.
Level 15 skills
I would highly recommend Ammo vest especially in the earlier rounds as you have no use for the extra space and the molotov is a joke. The healing grenade is one of the best skills for this perk, the nade not only heals you and your team but it does a good amount of damage to trash zeds incase you every become overrun just pop one of these bad boys down and they'll all be clear. However, Weapon Harness is also not a bad skill as when you have the Hemoclobber you won't always be needing the nade since a heavy hit will heal you especially if your team already has a medic doing that, and there are some nice set-ups you can do with 20 weight that you cannot do with 15 weight.
Level 20 skills
I highly recommend Spontaneous Zed-plosion as it's really useful especially when using the Hemoclobber not only poisoning zeds but having a chance to deal extra damage while stunning them, this occurs more then you think 30% looks grim but trust me it occurs more often then what you probably think. Make Things go Boom is not a bad skill either when using the RPG, C4 or Seeker Six as doing 40% more damage to Pounds (and Zeds) with their weakness to explosive damage kills them really quickly.
Level 25 skills
I recommend Madman as with combination with zed time reload it's really effective. Lockdown I never really saw a difference when using it. The Zed Time skills for Survivalist aren't all that great the begin with.
There are plenty of loadouts for the Survivalist for whatever fits your game style
Trash Killer / Medic
Total Weight: 15
This focuses on mainly a supporting role in the group, as your job is to kill trash that comes your way and heal your team, the C4 is there not only for trash killing as well but incase some nasty pounds come through as the C4 is one of the highest damaging weapons in the game with already the Fleshpounders weakness being Explosions
Total Weight: 15
I normally only use this during the boss however you can also use it in later rounds for Scrakes and Fleshpounds as they become more frequent
Heavy Take-Down Loadout
Total Weight: 16
This set-up is mainly focused on taking down Scrakes and Fleshpounds however it's also built for trash, Crossbow makes Scrakes a walk in the park by stunning them, and the C4 combined with Crossbow makes Fleshpounds a walk in the park, Hemo is there incase you need health, get surrounded by zeds, or your team needs health. The extra 4 weight you can do anything with Magnum, Duel Buckshots, your choice
There are plenty more loadouts I have just I was lazy and made some of my most used, I'll put all of them down in the future.
Blocking and the Hemoclobber
You might be asking why is this even a section for Survivalist? Well I don't see many players blocking attacks in game and often at times it can save you in the most dire situations.
Blocking and Why You Should Do It
You may of noticed I choose the Hemoclobber for all my loadouts not just because it's an effective trash killer and it heals you and your teammates but it's really good for negating damage from those raging Fleshpounds, if you played this game for a bit you would know you cannot outrun a enraged Fleshpound this is were blocking comes in, each melee weapon has a damage reduction your knife won't be cutting it against pounds which is were the Hemo comes in as it reduces it much more than your knife does this will also de-rage the Fleshpound.
More About the Hemoclobber
One thing you may have not noticed about it is it makes Zeds panic (move around flinging their arms around) for a few seconds upon heavy hit which is very useful. Another thing to note is the Hemoclobber's heavy hit resets Zeds attack animations for example:
If a Fleshpound is about to hit you and you heavy hit it, it will stop it's hit animation and will begin to panic. Do note you can't just keep heavy hitting it there's about a 3-5 second delay in between it not to mention the Fleshpound will enrage after a single heavy hit due to the poison overtime. Another note, it only works if they are NOT raged.
Why is Survivalist So Underrated?
One of the main reasons I hear tossed around is since it's a jack of all trades all the other classes can do better than it which in my opinion isn't true, it's how you play the class. However, in some cases this is true for example the Firebug can do it's job better than the Survivalist just because it doesn't have Fire Resistance and Firebug does more perk weapon damage so you'll be on fire most of the time, and the molotov for Survivalist is not only a short area but it goes out really quickly. Another example would be Gunslinger as the recoil with it's guns are high and the Survivalist doesn't have any skills for recoil so it's pretty bad.
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