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"State of Decay: Year One" Main Story Missions

A lot of my writing, these days, seems to be related to video games. It’s what gets the clicks and the coins on this site so . . .

State of Decay needs to be played at face value, as only some aspects are for certain. The missions themselves always play out the same way but in different locations. The best I can do is tell you what you'll need to make it.

The intention of this "walkthrough" is to help you along through a game that is randomized for the most part. Essentially you'll fight zombies and search for supplies. However, as I go along I will (like with my Lifeline checklist) mention points of interest that will make your game go easier.

Note: Missions can be played in any order as they are announced over the radio. I will group these together depending on the story arch they cover. Mission titles will be in bold. Also, make sure to come back to Home Base between missions, you will anyway, but doing so will play cut scenes between characters that move the story along.


After finishing The Voice on the Radio and before The Vet Clinic, set up some protective Outposts around The Church of the Ascension.

Outposts have a few important duties. First of all the Resources that are found at a particular Outpost will “restock” over time (if you don't take everything before Establishing the Outpost). Meaning that while you’re not playing the game your Home Base will stay maintained with those Resources. Unless you pick the place clean before establishing the Outpost. In which case you’ll get a notification when you boot up the game, that “upkeep failed due to lack of resources” (paraphrasing). If the majority of your Outposts do then the notification will say “Supply Locker Restocked”.

Secondly, depending on what structures you make an Outpost you can set up a protective safe zone, around your Home Base, from Hordes. By setting up Traps. If all of these safe zones are connected to your Home Base’s zone, and select the “Snipe Zombies” option from the WatchTower, AND do so the moment you boot up the game, you can feel free to explore the Safe Zone without the worry of zeds. Even without “Snipe Zombies” it’s a pretty leisure stroll.

Then there are the Supply Lockers where you can unload/restock your Inventory. Before you establish an Outpost inside a Fast Food Restaurant, make sure you clear any supplies in the “container” behind the counter first. The placement of the Supply Locker will otherwise block access.

Home Base and Building Materials

When you have the Building Materials for it upgrade your Workshop and Infirmary, and build a Physical Training Area. Search Storage and the two Construction Sites for Building Materials. Also search the Gunshop for guns and ammo (and maybe Grenades). Houses also have Resources of random types and guns. Make sure to keep swapping between characters when one gets Tired or Hurt, this also helps to keep Morale in check (make a habit of this I won’t mention it twice). Keep this up until you get a Journal entry about Ed. At which point you should move on with the story by doing The Vet Clinic.

The structures surrounding The Grange have the possibility of spawning Building Materials. Same with the Warehouse down the road.

After Home Away From Home you should move into Snyder Trucking Warehouse.

You need 12 Survivors to move into the Snyder Trucking Warehouse. You just need 50 Building Materials and 100 Influence to make the move. Once there fix the Bedroom, Machine Shop, and Storage Room. Also, start building the Watchtower. Next up you should make another Workshop (the one provided already cannot be upgraded), a Garden, Library, Medical Area, and an additional Sleeping Area. Next, go into your Journal and Abandon Outposts 1-4 that you set up earlier back by the Church of Ascension. The Snyder Trucking Warehouse provides eight Outposts so you can pretty much own that part of Marshal by making it a zombie-free zone. Once you have enough Building Materials turn the Medical Area into an Infirmary, the Sleeping Area into a Bunkhouse, the Watchtower into a Shooting Platform, and once the Library is built select Research Greenhouse. Once that research is complete upgrade the Garden to a Greenhouse.

After Sgt. Erik Tan in the Army strain of missions, climb the nearby Ferris wheel that acts as a Survey Point. Survey the area for the few Military Stashes. These stashes have the possibility of having military grade firearms, Grenades, and Ammo and Medicine Resources. There are also two more Stashes on both of the bridges that lead into Fairfield. There is also the Fairfield Fairgrounds that can be turned into a Home Base. I would suggest sticking with Snyder Trucking Warehouse since you’re so late in the game.

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Tutorial Missions

The very beginning missions of the game. I consider everything up until getting meds for Ed, to be part of the Tutorial. During this time pay attention to the information on the left side of the screen. All of the information is very basic but will help you along.

Under Attack:

  • Survive

Run forward and press the X button to fight the zombies. I’m going to mention here that you should use the Left Bumper+Y button combo whenever a zombie is on the ground or against a wall. This instant kill move will make your playtime easier, this will also be the last time I mention it.

Find Help:

  • Go to the Ranger Station

The game will give you instructions on the stealth mechanic. It’s up to you if you want to play the game that way, get to the green circle.

When you get to the Ranger Station swap out your Wooden Branch for the 2x4 Bracket in the Supply Locker. Then take the Painkillers and climb the water tower outside.

Water Tower:

  • Survey the Area

Climb up and hold the Left Trigger to aim at each of the white question marks around you. This is a tutorial for Survey Requests and Survey Points later in the game.

Open your map with the Back button and put a marker on the green question mark with the A button. Go there.

Ridge Cabins:

  • Search the Cabins

Search the three Cabins in this area. The game’s loot functions are randomized, but you have a chance at finding a gun, or a new melee weapon (typically a Hatchet), and some Snacks and Painkillers. If you see something glowing, this is a Container that holds supplies of some kind. Hold Y button to search it, you can also hold down the Left Bumper but this can cause a loud noise that draws a group of zeds to your location. It’s up to you. (As you use the same Survivors to search their Wits skill will increase. At Level 7 Wits you can hold Left Bumper while searching and not cause any loud noises in the process.)

Your Inventory might not be full just yet after searching the Cabins. Go to the Public Restroom (target-like white dot on the map) and Camp Sites (Tent icons) to search for more items. If you follow the road past the Public Restroom there are three more Cabins to search there. Once you’re loaded up go back to the Supply Locker and empty out what you find. You likely found a Large Backpack (taken from searching Backpack Containers), which you should equip because it adds two more Inventory slots. Once you’re done head toward the green Ammo icon on the map.

Distant Gunshots:

  • Head Toward the Gunshots/Help the Stranger

You likely found a firearm while searching everything, Hold Left Trigger and press Right Trigger to shoot at the horde of zombies coming across the river. Once they get close fight them with your melee weapon.

At this point, you can swap between Marcus and Maya. Before going back to the Ranger Station search everywhere if you haven’t already. If you didn’t find a secondary Large Backpack, (for Maya) while searching, switch to Marcus before entering the Station.

Ranger Station:

  • Save Ed

Rush over and kill Zombie Thomas.

  • Escape

Take everything you can carry from the Supply Locker, doing this might not seem necessary, but it will net you extra Influence (the game’s currency) later on. If not everything will be waiting in the next Supply Locker once you get to the church.

  • Leave Mount Tanner

Run to the Industrial Supply Store and get in the Old Pickup.

The Voice On The Radio:

  • Go to the Church

Once you turn out onto the main road you’ll have to jump the wooden bridge. If you get enough speed you can clear it. If not, climb up the ridge and take the nearby SUV. Then swap that for the Police Cruiser parked by the Gas Station, which is up the street from the Church. Ignore the searchable locations along the road, you can come back to these later. Go to the church.

Home Sweet Home:

  • The Grand Tour

Follow Lily around the Base. When the conversation’s over dump out everything in your Inventory except for your Painkillers, Snacks, gun, and melee weapon. If you found a gun that accepts a Suppressor attach the one in the Locker. Otherwise, just get a slot full of ammo and open the Home Page by pressing up on the D-pad. Set up a Basic Workshop and leave the base through the main gate. Take the Old School Muscle Car at the end of the road.

Lay of the Land:

  • Climb the Cell Tower

Pull into the parking lot of the Fast Food Restaurant, the base of the cell tower can be reached from climbing over the dumpsters. Remember, like Sprinting, you can hold down the Left Bumper to climb faster.

  • Look for a Medical Facility

It’s the same as Surveying, like on the water tower earlier. Once the mission is over slide down the ladders with Left Bumper. I won’t tell you how to play the game from here. You search where you want, but you should search for Resources and set up Outposts before you continue the story. Doing all of that now will make things easier for you later. (See "Outposts" section above.)

The Vet Clinic:

  • Break-In

Recommended: Bring some Distraction items (Firecrackers, Flares, etc.)

Alan will give you an Improvised Suppressor. Go through the front door of the Clinic.

  • Guard the Parameter

While Sam and Alan search, barricade the windows near them. If you have time before the Zombies bust in help search Containers. This won’t speed up the gathering process, but you never know what you’ll find.

  • Lead the Runners Home

Depending on what time of day you’re playing there could be one, two, or three Hordes wondering around out front. Using a Distraction item will give you room to run away. Get out of the area and follow the blue arrow. Don’t bother trying to get a car just yet.

  • Hold Up

As you run past the Fast Food Restaurant Alan and Sam will have a tiff about using common sense.

  • Drive Sam Home

Get in the nearby Octo Class Sports Series (or whatever car the blue marker highlights) and drive Sam back to Base. Continue doing whatever side quests are available (like Morale missions) and gathering Building Materials for your Base. You can check the Abandoned diner that you pass by to get to the Vet Clinic, there is typically some there.

Note: Once you have delivered the medication for Ed you will buy yourself some time to scavenge for Resources, do side missions, what-have-you, but until you get the cutscene with Doc Henson (after doing the Wilkinsons' first mission) Ed could still die from his infection.

This outcome is even more likely if you take too much time to do The Vet Clinic.

Army Missions

Army Sighting:

Recommended: Play as Maya, she has a military background

This isn’t really much of a mission. Just a cut scene. When it’s in overdrive, go out of the red-dotted circle to end it.

Army Activity:

Recommended: Don’t bring a vehicle, run to the mission start from Home Base

Find The Survivors:

Get in the nearby Rally Hatchback and search the blue question marks until you find Karen and Anson.

Bring The Survivors Home:

Search each of the buildings for supplies as you look for the Survivors. Bring them back to your car and drive them home. This will unlock the Garange as neighbors.

Eyes in the Sky:

Recommended: None

Just climb to the top of a Survey Point (if it’s the mountain follow the trail behind the Abandoned Diner) and Survey the area. Look for Hordes and the mission is over.


Recommended: Maya and a shotgun

  • Head to the survivors
  • Run up the hill to the marked house
  • Rescue the Survivors

Break into the house and open fire on the group of zombies attacking the survivors. Chances are they are downed by a group of zombies. Shoot your way in and finish off the rest with melee once they are knocked down. After the conversation, you will unlock the “Death From Above” radio call which is an artillery strike.

Sgt. Erik Tan:

Recommended: A semi-automatic weapon

  • Hold the Bridge

After the opening cutscene, pick off the zombies that rush your position as the soldiers plant explosives. They will first come from the left side of the row of abandoned cars, then from the right.

  • Clear the Blast Radius

After taking out the zeds the soldiers will be ready to blow open the barricade. Run away, and another cutscene will play.

  • Check out the Fairgrounds

If you don’t have a suitable vehicle with you there is a Police Cruiser parked on the bridge. Use that to transport Sgt. Tan and his men to the Fairgrounds (that is if they actually get in). Drive to the Base and watch the cutscene.

Lone Soldier:

Recommended: Bring something explosive, you might have to take on a Horde.

Once you get to the house a cutscene will play.

  • Leave the House

Walk outside, heading back toward your car. You will hear a gunshot, then have another conversation with Sgt. Tan.

  • Head to the Reservoir

Get in your vehicle, with Sgt. Tan, and drive up to the reservoir. Park within the blue marker until his dialogue is complete.

  • Walk With Sgt. Tan

Follow Sgt. Tan as he continues his speech. Once you get in the tent search the Military Stash. You might have a chance of finding an assault rifle, Grenades, or a grenade launcher. Walk out of the tent with Sgt. Tan and watch the cutscene.

Exit Strategy:

Recommended: None

This is just another conversation mission, but it moves the story along and it’s considered a mission so…

The Armory:

Recommended: A light machine gun with at least one reloads' worth of ammo, firebombs, and a decent melee weapon that your chosen character is comfortable with.

  • Head to the Warehouse

As you make your way into the warehouse there are going to be A LOT of zombies to fight including a few randomly generated Special Zeds. You will have Sgt. Tan and a couple of other soldiers fighting with you, but they will strictly stick to melee fighting. Use a light machine gun (such as the M60E4 that is available for purchase from the Wilkerson Enclave). The zombies will eventually stop coming in the first area. Just keep fighting and eat a Snack and use medicine when your Stamina and Health bars go down. Also, remember that you can kill downed zeds instantly with Left Bumper+Y. Once you get to the entrance of the warehouse there is a chance you will have to fight a Big’Un. If you have any firebombs left use one on him. Save some ammo for this guy too.

  • Clear the Warehouse

Just like an Infestation, the warehouse will have to be cleansed of the Screamer(s) here plus the other common zombies. Things will be calmer in here compared to the battle getting inside, but there is still the possibility of a Feral or Bloater wondering around. A gun (apart from killing the Special Zeds) is not really needed here.