This page offers guidelines on playing an outsider in Shartak. It is intended as a serious alternative to the Newcomers Guide (which has some shortcomings) and focuses on the info needed to get an outsider off to a good start.
The first two of these huts are often referred to as resource huts as they can be searched for essential resources. Searching in the Weapons Hut will yield rifles, bullets, machetes, bottles of beer, GPS units, knives, daggers and sharpening stones. Searching in the Medical Hut will yield first aid kits (FAKs), bottles of water, GPS units, gold coins, machetes (usually blunt), knives (also usually blunt) and sharpening stones.
The Trader's Hut is not strictly a resource hut. NPC traders maintain a stock of goods that may either be purchased using gold coins or bartered for using other items. The traders may also be persuaded to buy, or barter for, items in the player's inventory.
When starting out an outsider player should consider carrying 2 or 3 machetes (they can become blunt or break during use), a rifle, bullets, a GPS unit, a knife or dagger, a sharpening stone and plenty of FAKs / bottles of water. Keep a few empty bottles and suchlike, you can refill them with fresh water. Remember that anything can be traded in sufficient quantity. Note also that gold coins do not take up any of your inventory space whilst all other items do require inventory space. Gold is best saved for buying consumable resources such as FAKs and bullets, use everything else as a trade item.
Tip: The GPS unit is your friend. Outsiders do not need to purchase skills to make use of GPS units, they have this skill for free and it is arguably one of the most useful skills of all. The harshness of the jungle can easily result in death by attrition. Learn to navigate via GPS and your life will be much easier.
Skills For All Classes
There is a Golden Triad of skills for all characters on Shartak i.e. Combat, Healing and Movement. By developing this triad as early as possible the character will maximise the rate of XP gain. Early development is very important as XP costs for skills increase progressively. A poor start can result in a character being stuck at lower levels for longer than is strictly necessary.
Close quarter combat, Advanced close quarter combat, Body building then Balanced stance represent the skills that are available to all characters and should be purchased in that order. For soldiers there are additional skills (see below) that offer a faster rate of XP gain.
If you plan to advance via combat you should get the HTH combat skills as soon as possible. However, until you have Close quarter combat and Advanced close quarter combat (and Body building too if you want to be really picky) using a rifle is the most efficient method of killing animals for XP.
Tip: HTH combat vs animals results in greater damage to the player than ranged combat vs animals. This can be used to the player's advantage i.e. to gain more XP from combat and self-healing.
Triage and First aid are exceptionally useful. Triage offers no XP in and of itself, it merely allows identification of wounded players and helps prevent wasteage. First aid doubles the HP healed by FAKs and means that one FAK can gain you as much as 10 XP (as opposed to 5 XP without the skill). It also makes FAKs go further, meaning less time spent gathering supplies. Together these skills offer an XP income stream that does not rely on hunting or combat.
Tip: Wounded players who have run out of FAKs usually head for the nearest Medical Hut.
Tip: Those who wish to roleplay as healers should seriously consider the Settler class (see 'Other Skills' below).
Everyone benefits from getting the Exploration and Trekking combination as soon as possible, ideally after the combat and/or healing skills. Exploration enables the player map and Trekking halves the APs required to travel through jungle of density 6 or less. If you are playing as an Explorer the Trailblazing skill is also rather handy as only density 10 jungle can then slow you down (and moving through dense jungle can help throw off angry pursuers). The primary reason for purchasing the movement skills is to preserve more APs for activities that gain XP i.e. hunting, combat, healing, searching for goods et al.
Tip: Although movement skills don't earn XP in and of themselves, chopping jungle can earn a few XP and trading with a trader from another settlement can earn 100 XP for each 'first' visit (see 'Haggling' below).
Tip: Trekking should always be purchased immediately after Exploration as the latter is of very limited use on its own.
Skills For A Soldier
Although all classes begin with the same combat abilities, Soldiers can gain levels very quickly by playing to their combat-related strengths. Hunting animals (or other players) is one of the best methods by which a new character can accrue XP. Obtain machete(s), at least two rifles (if not more) and a large quantity of bullets. Whilst bullets can be found in the Weapons Hut it is often quicker to get them from the trader if he has stock. It's also worth finding a few FAKs in the Medical Hut as the more aggressive animals will fight back and you will gain XP for healing your own wounds as well as for dealing damage and killing your prey.
Tip: Trading a single FAK can often yield 2 or 3 times the number of bullets that a gold coin can purchase, so don't forget to grab some FAKs when restocking. It may also be faster and more AP-efficient to trade FAKs for rifles, 2-3 FAKs per rifle at most traders, especially for new soldiers gathering their initial load.
The Soldier-specific skills Firearms training and Advanced firearms training are a good route to leveling quickly as they offer the highest hit rates and the greatest damage potential (especially against enemy players) but they do use up bullets very quickly. Rifles need to be preloaded to be of maximum use but do note that loading rifles uses AP.
Tip: Always carry a brace of rifles at least, if not more. Although exact numbers are a matter of preference, some players are known to carry as many loaded rifles as their inventory will allow.
Tip: An empty rifle is of limited use. Preload your rifles, 2 bullets per rifle, as and when you scrounge up ammunition (in town) or when you have spare APs (in the field). This will give you the maximum available firepower when you need it most.
Tip: Don't neglect the HTH combat skills! These are the base-level combat skills for everyone and should be used when finishing off wounded targets in order to preserve ammo.
Skills For A Settler
Scavenging is a must for Settlers playing either as healers or traders. Searches in the Medical and Weapons Huts are 50% improved by this skill and the APs spent result in finding a lot more useful (and tradeable) items and a lot less junk. This is a powerful, subtle skill even though it has no direct XP-earning capability. It does allow a community-minded settler to flood the local trader with consumables such as bullets and FAKs so that others can obtain them easily. And it allows the settler to spend less time (APs) searching and more time on other activities (hunting, healing, trading). As a consequence of the benefits conferred by this skill the Settler class is potentially the best class both for healers and for those who wish to accumulate money by trading.
Animal Affinity is a skill that results in good and bad effects. Settlers who possess this skill will be attacked by animals less frequently. This is good for ensuring that you survive a night sleeping in the jungle. However it also results in less XP earned by way of healing the results of animal attacks. Consequently this skill is less useful for lower-level characters who need XP and more useful for higher-level characters.
Tip: Scavenging is best purchased after one of the XP-earning options from the Triad. It is especially useful for restocking as a precursor to extended hunting or trading trips.
Tip: Scavenging works in all resource huts, including native Healer's and Weapons Huts. A settler who visits a native village should make time to stop off at the outsider Healer's Hut (for example) in order to scavenge goods for trading.
Tip: Animal Affinity is useful for those who hunt dangerous game (e.g. the Kraken Hunters) as it greatly improves their survival chances in a dangerous encounter.
Skills For An Explorer
Trailblazing is the only class-specific skill for the Explorer. For trailblazers all jungle costs 0.5 AP per square moved (with the exception of level 10 jungle) and 0.5 AP per jungle square chopped. This makes Trailblazing very useful for getting around but it confers no immediate method of earning XP. It should ideally be purchased as a secondary skill after combat or healing skills.
Tip: An explorer who engages in combat should always make a getaway through jungle of level 7 or higher. This will cause a pursuer to use their APs less efficiently and they will be less likely to catch and kill the explorer (unless the pursuer is also a scout or an explorer).
Skills For A Scientist
Advanced Triage indicates the HP values of all injured persons in the same area as the scientist, allowing efficient deployment of healing supplies. In and of itself it provides no XP and is thus of limited value in the early stages of the game (although it is a prerequisite for the other skills noted below).
Tip: For someone who intends to roleplay as a PKer the Advance Triage skill is useful for optimal selection in an area with multiple potential targets.
Emergency First Aid allows the scientist to heal lost HP without using FAKs. HP healed is significantly less than that healed with a FAK and is more AP-intensive. Note that it cannot stop bleeding from predator attacks or heal poison.
Field Surgery is at present the defining skill of the scientist. It indicates anyone who is suffering from persistent effects (bleeding, poison) in the same area as the scientist and allows the scientist to cure those conditions in the absence of FAKs. The XP award is small and, as with Emergency First Aid, this skill requires more APs than the use of a FAK. This skill cannot be taken prior to level 10.
Tip: Ironically, the Field Surgery skill tree is very useful to those who wish to explore the outlying areas of Shartak. This skill tree makes the scientist completely self-reliant and negates the need for healing supplies except in the most extreme cases e.g. overnight attack by multiple / ferocious predators (which will probably result in outright death anyway).
Tip: A scientist should consider taking at least one of the XP-earning options from the Golden Triad (if not all) prior to the purchase of the scientist-specific healing skills as they do not yield significant amounts of XP for levelling up.
Once you have maxed the three main groups (Combat, Movement, Healing) the skill choice becomes much more subjective.
Stamina is a good purchase. The extra HP can mean the difference between death and living to tell the tale of your hairsbreadth escape. It has no direct XP-earning capability but it does mean that you can take (and self-heal) a lot more damage.
Tip: Stamina should only be purchased when the character has four FAKs in hand to immediately heal the bonus HP from stamina (and earn 20 XP for doing so).
Haggling is another nice-to-have but should not be taken too early. Traders can be visited repeatedly but XP from trading can only be garnered by continually doing the rounds of the traders at all settlements (not just your own). You have to move from trader to trader (camp to camp) to get the most out of trading transactions. Haggling can offset the negative reactions of a trader who is visited too frequently but it is not guaranteed to do so.
Native knowledge may seem to be of limited use (jungle berries are an emergency measure at best) but it does open up one very important option - the use of native healing herbs in addition to FAKs. With this ability the native villages become a useful source of healing items. Note that for outsiders the native healing herbs will only heal 5 HP as opposed to FAKs healing 10 HP (with First aid) but they will stop bleeding. Native blowpipes and darts are a waste of time for an outsider who has mastered either the HTH skill tree or the firearms tree.
Tracking skills are enormously useful to those defending an area as, at higher levels, they allow you to track specific people if you have them in your contact list.
The following initial advancement paths are suggested for each class. Within each path certain skills can be swapped around based upon the preferred style of play. It is advisable to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a chosen strategy before implementing it in play.
(1) Firearms training -> (2) Advanced firearms training -> (3) Close quarter combat -> (4) Exploration -> (5) Trekking -> (6) Advanced close quarter combat -> (7) Bodybuilding -> (8) Stamina -> (9) Triage -> (10) First aid
This path is dependent upon the character maintaining a good stock of ammo and relies upon hunting animals / players as the main XP generator. It uses the higher accuracy of the rifle to obtain XP as quickly as possible for levels 1 and 2. A single secondary HTH skill is taken at level 3 to supplement the rifle. Movement skills are purchased at levels 4 and 5 to enable wider range of hunting and conserve APs. Levels 6 to 10 are used to round out the character and levels 8 to 10 can be swapped around as appropriate to circumstances. Soldiers can advance through level 10 very quickly on this path and quickly become self-sufficient.
Settler, Explorer, Scientist (Hunter)
(1) Close quarter combat -> (2) Advanced close quarter combat -> (3) Bodybuilding -> (4) Exploration -> (5) Trekking -> (6) Scavenging -> (7) Triage -> (8) Balanced Stance (9) Stamina -> (10) First aid
This path relies upon hunting animals / players as the initial method of XP generation and therefore establishes the primary HTH combat and movement skills as early as possible. At level 6 and 7 healing is established as a secondary method of earning XP and by level 10 the character is fairly well rounded. Note that this path works as a basic combat-oriented path for any class; an Explorer should substitute Trailblazing for Scavenging and a Scientist should ignore the reference to Scavenging and purchase skills accordingly.
Settler, Scientist (Healer / Trader)
(1) Triage -> (2) Scavenging -> (3) Exploration -> (4) Trekking -> (5) First aid -> (6) Bodybuilding -> (7) Stamina -> (8) Haggling -> (9) Animal affinity -> (10) Native knowledge
This path relies upon healing as the initial method of XP generation and requires access to the medical hut for supplies during the initial levels. Scavenging as a level 2 skill yields additional FAK and trading stocks, the movement skills at level 3 and 4 allow for a wider range of play and XP-gathering trading visits to other ousider settlements. The lack of early combat skills does not preclude hunting as a method of obtaining XP; it just means that animals will not be killed as quickly and will likely inflict more damage before they are dispatched. Obtaining level 5 results in less need to restock at the med hut and opens up greater freedom to roam. Levels 6 and 7 improve survivability versus dangerous animals / players. The level 8 skill presumes that the character is making frequent trading visits and it will help offset potential negative reactions but will not result in more XP. Everything from level 8 onwards is optional and almost certainly subjective.
A Scientist can also follow this path by substituting First Aid at level 2, Emergency First Aid at level 5 and Close quarter combat at level 9. Field Surgery should be taken as soon as it becomes available after level 10.
Tip: The distance between outsider settlements is greater than that separating native villages. A low-level outsider trader will probably spend a lot more time in the jungle than a low-level native trader. Obtain lots of supplies before setting off on trips between outsider settlements.