Update 15.1 - New Level-up System

14 February, 2018

Survivors, our latest update, 15.1, breaks away slightly from our usual pattern of releasing a major update every few months. However, we felt it was important to put the changes and upgrades in this update in your hands as quickly as possible.

15.1 introduces a few small improvements, and one total overhaul to our level-up system – with the intention of giving you a lot more flexibility and control over how you develop your survivors over time.

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The full list of changes can be found in our Steam post

New level-up system

Existing players are familiar with the old leveling up system. After gaining a level, players will be able to select one out of three skills. Those skills were selected at random from a pool of skills when every profession has a slightly different pool to choose from. The original goal was to offer a lot of randomness and replayability – even two survivors with the same profession will end up very differently because they will have different options and paths to level up and customize themselves.

The result, however, was underwhelming – it created a great deal of imbalance between survivors, as some could specialize while others ended up being a weaker jack-of-all-trades. At times, players reported they felt they had no ‘right’ choice as they didn’t want any of the three skills – and were just leveling up so they could get to the next. It also made balancing a lot harder, especially as it was harder to predict when players would unlock key skills, such as those allowing the use of rare and powerful weapons.

The new system does away with all of that – while preserving the core balance of the old system and all the old skills. However, instead of a random pool of skills, all the skills have been arranged into fixed, linear categories, or branches. Every profession has access to 8 (out of 23) of those branches. So, for example, an engineer will have access to the construction, crafting, evasion, mining, quarrying, research, tech weapons and tools expert branches.

Every time a survivor levels up, they gain a skill point they can then invest in any of the skill branches. In total, survivors can learn up to 4 skills at every branch, with the final skill often being a ‘capstone’ skill and offering very strong abilities, unlocks or even specialization options. The final point in every category, and sometimes earlier, offer more than one option, allowing for even more customization.

It was important to us that we keep the element of randomness and replayability, however, so all survivors will still have their own random starting skills, that can have a very significant impact on gameplay and your decision on how to level up and customize your survivor – and whether you want to make them a highly specialized powerhouse, or well-rounded characters that can help in many different aspects of the game.

We also increased the maximum skill points from 6 to 8 (levels 5 and 6 provide 2 skill points each), so any survivor can end up unlocking two capstone skills.

The result, we feel, is more intuitive and transparent and offers a lot of room for future modability and expansion. Early feedback has been very positive and we’re very excited about the future of this system


This update was a shorter one, but we did get a chance to add some usability and quality of life improvements that you requested and weren't too big.

One of these is a neat new stat called "Efficiency", you can see it for every survivor in their skill window, or for the entire colony in the Colony Management window. This stat shows how much work gets done relative to the time spent in the base. So if a survivor has no bonus or penalty in crafting, and they spend 18 out of 24 hours crafting (the rest is spent on traveling from place to place), then they have a 75% efficiency (they got 18 man hours of work done in 24 hours). If the same survivor had a +50% crafting speed, then their efficiency would be 112% (27 man hours of work in 24 hours). This stat is a good indicator for how efficient your base economy is.

Other Changes

Other usability changes include showing more information about rituals, showing how long until an effect expires, making Night Howls give a warning before you are attacked, and a few others.

Previous Saves

We made the extra effort to support old saves, so you can load old saved games, however your survivors will lose all the level-up skills they had. Instead, they will get skill points according to their level which you can use to purchase skills using the new system.

Mod Support

The new level up system is fully supported and the Modding Guide was updated. However, older mods that define level-up skills using the old system will not work properly. We expect the game will still work, however, all the changes in this area will not affect the new system. See the Backwards-Compatibility breaking changes.