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In NEO Scavenger, I often find myself beset by looters or dogmen during my scavenging.

The UI isn't very intuitive in letting me know how I compare physically. This has, unfortunately, resulted in the deaths of several fresh survivors.

How can I tell when I stand a chance against one of these enemies? What should I be looking for to formulate my plan?

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Generally speaking, fighting is a losing game. Instead of gaining strength by fighting others, most players in NEO Scavenger will gradually be whittled down by each fight. So as a rule, retreat and avoidance are usually the best bet. (There may be changes in the future that improve characters as a result of a fight, but nothing like that exists now.)

"Strong," "Tough," and "Melee/Ranged" are three skills that really dominate a fight. Having 2-3 of those and a matching weapon can really improve your chances. Similarly, enemies with those skills make harder targets (though only the first two are known to you in a fight.)

"Feeble" and "Frail" are pretty serious handicaps in a fight, and are also visible on others.

The weapon you're using will make a difference, though without skills to back it up, not as much. I'd sooner run from a strong/tough dude with fists than an average dude with a meat cleaver.

The terrain rating will affect your ability to move without tripping, so that can be a factor too. Retreating won't help if you're constantly falling on treacherous slabs of rubble and rebar. One exception is when a creature has "Athletic," which allows movement over rougher terrain with less chance of tripping.

Lastly, tactics matter. With or without any of the above on you or the opponent, the right move at the right time makes a difference. Knowing when to parry or dodge vs. attack, knowing how to control range, and being able to take advantage of changing conditions (like a fallen or stunned enemy) will make a bigger difference than stats alone.

In conclusion, you should probably run :) But the above tips will improve your odds if you have to fight.

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Some enemies, particularly ordinary civilians and DMC guards, will accept a ceasefire. When available, that's generally better than fleeing. – Brilliand May 9 '14 at 15:54

It depends somewhat on your starting stats, but a good guide is to try to run from enemies with better weapons than you (Fists < Sauce Pan < Monkey Wrench < Crowbar < Meat Cleaver), and I wouldn't advise going up against a Dogman without a Meat Cleaver. Presumably a rifle is better than all of these, but I haven't had a game where I've had a rifle and bullets long enough to try it.

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Well firstly, you had said what to look for, if they're feeble AND frail, the fight won't last very long for a character even remotely built around combat, as these NPC's tend to be cowardly and easy to kill. If they're tough, this is self-explanatory, they will take longer to kill and tend to put up much more fight, if they're tough AND strong, just run, don't even think about it, you either have a 50/50 chance if you take combat perks, or you're just gonna get beat, but if you have ranged weapons, seperate yourself from whoever you're fighting, and then try and gun them down. Now, Dog-men are a problem, they often attack the player directly with a second thought if you want a chance to defeat them, shoot at them with whatever you have (arrows,bullets,stones) until they're stunned, if you're close enough, a melee kill with a crowbar shouldn't take too long. If you're looking for easy prey, try looters, and bandits on occasion, they tend to be more cowardly than other foes, often resorting to a retreat or surrender. If you'd like you could try and fight a Melon-head, but try and make sure it's a straggler since they'll try and call a horde of themselves, as well they don't often have much that makes them worthy of using up your bullets, arrows and energy. Finally, the DMC guards and bandits, these guys are a problem, the DMC guards all carry guns and will always attempt to gun you down in large groups, the bandits are vicious and will always try to get close to you, but are little threat when heavily wounded.

Hope I helped. As well, all examples mentioned above are from my own personal experience with the game, so whether it was a result of how I built up my character or the game's actual programming, those are my answers. Good-day.

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I've had pretty good luck maneuvering carefully while carrying a Broad Spear. It's almost always possible to get the first strike against a melee opponent with that weapon, and that first strike will very often decide the combat (even against a Tough opponent, if you have Strong/Melee yourself). I was actively hunting dogmen for their coats for a while. – Brilliand May 9 '14 at 16:00

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