First Refuge: Z is an MMO strategy game developed by 37Games, that’s set in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. Starting with a handful of survivors, you locate an old base to patch yourselves up and start rebuilding. Collecting supplies to expand your base, training soldiers to fight off zombies, and assigning fellow survivors to improve base production, First Refuge: Z has lots of activities to keep yourself busy. There are also rumors of something lurking deep beneath the base, though you will find out about it later, and it seems to be tied to whoever created the zombies to begin with…
You are not the only people who want to rebuild civilization after the apocalypse. Some people will gladly help you, while others will see you as a threat or as an easy source of resources. You will have to build up your defense and find others to aid you if you want to survive, and things will get more difficult as time goes on.
First Refuge: Z is quite similar to games of its genre, though with some minor alterations to distinguish itself from other titles. Regardless, our comprehensive First Refuge: Z guide will show players new to this type of game what to expect from it, and how to survive whatever it throws at you and how to adapt. So stay a while with us to learn what First Refuge: Z has in store.
1. A Lucky Break
You will start First Refuge: Z with four survivors who are trying to locate an abandoned base, and deciding that they can salvage and repair it to their liking. You start by repairing the base’s Command Center, allowing access to other rooms throughout the stronghold.
First Refuge: Z has four resources to keep track of: Food and Wood are the first two resources you will encounter, and Steel and Oil are unlocked after upgrading your Command Center enough times, using the premium currency, “on-the-nose” Cash. The game’s quest system will dictate where you should start expanding your stronghold and what rooms you can construct:
• Production Rooms: Bakeries for Food, Lumber Yards for Wood, and so on. Note that tapping one room to collect resources will collect from all rooms that produce that resource, so no worries about tapping each room individually.
• Warehouses: These rooms protect a set amount of resources from being stolen by enemy raiders.
• Living Quarters: This room dictates the maximum population of your stronghold, and also allows your residents to reproduce, as opposed to waiting for survivors to encounter your stronghold.
• Barracks: Where you train your troops. Barracks come in three varieties: Infantry Barracks for melee troops or Guards, Shooting Ranges for ranged troops, and Garages for light vehicles.
• Armories: These rooms limit how many soldiers you can train in one go.
• Hospital: This room will heal a given number of troops that would have died after a battle. If the number of casualties exceeds the hospital capacity, any excess soldiers will die.
You can upgrade these rooms to improve their stats, and later on you can rearrange these rooms as you see fit, whether for organizational or aesthetic purposes. You can build or upgrade rooms one at a time, with an additional building slot being unlocked later on. In all cases, the Command Center’s level will serve as a barrier for accessing future building upgrades.
Naturally, these rooms require space, and the game will gradually open up portions of the stronghold for you to develop. However, these empty rooms are occupied. You will locate extra supplies (in the form of random junk, damaged machinery, and the periodic scavenger that you chase off), a survivor who will gladly join you, or the occasional horde of zombies lurking about. The zombies need to be cleared out before you can use a room, an activity which is tied to any available heroes you have.
Heroes will be discussed later in the guide. Base residents can be assigned to certain rooms to improve production and/or speed, with their specializations displayed on the resident list. If push comes to shove, you can send residents away if you are low on residential space, or you find someone who can perform their job better. They will say some cold words upon being evicted, but they will leave a parting gift. We hope you do not get too attached to whoever you had to let go.
Later on, you can construct the Research Institute for studying base-wide upgrades. Research trees are split into:
• Development, which revolves around base development and expansion;
• Economy, which focuses on resource production; and
• Combat, which naturally buffs the performance of your soldiers.
Some research options are available right after building the Institute, while others require you to upgrade the Institute to access them. Naturally, later research options will take longer to perform and will require more resources, going up to the aforementioned Oil and Steel at higher levels.
Besides the “standard” rooms mentioned earlier, you also have your Base Doors which show how much damage they can take before raiders can crack it open, as well as a Watchtower that warns of incoming attacks from other players and their compositions.
There is also a bank you can build that allows you to store a portion of cash and let it slowly increase via interest rates, but it will only function if you make an in-app purchase. It is otherwise non-functional and is only built for the sake of completing quest reward requirements.
2. Advancing Your Armies
Attacks from other players will become inevitable in First Refuge: Z, as will resource requirements for later upgrades; you will have to build up your troops in order to keep yourself up. As we mentioned earlier, there are three types of troops, each with different damage and resistances:
• Guards, who are melee-oriented and take reduced damage from gunners and light vehicles.
• Gunners, who are split between Snipers and Artillery and deal extra damage to light vehicles and guards respectively.
• Light vehicles, which deal extra damage to Gunners of both types.
All troops have ten tiers each, with higher-tier troops being more effective in combat. All troops are unlocked by upgrading the relevant barracks listed above. Over time, your forces will be composed of more elite units, though sometimes nothing beats sheer numbers. However, rebounding from losses using this strategy is incredibly intensive on resources and time.
Your troops are used for five purposes: gathering resources on the world map and from “resource “deposits (such as farms for food); defending from attackers; investigating things detected on your radar and scouting out the bases of other players; reinforcing allies ; and launching attacks. As such, you will need to balance things out to avoid leaving holes in your defense.
You can specify the exact number of troops you wish to send out for whatever purpose, so that you do not have to go all out for an attack or an investigation. Your army’s marching speed will remain the same no matter how you compose your army, even if you rely mainly on vehicles.
Furthermore, it can only be increased via research. The amount of excursions you can launch per day is limited by a stamina meter which maxes out at two hundred units of stamina, and once it runs out, you cannot send out any parties until enough stamina has been restored. You can either manually select points of interest to send your forces towards, or use the radar to search for specific things like zombie hordes and resource deposits.
Aside from resource caches, investigating things may also reward new survivors, progress boosters for base tasks, and even whole groups of soldiers for future reinforcement. Once they have completed their tasks, any surviving troops will head back to base with the spoils of war. Crossing paths with other armies will thankfully not result in further casualties, or that would just be unfair.
You might have noticed hints of a giant gorilla (also known as the X-Gorilla) throughout the game, most clearly at the loading screen. Progressing through the main quest will unlock said gorilla, which has connections to whatever triggered the zombie apocalypse in the first place.
The gorilla can tag along in base assaults, and has items dedicated to levelling it up and increasing its performance. These are found by attacking bandit outposts detectable via the radar. As you can guess, having a giant gorilla on your team works wonders when it comes to attacking somebody.
3. Wasteland Navigation
You can move the camera around the map to explore it on your own terms, though all maps are separated into individual “states” which you can visit if you want to. You can quickly move your camera back to your base by taping the indicator that appears when your base moves off-screen.
You can also spot the armies of other players moving about, hopefully not in your general direction or to a location you have sent some of your men towards. Your watchtower will (thankfully) alert you of any incoming attackers or scouts headed your way. If you get a warning of an impending assault, it is best to start hunkering down, or at least make sure your garrison is well-prepared.
Hopefully, you upgraded your warehouse to sufficient levels, ensuring that a successful attack does not end up plundering too many resources and make rebuilding too difficult. There are purchasable base shields that flat out prevent players from invading your base, which is nice if you need to recover from a particularly massive attack.
There are also teleporter items that exist to move your base somewhere else, including different states if need be. The teleporters come in two varieties: a standard teleporter that allows you to transport your base to any destination of your liking, and an alliance teleporter that moves you closer to your alliance leader(s).
You can use teleporters to find more valuable resources, looking for a less cramped space to call home, or to move away from particularly irksome invaders. These teleporters cost Cash however, so be mindful on where you want to move.
4. Heroes And You
Heroes are needed to lead army activities on the outside world, as well as clear out zombie infestations in your base. You can send up to three heroes for these tasks, unlocking a fourth hero slot after you get your gorilla. You start off with two heroes out of your group of four, and unlock a third one shortly afterwards. Each hero has a cooldown-restricted ability they can use during infestations:
• James George – The head of your small band of survivors. During infestations, he can send out a drone that stuns and damages zombies in a specific area of effect.
• Brad Woods – A gung-ho man who can send his guard dog to intercept zombies, preventing them from advancing until the dog loses all its health and retreats.
• Albert Sullivan – An old man you find in the stronghold; his shotgun can fire a powerful shot that damages and knocks back zombies in a cone-shaped area in front of him.
During zombie fights, your heroes will open fire on any zombies that wander into range, with a boss zombie indicated before the encounter. The objective is to kill all the zombies before they overwhelm your heroes. If a hero falls during a fight, he is merely incapacitated and as long as one hero survives the encounter, defeating all the zombies clears out the room and allows you to develop it.
Heroes have two specialties that determine what they are best suited for, ranging from resource collection to base attacks. They also have minor boons to certain things such as the defense stat of certain soldiers or how quickly they can gather a specific resource. You can upgrade heroes with XP booklets found by scavenging the outside world and completing quests, with each level up increasing their performance.
You can find new heroes from the Last Saloon, a bar in your stronghold that lets you roll for heroes or resources. The standard roll replenishes its tickets every five minutes for a maximum of three, and the special roll replenishes its sole ticket every three days, though upgrading the Saloon decreases the cooldown rate. The Special roll is one of the few ways to unlock fragments for new heroes, though they can also be acquired via resource exchanges.
To unlock heroes, you need to collect fragments from the saloon rolls, and you are rewarded with a new hero once you have enough of them. If you already have a given hero, their fragments are instead used to increase their Hero Rank, which should not be confused with their level.
The Hero Rank boosts their stats to greater extents and unlocks new abilities. Some heroes can be purchased right off the bat via in-app purchases, as opposed to waiting for the right amount of fragments to drop.
Meanwhile, besides your username, your account can be customized with gear and talents. Gear takes the form of bits of clothing that improve a certain aspect of your base such as research speed or army damage. Meanwhile, talents, which act similar to research topics by serving as base upgrades, are unlocked by spending talent points, which in turn are acquired by increasing your base power.
The base power is calculated through a combination of your base’s completed research, the upgrade levels of your rooms, your troops, and the overall power of your collected heroes. Thus, by increasing your base power, you become a more effective commander. If you feel that you allotted your talent points to the wrong slots, not to worry: you can reset them with Cash.
Completing certain tasks will add to your quest progression. This offers a variety of awards for you to collect and uncovers more of the story behind this game. There also exists a daily login bonus, encouraging regular playtime, as well as daily tasks that offer more lucrative prizes the more tasks you complete.
Once the next day rolls in, these rewards will reset for you to try again. This can easily translate into a sizeable amount of supplies, as long as you give your residents something to do at all times.
5. Brothers In Arms
You do not have to survive this world on your own, with alliances available for you to join and contribute to. Joining an alliance or founding one of your own offers a one-time Cash reward, giving you some motivation for entering or creating one.
Some alliances may have a minimum base power and command center level requirement for you to join them, while others are open to anyone regardless of rank. Alliances can hold up to 50 members.
Alliance members can donate spare soldiers to each other to help reinforce their bases, allowing them to survive potentially devastating sieges, if not preventing them out of fear of retaliation. Alliance members can also assist each other in completing certain tasks such as construction and research, helping your colleagues’ progress through the game much faster than doing it alone.
Certain map activities such as attacking a massive horde of zombies or a gang of bandits can only be initiated by an alliance: in this case, it typically requires multiple members working in concert to complete them and earn their rewards. The game will notify you when someone initiates a raid, allowing you to decide whether or not you want to join in.
You are given one teleporter that moves you close to your alliance leader, which is great for sending troops to quickly reinforce your teammates or just generally seeking protection from others. You also have two more rooms dedicated for alliance interaction: an Embassy to send reinforcements to and generally help out alliance members, and a Hall of War that helps you rally reinforcements to your base.
Both rooms can also be upgraded, with the Embassy increasing the number of troops you can send, and the Hall of War increasing the number of allied troops that can be stationed in your base.
6. Miscellaneous Tips & Tricks
With the basics of First Refuge: Z laid out, here are our tips to keep your stronghold in top shape and hopefully dish out some damage of your own:
• Keep your researchers and architects busy. Having them regularly pumping out new technologies and renovations slowly but surely increases your base power. Higher base power also means more perk points.
• Send out detachments regularly. Unless you are planning for a major assault, have your soldiers collect resources and investigate things of note. Remember that you can potentially find more soldiers as rewards, so your men might come back with some friends.
• Make sure you have sufficient defenders. While this tip may sound counterproductive compared to the previous tip, but the last thing you want is for an enemy scout to catch your base wholly undefended.
Keeping sufficient defenders will make your assailants think twice about raiding you. Of course, it is entirely possible for a scout to report that your base is undefended, only for your soldiers to return from a resource run…
• Complete your daily tasks. They seem simple enough, but doing enough of them will get you tons of goodies before the day is up. You can quickly redeem rewards by tapping the task icon at the lower right side of the screen.
• If you are in an alliance, remember to contribute regularly, as it not only helps your fellow alliance members, but it will also encourage them to help you in return. Everyone benefits from the exchange. Some alliances may make regular contributions a requirement in maintaining membership, and can kick you out if you do not perform to their standards.
• Know the best heroes for the job. Some heroes work best in resource gathering, while others are built for base raids. Choose your commanders wisely, and do not send all your heroes out all at once as you will need someone to clear out any zombies and scare away attackers.
Thank you for reading our First Refuge: Z guide! We hope that the tips and tricks we shared in this article will help you in surviving this zombie apocalypse, with or without friends, and learning the truth behind it. If you guys have any tips or strategies that we may have missed, please let us know in the comments below!