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Welcome to Kenshi! Before starting your epic sandbox adventure, take a minute and start configuring some of the numerous options. You will undoubtably need to do so as Kenshi is currently in Alpha and is rather poorly optimized for most PC machines.
Global population and squad-size sliders should be left alone. They can heavily pound your FPS into the ground, especially with long-lasting sessions.
If you experience any crashes, try turning off V-synch and terrain cutting in the Launcher options.
Kenshi is also currently only Single-player so go ahead and get started by choosing just what beginning you want.
There are a dozens of different alternatives but for now, we're gonna go with the standard "Wanderer".
Basics & Getting started
When first starting out, you'll be treated to a character creation screen-
Here, you can change a variety of sliders, anything from your hair to how big your feet are.
When done, you will spawn in a random location. To move, select your character and rightclick.
In my case, I spawned inside a giant arena and had to run my way up a huge set of stairs and into a rather empty city.
When you spawn, depending on your start, you'll have literally nothing besides a pair of pants and a clumsy sword.
To have any chance to make it in Kenshi, you will need to 1. Find a town..
And 2. Find a pair of bandits or other hostiles. This is easier said than done as Kenshi is a huge place.
Huge groups of people can appear as mere pixels in this sandbox and It's up to you to find the right ones.
A good way to start is to open your map and see just where you are. In my case, I spawned at the bottom right border of the map in a town called Heft. A rather bad place since It's empty and has pretty much no NPC's or hostile close-by save for a few in the town.
Running to the middle of the map is usually the way to go as there is the highest concentration of civilization.
Kenshi also features a dynamic day-and-night system, meaning you'll have to know exactly where you're going or get lost in the process.
Taking a quick stop at any town you come across while travelling is also worth your while to check in on the local goods & inns and see just what they're offering.
You may also come across merchants travelling inbetween cities. Attacking them is not a good idea as the profit is shallow and the risk & consequence values are huge.
To go inside a building, simply step through the door. Here we have a trading outpost.
They offer a wide variety of goods, most of them useable of you somehow but mainly they are for trading inbetween towns where you can jack up the price.
The more benificial ones to have are narcotics. They are illegal and may get you arrested..
And Chainmail sheets. they are highly valuable, dont weigh a whole lot and are surprisingly compact.
The Inns are also important places to take note of as they house the only place where you can sleep and heal at acceptable rates.
Town bars are also places you'll have to visit in order to recruit new members to your party. Some of them are very costly however, especially warriors and thus you'll have to wait a bit before getting more specialized help.
There are also dedicated stores to certain goods, for example, here is a store dedicating itself entire to selling hats.
Here's one for getting various building & crafting materials..
And here's one for weapons. They all vary from town to town and some may even have unique recipes you can buy to craft certain well-made items yourself.
The absolute first thing you need to do is to find some darn bandits. They travel in pack and should be relatively easy to see.
Travelling is the biggest time-sink in Kenshi. Speed it up by clicking the arrows on the bottom right.
Eventually, however, you should find some bandits. Make them follow you by running close and haul ass back to town ASAP.
Navigate carefully or get lost and waste huge amounts of time.
Be also careful about speeding up. Sometimes the game saves, sometimes it freezes, sometimes it hangs up a bit and all can end up with you dying.
In this case, on my way back to town, I found an injured wandering city guard. Usually, the city guards will obliverate the bandits but 10 to 1 the city guards gets K.O'ed.
And when the city guard gets K.O'ed..
You get to loot him!
In this case, I got my hands on one of the best armors in the game, although shoddy in grade, It fetches a very nice price on all markets and doesn't have any huge deductable minuses like being the armor of a faction. Merchants don't like that and will cut back on the price significantly.
"Armors in Kenshi are also rather complicated, as one can see from just glancing at the armor info. Coverage is how much of a chance the armor will have to cover a certain area of the body. 40% is about half the time, 100% is always.
Weapons are complex too. Some are good for defending, some for offense, some for both. Some do a lot of "Blood" damage to cause enemies to fall into a bloodloss shock and some just maim limbs & bodypart until foes die. Katanas are more of the bloodloss types.
As I stop looting however, I unfortunately fail to get away and get smacked in the legs.
This prevents me from running away with the already heavy encumberance I got from hauling all this gear.
Eventually, the blood loss becomes too great..
And I lose conciousness.
At this state, there is absolutely nothing you can do If you don't have any concious, controllable characters around besides your one that is lying down.
"The medical system in Kenshi is also quite complicated. But the jist of it is If your blood, head, chest or stomach gets under 0, you pass out.
In this case, only my leg got severely injured and I was able to wake up in time to stop myself from bleeding to death.
Right-clicking on yourself or your avatar will pop up the prompt to "First Aid" if you have a bandage close at hand or other first aid kits.
As my character is a newbie at almost everything, bandaging all my injuries took a very long time.
It also consumed tons of medkit "Charges".
And when I was done first-aiding, an entire medkit was consumed + some more. Good thing I found one on that guard.
But even moreso unfortunately, due to my severe left leg limb damage, the already slow travelling speed of my character was hamstered further, leaving the 3x speed-up timer to be nothing but a drip in the ocean as I crawled back to town.
It took almost an entire day to simply go around a small mountain which makes It invaluable to have, say, a partner that can carry you when your legs fail.
Alas, I did not have enough money to afford one so crawling it is.
"Green on youjr "health bars" means that much is fine. Yellow means It's damage that is bandaged. Red means it's maimed, AKA, heavily damaged that needs medical attention.
Splinted status means you can continue using your limbs even though they are yellow. A very useful thing.
Advanced & Stats
Kenshi also features a rather sophisticated status screen for all characters. Strength is how well you use heavy weapons and armor without tiring out while also allowing you to carry more.
Dexterity dictates your usage of more agile weapons such as katanas and also allows you to both block and attack faster..
Toughness is how much damage will get applied to your health bars when you get hit. It's also a rather unique stat whereas It will allow you to dip below 0 of certain health bars and still function, AKA stay concious. It can be invaluable in drawn-out fights where you end up getting knocked out, just to get back up and keep fighting again.
Katanas need little explaining. They are smooth, long and slightly but subtly curved extremely sharp blades that swing quickly and is capable of both serious cutting damage and large blood-loss on hits.
Sabres are like katanas, slightly curved but come in greater weighs which means more blunt damage than their katana sisters. They also usually have a little more range.
Hackers are in essense, huge axes disguisde as swords. They do terrible maiming damage but little to no blood loss so you may need to smash someone until every surface of their body is destroyed rather than have them fall unconcious from bloodloss.
Heavy weapons are self explanatory. Really heavy stuff. Like gigantic clubs. When they are swung, they cover a huge arc infront of you and not only often one-shot opponents but they also smash through their limbs like butter.. If they aren't blocked.
They are however, insanely heavy and one of such decent weapons can weigh up as much as to 80 kilos, whereas a newbie character can only carry about 20 in total without armor.
Turrets are a new features. They are essentially just a harpoon gun slapped onto a bit of wall. Not of much importance and very buggy.
Melee attack skill dictates your fighting prowess. In essence, It's simply your chance to hit/land a swing and/or bypass an opponents blocking. Absolutely necessary to be high If you plan to use, say, a heavy weapon or a hacker as they are slow-swinging.
Defense is your ability to predict attacks and block them accordingly. It can be significantly boosted by pressing the button at the bottom right saying (Block Only). It gives you 10+ more defensive skill, although It will train less quickly.
Stealth is a largely unimplemented feature but it will conjuncture with another stat below.
Athletics is a very important stat. It governs your running speed and as anyone can tell you from playing Kenshi for even an hour, running takes up a lot of time.
Thus, It's very important to master not only for trading, travel and sheer convenience purposes but also for escaping combat and being able to move with armor at any considerable speeds.
Field medic is your ability as a doctor or a practitioner of medicine. It determines on just how many charges of medkits you'll burn through trying to save someone's life. It can be very hard to train.
Engineering skill determines your ability to build and repair faster. More on that later.
Weapon smith is your ability to create weapons. It's very hard to raise but you can do so by spending time at a metal beating station.
Armor determines just what armors you can make and how efficient they will be on keeping blades out of your guts.
Science is a stat while complicated, only does one thing. Increase the speed of which you use a research bench.
Labouring dictates a variety of things. Be it mining from an ore mine, operating machinery or even crafting sometimes. Hard to raise.
When and IF you finally reach a town, make your way to an Inn.
Ignore the inn-keeper as he's bugged at the moment and right-click a bed behind him.
Some bugging may happen, but you'll essentially pay 100.c to use a bed.
Right-click the bed to fix most aesthetically glitchy distortions.
After some time, your wounds will finally begin to heal If they have been tended to by a medic or yourself with medkits.
Here you can see that my leg is barely half-way done of being to full strength after an entire day worth of rest.
Kenshi is VERY time-consuming and I suggest you'll start stockpiling patience before playing or simply learning more about the game via some of the tabs or options.
Once rested sufficiently, go to a nearby NPC trader..
And sell off some of the clunky armor. I recommend keeping the better weapon and maybe a helmet If you find one. Boots are almost a guaranteed "No" to benefits as they slow you down a LOT unless they're wooden sandals.
Once almost back at full strength, It's off to travel.
Navigation in Kenshi is important. Don't lose track of your golds. And namely, right now we want to head towards the middle of the map.
And while still in alpha, Kenshi does have a visual appeal.
For better or worse, during my travels, I found a traveling pack of guards. Not much for mentioning before..
Before bingo! I also found a couple of bandits close-by lead them smack into the guards and started a huge fight.
Starting these kind of fights should be done whenever possible in order to have a chance to build your character. It's essential to get both your weapon and attack & offensive skills up whenever possible.
Smacking the spine off some random bandit that's distracted is the best way to accomplish this.
The loot is a nice bonus too, although In this case, the opponents were nothing more than starving bandits and they had nothing of value for me to bother hauling around.
Kenshi is all about squeezing water out of a stone though, so In this scenario, I could burn through some of my medkits in order to have huge opportunities to raise my Field Medic skill. it's however, not recommended to do so when alone as medkits are worth quite a bit and they could be sold to gain another follower instead.
Don't forget to bandaid yourself either after fights. Healing takes loads of time.
If you are having huge problems with finding bandits, go near a town and place down a "Small Shack". They are free to place down like this..
And once they do, you just wait a few seconds and..
Bandits will soon come as they "Discovered" your unconstructed building! Once they arrive, simply lead them to said nearby town..
And reap the rewards.
Be careful to not get too many on you, as If your head/stomach/chest or blood gets too low, you will still die. Although very slowly so.
That, however, concludes our guide for Kenshi as there's little more advice to give other than "Don't forget to save alot" as the game is prone to crashing and other misfortunate events, like you getting a critical hit onto your head and dying almost instantly.