State of Decay 2 tips and tricks: How to deal with Plague Hearts and Infestations

State of Decay
State of Decay (Image credit: Microsoft)

State of Decay 2 is the ultimate zombie simulation game, pitting you and a group of terrified survivors against hordes of hungry undead. In your quest to survive, you'll establish a base, scavenge for precious resources, and battle it out with armies of undead, but you'll also have to manage your troupe's morale.

Two mechanics that are critical to the survival of your group in State of Decay 2 are Infestations and Plague Hearts. Infestations spawn dynamically, infesting a building with different types of zombies, directly affecting your community's morale. Plague Hearts are a little different. These gigantic mutations grow inside a building, spawning infectious red zombies, increasing the overall danger of an area. One of your main goals in State of Decay 2 is to eliminate these Plague Hearts.

We have some tips on how to deal with both of these threats in a safe and efficient way.

Dealing with Plague Hearts

Plague Hearts are mounds of festering flesh that spawn randomly in buildings on your map. There is a fixed amount of them per map, and part of the "end game" goals for your playthrough is to destroy them all.

Plague Hearts are represented on the map as blood tears as seen here. You can select them with "A" to track them as a waypoint.

You can find new Plague Hearts either by scouting at towers (binoculars on the map) or by spending influence on the radio for information on their whereabouts. With a gamepad, you can access the radio by pressing down on the d-pad, then hitting the right bumper. Locating a Plague Heart costs 350 influence, which isn't cheap.

Once you have decided upon a Plague Heart target, your next task is to kill it.

Plague Hearts can be tricky for a few reasons. First of all, they have some form of "intelligence," and summon nearby plague zombies to help them. Plague zombie bites are infectious, of course, and can cause your survivors to become severely ill. Things can go south quickly, so be sure to take necessary precautions.

Zombies are still attracted to loud noise. Distractions like firecrackers, car horns, and boom boxes can help keep the plague hordes at bay while you deal with the real threat.

You can strike a Plague Heart in melee range, but it'll eventually glow and emit a damaging pulse attack. This can cause all sorts of injuries and infections, so if you're hitting it in melee, be extremely careful.

The best way to deal with Plague Hearts is from a distance. Either using thrown explosives, C4, remote bombs, Molotov cocktails, or guns.

Make sure you bring a vehicle for a quick getaway if things go south. Plague zombies won't stop chasing you easily.

Bringing a follower from your group or in co-op can make things a lot easier, just be careful not to blow them up by accident. AI followers will dodge area damage, but only if they have enough stamina to do so.

Once the Plague Heart is defeated, all the surrounding plague zombies will instantly die. Don't forget to loot the plague samples for crafting cures at an infirmary. You might need them!

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The clip above shows me dealing with a Plague Heart using some of the strategies mentioned here.

Dealing with Infestations

Infestations work similarly to Plague Hearts in the sense that they "take over" a building, and need to be cleared out by any means necessary. Infestations spawn in clusters and then spread, making your survivors nervous, which can impact morale, and thus efficiency and resource management. Ignoring Infestations can be incredibly dangerous, so taking them out as they spawn should be a priority.

Infestations are represented on the map by green slimy icons. They usually spawn in random places then spread. Your radio will notify you when a new one has spawned.

Infestations list the expected threats when you mouse over them on the map. Low-level Infestations tend to have just screamers and regular zeds, but the noise of fighting them can attract other threats.

When you're approaching an Infestation, it tells you what type of threats to expect in the top left corner.

State of Decay 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

The best way I've found to deal with these sorts of house-bound Infestations is to lure them out using a noisy distraction like firecrackers or a car horn, then mow them all down with a car or explosive. Of course, this isn't always possible depending on the type of building that's infested.

Screamers are the most annoying aspect of Infestations, as their screams can temporarily stun you and attract more zombies to the fight. It's best to take out these guys from range. They can be easy to spot even in the dark, as they tend to have red glowing eyes rather than your typical zombie's yellow glowing eyes.

Taking a follower along for the ride can greatly improve your chance of success, but always be sure to stock up on supplies of meds and snacks, particularly if you want to take out a cluster of Infestations in one run.

That's a wrap ...

State of Decay 2 isn't perfect, but it's an infectiously-fun zombie SIM like no other. Hit the link below for more of our State of Decay 2 guides and tips, and let us know if you have any questions in the comments.

More: State of Decay 2 on Windows Central

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!