Heroes are the main characters in the Dead Island franchise. The four (five if counting John) Hero classes in the first game are Tank, Assassin, Jack-of-all-Trades and Support. In the second game, the classes are Berserker, Huntress, Bishop and Speeder. If more than one person is using the same class/character, then they will both appear in game as that character, although it will not affect the storyline in any way. Each character has a unique set of skills in their skill trees which can be enabled and improved by spending skill points earned with each level up. Purchasing skills will provide bonuses to certain abilities or unlock new combos or finishing moves. There are three skill trees for every character: Fury, Combat and Survival.
Every Hero has their own Fury skill which is related to their specialty. Entering Fury Mode enables them to temporarily attack (with extra strength and infinite stamina) with either a weapon that has infinite durability/ammo or just their fists.
Sam B, the Blunt Weapons expert, serves as the "Tank" of the group and can absorb lots of damage while fighting off numerous enemies in close combat at the same time. His Fury skill enables him to punch enemies with increased strength and knockback force. Because of his high durability and expertise with the most common type of melee weapon, he is often considered the easiest character to use.
As a Blunt Specialist, he has numerous skills that increase the attack power and durability of all blunt weapons found in the game. His main element of use is the blunt exclusive Impact which increases Blunt Weapon Damage while his support skills are focused on increasing resistance to enemy damage.
Xian Mei is the Bladed Weapons expert and the "Assassin" of the group due to the high damage nature of edged weapons and her extraordinary speed and stamina. Her Fury Skill is to attack enemies with a short knife in a blinding frenzy of stabs and slashes. Unfortunately, she has the lowest health of the team which makes her the hardest Hero to use (as stated by most of the community) through the entire game.
As a Blade Specialist, she has her skills focused on making sharp melee weapons more effective and more likely to inflict critical damage. Her main elements are poison and her exclusive bleed weapon effects (similar to bleed effects added on blunt weapon mods which sharp weapons naturally do not have access to). She is able to survive through her support skills which further enhance her stamina and the effectiveness of medkits used on her.
Her best weapons are the Eviscerator with the Deathstalker Mod or, if it is too hard to acquire, the Zed's Demise with that modification. She has the longest Fury duration and is also the one who gains Fury points the fastest, which can easily be gained by simply scoring three critical kills. She is capable of one-hitting a Thug with a non-critical or non-elemental shot, assuming that she has the right skills and is using a high-tier Eviscerator.
Bladed weapons are naturally less durable, especially Katanas and Wakizashis, and also require more money to repair which translates to frequent visits to the workshop and more time spent finding and collecting money. One may also keep a Machete with a Hot Rod Mod as a secondary backup in case the primary is worn out and for beating down Walkers and Infected and also serving as a combo starter by setting poisoned or poisonous enemies on fire.
Logan Carter is the Throwing Weapons expert and the "Jack of all Trades" of the team. His Fury Skill allows him to throw an infinite amount of knives at nearby enemies.
Most of his skills are inclined towards improving his throwing ability and how he should be versatile in general. He gains skills that are unique to him such as being able to retrieve a thrown weapon without needing to pick it up again and inflicting damage on multiple targets with a single throw. He also has skills that make him more effective with both edged and blunt weapons. He also is the only Hero with the more reliable bonus from using alcohol. His greatest weakness is his low stamina which, despite hampering his ability to run and fight in melee, is somewhat meaningless since throwing does not consume stamina.
Unlike the other Heroes, Logan is much better suited at using the developer items due to the fact that thrown weapons do not lose durability. He can use the Mindblowing Military Knife to pop five Walkers or Infected in a single throw with a chance for the weapon to boomerang back, allowing him to do it again without having to pick up the weapon. He can also use the Homerun Baseball Bat to knock away multiple targets which allows him to avoid being overwhelmed by large numbers of zombies.
If the player does not intend to use the developer items due to how they unfairly break the game drastically, they can still depend on the more natural weapons in game. Because of his skill with both blunt and edged weapons, he can use weapons such as Eviscerator for a damage dealing throwable, or a Sledgehammer with Tesla Mod for incapacitation. His options are almost limitless.
Purna Jackson is the "Support" specialist within the team and the Firearms expert. When her Rage mode is activated, Purna uses a Revolver with unlimited ammunition. Her Fury skill can be further upgraded to provide bonuses to nearby allies such as health regeneration and increased damage, as well as the duration and the number of targets she can take per shot.
Most of her combat skills are optimized towards ranged weapons, making her guns more effective and, initially, can increase her ability to use edged weapons. Bonuses range from increasing damage to reducing recoil. Basically, most of her combat skills are there to give additional bonuses in using firearms. Her support skills are what make her what she is. She generates an aura that improves nearby Heroes even to the point of improving the durability of their weapons. She's also the only one with the skills that improve ammunition and increase the chance of finding a rare weapon.
Her best weapons are the Legendary firearms (the McCall's 9mm, the Crowd Pleaser, and the Defender of the Motherland) which can be modded with an optional element of either shock, fire, poison, or impact damage. Her shotgun blasts are extremely effective because of the fact that shotguns treat the head as a limb (meaning the head contains its own health instead of merely amplifying damage for the removal of the base health) which helps to conserve ammo in heavily infested areas by instantly killing tough enemies with headshots.
She should always carry enough material for making ammunition (such as Metal Scrap) so she won't be forced to switch to a melee weapon when she runs out of ammo.
John Morgan is the new playable character in the game Dead Island: Riptide. He was a Sergeant of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and is an expert in hand-to-hand combat. He was on vacation until he was caught up in the outbreak and then taken to a military ship within the Banoi peninsula, which unfortunately became shipwrecked near Palanai Island. John was imprisoned due to the fact that he refused to kill innocent civilians and, once he was bitten, he learned early on that he was immune to the virus.
John Morgan's expertise is in hand-to-hand weapons like Brass Knuckles, with additional skills that greatly improve his speed and stamina, as well as healing him on each critical hit. John is capable of going toe to toe with almost any type of enemy in single combat, with a number of skills that help him keep away from large groups or break them up with stun-based attacks. He can still fare well without a weapon, although this is inadvisable when fighting against multiple undead enemies.
Cliff Calo is the sole protagonist of the spin-off Escape Dead Island, and thus does not have a class title. The son of media mogul Tom Calo, Cliff was never interested in the family business until his father handed the reins of the company over to his younger sister. Feeling insulted, Cliff sets out to prove his worthiness by illegally going to Banoi, knowing that his father is obsessed with the Banoi crisis and would greatly reward exclusive insight into the truth behind the outbreak for his news channels. However, he instead decides to head to the nearby island of Narapela instead. Cliff is best friends with Devan Mavropani, and he has ambitions to become a comic book artist someday. However, the stress of the zombie outbreak snaps Cliff's hold on reality, and he becomes an unreliable narrator, as his experiences on Narapela are tainted by insanity.
Ryan is one of the four playable characters in the upcoming Dead Island 2 and currently the only protagonist to be officially unveiled. Described as the "Berserker" of the group, he is a former volunteer firefighter who uses sledgehammers as his preferred weapon.
Ashlee is the "Huntress" of the playable characters in Dead Island 2. Her name is revealed in the source code of the official website.
John is the "Bishop" of the playable characters in Dead Island 2. His name is revealed in the source code of the official website.
Dani is a playable character in Dead Island 2 and the "Speeder" of the group. Her name was revealed in the Gamescom Demo.
- In the early parts of the game, the Heroes can be heard yelling whenever they kill zombies. For example, they can be heard exclaiming about zombies not staying down, showing remorse for the infected survivors they have killed. In later areas in the game, they stop yelling and instead become more sarcastic and confident in themselves, showing the psychological development of the Heroes.
- The blood type of all the heroes is O- (O negative), which is what makes them immune to the kuru zombie prion. However, they can still be killed by wounds inflicted by the infected, and if an O- person is bitten by a zombie, they become a non-symptomatic carrier of the virus, and highly dangerous to people of other blood types.