Monday, May 7, 2012

DayZ : A Survival Guide for the ArmA II Zombie Mod

People seem to really enjoy anything about DayZ. Whether they're endlessly playing the zombie survival mod, watching Let's Plays, or devouring any scrap of information on it, we here at KGB are no exception. In order to aid you in your Chenarian adventure, Dan Smith is here to help you get your footing in this Slavic nightmare.

I've spent a few hours in DayZ almost every day since it has been out. I have played on every server (which now amounts to a very sizable number, as well as routinely having more players than every other ArmA server combined, many times over as of this writing) and seen just about everything the game has to offer at this point. I have been involved in, as far as I know, DayZ's only mass transit system, rode in one of the very few ever operational helicopters, and robbed strangers in the night.

Fortunately, there have been a series of updates to the game regularly, ranging from bug fixes to entirely new content. We now stand at version 1.5.3, and several things in DayZ have seen major changes. Zombie perception has been heavily altered, and trash kinds of items can be thrown to distract the undead momentarily. Vehicles of all sorts have been added, including boats, which should make coastal travel significantly faster and safer. Certain weapon types have been removed for the sake of balance (No longer will weapons like the .50 caliber sniper rifle with a thermal scope spawn, for example), and the default weapon has been changed from the powerful .45 revolver into the much more impotent 9mm Makarov. Things are constantly evolving and changing in this zombie filled world.

Note: Not your friends.

Listening to feedback we've received from our previous DayZ coverage, we've taken time to outline some tips and explanations for all survivors of DayZ. Whether it's your first or fortieth character, I hope to help you in your foray into Chernarus.

- Everything involving in-game communication is dependent on the channel you select. Use the ',' and '.' keys to switch back and forth. Directional allows only people around you to hear you, Side and Global will allow everyone you hear you. Don't be that person announcing your position to the entire world.

- No one you meet is your friend. You may eventually come across someone who doesn't want to take away everything you love, but always presume that the man you meet is some sort of terrible, awful person. They usually are. With the recent 1.4 update, Humanity has been introduced. If your Humanity score drops too low, your character model is turned into a Bandit. You can pretty reliably determine these individuals as bad men.

- The Makarov is a terrible gun, made for bad people. If you want to put a zombie or player down quickly, it's going to take headshots. Replace it as soon as humanly possible. The M1911 .45 pistol seems much more common now, fortunately.

- Whenever possible, avoid traveling on pavement. Asphalt and similar surfaces cause significantly more noise and will quickly draw the attentions of undead friends. When in heavily infested areas, crouch walking will usually allow you to get around most of the Zombies, but beware your fellow man nonetheless.

Also not your friend.
- Zombies can't run indoors. Sprinting into a building will force them to walk and give you the time and room necessary to extradite yourself from a horde. Preferably you don't ever find yourself in this position, but when in a pinch it can save your life.

- Ocean water does not currently dehydrate you. Drink that shit up. I usually carry two canteens with me, so I always have some spare water, just in case. Similarly, learn which inland cities have fountains that can be used for refilling. Ponds are another option, although they are more finicky than necessary, currently.

- Learn what buildings offer what kind of loot tables. Barns will provide things like shotguns and hunting rifles, while a military hangar will offer up military grade hardware. Garages and warehouses will usually have car repair items and garbage. Remember that the nicer and rarer your equipment, the bigger of a target you will be.

- Don't deathmatch. Randomly killing players makes you a huge dick. Don't be that guy.

- The continuous sound of flies signals there is a player nearby. If you haven't heard gunshots in sometime, quickly locate, loot, and move on. If you HAVE heard gunfire, it's usually better to stay away and hidden for a time, observing. Keep in mind, the assailant may have had a suppressed weapon, although it's fairly unlikely.

- It is usually better to avoid players than to engage them. The amount of times I have simply sat in a bush, listening to folks talking as they walked past me is innumerable. People are oblivious if you use common sense. Similarly, if you are being hunted by a player, if you can find your way into a forest, put as much distance and trees between you two and find an area to drop to the ground. 9 times out of 10, they will run right past you. From there, you are in the position of power.

- On a similar note, traveling through forests is much safer than roads. Zeds don't spawn out there, and as long as you can navigate reliably (You do have a map and compass, don't you?), you're golden. You'll still need to visit civilization for supplies, but otherwise you’ll be fine.

Very probably still not your friend!
- Blood transfusions can only be administered by other players. Bring your own friends. Otherwise, you'll need to find wild animals, kill them, use a Hunting Knife to Skin them, a Box of Matches to start a fire, and cook the meat. Each piece will give you 800 blood.

- Use the 1866 Winchester. Seriously, it is the best gun in the game. It's common enough to find without a lot of effort, the ammo is common and plentiful, and it uses two different varieties. Slugs are great up to 200 meters and pellets will allow you to easily clear out aggressive Zed. Each inventory slot of ammunition holds 15 rounds, too!

- Vehicles are repaired piece by piece. Engine Parts will fix the engine, Fuel Parts will fix the Fuel Tank. Depending on the sort of vehicle, you'll need anywhere from 2 to 4 tires, and full Jerry Cans will replenish the fuel proportionately. They'll fill a motorcycle fuel tank much more a Blackhawk, obviously.

- Different sorts of Zombies drop different loot. Civilians might drop food, drink, or garbage. Soldiers might drop ammunition!

- Due to the Day/Night cycle operating in real time on a local basis, you should always be able to find a server that is Day (or Night, if you're a masochistic asshole).

Feel free to leave any questions in the comments below! I'll be happy to answer any you may have. Otherwise, please browse the DayZ forums here.

Dan is rugged survivor, as well as a casual Spaceman. You can follow him on twitter here.

Images taken from various DayZ communities. If you're the creator, please leave a comment and I'll make sure to source you.


  1. Nice article :), well written!

  2. it would be "Chernarussian" adventure not "Charnarian"

  3. Make sure to stay out of big cities if it is your first time playing. Bandits are usually camping on roof tops waiting for the unsuspecting victim to come strolling by.

  4. Awesome, helps a lot too :D Did not know flies was the sign of people. or that zombies cant run in doors.

  5. Dear Friend,

    Great quick guide. Suggested add-ons: packs use them (nobody knows how to use them), zombies are allergic to stairs and hills, when starting avoid cities and go for the barns of small towns, discuss noise issues (terrain and running), and finally refilling canteens in the ocean.

    -A noob

  6. P.S. My mind was just blown by adjusting the HDR (up) video setting for night time. It adjusts the reflection on objects, in this case moonlight will reflect off the grass etc.

    Wow will it change your game play. If done correctly it actually seems like a normal night...opposed to the pitch black pit of oblivion that is day z night w/o HDR cranked up.

  7. Wish i could figure out how to loot things :(

    1. I think you just click your middle mouse button when you're looking at whatever you want to loot. My experience with the mod is still fairly limited, though.

  8. Just press "G" when you look at something you want to pick up. The item you want to pick up should be listed in the left-hand pane (if it isn't you're not close enough to it). If you see it, select it and press the right chevron (>) to add it to your "gear".

  9. Zombie's are smart... they don't run indoor's so thier less likey to fall and hit their head on a coffe table.

    A. Zombie

  10. Hello,really we have one gun at begin?, i dont see it or i am really noob :)
    My start bag have a flashlight, medical and anesthesics only.

    1. I reply myself, not weapon at begin in update 1.7.., run!!!!

  11. Thank you new update i start plying with no gun and spawn next to a guy being chased by 50 zombies guess what they all go for me i try to run and he then get cold and die (when you see a zombie get on ground in prone press z and crawl slow but they see you so far away standing up.

  12. Great article! We tried to write one as well, good to see more love for Day Z!

  13. nice but i have got a few questions fist jaja what are the flies indicate?
    and where can you find cammo wearing?
    thanks and sorry for my english. :)

  14. u can find camo anywhere i found a ghillie suit in cherno in a house

  15. well written apart for 1 little thing....

    you wrote: "(or Night, if you're a masochistic asshole)."

    i totally disagree. if you got the night vision google, you can easily loot big cities or military bases without being noticed by Zed's, as they cant see through darkness. But this is just my opinion.

  16. On the off chance that your survival kit will be versatile then you ought to most likely run with the absolute minimum of 1 liter for every individual every day. survival kits