Despite the insanely mixed reviews found on Steam, DayZ (Standalone) is one of the most in-depth, community-driven survival games available on the platform. Sure, there are contenders such as Rust and Conan Exiles, but nothing quite matches the scope and dread of DayZ. You’ll begin this little adventure at a random spawn location – usually near the beach to the extreme south. Equipped with nothing more than a single road flare, one bandage, and the clothes on your back, you’ll need to scavenge, evade, and survive the countless enemies of Chernarus. Those enemies? They’re mostly human. In the world of DayZ, it’s the player you must fear the most. A survival game like this brings out the worst of mankind. Bandits, raiders, and cannibals galore!
If you can manage to kickstart your journey, find a bit of food and water, and maybe even a working firearm, you’re already in decent shape. Of course, this world does feature perma-death, so don’t grow too attached to that wonderfully-pristine hunting rifle. You should know, a hunting rifle is just the beginning. It’s an early-game weapon meant for self-defense, not offense. The real weapons are only available at military bases, where players love to gank.
If you’d like to survive the world of DayZ, you’ll want to move slow, perhaps even find yourself a partner or group. These 15 tips should help you survive your adventures in Chernarus. If not, maybe it wasn’t meant to be. This is a kill or be killed world, after all.
15. Baby Steps
Upon spawning into the world of Chernarus, you may find yourself a little overwhelmed. There is a massive open world standing before you, and you’re equipped with a few odd items that are basically unusable at this point in the game. Your first goal is to locate food, whether it’s a can of beans or a chicken wandering across the road.
No matter the type of food, you’ll need a sharp object to either cut the can open or slice the chicken in quarters. You probably won’t have access to a knife or ax this early, so your best option is an improvised knife made of a rock. The beach is the perfect location to search for a small stone. Simply stare at the ground and begin your search. Once you’ve found your quarry, equip the stone and then select the option to craft an improvised knife. This rock can be used as a weapon in a pinch, but is better at food-related tasks first.
14. Learn Your Loot Locations
If you’re playing DayZ correctly, you’ll spend much of your time looting the game world. Only a small bit of your time will be spent fighting anyone. That’s right; the game isn’t all PvP. To prepare for a fight, though, you’ll need better-tier gear.
So, learn your loot locations. First off, the Piano House, which has three doors and a piano on the first floor, usually has ammunition, guns, food, and clothing that spawn at random. Next, check police stations for weapons, ammunition, and clothing. Finally, explore military tents for high-end weapon attachments, food, military clothing, backpacks, and the occasional firearm. You may not get lucky every time, but chances are high you’ll find something useful each time you visit a new spot. Alternatively, stake out one of these locations (like the police station) and ambush another player.
13. Items You Need
Of course, a game based around loot will have gear that is almost required of the player. First off, an improvised stone knife is always useful. Secondly, bandages and rags will save your life if you get into a scrap. Finally, a sawed-off IZH-43 shotgun.
Why the shotgun? Well, besides fending off the occasional zombie and ambushing players in close-quarters, the sawed-off shotgun is useful if you have been ambushed. Most bandits will request you drop your weapons and gear immediately. They may not check your backpack, though, which will fit a sawed-off shotgun if it’s the right size. You can then pull it quickly and blast away. You’ll first need the shotgun itself and a hacksaw to saw off the barrel, though. Finding both can be troublesome.
12. Carry Morphine
It’s relatively easy for a new player to pass over the morphine injections after stumbling upon one in a hospital or clinic. If you spend enough time looting Chernarus, you’ll break a leg eventually. A broken leg in this game means you cannot walk, run, or even crouch. You’re stuck in the prone position. You could use a wooden splint to repair the fractured limb, but a morphine injection is easier. The item takes up just a single slot in your inventory, making it even more useful and conservative.
Sure, you could spend the morphine injection on a broken arm, but we highly recommend saving it for the legs. You can still escape from a fight with a broken arm, but not a broken leg. You’re basically dead in the water.
11. Avoid The Roads
While all roads in this game lead to either a town or a city filled with loot, you’ll want to avoid using them at all costs. It’s nothing for a bandit to hide in the tree line and pick off unsuspecting players who are minding their own business. Alternatively, you may wind up in a ditch on the roadside, hands on your head while bandits ruffle through your loot. A highway robbery is a very real possibility in DayZ, albeit one you can avoid if you’re smart, careful, and quiet.
Furthermore, the roads in Chernarus were meant for vehicles, which were recently added back into the game. Cars generally indicate a well-armed player or a group who have survived the game world for an extended time.
10. Don’t Forego Reconnaissance
Before you approach any town, hamlet, or clearing in the game, you’ll want to stake out the area and perform a little reconnaissance. If you’re lucky enough to have found a pair of binoculars, recon is a little easier to accomplish. If not, simply find yourself a nice bush or tree, wait a minute or two, and scope the entire area. Scan the tree lines, watch the top floor windows, and note the locations of any wandering dead before you make a move. For the most part, players grow tired of sitting in one spot for too long. There is always the possibility of a lone sniper who has the patient of a snail, though. If you detect any movement, examine it for a moment, survey the surrounding area. If you have a weapon and can get the drop on another player, do so from behind or the flank – never the front!
9. Invest In A Headset
While this may seem like a given for the PC gaming world, investing in a high-quality headset can make a significant difference. Sure, you could buy something from Walmart, but that headset will last a month or two, tops, and you won’t hear nearly as much.
With a good headset, the world of DayZ comes to life. You can hear footsteps, gunshots in the distance, zombies moaning down the road, etc. Furthermore, if you’re close enough, you can even hear two players chatting over in-game mic. In the survival genre, being able to hear your opponent before you see them is a matter of life or death. Some well-known brands include Razer, Asus, and Astro. While expensive, these gaming headsets will last a long time and can even be used for games besides DayZ!
8. Finding A Firearm
A melee weapon is an excellent tool, especially if you’re fighting zombies. If you’re against another player, though, you’ll want a working firearm with ammunition to hold your own. Finding a gun in Chernarus is not an easy task, though. Sure, you could head up to the Northwest Airfield in the hopes of finding an automatic weapon, but you’re likely to be shot in the process.
There are a few familiar locations in the game that regularly spawn firearms. Gun houses, for example, are small, wooden cabins that usually generate rifles, shotguns, and a variety of pistols in the far corner. Police stations, on the other hand, sometimes spawn an SKS, AKs, or even the famous MP5-K. Finally, factory rooftops occasionally feature MP-133 Shotguns, SKS, Mosin 9130, or the Repeater, among others.
7. Building A Fire
Hypothermia is one of the worst killers in DayZ, but you can avoid the issue altogether with warm clothing. Or, better yet, you could build a fire in a secluded location and warm yourself thoroughly. Bohemia added in a fireplace kit, which allows you to cook meat and heat yourself up a little.
Unfortunately, building a fire isn’t a simple task right now. In fact, each server has a message that pops up linking to a forum post explaining exactly how to craft a fire. That’s how challenging the feature is to use right now. It’s also a necessity, in some cases. First off, you’ll need a single stick, then rags, bandages, or paper. Combine the two to craft a fireplace kit. If it’s raining, place your fire pit somewhere indoors. A factory or a warehouse would work wonders.
6. Killing Zombies
In the beginning, the zombies of DayZ were more of an annoyance than anything else. They posed little to no threat whatsoever. You could even punch them in the head and then go about your day. Now, however, things have changed a little.
With a recent update, zombies have now become a threat to the player. You can still kill a zombie, of course, but it is not a good idea to go one-on-one with them. Their melee ability has received a massive damage boost and they’re even more agile. If you have a gun (your best option), use a suppressor to muffle the shot. Try to remain at a distance, too. If possible, fire from above or from behind low covers, such as a stone wall or picket fence.
5. Find An M4A1
The M4A1 is currently the most coveted weapon in the game and, as such, it is also the most difficult to acquire. A few years back, finding an M4 was easy. They were literally scattered about the map in the most mundane of locations. Today, things are different. There are now two known methods to acquire an M4: kill a player wielding one or search helicopter crash sites. Obviously, the latter is the easier of the two.
The majority of helicopter crash sites are located on the west side of the island. Unfortunately, they’re considered a considerable risk and little reward loot spot. You’ll either find something useful (like an M4), or you’ll discover absolutely dirt. If you’re determined enough, however, your best option is to find a truck or other vehicle, note each location of a downed helicopter using the DayZ DB map, and then stop at each one.
4. DayZ DB
Speaking of DayZ DB, learning the world map is the most challenging aspect of the game. Chernarus is so massive, with winding dirt roads and city streets, that navigating the entire expanse is nearly impossible for a new player.
If you have a second monitor, even better! If not, simply alt-tabbing to check out DayZ DB is a godsend. The website features an extensive map of the entire game world, including vehicle locations, helicopter crashes, tree stands, and even road systems to help you navigate the woods. Of course, you’ll need to examine a few road signs in-game, preferably near your current location, to efficiently work out where you are on the map. Since all the signs in-game are in Russian, you’ll need to get as close as possible. Thankfully, the map has quasi-translations available over each Russian name.
3. Don’t Knock Fishing
As of patch 0.57, fishing has become a viable source of nutrition in Chernarus. If you can manage to fend for yourself near a lake, river, or ocean, you can succeed into the late-game with ease. First off, you’ll need a fishing rod, fish trap (optional), a fireplace, and cooking implements.
To craft a fishing rod, you’ll require the following materials: a knife, rope, long wooden stick, and a fishing hook. Combine each item in your inventory to craft a makeshift fishing pole. Secondly, a fishing trap can be fashioned out of a plastic bottle and a knife. This is an effortless way to catch fish passively. To cook your catch, you’ll need a fireplace and a knife to slice the fish. A frying pan or cooking pot will be useful here.
2. Curing Sickness
Bohemia decided the world of DayZ wasn’t quite challenging enough, so, as of patch 0.50, they’ve added in sickness to the game. The disease mechanic, which is rather simple, has various stages (itchy wounds, infected wounds, severely infected, and recovery). Each stage lasts for between 10 and 40 minutes, depending on the severity of the injury and the particular stage your character is at. It’s important to eat and drink during each stage, as you’re more susceptible to starvation and dehydration while your wounds are infected.
Curing sickness, on the other hand, is quite simple and straightforward. You can use either antibiotics or alcohol tinctures to clean the wounds. Upon applying the makeshift medicine, you’ll immediately be granted Stage 4, which is the recovery phase. From there, it’s smooth sailing!
1. (Not) Making Friends
This is the ultimate survival game, so having someone to watch your back is a worthwhile endeavor. Our first and really the only tip you need to know when it comes to making friends in-game is don’t. Sure, partnering with a buddy from outside the game is useful. If you decide to solo DayZ, then form a quasi-coalition with another player or two in-game, you’re going to have a bad time.
It turns out that the player community is pretty hectic right now. There is no reason not to kill an opposing player the moment you see them. Without a karma system or any penalties for killing-on-sight, you’re left with an environment that rewards bandits and sociopaths. The thrill of the kill and the potential for loot – even just for a can of peaches – is omnipresent. You’re better off going at it alone.