Dayz Survival Guide

It's a beautiful morning
Unsurprisingly, the zombie apocalypse presents some challenges when it comes to remaining alive. Having played with mixed results for the past week, I wanted to pass on some sagely advice gleaned from my experiences.

the desolate shroud Guide to the Zomb-pocalypse

Starting Out
With only a meagre collection of supplies and a Markarov pistol to your name, marching into a zombie-filled town is going to end one way: you being turned into a human charcuterie plate. Stick to looting lonely farms and smaller settlements until you have a decent collection of supplies. Speaking of which...

Keeping Fed, Watered and Armed
Beyond the normal concerns of having enough bullets to cull the zombie populace, Dayz demands that you take care of your basic needs. Luckily enough, food and water is plentiful. 

If you've been exploring, hopefully your inventory is filled with cans of pasta, beans, and unlicensed soft drinks. A pair of canteens is ideal for keeping your thirst quenched. They can be refilled in lakes, the ocean (yes the ocean), and at water pumps in built up areas.  

Beyond food and water there are a few additional items to keep an eye out for during your travels.

Navigation: Compasses, maps, and watches are scattered throughout the world seemingly at random. Until you get your hands on a GPS, reading road signs is the best way to place yourself in the world. Be warned, the signs are written in Russian (this map shows place names in English and Russian). At the most basic you can navigate using a watch and the sun's position. Remember, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west!

Wait, where am I? And who is that man pointing a gun at me?
Storage: The default camel pack only holds eight items, not nearly enough to see you through the duration of the apocalypse. Be on the lookout for: the Czech backpack (20 slots), the Alice pack (24 slots), and the mega-Alice pack (not its real name). You will be a mobile discount canned goods/gun store in no time!

Becoming a Bearded, and Mentally Unstable Survivalist: Surprisingly, it's very easy to sequester yourself away in the woods/mountains, living off the animals you kill and cook. All you need is a box of matches and a hunting knife. Shoot one of the animals roaming the countryside, take all the raw meat it provides, set up a fire and cook to your heart's content. A syringe will allow you to drain the animal's blood to create blood packs. 

Eating cooked meat satisfies your hunger, restores a good chunk of your blood and, as an added bonus, makes you feel pretty tough. The crazed-survivalist part of this equation is up to you, although, after enough time in Dayz's woods I'm sure you will be naming trees and shrubs in no time.  

Staying Healthy: The zombies are going to hurt you, just accept it. And if they don't, the bandits will. Fortunately, Dayz provides you with the tools required to fix yourself up. If you start to bleed, apply a bandage as soon as you can. Blood is life; when you run out, yours is over. The shakes from pain can be cured by taking pain killers, broken bones require an injection of morphine.

Bandages can be found just about anywhere, more advanced medicine however will require a visit to an abandoned hospital. These are found in the larger urban centres, and you can bet your life they are occupied by bandits so your best bet is to try not to get hurt. 

Weapons: Exploring the smaller settlements and remote farms of Chernarus you will consistently come across these 6 weapons; the Markarov Pistol, Colt 45 pistol, Cz Sniper Rifle, Winchester Rifle, Enfield Rifle, and Crossbow. Don't use the crossbow. It may be silent and its ammo is recoverable, but it's truly terrible.

My preferred setup is the Winchester and Colt 45 pistol. Ammo is plentiful for both and each weapon will take a zombie down in a single shot. The Winchester is extra versatile using two varieties of ammo – slugs for long range, and pellets i.e. buckshot for close encounters. What would a zombie game without a shotgun? Not worth mentioning I say!

For more advanced hardware, you will need to visit a military installation. There are three airfields on Chernarus – two in the north, one in the south. These are a reliable source for military grade weaponry. Be warned, airfields are almost always watched by bandits. If you are going to go, stay sharp, travel with a friend, or just shoot anything that moves. These reprobates will take you down without hesitation – and likely teabag you for good measure. 

I think they found me.
Keep it down! 
The undead hear everything. Well they don't actually, but if you go firing your weapon in the middle of a zombie infested area you will be overwhelmed in a matter of seconds.

Sneaking into town is an effective and rewarding way to retrieve supplies. Crouch walking is usually enough to evade the undead. For truly overrun areas it is a good idea to crawl, and keep your distance.

There are times, despite your best efforts, when remaining unnoticed is not an option. You will often find a zombie or four between you and that precious can of beans. When you have to shoot, be aware that each weapon makes a different amount of noise.

The much derided Markarov will take a zombie down with a single headshot and not make too much noise doing so. The Enfield rifle, on the other hand, will announce your arrival to every member of the walking dead more effectively than an air horn. If you are lucky enough to stumble across a silenced weapon, protect and covet it.

Being stealthy helps preserve your supplies, ammunition, and health so you will be well equipped when the undead do notice you. And they will.

It's Not Murder if They're Already Dead
So you have been noticed, or maybe you wanted to be noticed - I mean what red-blooded individual doesn't want to slay legions of the undead? Either way there is going to be some shooting. Far be it for me to tell you what the best way to kill zombies is, but here are two methods I have found effective.

Engage them at a distance: The only downside to this approach is all the zombified residents of Chernarus are apparently descendants of Usain Bolt. If your aim is good enough you should be able to take most of them down before they get to you.

Fight Indoors: Despite their speed and ferocity in unarmed combat, the zombies seriously lack in spacial awareness. They are only able to walk indoors, giving you lots of time to line up your shots and take them down one by one.

I was not responsible for this.
General Tips
Arma2 is a weird and wacky place. For me this is part of the charm; for others you may end up throwing your computer across the room after climbing a ladder and having your character animate themselves to their own demise. These tips will prepare you for some of the unintentional mishaps that come whilst playing Arma.

- Ladders - Climbing a ladder with a pistol can be done successfully, all you need to do is go prone as soon as you get to the top. You shouldn't have any issues with a primary weapon equipped.
- Swimming - If you jump in the ocean or any body of water that causes your character to go into a swimming animation you may end up losing all your gear. Store it safely onshore before getting your feet wet.
- Crashed Helicopter - I discovered this one last night after surviving in game for about 48 hours. If you climb into a crashed helicopter the game will think you crashed along with it and murder you accordingly. I don't think the same applies to wrecked cars. - This has been fixed in 1.5.7.

If you have any tips for your fellow survivors leave them in the comments. If you find me online - I play as JoeBucksVoice - please don't shoot, I'm a friendly... or am I?


  1. Really enjoyed both your write ups on Day Z. Thanks for the great reads :)

    1. Thanks for the feedback, glad you enjoyed them.

  2. Don't discount the crossbow. It may not be good for taking down a zombie horde running towards you, but it's perfect for hunting and for taking out single zombies that are in your way without alerting anyone else that is nearby.

    You said silenced weapons should be protected and coveted, and the crossbow is, in essence, a silenced weapon.

    1. Good points. My issue with it is the lack of ammo, and slow fire rate make it fairly ineffective as a primary weapon when compared with others you come across regularly.

      I think combining the crossbows quietness with a more powerful secondary weapon can be an effective combination

  3. Thank you. Very informative. I wish I'd read this 12 hours ago, as much of the logic isn't exactly intuitive.

    I'd also like to know in more detail about the entrenching tool, repairing vehicles and item storage (how everything you drop tends to derez etc).