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Beginner Tips And Tricks For DayZ

TheGamer 02/03/2023 Russ Boswell
© Provided by TheGamer

DayZ is one of the most in-depth, community-driven survival games out there. Equipped with nothing more than a glowstick, a piece of fruit, a bandage, and the clothes on your back, you'll need to scavenge, evade, and survive. Your enemies are the zombies you'll face in the wilds, as well as the bandits, raiders, and cannibals of other players.

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You can kickstart your journey early on if you find a bit of food and water, and maybe even a working firearm. However, you'll need more if you'd like to survive the world of DayZ. These tips and tricks should help newbies survive their adventures in Chernarus, but be mindful that this is a kill-or-be-killed world, after all.

Updated March 2, 2023, by David W. Duffy: Bohemia Interactive has continued to deploy updates aimed at making how to play DayZ as involved as ever. With that, however, comes new challenges, different ways of doing things, and more ways for both the zombies and other players to hold up your progress. We've refined this list of DayZ tips to reflect some of these changes, and added even more tips to make this a great beginner's guide for anyone looking to survive Chernarus.

Know Where To Get Food In A Pinch

The start of DayZ can be particularly difficult, purely because of the lack of food on offer. You'll be given a measly pear, apple, or plum when you spawn in, but your hunger and thirst gauges will also be in the yellow and declining fast. As such, your first half an hour will likely be rough.

Knowing where to get food in a pinch is key to navigating both this and the mid-game. Your best bet here is to either take down zombies, in the hope they drop spreads and canned meat, or to forage for more fruit. For the latter, open country lanes are worth checking out — they'll often have rows of fruit trees lining the sides. Orchards, however, are often barren.

Always Carry Chlorine Tablets

Likewise, you're going to need water. Unless you're well-hopping, which can be a risky endeavor if other players are in the vicinity, it's best to have a container — a bottle, a canteen, or even a cooking pot — on hand. Dehydration can affect blood regeneration, so you really, really need to be vigilant with water.

By having Chlorine Tablets on hand, you'll ensure a water supply almost anywhere on the map. You'll be able to draw from rivers, streams, and ponds without running the risk of Cholera, which can really derail your session. Drop a tablet into the container, and you're golden.

Remember To Disinfect

Following the theme of nasty side effects of lack of care, you'll also want to make sure you disinfect healing items before you use them. There's nothing worse than having a zombie cut you, then seeing your session end because you used filthy rags to wrap up the wound and got sick.

You can create bandages from clothing by tearing it up into Rags, but anything less than Pristine will need to be cleansed using Iodine Tincture, Alcoholic Tincture, or Disinfectant Spray. Damaged bandages should be disinfected too, just in case, and you can disinfect a Sewing Kit or Leather Sewing Kit before stitching yourself up.

Manage Your Clothing And Insulation

The nights are long and full of terrors. From wolves and bears to imperceptible zombies and players, pretty much any bump in the night is something to watch out for. What you don't want on top of all that is to get the flu and spend half the next day coughing and sneezing.

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Having the right clothing means you largely don't have to worry too much about the cold. Hunter garments naturally offer the best insulation, and gloves, ski masks, and hats all help. Make sure to keep them in good repair, too — even items with the best insulation will be ineffective if badly damaged.

Don't Hoard Everything, Create A Stash

There's so much loot available on Chernarus that you'll be sorely tempted to keep it all. Plenty of us have looked at those spare magazines or tools and said "I might need that later." However, this isn't the way to go.

Traveling light is better because you'll have more stamina, and consume less food and drink to keep you sustained. If you insist on collecting things, find a very secluded place and create a stash from Wooden Crates or Improvised Shelters. Bases are cool, but they just invite players to raid them. Take advantage of low-population areas, or even bury your loot somewhere only you know.

Have A Guide Open

There will be purists who tell you that asking for help or having a resource like a DayZ guide or community-driven wiki open is cheating, or not playing the game right. But they’re wrong, and probably bandit mains anyway.

DayZ has a lot of really important things worth knowing that it’s just not going to tell you, and you’ll need to figure them out fairly quickly if you want to survive. With how rough the realism mechanics can be, the sheer density of items and ammunition types, and the ever-present feeling that you’re never more than one decision away from a cock-up cascade, having a DayZ tips and tricks page open in an alternate tab can be pretty handy.

Avoid The Military Bases

There are a lot of locations to explore in DayZ, and plenty of loot to pick up. When you’re just starting out your first instinct will be to sprint right toward a city or a military base for the good stuff. Unfortunately, unless the servers are fairly empty, this will get you shot pretty quickly.

Military bases in particular are snipers' playgrounds. There are a lot of wide-open spaces to cross with very little cover, and the weaponry (if not looted already) is high-grade and totally capable of blasting apart newbies. The best gear in the game is usually located here, and since veteran players know this, they’ll often camp out nearby and pick off newbies like you. So avoid these areas if you can, or do a quick smash-and-grab if you can’t.

Play With Mods When Possible

Vanilla DayZ is great, but it’s a little buggy at times and there are still a few things missing to make it more interesting. Luckily the modding community has been active for years, and there are tons of great mods that are easy to install and often add a lot of genuinely helpful quality-of-life improvements.

RELATED: DayZ: The Best Mods, Ranked

For example, swap Chernarus for the unforgiving climes of Namalsk if you want an even more challenging experience. Or, use NoSprintingZombies by Staiff to slow down those marathon-running undead. More mods are made regularly, plus a lot of player-created servers use them to add some pretty unique environments to run around in. Many players never head to regular Chernarus, as there's just so much else available.

Beginners Should Avoid Busy Servers

Unlike other games, where the busier the server, the more anarchy there will be, with DayZ beginners should aim for quieter games. Getting to grips with the mechanics on an empty server, without having to worry about being clipped by a bandit from the bushes, is a great way to ease you into the fundamentals.

If your current survivor is two steps from death by dehydration or dragging themselves around on broken legs, you can just stash your loot, dump them, and try again without any major progress loss. Once you feel comfortable enough with the game and know where the best spots to loot are, you can then start joining busier rooms. This shouldn’t be as jarring as diving right into a near-capacity battlefield filled with merciless veterans.

Melee Weapons Are Not Worth It

Another of our many DayZ beginner tips worth noting is that melee weapons are generally not worth it. Whilst they’re okay for taking out a zombie or two, when it comes to PvP a Firefighter Axe isn’t going to cut it.

Melee weapons have always been a little funky, with hit detection often feeling like a dart thrown in the dark. Guns are far more reliable, if loud, but a couple of rounds in the mid-section are much quicker at putting someone down than a few wild swings or sucker punches. Use them as a last resort, for zombie bashing, or for crafting requirements, but don't keep hold of them if you need the space.

Take 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 the few odd items you're given are basically stop-gaps at this point in the game.

If you've sourced a can of food or killed a chicken, you'll need a sharp object to either cut the can open or quarter the bird. You probably won’t have access to a knife or axe this early, so the best option is an improvised blade made from a rock. The beach is the perfect location to search for a small stone, and once you've found their quarry, they can 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.

Learn Loot Locations

If you're playing DayZ correctly, you'll spend much of your time looting the game world. Only a small amount of your session will be spent actually fighting anyone. The game isn’t all PvP, but to prepare for a fight when it comes up though, you will need better-tier gear.

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So, learning loot locations should be a priority. 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. Police stations and military convoys can hold some even better offensive gear. You may not get lucky every time, but chances are high you'll find something useful each time you visit a new spot. Be mindful of other players staking out these locations, looking to ambush beginners like yourself.

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 can work wonders.

Why the shotgun? Well, besides fending off the occasional zombie and ambushing other players in close quarters, the sawed-off shotgun is useful if you have been ambushed. Most bandits will demand that 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 out quickly and blast away. To utilize this trick, you will first need the shotgun itself, then a hacksaw to saw off the barrel. Finding both can be a bit troublesome.

Carry Morphine

It’s relatively easy for a new player to pass over morphine injections after stumbling upon one in a hospital or clinic. If you spend enough time looting Chernarus, you'll break a leg eventually. You'll have restricted movement, and be prone to severe shock damage. You'll need to use a wooden splint to repair the fractured limb, but a morphine injection will keep you conscious. The item takes up just a single slot in the inventory, making it even more useful and conservative.

Sure, you could spend the morphine injection on a broken arm, but it's highly recommended that you save it for your legs. You can still escape from a fight with a broken arm, but not a broken leg.

Avoid The Roads

While all roads in this game lead to either a town or a city filled with loot, you will 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 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.

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 are lucky enough to have found a pair of binoculars or a rangefinder, recon is a little easier to accomplish. If not, you can simply find a nice bush or tree, wait a minute or two, and scope the entire area.

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By scanning the tree lines, watching the top-floor windows, and noting the locations of any wandering dead before making a move, you can avoid a lot of chaos. For the most part, players grow tired of sitting in one spot for too long, but there is always the possibility of a lone sniper who has the patience of a snail. If you detect any movement, you should examine it for a moment, then survey the surrounding area. If you have a weapon and can get the drop on another player, you should do so from behind or the flank – never the front!

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 truly comes to life. You can hear footsteps, gunshots in the distance, zombies moaning down the road, and more. Furthermore, if you are close enough, you can even hear two players chatting over the in-game mic. In the survival genre, being able to hear an opponent before seeing them is a matter of life or death.

Finding A Firearm

A melee weapon is an excellent tool, especially if players are fighting zombies. 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 AKM or a USG-45. Finally, log cabins are usually pretty reliable for Mosin 91/30 marksman rifles and hunting rifles.

Building A Fire

Hypothermia is one of the worst killers in DayZ, but you can avoid the issue altogether by building a fire in a secluded location and warming up thoroughly. Bohemia added a fireplace kit, which allows players to cook meat and heat themselves up a little.

It’s also a necessity, in some cases. First off, you will need a single stick, then some rags, bandages, paper, or bark as kindling. Combine the two to craft a fireplace kit. If it’s raining, you can place the fire pit somewhere indoors. A factory or a warehouse would work wonders.

Killing Zombies

In the beginning, the zombies of DayZ were more of an annoyance than anything else. They posed little to no threat whatsoever. Players could even punch them in the head and then go about their day. Now, however, things have changed a little.

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Now, zombies have become a threat to the player. You can still kill them, of course, but it is not a good idea to go one-on-one with them. Their melee ability received a massive damage boost and they’re even more agile. If you have a gun (the best option), you should use a suppressor to muffle the shot. Trying to remain at a distance helps, too. If possible, you should fire from above or from behind low covers, such as a stone wall or picket fence.

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