DayZ Tips on how to survive longer

By Teo Borconi – 29th January 2014
DayZ Tips on how to survive longer

The DayZ Standalone brings a lot of changes to the original mod, and with these changes, you need to be aware of a few things if you want to stay alive. I had to die a couple of times to figure out some things before I could actually leave the shore-line and survive for several hours at once. I’m putting this list of tips together in order to help newcomers to the game. The list contains information gathered from Reddit users, as well as from personal experience with my own little squad.

Section 1 – Food

  1. Don’t eat rotten fruits; doing so will cause you to eventually pass out, which in DayZ usually means dying; most fruit in the game are rotten, so check before consuming
  2. Getting a can opener as fast as you can is a top priority; Most food comes in the form of cans that cannot be opened unless you have a can opener, or the M9A1 bayonet, which is fairly rare; the other, more common version of a bayonet will NOT work as a can opener; *UPDATE* With the last patch to the game, screwdrivers and knives can now be used to open cans, but these tools will quickly be damaged if used for this purpose;
  3. Finding a can opener is tricky – it’s rare, and it’s really easy to overlook; check for one in larger civilian buildings; I’ve found mine in the newly accessible larger houses in Zelenogorsk or Cherno;
  4. Don’t even think about covering larger distances without having a decent supply of drink and food; you’ll need a water bottle, some soda cans and at least one full can of food; there is one rarer version of canned tuna which can be opened without a can opener; one of those can be split up into 4 meals;
  5. Don’t eat cereal without having water; cereal boxes are great for nutrition, but they will also dehydrate you extremely fast;
  6. Food and drinks are really important; as it is now, it’s the number one reason people keep dying in the game; I can’t even count the number of times I’ve found dead people with really good gear on them, but with no food;
  7. There are no animals to hunt for now (they will be introduced later), so whenever you are running up North and further away from major cities like Elektro or Cherno, plan a route that will allow you to refill on food and drinks along the way; I like to go through villages that have water fountains; if you’re unaware of which villages contain ponds or water fountains, use this loot map for the old mod; the fountains are still available at the old locations;

Section 2 – status messages

  1. Don’t ignore the status messages on the bottom left of the screen; those are a good indicator of how your character is feeling; if you see red, you’re in trouble, and will have to take measures fast or end up dead;
  2. “You feel dizzy” and “Your head throbs” messages mean that you’re dehydrated – you need to drink in order to get rid of them; water fills up hydration levels a lot faster than soda cans;
  3. “You feel tired” and “You feel extremely exhausted” type messages usually come up after long periods of running; these indicate that your energy levels are low, and you need to consume high-calorie products to fill it up fast; soda fills up a lot of energy (high amounts of sugar, obviously), and cereals are also great for this purpose; if these messages appear in red, stop running, drink, eat and sit down for a few minutes (2-3 minutes of sitting should do); the default key for sitting down is F3;
  4. “My clothes are damp with blood” means you’re currently bleeding, and unless you bandage yourself fast, you’ll die; if you’re out of bandages, you can right-click on your shirt and tear it up into rags which you can then use as bandages;
  5. *UPDATE* – As of today’s patch, the inventory screen will include messages detailing your current status; I’m unsure how accurate these are though, as I didn’t get a chance to test them out yet;

Section 3 – Weapons

  1. Melee weapons are generally bad – baseball bats, crowbars, wrenches and knives don’t do too much damage to zombies; try to get your hand on an axe of any type, as these are usually a one-hit-kill on zombies;
  2. Don’t go out looking for weapons right from the start; an M4A1 won’t save you from starvation; also, keep in mind that there are a lot of people spawning on the shore close to the few military buildings, so places like the Balota airfield are dangerous and you’re likely to be shot on sight;
  3. Mosin rifles can be found in barns or in office buildings; there’s an office building across the supermarket in Elektro for instance, and barns are scattered around the edges of major cities and villages;
  4. If you’re ok on food and want to get a decent ranged weapon, move up North; the devs have introduced quite a few new military encampments that usually hold pistols and M4A1’s; check out this new map for the standalone, which contains the locations of such military camps; expect armed players around these areas though;

Section 4 – General surviving tips

  1. Hand-cuffs need to be equipped in the hands to be used, so if people are trying to cuff you and rob you blind, wait until they are holding the cuffs and either fight back, or bolt for it; just make sure they don’t have a friend pointing a gun at your head;
  2. Engaging zombies is a bad idea; if you can, avoid drawing zombie attention by sneaking around them (crouch and stay behind them); if you do draw aggro from zombies, shoot them as fast as you can (assuming you have a ranged weapon); don’t bother being stealthy and going melee, they are a pain to deal with right now;
  3. If you’re playing during the night, boost up brightness/gamma to see better; setting cloud details to very high in the video options menu also helps;
  4. Stay away from ponds and water in general; entering a pond will get your clothes damp, and you might encounter diseases or fall ill if you keep running with wet clothes;
  5. If you spawn in major cities, get what you badly need and get out; spending too much time in cities like Cherno will probably result in your death, as player traffic is extremely high, and most players have a shoot-on-sight policy;
  6. Use plastic storage cases for storing meds and food, if you can find them; keeping fruit in these plastic containers ensures they don’t rot on you; food doesn’t stay fresh forever in your shirt pocket after all;
  7. You can rip apart shirts you find and create bandages as you go; it’s always a good idea to have a few spare rags or bandages in case you get hit;
  8. Try to use clothing that is in a pristine condition; in some cases, better clothing (military clothing in general) can influence the amount of damage zombies do to you; up until now, I haven’t noticed any bullet-stopping power in clothing articles (apart from the Ballistic helmet and Motorcycle helmet), but clothing can keep some zombie pain away;
  9. In general, the farther away you get from the shore, the longer you’ll live (assuming you have spare food); try to leave spawn areas as fast as possible; keep in mind that the North will also have much better equipped players, so you chances of getting shot increase as well;
  10. You can navigate through the map of the game easily, as long as you know how; first, there’s a compass that you can find and use to establish the direction you’re running towards; then, you can use clouds as a guiding system – clouds in DayZ always travel from west to east; looking at the time also helps; in-game time passes at the same rate as real life time, so look for a sunset and a sunrise if you can, the position of the sun is a fair indicator of the direction you’re facing; lastly, always keep an eye on your progress, and check your position on the map regularly; it’s easy to find your way around the map if you establish land-marks along the way;

I will update this list as soon as I discover more useful things in the game. For now, these tips should greatly increase your chance of survival.