Google Website Translator Gadget

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

DayZ - Advanced playing tips FAQ

You've played a bit of DayZ, you've found a few weapons, you've killed a bunch of zombies and maybe even a player or two. But how can you get better at the game and how do you get hold of the best kit? Read on and I'll have you murdering bandits with the best of them. Well, maybe not, but I will share some hints and tips for being better at playing DayZ.

All images can be clicked to make them full-size.

1. Zombies are your friends

Your greatest enemies aren't zombies, but other players. One of the best ways of tracking them down (either to kill or avoid them) is by using zombies.

Did I spawn those zombies or did someone else?
Zombies only spawn near buildings and they only do so when players are nearby. When a player is within approximately 120 metres of a building, the zombies will spawn. So if you're approaching some buildings, stop and take a look when you're a couple of hundred metres away.

Wookie suit + bush = practically invisible
Get yourself into cover. Whilst a lot of people hide behind objects, this obscures your view and makes you an easy target for anyone approaching from behind. I find it better to crouch in front of cover. This breaks up your outline so that anyone looking towards your position doesn't see a man-shaped silhouette, but a bush or tree-shaped one; and anyone approaching from behind probably won't see you at all.

Looks pretty quiet down there. Maybe just a little too quiet...
Take a look through your binoculars/rangefinders/weapon scope or just hold right click. Look around the buildings and the edges of the town. See any zombies shuffling around? Zombies = players.

Always use the Green Cross Code, because I won't be there when you cross the road
Look a little closer. See any zombie corpses? They're also good indicators of player activity. Zombies can die on their own when they fall off the roofs of buildings but a corpse out in the open (like in the picture above) doesn't happen by accident. And a pile of corpses is a dead (ha ha) give-away.

So any time you're coming up on a group of buildings, stop a little way off and have a look around. Observe any zombie activity and then decide if you're going to approach.

2. Learn to recognise loot from a distance

We all love picking up shiny new kit, but it can also be one of the most dangerous parts of the game. You might be exposing yourself to fire from other players or you might get a fuck-ton of zombies after you. And if it turns out that all that's there are some empty tin cans, you'll really regret it.

Empty tin cans, some revolver ammo, a bandage some road flare and some chemlights
Wherever possible, look at a loot pile from a distance and identify what's there. In the picture above there's nothing worth taking. Bandages are commonplace and so is revolver ammo. This loot pile is out in the open, so it's probably not worth risking it unless you really need a bandage. Do you really want to be standing motionless over that pile of crap for several seconds?

If I spot players moving around and there's lot nearby, I often wait for them to stop at a pile of loot before I introduce their faces to some Stanag rounds.

A green pouch, two heatpacks and an empty tin can
Even when you're up close, it's handy to be able to identify loot on sight. Running through a house and stopping to examine every pile of loot can take a long time. Once you get used to identifying items quickly you can move through a building in seconds. The dreaded exception is the green pouch - this is the default object model for items that don't have one of their own. Most toolbelt items appear as a green pouch, but so do Makarov mags, G17 clips and a few others.

So not only do you need to be able to work out what loot looks like, you need to know what spawns where. The picture above is taken inside a red brick house. Military grade ammo doesn't spawn in civilian buildings, so that green pouch can only be a Makarov mag or some toolbelt equipment (compass, map, etc). I don't need to stop and check what it is.

3. Which buildings have the best loot?

When you want the best equipment where should you go? What buildings should you look for? Well it depends what you're after.

An industrial building which will yield industrial loot (car parts, etc)
Residential (civilian) buildings will only ever have low grade weapons and general equipment. You won't find sniper rifles, assault rifles or night vision goggles in houses. Buildings yield pretty much what you'd expect. Military buildings have military-grade loot, warehouses and industrial buildings have industrial items and civilian buildings contain a variety of lower grade stuff.

One of only two barracks on the whole map - both on the North West Airfield
The buildings with the highest amounts of military-grade weapons are to be found on the North West Airfield (NWA). There are two barracks buildings in there and both have several potential loot piles that can contain military weapons. The only downside is that the NWA is a popular destination for a lot of players and it's wide open and flat so you're very easy to spot when you're trying to sneak in to grab the best stuff. There are several good sniper positions around it where players can easily shoot you from several hundred metres away. By all means take the risk, but don't be surprised if you end up dead.

I haven't actually seen any deer though...
A great alternative to the NWA are deer stands. There are dozens of them scattered across the map and they can contain military-grade items. They're always on the edge of wooded areas and only three zombies spawn beside them so you can raid them with confidence. In many cases, you can see from a distance what loot they contain so you don't even need to climb up into them.

One thing that most people don't realise is that you can grab the kit in deer stands without ever getting off the ladder. As you approach the top of the ladder, look towards each of the loot piles and you'll see the icon come up so you can press G without ever getting off the ladder. This greatly reduces the amount of time you need to spend in one (I occasionally shoot people in deer stands near popular location - they make great targets when stuck in a little box). Combine this with loot recognition and you can be up and down the ladder in seconds with none of the hassle of fucking about trying to point the cursor in the right direction for the bloody climb down icon to appear.

It can also be worth your while killing the zombies that spawn by deer stands. Although zombies typically only have very basic loot on them, the military zombies round deer stands have much better kit. Although they'll never have weapons on them, they will often have ammo for military weapons. Better still, there are no other buildings nearby so you're not going to have lots of other zombies taking an interest.

If you're not confident of your shooting skills, you can always stand inside the deer stand and shoot the zombies from there. Although zombies can climb ladders, it makes them an easy target; so even if you don't manage to shoot all the zombies, you can just pop the remaining ones in the face as they climb the ladder.

Time to go shopping (yeah alright, it's actually my tent)
There are two more places to get decent loot easily: other players and tents. Most people try to hide tents in discrete corners of the map, but if you try you can soon find plenty of them. Just moving around the west and north edges of the map can find you tents galore which you can raid to your heart's content without ever having to fire a shot. Killing players and taking their stuff is quite fun too as you can see what they have before you decide to take them on.

4. Choose the right weapons for you

People obsess over getting hold of what they see as the 'best' weapons in the game, but consider what you actually need. An AS50 sniper rifle is a brilliant weapon when taking on vehicles (one or two shots through the engine will stop a car in its tracks), but it's noisy and rubbish for dealing with zombies. If you play in a group, then yes, you ought to have one guy that's kitted out with a sniper rifle, but if you're on your own then a high-power sniper rifle is possibly more of a liability.

Personally I favour the M16A4 ACOG. It's an assault rifle with a decent scope on it. It's not a replacement for a sniper rifle, but it's not far off it. Two body shots kills any zombie and a few body shots (it does approximately 3,500 blood damage per round) will take down a player. The scope is marked for range too, so with a little practice you can get headshots every time (as the above video shows). Although the gun itself can be quite hard to find, the ammo is relatively common for a military weapon. There are other M16 variants that you can find, so it can be worthwhile picking up one of those until you find an ACOG variant with the bonus of not needing to change your ammo over when you change up.

The M4A1 CCO is quite a nice assault rifle, but the scope is just a red dot sight, so it's not fabulous at a distance. The SD variant is nice and silent, but you might have trouble finding enough ammo to keep it as a workhorse gun.

The FN FAL is bloody noisy and extremely rare (pretty much helicopter crash sites only) and so's the ammo, so I find it to be pretty much useless. The damage is very high though.

The AKS-74 and AK-74 guns are perfectly decent assault rifles, but the rounds are a bit lower in power (approximately 2,700 blood damage per round) so I wouldn't regard them as keepers.

The AKM is an undersung hero of a gun. It does a lot of damage (4,500 blood) and is pretty easy to find. Although you're stuck with iron sights, you can zero it to different ranges to make it effective at medium to long range (with a bit of practice).

LMGs like the Mk 48 Mod 0 can be a lot of fun and the sheer amount of rounds they hold makes you frigging dangerous when you've got one of those in your hands. Their pretty noisy and they jump around a bit when you fire, but I shit myself every time someone unloads one of those in my direction.

That's my personal preference, but it's all about finding the right weapon for you. Shotguns are great at close range, but their utility is limited outside of that. Assault rifles can be used against players and zombies. Pistols are best for killing zombies because they make less noise than main weapons.

You'll hear people opine that various guns are the best, but it's all about what works for you. Sniper rifles generally require you to have other people to support you because you can't really take down a group of zombies with them. Assault rifles are good all-round weapons and suitable for most players.

5. SD ammo, the best kept secret in DayZ

SD guns can only fire SD ammo, but normal guns can also fire SD ammo. Now, it seems that when you fire SD rounds out of a standard gun that they aren't silent. Well they're not, but... they are silent to zombies. Zombies cannot hear SD rounds fired out of non-silent guns.

Although when you fire SD rounds from your gun, they sound like normal rounds, the sound doesn't carry very far and other players struggle to hear them beyond 50 metres away

6. Take two bottles into the shower?

Why not carry two main weapons? Players have a tendency to go around with full backpacks, but you don't really need that much stuff. A main weapon will take up 10 slots in your backpack (plus space for the ammo), but with an Alice pack (20 slots) or a Coyote backpack (24 slots), that needn't be prohibitive.

The difficult part of carrying two main weapons is swapping between them. If you put your extant main weapon into your backpack and there isn't room, then it'll vanish forever and you'll swear an awful lot. The key is remembering that when you're changing guns that you are taking the spare out of your backpack. In the picture above, I've got an M16A4 ACOG in my hands and an Mk 48 Mod 0 in my backpack. If I want to change over, I need to highlight the Mk 48 and take that out by clicking on the right arrow. This will swap the weapons over without any problem.

It's worth practising this with lower-grade weapons until it becomes second nature. You don't want to lose a valuable weapon during a crucial stand-off. Always remember that you're taking out another weapon, not putting away the one you have.

As for which combination of weapons to carry... well, that's up to you. It's probably not worth carrying two assault rifles (well, maybe the L85A2 AWS). You might like to carry a silenced gun like a Bizon or an MP5SD6 for those tricky moments when you need to kill a lot of zombies quietly. Or you might fancy a sniper rifle/assault rifle combination. But it's up to you what you carry. Experience and your playing style will dictate your choice.

7. What should you carry?

When you've got a hunting knife, matches and an axe, you can get all the food you need from killing animals, so you don't need to fill your pack with tin cans. An added bonus is that cooked meat restores 800 blood, but canned food only 200.

When you use the Fill Water action, all empty water bottle in you main inventory are filled at once
Carrying a couple of water bottles and refilling them from lakes and pumps means you don't need cans of soda. A couple of bandages is all you need as they are easy to find. Painkillers are plentiful too, but morphine is rare and it's really bloody annoying to break your legs and not have any.

Blood packs are nice, but if you play alone you don't need them because you don't have anyone else to administer the transfusion. If you've got the equipment to hunt animals, then you can survive without blood packs.

Smoke grenades are fun, but difficult to use in a tight situation. I tend to only carry one or two if I've got the space free and they're the first thing I drop if I find anything better.

Explosive grenades are a hoot. I highly recommend chucking some of those around. I once encountered a group of ten players all clustered together, sorting out their inventories. I tossed a grenade into the middle, killing four of them outright and leaving another four lying on the ground. I laughed myself to the point of tears over that. That was pretty hard to explain to my wife.

Travel light and carry only what you need. Don't stock up on lots of things that you can find easily.

8. Raiding hospitals

Hospitals are great sources of medical supplies (duh!) although there aren't many of them. I stay the hell away from Cherno and Electro because I don't want to get killed by a kid with a shotgun of some griefer with a sniper rifle. That pretty much leaves the hospital at Berezino as the only choice.

Take 'em from behind. I like my hospitals like I like my wo... (I'll just stop it there)
Hospitals can be a pest to raid as it can be difficult to get into the front. However, you don't necessarily have to get through the glass at the front to get the medical supplies you need. If you pop round the back, you'll find a ladder leading up to the roof and usually a cardboard box at the bottom. Chances are you can get all the stuff you want just from that box. If that's not enough (or it isn't there), climb the ladder onto the roof and you'll find another box up there.

Breaking the glass at the front is more difficult than you might imagine. You imagine that a bullet or two would take care of it, but it won't. I've fired an entire clip of MP5SD rounds into the glass and not had it break. It took almost an entire clip of Stanag rounds to break the window in the picture above (you can see the bullet holes on the left). The best way to break the glass is to throw empty tin cans through the glass. It's relatively quiet and it only takes a few of them.

Once you're in, there are loads of cardboard boxes in there chock full of medical stuff. Way more than you can possibly carry.

I've found that some people like to hide on the roof of hospitals, using third person view to peek over the edge to see approaching players. Watch out for them.

9. Use a map

Whilst the in-game map can be useful (especially if you're on a server that supports waypoints), nothing beats a supplementary map. There are loads of them out there.

I personally like the maps by South Coast Bean Wars:

If you have more than one monitor then why not display a map on one of them?
That's my computer setup there. I've got a PC with two monitors and another with just one. I tend to play DayZ with a map open on my left monitor, the game on the central one and stuff like Skype and Teamspeak running on the other computer.

Even if you don't have multiple monitors or computers, you can use the Steam web browser even if you didn't buy the games through Steam. See my installation guide (Step 8) here for details:

After a while, you'll find that you get to know your way around without having to look at the map, but when you're still trying to familiarise yourself with the landscape I would say it's essential.

10. Never underestimate the value of observation

It often seems that 90% of DayZ is running through trees and fields, but I'd suggest that one of the most essential tactics is that of observation. I've already mentioned the value of paying attention, but I'd like to stress that checking out any situation before you take action often makes the difference between dying needlessly and pulling off a manoeuvre that you'll bore your friends about for weeks.

There's one guy with a pistol and a Lee Enfield on his back. I can probably take him
Whenever you suspect players to be in your area, it's essential to make sure you know how many of them there are. When I play with my group of chums, we usually have a sniper or two to keep watch from a distance, a point man who actually goes into the buildings and a couple of guys with assault rifles a little way back from them in case a speedy exit is required.

In the picture above, did you spot the second player?

Ah, he's got a mate with a shotgun. I might need to plan this a bit more...
When you approach an area, consider all the other routes that people may take. Most people like to travel under some kind of cover so check out various routes that they could have taken in there and get to a position where you can see most of them. Have a good look around until you're sure what you're up against.

The picture above shows the big metal structure to the east of Stary Sobor. I'm camped out in the woods above the military camp beside it. One of my friends is raiding the military camp and then the supermarket. We've got a sniper on another hill to the west. I've been watching the eastern approach and I've seen a player come in that way, climb up the ladder and take aim over the military camp with a Lee Enfield rifle. I don't go in for shooting everyone on sight, but I will take out anyone I judge to be a threat.

This guy took a shot at my mate, but he didn't get a chance to fire a second one. Two shots from the M16 take him down and a third one makes sure. He didn't stop to look around before trying for a murder and that's what got him killed.

Always check around before doing anything. As you run about, pay attention to your surroundings. Other players can be hiding anywhere.

11. Cover your tracks

I've mentioned the value of zombie corpses in tracking and finding other players, but just as important is hiding the bodies that you leave behind.

If you have to kill a zombie and you're not going to be leaving the area immediately, then hide the body. Obviously this can be a little difficult if there are a lot of them so you need to judge this according to your situation.

Player bodies can be hidden too, but the sound of flies doesn't go away, so anyone getting close enough will still realise that a player's been killed. If you kill a player out in the open, it's a good idea to hide the body as they can be spotted from a long way off, whereas flies can only be heard when someone is relatively close.

You also have to weigh up the fairness of hiding a body. When you die, you can often run back to your corpse to recover some of your equipment. By hiding someone's body, you're denying them that chance. It's up to you what you do, of course, but I don't tend to hide bodies unless they're going to give away my position.

About half the people with whom I get into a shooting match disconnect to avoid being killed. I really dislike that, so any player that stands their ground and dies because of it I feel is worthy of my respect. I won't deny them the chance to regain their equipment. They fought and died honourably and I'd be happy to meet them again.

That's all for today. I'll be back with more playing tips at a later date.


  1. Thank you for your advice; maybe we'll run into eachother sometime.

  2. Very Very Useful !
    Great Job !

  3. oh yeah, very useful surviving tips! Thank you!

  4. Great tips. DayZ can run on aging tech but it can definitely make use of high end gear. Even then, you might consider cranking down or adjusting settings for tactical, not visual reasons.