A 'Gamer Girl's' Journey Through Pew-Pew and QQ

DayZ: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse With Only a Flashlight and a Tin Can.

Being cautious will help you avoid a close encounter with death

I have been playing DayZ for a couple of weeks now.  However my favorite Zombie survival game just moved from an apocalyptic challenge to an infected gauntlet of death.  Entering the updated world of DayZ is like getting dropped into a mix of Bear Grylls survival in a zombie apocalypse, steeped in the stew of desperation found in Amnesia the Dark Descent.

In the past, when you started out, you would have 2 cans of beans, bandages, morphine injectors for broken bones, a canteen and a Makarov pistol with a supply of clips.  Now you find yourself on a beach with no gun, one bandage, no cure for broken bones, no food or water and a flashlight.  Zombies now have a few behavioral changes which means they will be more reactive towards you and hit harder, but you can also lose them in a chase.

Can you survive with just a bandage, a flashlight and an aspirin?

I have collected a few of my experiences below to help players adjust to the new challenges they face in DayZ.  For new players, my recent article on survival lessons will still be helpful in an overall approach to the DayZ experience.

Hit The Dirt:

More than ever, your visibility and noise will have dire consequences.  Zombies have a significantly keener detection ability than they had before; they are now inside structures, as well as outside.  Towns now are dangerous deathtraps, especially when you have no means to defend yourself.  Zombies can detect you more easily and they hit like a mad bull, goring you and breaking bones.  They can easily knock you out and then start consuming your flesh before you have a chance to recover.  With no gun, crawling away from a feasting horde with a broken leg is just momentarily staving off a brutal death.

Crawl on your belly when nearing structures. Being stealthy will help you survive and find equipment.

Don’t enter a town standing straight up.  Even a running crouch is likely to get zombies hot on your trail.  If you have no gun, or the newly introduced melee hatchets and crowbars, you should try to approach any structures while crawling.  This will lower your visibility and noise creation, giving you a chance to get into an open doorway and search for equipment, food and weapons.  This also helps lower your visibility in regards to other players that may shoot you on sight.

Give zombies a very wide berth.  You don’t want to get too close and already be on your stomach when a zombie runs over to rip your flesh off.  Being face down in the dirt can help, but realize it also has its vulnerabilities.  Plot your route and carefully plan when you need to move to a walking crouch position.  You can walk in a crouch by double tapping shift, or just holding shift, while you move forward.  If a building has a ramp instead of a step, you can roll up the step using ‘Q’ or ‘E’, depending on the direction you wish to roll.

Zombies Can Be Distracted:

If you enter a building and find only old tin cans, flares, chem-lights or empty soda cans and liquor bottles, don’t despair.  These items can be very useful when dealing with groups of zombies.  Used proactively, these items can distract zombies and create an easier path into, or out of, a structure.

Tin Cans can be used to distract zombies near structures.

Flares and chem-lights can be used at night to distract zombies.  To use them, place them in your general inventory and cycle to the item using the ‘F’ key.  Once selected you can then use the left mouse button to throw the flare or chem-light off in a direction safely away from where you wish to go.  Zombies will be attracted to the light and will move off to investigate it.  Be aware that using these at night also alerts other players to your presence.  In the deep darkness of night, your flare or chem-light can be visible for large distances; it will be a beacon to bandits looking to hunt other players.

Bottles, tin cans, empty soda cans and smoke grenades are great visual and auditory distractions to use during daylight hours.  If you are trapped inside a building with no weapon and only tin cans, you might try throwing the cans away from you and bounce it off an object such as a house or a tree.  Smoke grenades are great visual and auditory distractions for large groups of zombies, however you may only find these inside deer stands, military bases or military zombie corpses.

Zombies will investigate sounds, better a can than yourself.

How To Ditch A Zombie On Your Heels:

At some point you are going to run into an instance where you have a zombie, or multiple zombies, come after you.  You may not have a weapon or have little ammo.  You may not want to shoot as you don’t wish to gain more attention to yourself, attracting more zombies or nearby Bandits.

Because zombies may lose sight of you at times when you run, this can be utilized to your advantage. Crouch run when you are being chased, this might help keep other zombies from being attracted to the chase, as sprinting will make you much more noticeable.  Head for areas that allow you to turn corners or lose line of sight.  This could be zigzagging around buildings or through a heavily treed forest. Try and find a large object and take a sharp change in direction of travel.  You may confuse the zombie and leave him searching the tree or building that you have dodged behind.

If you are in an open area you can try to use large objects and duck behind them, hoping to lose line of sight that way.  You can circle a large tree or a hay bale, keeping it between you and the zombie. Once the zombie stops running and begins searching the other side of the object, hit the dirt and silently crawl away.

Put a large object between yourself and a zombie, then silently crawl away.

If the only escape open to you is a building with two entrances, you can lure the zombies to the front entrance and then crouch-run out the back; buying you some time to put distance between you and the pursuing death machine.

25 responses

  1. Excellent outline of the basics of surviving!

    June 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    • Thank you for the visit and glad you enjoyed my article. THANK YOU for creating one of my favorite games all time. Keep up the wonderful work!

      June 21, 2012 at 8:50 am

  2. Pingback: [Eng] Jak przeżyć mając latarkę i konserwę? | DayZ

  3. ogda

    Thank you !
    I didn’t know we could launch tin cans ! This might be so usefull, i’m gonna try !:)

    June 21, 2012 at 3:01 am

    • I hope it works well for you! Throwing objects is really helpful, just remember to try to not make too much noise as they lose interest in the object you throw. Last night my friend and I found a motorcycle and it was just getting dark and I had already lost so much blood that everything was shades of grey.

      We threw a smoke grenade at a gas station to divert the zombies and fill jerry cans with fuel at the long cylindrical gas tanks. Well I got too cocky on my 2nd run to refill the jerry can and ran too fast on the concrete. End of story, I made it for the gas station building, but had my leg broken and was knocked out. Dead. Somewhere out there is a fueled up motorbike by a gas station with its light on. >.<

      Distraction is great. Re-attracting them afterwards… priceless.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:48 am

  4. BruThoL

    Also, zombies are pretty slow to go upward high slopes in mountains. You can lose them while climbing one.
    And, they have difficulties going downward high slopes…
    They’ll actually run in it, and thus, fall from too high and die.

    This second thing is good to know when you start a game.
    Locate a big slope. Locate a town nearby. Go there running to pull a large amount of zombies, then take them to your slopped trap.
    And enjoy some free beans / pepsi / ammunitions …

    June 21, 2012 at 5:23 am

    • Hey there! Thanks for the visit and hope you enjoyed my article! Those are great tips as well! I was doing an epic run last night with car parts, trying to beat other players to a location that had a military vehicle full of ammo and grenades. I managed to pick up a zombie by running too close to a shed. I ran up a hill trying to ditch him in the trees, as I made my descent I saw the zombie dive forward as if he was diving for home plate. Not sure what happened and didn’t stop to find out, but it was pretty interesting to see a zombie take a tumble down a steep hill.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:42 am

  5. Ron Paul

    “Crouch run when you are being chased”

    no offense but this is actually terrible advice under the new changes. See one of the new changes that went through was an increased attack range for zombies. If you crouch run with their new attack range you don’t move fast enough to avoid being hit from behind by the chasing zeds. And so under the new mechanics if you are being chased crouch running away is a sure fire way to start bleeding and turn the situation into something even more dire. You need to just book it.

    The new patch really screwed the balance of the game up in that way. I can run into cherno with no gun, run to the fire station, get a gun, run upstairs, prone, and lose all the zeds that i picked up on my way in. Whereas before hand, even though I had a Markov, I still had to deal with the horde I had attracted.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:08 am

    • Thanks for visiting my blog and for reading my article! I think it is fair to say that the balance for sure is still getting tweaked. I expect it will continue to change as the devteam works to balance and tune. I think there are definitely times to just run and book it, especially if you know where you are going. For new players, who may be lost as to what direction they are running, where Cherno even is, let alone find a specific building, this can be a bit of a steep learning curve for sure.

      Crouch running will keep you from adding every zombie to the horde, but it could also be that I am reactive enough when I see them to not let them get close while crouch running to hit me. So I think that is a fair comment to say that times you can book it, just realize you will attract more Zombies to the chase and unless you know where you are going, what buildings have extra exits and the layout of a town, you could be easily overwhelmed. You just have to cross your fingers and hope you don’t sprint into a building unarmed and run into another player already armed inside.

      For new players to DayZ who are not familiar with what buildings are ‘enterable’ or the location of resources in a town, I still suggest caution over Gung Ho running. I think the advice of ditching zombies in the fire station in Cherno is a good one. The nice thing about the fire station is you have front and back exits and a tower with ladders on the outside of the building for escape. I think the second level of the tower, if I remember correctly, allows you to move out of the tower and onto the roof of the fire station.

      Thanks for the input! :)

      June 21, 2012 at 8:36 am

  6. Vagabond

    @RP – Crouch running has been “fixed” the noise level that was being created was incorrect and was attracting zombies from to far away. However, you’re still basically faster than the zombies as they stop to take a swing at you and before their attack hits you you are out of range.

    Crouch running also (as Kate said) prevents you from attracting more zombies. I suggest never running in the stand up position unless you are away towns and other zombie spawns, or are in a town with a lot of walls you can zig zag through. As Kate said you’ll want to know the layout of the town though, getting lost, or running yourself into a corner you though might be the back of a restaraunt is a bad idea.

    June 21, 2012 at 9:30 am

  7. Paco

    Can wait for my new Laptop Next week I already have the game I am ready to join the Day Z Community

    June 21, 2012 at 6:59 pm

  8. Brendan

    I am really piqued by this concept. I was following Project Zomboid, another indie game (not a mod), with a similar concept. This seems like this is the game that one wants to be, or will be that game soon. I’m considering obtaining Arma II just to play this…

    June 23, 2012 at 8:49 pm

  9. TheBulldog

    I spent an hour sneaking from zombie infested spawn on my belly, up a hill, through a forest, another 30 minutes worming my way to a door. It had a step, no zombies around. Crouch walk into the building, nothing inside. a crouched footstep echoes around the house and suddenly I have 4 Zed’s waiting outside the door for me. ZigZagged for 20 minutes through a forested mountain at crouch run. Never lost the Zed’s, ended up getting legs broken on a rock and died. This is my fourth day starting, crawling for hours, dying at first attempt to find loot.

    The first time I got a gun was at a trap a BH set up. Picked up a shotgun and 2 shells than sniped from somewhere way off.
    :P desperately need a group I think lol

    June 30, 2012 at 11:35 am

  10. TheEmoir

    Im brand new to Day Z and found this really helpful. Thanks a lot :D I now shouldn’t be running around with 20 zombies after me and no idea what to do :P

    July 10, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    • I am glad to hear you found it helpful! :) Thank you for visiting!

      July 11, 2012 at 6:41 pm

  11. Dutch

    Two questions I need an answer for: How do I turn on my flashlight and how do I hold a flare in my hand?

    PS. Great article, really helped me out!

    July 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    • John

      if you have flares in your inventory pressing F will equip it (unless you change your keys)

      still working on the flashlight thing…. even i don’t know, will get back to you on that

      July 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    • Hi there and sorry for the late reply. Life has been Cray Cray!!!! If you have flares in your general inventory, you can cycle to them with the ‘F’ Key. In order to use your flashlight, it will have to take the spot of your pistol. You will need enough slots in your backpack for your pistol in order to do this, otherwise you drop your pistol. Pistol will take up.. hrm.. 6 slots I think in your backpack. Put pistol in your backpack and then remove flashlight from your toolbelt with right mouse button and selection. You then wield it like a pistol and use ‘L’ to turn it on and off. Hope this helps and thanks for visiting my blog!

      July 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm

  12. David

    Nice blog Katherine.

    I’m only new to all this Dayz business. And what a steep learing curve it is. Having said that, I’ve been glued to youtube videos about this game for some time and find more suspense in these videos than in television shows and / or movies. Well most anyway.

    So I played my first couple of lives in as many days. This is so hard and unforgiving. I have seen the ‘can throwing’ trick used prior to this article and it seems that with my first two efforts in survival that I will need to employ this method of distraction….. that is if I want to survive.

    The inventory panel is anythng but intuative. It’s clunky and not really obvious in regards to what I actually need to do. Additionally, I don’t even know how to trow a can (key?)
    Teaming up seems to be the go. This is what I plan to do. Some friends are playing as I write this. So the next thing for me to do is get a headset and then bring on the survival!


    September 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    • Thanks so much for visiting my blog! The F key will cycle through your ammo (full and semi auto settings) for a gun as well as anything you can throw (grenades, cans, bottles, smoke canisters). It definitely is a steep learning curve, especially now that some of the zombies are very reactive. If you do get a bunch of zombie aggro and can’t ditch them behind a tree in the woods, I would suggest just running like hell to a large barn that has two entrances. Once inside you may buy yourself some time buy luring them and then running out the back entrance.

      The inventory system is definitely a challenge. My suggestion if you find a new backpack is to Take the other backpack first. Then open the old backpack, open the new backpack inside your inventory with ‘open bag’ then use the right arrow to move items from your old backpack into your currently equipped new backpack. Hope this helps and enjoy DayZ!

      We have a new server we started and you are welcome to visit. It is US 3055!

      September 18, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      • David

        Thanks Katherine. Might have a look at that server.

        Ok,,2nd real session of the game last night. I now have a gun (lee enfield) a side-arm (makarov) a hunting knife, so many bandages and a few other essential goodies. I managed to kill a boar and have 4 slabs of protein for my efforts. Not sure if the last in my pack in an uncooked state, and without the means to start a fire, I dunno!

        So I read your other blog on Green Mountain and funny enough found myself there – I had seen the tower from a long way off and knew there were only a handfull of people on the server at that time. I decided to head over GM and knew there was litle chance of a trap due to the low numbers online. So that’s where I logged off and now will most likely wait for an empty server so that I can grab a vehicle of some type. I heard that they spawn there? I’ve also heard not to speak of Green Moutain…some sort of curse? :p

        Anyway. Look out for the noob struggling in his inventory screen, Xeotrope. Thats me.

        September 19, 2012 at 1:52 am

      • Grats! You can look out for me on that server, I go by Pancaeks. >.<

        The car on Green Mountain is hard to come by as it is packed full of ammo and grenades. But you might just be lucky and find it spawned if noone has found it or it was blown up and respawned.

        The meat will not rot in your backpack for now. Next all you need is matches and you will be able to make a fireplace from the wood you chop (hatchet on toolbelt – use with right click in a forest). Yes Green Mountain is cursed… least that is my experience. Maybe haunted too. ;)

        September 19, 2012 at 7:44 pm

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