Day Z – Newbie guide!

You’ve probably heard of the zombie simulation mod called “Day Z” which runs on the Arma 2 engine and has gained an insane amount of publicity and player base over the past few months. I’ll admit I was dragged into it when I saw my friends playing it because there’s no other game like it out today. Through this guide i’ll be covering what to do and how to play for the first time if your interested in giving it a go, as well as what to do when you spawn on the beach and where to look for weapons, medical supplies and other needed items.

If you’ve never played Day Z before i’ll be covering a few basics of what the game involves including some hints and tricks to staying alive which is actually very hard to do these days considering the massive increase of players in the servers. Afterwards i’ll review the game and finish off with setting it up for the first time.

Firstly you only get one life, and if you die you lose everything your carrying except any items you’ve stored in tents, but more on that later. In this life you can do anything you wish from exploring the map, searching for the best weapons, killing zombies or even pking other players. You will always spawn near the coast somewhere on the southern or south-east edge of the map which makes it easy to reach the major cities commonly known as “Cherno” and “Elektro”, I should also mention that the map is massive, it takes 30-50 minutes to run from the southern shore to the top of the map. After spawning the absolute first thing you do is look in the bottom right of the screen, it should tell you where you have spawned on the map, it only appears for a few seconds so write it down if your unfamiliar with the locations on the map, you must then calculate the distance to the nearest city in search for weapons as you’ll need them to kill the zombies that roam the map as well as defending yourself against other players. I’ll also encourage you to print out a map which will really help with finding your way around if you don’t have a secondary monitor like myself which makes it much easier to pinpoint your location.


Below is a video which teaches you the basics for movement, how to use your bag and a few other important tips, I highly recommend watching this before continue reading.

There are three rules you should always stick by when playing Day Z which are as follows:

  1. Never trust anyone, even if they say “friendly”.
  2. Don’t get attached to your items, you will lose them.
  3. Stay out of sight and keep quiet.

The first rule is pretty obvious, but always remember that everyone is out to survive and people will do what is necessary to stay alive. Even if people say they are friendly keep an eye out for sudden movements, they could back stab you at any time. Although this doesn’t mean to go and shoot everyone you meet, there’s a few legit survivors out there who are willing to team up, i’m one of them (most of the time), so use your judgement to find out a players true motives before teaming up.

The second rule is a simple one, but basically you will die in this game, whether it’s from bandits, zombies or a building you fell off of because you glitched. (Which happens a fair amount) All your precious items you spent hours or even days getting could be gone in a second if you make the wrong move, which is quite disappointing in a way but it’s just how the game is made. You are able to set up tents to store your items in which lets you come back and get them later, however there’s a very large chance another player will simply take your items if the tent isn’t either very well hidden or in a desolate location where no-one ever goes.

The third rule is a bit of a no-brainer but one that people break all the time which gets them killed. Stick to the treeline if your running along the coast, or anywhere for that matter, there could be a sniper on a mountain scoped in at you and you would make it a lot harder to shoot you if your darting in and out of trees all the time. You should always stick to shadows at night as you are much harder to spot, especially when the other person is far away. When running between shadows try not to stay in the moonlight too much as the contrast between the dark shadows and the light moon on your clothes flashes and gives away your position easier. You should always be crouch running as well, never fully stand up and sprint unless your a good distance away from any large city as it makes a much louder noise and your visibility to zombies is effectively doubled. Try to resist the urge to shoot zombies, it only attracts more from every direction and possibly the attention of nearby players. Again you should be safe to shoot in a large open area or a smaller city if you’ve got a few zombies chasing you as the chance for other people to be neat you is minimal, although if you shoot you should move positions immediately to another safe location with high visibility for you or a treeline.


Ideally you should be wanting to head to the nearest city or village to get a gun and food, however a word of caution, try to avoid Cherno at all costs as it’s a pking hotspot, Elektro is another pking city but there’s typically newer players there seeking their first weapon as well which aren’t usually much of a threat. While heading towards the cities you should stick in the tree-line next to the coast so other new players and player killers who are camping have a lower chance to spot you, but remember to keep the coast in sight at all times so you don’t get lost. Most of the other players you’ll meet with a gun will shoot you on sight, they will be more inclined to shoot you on sight if you have a weapon as well so keep that in mind when you spot another person in the distance, newly spawned players are sometimes targeted by snipers for a bit of sniping target practice and they mostly lie in wait on mountains which is another reason I recommend keeping to the tree-line.

When you’ve reached a city or village you should look for any enter-able buildings that are separated or further away from the main gathering of buildings to avoid attracting attention to yourself, also remember you should hold shift while walking if you see a zombie to make less noise, be sure your crouching as well to reduce the range they can sense you. When in the buildings keep shift walking to prevent yourself from making too much noise and search for any weapons, ideally melee weapons at first which include the hatchet or crowbar which make no sound when killing zombies, pistols are also good early game weapons but try not to shoot when in major cities as it’s almost guaranteed there’s another player somewhere in it.


If you haven’t found any weapons yet and you’ve searched most of the outlying buildings you can venture closer to the heart of the city, but try to keep close to a tree-line in case you spot a player or get a zombie after you. This early in the game it doesn’t really matter if you die either as you only start off with painkillers, a torch and a bandage which are all pretty useless to advanced players although they may attempt to shoot at you anyway for sport.

The resources you will always need in Day Z are the following:

  • At least 2 bandages in your inventory and another one on your bag, for easy access when bleeding, must have.
  • One drink at all times in your inventory and another few in your bag, another must have.
  • One can of food in your inventory with another two in your bag, you’ll need at least two when exploring.
  • One heat pack in your backpack just in case your temperature reaches 37 degrees, not too necessary unless its cold.
  • 3 Mags/Rounds in your inventory and a couple spare in your backpack for your primary weapon and pistol, important.
  • One morphine injector and epi-pen in your inventory and another space in your bag, for when you break a leg.
  • Two blood-bags in your backpack for transfusions when your blood goes below 5000, not too necessary but useful.
  • One pair of binoculars for scouting ahead, not as necessary but very useful.
  • 1 set of chem lights for marking and finding your team if you split up at night, not useful at day time.
  • A bigger backpack if possible is extremely helpful when venturing into the map as you can carry many more items.

Once you’ve found most of the resources mentioned above you should head inland to find better weapons, military bases such as airfields, deer huts and army tents often contain valuable weapons such as AK’s, snipers and grenades as well as plenty of ammo for all of them. Be warned however, there are often multitudes of players camping around map assets or anywhere where good weapons can be found and most of them will shoot you on sight, so take it slowly in and out of those places in the safest routes and if possible have a friend keep look-out while you go in search of guns.


If you’re being shot at by another player absolutely do not prone, this will essentially make you a sitting duck if they can still see you, your head is also exposed at the front of your body and must easier to hit, and headshots kill almost instantly on other players. Firstly you should try to pinpoint where the shooter is located if they are a sniper, then you should look for any building that cuts off the line of sight to you and your shooter and run inside cautiously as there could be another player inside that building. Try to run in a zig-zag or random pattern as it makes you a much harder target to hit with a sniper while trying to avoid narrow passages or running towards predictable areas such as buildings as the other player could line up a shot with the door and wait till you try to go through it.

If you have sufficient shelter and have the opponent in visible range you should shoot a few bursts into them, trying to aim for the head, but keep in mind that the range of every gun is different and may not go as far as you anticipate. If the player falls over they may not be dead but may just be unconscious or have a broken bone, you should use this time to finish them off with one shot to the head until you hear the flies around the body or watch your murder stat until it increments. Remember players often hunt in packs so if you manage to kill someone you should wait and watch the body for a good few minutes just in case there’s another player aiming in the direction of his friends body, although there’s a chance that the items on the body may disappear, it’s much better than running up to the body excitedly and getting one-shot to the head.

Well I think that’s all the tips I can impart onto you, good on you for reading this far as I know it’s a pretty big post. I commonly use the Australian dayz servers named “ANZ 1-9” mostly either 1 or 8, so I look forward to seeing you all in-game (as long as you aren’t a bandit).

About fluidicice

Queensland, Australia.
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