Every player begins as a minimally equipped and notably unarmed survivor washed ashore on the coast of Chernarus. With only rudimentary gear, it's essential to loot supplies and arms to survive against basic needs like hunger and thirst, as well as hostile enemies.
Starting equipment consists of:
- 1 Flashlight - equipped as a sidearm, default key binding L toggles flashlight on or off. Use as light source only when necessary, as it can attract attention of hostile survivors. It does not, however, alert zombies.
- 1 Bandage - used to stop bleeding, which causes you to lose blood over time.
- 1 Painkillers - used to cure pain (impairs ability to aim).
- 1 Coyote Patrol Pack - your personal storage inventory. Note that you must take items out of your backpack before being able to use them.
Male Survivors have 3 different skins (Female Survivors have one), all of which consist of a black baseball cap and tactical vest. Survivor skins are not saved with character data and can change on every server log in.
A survivor must stay hydrated, fed, warm and healthy. Ignoring these basic needs will cause loss of blood or other ill effects, which will severely hurt survivability in the long run.
The survivor will need to stay hydrated. This need can be satisfied by drinking cans of soda or water from a refillable Canteen. Not fulfilling this need will cause you to lose blood over time. Be wary of drinking non-boiled water from canteens, as there is a chance that you may contract a disease. To boil water, one needs a filled water canteen, an empty soda can, or an empty tin can, and a lit fireplace to cook it over.
Food can be found as either Canned Goods in residential areas and supermarkets, or harvested as meat from dead Animals. Not fulfilling this need will cause you to lose blood over time. Eating food is also the only way to regain lost blood, other than by having another player treat you with blood bags.
In order to harvest and cook meat, the survivor needs a Hunting Knife, Wood Pile (harvested from forested areas with a Hatchet or found from scavenging), and a Box of Matches. Raw meat can be harvested from various animals such as boars and cows, which must be killed and butchered. The raw meat must then be cooked to make Cooked Meat by using a Fireplace. A lit fireplace creates both light and smoke, which can attract the attention of zombies and other survivors, especially at night.
 Medical supplies
Basic common supplies – bandages, painkillers and Heat Packs – can be found on dead zombies, as well as in residential areas, supermarkets and many other buildings. Better medical supplies – Blood Bags, Morphine Auto Injectors, Epi-Pens and Antibiotics – can be found in medical facilities and military locations such as hospitals, medical or military tents and military areas. They will also drop at helicopter crash sites, and the Epi-Pen and Morphine on military zombies. The rarest antibiotics can only be found in hospitals or helicopter crash sites. Please note the following. Blood Bags and Epi-Pens cannot be applied to oneself; they can only be applied to other players.
One of the first things every survivor usually spends time acquiring is a weapon. Weapons suitable for killing enemy targets include the two tools used as melee weapons (the hatchet and crowbar), and any firearm or explosive weapon, ranging from common pistols to rare specops-quality weapons and equipment though melee weapons are preferred so they do not attract hordes.
Can be alerted from a range of movement, and sights. Attracted in large numbers by loud gun shot fires. Can also be used as an indicator to survivors in the area if they are running at someone. Dead zombies can be a good indication to whether there are any survivors in your area. Zombies can be dangerous in groups, where a single gunshot can attract a horde of zombies rushing your way. When indoors, zombies slow down to their default walking speed, making buildings a very important strategical location when being chased by a small group of zombies.
Survivors are other human players in the game. If you choose, you can kill players to gain more equipment, food, or water fundamental for your benefit. Regardless, you should always be cautious when approaching a fellow survivor, as you will not know their intentions towards you or your group.
Survivors who kill other survivors are known as bandits. A bandit gains a bandit scarf (a "Shemagh" or ghutrah in Arabic) for killing other players or having low Humanity. The term Bandit is used to refer to players who enjoy the thrill of the kill or the looting of players' corpses. Technically, any player who fights against other players can be considered a bandit. In newer versions when a player aims at a bandit from a certain range, the shooter hears a constant heartbeat sound. The quicker the heartbeat, the lower the player's humanity. However, just because you don't hear a heartbeat when aiming at a player doesn't mean they haven't committed any murders.
Sometimes you will be branded as a bandit even though the opposing player shot first. This is because the humanity system only detects if you were hit by their shots first. If you were shot at but not hit and then kill the player that shot at you, you will lose humanity.
Heroes are survivors who have contributed to the other players by giving them blood transfusions, bandaged them, given them morphine etc. These survivors are identifiable by their blue striped shirt. You can reach "Hero status" by reaching 5000 humanity.
Players who become Heroes also gain the perk of being able to run slightly faster than Survivors and Bandits(before panting, then they run at similiar speeds, so heroes make good short range sprinters). They also have a bullet resistant vest that will block most low calibre bullets such as makarov or m9 rounds. You will still receive shock, however you will not take any damage nor bleed.
These players usually don't kill survivors unless in self-defence. Some heroes go out of their way to hunt down bandits.
[Glitch] Heroes gain 150 humanity every 20 minutes.
[Bugs] As of 18.104.22.168 Heroes lose all humanity on login. They also briefly flash to the 'debug plains' on login like they are changing skins. This regenerates all partial magazines in their inventory. When logging out, Heroes make a 'falling over dead' motion, which can cause instakills on future logins. Sometimes the hero can 'split' leaving a standing corpse copy of themselves where they login, which is also lootable.
Grouped players (both survivors and bandits) often raid Chernogorsk (Cherno) and Elektrozavodsk (Elektro) - the two biggest cities along the south coast. Another big target for survivors is Stary Sobor, one of the biggest towns in the North. Heading to these cities unprepared can be risky, though they are often scavenged by freshly respawned players before heading north. Looting high value military targets can be very dangerous. Enemy bandits will often take up positions to snipe anyone looking to loot. Extra precautions should be taken when around:
- Military tents.
- Towns with supermarkets, hospitals and churches.
- Fire Stations (especially the last floor or on the roof).
Watch out for survivors carrying scoped or military-grade weapons; these players are rarely out there to kill just zombies. Player-made fortifications such as sandbag walls, barbed wire, or tank trap obstacles can also identify a location frequently visited by other players. Barbed wire can be dangerous to players if they try to jump over it using the vault key (default V), but it will not stop zombies.
Most survivors head north after gathering immediate supplies or immediately upon respawning. Grouping in Chernarus can be difficult, so it is advisable to avoid any size of groups of survivors you don't know.