Guides & Tutorials

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DayZ Standalone Guides

This page covers the Standalone version of DayZ. For information on the Mod see Mod:Guides & Tutorials

Survivor's Guide to DayZ SA [edit]

This guide contains basic tips, walkthroughs and suggestions for new arrivals in Chernarus to guide you on your way to becoming a steely eyed DayZ vet. With changes to DayZ SA, this is also a recommended primer/quickread for DayZ mod vets. This isn't meant to be a comprehensive or definitive guide but instead a primer for new players.


"WARNING: This game is early access alpha. Please do not purchase it unless you want to actively support development of the game and are prepared to handle with serious issues and possible interruption of game functioning."

This is stated in the game's description that hopefully you read before you purchased it and it's also stated in-game when you run it.

Due to this you may experience several bugs related to hunger/thirst, blood regeneration, random unconsciousness, zombies clipping through walls/geometry, getting stuck and items not combining/working to name a few. You should expect regular updates, character wipes and server restarts.

If you played the DayZ mod for Arma II you may notice changes to hunger/thirst mechanics as well as features from the mod not yet present in DayZ SA.

This guide contains basic tips and suggestions for new players. This is by no means a definitive guide for "How to win at DayZ." DayZ is a sandbox survival game. Don't be afraid to just start walking in any direction or to say hello to other players you meet in game. The worst thing that can happen is you die and respawn…and even that isn't so bad.


DayZ began as an independent mod for Arma II, created by Dean "Rocket" Hall. DayZ SA takes place in a roughly 230 kilometer map. This is not a "twitch" shooter and it's not Left4Dead. It is an extreme survival simulation…with zombies.

In DayZ you play the role of a survivor, featuring a persistent character and permadeath. What this means is that you can switch servers at any time and whatever gear you have on you will remain across servers. If you die, you respawn as a normal survivor with default gear, i.e. flashlight/basic clothes.

Washed Up[edit]

As a new survivor (or a freshspawn) you will spawn randomly along the coastline of Chernarus, either on the south or east coast.

The first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with the basic controls. You can access these from the menu (esc) and selecting controls-assignments. Additional controls can be accessed from the dropdown at the top of the control assignment menu. You can reconfigure the controls based on your own personal preferences.

The main things to know starting out are how to switch between run/walk mode (default: shift/w-twice to run, shift twice to change mode), prone/crouch/stand (default: z/x/c), vault/jump (default: v), raise item/weapon (default: spacebar), use/activate item/climb up/down (default: f, scrollwheel to select between multiple actions), attack/fire (default: mouse1), zoom (default: mouse2) and inventory (default: tab).

Now What?[edit]

Most DayZ veterans recommend new spawns should move inland as soon as they can. You won't find many supplies on the coast and it generally makes you a nearly defenseless target for bandits and zombies when you're just starting out.

With nothing held, you can ready your fists with spacebar (default) and punch with mouse1. Generally speaking though, you want to avoid fist fights with zombies or other players as you will most likely sustain damage and start off in bad shape or dead.

You can crouch, prone or just walk to avoid the attention of zombies. Running will attract their attention but if you see one you and they're already coming after you, you probably should run.

Be aware though that running will make you hungry/thirsty quicker than walking.

Avoid towns/military camps/airfields near the coastline. They are usually camped by bandits and zombies that have a tendency to spawn out of nowhere.

Don't be afraid of the dark, scary woods as you usually won't meet a lot of zombies out there if any.

The first thing to do is determine your direction. There are tools in-game to help with this, such as the compass, gps, maps, etc. but if you don't have any of these you can use the northern star/cloud/sun cues as well. See the link below for basic navigation tips: Navigating

Note: Currently, compasses do not glow in the dark like they did in the original DayZ mod, however if you hold it in your hand and then open your inventory, the compass will show with what direction you're facing. The long line on the compass indicates north. Also, the DayZ wiki at gamepedia is still in process of changing over from the DayZ mod to DayZ SA so some information in the wiki, may still be throwback to the DayZ mod or talk about features that haven't been fully implemented in DayZ SA yet.

If you're near the edge of a town, look for signs on the road going out or in to the town for the town name. Just be aware that these names will be in Russian, i.e. if you're in the town of Bor the signs will actually read "???."

If you don't mind spoilers, then take a look at the map below and familiarize yourself with Chernarus. Once you know where you are you can plan where you want to go next.


A good goal for new survivors is to find a small town and look for water, food and general loot.

Some good items to keep a lookout for are clothes with extra inventory slots, backpacks, refillable water bottle/canteen, food, drinks and weapons.

You generally won't find guns in towns but you may find items like a splitting axe. Once you have at least a basic splitting axe you will at least be able to handle zombies one on one.

If you're having trouble picking an item up, while close to it open your inventory (default: tab) and on the left you will see a 'vicinity' box. From there you can drag items you don't want to vicinity or drag items from vicinity to your inventory.

Status Effects[edit]

The first conditions you will experience in DayZ SA, especially if you've been running around are hunger and thirst. When you first spawn you will already be hungry and thirsty. Towns are usually good places to find food however you're usually more likely to find rotten fruit. It is highly recommended you not eat rotten fruit as it will cause more problems than the hunger.

If you eat rotten fruit, it will make you sick.

You may find various canned foods and sodas. Some food items (including some can food items) can be opened without a tool by simply right clicking on them and select open from the context menu however, many canned items require a can opener or other tool to open.

To open them, drag a can opener, axe, knife or similar object on top of the canned food item then select open from the context menu. Using something besides a can opener may slightly damage or "spill" some of the food out. (Personally, I wouldn't be too proud to lick beans off of the floor)

Don't' worry about conserving food and water too much. The more you eat and drink, the longer you will be able to go without being pestered by hunger/thirst messages. You will get a message in-game if you're feeling full or over-fed. You should stop eating/drinking at that point to avoid getting sick.

When full (It will say "Healthy" on the inventory screen), you should begin regenerating blood (health). This may be currently bugged at the moment though.

You can find water in forest streams or from spigots in towns. If you can you should find a water bottle or canteen. Canteens can usually be found around military camps. Plastic bottles can be found in various towns.

If you tangle with a zombie or another player and make it out alive but bleeding, you can select a shirt from your inventory and right click and select tear into rags from the context menu. These rags can then be applied to stop bleeding.

If you have an alcohol tincture or disinfectant spray it is recommended to use this before applying a rag or a bandage. Be aware, that alcohol tincture is currently bugged and may give you a "sick" status message after using which will resolve after a short period of time.

There is a chance when wounded to get infected, which can be treated with antibiotics or vitamins however infected status may not display properly. There are other ways to cure infection which are not currently implemented.

Other status effects may require more serious medical attention. Be aware, that not all status effects and treatment for status effects have been fully implemented yet.

A new mechanic for DayZ SA are how blood bags work. Blood bags can be used to restore blood to a player however these generally require various medical supplies and a blood test kit to find out your blood type or another player's blood type. If you do not do a blood type test on yourself or another player, the blood may not be compatible. This feature is still a work in progress as well.

You can read more about hunger/thirst and other status effects including bleeding/broken bones/etc. here: Status_Effects


Okay, okay…so you want to know about guns. Generally, these can be found along with various weapon attachments in military camps or airfields. Balota which can be found along the southern coastline is a popular one. However, it's also popular for bandits and server hoppers. You will also have to deal with some zombies spawning there as well.

The other two popular spots are NWAF (North Western Airfield) and NEAF (North Eastern Airfield), however there are many other military camps/bases peppered throughout Chernarus.

Once you find a gun, you will still need a compatible magazine and bullets for it as well.

You should be aware that firing guns may attract zombies/more zombies as well as alert other survivors to your position, especially during night time.


You may notice your gun swaying when you aim with it(more noticeable with a scope), all guns have a slight sway but a multitude of factors can influence it:

  • Exhaustion - how much you've been running/rolling recently, to reduce this simple slow down or stop for a few seconds
  • Hurt/broken limbs - if any of your limbs are in pain it will affect your sway, often zombies will hurt a limb and it won't show in the notification area, if you notice you sway is very high and you're not affected by any other factors then try using a Wooden Splint on yourself.
  • Position - being prone is the best for reducing sway, crouching second best and standing is the worst.
  • ATLAS Bipod - Some guns can have bipods, if you're prone with a bipod deployed you will have much less sway, while if you are crouching or standing with it deployed you will have more sway.


Weapon accuracy in DayZ Standalone Alpha 0.42.

Tested Weapons: M4 semi & auto, Mosin-Nagant 9130, SKS, Blaze95, .357 Magnum.

I'm Friendly![edit]

You will find all sorts of survivors in the wastes of Chernarus. The type of survivor you're most likely to encounter is the bandit. They will either KoS (kill/shoot on sight) or may feign friendliness in order to get you to let your guard down. Working in groups, one may greet you and try to talk to you while another attacks you from behind. Some may even kill you just for fun even if it's apparent you have nothing of value.

You can give another player a friendly salute (default: f1) or raise both hands to signal you're just giving up (default: f2).

You may also encounter blood bandits, players who will capture you alive usually using handcuffs to forcibly take your blood for use in blood transfusions. They may either employ a catch and release program or just take your blood and then kill you too.

Note: Logging out while captured or unconscious will cause you to die/respawn. If you are unconscious and wish to respawn immediately you can also do so by opening the menu and selecting respawn.

You may also encounter lawful or ambivalent players or groups. A group may accept you as a member or may just be passing through and not want any trouble. They may tell you to drop any weapon you're carrying and may steal some items too.

Sometimes, someone may offer to group with you and at some later point or when you find some good loot, betray you and kill you.

There isn't really any black or white in how you choose to play the game or how others do. The choices you make are up to you.

Currently, there don't appear to be any game mechanics implemented that reward or punish player interactions but there may be some type of karma system implemented later.

Get off the Coast already![edit]

Seriously, get off the coast. To sum up, DayZ is a work in progress and again, this guide isn't definitive but it should get you off on the right foot. Now, go have fun, eat some beans and explore Chernarus!

Additional Resources:

More Tips: Tips_for_Getting_Started

Map of Chernarus: Chernarus+

Change Your Mindset[edit]

One of the major things that you will need to do is change how you are going to approach the game, especially if you are new. DayZ is a game built to be realistic, so your game play should reflect as much. No matter how much equipment you have, a bullet to the head is a bullet to the head. Even with a helmet on, a well placed melee weapon (or even a good punch) to your head can result in you being knocked unconscious. Death comes quickly if you don't change up how you approach situations. Here are some general do/don'ts that should help if you are new...


  • Avoid being in plain sight. Even the forests next to the roads are better than following a road itself. Open plains should be avoided all together.
  • Survey an area before entering it. If you notice a lot of open doors and no zombies in a town, chances are the town has been looted, or is still being looted.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. Pay attention to out of the ordinary sounds, and even weird zombies. Zombies running AWAY from your location usually means they are running TOWARDS another player.
  • Plan ahead and plan for the worse. This goes not only for the items you carry, but for any situation you might find yourself in.
  • Use common sense. Rotten fruit will make you sick, bullets are loud, falls will break your bones, water from a pond isn't a healthy choice, and a flashlight at night is obvious to see.


  • Fire your gun wildly. Ammo is scarce, and guns are loud. The sound carries a long way, alerting both zombies and players.
  • Shoot a player that hasn't noticed you. At least not right away. Groups of people in DayZ are common, so if you want to be a bandit, at least be smart about it.
  • Let zombies chase you. Unless you are really hurt or can't win, a chasing zombie is like an announcement of your location to anyone watching it.
  • Hoard items. It is really easy to pick up any item you come across once you have a backpack. Keep in mind the better stuff takes up a lot of inventory space later on.

Building A Squad[edit]

Building a squad is one of the most critical parts of Multiplayer DayZ, and can make the difference between a well-organized group, and a spread out mess.


Having a good medic on your squad is the most critical part of a team. A medic should have various medical supplies on hand. Medics should be kept away from the critical action, they should only have a melee weapon or small gun on hand. Their job is to heal the rest of the team, they are responsible for the health and well-being of the squad and should not be let die.


Alright, so any shooter player can recognize the role of the sniper. The sniper is not going to go running right into the field, they should be equipped with a sniper gun and accompanying scope as soon as possible, and should hang back while other players go in for the kill. The sniper isn't going to hit every shot, but their service is very required. They can intimidate other players or squads and help to get players low on health before the short-range gunners go in.


This is the guy that's gonna go see what's up. The scope-out should always be prepared to die and should be only equipped with a low value weapon. People who are good for this job are people with little aim, but with good observation skills, as well as a knack for sensing opportunity. It's also good for the scope-out to have a map, as this will help them determine the next move for the team.


While this may seem like a joking kind of name, it holds true to the job. The firefighter is the guy that initiates in short-range gun fights, and should be ready to take a hit, as well as be good at using the environment to their advantage. They should be equipped with some sort of gun with plenty of ammo, and if they do end up running out, should retreat as quickly as possible. A silencer is also nice for these guys.


This guy should be all-around good, and should be ready to move in as backup for one of the other squad members. Other than that, tagalongs can just be extra fighters, but the only real reason you would have a tagalong is if they're your friend.

In Conclusion[edit]

The Medic and sniper are virtually required on a team, the other three are interchangeable depending on how many players you have. I put them in my personal order of importance, but it sometimes depends on the style of the team as a whole. If you already have two snipers and a medic, you may want a firefighter to move in. If you have a medic, a scope-out, and a firefighter, than a sniper would be a great addition. And as usual, a tagalong is not great in any of these situations, but if they're all you have, take them. And as for gear, everyone should have a good supply of food as well as a water supply, and the best backpacks you can find. Everyone should also have some sort of weapon. And that about sums it up, hope you find this guide useful!


Original Guide by NeedsFoodBadly (official DayZ forums)/BossGalaga (Steam)

Updates/Changes by: ItsTechnicTime Mr.Kamikaze

  • Feel free to add/edit/update this guide and add yourself to credits*

How To's:[edit]

Using Markers on the map[edit]

You can mark various things on the in-game map.

To add a marker simply double click on the map when the map is fullscreen. A marker will show where you clicked.
You can change it's color by pressing SHIFT-UP/DOWN.
You can also use Icons on the map by pressing ALT-UP/DOWN which will cycle to all the possible icons.
Deleting a marker can be done by pointing to it with your mouse and then pressing DELETE.

The markers will be visible to all the players in this channel.

How To Use / Deploy a Bipod[edit]

How To Use and Break Out of Handcuffs[edit]

Using flashlight[edit]

How to use a flashlight can be found at @ Flashlight page.

Eat and drink[edit]

To eat you will need to find food items in the environment, put them in your inventory, right click and choose 'eat'. However, most food will be in tinned cans- for these you will need to get a can opener and 'drag and drop' it onto the can in your inventory to open it. Then right click and consume! Note that some items don't need to be opened, rice, cereal and fruit can be eaten straight away. Other sharp items can be used for opening cans but can spill the food.

Drinking works similarly. Right click a water bottle, canteen or soda can in your inventory and choose drink. You can also take drinks at lakes and water pumps by using the scroll wheel in first person. With water containers in hand you also have the option to fill bottles at lakes and water pumps, but be warned, lake water has a high chance of making you ill, and should be treated with purification tablets.

How To Raise And Lower Your Weapon[edit]

A common question to new players and also a fairly neccasary one, Bare in mind that you wont run as fast with your gaurd up rather than gaurd down.

Loading ammunition[edit]

Ammo can be found loose in bullet form, in loaded magazines, ammo boxes or just empty magazines. If you have loose ammo, drag and drop it onto an empty or depleted magazine in your inventory to refill it to maximum capacity. It should then say 30/30 or a different number corresponding with magazine size. This means that 30 out of 30 bullets are in the magazine and ready to fire. To reload the weapon, press 'R' (shortcut), or scroll wheel to choose between the different types of magazines you have. For more detail on ammo use the loot section.

Survive a hold-up[edit]

I have done this a few times, and it is not easy. There are 3 options, combine elements from each to adapt to the situation.

Co-operate- This is the easiest one, but you will put yourself at the mercy of your captors. Some players will take only what they need, others will rob you of everything you have, even your shirt and jeans- but others will just kill you outright. You could find yourself handcuffed on a roof without food or water- yes, just like Merle Dixon! I don't recommend this one.

Run- Works a treat in cities and towns. If there is lots of cover and hiding spots, a full on sprint away from the aggressor/s can really throw them off. If the enemy only has melee weapons just do this one. No group is going to chase you all the way round chernarus just for some supplies. If they have guns though, you will need to be devious- try to distract them or when they get close enough, bolt past them and into cover. Hide under the stairs, lie in a bush etc.

'Strike out' -

As a lone survivor with no chance of rescue from nearby friends, a risky strategy with a large pay-off if it succeeds is to take them on when they are relaxed. Holster your melee weapon, give them the sweet talk over direct chat 'I surrender' is music to their ears. If they get close to you equip the pistol you had in your jacket and blow their head off, or take that concealed screwdriver out of your jacket and attack his face. Playing dumb also works. eg. 'How do I un-equip it?' Or 'gimme a sec, I need to turn up VOIP, I can't hear you' when they are within range whack 'em with whatever you've got. If you die in the process, you die in the knowledge that you fought bravely, and did some serious damage to the individual or group who attacked you; break a few legs- know what I'm saying?

Settings Guide[edit]

Frames Frames and Moarrr Frames! So when it comes to DayZ frames are pretty essential. If your hardware isn't able to supply a steady framerate of min. 35 - 40 FPS, you should try to turn all graphical settings such as texture quality down to low.

You can find these settings in the configuration menu under the subcategories "render", "video" and "textures". The game will look not good at all, but a steady framerate is much more important than graphics.

Helpful settings for getting a good FPS out of DayZ while giving you a good looking game.