The War Z Beginner’s Guide
The War Z Beginner’s Guide by IcarusWings
I’ve noticed a number of new War Z players coming here (to the forums) to express frustration over their inability to get a foothold in the Apocalyptic Zombie Infested World of Colorado. Don’t sweat it, I felt and did the same. While I’ve been playing for just over a week, I have stockpiled a generous arsenal of weaponry and supplies in a short time. Thus I provide this very, very basic guide to one, getting a foothold in game, and two surviving for more than a hour or two per entrance into the game. Some of the tips in this guide have been devised elsewhere on the forum and by other players, meaning I did not devise all of them myself. Most however, have been gleaned from my own personal experience in game.
A word about the way I play the War Z. My own play style is something of a mix between role playing and last man standing, with a bit of hide and seek thrown in for good measure. On to the guide.
First off, you’ll want to find a low population server, preferably after 10pm in the real world, but if you can’t play that late, the lowest populated server will have to do. After spawn in, find cover, go prone and bring up the world map. Playing while it’s night in the game world also helps, but is not necessary. If you have spawned in the north, plot a course to either Crystal Lake Resort, or to the small ranch due north of it. Avoid the closest town/settlement to your spawn in, if you can and move on to the next.
When you are ready to move out–having a destination in mind is very important–move with purpose from cover to cover; from tree to tree or along the base of cliffs where possible, as far from a road as you can. You should run from time to time, and stop in cover to rebuild stamina, but never arrive in a town or settlement or anywhere zombies congregate with zero stamina as you may need to outrun one or more of them.
In the case of Crystal Lake, I have gone from nothing in inventory, to pistol or shotgun or M4 semi and Guerrilla Custom Armor and Large Backpack literally all at once. The general store there spawns armor, weapons, backpacks, food, drink, binoculars medicine and bandages and the vaccine, hats and other items. The post office spawns a wide range of weapons both melee and firearm–I’ve had best luck at night. What I often do is loot the general store and post office, avoid the church and bungalows, head north to the ranch outside town and loot it (weapons, food, drink, etc.) and then kill some time out in the woods. An hour or so (game time) later after killing a few spread out walkers for cash, I head back to town and check once more in the post office and store. If the server pop is still low (most players killing each other over better objectives) I loot the church, the ranch once more, and then get ready to hit the safe zone to the southeast, with one important stop along the way.
Once you’ve filled your coffers (hopefully a large backpack) in Crystal Lake Resort, leave town to the east. Move until you reach the bluffs/hills and head southish along them, always moving from cover to cover, checking behind you and running, resting, scouting with right mouse button zoom or binoculars if you have them. You will eventually reach the outskirts of a town, southeast of Crystal Lake Resort with a garage, a diner, and outlying cars and houses. I tend to sneak along behind the fences on the eastern side, and usually do not risk looting the buildings, unless server pop is really low, or I am feeling very confident with the weapons/equipment I have already looted. Remember, at this point you just want to avoid death before depositing your spoils in the global inventory.
So there is a road going east at the south edge of town that runs up into the hills (just past the group of buildings that include the diner, etc.). Take this road for about fifty yards, then cut right another few hundred feet toward the cover of some trees and then adjust your vector to about due east. Staying with cover proceed until you see some wooden fence way atop the hill. Welcome to one of the best locations to fill up on food and drink and zombie cash, without interaction with other players. Explore this trailer park–always with melee weapon at the ready, and do not forget to search the two motorhomes. In all the many times I’ve looted this trailer park, I have never encountered another player.
Looting completed, leave the trailer park heading south, reach the base of the bluffs and check out the map. Next destination, safe zone. Sometimes, when I am trying to build loot and avoid pvp death, I will log out of a server if the population exceeds ten or twelve other players. Remember, no matter how few players are on a server, death is always a possibility, so proceed as though thirty-nine armed enemies are always out there zooming in on you. To get to the safe zone from the trailer park, just hug the base of the bluffs, run a few hundred feet, go prone in cover, regen stamina and check your surroundings frequently. Avoid discharging your weapon, and scan around in third person every now and again. I have made numerous runs from Crystal Lake to the trailer park to the safe zone without dying, sometimes messing around for hours and accumulating loads of items.
If you spawn in the southeast, you want to head for the Ranger Station. This area is a bit tougher and more frequented by other players so more caution is advised. When you see the Ranger Station from afar, stop and listen and look very carefully. It’s very tough for another player to be inside the compound without having stirred up a lot of zombie activity, unless they spawn inside one of the buildings. You want to approach cautiously, crouched to avoid zombie detection and try to get inside the fence before triggering the undead. On a low pop server, what I do is run to the front of the police station, hop on one of the cars, and more often than not, there’s a good firearm in or around or underneath them. At this point you’ve got one or likely more zombies surrounding the car you’ve hopped on. No problem. Run off one side, run over to the next car, loot that one and take a breather. A note here. If its night in game, resist the urge to melee zombies with your flashlight! Doing so just broadcasts you’re location to other players like a “come kill me” beacon. Now you’re surrounded again, but hopefully you have a gun now or some armor, or some other cool item. Time to lose some zombies. You can do this in many ways. What I often do is run out the front gates, train the zombies down the hill, then sneak back up. There are many, many variations of this and you’ll have to experiment, but the goal is to lead as many away as possible. Head back to the police station and check inside. This is a really great place to find some good gear. I have come away with assault rifles, pistols and automatic shotguns; body armor, helmets, etc. on a number of occasions. When finished inside, check the other buildings, the grounds, the tower, and the nearby checkpoint. The run from here to the safe zone is pretty straightforward, but what I like to do is head behind the compound and go left along the base of the bluffs and basically just follow them all the way. One area on that route which can be dangerous is the construction zone. You will know it when you see it. Loot it at your own risk, as the tall structure there is a great sniper and lookout position.
So I’ve detailed two of the best locations to find gear when you begin with nothing or next to it. There are many more, which I have only just begun to explore myself. Below are some basic tips to help keep you alive and healthily looting, in the mean time, until you’ve established your foothold.
– Always try to use melee weapons to kill zombies. Gunfire attracts more players than undead.
– Avoid Clearview, Smallville, Campos City and Military Bases, in order to avoid early game frustration.
– Always proceed as if another player is watching/following you.
– That other player in the distance appear friendly? He will usually befriend you by killing you on sight.
– Someone has entered the store/building you are looting? Want to keep your loot? Take them out.
– Avoid use of proximity chat. If someone says they see you, let them prove it by trying to kill you.
– Do not reveal your presence in proximity chat.
– As much as you may want to group with others, very good odds are they will kill you on sight.
– The War Z is like playing chess with many random, skilled opponents. Think several moves ahead.
– Do not log out in store/post offices/diners, or other good loot spawn locations. You will eventually die on log in.
– Judge the value of the loot you’ve accumulated in your backpack vs. the desire to interact with another player.
– Good ethics dictate giving a chance to other players before killing them. Avoidance is the best compromise.
– When you cannot avoid another player, take them out.
– Hammers are the best melee weapons. (my opinion)
– Avoid leaving melee weapons in places you’ve just looted. Someone could use them to off you.
– When leaving cover out in the open, “J” hook back around it. Sometimes the player hunting you will be lying inside.
– Use your running ability (stamina) wisely. You can outrun other players if you’ve planned well.
– Just because someone has shot at you does not mean you will die. Make them work for it. Backtrack. Use the terrain.
– When approaching a safe zone, do not go inside the walls to access global inventory. Find cover outside the settlement.
– Use third person often to determine how visible you are at any given time.
– Use terrain features to break up the outline of your character’s body.
– Shadows and night darkness mean little if the other player has turned up brightness in their game.
– Avoid straight line movement between locations. Take the path of most resistance.
– At night use the moonlight to your advantage. Wear a camo hat to cover exposed flesh.
– If you think someone is around, stop and listen. Move. Stop and listen. Most other players lack the patience to outlast you.
– Have fun, play by your own rules…it’s not the end of the world, just a simulation of it.