The War Z Beginner’s Survival Guide

The War Z Beginner’s Survival Guide by FrostyReaper

Surviving in this harsh wasteland is sometimes difficult. At times it may even seem impossible… That is why from my own experiences would like to give some advice on how to stay alive alittle longer. And hopefully get that piece of loot to the Safezone. Though i can’t guarantee that even if you follow these basic guidelines and use some common sense you may just improve survival rate.
So first, there are some rules. Try and follow these as a guideline, common sense is key and sometimes you need to overlook these rules.

  • Everything will try to kill you! (and likely succed)
  • Dont trust anyone!
  • If you are being chased by a horde, if you see an area you can jump up on, do it! It will save your life and also you might be able to get some melee headshots without them hurting you!
  • When in doubt, just gtfo! (Get The Fuck Out)
  • Take it slow, allways check your area. Listen and watch. Thats the key!
  • Remain hidden as much as you can
  • To good to be true? Usualy is a trap then
  • Find some people you can trust (hard but clans are looking). Less likely to be hammerd to death when in a group.
  • No matter what you feel. NIGHTTIME play is your friend. Harder to spot. (wear dark clothes)
  • The zombies aren’t the biggest threat out there (more a dumb pet that tries to eat you). Everyone else breathing is!
  • REPEAT RULE 4! Checking behind once a minute or even more will be a hughe difference!
  • The melee weapon is your best friend! Only use the flashlight if you are either desprate or dont have another melee weapon. If you have other melee weapons ditch the flashlight as soon as you can.
  • Always try to take cover behind something!
  • If it is not essential for your survival, don’t pick it up or ditch it if you have non essential items.
  • Transitions between Third Person View and First Person View can and will make the difference! Use Third Person View to look around corners and over walls/fences for threats, First Person View is your best bet for combat for better accuracy!

Solo or team play?

Now even with this grim set of rules there is no way to survive it all. If you decide to play solo, you can be more stealthy. You also get to claim all that sweet sweet loot for yourself. But remember this, someone will always spot you! And being alone makes you an easy target.
Surviving can be a lot easier when moving in a group. Finding a trustworthy party isn´t all that easy though, it requires a leap of faith from all players involved. Keep in mind that anyone you turn your back on always has the option to gently apply his melee weapon of choice to your skull in order to obtain your tasty gear. Because of this, everyone is paranoid and most players shoot on sight even if they´re not after your prized posessions. People you meet are a lot less likely to blast away if you identify yourself and state that you are friendly. Voice chat further reduced the chance of your team mates turning on you in a whim. The best way of finding a group is joining one of the many available clans.
Here are some pros and cons of going it alone or teaming up.

You can be more stealthy when alone rather than in a group. You can keep all that loot (including that food) for yourself. You can choose to be friendly or unfriendly to others without others input. You don’t have to babysit 2-7 others or worry about food or weapons for them.
You are an easy target for those bandits. Who’s easier to kill, one person or eight? Stealth is your best option. Running through town like you are rambo won’t get you very far. It’s hard to not be on the edge when alone. Moving through those forests can be a scary experience if you have some serious loot on you.

You can roll through a big town looting everything you want without fear of being easily killed. Things are always funner in a group than alone. You have others to help you out with food or weapons. Bandits might not go for you in a large group.
Stealth is going to be very difficult with a full group of eight, so it isn’t that much of an option for you. You are still an easy target if you are in a group of people you just met (this doesn’t really apply for those in a clan with voice chat). One shot from a sniper and everyone turns on each other. Food is ALWAYS a problem. Being on edge is easy with a group full of new people; you never know when someone is going to betray you or cut and run when you are in a tight spot. You have a group to worry about, not just yourself.
What is the best for you?

Moving around

The wilderness between settlements is devoid of the undead. The challenge here is not being shot while you admire the landscapes. Expect snipers and marauding gangs, especially along the approaches to safe zones and roads between major cities.
When choosing your gear, balance the risks with the potential use: Whatever you bring you will have to count as lost until you´re back at the safezone! Nothing is yours forever! Dont carry to much gear when going in for a loot run so you dont risk losing that beloved AK or Sig Sauer 556. Also try to not use your best gear – I know, its hard since you want to do some zombie ass kicking! – but strapping yourself in top notch weapons and garb is always a gamble. The better your gear, the higher up you move in the list of worthwile targets. Especially when on your own, use basic gear to a large extent, you will rarely need to drop something useful to grab that one gun. Food and water you expend anyway so that free’s up inventory. A medium backpack is sufficient for most purposes.
Always make yourself hard to spot and keep in cover. Moving around at night time is the best! As a warning: That bright yellow fireman helmet and hardhat… you are asking to be seen. Bandit snipers probably love you all for wearing them!. The same goes for using a flashlight.. If you use that beacon of doom under any circumstances you deserve to die! Never travel on large open spaces or even roads! Moving in the forest or sticking close to a fence/wall is good. You will have some cover when moving around, choose the side away from any open areas and travel through ditches if possible.
Also always reserve your sprint. You will save on hunger and thirst, besides its better to have it when needed to get away then rushing in! You make yourself extremely visable to everything when you sprint. Close to a city, most likely you´ll attract zombies in the process, as well as other players (that crowd of zombies is following something right?).

Choosing a site for looting and reading signs

Being observant is key to a sucessfull loot run. As always, your prime concern won’t be the zombies but other players. The first and obvious reason are bandits. Secondly, loot in War Z respawns quite slowly. As a consequence, looting an area that was combed by a player a few minutes ago will likely not even yield the food and drink you spent on travelling there. Thus, our ideal target is completely survivor-free and has been that way for some time.
Here are some common signs that a city had a player in it recently:

  • Zombies standing in very close clusters or lines – They are grouped like this because they chased a player and lost him/her. If they all stare in one direction, this is where our fellow surviver has hollered off to.
  • Absence of zombies on the ground – conversely, a lot of zombies lying flat indicates an untouched area.
  • Long stretches of zombie-free street – can occur naturally, but may be a sign that a player crossed the area, drawing away or killing zombies
  • Sparse loot with mostly useless items, especially 375 ml bottles of water and low nutrition food – yeah, thats what we want to avoid. its rage-inducing. these things were left behind by someone who exchanged them for better loot he found in place of them.

Generally speaking, look at how you change a place by looting it. If these signs show, and the first few buildings have nothing of use, it may be time to pack it up and look for a better spot. Groups of players leave clearer “footprints” that loners. More zombies in a location means higher chances of loot, a city that can hardly be navigated has´nt seen a player in a hour or so.
Signs for bandits specifically

  • Gunfire (duh), especially automatics – due to the noise and sparse ammo, few players use firearms on zombies.
  • Small piles of equipment out of usual spots – bandits usually leave small food items and equipment like hats when they loot their victims.

All of the above should be understood as a reason to get away from an area immediately.


When ever you approach a area, take it slow (I know that there might be a shotgun in the store but just wait!). Using your binoculars to scan a site can save you from all kinds of zombie- or bullet-related accidents. Other survivors are easy to spot by their fast movements. Observe a little. If you see a zombie running and you know that you didnt attract it, congrats, you are not alone! See that survivor running into the store? Then gunfire and nothing more? Congrats, you got yourself a bandit camper! Though there are ways to take care of those. Either wait him out he will get some loot and then DC or perhaps move out of the store to get to safezone storage. If its the later then it will pay to wait him out. Then you have 2 options. Either kill him and do a deed to mankind. Or just let him pass (he wont be able to carry every single piece of loot!!!) Be cautious though. Its not uncommon for bandits to drop a pile of top loot as bait. The other way is to work smart, got flares? Toss them inside, make noise! Zombies can be the best of pets sometimes. Keep looking/conserving your firearms and use them as a last resort. Dont fall for simple things as that pile with loot just sitting about.. Never rush, check your surroundings and learn what the signs actually mean. Look behind as frequent you can, until the point it starts to feel silly. People will try to sneak up on you. Be extremly careful who you trust! When in an actual voice chat people rarely double cross you. And again! Take it slow, actually think about everything. And zombies are more then just dead meat walking around. They can be used for many things. Foremost tracking intown movements!

Tips for Looting:

  • If you have to fight through Zombies its not worth getting injured just for food or water or useless items!
  • Don’t stay out in the open while looting! (You are asking for bandit snipers to pick you off and steal your stuff)
  • If you see an awesome gun just sitting there out in the open, its probably a trap set by a bandit! (if its too good to be true just leave!)
  • When going into a building to loot, Always, Always, Always check the surrounding area and inside the building before going to loot. You never know if a bandit is hiding and waiting to kill any unsuspecting looter!!
  • If you are looting at night, NEVER use a flashlight to find loot! If you do, you are saying “Come kill me, I have items for you!”

Tricks for Looting:

  • If you can wait till its become dark to go and loot towns/cities. It will be easier to hide from Bandits and Zombies.
  • Try to outfit your character in dark clothes so you will blend into the night.
  • If you want to try to get some quick items, you can place good items on the ground and camp nearby and kill players that fall for the trick! (I know its a Doushebag move but its good for obtaining items quickly or becoming a Bandit)

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