In DayZ your character has 6 core stats that you need to manage. 5 of them can be seen at the bottom right of your screen in the order of Hydration, Hunger, Temperature, Blood and Health.
Staying alive requires that you keep most of these core stats in good standing. One core stat reaching a critical level could also drain other core stats and the subsequent effects will lead to death if you don't address the issues as soon as possible. When in good standing the icons will be white. When they're moderate they will be yellow and when they're critical they will be red. There are other icons that will appear at the bottom right depending on if you're sick, wet, bleeding, etc. I'll also do my best to explain these and how to treat them.
When you first start out the biggest of your worries will be needing to find food and something for hydration, so that's where we'll start and what this page will cover. Another note is that when you eat food or drink liquids it won't immediately reflect on your status icons. You'll need to give it time to go through your stomach before the icons update. It is possible to overeat, but you'll most likely never run into that problem.
Hydration, like hunger, will drain over time as you play. It also drains at a faster rate if you are sprinting a lot or carrying a lot of heavy gear. Finding something to keep with you for hydration should be a high priority as soon as you spawn. The two most common containers that can be used to hold water, in the beginning, is a Plastic Bottle and a Cooking Pot. Later on you can find Canteens at military bases. However, since this is DayZ, it's not as easy as just finding something with water. If you find a Plastic Bottle DO NOT DRINK FROM IT. You need to take it to your hands, crouch, aim at the ground and hold to empty it out. This is because all Plastic Bottles and Canteens are filled with contaminated water. If you drink from it as soon as you find it you will get sick with Cholera. There are two ways around this. The ideal method is to have Chlorine Tablets to purify the water. You can find Chlorine Tablets in hunting cabins, deer stands, feed stands, and uncommonly sometimes in towns. The other method is to find a Water Pump. These are located in certain towns. The iZurvive maps do a good job of marking where these are. For reference, this is a water pump:
You can fill your Plastic Bottle, Cooking Pot or Canteen from a Water Pump. Water Pumps always give purified water. If you're unlucky and can't find something to hold water, but you need to drink, you can drink from a water pump directly with your hands. This is very slow, but it's better than nothing. Note: DO NOT drink from a pump with your hands if your hands are bloody (from skinning animals without gloves). This will lead to getting sick with Cholera. Wash your hands with the pump before drinking if needed.
It should also be noted that you should only fill your water containers from streams and lakes if you have Chlorine Tablets.
Other than purified water, you can also find cans of soda in towns and sometimes on zombies you've killed. These look like real-life sodas, but with parody names. These are:
- Nota-Cola (Coke)
- Spite Lemonade (Sprite)
- Pipsi Cola (Pepsi)
- Mad Monk Kvass (Beer)
These do not last long but make a great source of hydration when you can't find anything else. It's best to drink the whole can once you find one until you reach full hydration. That way you don't have to worry about it while looting for other stuff.
Certain foods you eat will also give you a low increase in hydration. Things like Canned Peaches have a lot of liquid content so eating it will give you some hydration.
As said before, Hunger like hydration will drain over time as you play and is also affected by sprinting, carrying heavy gear, etc. It's important to find food when you start out as you won't live long or make much progress when you're starving. Luckily, there is a lot of food items in the game and you can also go hunting later on once you're a bit more geared. I'll touch on that soon.
When you start out as a freshspawn on Chernarus you'll start with a piece of fruit in your inventory. If you start on Livonia you do not start with any food. Searching houses, broken down cars and zombies you've killed will be the best method of finding food starting out. You'll most likely be finding canned food which can be a bit of a problem in the beginning because you need something to open those cans.
There are multiple ways to do this. The ideal way is to have a Can Opener in your inventory. You can find these in houses or on dead zombies. I find them more commonly on zombies so kill them off one at a time and make sure to see what they might have. You can also open canned foods with knives, axe/hatchet, or bayonets. If you use something other than a can opener to open the can it will lose 10% of its food content, but that's okay. To open a can with any of the above tools you must take the can to your hands, scroll over to the tool you wish to use, highlight it, then hit to combine. This will take you out of your inventory screen and you will now have the option to hold to open the can. After that, you can eat it. Also, note that you don't have to eat everything in the can if you don't need to. You can save what's left to eat later. Food never spoils (except for fruit and vegetables after a long time).
Here's the full list of canned food you can find that requires a tool to open:
- Canned Bacon
- Canned Baked Beans
- Canned Spaghetti
- Canned Sardines
- Canned Peaches
Besides the canned foods that require a tool to get into there are also a handful of other food items you can find that are ready to eat right away. These are as follows:
- Canned Tuna (has a pull tab to open)
- Strawberry Jam
- Powdered Milk
Fruits and Vegetables:
There are wild mushrooms that can be found in forests, but I would recommend ignoring these. Eating them raw will poison you and they don't fill you up enough to justify cooking.
So besides the canned foods, the dry goods, and the fruits, hunting is an excellent source of food. However you won't be able to do it immediately. You will need some tools and resources to do this properly and I'll try my best to explain that. I also want to refer back to the iZurvive map as it has animal icons all over the place to help locate what's around you. There are many different animals and meats for you to cook and eat. You will eventually have to do this anyways for two achievements. I'm also going to categorize these animals into two categories: passive and predatory. These animals are:
- Boar / Pigs
- Deer (two achievements tied to this animal)
You've probably figured it out by now, but you want to avoid Wolves and Bears at all costs if you can. You will hear them howl or roar off in the distance, but if you're not careful they will sneak up on you and attack you. Wolves especially. Wolves will hunt in packs and if you don't have a gun to fight them off it's almost always going to end in death. Their bites cause bleeding and it will stack and lead to quick blood loss. I do not recommend ever seeking out Predatory Animals as a source of food.
Passive animals will never attack you. They will run away from you however, some more often than most. Domestic animals such as chickens, cows, and sheep will be a little more lenient on you running up to them. More often than not you can get close enough to kill them with a melee weapon like an axe. Whereas animals like Deer will run away from you every time if you get too close. It's best to shoot these with a rifle in the wild if you can.
So, the TOOLS I mentioned, you're going to need a few things for hunting. First and foremost, you'll need either a Splitting Axe, Firefighter Axe, or a Hatchet for chopping down a tree for firewood. I suggest one of the first two because they are the two best melee weapons in the game (in my opinion).
You will also need a knife of any kind. Steak knife, Kitchen Knife, Combat Knife, Hunting Knife, or Machete. This will be used to skin the animal which drops all the meat on the ground for you to inventory. NOTE: If you skin an animal while not wearing gloves, your hands will become bloody/dirty. You need to clean them as soon as possible at a Water Pump or with a filled water container from your inventory. Drinking or eating from your hands if they're bloody will result in getting sick with Cholera.
Next you'll need kindling to create a Fireplace and something to light the fire with. For kindling you can use Rags (obtained by cutting up clothes), Paper (obtained from opening ammo or nail boxes), Bandages (obtained from medical buildings) or Bark (obtained by using a knife on a tree). Combine any of these kindling items with a Wooden Stick to craft a Fireplace. Once you've crafted it, it will be placed at your feet. If you'd like you can take the Fireplace to your hands and place it somewhere else. Now that your fireplace is created you'll need to add more fuel to it by taking some of the firewood from the tree you cut down and dragging it into the Fireplace's fuel slot. 4-6 firewood should do. If the tree didn't drop very many you can chop down another or use an axe on the big logs to craft more firewood.
Once that's all set up you'll need to light the fire now. This can be done with multiple items and you'll need to light a fire with each method at least once later on for an achievement. These items are Matches (can be found wherever loot spawns), a Road Flare (can be found wherever loot spawns), or a Hand Drill Kit (crafted by combining Bark with a wooden stick) and a Lighter (rare to find and not needed for the achievement). Take one of these items to your hands, look at the fire, and hold to light it. Now all that's left is to find a nearby bush and with empty hands hold on the bush to get a Long Stick. Take the long stick to your hands, go to your inventory, highlight a raw piece of meat, and press to equip it to the stick. Now look at the Fireplace and hold to begin cooking your meat. You will see a circle of progress while cooking it, you only need to do one full circle. Doing another will only burn the meat.
NOTE: Do not sit too close to the fire or your temperature will raise extremely high or you will be burnt. It should also be noted that lighting a fire at night can be a death wish as it's visible from miles away. If you light during the day it's a lot harder to be spotted, but someone who's looking for it may still be able to see the smoke coming from your fire. For this reason I suggest dragging all the materials inside a building if possible and lighting it there. Keeping cooked meat in your pants will also raise your body temperature so throw them in your backpack, vest, etc.
So to quickly recap the tools needed:
- Splitting Axe or Firefighters Axe (Chopping wood & killing animals)
- Knife (For gutting / skinning the animal)
- Gloves (Optional, but keeps your hands clean)
- Kindling (Rags and paper are the most common)
- Fire Source (Matches are common)
- Long Stick (Obtained from a bush)
Now that Hydration and Hunger have been covered we'll move onto Health where I'll explain the other core stats as well as the different types of illnesses and treatments there are in DayZ.
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