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5 Tips for Surviving the Apocalypse

David Jagneaux Posted:
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The zombie survival genre has grown to become something decidedly different from anything else in the industry. With a combination of elements from several different existing conventions, zombie survival games have worked out their own niche that continues to rise in popularity. It makes sense when you think about it. The exhilaration of playing, the huge consequences for dying, the desperate struggle, and of course the fear of zombies and your fellow players, all add up to create a chilling atmosphere.

H1Z1, the latest endeavor from Sony Online Entertainment, just went into a paid Early Access Alpha state for the general public which has elicited some concerns from the fanbase – but that’s a different topic for a different time. Instead, this list is going to focus on some tips for helping you survive in the harsh land of H1Z1.

5) Trust No One

This should go without saying, but regardless of whether or not you’re playing on a PvE or PvP server, you should not trust anyone. On a PvP server, the reason is obvious. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, another player could appear or turn on you at any time. In the few days that the game’s been live I know this to be true from first-hand experiences.

It’s natural selection in action, for the most part. If someone has better gear than you and knows they could easily kill you and take the few supplies you have – what’s really stopping them? A friend of mine was murdered because he had a nice helmet. I’ve ambushed someone that was reading a map because they had a backpack. The zombie apocalypse makes people do crazy things out there, so you can’t trust anybody, least of all yourself.

4) Hoard Food

The struggle is real in H1Z1. As of the publishing of this list, they have made some fixes in terms of scaling back how quickly your energy (hunger) and hydration drain, but it’s all a work in progress. Regardless of how the metrics end up over time, it’s extremely important that you scavenge for food and hoard it. That innocent looking guy that’s walking down the street may seem sincere when he asks for that can of beans you just took, but keep in mind you need those beans too.

You may reach a point in the game where you feel like that deer isn’t worth killing, or those canned carrots are just taking up extra space, but you’ll be thinking quite differently when you starve to death. Getting lost, stuck in a fight, or just forgetting to eat are all real concerns, so having a backup stash of food handy is super useful.

3) Learn to Craft

Immediately after spawning into the game, the first thing you should do Is tear up your shirt to make scraps of cloth. After that, find some wood sticks and combine those together to create a makeshift bow. Turn remaining sticks into arrows and you’re good to go on defending yourself from would-be attackers.

It’s not that easy though. Whenever you have down time, you should always be mixing and matching items in the “Discovery” section of your inventory to see if you can unlock any new crafting recipes. The sooner you get your hands on some scrap metal (hitting cars with a crowbar) the sooner you can make a hatchet to harvest wood from trees and meat from animals. Sooner or later, you’ll be building sprawling bases just like the one you see above. Focus on crafting as soon as possible!

2) Set and Accomplish Small Goals

When you log into H1Z1 for the first time, it’s incredibly easy to get overwhelmed. Seeing players in awesome gear, with huge backpacks, assault rifles, and vehicles can be awfully intimidating. Rather than looking to other players as something to strive for, you could view them with jealousy, but don’t let that happen. Instead of spending your time being envious of the team barreling through the game in a pickup truck, focus on what you can immediately do to be better.

For example, focus on gathering food and weapons first and foremost. Once you have enough supplies to survive a while, find a map. Go to the closest settlement and search everything thoroughly. Once you’ve done that a few times, set your sights on one of the main towns, which have more players and potentially better loot. You should start attacking players and getting more ambitious with your actions. Build a base. Find car parts. Soon enough, you’ll be in a group similar to the one you saw flying down the highway when you first started.

1) Understand It’s Still in Early Access Alpha

While it may feel more like a “traditional” launch since they charge you to play it and there is a small cash shop, this game is still far from being completed. The team is working endlessly to improve the game from its launch woes and is doing a great job so far. Everything from server stability, game crashes, adjusting loot drops, fixing the “pay 2 win” aspect of the air drop features, tweaking starvation, and a million other areas have already been addressed in just the first weekend.

With all that being said though, keep in mind that this type of responsiveness can’t keep up forever. The nature of a game’s Early Access period is precisely for finding what breaks the game, what does and does not work, and generally improving things before it officially launches. There is a ton of content and really fun ideas at work already – but it’s far from completed. It’s important to keep that in mind not only for your sake, but for the sake of the game’s continued improvement as well.


H1Z1 is far from being a perfect game, but it’s also already in a state I consider extremely fun. It’s been a while since I’ve had such an exhilarating experience from something as simple as looting a house, seeing another player approaching in the distance, or any of another billion moments. It’s super easy to get overwhelmed and to die out there, so having some basic tips before making the journey is extremely important.

What about you? If you could give players a valuable tip for survival, what would it be?


David Jagneaux

David Jagneaux / David is a freelance writer and full-time nerd. He loves to play, write about, talk about and think about all things gaming. It's dangerous to go alone, so follow him on Twitter at @David_Jagneaux