Survival is the primary goal in DayZ Standalone. Your success is dependent upon being able to navigate the terrain, defend yourself from threats, and deal with problems such as health issues when they arise.
Meeting Basic Needs
Every player has basic needs that have to be tended to regardless of whatever else you are doing. Failing to pay attention to any one of these elements for long enough will almost certainly result in misfortune. While each is its own separate goal, collectively they work to keep the player stable and able to perform more advanced tasks.
You will need to eat food regularly to keep up your energy for several reasons. When energy and water levels are both at the required level, you will naturally regenerate blood and then eventually regenerate health as well. Keeping your energy as close to its peak as possible ensures that you are able to rapidly recover from illness or injury in addition to being as quick and limber as possible in your movements.
Energized status is attained through eating enough food. Things to eat can be acquired by looting buildings, picking fruit, hunting, or fishing. Eating food fills your stomach and gives you energy. Note that some fruits and vegetables may be rotten, and are unsafe to eat no matter their condition. Some berries are also known to be poisonous. You may potentially get food poisoning from consuming rotten, uncooked, burnt, or poisonous food.
Just as important as food is your need for water. Keeping yourself hydrated must go hand-in-hand with keeping yourself energized. A player consumes water faster than they do energy, so water is generally a more pressing concern than food. Water is usually easier to come by however, as players can drink from any freshwater source such as a water pump, pond, or river. Keep in mind that eventually some water will not be safe to drink and will require you to use water purification tablets or boil it in order for it to be consumable without causing sickness.
A player can also hydrate themselves by drinking cans of soda. Water can be consumed from a water bottle, a canteen or a jerrycan as well, all which can be refilled at one of the above mentioned sources of water.
Although less important than food and water, shelter is a necessary consideration in the face of cold weather and becomes particularly important when rain is a factor. Depending upon the time of year (and therefore the ambient temperature), players must actively work to keep themselves warm or they will eventually grow very cold and become hypothermic. The colder you become, the more difficult it is to become warm again. In order to stay warm you must stay dry, which means avoiding the rain unless you are wearing waterproof clothing and equipment. Players can seek shelter in the form of buildings, tents, or even cover from trees in order to stay dry. If you are already cold however, shelter is generally not enough to regain warmth; you must build a fire or use heatpacks in order to warm yourself up.
In addition to satisfying all of the traditional demands placed on your player, you will need to find ways of getting healthy when faced with an injury, infection, or any other ailment. Medical supplies can be found primarily in related facilities such as hospitals and medical centers.
See the Character Status page for more information on the somewhat intricate system for managing your player's health.
Though you've solved the needs of your character, you must hone your ability to traverse the map in search of additional gear or interactions with other players. This is the skill of navigation, which will become easier over time as you develop a familiarity with your surroundings. You'll likely start by making your way between towns, on to key locations, and eventually into high-risk areas such as military facilities. Items like a compass can aid you in making the most of this skill. If you don't happen to come across a compass, you can use helpful websites like iZurvive to get around the vast landscapes of DayZ.
The ender of many a character, combat is the catch-all term for violent conflict in DayZ. Typically when this word is used in conversation, it refers to fighting between players of the game (PvP); however environmental threats (PvE) do currently exist in their basic form as the infected and predator animals like wolves and bears. In order to defend yourself and overcome these obstacles, you'll need to find or create some weapons.
While most of a player's basic needs can be fulfilled with some looting, a trip to a pond, and a house to stay in, most people have bigger ambitions. Players who wish to travel Chernarus will need to carry supplies with them in addition to gathering more as they go. Additionally, some may choose a playstyle that is skewed more towards staying in the wilderness. The advice below is broken down by category and will discuss different ways you can aid in your own survival by taking advantage of what is around you.
The wildlife in Chernarus is diverse and useful to players. When you hunt and kill an animal such as a Deer, they can be skinned and harvested for both a pelt and meat. Their pelt can be used to make leather items and the meat can be cooked and then eaten for sustenance. Fish are similarly useful, although only meat is gained from harvesting a fish.
Growing and harvesting your own plants is another means of living off the land rather than looting for food and supplies. This is now possible just about anywhere there is soft ground available so long as you have a shovel, farming hoe or pickaxe to work the dirt. Growing plants requires prepared ground, seeds, and water. Fertilizer is optional, but speeds up the growing process. Once plants are grown, you can harvest seeds from them in order to perpetuate the cycle of growing.
There is much that can be done with what you gather in the wilderness. Sticks, for example, have a variety of uses including torches, fireplace kits, and fishing rods. Crafting can also be employed to create player gear such as backpacks using rope, sticks, and an animal pelt. See the main article for all of the many possibilities of crafting.
Players are able to find, repair, and drive vehicles that are strewn about Chernarus. Though they rarely spawn with everything necessary to be used, it is possible to track down the necessary parts in nearby towns and reassemble or fix the vehicle in order to be used. By having a working means of transportation, players have a huge advantage in travel time and carrying capacity. Vehicles do require regular maintenance however, as their parts can be damaged or worn out, and they occasionally need to be refilled with fuel.
Players are able to assemble basic structures for shelter and storage, provide electricity for powered items, and barricade themselves against attack by constructing defenses. The necessary items to assemble a camp are found around Chernarus and players can store items with persistence, grow plants, and do some cooking alongside constructing bases or pitching tents.