Hello and welcome to the first installment of our official H1Z1 Survivor's Handbook. If you're brand new to the game, you're definitely in the right place. If you're a savvy veteran, you may still find a few nuggets of useful information here. Either way, go ahead and read on. I've broken down this first chapter into several distinct sections that follow any player's very first steps into the game.
#1 - Understanding Server Selection
The first, and likely most-important, of all H1Z1 player's choices is figuring out which server to choose. Similar to traditional MMOs, considering your region of play is very important. However, finding the right server rule-set is also very critical. H1Z1 provides, and plans to continue providing, several unique server options to choose from, that have significant mechanical impacts on how the game is experienced. It is important to note that regardless of the individual rules that apply, there are actually three major access-archetypes of servers: Private, Public, and Event.
Public Servers are the generic public access for anyone. So long as there is room in the server (max population currently caps at 200), you can create a character profile and log in.
Private Servers require an access key or code. If you don't know have a way to contact the owner of the server (or whoever holds the access codes to it), then you won't be able to get in. It's just that simple.
Event Servers require an event ticket, which can be bought from the cash shop, gifted to friends, and potentially traded. To my knowledge this is the only way to get into a special event server (currently only Battle Royale).
Any server under those access archetypes can have a variety of additional rules specific to them, which are clearly listed in the server selection list. Here is a quick breakdown of what each current rule means:
Battle Royale (BR) signifies a type of event server where all the survivors are pitted into a battle where only one person can come out victorious.
Player vs. Player (PvP) servers are exactly what they look like. Open world battle between players is "always on" and any other Player Characters are potential enemies at all times. These are not for the faint of heart... or the impatient - unless you're itching to kill fellow survivors of course.
Player vs. Environment (PvE Only) servers are also what they look like, players are not able to kill each other (well, theoretically anyways... it is an alpha client, and players have found ways to kill each other). The devs are working hard to ensure that any bugs, glitches or exploits are getting fixed so that these servers truly are PvE Only.
Recipe Wipe (Skull) servers mean that every time you are killed, your character loses all knowledge of previously unlocked recipes. This means you'll need to rediscover them after death... when you re-scavenge all the ingredients, that is.
Head Shots Only (Reticule) servers mean that NPC hostiles can only be killed by blows to the head. Which means you're still toast if your health gets down to 0%, whether you've been concussed or not.
First Person Only (Pistol-in-hand) servers prevent all players from switching to the 3rd person view at any time. (Currently only entering a vehicle puts you in 3rd person, but 1st-person driver viewpoint will be added eventually.)
#2 - Acknowledging your Initial Hazards
This ties directly into whichever rule-set you've just chosen. If you're in a PvE Only server, then only NPC Zombies and animals will try to chase you down and kill you. If you're feeling more spry and have selected PvP, then you'll have to consider every other player as a potential threat (as you're competing for shared resources - at the very least). Additionally, H1Z1 features hunger and thirst mechanics. If you don't stay hydrated and keep your energy level up, you'll start bleeding health until you die of starvation/dehydration.
Other than those active hazards, you should be fine as long as you're watching your step and don't fall of the side of a mountain, catch yourself on fire, or fall prey to some other static trap or hazard. Also, it is currently impossible to drown yourself, though sometimes you might wish you could.
#3 - Diving into the Storage Wars
Believe it or not, the rarest resource in the game is not ammunition. It is storage space. In a game where you're very survival depends on acquiring sustainable goods, it should make sense that if you ever plan to progress you're eventually going to need to start creating a stash of surplus of items. While it may take quite some time before you can really hoarding anything, just giving yourself room to grow is a very important first step.
My very first action with any new character (or any time I die - which happens quite often), is to shred nearby clothing to acquire enough cloth scraps to craft a Satchel. Most of the time that clothing is the stuff I'm currently wearing. After all, it doesn't usually take long to find an extra pair of pants and t-shirt lying around; as they aren't exactly coveted resources. In the event you do struggle to find extras lying around - be sure to search washers and dryers - they usually always have one or the other in them.
The best part about crafting an early satchel is that is also a component to a much larger "framed backpack" that makes for a very significant mobile storage container to help you hang on to extra items and start stashing your excess later. If you can fit it in your bag, take it - you can always drop stuff later. That's my motto anyways.
#4 - Finding some Basic Sustenance
I can't count the number of people I've heard complain about how H1Z1 is a "blackberry-picking simulator". While blackberry bushes make for an excellent day-one grab and a stop-gap to starvation in a pinch - it's actually very simple to acquire better food sources. You just have to summon up the courage to venture into zombie and player-infested territory where all the real loot is found.
Houses, campsites, and towns offer a large supply of resources - but they do tend to be the places that people (and therefore zombies) congregate. If you're willing to take some risks, you'll find there are plenty of rewards that make these dangerous trips worth it. Always exercise caution when you get close to man-made structures, the bigger they are the more likely they are to be overrun with baddies. PvP servers are especially dangerous, as many players are simply waiting to ambush you and take you for everything you've got.
#5 - Establishing a Base of Operation
Due to the most recent paragraph above, I find that sticking to a particular area of the map (at least until you learn where everything important is) is your best bet at staying alive. It's important to always keep moving, but if you can find yourself a looting track to circle you're generally going to have a much better idea of what is where and who is in the area. Note though, that if you don't stay vigilant you can easily fall prey to complacency, as a new mob (bear or zombies) or even worse - a new player - might have come exploring while you were away making your rounds.
In the event that you do start establishing a healthy surplus of items, that probably means it's time to pick a location to create a ground-stash for storage. It will free up your inventory space so you can continue hording supplies and resources and gathering odds and ends you'll need to start building a real base. If you're on a PvP server, be extremely careful that you're not being followed. Try to alter your path back to your stash whenever possible, and always be certain you're alone before revealing the location to anyone.
#6 - Moving on to Adventure, Exploration & Progression
One of the best parts about establishing a home-base somewhere on the map and stashing excess goods, is that it frees you up to live more vicariously; since anytime you die, you can always go back to your stash and resupply yourself fairly quickly. This means you can start exploring the wider map, which should allow you to start finding and acquiring different kinds of rare loot that you're going to need to begin base-building and/or getting a working vehicle.
If you're playing the game with friends, it should be much easier to accomplish everything above - as the standard rule of "strength in numbers" definitely applies to this game - especially in PvP servers. That's not to say that operating as a lone-wolf doesn't offer its own unique set of challenges and advantages. After all, if you're just riding around solo - everything is yours for the taking, and you don't need to divvy up resources and loot.
Final TIPS & Navigation Index
It is important to keep in mind that you don't have to follow any of my advice. There is plenty of fun, adventure, and exploration to be had on even your very first day in H1Z1. One of the beautiful aspects of this game is that you don't actually have to progress if you don't want to. You can run around the map and fully live in the moment, eating food as you find it and actively engaging in combat with zombies, bears, wolves, and any other players unfortunate enough to cross your path.
That should be plenty of good starting info to help you get your feet wet and start enjoying the game - whether you're set out to try and survive as long as possible, or go down in a blaze of riotous glory. Go ahead and comment with your own personal experiences in the game and share any starting advice or tips you think other new players might find valuable.
Quick and Dirty Starter Tips - H1Z101
Navigator's Compass & World Atlas
Crafter's Recipe & Blueprint Compendium
Scavenger's Item & Resource Locator
Official H1Z1 Links & External Information
Plots, Shots, & Airdrops: A Combatant's Scope on PvP
How to Throw Down in a Battle Royale
50 Shades of PvE: The Real Hardcore Mode of H1Z1
Base Engineering For Dummies!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our H1Z1 Game Page.