Bohemia Interactive’s insanely popular DayZ is more than a game about zombies. It’s a case study of human behavior. One can easily make the argument that players you run into throughout the journey are significantly more dangerous than the undead. Encountering even one person is a stressful experience, and running into bandits is a whole other matter. In most instances, the best strategy is to hide, cross your fingers and hope for the best.
With this in mind, Reddit user frayed85 posted tips for surviving bandit encounters, all of which can save your life if executed properly. We like them so much, we posted them on Prima. For more in-depth strategies, visit the DayZ subreddit.
Never run directly towards the sound of gunshots unless you are prepared to deal with what you find when you get there.
Observe the area first. Determine where or who the shots are coming from. Use sound, cover and logic to approximate where the danger is. i.e. if you're near the Fire-station in Elektro and you hear shots coming from that direction, the danger will very likely be in that area.
Similarly, never give away your position to another player, especially if they are armed.
If you decide or have to show yourself, do so from a distance or from partial cover. If you run directly into someone, back off and see what happens. Lowering or putting away of weapons and signs such as the wiggle or wave are nice indicators that someone wants more than simply an exchange of bullets or blows, but this is never cut and dry. Always be on guard.
Now for the tips AFTER the inevitable encounter happens.
Situation A. You get shot at, but you don't know from where.
Find cover immediately. Get inside a building and try to move in the opposite direction to the sound if possible. If you have a weapon, it's up to you. Fight or flight. A gun will mean you can engage from a distance, but your best bet is always to flank or try to lure the bandit out of their cover. For flanking, always make a longer, wider flank than you think is necessary.
If you only have a melee weapon - it better be a Fire Axe (else-wise running fast and punching for the head can work, if they don't have a helmet, but they won't be dead straight away if you're just using fists) - make sure to strafe and run, or try to get in their blind spot.
If you run, then exit the building via the back/other (always pick buildings with back doors) door or move to cover farther away. Go fast. Don't wait around long enough to get surrounded or out flanked. Many bandits can't be bothered to chase or look for you, especially if they are alone, camped up in their favorite position.
If it sounds like there are multiple attackers, you might want to consider running for it, unless you are very confident in your abilities with your chosen weapon.
Situation B. If you are out in the open with no cover and you get shot at from nowhere. Zig-Zag and sprint.
If you can, empty your hands, raise your fists and then sprint - you will go faster. Always zig-zag and don't do it in an obvious pattern. Mix it up. Instead or left, right, left right - left, forward, left, right, right etc. I've survived several attacks like this, once running across a very large open field. I even had time to run back and forth shouting 'WHY MAN? WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM?!' before legging it. It is difficult to hit fast moving targets.
Situation C. You see the bandit(s) who shoots at you.
Either return fire immediately or same as above. Aim for center mass to compensate for any inaccuracy. Using third person cross-hairs, you need to adjust your aim slightly higher than if you are in first person. Aim down the sights in you have time.
If you KILL a bandit(s) who has attacked you. Remember: THERE IS ALWAYS ANOTHER GUY.
Take the time to make sure the area is secure before you loot the body. Getting shot while looting is the no.1 cause of deaths for me and friends. Even if the bandit doesn't have a friend, the chances are the noise will draw attention. So be sure you're safe before looting, or loot so unbelievably fast no one has a chance to spot you.
Similarly, always check your surroundings before doing anything where your character will be exposed and defenseless. Climbing ladders, drinking from waters pumps etc.
Never trust someone who tries to get you to come out into the open or stay still while they talk to you.
You are either about to be shot or they have someone creeping up behind you. No joke, one guy tried to have a nice chat with me, and it wasn't until I got suspicious and turned around that I saw his mate crouch-walking towards me with a baseball bat.
Whenever possible, keep out of sight, move in cover and be quiet.
Don't shoot zombies if you can help it. Use an axe. It's much quieter. Many bandits have tracked down groups of players I've been with because some people got trigger happy or even just wanted to test their weapons.
When leaving buildings, always check your blind spots.
Make sure there's no one waiting for you out there. It's a very easy way to get the drop on someone. This is how I died very recently. For buildings at airfields or important loot areas, DOUBLE your awareness.
Be ready. Keep yourself healthy and with a supply of bandages. Keep a weapon for protection, and when entering a dangerous area, make sure it is loaded and ready to fire.
In groups, always know where the other people in your group are.
Don't bunch up so as to be easy targets, but don't stray so far away that you can't help or be helped in the event of an attack.
At night, stay in the shadows.
I narrowly avoided running into two fully M4-geared players as I went around a corner in Cherno, simply because I was in the shadow of the overhead walkways. They went right in front of me, meters away, but didn't see me.
Also, when approaching an area where players might be, stay low and observe for a while. I almost went into the NW military camp by myself, but stopped to check. Lo and behold, two fully armed players came in through the gates right in front of me. I stayed low and gave them enough time to clear it before moving in myself.
Sometimes You Have to Shoot First
It's all about context. I was once at Balota with a friend, looting the barracks buildings. He moved onto the next one down and I came out after. I saw a guy in a red shirt with a weapon running to the door of the next barracks. I asked my friend if he was wearing a red shirt. He said 'No.’ I had a split second to make up my mind or my friend could have been dead. I took the shot. Given the place and the timing, any attempt to converse could have been deadly. As it turned out, the guy had another friend on his way in behind me. Had I stopped to talk to the guy, I could have been toast. As it was, we had one down and were already on the lookout when his friend started shooting.