Project Zomboid – 50 Tips and Tricks

Hey everyone here is a list of tips that I have made for myself over the years. I’ve played for hundreds of hours and continue to add to this list as time goes on. Many of the tips listed here assume that you have a good grasp on the basics and can survive the first week of Zomboid. These tips are for new and seasoned players alike although people that can make it past the first week will probably find the most benefit from them.

Useful Tips and Tricks

1) If you lure zombies into a building there is a chance a key for that building will spawn when the zombie dies.

2) Zombies don’t notice survivors with flashlights at night unless they are facing the flashlight beam.

3) Engine Quality is important! Not to be confused with Engine Condition. To see Engine Quality click on the engine when you pop the hood and look at the details. Higher quality engines will start more often. As an example. Your Engine Condition (How much damage has been done to the engine) could be at 100% condition. But the Engine Quality (If you have an old junker engine or a Ferrari engine under the hood) could be a quality of 1 and therefor never start.

4) You can grow plants indoors.

5) Gardens are great but pretty much everything grown from a garden will have very few calories and you will pretty much only lose weight if you eat when you’re hungry leading to the underweight quality. Either stuff your face all the time with garden food or add meat to your diet by fishing and trapping.

6) You can get washing machines and sinks to work if you have a water collection barrel above them that is either full and indoors or outdoors and filled with rain water. Plumb it to the sink or washing machine and they will work. Also, with sinks the tainted water comes out purified.

7) If it’s really cold you can leave a wood/antique stove burning all night and it won’t burn your house down. If you’re close to it, it seems to warm you. Closed areas (no open spots in roof or windows) will accumulate heat the fastest, with a curved line of degradation to temps when you have holes in a building.

8) In the options screen under Accessibility Options there is a button that says return to normal speed when you are done with a normal task. It’s default is off. Turn it on to make your life MUCH easier. Any time you speed up time to do a task like break down a create, read a book, chop a tree etc. and you fast forward the time. It will reset back to normal speed the moment you are done with that task.

9) You can name your bags. Makes organization easier. However, you cannot name boxes.

10) If you use the walk command in a forest your character will avoid trees. You’ll still need to watch out for zombies though.

11) If you hit Shift plus W it will engage the cruise control on any car. Cruise control goes up or down in increments of 5 miles an hour. Cruise control will stay set at this speed if you take manual control for whatever reason (I.e. avoiding an obstacle). So if you would like to go back to that same speed just hit Shift W again. However cruise control will reset back to zero if you get out of your car for any reason.

12) You can sterilize bandages or ripped sheets with boiling water instead of using alcohol or disinfectant. Use a cooking pot with water, rags, and a heat source all at the same time. Open up the heat source container (make sure the heat source is on of course). Put the cooking pot with water, and rags in. And then start the heat source. Right click on either the pot of water or the bandages and it will say clean rags. In the option it should display the pot of water (I generally do like 100 in one go so I always have sterile bandages so I’m not sure if you click on the water pot or the rags first one or the other)

13) You can get thread from ripping clothes, which is useful if you want to up xp your tailoring skill

14) The xp you gain from melee weapon is tied to how much damage you deal with that weapon (which means you’ll get significantly more xp when using a hunting knife than a butter knife, even when doing the one-shot stab animation). Shotgun is the way to go to increase aim skill considering the huge amount of damage and that you can hit up to 4 target with a single shot

15) The base xp you gain in any skill (except strength and fitness) is 25%. When you have 1/2/3 or more starting points in a specific skill, you’ll gain 75/100/125 % xp in that skill instead (which is 3 times more than usual with only 1 starting point in a skill)

16) You can sit on floor near a chair, then use the “rest” action on it to double the speed at which you recover from exhaustion (not sure if a bug or intended though)

17) Sneaking is based on how many zombies DON’T see you when you are sneaking by them. You gain more experience for bigger groups. Sneaking into town at night is a good way to level this skill. A way to power level this skill is to find a two-story building that has a railing or something. Build a rope ladder over the back out a window away from the zombies (Might want to keep an extra one on you just in case zombies tear it down) take out the stairs to the second story. Find a car with a siren. Park it in front of the railings and, at night, let the siren blare. Run around to your sheet rope climb back in and stealth along the wall while all the zombies are there. You’ll massively gain stealth XP.

18) You can increase the xp in your “maintenance” skill by pushing and foot stomping zombies, which is a good thing to do early game (and easier since the zombies are scattered) to get 1 or 2 levels on that skill before using a weapon. Check your shoes’ durability from time to time though, you certainly don’t want to walk on broken glass without shoes! Using a wood axe on trees is also a good way to gain the maintenance skill as the wood axe does lots of damage to trees.

19) Maintenance effects how fast your weapons degrade.

20) Pressing the N key will take your car key out. A fast way to get the key if zombies are around. Alternatively, there is now an automatic in-game option to ‘remove car keys on vehicle exit’. A must unless in MP with a pool of vehicles (Note: When testing in B41 solo I can’t seem to get this automatic function to work in the accessibility options. The N button key works but I can’t figure out how to make it automatically take it regardless of turning on the auto function. Might also be a MP thing)

21) You can forage or fish and speed up time to make it go faster. While you are sped up you can hold the right mouse button and twirl around so you can see any potential zombies coming up on you. If you move while resting this will revert time to normal speed.

22) If you have backpacks in both arms and are over encumbered you can’t jump over a wall. But you can climb a sheet rope without dropping anything. If you jump over a wall you will drop whatever is in your secondary hand.

23) You can roll down your window and shoot from your car with a gun. If you open a box of bullets you can set it on the seat beside you ready to restock. NOTE. You can reload your gun while driving however you cannot move bullets from your car seat to your person unless you stopped to do so.

24) Zombies will unload. So, if you see a zombie with something you want (Axe, spear, etc.) don’t leave the area. The zombie won’t be there when you get back. This is partially not true now as the devs have made zombies more persistent in the world but this still applies though to a lesser degree now.

25) Motorcycle Helmets give skull AND neck protection. Regular hardhats etc. will only give skull protection.

26) If your Carpentry is low a good way to get it up is to dismantle things in the house you loot. Beds give the most xp. This is a good side project to do while you are out getting loot. Two birds one stone.

27) If you crouch and yell you will have a smaller sound radius than if you stand up and yell. Good for drawing small groups of zombies at a time when there are a lot around.

28) There is a weather station on the radio and it will give you the weather for the current day and the next day at every hour on the hour. However, it is randomized on each play through. Check every radio for their presets eventually you will find it. It’s very useful to know.

29) The radio will also warn you of the Helicopter Event. It will tell you if there is “Incoming Air Activity” it will also warn you if there is a blizzard coming and how many days away it is so you can plan appropriately. At 9am the weather channel will up date and tell you the current day and tomorrows weather.

30) If you equip the radio in your primary hand you can listen to it while you are out in the field. Make sure to bring earbuds or a headset and MAKE SURE IT’S PLUGED INTO THE RADIO (You have to drag and drop it onto the earbud slot). Otherwise the zombies will hear the radio and come towards you. You can set a radio at your place by using the place option.

31) Never add more than the same three ingredients to a meal. It will make you unhappy if you add more than three. (If you want to be lazy, one bowl and three cabbages will feed you and not make you unhappy) In converse, if you never add more than one of any type of ingredient to a meal mix, and instead use more varied recipes, then chances are the meal quality will be higher and you can gain happiness boosts and more cooking xp. At a certain point of cooking you can cook with rotten food. The food is edible and won’t make you sick but you won’t get nearly as much hunger value from the food as you are cutting away all the rotten parts of the food you’re cooking. But useful in a pinch if you have the skill.

32) When cooking look at the numbers to the right of the ingredient you’re using. Those numbers are how much it will increase the hunger stat. Higher number means you’ll get more from it. As you use more of the ingredient this number will go down.

33) If you are doing a burn and there are already dead zombies around, the burning zombies can’t light the dead zombies on fire. Also, cars can’t be set on fire so running around your car can be a good tactic. However, zombies that have turned to ash seem to act like regular dead zombies and will attract flies and make you sick in large numbers. Zombies can now also crawl under cars. Be careful of this.

34) When cooking use a frying pan or roasting pan can use up to six ingredients but needs to be cooked. Salad’s don’t need to be cooked and holds up to 6 ingredients but spoil the fastest of all recipes. Rice/Pasta or Soup/Stew can use up to 6 recipes. You can add stale food to the meal and while you don’t get as much hunger from it you can cook out the boredom and unhappiness. A good way to increase the shelf life of your food.

35) Cabbages take the least amount of time to grow at 14 days. However, Carrots are right behind them at 15 days. Carrots need full water at seeds and then a MAX of 65 water after that (Best to grow them in doors). If you build box traps carrots are rabbit’s favorite food when trapping. Between cabbages, carrots, and Rabbits you’ll have maxed out food almost always. Although cabbages are rabbits second favorite food so you can also max out with just cabbage and rabbit.

36) As you get further into a game your panic level will decrease when seeing zombies.

37) You can tune the car radio to the weather station.

38) Hovering over your keys will show you what doors they open when you are in a house if you have the key

39) Just about everything can be picked up. If you use the lift button and hover over the item it will tell you what you need to pick up that item. If there are multiple items in a square hit the R button to rotate through them. As an example, if there is a night stand with a lamp and a picture behind it you would hit R and it would rotate between the nightstand, the lamp, the picture, and then finally the floor. This is useful if you want to decorate your home. Windows, doors, and outside lights are especially useful for base building. Although with doors you have to deconstruct them and they don’t always give you all the door parts. Signs above shops can also usually be picked up although you will need to build a staircase to get them. Possibly also floors depending on the size of the sign.

40) Zombies have a natural affinity for doors and windows. If you find yourself being pursued by a large portion of them lead them over to a building and run along the wall. The zombies following you will tend to get interested in the doors and windows allowing you to escape when you break line of sight.

41) A good tactic to get zombies away from an area is to get their attention and then run around them to force them into a ball. Then you can lead the whole group away from the area you want to loot. Some zombies are faster than others and their speed increases a little when they get close to you so you might have to run around them a couple of times to make sure everyone is still following you. Combined with an active fire pit this is a good way to take care of large groups of zombies by having them walk over it and burn to death. The burning bodies of the fallen will ignite zombies that aren’t on fire but only when they fall. They will not ignite other zombies if they are on fire and still moving regardless of how close they are. NOTE: If a fire zombie attacks you they CAN set you on fire. This is a double-edged sword.

42) As of right now Zomboid does not have physics for created structures. This can allow you to create buildings that are entirely off the ground.

43) Bring a notebook, pen or pencil, and an eraser with you and favorite the notebook. You can write and erase in the notebook. Zomboid is a game when you have different tasks that are safer to do at different points of time in the day so you will constantly be doing something. Writing them down in a notebook is a good and easy way of remembering things you wanted to get done.

44) Generators have a 20-tile radius in which they work and will provide electricity to two floors above and two floors below your structure.

45) Most Medical Beds can be picked up without needing any skill or risk of breaking. All of them give Average Quality Sleep except one: the Large Medical Bed give Good Sleep Quality. Outside of a tent the bed that weighs the least and is the easiest to carry around is the Stretcher Bed. It does break down into two pieces but each piece weighs 2.5. For a total of 5 weight. However like the tent it gives Average Quality Sleep.

46) You CAN use a microwave and a saucepan (or some similar metal water container) and boil tainted water into clean drinkable water. Although you might have to turn the settings on max to do so.

47) If you put something metal (Anything with metal, saucepan, can opener etc.) the microwave will make a ton of noise (With the exception of a metal container with water in it. It will just make the normal microwave noise). This could possibly be used as a way to attract zombies. It used to, or is supposed to, eventually explode. After three hours of continuous use and trying it on different setting of temp with metal in it, it seems like this no longer happens.

48) In a microwave you can burn food so badly it bursts into flames. Resulting in burning down your house, be careful. If you put a piece of metal and food in the microwave the food won’t burn down the house down for some reason. Although the microwave will probably still make a lot of noise that zombies will be attracted to.

49) If you come across a car wreck with two wheels on the street one of those two tires will be in full condition.

50) Fixing a generator increases Electrical slightly

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 3020 Articles
I love two things in life, games and sports. Although sports were my earliest interest, it was video games that got me completely addicted (in a good way). My first game was Crash Bandicoot (PS1) from the legendary studio Naughty Dog back in 1996. I turned my passion for gaming into a job back in 2019 when I transformed my geek blog (Re-actor) into the gaming website it is today.

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