The Saline Bandit: DayZ Diary – Part Three

DayZ is a multiplayer zombie survival sim which, though buggy and incomplete, produces anecdotes of drama, desperation and clown mask-wearing weirdos. Emily Richardson has been playing it with a question: can you be a good person in the videogame post-apocalypse? Start with part one.

We’re a team of four heading straight for the city of Cherno. We have another survivor to pick up and we want to help some people around the town if we can. Yes, by now we realise how dangerous this is. Cherno is not a friendly place and we know that bandits go to find a more challenging kind of prey there, but we’ll be a pack of five soon, and we’re up for the fight.

The only thing really holding us back is a Swedish friend called Daniel. At every turn he’s vanished into the tree line, a factory, a house or something else. Every time I check my numbers, there’s always one missing. And it’s always bloody Daniel.

When we arrive in Cherno we’re fresh out of saline. My beloved, precious saline. Having been given a trouncing by a flock of zombies, I’ve used the last of my supply on teammates and my screen has gone all monochrome from a persistent punching to the back of the head while I was stuck in the bandaging animation. This is not a good start.

We push on regardless and find our friend. He’s right where we arranged, thankfully, and the city seems ripe for the picking. Everyone’s trawling through the supermarket looking for food when I step outside to open a can of spaghetti for a friend. I sit and look at this other player in front of me, waiting for him to drop the can for me to open, when another player comes around the corner. I do a double take, looking from one to the other. The second guy is my buddy, the first one… is unaccounted for. I do the maths in my head quickly, counting all the backpacks in my group and all the backpacks I saw in the supermarket. Sure enough, there was one missing, but this is not Daniel stood in front of me now. This is someone else.

“Hello,” he says.

“Er, hi?”

“There’s a zombie stuck under there, huh?”

“Uh, is there?” I turn around to look. Sure enough he’s right, there’s a zombie stuck in the concrete under the shop. “So there is.”

My friends come out to see the new arrival and the new guy backs off a bit.

“Oh wow, there’s a lot of you.”

“Yeah. Oh, do you need any help? Would you like a soda?”

Suddenly all my friends are asking him what he needs and throwing items at him. We rarely get a player approach us so openly and our inexperience shows in our ineptitude. The guy is clearly freaked out and I tell him he can leave if he wants. He turns to go without looking back and we wish him a happy birthday, merry Christmas and a happy new year. He doesn’t reply.

While moving through the city, someone spies what looks like two other players, both armed. We decide to hide in the church as they’re coming our way, and the plan is simple: surprise them with kindness or shoot them to smithereens depending on what they do when they see us and how much we panic and fall to pieces.

Minutes pass by and nothing happens. Suddenly our minds fill with images of ten armed bandits smashing in the church doors with M4s and mowing us all down. Then a more sensible thought occurs – they’re going to hide in the buildings surrounding the church and wait for us to give up and come out. Then they’re going to blow our heads off. Someone should have waited outside as a scout.

We try a new tactic, which is to lure them in by doing a ‘god voice’ and saying things like, ‘And lo, thy bandit did come to thine church’, but to much surprise, this doesn’t work either.

We give up and open the doors ourselves. Someone peeks out and runs across the road. We do a lot of faffing around for a bit and then, suddenly, there’s a gunshot. We flail as helpless baby birds would until we realise it was one of us firing a warning shot, and then we regain our composure.


We decide to hit the airfield next. We’re a hopeless bunch of maverick peacekeepers hell-bent on getting killed, it seems, and so we press on until we get behind the tarmac of the runway, crouching in amongst the trees.

This time I scout the windows of the nearest building with my mosin and let the others know what I see. We’ve already checked the watch towers and other windows, and we have eyes on most of the surrounding area, so Will and Edward George Terry Fenning move up on the first door.

“I don’t see anything, you should be alright,” I say, encouraging Will to open the door and head into the first floor. Which he does. And then all hell breaks loose. The Skype chat descends into terrified screaming and the game audio is nothing but M4 and pistol shots. Turns out a bandit has been skulking in there behind the door, just waiting for a player to come along and wander inside. What this guy hasn’t been counting on is an entire group wandering up to him, but nonetheless, with no other entrances to the building we’re still at a disadvantage. Running into his M4 fire one-by-one is about the best we can do unless he moves closer to a window so I can shoot him, but there’s absolutely no logical reason for him to do that, and so he doesn’t.

We sit around for a while and faff some more. It’s what we’re good at. Twice I hear the static of voice comms without words, but other than informing us that this guy hasn’t logged-out in fear, it’s not helpful. We run around the building a bit, searching for anything that might give us the upper hand, but, just as expected, there’s nothing.

Then the server resets and we all get disconnected. It’s been a bad day for helping people, killing people, or even just collecting our divine bags of saline. We’re rubbish at this.

The Saline Bandit will conclude… on Wednesday.


  1. CookPassBabtridge says:



    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      No but seriously. First picture. Are there steamrollers in the latest patch? Or is the FOV just set to ‘squashy leg’?

  2. djadomi says:

    OT: Novus Æterno – “The game is so big, in fact, that it almost defies description.” Just like the image advertising it, then. link to

  3. X_kot says:

    That town’s name just sounds like it was made to be extracted from a simulated interrogation:

    “Where are your friends at?” *punch* “Where are the supplies?” *punch* “Don’t make me transfuse you with the wrong type of blood!”

    “Cherno…they’re in Cherno. Please, can I have a can of soda?”

    • Dom_01 says:

      It’s actually called “Chernogorsk”, but players call it “Cherno” for short.

  4. alienation says:

    Hey guys if anybody would like to squad up and do some heroic deeds, then you outta come find me on a server and see if we could do a little bandit hunting:D Sometimes awesome happens!

  5. brgillespie says:

    Emily: Eat as much food as possible. If you’re stomach is full (more beyond full), it seems you regenerate health/blood/whatever. Is this confirmed? I don’t know. I can only relate anecdotal evidence of having lost enough blood to make the screen shift towards monochrome. A while later after filling my character’s belly, the colors were again vibrant and my character was no longer grunting and making other such constipated sounds.

    So being out of saline isn’t a game-ending experience.

    • Boosh says:

      You may well be better off running around dispensing food/water rather than saline.
      Blood level doesn’t equal health, as in the old mod, it’s a little more complicated that that.

      Covered in this excellent video by Sacriel (and part 2 linked towards then end of it)

    • rickenbacker says:

      You should always eat anything you find as soon as practical. Your stomach fills up quickly, so you’ll have to take pauses if you have lots of food. But eventually you’ll get your “energy” up above 5000 (takes about ten cans of food) and start healing naturally. You’ll see a “healty” or “healing” status on the inventory screen when this happens. You can store up to 20,000 energy, so keep eating and you’ll stay healthy.

      • Mark says:

        He’s right, eat any food you find immediately unless your stomach is totally full (you will get messages about this). Same goes for cans of Soda or beer (i/e/ drinks with calories), you can store calories on your body (although your stomach can temporarily fill up). Also when you find a fountain drink from it until you get the full message, waiting until you get “hungry” or “thirsty” messages isn’t a good idea. Scoff everything you find basically it just takes up room and there’s no reason to wait to consume it since eating doesn’t heal you anything like that. Getting the “healthy” rating does mean you will regenerate health/blood slowly though.

  6. racccoon says:

    You know looking at these pics, it does kind of look like you should be on the moon or doing a space walk.

  7. JimmyG says:

    Being a good Samaritan is cool, but sometimes I fantasize about buying the game and roaming the world, starving and ill-equipped, reading poetry out loud into local chat. I wouldn’t help or attack anybody; just wander and recite, like a ghost who enjoys the sound of his own voice. I wonder what would happen and how many people would kill me and how many people would ignore me and how many people would follow me and how many people would make fun of my voice. We need more folklore figures in these persistent online worlds.

    Better idea: we should put on a production of Romeo and Juliet within DayZ.

    We can call it … PlayZ.

    • jrodman says:

      I would countersuggest: Zanna, Don’t!

      • Alfius says:

        Julius Zaesar:

        “et tu Zombe?”
        “sic semper banditis!”
        “I come not to praise Zaesar but to bury a hatchet into him”

    • Triglav says:

      When I got bored I used to play a zombie-ologist scientist. Dropped all my stuff, including the gun on spawn, then just walked around slowly, studying zombies and announcing it on chat. Bandits always killed me on sight in spite there being zero loot on me.

      Another thing I did was be a runner or zombie baiter. Again, unarmed, I’d run around Cherno trying to get the largest crowd of zombies to follow me and lead them out of town if possible. Bandits still killed me on sight. :)

      It seems, in absence of anything more entertaining, it’s just what they always do and eventually I got tired of hanging around such boring people and quit the game :)

    • Dingbatwhirr says:

      “Romeo, Romeo. Wherefore art thou a zombie?”

      -The love they said could never happen.

      -It will take more than one death to separate these lovers.

  8. Jerppa says:

    How do you find all that stuff? I have never seen anything (or anyone) but some rotten kiwis and a can of soda.

    • Triglav says:

      How would you defend yourself if someone attacks you with a rotten kiwi?

      • Fitzmogwai says:

        Caps Lock for the full Cleese insanity please!

      • tigershuffle says:

        bit harsh on Rocket………and i dont condone human shields

        shame on you

    • Boosh says:

      I had this problem and was equally baffled. I put 10 hours into DayZ as a total beginner and the best thing I found was a crowbar. Other than that it was assorted junk.

      However, that drastically changed when I was fortunate enough to spawn relatively near to one of the big towns. Within 15 minutes I had an axe, crash helmet, hoody, can opener, a backpack (finally!!), assorted rounds, med pack, all kinds of other useful items.
      Oh and I’d killed my first actual person, despite me trying to run away he persisted for over 20 mins to chase and try to kill me with his bare hands, so I had to beat him to death with a wrench. It was quite grim, actually.

      So erm yeh, head to one of those big places, very very carefully.

      Not been this taken by a game since Eve Online circa 2004, it’s utterly compelling.

      Good luck.

  9. Kromaxx says:

    My friend and I just ran into our first hacker in Elecktro.
    He was completely invisible, shot my friend, I ran and hid in a small hut with one window, he shot me through the wall and window without LOS or being visible.
    My friend woke up from unconsciousness and went on a hunt, climbed the firetower, overlooking where the shots were coming from, he heard an invisible reload beside him, then got blasted away too.

    We just did a search and have found tons of hacks on youtube and also
    link to

    Rocket promised this was the first thing to be fixed… and it just took the wind out of our sails. Might be looking for a refund on a promised feature.


    • Boosh says:

      unless this becomes extremely prevalent (doubtful given there is virtually nothing to be gained from it) I’m not too concerned. Why didn’t you just change server on the same hive?

      One of the advantages of DayZ is its so vast, relatively sparsely populated, so ridding yourself of annoying types is quite simple. Given nature of the game I just can’t see this being as much of an issue as a more common or garden ‘arena’ type shooter.

      Also ‘alpha’ etc. (sorry to be THAT guy). There’ll be many other priorities I suspect. I believe they’re currently working on implementing VAC though.

      • Kromaxx says:

        The 2 unfortunate problems with your solution, is that I’m dead by the time I realize it’s a hacker and not another normal player.
        The other is that every time I see another player I need to change servers…

        The other hacks I have viewed include a items teleport and a player teleport.

        • toxic avenger says:

          Don’t the “promises” refer to the final content, and if I’m not mistaken this game is still in development? I’m only familiar with the original and don’t know much at all about the standalone. I’m also unsure about the success rate for getting your money back for any game in general, but my “means nothing” thoughts are you’re going to have a hard time getting your money back given the persistent warnings that this game is currently not finished. :/

          • Kromaxx says:

            From what I’ve been reading from forums, hacker posts, and what others have been saying… if the game is sooooo cracked this far into alpha, then future iterations of the game won’t be difficult to crack at all. Wasn’t rockets entire idea of moving everything server side, in order to eliminate hacking, would stop this entirely.

            The whole point of him “redesigning” the architecture of the Arma 2 engine was to eliminate this problem. That’s why there was such a long period of nothingness in the standalone progression. He felt so safe in his redesign he was able to climb a mountain!

            I’m no hacker, script-er but I have a tiny grasp of Java++#… so all this might confuse me a little. But when someone says they are redesigning a system to eliminate rampant hacking, and the first thing you see is hacking… you get a bit nervous.

  10. The Random One says:

    These reports are great. The creeped out lone guy (Excess Kindness!), the church defense and last part’s creepy Austrian were highlights. I kinda wish someone would make an animated series based on this.

  11. MiddleIndex says:

    making me what to joins you guys

  12. Hanufa says:

    Thаt town’s nаmе јuѕt sounds lіkе іt wаѕ mаdе tо bе extracted frоm а simulated interrogation:

    “Where аrе уоur friends at?” *punch* “Where аrе thе supplies?” *punch* “Don’t mаkе mе transfuse уоu wіth thе wrong type оf blood!”

    “Cherno…they’re іn Cherno. Please, саn I hаvе а саn оf soda?”

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      This is a weird spam copy-paste-o-bot whose name links to a site called jobsfor17yearolds. So don’t click it, unless you are an unemployed under-18 year old

  13. JohnnyPanzer says:

    I tried it, knowing full well that it was unlikely to be my kind of game. I like the survival bits, and I sure love a good sandbox game, but I absolutely loathe PvP. But I gave it a shot at least.

    The experience was pretty much what I expected: not for me, but I can see that it’s purely a matter of taste. But the one thing that stuck out, the question that I kept repeating in my head was “What’s the point of the zombies?”

    Seriously? They pose no threat, adds nothing to the game and it’s obvious that the dev team have them at the very bottom of their to-do list. I mean, I’ve read dozens of previews on the game, and tons of articles on the mod, but I can count the number of times I’ve seen the zombies mentioned on the fingers of one of my hands. I just find it confusing, because the dev team does not strike me as the type of people who would try to ride the zombie train for a few easy bucks, and yet they market it as a zombie game even though the zombies are barely even used as scenery.

    What am I missing?