You can find a good beginer's guide on the official forums here.
Unlike normal games, the experience needed to level up does not increase every level. It requires a fixed 5000 XP every level, and quests typically give at least half of that at various stages.
You have 3 main stats that are needed for you to function; rest, water, and food. Rest is used when you pick up items or take certain actions, and is recovered when sitting at a fire . Water is used when fighting and using self heal skills while food is used while you regen, and in both case can only be replenished by eating / drinking items. Having water/food to low will not only prevent you from reviving without help, it can lower your stats based on how low you are.
One thing even the best of us do is die (often from our own stupidity). When this happens, you will be present with 2 options and a timer. If you have enough food and water, you can revive and keep playing; this will knockback nearby zombies and give you a few seconds before they notice you again. While the timer is running, another player can also click on you to start reviving you; this works even if you don't have the food and water needed to survive. If you can't revive and no one can revive you, you must choose to respawn in your camp (this happens automatically if timer runs out). This will drop your backpack and add a skull icon on your map next to zone you last died in. You can retrieve your backpack to recover all your items (other than survivor equipment if you has any). However, if you die a second time before recovering your original backpack, a new backpack will be dropped deleting the contents of your old one. As such, make sure to be careful; bring a weapon, make sure you have enough food/water to revive, and maybe bring a friend to help you. Also be patient; if a horde of infecteds are surrounding it, wait for them to disperse. Note that no one may recover your backpack except you. Note that if you have revived once already and have not visited a campfire / your camp, the next time you die you will automatically send up a flare with no timer, even if you have enough food and water to regen.
You can trade items and resources with other players by clicking thier name in chat and clicking "trade" on the list that appears. You can only trade resources in your backpack (not those in-camp), and can only trade a full stack, not part of one. You can move resources from your camp's stock to your backpack by clicking them in your stock while your backpack crafting area is open.
|← or D||Move left||Control your character's movement.|
|→ or A||Move right|
|↑ or W||Move Up|
|↓ or S||Move Down|
|1-5||Skill Quick Select||Will select the corresponding active skill on your skill bar (5 will activate your weapon's skill, if it has one).|
|Spacebar||Run / Sprint / Dodge||If you are not near an infected, you will start running; this will deplete your stamina bar as your run. Hitting spacebar again will go back to walking. If you are close to / fighting an infected, spacebar will have you sprint in the direction you are moving (this requires some stamina, and has a cooldown between uses). If not moving while being attacked, pressing space will have you dodge back in the opposite direction you last moved.|
|Left Click||Interact / Combo Attack||
|Right Click||Defend / Parry||Must be holding a weapon; if an infected hits you while in this stance, the damage will be extremely reduced, but will wear down your weapon.|
Once you have at least progressed far enough in the quest to unlock your camp, you should start keeping an eye out for salvageable items (items that are not poor or expired) that can be turned into resources you need. Some items you find on the map will always be unsalvageable (although even poor items can be used as weapons in a pinch). The trick is to find areas where items are typically in average+ quality (anything outside and not in a container will often be poor). Also items found in containers (such as boxes, trash, shelves, desks, lockers, etc) are less predicable than items found on the map, but are often the sources of some of the best items (other than maybe items dropped by infecteds or from secret passage crates).
This section is a stub. Please help expand it. Combat involves knowing two things; when to reposition/flee and when to stand your ground. When fighting a large group of infecteds, it's important to not let yourself get surrounded, and equally important to keep track of what infecteds are currently focused on you.
As you fight, you will gain experience. However, you will not earn this experience until you visit a campfire strong enough to have at least 1 slot for eating or drinking. If you die and have to respawn, you will lose any experience not turned in. While it may seem a good idea to do so as often as possible, having experience counts towards increasing your threat level, and while that makes infecteds more dangerous, it also earns you bonus experience as well as increases the odds of finding more items (both s drops and when searching containers).
If infecteds are starting to surround you, you should find an open area and sprint / dodge towards it. Once in the clear, heal / eat and figure out if the fight is to hard for you. If it is, you have a few choices:
- Flee - You can't win all your battles, and in any survival game it's important to remember to stay alive.
- Dash through - while risky, if you see a less populated area of the mob, you can dash through it, healing / making a shield as you go. It's often wise to only do this if you can revive.
- Wait - stay out of their range, and once they lose interest and wander around, either fighting them in a smaller group or sprint through.
- Call / Wait for backup - Groups can make all the difference
- Lure - Let them come to you! Either lay a trap (using mines), or pick them off one by one as they approach.
If an infected notices you and is close by to other infecteds, they will also notice you as a group. This can be used to your advantage as if an infected notices you but does not engage in combat with you for over half a minute, it will lose interest and walk away; for a short time, they will not notice you again unless you get within striking distance and will also have moved away from their previous location. If the group is to big to fight you can sprint around them and into the area you wanted, or can pick off the retreating infecteds without worrying about the others coming at you.
When fighting a group of infected, it is important to prioritize which you kill first. While distance from you makes a different, the most important to take out first are avengers (since they become more dangerous when you kill nearby infected), trackers (they are dangerous but relatively weak), and screamers (to stop reinforcements).
Your camp is a safe place you can improve and prepare for your next adventure. At your camp/base you can make food, weapons, or even repair your clothes. But you have to unlock those things first.