Secret Passages (commonly abbreviated as sp) are special areas featuring a treasure crate, and when not open they are inaccessible because of something blocking the way. Secret passages are found in every zone except Lakeview Lane 18 and the Survivors' Camp. At any given time exactly one secret passage is open in each zone, for a total of 9. The passages operate in an hourly cycle, and at the end of the hour they close and a (specific) different one, out of three in the same zone, opens. Depending on the time of day, the position in the cycle and the type of the zone, its passage can change one more additional time somewhere along that hour's duration, if all players exit that zone. Like everything else on a map, the crates can only be looted once a server day (adding up to 29 crates), and their leftover contents vanish after the player departs from the city (zone) - switching floors doesn't count as departing from the zone, but logging off or crashing does. Also, if the passage you inspected closes, its crate will be unavailable during another opening even if you don't leave the zone (the other containers will be available though). Passage crates are refilled at the same time as other containers (5am UTC).
The crate can contain average and above quality items, experience and reputation (or survivor mark) vouchers, survivor gear, rarely upgrade kits or clothing. Battle kits probably only occur in drops, while support kits only occur in containers. In order to open the crate, 100 infecteds inside the passage need to be killed before it closes. This infecteds count is shared between all players, but larger groups of players are usually less efficient at unlocking if they kill off entire squads of infected and incur the avarice tax. Once 100 infecteds are cleared, players entering after are not required to kill any zombies and can open the crate instantly, but since the presence of infected can hinder the access to the containers within the passage, at that stage it is recommended to kill off entire squads of infected to delay their respawning. If pressed for time and unable to open a container (or a loot bag) because it is crowded by the infected, try issuing an instantaneous parry (right click), then immediately attempting to open the container, it will succeed if you don't get hit.
Secret Passages Tracker link: Fewfre's Dead Maze Passage Tracker. This is a really useful passage tracker created by Fewfre (not associated with Atelier 801). It requires users to check which passages are open and report them on the site through a voting system.
It's highly recommended to do secret passages in groups; these are often done using in-game chats (such as
/chat sp) where people call out passages. You can also join a tribe in order to find and loot secret passages in large groups.
Passage types and columns
- The passages from the zones in which there are 4 of them (Sunset, Jurassic, Highway 99) will be called the Sunset type.
- The passages from the zones with 3 (Sacramento, Bodega Bay, Santa Rosa, Mazon, Blue Mesa) will be called the Sacramento type.
- The passages of Walker River are in a perennial two-stroke cycle and don't seem to affect the others.
- A column is the array of Passages of the same type forming a vertical line in the Fewfre tracker. For instance, Delta Experimental, Lumber Yard, Interesting Company, Elisa Boston and (see below) Torture Chamber are the Right column. The Chestnut Hotel, Oasis Diner, Roadblock form the Second column. But the best usage is for columns to be referred to by their Sunset or Sacramento representatives, so those mentioned are Delta and Hotel columns.
- If there is no bounce in effect, at the beginning of an hour the passages open column-wise, so, for instance, The Terrace Garden is accompanied by The Farm, Graveyard and the Football Stadium. The exception is Blue Mesa, which can switch around Torture Chamber with the Mineshaft, and not all of this is attributable to bounce.
- The Sacramento types have Left, Middle and Right columns (Left and Right are also called the Lateral columns).
- The Sunset types have the First column, 2 further columns (Second, Third), and the Laserites. The First column is always matched by the Middle Sacramento column (for which there is a mnemonic: Railroads go together, Cars go with the Garage, the Beach with drinks from the Freezer, and the Shooting Range with bullets from the Sports Store). In turn, the Middle column can also accompany the Laserites (but will avoid it except as a consequence of reboots).
Laserites (Rare Passages)
Rare passages are a column of secret passages that don't take part in the 3 hour-cycle and instead have a single scheduled hour (Lasers Hour) in a server day, during which they (randomly, with odds of about 70%) can open or not. This hour is the crux of how all the other passages activate (see below). Apart from that, during all the Hotel hours from among the 11 hours preceding the Lasers Hour, and all the Freezer hours from among the 11 hours following the Lasers Hour - they are openable individually if the zones are vacated (or crowded out) - and since reboots seem a form of vacating, they can open all the Laserites if the configuration is appropriate. It follows that all Laserites being open doesn't necessarily mean it's the Lasers Hour.
That openability may result, in cases when the Lasers Hour is directly preceded by a Hotel hour, in the passages in (some or all) of the Sunset-type zones opening during that hour if the zones are vacated (it happens often to the Highway or Jurassic). If they open, when the hour ends the Lasers Hour starts, they have to bounce (switch away to a different passage that fits in the new hour, even though they may have been scheduled to open that hour). This situation is invariably bad if you learn about it too late (because you won't manage to visit the passages open prematurely), so late in that Hotel hour it's wise to arrange for a few characters to keep the zones from vacating if they so far haven't done so (a passage will need about 6 to 15 minutes to get unlocked, depending on player skill). You always have to factor in that vacating a zone is sure to give you the opening of the Laserite there, but the Lasers Hour may keep them shut in 30% of the cases.
Fortunately, once they are open during the Lasers Hour, the Laserites will keep open if the Terrace or Delta columns are accompanying them (and they always are) while the Sunset zones are vacated. Another consequence of vacating though, and during any hour, is that the secret passage may require another unlocking (by killing the 100 infected), and that takes time, so think ahead.
Another issue is somebody relentlessly keeping an old substitute of a zone you hope to make reverse its passage by vacating (happens to Sunset or Jurassic): the substitute becomes the main instance, and all new players are directed there, and the passage open will be the same passage the main had before vacating. Even worse could be making a substitute during an hour the Laserites are open but can be reversed (it isn't the Lasers Hour), and not guarding the main instance against vacating: the substitute may become the main, and it will have a different, common passage on (Freezer or Strip).
There are currently 3 rare passages :
- Laser Game - Sunset Mall
- Observation Division (Cactus House) - Jurassic Museum
- Prison Boiler - Highway 99
Rare Passages don't have better loot than normal passages, but they seem to have a higher merit value (affecting the player's future drops and finds). They don't have a higher requirement to open the crate and are usually just as difficult as normal passages.
Recently, the Lasers Hour occurs consistently on successive days. After a random number, usually between 2 and 4, of openings at a given hour, they switch to one hour earlier. The Fewfre Tracker's BlaB! AX chat (not the default Cbox) is used to notify of the most recent observed openings. There are also the less reliable tracker logs.
Passage and pattern progression
The Sunset-type passages determine the configuration of all passages depending on time of day. When not switching patterns, the Sunset-type passsages steadily progress in a cycle of Freezer, Hotel, Strip Club, Freezer, etc. When Freezer is open, the Valley Station column is also open. When the Chestnut Hotel is open and it is before the Lasers Hour, it always forces the opening of the Terrace Garden column, and that pattern is called Straight. But after the Lasers Hour, the Hotel is always accompanied by Delta Experimental, and that is called the Crossed pattern. Complementarily, the Strip Club forces the opening of Delta (Straight) before the Lasers Hour, and Terrrace (Crossed) after the Lasers Hour.
|Sunset||Freezer||Chestnut Hotel||Strip Club|
|Valley Station||Terrace Garden||Delta Experimental|
|Valley Station||Delta Experimental||Terrace Garden|
- The Straight pattern is active 10..11 hours before the Lasers Hour, during which it gets switched to the the Crossed pattern, which, similarly, persists for 10..11 hours before changing back.
- Both transitions are slightly asymetric, usually relying on the Terrrace column to accompany both the Hotel and Strip columns in the space of 3 hours (it's called the double terrace). The other option, usually used when the Laserites don't open and during the switch from crossed to straight is a retrograde motion of the Sunset passages:
- As can be seen, the opening of the Laserites postpones one of the Sunset passages: it's that next-in-sequence passage that, if possible, opens once the Laserites close (for instance, Freezer, Lasers, Hotel).
- Laserites don't seem to align with the Valley column during their scheduled opening, but it often happens as a consequence of reboots.
- During the crossed pattern, Laserites don't seem to open at the beginning of an hour (or after a reboot) and they just keep the Freezer column on - but are still openable manually by vacating during that or other freezer hours.
- If, as a consequence of a reboot, the pattern changes to one inappropriate in relation to the Lasers Hour, it will switch (retrograde or a double delta can occur). While it is on, it is the pattern and not the relation to the Lasers Hour that decides how passages behave when zones are vacated.
- Player skill is generally low, so expect some passages to be unlocked very slowly because of the avarice tax. Pick a difficult, unfrequented passage (or try finding a boss you still haven't killed, if the chance's reasonable) as the first in a new hour, or try teaching in 50 languages.
- If zones get vacated, and to the Highway, then Blue Mesa then Jurassic it happens the most often, the passage may reverse, and even if it doesn't, it will require an unlocking, and there will be a new boss somewhere (which usually is desirable, unless if you knew where it was). Factor this in and either allocate additional time or prevent this by going there early in the hour or keeping a character in the zone. In turn, through vacating you have the certainty of opening a Laserite the scheduled hour doesn't give you.
- If looking to vacate a zone to make a different passage to open or to spawn a new boss, get different missions, etc - be aware there may be a substitute of that location kept and you will arrive there instead of a newly-generated instance (may usually apply to Sunset, Jurassic).
- If making a substitute of a Sunset-type zone during when the Laserites are open but will reverse (not the Lasers Hour), prevent the original instance from vacating or your substitute may become main, and worse, the Laserite will be made unavailable. Then again, if it's a Lasers Hour that has Freezer instead and you're the sole remnant, you can open the Laserite for everyone if you ditch both or the wrong instance (which you then should, because nobody will disturb you anyway with that sort of density).
This is a list of some of the notable rewards.
- Reputation (5 costs 20 food to pick up)
- Survivor Marks (5 costs 20 food to pick up)
- Experience (60-1000 costs 3-50 food to pick up)
- Survivor Gear (costs rest, food, and water to pick up)
- Upgrade Kits (1-3 rest to pick up)
- Clothing (below 15 food and water each to pick up)
This list contains the location of the entrances and their approximate difficulties. Visit the specific zone page for more information. The difficulties are from a scale of 1-10, and have been assigned based on how easy/difficult it is to reach the crate, or how easy/difficult it is to clear the secret passage.
For secret passages with a high difficulty rating, clearing in groups is strongly recommended.
|Redcastle Building Terrace Garden||Head south east from spawn until you cross the river. Head south east past the sandbags and enter the building to the north along the south east entrance. Go up the stairs, then go west (ignoring the two rooms).||4|
|Delta-9 BSAC Experimental Lab||Head south east from spawn until you cross the river. Go south east and then north east at sandbags. After you run into a fence, follow it east until you can enter. Follow the building paths to the west, and then take the elevator down.||6|
|Sacramento Valley Station||Head south east from spawn until you cross the river. If you follow the south east road from spawn all the way to a park (bypassing the store in the way), the pathway to the secret passage is a bit hidden, as the path is a curving green trail, which leads to an entrance to train tracks.||5|
|Deadly Haystacks Farm||One of the easiest secret passages to find, from the spawn follow the path east, and at the road follow it south for just a few steps and then enter the wooden fence area.||1|
|Lumberyard||From spawn head directly north and around the right side of the lake. At the fence, enter and head up the eastern path.||4|
|Fireside Beach||From the spawn head north into the forest, and then follow the paths east (curving north when needed). Along the west side you will eventually see a strip of beach and the entrance is along the north end.||5|
|Graveyard||This area is over a bridge in the north west most area of the map.||5|
|The Interesting Company||From spawn head north onto the wooden path and follow it east until it becomes a fancy stone path; follow this north east until it ends into a building then go into the east room and exit out the north door.||6|
|Willy Wheel Car Dealership||Found on the east most side of the map, almost directly east from the spawn (although you'll have to walk around many obstacles).||6|
|Rats' Sporting Goods||From the spawn it is directly south.||3|
|Rats Football Stadium||The American football field is directly north of the spawn (although you will have to go around the building).||5|
|Elisa Boston (2nd Floor)||From the spawn head to the north eastern most building known as the Elisa Boston residence and enter from along the east side of the map. Go up the stairs to enter the passage area.||4|
|13th Heaven Strip Club||North side of the map. From the spawn follow the east hallway until you hit a wall; from here you can see if passage is open (crate is visible). Now head east and then north into the AllStar Bowling Alley, and continue north until you exit out a door. Head north west into the club.||6|
|Dailyneed Supermarket Freezer||From spawn head south west (even after the hallway ends) until you hit a computer center.
Then go north west until you enter the Dailyneed Supermarket, and go to the northwest-most corner to find the passage entrance.
|"Midnight" Laser Game||From spawn head south west (even after the hallway ends) until you hit a computer center.
Go south east and down the hallway until you reach Redfield Cinema. Keep going in the direction of the hallway until you reach a dark room with colored lights.
|Chestnut Hotel Suites||From the Spawn, go southwest until you see the crashed Helicopter, go through the bookstore to avoid the dead. At this point, stay on the path and keep going through the South path(S/E). You will pass through the Unicorn Meeting Area and will see a Flower Store (bottom).
Right by it, there will be an Office with 4 large Sofas, go in and out (S/W) until you reach narrow path, after which you will go (S) .
You will be in Pipeboy Plumbing Supplies, and (S/W) the secret passage is here. Once you're in the parking lot, head down and right, then upwards towards the Kasai Sushi Bar and Texan Paradise pub. At this point, you can look at the map for the crate.
|Cliffside Railway||Follow the river all the way to the end on the west side and hit Route 66.
Follow the road west until the first southward fork and follow it until it hits a cliff and then go in the entrance by the parking lot to the north.
|Wrecking Yard||(Colloquially known as the impound lot)
From the spawn head south east until you hit the road, go south and follow the road, until you see a Semi-Truck in the lot, the secret passage is here. If there is a Gate, it's closed.
|Oasis Diner Parking||From the spawn go north east (behind the motel with the "condemned staircase") until you reach the North House with three fish tanks. Go inside and enter behind the two bookshelves (N). When the passage is open the third bookshelf should be gone.||6|
|Scientist Observation Division||From spawn, follow the path the quest originally took you until you start going east past a botanical house raised up off the ground a bit; on the south west corner of the house is an opening (or a gate if closed). This house is where tourists would observe the scientists down below in the excavation site "like lab rats."||2|
|Tourist Auction Center||(Same start as Diner)
From the Spawn, go northeast (behind the first building), you will see the House with 3 fish tanks (Don't go inside).
At this point go (S/E), until you see the campfire and a bike. From the Bike, go all the way South until you are between a house and the rocks.
Follow the only path (S/W) and there will be an open space. Pass through the "To the road" zone towards the buildings. The crate lies in the storage building in the back, by the northeast corner of the complex.
|Fatal Excavation Site||From spawn head west past the "oven" convenience store and fast food place. Follow the edge of the map south towards the Large grouping - West until a passage east opens up. Inside lies an abandoned dinosaur excavation site. You can walk directly on the train tracks southeast towards the chest, which lies directly at the bottom of the site. You can also walk directly past the train tracks towards the southwest corner, and then from there walk through the burial site towards the crate.||5|
|Plateau Garage||From the spawn, head east into the hallway of cars. Follow the road northeast and then into the first northern exit you see (past the car with canoes). Keep heading north past the gas stations and gas pumps.
At the northern corner, head into the gap between the fences (there is normally a large truck in between the fences). Go north into the warehouse for the crate.
|Traffic-less Roadblock||From the rescaped camp, go along the fence to east and enter through the two rock faces at the eastern end of this area. Go north to the "End of the road" and follow it to the crate.||7|
|Death Row||Use the western opening of the prison to enter through the fence. Go along the welcome hall until you see a hole in the wall into some prison cells.
Enter. You should be in the "It's over" zone. From here, go to the top of the building towards the capital punishment building. Head through the prep room towards the execution chamber, where the crate will be situated.
|Prison Boiler||Go to the prison the same way as described above.
Go southeast past the quarantine towards the giant hole, and then northeast through the fence.
Go to the eastern corner into the dark room to enter the sp. Follow all the winding passages through the celled areas, the showers, and finally into the boiler room to find the crate at the far south end.
|Military Shooting Range||From Spawn, go East you will see an open Gate, go through and follow the path East until you can go to the (N/W),(a jeep is on the way). Go inside the bunker and take the elevator (N/E). The freight elevator is just on the top (N).
Enter the hole in the fence to the south and make your way southeast along the path. Head northeast along the fence. Enter the eastward passage through the open fence, then head south and east through the large building. Make your way north after exiting, and go through the satellite communications center. Go down the slope southeast and all the way to the shooting grounds for the crate.
|Valtain [Floor -66] Torture Chamber||From spawn, follow the road (S/E) until you reach the Gas station. Go inside and make your way (N/E) then (N/W) and enter the staircase. Keep going (W) until you went through the MINE EXIT.
Outside, still go (W) until you see the bike, climb down the ladder. Go (S/E), you will see an aquarium and -17 yellow keep on the path and take the elevator. Go S/E, you will see the first -66, at this point you can go (N/E) towards the observation and analysis center. The crate is in the index case's isolation cell. If the corridor is visible but there is a wall in the way, it is closed.
|Coppercreek Mineshaft's Depths||Use the same steps as above to reach the ladder, and once it is reached climb down. Follow the path down and take a left until there is an upward opening at the southwest corner of the mine shaft (where the pile of rocks is in the image).||5|
- You used to be able to earn skills in crates through skill books (using them would earn you the skill). This was removed during closed beta.