Formerly called WarZ, Infestation: Survivor Stories (aka Infestation or ISS) is a zombie survival game with PvP elements. This guide is for the survivalists, not the PvPers.
In ISS players take on the role of ‘survivors’ and there are no quests to tell you what to do, you just need to survive as long as possible and as best you can before the inevitable happens — the zombies get you. And they will get you. Your job is to delay that eventuality as long as possible.
You start out with 5 character slots and, I assure you, you will need them all. Once a character dies, you are forced to wait a while before you can ‘revive’ them. While you’re waiting for that character’s timer to run down, you’ll want to keep playing, so you’ll switch to another character.
So, mentally prepare yourself: you will die and you will have multiple characters. If you put all your eggs in one basket you will end up disappointed. Best to spread the load and the risk across multiple characters, and to accept death as a learning experience.
When you click ‘Play Game’ you will have a choice of ‘Official’ or ‘Private’ servers. While all servers are hosted by Hammerpoint Interactive (the developers of ISS), the private servers are rented, customised and administered by players.
If you join an official server, especially one with a high population, expect to be killed by another player in a matter of no time — perhaps even seconds — depending on where you spawned. Spawn sites are often camped by cowardly players that like preying on new players so, yeah, don’t join official servers.
Join a private server, and one with as low a population as possible, if you want to do the survival thing, as opposed to the PvP thing.
The first spawn
When you first spawn into ISS it will either be day or night. For your sake I hope it’s not night.
At the time of writing there is only one map (‘Colorado’). In Colorado, the sun rises in the SW and sets in the NE. Yeah, a bit weird, but America is like that.
Anyway, sunrise is at about 0530 and sunset at 1930, which gives you 14 hours of day followed by 10 hours of night. Press the ESC key to see the game time and access menu options. One minute of game time takes only ten seconds of real time, so the game runs 6x faster than the real world, making daylight last for a little over two hours of real time.
In practice the twilight period just before sunrise and just after sunset is quite long, which means you can get an extra hour or two of visibility before darkness takes you — but boy does it get dark.
If it is night time I suggest you turn off all the lights in your room and shutter the blinds if need be, because you will barely be able to see a thing. You have no hope of a) seeing zombies, and b) killing them, if you can’t differentiate between shades of black on your screen.
You start the game with a flashlight and can turn it on/off by pressing the F key. Note that the light from a flashlight not only attracts zombies, but other players as well, so whilst you may have no option but to use it, use it as little as possible. Flashlights are a death magnet.
Flashlights can also be used, in a pinch, to club zombies to death. This is handy, because you have no other weapon and thus no other choice.
Annoying group invites
Within a few seconds of joining any server, you typically start getting invitations to join groups on the right hand side of your screen. And they just keep coming.
Do not accept any of them!
There is a slimy mass of low-life scumbags that cruise from private server to private server, inviting people on that server into a group. If a player is silly enough to accept the invitation, the scumbags then use the map to see where the player is, go to that location, kill them, and steal all their gear.
Yep, these cowardly pieces of shite spend all their time preying on newbies and PvEers because they don’t have the guts or the skills to join an official server and mix it with the rest of the PvP crowd.
They will lie, they will deceive, they will betray, they will kill. Do not accept group invitations.
That said, pressing the TAB key will show you the list of players who are currently on the server. The ones flashing in blue are the ones that have sent you group invitations. Right-clicking on them will give you options.
F1 through to F4 let you select the 4 chat channels. Press ENTER to begin chatting in the currently selected channel. F2 is global chat, and the one you’ll use most often as a newbie.
Where to go
Pressing the M key toggles your map. The arrow shows where you are and which direction you are facing.
Since you have no decent weapon, I advise against going where the zombies are. You should avoid combat completely until you get some food, some water, and a better weapon.
At intersections along main roads there will often be abandoned roadblocks. Both civilian and emergency services vehicles (police, ambulance, fire, military) may be present. In quite a few (but not all) cases, the roadblocks will be zombie-free. Find one and then start scavenging.
What to get
Weapons: Anything is better than a flashlight. You may come across bats in civilian vehicles, shovels on fire trucks, but probably the best you can hope for is a tactical knife in a police cruiser. Press and hold the E key to pick things up. Press the I key to bring up your inventory. Drag and drop to rearrange things. Get a better weapon into slot 2 as soon as you can.
Water: Often found near ambulances and fire trucks (as well as in stores). Cans of soda also do the job. You dehydrate (get thirsty) faster than you starve (get hungry) so stockpile more fluids than solids.
Food: You’ll have lots of choices. Nearly all of them are good except one — the humble bag of chips. Eating this will make you less hungry, but will make you more thirsty, so about the only time you should eat them is if you have crazy amounts of fluids available. Avoid chips. Some foods only satiate hunger (like chocolate) but others satiate hunger and also quench thirst (like minisaints and instant oatmeal) so they are better.
Running out of space
It wont be long until you find you can’t pick up any more stuff either because you have no more room (free slots) in your backpack or because the contents of your backpack are too heavy (all backpacks have different slot and weight limits).
You need to develop good inventory management skills if you want to do well in this game.
Key to this is realising that many identical items ‘stack’ (so only take up one slot in your backpack, regardless of how many you have there (although their individual weights do still add up). So rather than having 375mL and 1L bottles of water, you are better off just having more 375mL bottles (since these are the ones you come across more often anyway). Also, rather than having two different foods which satiate hunger and quench thirst (like minisaints and instant oatmeal) just pick one and stack up on that one.
So, minimise the variety of items you carry and you’ll be able to fit more into your backpack.
Eventually you’ll want (or be forced) to take on a zombie.
The left mouse button is used to initiate attacks but for such an attack to work the weapon must be both equipped and selected.
The numbers at the bottom of your screen show you what you need to press in order to select/use an equipped item. Your flashlight starts in slot 2, so pressing 2 on your keyboard will select the flashlight. Hopefully you have a better weapon by now though.
With your slot 2 weapon selected, clicking on the left mouse button will swing that weapon towards whatever is in the middle of the screen (at your cross-hairs, if you have them).
Zombies only die from head shots, so aim for the head.
Zombies hit back. Sometimes they miss, but sometimes they don’t. As they hit you your health will decrease. If your hunger meter (knife and fork) hits zero your health will decrease. If your thirst meter (glass of water) hits zero your health will decrease. When your health meter finally hits zero you will die. It will happen. It is inevitable.
To avoid starving, eat. To avoid dehydrating, drink.
When fighting, if things aren’t going your way, you can always turn and run. Holding down the left SHIFT key will let you sprint but, in doing so, you will also make a lot more noise (and maybe attract even more zombies) so make sure you bee-line it away from the zombies and towards safety. Note that you can’t sprint if your health is too low (flashing) so if you want to exercise that option, don’t leave it too late.
You usually restore health by using bandages, pain killers or antibiotics (found around ambulances and inside pharmacies and stores). Some foods and drinks (e.g. MRE, can of soup, energy drink) can also boost your health but, with the exception of the MRE, the amount is quite small. Every bit helps though.
Yes, you can consume health-restoring medical items, food and drink whilst moving and fighting, but only if you have them in slots 3-6 so you can select/use them without having to access your inventory. When you press I to bring up your inventory, your character stops moving. If you are fighting zombies that would be a fatal mistake. So make sure you have at least some health-boosters in slots 3-6.
When you finally do die, take a deep breath, embrace the moment, try to learn from what happened, and try to work out what you could do better or differently in order to survive next time.
Oh, and when you die you drop all your gear where you died. Yep, you lose it — all of it. The dropped items will stay there for a maximum of 10 minutes before they despawn. During this time anyone, even other players, can pick them up.
A dead character can be revived after the 60 minute timer runs down, so rather than waiting you should create and switch to another character and keep playing.
When the timer runs out, revive the dead character.
You will see that the character has nothing in their inventory. All of their gear was lost when they died. If you have any spare items in global inventory you can take this opportunity to gear your character up again.
You can move items between your characters and global inventory in a few different circumstances:
- it is a newly created character that has never been out in the world
- it is a just-revived character that has not yet gone back out into the world
- you are talking to the non-player character in the vault at any of the three settlements (marked by red circles on your map)
- you log out a character within the safe zone surrounding a settlement (indicated by a white cross on a blue shield over your health meter)
If you think going out into the world with a flashlight is bad, going out with nothing is just awful.
The key towards making recovery from death as painless as possible is to stockpile lots of gear in your global inventory so you can transfer it to your characters after they have been revived.
So, go out, scavenge, find stuff, bring it to the vault in any settlement, then transfer the surplus into your global inventory. Rinse and repeat. Over and over again.
Eventually you’ll have enough stuff that death is reduced from a catastrophe of epic proportions to something annoying but tolerable.
To survive you just need to do a few things really well:
- scavenge the right stuff
- manage your inventory
- aim for the head
Take care out there.