Ravage is difficult. It is very hard to survive for more than a few days. A lot of new players will have a hard time getting going, so this guide will help you find your feet. It's not an exhaustive guide to everything in Ravage, but it should be enough to get you over the initial hurdles.
When you first load Ravage, you will find yourself lying on the ground next to a burning car. You're exhausted - ArmA 3 has a fatigue system and you're already at its limit. It will take a little while before you're able to run about. You are unarmed and you don't have any supplies or backpack. There's a body nearby that has a weapon and a couple of items. Take everything so you can at least defend yourself and carry some stuff.
You don't know where you are yet (and you don't have a map). Altis is quite large, but it's an island and there are a few landmarks you can use to fix your location. There are groups of bandits everywhere and there may even be some near where you spawn, so get moving as soon as you can and keep your eyes open. Often what determines the outcome of a fight is your ability to spot hostiles before they spot you.
There are pockets of radiation scattered across the island and you'll need to avoid them. If you get exposed to too much radiation, you will get
radiation poisoning and start to lose health. Initially, you have no means of detecting radiation, so it can be hard to avoid it. The radiation was caused by governments detonating nuclear weapons in an attempt to stop the spread of the infection. Accordingly, you can assume that most military areas are radioactive and should either avoid them or move quickly through them to minimize your exposure.
One of the items you can find in the game is a Geiger Muller Counter, which you can activate to give you an on-screen readout of the amount of radiation you're currently exposed to as well as a display (in your inventory) of your cumulative rad exposure. One of your priorities ought to be to find a Geiger Muller Counter so you can tell when you're exposed to radiation. You can find these counters in some military locations and on the bodies of AI units. Rad exposure can be lowered through the use of Anti-rad pills. You'll find them in the same kind of places you find counters.
When you have radiation poisoning, you'll periodically take damage from it. When this is happening, you'll see mild static across the screen. Before you have a Geiger Muller Counter, this is the only way to know if you've got radiation poisoning. If this happens to you, take some anti-rad pills (if you have them). The pills take time to act (several minutes), so it's best to use them one at a time with a gap of a few minutes until you take another. This will ensure you don't end up taking too many and wasting what few you have. When you have a Geiger Muller Counter, you'll see the effects of taking anti-rad pills in the form of an on-screen indicator showing a -1 for radiation exposure.
Food and water
One of the first things you'll notice in your inventory is a readout showing your levels of nutrition and hydration. You need to eat and drink to stay healthy. Food is hard to come by. It has been some time since the White Plague hit, so most locations have been picked clean. You might be lucky enough to find some tactical bacon or rusty food tins in civilian locations (food loot only spawns in civilian locations), but you're unlikely to find enough to keep you alive. AI units also sometimes carry food and you can probably find just about enough to stay alive between looting buildings and killing hostile units. Eating next to a campfire gives a boost to the amount of nutrition you can gain from it, so it's a good idea to only eat food next to a fire unless you're starving. Just to add to the difficulty, you need a tin opener to open tins, so finding one is a priority.
It is also possible to hunt rabbits for food and you ought to do this whenever you can. You need a gutting knife to cut open a dead rabbit, which will then allow you to extract rabbit meat which you can cook over a fire. Although rabbit meat will not provide you with much nutrition, it can make the difference between life and death. Because of the grass and undergrowth it is difficult to purposely hunt rabbits, so you should take every opportunity you can.
Water is also relatively rare, but there are water sources (from which you can refill containers) in some of the towns and villages. See the main Water page for some details of these water sources so you'll recognize them. Water in bottles is marked as clean or dirty. Dirty water is radioactive and will contribute to your rad exposure. There are water purification tablets to be found that will clean up your water, so it's best to drink dirty water only if you're really thirsty.
There are groups and individuals scattered around the landscape. Most are hostile and will attack you on sight. Occasionally you will find a
friendly unit which you can recruit and then order around. Friendlies always travel alone, whereas bandits (hostile AI units) may be alone or in groups. So if you see a group of AI units, you can be sure they're hostile. Very occasionally you may encounter AI units in a vehicle. They will be hostile, but if you're careful you could grab yourself a vehicle.
Fighting AI units isn't necessarily difficult. The best tactic is to choose the battlefield carefully. Avoid being seen by them until you're in a good position to attack from. If there are lots of bushes and undergrowth around, you'll have a hard time fighting them as they'll conceal themselves and it will be difficult to fire at them accurately. Fighting is best done in an open area, where you have some hard cover (like a big rock) and a good escape route if they prove too tricky. Although the easiest way to get good loot is to kill AI units, you have to weigh up the risks. Even a single bullet can kill you, so choose your fights. Never be afraid to run away - even if you've killed some (and you really want their loot), if they start flanking you, you can die very easily.
Ravage follows a day and night cycle. Time progresses are four times normal speed, so sooner or later it's going to get dark. There are plenty of chem lights scattered around which will help you to see in the dark a bit and you can find tactical lights to attach to weapons. Neither of these will let you see as well as in daylight. Night vision goggles do exist, but there's only one opportunity to get those and it's very difficult, so you can forget about finding those, at least at this stage.
When night falls, if you have a tent or a sleeping mat, you can sleep until it's light again. Be warned that hunger and thirst will increase whilst you're asleep and, if you're sick, you'll continue to suffer the effects of that. So whenever you need to rest up, it's best to make sure you're fed and watered before sleeping. It's also a good idea to sleep for as little as possible to maximize the use of daylight and to avoid becoming hungry and thirsty.
You'll find zombies everywhere. They're not a huge threat, but you can easily use up a lot of ammo trying to kill them. Zombies hear noises, so
once you start shooting you're likely to attract more. It's best if you initially avoid zombies as much as possible. Sneak to get around them wherever you can. Sometimes it just isn't worth the risk of attracting their attention to check a building for loot.
There are different types of zombies and you'll come to recognize them over time. Some are faster than others. It's trivial to outrun the slow ones, so it's best to avoid shooting them - they're no threat if you're careful, so you're wasting ammo shooting them and potentially attracting more zombies. The faster zombies cannot outrun you, so as long as you keep moving, they can't hurt you.
Headshots are the most effective way of bringing down zombies. Most will go down from a single shot to the head, regardless of the weapon. So the most effective tactic for taking down zombies is to run away (so only the fastest ones can follow) and then turn around, backing away from the zombies, and take your time to shoot them in the head.
When zombies attack they use an animation that looks like they're bowling a cricket ball (an overhand throw) and they stop moving for a few frames. The ideal time to shoot a zombie is when they're standing still after an attack. Back away from zombies until they finish an attack animation, then pop a bullet in their head and keep backing away. Once you get the hang of this approach, zombies will not be a problem any more.
In the early stages when you don't have ammo to spare, run away. Even the faster zombies won't catch you. When running, do everything you can to break their line of sight, running in and out of buildings, around obstacles, etc so they lose sight of you. Eventually, you will lose them.
Transport becomes more important once you get beyond the early stages of the game. You need tool kits to repair them and you'll almost certainly need tires to replace damaged and missing wheels. Both of these items are heavy and you won't be able to carry very many without getting tired, so don't worry too much about them initially.
Once you've got going, vehicles are an invaluable way of getting around and they're excellent for carrying spare loot. One downside is that if you arrive at a location too quickly, loot doesn't have a chance to spawn. So when you have a vehicle, park it outside a town before heading in on foot. It's very annoying to arrive in a town and find there's no loot just because you zoomed into the middle of it in your truck.
Your top priorities are:
- Tin opener
- Matches and paper (for fires)
- Geiger Muller counter
- Guns and ammo
You are never going to have huge stockpiles of food and water, so be very careful with what you find. Always try to eat beside a campfire to maximize the benefits. Water isn't as much of a problem as food - once you have a container or two and you know where some water sources are, you'll never run out of water again.
Loot only spawns in buildings once a day (game days, not real days), so make sure you know which buildings you've looted to
Radiation is a problem if you don't have a Geiger counter. Although many radiation sources are predictable (military areas), just as many are not and you can easily find yourself with radiation poisoning before you know it. Without anti-rad pills, radiation poisoning will slowly kill you.
AI units can be difficult to fight. You need to pick your battles carefully. If you can remain unseen and in good cover, you can easily take down four or five units before they can accurately return fire.
Zombies are a problem when you've only got a pistol and a single clip, so avoid shooting zombies until you're better armed. Learn zombie behavior and practice shooting while backing away.
That's all you need to get going, so go to it and good luck.