The infamous Master difficulty concept!

Oh yes, what you hear from all! Play on Master!

I do not know how it came to be, as it is not true.

The difficulty in the game is simply an expression for how much damage (expressed in % of base value) your character takes, and what kind of loot and the amount of loot you get from the dead. At Novice, you take ~20% damage compared to Master's 100%


Re-bind your quickLOAD button to F9 and keep the quickSAVE button at F5. Now hit that F5.

And again

And again

And again.

Just do it

P.S. The default quicksave F5 and quickload F6 are close to each other, don't want to hit F6 when you meant to hit F5

Importance of aim

This game may be about survival, but no one cancelled the concept of a headshot. Aim for it.


It may well be the most important mechanic in the first few hours of playing the game! It is during this time that you are likely unaware of how the stealth mechanic works in this game, at the same time the accuracy of your gun is terrible!

What do most rookies end up doing? Rushing in, attempting to close the distance, dying multiple times and quitting the game!

You do not have to.

Keep your distance. Keep in mind, your enemies can hear you, and see you if their body is turned towards you (if you think a real person will see you in the circumstances in front of you, mid-game, then there is a high chance that bandit sees you).

Now, by default, pressing the Low Crouch key (Ctrl) + holding Walk key (Shift) will allow you to double-crouch.

Double-crouch drops the amount of noise you make to ZERO. Increases your shooting accuracy to MAXIMUM while making you barely able to move.

Ability to switch between sprinting and double-crouching is a skill that is very important to learn in order to master this game!


Once you have been away from a location in the game past 1 AM and for 24 hours, come back to it and re-loot the dead. Most of them will be gone, but some will not, like Bes from Garbage. You will not find any new ammo and such (assuming you took it all), however you will have a second (third and so on) try at getting a stash location notification.

If you did not take all of the ammo from a dead guy, like Bes from Garbage, that ammo will respawn in his backpack every day. For example, you take all of his ammo but leave 1 cartridge of that f o r b i d d e n 9x39mm ammo for the VSS, come back next day and guess what? Our dead friend Bes will have more than 1 cartridge waiting there for us to grab (the amount you will have found there depends on the difficulty. For example, on rookie, you will have 30+, on master, under 10, or nothing at all)

Spawning of artifacts

In some areas, like the Wild Territory or Garbage, some artifacts spawn after ~1 AM and 24 hours since you visited it. This is true as long as you have already visited the location previously and have left it, similarly to the re-looting concept. This way you can farm artifacts! Some locations also have probability of spawning certain artifacts during a playthrough.

One time, I went into Agroprom underground and came out of it with FOUR Moonlight artifacts.

Advancing through the optional quests

There are levels of optional quests.

With Sidorovich for example, you have the "bring X" and "kill X". Each of these quests are part of a quest tree that you can advance through until the final quest. As you advance, the level of difficulty increases, so does the reward. The tree is usually sequential.

Be mindful of how long you are taking to bring and kill!

After you receive your reward, you may be set back in other quests, as it may have been too long (24 hours) since you have completed the last quest within the tree. It takes 24 hours for the quest tree to reset back to the last and most recent quest you completed more than 24 hours ago (in-game hours). Confusing, huh?

It is best to simply collect all of the required items under "bring X" tree, while dedicating a couple of hours to complete the "kill X" tree, entirely.

Resource management:

Ammo, medicine, armor and gun condition are all resources that you use up to get through the zone.

Each has its value, determined by the amount of benefit it yields at cost of its weight that you must carry around.

NEVER carry more resources than you need, otherwise your ability to survive will be worse as you will not bring back as much loot to the trader and not be able to run as fast to get away from danger.

Gun viability

Due to how the game difficulty progresses linearly, it may not make sense to use a certain gun with its ammo up until a certain point in the game where the alternatives are significantly worse.

For example, the AK only becomes useful at Agroprom, where you have to fight military personnel, so you may as well carry the rounds for the AK with you until you get to Agroprom. All the while the shotty and pistols are terrible against the military.

I actually consider Agroprom a vital point in your progression as a stalker. It is past Agroprom that pistols and shotguns become obsolete and better armor becomes important.

Some guns are completely useless, as you will not be able to accrue enough ammo to even use it until way later in the game. This is why I recommend collecting some ammo before switching over to a better gun, as the switch occurs slow, and the gun's viability sets in at a certain period within the playthrough.

As an example, the TRs-301 only really beats the AK after you complete the X-16, and it is at that point other guns that use the 5.56mm cartridge beat the TRs-301. Reason being is that there is simply not enough ammo for these guns prior to the X-16.

If you save up enough ammo, and are an excellent sniper, the VSS Vintorez will also become viable after the X-16. I consider 250 cartridges to be enough.


Aiming down the sight

If you use a crosshair while playing, dont bother aiming down the sight. It gives no buff to overall accuracy

The Superbullet

In the game files there is a concept of a superbullet. It is a bullet that is fired after a specific time interval between it and the previous bullet, that deals CRITICAL damage.

Ever wondered why some Novice bandits take 3 shots to the head while that weird one took just 1? The Superbullet is the answer. To proc. the superbullet, you must shoot with a delay between each shot. How long of a delay? No longer than 2 seconds

Repairing the suits

Only becomes relevant after X16, when the required artifacts are abundant. Simply, collect at least 4 artifacts with +30% resistance to, for example, fire (4x30% = 120% resistance). Put them on, jump into a fire anomaly and wait for your health and suit condition to recover. The health and armor deduction due to damage is a simple equation. If you are to have over 100% resistance, the damage will become negative, healing and restoring armor

Obtaining another RPG at X18



When you get down to the last level at X-18, there you will be met with a certain mutant that can hit the ground very hard with it's limb. So hard that some objects will fall thru the floor.

Do you wish to acquire another RPG-7? Do not let that mutant hit the floor with his limb, or that RPG will fall through the floor. You will find the RPG on your way to the body of the last scientist, on the left

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