-> ''These are the end-times.''
-> ''There was no hope of survival.''
-> ''This is how you died.''

''Project Zomboid'' is an isometric zombie survival {{RPG}} created by a four person team from Britain. It takes inspiration from games like ''VideoGame/SurvivalCrisisZ'' and ''VideoGame/{{X-COM}}''. The game is set in a fictionalised version of Muldraugh, Kentucky; a small town by the side of a highway which includes a number of businesses, a large logging camp, some light industry, and various classes of housing. The developers are releasing periodic updates, ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}'' style, with each update adding a feature or two to the game. Features to be added include randomly generated quests and [=NPCs=], expansion of the perks and skills system, more weapons, more craftable items, and more survival needs like sanity and hygiene.

Notable for [[http://projectzomboid.com/blog/index.php/2011/10/project-zomboid-burglary-statement/ having]] [[http://projectzomboid.com/blog/index.php/2011/04/warning-how-google-checkout-screwed-project-zomboid/ extremely]] [[http://projectzomboid.com/blog/index.php/2011/04/warning-how-destiny-and-webhosting-screwed-project-zomboid/ bad]] [[http://projectzomboid.com/blog/index.php/2011/05/things-can-only-get-better-surely/ luck]], but still managing to get the pre-public demo out on schedule, give or take a few months. You can play the (now quite outdated) demo [[http://projectzomboid.com/blog/index.php/2011/06/free-public-demo-released/ here]]. The game also managed to get enough votes in the Greenlight system on Steam, allowing it to be purchasable as an Early Access game. Updates and bug-fixes are still on-going, of course.

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!!This game contains examples of:

* ActionSurvivor: All player characters start out unskilled and unequipped, with no more advantages than some basic professional training.
* AerosolFlamethrower: The Engineer profession comes with several recipes for turning household cruft into tactical saviors, and hairspray is one. Rather than the traditional flamethrower, however, the Engineer makes an incendiary bomb out of spray, [[FatalFireworks sparklers]], and [[MacGyvering aluminum foil]].
* TheAlcoholic: The character can get drunk in order to reduce panic. If you get drunk enough, your character will randomly stumble around.
* AllOrNothingReloads: Averted. Maybe not in the case of [[OneBulletClips magical]] reloading of semi-automatic pistols in "Easy" mode, but otherwise any activity involving ammunition can be interrupted by sprinting, then continued later with little or no redundancy.
* AnAxeToGrind: Getting your first axe can be a transcendent experience in ''Zomboid''. Not only is it a sublime weapon, it's superb for battering down locked doors and almost [[EquipmentBasedProgression required]] for felling trees for your lumber and carpentry.
* AndThenJohnWasAZombie: In most cases, [[{{Tagline}} this is how you died]]. You can even sit there and watch yourself stumble around looking for more brains, if you want. But see also PreviousPlayerCharacterCameo.
* AntiGrinding: The effectiveness of skill grinding has varied somewhat over the game's history, as the developers have tried to make up their minds how difficult it should be for one character to be [[MasterOfAll good at everything]]. Currently, most skill-building actions provide only small amounts of XP, so those skills are very slow to train unless you've got an XP multiplier going, either from your starting occupation or traits, or by reading a how-to book.
* AwesomeButImpractical:
** Combat, full stop. While a competent player will have no trouble with a half-dozen or so zombies, any more than that and the best option is usually to just run, no matter how well equipped you are. Melee combat is silent but ''extremely'' dangerous (a single bite or scratch could result in you eventually zombifying), the shotgun is devastating and safe to use but it attracts zombies from all over the map to your position, and Molotov cocktails attract zombies ''and'' run the risk of burning down your safehouse, as well as potentially killing you.
** The [[DropTheHammer sledgehammer]]. As weapons go, it packs a serious punch, and it can take a pounding itself. But it's ''heavy''. Even using it for its intended purpose—demolishing a bit of wall—will probably make you rest for a couple of hours, so imagine if the wall is an endless row of zombie heads. Heck, at its weight, even though it's the only way to get access to some areas, you probably won't want to carry it unless you're sure you'll need it.
* BatterUp: The baseball bat is one of the best Blunt weapons. Add nails for extra damage but reduced durability.
* BigNo: The demo character gets one if [[spoiler:the raider shoots his wife.]]
* BladeOnAStick: One of the most primal examples of the polearm, since Chipped Stone + Tree Branch = Wooden Spear. Sadly, the spear sucks as much as a handmade spear should.
* BoozeBasedBuff: Alcohol can substitute for painkillers, anti-depressants, sleeping pills, and beta-blockers. However, drinking too much will make the player drunk, and mess up coordination.
* BoringButPractical:
** The Park Ranger profession. While it doesn't help with combat or barricading, given how much it rains in Knox County, the weather resistance is actually pretty handy.
** The "end game". Technically [[EndlessGame there is no such thing]], but if you choose to play for maximum survivability it's feasible to set up a sustainable, well-fortified life for yourself where risky scavenging is a thing of the past. You can stay inside, only needing to clear stray zombies from your walls every few weeks. This monotony of farming and water purifying can go on indefinitely.
* BornLucky / BornUnlucky: Your character can have either traits to supplement your playstyle.
** The former will increase the likelihood of necessary items appearing all throughout town and [[spoiler: occasionally have military units/scavengers patrol the streets, killing zombies for you, in your sleep.]]
** While the latter reduces the number of supplies by roughly half.
* BrainBleach: Can be taken up to literally levels if used as [[spoiler: a suicide option either [[OhCrap you realized you got infected or has reached into something that is too hard to handle]].]]
* CharacterCustomization: With twenty occupations, more than fifty traits (positive and negative), and twenty skills to train and use in-game, you've got a lot of room to make characters that play very differently from one another. Maybe you can't even run to the end of the block without needing to catch your breath, but you can read how-to books in double time and don't need to eat much. Specialization is encouraged by most skills being [[AntiGrinding very slow to train]] unless you get an XP multiplier on them from somewhere.
* ContinuingIsPainful: If your character dies, you can begin another on the same map - without any skills or inventory, at a random point on the map.
** You might also wound up to [[PreviousPlayerCharacterCameo meet your dead characters]] eating your own flesh, if said world is not deleted.
* CrapsackWorld: And not just for your character. The game is unwinnable by design: "These are the end-times. There was no hope of survival. This is how you died." At least you can't say you weren't warned. With updates that incorporate the "erosion" mod, the sack gets even crappier as time passes, with weeds growing, walls cracking, and pavement flaking gradually.
* CrazySurvivalist: The raiders. You can be this as well.
* CriticalEncumbranceFailure: Averted. While reaching your maximum weight capacity with [[TheLastStraw only a few grams of nails]] can lower your stamina effectively, the actual weight limit where you literally break your back is roughly double that weight.
* CrowbarCombatant: Until the pick-up and place modes for furnishings were added, crowbars actually had no use ''besides'' combat. Now they can also be used for stockpiling floor tiles, but they still make pretty good head-bashers.
* DarkerAndEdgier: The final game, as currently advertised, looks as though it will essentially be a grittier, more realistic VideoGame/SurvivalCrisisZ.
* DisposableWoman: Kate Smith, the demo character's wife, [[spoiler:can survive the tutorial (and, in fact, be perfectly fine aside from the leg injury), depending on the player's actions... but plays no further role in the story either way.]]
* TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything: In the tutorial, leaving the oven on while you run off to listen to the radio will result in your house burning down.
** Merely nailing boards over a window does not block all visibility through it, you need to cover up the gaps with either a curtain or a sheet.
** Water can be drawn from anything with a tap (kitchen sink, bathtub, etc.) and can be stored in any empty container, be it a plastic bottle or a cooking pot.
** Take too many pills and it could kill you.
** Trying to get in and the door is locked? [[DynamicEntry Just smash a window!]] Oh, you did that [[SoftGlass with your bare hands?]] [[RealityEnsues Hope you have some bandages!]] And you just [[FromBadtoWorse set off a burglar alarm too?]] Here comes a [[OhCrap zombie horde]] shambling over to check out the racket. Start running.
* DoNotRunWithAGun: Ironically, running with a gun is [[AvertedTrope encouraged]], if one attempts to redirect the horde away from your camp. Popping a shot is enough to alert the entire horde to the direction where gun fired.
** Some lighter weapons, such as a pistol, are recommended to make this plan successful, anything heavier like a shotgun also works, as long as you don't carry much.
* DownerBeginning: You start off the tutorial with your things stolen, no food, a wife with a broken leg, and zombies everywhere.
* DownerEnding: There’s no chance of rescue or a game win screen; you will die eventually.
* DropTheHammer: You can fight with two different hammers: the ordinary clawhammer, or the boring sledgehammer. Both are essential for more hammery tasks, but both also make productive holes in zombie skulls.
* DyingMomentOfAwesome: The game is littered with these. Knowing that you're infected and running out onto the street to die in a blaze of glory are fun parts of the game.
* EmptyRoomPsych: Occasionally, you will find a garage, or shipping container, or something, that has no windows or doors you can open the easy or hard way. If you come along with a sledgehammer, however, you'll be able to crack that baby open and find the sweet shelves and crates inside. Just don't expect them to hold loot any better than the other random loot you've found everywhere else. Except for [[spoiler:the gun shop]].
* EndlessGame: Well, endless in that the game doesn't end until you die. In some early releases the game was not technically endless because you could not keep yourself fed and hydrated without scavenging, and theoretically you could strip the entire map. (The size of the map makes this an unlikely feat.) However, now that food can come from farming, fishing and trapping, while water can come from rain-catching and boiling groundwater, setting up a lifestyle that is [[BoringButPractical well-protected and fully self-sustainable]] is feasible.
* EquipmentBasedProgression: ''Zomboid'' does not play this as straight as "you need this item to advance to the next act of the plot", because there is no plot. Nevertheless, certain tools act as "gatekeepers" for segments of gameplay. You need a screwdriver for electronics and gun modding; a fishing rod to fish; a trowel to plow for farming; and an axe, saw, and hammer to take full advantage of Carpentry. The straightest use of the trope would be the sledgehammer, as there are some structures that simply cannot be looted unless you can destroy one of the walls.
* EverythingFades: Completely averted. In later versions bodies will remain on the map until they gradually decay (leaving skeletons behind which will never disappear unless taken) and rain will eventually be able to wash away any outdoor bloodstains, but in the current version, every single corpse, bit of gore, and blood spatter will remain on the map ''permanently'', providing a rather satisfying visual record of the player's exploits.
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: Like [[VideoGame/DwarfFortress Dwarf Fortress]] and many other survival games, [[ZombieApocalypse you already lost the game by the time you played it]] and you ''will'' die, despite your best efforts.
* FatalFireworks: Americans in northern states might have been excited by the prospect of exploiting Kentucky's more lax pyrotechnics laws, but alas there are only sparklers available. (Non-American readers, see [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_fireworks#United_States the other wiki]] for details of terminology and regulation.) However, if you happen to be of the [[MacGyvering Engineer]] profession, those sparklers can become the fuses of incendiary bombs, with [[AerosolFlamethrower hairspray]] as the fuel.
* ForkFencing: Flatware is always available to drive into zombie eye sockets, if you dare to get that close. Just don't expect to get more than one shot with any given fork.
* FromBadToWorse: Paypal decides to limit their account. Then Google Checkout decides to mess with them. Then a there was a car bombing near their flat. Then two of the devs were robbed.
* FryingPanOfDoom: You'll probably want to use it for "[[ReducedToRatburgers small animal meat]]" stir-fry most of the time, but in a pinch a frying pan can crush zombie skulls as well as any other object of a similar weight and shape with a convenient handle.
* GatelessGhetto: Justified in that the town is under quarantine. As the game goes on, the infection will spread, the quarantine lines will either expand outward or be overrun, and more areas of the map will thus become open for player exploration.
* GhostTown: Eventually. At the start of the outbreak the town is fairly heavily populated with [=NPCs=], but the vast majority of them die in the first few days and the rest will hole up and hide, leaving the streets deathly quiet.
* GolfClubbing: Golf clubs are okay, but they can't beat a [[BatterUp baseball bat]] for pure zombie-smashing effect.
* GunsDoNotWorkThatWay: ''Optionally'' averted, in some respects. ''Zomboid'' is not a shooter game, and guns are not dwelt on. There are only five models in four classes, for example, compared to more than a dozen melee weapons. And yet, apparently more thought was put into portraying firearm use realistically than into many games that pride themselves on their GunPorn. See AllOrNothingReloads and OneBulletClips for details, but the most telling detail out of the gate is that the player is allowed to choose how realistic they want their reloading to be: Easy, Normal, or Hardcore, with Hardcore venturing into territory normally associated with ''{{VideoGame/Receiver}}''.
* HandicappedBadass: [[EnforcedTrope It's a rule of character creation]] that all handicapped characters are this, for a certain definition of badass at least, as picking negative traits that qualify as disabilities generally give you a ton of positive trait points to compensate, with deaf giving you the most points of any negative trait in the game.
* HealItWithBooze: When the First Aid system was added, disinfecting flesh wounds became rather important. If you can't find household disinfectant or sealed alcohol swabs, whiskey will do. Drinking it can also provide some small pain relief. (And it's also useful for [[LiquidCourage lifting your sadness]] or making a MolotovCocktail.)
* HealThyself: Although there is no instant health, you can still treat injuries by bandaging them and getting plenty of food and rest while waiting for them to heal naturally, using pills to treat any pain. With later updates came more detailed medicine and a dedicated First Aid skill to develop. The injury-prone survivor has disinfectants and bandages of varying sophistication to deal with flesh wounds, and may be unfortunate enough to have to splint themselves for several weeks for a broken leg. That's in single-player mode. In multi-player, one can also serve as TheMedic.
* HeroicRROD: Overexertion can be your undoing if done recklessly, to the point where [[DeathByIrony you can kill yourself by just surviving the wasteland alone]].
* HideYourChildren: Although the developers are still actively debating amongst themselves and the community as to whether or not children will appear in the game, the 'no' side of the argument is currently winning.
* HyperactiveMetabolism: Averted. Eating will increase healing rate, but will not give you instant health. It does increase a point of your strength instantly, but temporarily if fed enough.
* ImprovisedWeapon: This can be considered a core of the game, since almost none of the combat-ready items were meant to be weapons, firearms excepted. [[BatterUp Baseball bats]], a [[DropTheHammer hammer]], and [[TwoByFore boards of wood]] can be used as weapons. Get some nails, and you can have yourself a spiked bat. Get an empty bottle, a rag, a torn sheet, or a sock, along with some gasoline, and you have a MolotovCocktail.
* InUniverseGameClock: The default timescale is 24:1—you play one game day in an hour. In single-player you can fast forward through tedious activities at a few different speeds, and this happens automatically when you sleep. In Sandbox or multi-player, you can customize the timescale from as fast as 96:1 to as slow as real time. The game clock tracks not only time of day, which is important since night can get very dark, but also the date. The weather changes according to the calendar, to the point of forcing wardrobe changes to avoid heat stroke and frostbite.
* InsurmountableWaistHighFence: When it comes to literal waist-high fences, this is generally averted, as anything that is waist-high can be vaulted over by players or zombies—it just takes a little extra time. (There's even a skill for this, Nimbleness.) The part that is bizarrely played straight is that those fences can have gates, which can be opened and closed just like doors, and like doors have a chance to be locked. A locked gate cannot be opened from either side, even when you can step a foot to your left and just climb over. Another oddity is that the player can erect a barbed wire fence. Climbing one of these will not injure you, even though things like broken windows absolutely will. This is probably a temporary oversight.
* InventoryManagementPuzzle: A very real element of surviving. You desperately need ''everything''.
** You can also only add/remove items from containers like plastic bags or backpacks if they're equipped, and you have three 'equip' slots total including the 'wear on your back' option for certain ones.
* IsometricProjection
* ItemCrafting: Used to make several items in the game, as well as upgrading existing ones.
* KillItWithFire: How? Why, with Molotovs of course!
* LuckStat: The "Lucky" trait, which improves your loot and weapon repair rolls.
* MacGyvering: The setting being what it is, there is a little of this sprinkled throughout. The greatest concentration comes with the jury-rigged "traps" that the Engineer profession knows how to make: incendiary bombs from [[AerosolFlamethrower hairspray]] and [[FatalFireworks sparklers]], [[SmokeOut smokebombs]] from coldpacks and newspaper, etc.
* MagikarpPower: Negative starting traits that give penalties to trainable stats can be overcome with enough training, and the most severe ones (particularly Obese) can give you a ton of points for traits that give you abilities no training can get you, meaning it's theoretically possible for you to create an obese nerd character and eventually turn them into a GeniusBruiser. [[AwesomeButImpractical This is extremely difficult, time consuming, and dangerous to accomplish, however.]]
* MasterOfAll: With infinite time and resources, you could become this, but it's not likely. If you didn't start with bonus ranks and an XP multiplier in a skill because of your occupation and traits, it will probably be very slow to train. Some, like First Aid, just don't have enough opportunity to practice (you hope), while others, like Electrical, depend on a huge supply of scavenged items to practice on. The CharacterCustomization encourages specialization.
* TheMedic: After the later addition of a First Aid skill and a sophisticated medical system, one can choose from a couple of medicine-related jobs and advantages to get a leg up—or one can gain First Aid experience the old-fashioned way through simple bad luck. Still, in single-player it's purely a case of HealThyself, and First Aid is not an easy skill to build. In multi-player, however, TheMedic can come into their own by examining and treating (with skill-dependent reliability) other unfortunate survivors.
* MercyKill: How do you skip the tutorial? [[spoiler:Smothering your wife with a pillow.]] YouBastard.
** The game's wiki notes that many first-time players do this [[http://www.pzwiki.net/wiki/Pillow accidentally]].
* MolotovCocktail: One of the weapons in the game.
* MoraleMechanic: Being around zombies (especially large numbers or when surprised) can cause increasingly severe versions of the "panic" moodle, which lowers your combat accuracy and causes tunnel vision. You can reduce your panic with beta blocker drugs and alcohol, and your tendency to panic will naturally decrease the longer you survive and the more zombies you kill. Also, the Veteran occupation is immune to panic.
* MustHaveCaffeine: Surprisingly, Hot Cuppa is one of the most valuable edibles in Project Zomboid, as it decreases fatigue, thirst, hunger, stress and unhappiness all at the same time. The best part? [[ImpossiblyDeliciousFood It does not expire and leaves no utter side effects to the character drinking it]].
* NintendoHard: If you don't know the game well, expect to die quickly. If you do know the game well, also expect to die quickly.
* NoStatAtrophy: Played straight, as far as the skills on your character sheet. But there is "stat atrophy" in the sense that the game considers things like hunger and thirst to be "stats". Many of these will absolutely deteriorate if you do nothing about them, sometimes quite quickly.
* OfficialFanSubmittedContent: [[invoked]] In later releases, you'll find that the environment slowly changes as the weeks and months of neglect pass, with grass overgrowing and pavement falling apart. This feature was originally a popular fan mod called "Erosion", which the developers liked enough to officially fold into the base game. Some other features were also borrowed from the mod community, such as being able to randomize or save your character build.
* OneBulletClips: Avert it or play it straight—it's up to you! The fiddliness of reloading guns comes in three flavors. "Easy" will deduct loose cartridges straight into your gun (one at a time with a shotgun). "Normal" will make you eject, fill (tediously!), and insert individually-tracked magazines into semi-automatic guns. "Hardcore" will make you do that ''and'' use a separate key to chamber a round. Working the action when a round is already chambered will even [[UnexpectedlyRealisticGameplay eject unspent cartridges onto the ground]].
* ThePenIsMightier: Pens and pencils are counted among the "bladed" weapons. They are not recommended.
* PointBuildSystem: The foundation of CharacterCustomization. Each occupation comes with a positive or negative number of points to be spent on positive and negative traits. Some of these may come with free skill ranks, but after that all skills can only be improved through [[StatGrinding practice]].
* PreviousPlayerCharacterCameo: ''Zomboid'' manages this within a single release. There is certainly more than one way to die, but zombie infection is easily the most common. If you die while infected (even if something else killed you) you will quickly get back up and [[AndThenJohnWasAZombie join your new zombie brethren]]. Game over, right? Well, yes, but you can still load that same save, and you will be able to spawn a fresh character into the same world, with all the changes you had already made intact. This includes not only any fortifications or stockpiling you had accomplished, but also the fact that "you" ''died and became a zombie''. You can find and rekill your former self, which you'll want to do if you had been carrying good loot. You may have to track yourself a ways from your death-spot to recover backpacks and the like, but anything you had been holding in your hands will be lying on the ground right where you undied.
* RealityEnsues: You know how most ZombieApocalypse games have you conveniently immune to the virus? Yeah, that's not the case here. Infection is an actual game mechanic.
** Oh. And there is also no absolute cure for it, too.
* ReducedToRatburgers: When [[spoiler: the power finally goes out, and all the existing perishable food perishes (a spoiler spoiler!), if you want protein]], you will need to fish or trap. Until you get quite good at it, trapping will only produce "small animal meat": mice, rats, or squirrels.
* RollingPinOfDoom: The rolling pin is not a great weapon, but it's there if you need it. Better to [[UtilityWeapon use it for making bread]] and pies, if you know how.
* RunDontWalk: Inverted. The character used to be only able to walk, until the developers realized the game wouldn’t be so dark running around like Benny Hill.
* SanitySlippage: So far, the worst you can get with your sanity, is panicked. It startles your character, upon seeing zombies, but later versions promise
** In earlier versions, the player will see ghostly versions of zombies everywhere, even more so as the insanity gets worse.
* SaveScumming: The game autosaves every time you sleep or close the game, so this is extremely difficult to do, although still hypothetically possible (though prone to causing bugs) if you manually back up your savegame files, or forcibly close the game.
* SawedOffShotgun: You can make one. Only standard shotguns can be looted, but Shotgun + Saw = "Sawn Off Shotgun". Damage and range goes down, spread goes way up, and weight lightens. According to the item's icon, only the barrel is sawed, not the stock.
* ScavengerWorld: As would presumably follow a zombie apocalypse.
* SchmuckBait: TheMall. The likely place where the first (numerous) survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse would ever go and so did the likely disease of said apocalypse along with it. Despite of this, it has abundant valuable resources to survive and are still intact even up to the game's timeline. Good luck getting there though.
* SerialEscalation: Surviving a single day in this game is relatively easy. Surviving a week is challenging but doable. Surviving a month is hard. The longest verified time that a player has survived in the current version? ''Over eleven months''. Worth noting that the eventual cause of his demise was not the zombies, but rather the fact that there was no more food left on the map and farming and hunting haven't been implemented yet.
** Check out the player who [[http://i.imgur.com/lulPY.png lasted over a year]].
* ShortRangeShotgun: The shotgun is really only useful up to a few feet. A few feet less if it is [[SawedOffShotgun sawn off]].
* ShovelStrike: You can fight with a shovel, but it's [[UtilityWeapon better used]] for landscaping.
* SkillScoresAndPerks: There is a hard line between these. Perks are occupations and traits, which you choose a [[PointBuildSystem balance]] of at character creation. With a couple exceptions, these will never change through play. Skills, on the other hand, may start with a few free ranks from your perks, but otherwise they increase only through [[StatGrinding practice]].
* SlidingScaleOfVideoGameWorldSizeAndScale: In terms of scale (literal ''scale'', not ''scope''), it would be very hard to find a game that surpasses ''Zomboid'' on the realistic end of the meter and is set in the real world. The game map mimics real-world Kentucky's dimensions shockingly well, down to the level of municipal zones (e.g., residential vs. commercial) and often individual buildings or other landmarks. The scope is nothing to sneeze at either, being somewhere on the order of 13km x 10km, covering two cities and the wide space between and around. Future plans call for this to be extended even further, to Fort Knox and Louisville. Most likely, even if you did find competition on either score, none would have even a fraction of ''Zomboid's'' count of enterable, fully-furnished buildings. Even if you weren't able to fight zombies and scavenge houses within it, the map alone is an exceedingly ambitious project. Travel within the map, on the other hand, is quite compressed when measured in real time. By the game clock, it's roughly plausible.
* SmokeOut: The Engineer profession comes with several recipes for turning household cruft into tactical saviors, and one option is a smokebomb: newspaper, rags, and a [[MacGyvering therapeutic coldpack]]. Even non-Engineers can learn this one if they get lucky, and Electrical skill can upgrade the bomb with timers, proximity triggers, and remote switches.
* SpreadShot: The shotgun is basically a wedge of death. Wider if you [[SawedOffShotgun saw it off]].
** Currently, the shotgun is only a Wedge Of Death because there's no code for 'slight damage' on zombies with ranged weapon.
* SprintMeter: If you run around a lot, you will get a exhausted moodlet that will prevent you from running, and will make your melee attacks weaker. If you do so while heavily encumbered with loot you can actually [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything injure your back]].
* StatGrinding: There is a character sheet of twenty skills, from Blunt Weapon Maintenance, to Sneaking, to Cooking, plus two physical stats, Strength and Fitness. All are rated from zero to ten, and there are only two ways to improve them. Either you start with a few ranks by choosing certain occupations and traits from the start, or you grind them up through use. The grinding can take a very long time without an XP boost of some sort, discouraging a player from trying to be [[MasterOfAll good at everything]] at once. Occupations and traits that come with free skill ranks generally also come with a mild XP multiplier in those skills. There are also a series of how-to books that can be scavenged, each covering two ranks of one skill and providing a large XP boost over those ranks if you take the time to read the whole thing. Only five skills have books so far, but there are plans to include more.
* TacticalDoorUse: Unless you tweak the "Zombie Lore" settings in Sandbox mode, zombies cannot open doors—the normal way. So in an emergency, closing a door behind you with a horde right on your heels will at least give you a moment to breathe. You might be able to sneak out the window while they're busy, too, because the other tactical use of doors is that once a zombie gets started on trying to batter one down, it takes a fair bit to distract them. However, for long-term fortification purposes, the best way to use doors is to ''not'' use them. Instead, dangle a rope from a second-story window, then board up all the ground-floor openings completely. Those former doors are not now useless; rather, they make a great focal point for incoming zombies so that you can sneak out and brain them from behind.
** While locked doors were always there, a later update added the magic of keys. Occasionally, a zombie will have a house key on its body, generally of the house they're in or near. The game tracks which keys are for which doors, and it even remembers when you bash down the door ''and scavenge the doorknob'' to install on your own door later. While the ability to lock and unlock your own doors is useless in single-player (again, unless you decided to grant zombies door privileges), in [[NinjaLooting multi-player on the other hand]]...
* TooAwesomeToUse: In some ways, the shotgun. Its noise will attract zombies from all about, making it more useful when there already is a zombie horde, not to mention ammo is somewhat rare.
** Sprinting. A great way to avoid an amassed group of zombies but will also attract a lot more attention if one happens to literally run into other unexpected hordes. Skilled players usually do this to redirect the hordes away from their camps.
** The [[AnAxeToGrind axe]] can be too awesome at first. With enough scavenging, you can accumulate a surplus, but until then its [[UtilityWeapon usefulness]] for felling trees might make you reluctant to swing it at zombies.
* TrainingFromHell: You'll likely to take this one yourself in a town you live in, as skills provided by jobs from the beginning in comparison are relatively low. By endgame, you can pretty much survive a lot longer than others... [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment if you survive]].
* TwoByFore: Planks are a very basic item, being the staple of the carpentry segment of the game. You can also choose to grasp one end and direct the other end at a zombie temple, if you must. You can even shove some random nails into it if such misuse is not unforeseen.
* UnexpectedlyRealisticGameplay: The game is rife with this. If you can't open a door, you break a window and climb in, obviously; but if you don't take the time to remove the glass from the frame, now you have a bleeding hand to fix (you might actually need a "tweezers" object to deal with it). Accidental fall from a second story? Broken leg, naturally; but okay, it's easy to make a splint from sticks and rags. However, you'll need to keep that on for weeks (already very generous), with your movement speed being not at all zombie-compatible the whole time, even with painkillers. And then there's the "Hardcore reloading" option for firearms. One key will eject or insert a magazine, or start tube-feeding rounds into a shotgun, while another will work the action to chamber a round. If you [[DramaticGunCock work the action]] when a round is already chambered, you will actually eject unfired rounds onto the floor.
* UniversalAmmunition: Averted to an extent, but only because the guns are so distilled. There are four classes of ammunition for four models of gun. (Not counting that you can [[SawedOffShotgun saw off a shotgun]].) In ''Zomboid'', all pistols are 9mm, all shotguns are... shotguns (presumably 12 gauge), varmint rifles are .223, and hunting rifles are .308. This is not hard to swallow when your scavenging of guns & ammo occurs in Kentucky households or even police armories, where these would in fact probably be the most common chamberings. But then there are some dedicated gun stores you can break into. The lack of firearms or munitions outside these constraints requires a bit more suspension of disbelief when looting shelves that were originally stocked for NRA dues-payers.
* UtilityWeapon: This one is played to the hilt, since the "[[ImprovisedWeapon weapons]]" without non-combat uses are outnumbered by those that can serve much more mundane purposes. Pans for frying, knives for slicing, hammers for hammering: you name it, it can be used to sustain your life by destroying zombie brains or by doing what it was made for.
* VideoGameTime: When a game combines homemaking activities that would not be out of place in ''VideoGame/TheSims'' with zombie pounding combat of a similar feel to ''VideoGame/DeadIsland'', it's only natural that finding the right timescale would be a tricky thing. If the same scale were used for everything, then either cooking a stew would take literally hours of your life away, or running from zombies would look like ''Franchise/TheFlash''. The balance here lies in an InUniverseGameClock that runs twenty-four times faster than real time (play one day per hour, adjustable in Sandbox or multi-player), and an [[AcceptableBreakFromReality Acceptable Break from that Reality]] when it comes to tactical movement and combat. Moving and fighting look like normal speed, though according to the clock they are happening much too slowly. More relaxed activities take a fairly plausible amount of in-game time to complete, as do gradual changes like getting hungry or tired. Since some of these activities would still take an unreasonable amount of real time to complete, like reading a 300-page how-to book or getting a night's sleep, single-player allows you to switch into some "fast-forward" speeds. (Doing this with even the slightest chance of being approached by a zombie is an easy way to die.)
** Some activities, on the other hand, take bizarre amounts of in-game time. One of the worst offenders is filling gun magazines in Normal or Hardcore reload mode. Presumably because the developers wanted this to happen in "tactical" time, it takes more than ''thirteen minutes'' of game time to get fifteen rounds into a pistol mag. There is even a Reloading skill, and while it might speed up that time, performing this tedious task does not build the skill!
** When multi-player was introduced, there was the obvious question of how to handle sleeping, since time could not be sped for some players and not others. Originally the answer was to disable tiredness and sleeping altogether, but that caused a different sort of tedium. Nighttime can get dark enough that some players would consider it too risky to venture out, so being awake was just as boring. Later, the option to allow/require sleeping was added to multi-player, with the convenience that if all players on the server are asleep at the same time, time will in fact speed up.
* WithThisHerring: Averted. Even though you started with no items as you spawn, you spawn in a random home location with local items just so happened to be available for you to survive. [[RandomNumberGod Just praise to the gods that you'll get a backpack to have all stuff you need]].
* WizardNeedsFoodBadly: As the game goes on, you will need to look for food to eat. Start going hungry, and your strength goes down, and your healing time decreases. Starve yourself, and you start losing health, along with a massive decrease in strength.
* ZombieApocalypse: Using pure [[Literature/TheZombieSurvivalGuide Max Brooks]] rules - no fast infected, no special infected, no zombified animals, only headshots kill, and no immunity - a single bite ''will'' infect you, no exceptions, with the only currently confirmed cure for a zombie bite being immediate amputation of the affected limb.
* ZombieInfectee: Getting bitten will almost always cause this. Getting scratched has less of a chance. Once infected however, it is only a matter of time before you [[AndThenJohnWasAZombie join the zombie ranks]]. This is why in multi-player one would generally be expected to follow through on the trope: Get some distance from other survivors and do the [[HeroicSuicide honorable thing]]. (Leaving your loot behind, of course.)
** Brilliantly, this seems to work even if you get infected and then die from a different cause (certainly not from [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial accidentally setting yourself on fire with a carelessly-thrown molotov]], that's for sure); watch your character collapse...and then get back up, with the permanent "Zombiefied" moodlet.
** Better still, see the entry on PreviousPlayerCharacterCameo.
** Varying on your choice to edit the world prior to launch, you can choose how bad infections are: They can be instant, take hours, days or weeks. Or if you really just want to increase your survival chances, disable infections altogether. Doesn't stop you from getting gangrene or the common cold, though.
** Speaking of colds, there's the Hypochondriac disadvantage. Getting a cold while being a hypochondriac will net you fake moodles about being infected. It's not hard to see through this [[PlayerAndProtagonistIntegration as a player]], but far more sinister is that the same thing can happen after you've suffered a skin-breaking wound from a zombie, whether the wound caused infection or not. One of the moodlets that gets steadily worse over the course of a real or fake infection is "stress", and in the hypochondriac's case it's likely to directly reflect the ''player's'' state of mind, as they wait for these all-too-familiar symptoms to either lead to the inevitable or miraculously blow over (which can take a few days).
* ZombieGait: Officially, the game observes this. Zombies can vary in speed, and they lurch faster when they [[DeadlyLunge go for the kill]], but even the fastest are very easy to outrun, assuming you're not winded, wounded, or overburdened. However in Sandbox mode, or when configuring a server for multiplayer, there are many parameters of "Zombie Lore" that you can tune to your preference. The "Proper Zombies" preset uses "fast shamblers" for speed, but you can dial it up to "sprinters" if you want a workout. You can also choose several levels of intelligence for zombie pathfinding, if you aren't utterly terrified at the thought of zombies [[TacticalDoorUse using doorknobs]].
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