Game guide

How to survive in the Zone

Due to the extensive feature expansions of MISERY there are a lot of new items and aspects that have a deeper and more advanced impact on your gameplay. We have established a game guide to cover most of the major changes to the game.

Read the polish version of the game guide.

The purpose of this guide is to cover those areas that new and experienced players alike may find challenging/counter-intuitive and to provide an answer to most common problems that gamers may encounter and questions that may be posed regarding some of the mod’s brand-new features. However, it should not be regarded as a collection of hints and tips pertaining to gameplay (e.g. you shouldn’t expect to find the locations of tools and you won’t learn which sniper rifle is the most powerful); our stance on this matter is clear: this guide should not be focused on how to survive in the Zone since that’s something you have to figure out on your own (not mentioning that there already several guides filling this gap; see “Useful links” for more information) and is thus targeted mainly at players new to MISERY who find it difficult not to get lost in the Zone due to technical and mechanics-related issues.

As was stated above, this guide is divided into sections each of which will have a different area at its subject. We’re aware that these categories are arbitrary and will overlap at times; as such some of the features described in one category could very well fit into another. Nevertheless, we feel that they are quite self-explanatory and shouldn’t give you a hard time. If you have trouble navigating through the document, you’re welcome to take a look at the list of contents or use search option. At the end of this document you’ll find a collection of useful links which will help you in matters not covered herein. Without further ado:

Complexity & micro management

MISERY is an extremely demanding mod/game. If you’re used to playing video games where you constantly go in guns blazing, you’d best abandon this notion altogether in MISERY. Because MISERY will be nearly unplayable if you play it like any other game. The basic idea behind MISERY is that the player will be forced to reflect on their choices related to play-style, equipment and preparation. We don’t want to spoil things for you, since you should be learning things the hard way, but if you’re in need of some advice, here you go. Think twice before heading out; better still, think twice before doing anything. Constantly check your surroundings. Take only what’s necessary, and make a few stashes all over the game-world. Listen to what people have to say, it may save your life. Read all of the features we’ve described in the image section on moddb. Follow these rules, and your odds may increase, even if a little. In MISERY, it’s only survival that matters. Just bear in mind that you shouldn’t bang your head against the wall: if you’re feeling like something is too hard for you, you should wait till you get better equipment.

Gameplay

There is no “correct” or “proper” way of playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. nor is there such a way in case of MISERY. You’re free to choose the best manner of proceeding and it’s totally up to you whether you decide to do this or that. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is an open-world game of sorts, and MISERY does nothing to change that. What we’ve changed are the incentives given to players. Since S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is not an RPG and there’s no leveling, devs at GSC went for an equipment-based challenge, which means that some areas and activities will be too hard for you unless you gear up. MISERY builds on this premise, but takes things a bit further: equipment (whatever its form, be it outfits, firearms or drugs) is vital for your survival and you shouldn’t forget we’ve included tons of things for you to take advantage of. We’ve planned it so that for example boss mutants like controllers are too hard an enemy for you if your psy-protection is poor or some areas like the Jupiter plant will be hell on earth without you using everything at your disposal. Otherwise, you’ll be just banging your head against the wall or counting on a stroke of luck to succeed, and we’re sure this is not “fun” in the dictionary of most people. Although this might be interpreted in a wrong way, we wanted to use frustration as a tool of progression. If something you do results in you dying constantly, it’s the indication that this course of action should be left for later, i.e. until you find better equipment. Below, you can find a general list of actions with certain requirements that will make it more easy for you to perform them:

I. Hunting weaker mutants – impossible/hard until the player acquires shotgun/pistol with anti-tissue ammo.

II. Clearing light anomaly fields (radiation, electrical) – impossible/hard until the player acquires a gasmask.

III. Clearing medium anomaly fields (acid) – impossible/hard until the player acquires SSP Headgear set (screen helmet) or artifacts boosting your anomaly protection.

IV. Hunting lower-ranked humans – impossible/hard until the player acquires at least light combat armor (for example, Sunrise Suit) and a number of armor-piercing rounds (other items such as painkillers or scopes may come in handy).

V. Clearing heavy anomaly fields (fire) – impossible/hard until the player acquires SSP suit or SEVA suit .

VI. Hunting heavy/psi mutants – impossible/hard until player acquires explosive weapons, mines or a vast supply of anti-tissue ammo. For psy-mutants, you should equip protective outfits and have appropriate drugs at your disposal.

VII. Hunting high-ranked NPCs/doing combat-heavy quests/going to Pripyat – impossible/hard until the player acquires heavy combat armor and high-tier customized rifle with AP ammo.

As soon as you acquire proper gear, the once frustrating failures will turn into a fluent gameplay progression. Granted, with enough skill you’re able to do virtually anything, for example beat the game with 9×18 pistol only, and we’re not saying killing a controller is impossible when the only thing you’ve got is your starting gear, it will be simply extremely hard.

Don’t go strolling where you don’t belong, boy. If you haven’t personally scanned and tested the ground, if you don’t know every single crook and cranny, if you aren’t acquainted with “that particular area”, just stay off. Before going to the Iron Forest I spent 2 months just watching, just observing. Two whole bloody months. That’s almost half your age. And that is why I’m alive and kicking today. I was patient. I mean, sure, that poltergeist fried my back so nice that I still get these reactions on my skin whenever FM signals are amplified. And sure, I had a controller take a look into my brain, but I survived. You know why? I’ve just told you, you worthless punk, I’ve just told you I spent 2 fucking months observing, thinking, wondering. Making a solid strategy before even thinking of doing anything. How are you going to survive in here if you have the attention span of an ADD Japanese hornet?

Difficulty

There’s no such thing as artificial difficulty, there are just different tastes. You may think that the mod is broken, that the features implemented make the game less fun or that it is simply unplayable for some other reason. That’s fine, and you’re more than welcome to “fix” the mod so that it suits your preferences. It’s a mod after all, and if you like some things we’ve done, we’re already happy for you. Moreover, you can always use them to make a mod of your dreams. But what you’re seeing is a mod of our dreams, and as we’ve always stressed it’s not for everyone. It’s intended for hard-core gamers who fancy having to deal with danger on a constant basis and for survivalists who want to feel alive by being always on the brink of death. And even among them there are bound to be different opinions. Nevertheless, we are sure that MISERY can be extremely fun if you have the right attitude, and we’d like you to give the mod another try after a while.

Realism

Well, you can’t expect a game to be overly realistic because it simply would be no fun. Sure, you can argue that some of our design decisions were not particularly good, but we feel they make sense when interpreted in light of the game as a whole. We’d like players to behave like rational actors who take note of everything they do and do not mindlessly barge in guns blazing. It just would be against the idea behind the mod to make it “artificially” easier for people to advance in the game-world. We’re positive this characteristic does not make the mod unplayable, you just have to think harder and outside the box. And we have no qualms about forcing the player to do so.

Ammunition availability

This is deliberate: enemies you kill have very little ammo in their inventory and their weapons are in poor condition. You could call it “unrealistic” because this same enemy was just shooting at you and it didn’t seem like his ammo was running out. However, this has a certain function: it makes for increased challenge not because enemies are bullet sponges (and they aren’t provided you take advantage of everything at your disposal), but because it forces the player to plan in advance and ponder whether the action they want to pursue is beneficial to them. Moreover, we took care to explain the idea behind it in one of the stories (and we urge you to read/listen to them as they will provide you with plenty of useful information). You may not agree with our reasoning, but in our opinion it makes sense if we’re aiming at more challenging and exciting experience.

When you shoot a guy, you won’t find everything he had on him, there’s no way in hell that’s gonna happen. The stress of the fight, the shock of killing someone, it all affects your senses. Sometimes you will find a pack of cigs he was smoking earlier, sometimes you won’t find them. Maybe he wanted to hide the pack since it was his last, who knows. You won’t get everything you think you deserve, the Zone is not about fairness after all, so cut it out with all that nonsense right know and grow some testicles. And yeah, if the guy you just shot drops like rock onto something or rolls down a cliff, his stuff will get mushed, broken, destroyed. So you won’t have a chance at dipping in that butter jar at all.

Items & consumables

We’re fully aware that the number of items in the mod may seem a bit overwhelming at first. We’d like you, however, to give us benefit of doubt for a moment and try to look at this issue from our perspective. First of all, bear in mind that the Zone is inhabited by hundreds of stalkers, each of whom is a person with a distinctive personality. They have their own tastes, preferences, favorite pastimes, and sometimes will go to great lengths to make sure that their needs are satisfied: they will bribe, they will smuggle, they will contact the underground and so on. If they’re fortunate enough, they will get their hands on the treasure they were striving to obtain. And then it might happen that they die; their loot (e.g. Marlboros, food, some other items like maps, kits and so on) changes hands until it finds its way to traders who sell them in turn to you (because they have no other uses for it). Or they stash their personal belongings somewhere, and by chance or careful searching you happen to find them. It goes without saying that such a stash will contain things that were extremely valuable to this person. For this reason, when looting someone’s stash you should remember that it’s not simply a stash, it’s rather a collection of someone’s memories, hopes and dreams. Secondly, almost all of these seemingly useless items do have some uses: namely, they can be regarded as a source of profit or they can be utilized in the repair process. As regards the second option, one could say that increasing the effectiveness of repair by, for example, 2% per item isn’t really that much, but you shouldn’t forget that by combining ten of these items you achieve an increase of as much as 20%, which is a lot. You’re free to do whatever you want with them: you can leave them where you found them, discard them, sell them or stash them. You really don’t have to hoard them if your judgment is that the benefits they net are less significant than their downsides (like weight). They are there, however, for you to take advantage of and weren’t implemented solely on our whim.

Flashlight & batteries

There are two types of light sources now. The first one, hand-held flashlight, is activated by pressing “O” (by default), the same button you press when you want to take out the detector and it’s also activated in the same way as detector (which means that this hand-held flashlight occupies the same inventory slot as detector and cannot be used alongside it). It requires a free hand, so you can only use one-handed weaponry along with it. If this limitation is not to your liking, there is the second flashlight variant: a headlamp. To use it, you have not only to buy it, but you’re also required to possess a power source (Universal Power Device with batteries) in your inventory. If you’ve bought it and have working UPD, just click “L” (by default) and you’re done. Remember though that headlamp drains energy, so use it with moderation as batteries are quite hard to come by. Also, FYI, the headlamp is automatically shut off if you use your flashlight.

Flashlight is a basic tool here. You can’t shoot what you can’t see, you can’t walk where you can’t see. Every Stalker usually carries a flashlight. It’s a great tiny thing, mind you, no external batteries are required for it to work. But for more experienced or well-off Stalkers there are also headlamps that Owl has sometimes in stock. And they’re great too, because they free up both of your hands. That comes in handy when you wanna shoot with a two-handed weapon or have to use both of your hands for some other “activity”. But remember that headlamp needs to be equipped and uses battery power from the UPD. Night vision is another expensive story but I can’t tell you shit about it. Just remember that the headlamp is automatically shut off when you are using the handheld flashlight.

Sleeping bags

It’s actually quite simple. Just right click on sleeping bag in your inventory, choose “use”, and the bedroll will be unrolled on the ground. You now have to “use” the sleeping bag (in the same way as you “use” the beds in Skadovsk and other stations), set your clock and you’re good to go. After the rest, the sleeping bag will return to your inventory. If you change your mind and don’t want to rest after all, click “cancel”, and then the sleeping bag will be automatically placed in your backpack as well.

Suits, helmets & headshots

This is because we have overhauled armor/ammo system. What it means is that the resistance of NPCs is armor-dependent – the better armor an NPC has, the higher his resistance to firearm damage. It shouldn’t thus surprise you that even after taking ten bullets to the chest your foe is still standing – the damage you do is simply absorbed by armor. However, do note that AP (armor-penetrating) rounds are specifically designed to penetrate armor (hence the name) and you’re encouraged to use them when engaging heavily-armored human enemies who, by the way, may use AP rounds against you. It would also be a good idea to read descriptions of certain items. In case of armors, you have ‘ballistic protection’ which determines damage resistance, and in case of ammo ‘highest pierced armor class’ which will tell you whether this ammo type is suitable against an enemy with high-tier armor. In short, study the game and take your time, you’ll need it to get used to the mechanics.

Veteran Stalkers, regular Stalker, hell, almost every Zoner has adapted so well to the Zone over the years that killing them sometimes seems outright impossible. Not that I want to shoot any of them, but hear me out. I think that the Zone not only makes them harder on the outside, but also it has specifically worked its magic on the inside. A civilian that came here would whine and go into a shock after being shot in the leg. A Zoner will fix that shit up, he won’t lose touch with the reality of situation and maybe even plan an escape route. Sometimes a veteran Stalker will get shot, but the bullet will be a lucky one for him, and it will miss all major arteries and vital organs, and it would seem like he’s bulletproof. Not sure if veteran Stalkers have found the Oasis or some any form of healing artifacts or whatnot, but that will seem really strange to you only if you weren’t here for long. I’ve seen a guy get shot in the head and pull through. There was one guy in Russia, I’ve forgotten his name, this giant pole was stuck into his brain, another had his head severed almost completely, and they both survived. Outside? It’s a massive stroke of luck and a miracle. Here? Here, the rules bend and are bent. Bullets stray away, are deflected of invisible walls that later turn out to be an anomaly or a poltergeist pulling the strings of gravity. But if you fill the head with enough bullets, nobody can survive that. Even the Oasis wouldn’t help those poor bastards. You’ll find the place one day, too, I’m sure, but in the meantime, put on a metal baseball cap or something.

Repair system

There are two types of repair items: repair kits that are required to perform repairs, and other materials that can be used to make the repair process more effective (“supportive materials”). The latter are divided into categories based on the equipment they’re capable of repairing. Take “leather boots” as an example – the text after the orange dot says: “usable for outfit repairs”, which means they can only be used to repair outfits. On the other hand, the kits are not only equipment-, but also condition-specific, for instance Hoppe’s “No. 9” cleaning solvent is suited solely for weapons (“COMPATIBILITY”) and solely if the weapons condition is not below 87% (“not usable below condition level”). Moreover, kits support only those repair materials that refer to the same equipment class, so you can’t use a handgun-specific kit with outfit-specific materials, only with handgun-specific materials. As far as the repair process itself is concerned, after using a repair kit a following interface will be displayed:

http://media.moddb.com/images/groups/1/8/7693/repair_ui_montage.jpg

Let’s take the image in the top-right corner. We can see here the kit we’re using (at the bottom), an item that can be repaired with this kit (in the middle – a heavy overcoat) and a list of materials that the kit supports along with percentages of condition gained (at the top). We have to click on the item we want repaired and on the item we want to use in the repair process, and then we choose “Repair”. We’re done!

I never sell any repair items, man, I just keep them in my box. I know it’s good loot, Beard, Owl and Hawaiian love to buy ’em, but I think it’s better to just use ’em for my weapons and armor. When you sell something to someone, you sell it cheaper than the price you can buy it for, and then when you buy repair items from someone else, you’ve got to pay again, and in the end you lose a lot of money. Do shit on your own, it’s much more frugal and you get to save a lot. Stalkers don’t know how to save here, and whine all the time that they don’t have enough dough. What did you think when you came here, you motherfucking piece of dead rat? The Zone taxes you. Materials are hard to come by, weapons even harder. You don’t just pay for that one shooter, but you pay for the whole infrastructure that supports the war machine that enables you to buy that one shooter. It’s a simple economy, and you should be aware that everything here is expensive as doing everything has its risks and its costs.

Medicaments

We’ve introduced quite a diversity of medicaments, and each one of them behaves in a slightly different way. And while it’s generally advisable to visit a medic if you’re suffering from radiation sickness or your health is low, medicaments can serve a variety of purposes depending on the result you want to attain. For example, if you’re short on cash you’ll have to rely on medkits, but they don’t heal you so much, take long to work and they’re not applied instantly, which makes them not suited for combat situations. And then, you’ve got stimpacks – they’re significantly more potent when it comes to their healing properties and they’re injected, which means that they can be used almost at any time. On the other hand, they induce sleepiness which can be counteracted by energy drinks or tobacco. So it’s all about balance and variety. No medicament will cure all of your ailments – read their descriptions and they’ll tell you what to use and when. You’ve got to weigh pros and cons of all medicaments before applying them so you’d better know your drugs.

Weapons & outfit proficiency

Basically, it means whether your class specializes in a specific equipment, and the mechanics behind it differ for outfits and weapons: in outfits it governs your movement speed and your stamina regeneration rate, in weapons it determines how well you handle a given firearm (or knife), i.e. aim sway and degradation speed.

Degradation of equipment

As a general rule, weapons degrade through use, which means that the more you fire a weapon, the worse its condition will get, i.e. it will be more prone to be jammed. There are, however, two more ways in which a weapon can get damaged: when an explosion detonates near it and when the weapon is directly hit by an enemy (which makes it fall out of your hands). In both of these cases, there is high probability the weapon’s condition will drop to zero. As regards the suits, they degrade when exposed to external conditions they are supposed to protect you from, be it environmental dangers or hits from bullets. However, radiation will not damage your suit or headgear; the only exception to this rule is a cloth mask which becomes useless after absorbing a certain amount of radiation. It is possible to decrease degradation rate of suits and headgear by upgrading them, wearing artifacts and other armor attachments that boost your protective capabilities against a given type of damage, e.g. Kevlar plates will make your suit degrade slower after it’s hit by firearm attacks.

Weapon variations

The MISERY mod includes a conceptualized version of New Ordnance mod which provides S.T.A.L.K.E.R. with an abundance of various firearm models, but doesn’t stop there. It gives almost every weapon a number of profiles which determine not only the appearance of a weapon but also how it behaves (upgrading, weight, jamming, etc.). So, we’ve got:

  • worn guns that degrade faster but are cheaper to buy and maintain and do not jam so often,
  • modern guns that degrade slower but are more expensive to buy and maintain and are prone to jamming if their condition is low,
  • standard guns that are basically a middle ground between worn and modern profiles, which means that they are cheaper than modern guns but more expensive than worn; the same applies to their other characteristics,
  • customized guns that are meant to suit the needs of their owners, so nothing specific can be said of their attributes,
  • special profiles, guns that are one of a kind.

For example, your old good SIG-550 can be found in the following versions: worn, modern, standard, customized as well as commando and sniper (and the last two types – so called special profiles – constitute basically a new gun altogether). Rule of thumb is that the more modern the shooter is, the more upgrades it is possible to install.

The better your shooter, the more modern and clean it is, the more you can upgrade it. Although worn or old weapons are usually initially cheaper, it’s worth to invest in a better profile, instead of being greedy and buying a cheaper older version. Upgrades can really change your life and they increase your life expectancy too. If it wasn’t for the full auto mode on my shotgun, I wouldn’t be telling you this. I’d probably be some Zombie, drooling all over myself, and shooting anything that has brains I can eat. Damn, I’m very happy that I managed to get out of that shit bucket. This place is not much of an improvement, but I like the company much better.

Game start

You have to ask yourself a question: what equipment should Degtyarev have provided that his mission is strictly confidential and requires him to blend in the crowd? We feel that no one would find it sensible to arm him with the newest technological advances for the simple reason that he would be immediately compromised and his mission automatically impossible to complete. That’s why we thought that in order for him to remain incognito it was necessary to make him appear as much stalker-like as possible: and equipment comprising only common weaponry, average suit and some necessary items meets this need perfectly and just makes more sense from the perspective of the mission.

Black Road

Black Road is a special mode determining your starting location as well as starting equipment. Namely, you begin the game with only a flashlight and an axe or knife. Yeah, you’ve read it right: no armor, no gun, no money. So be prepared for some serious ass-beating.

Cooking meat

As of patch 2.1 we have a fully working cooking feature. In order to cook your own meat you will need three things. First is a stove, i.e. heater in which cooking will take place. We have two stoves: “Multi-fuel stove” and “Hexagon wood stove”. Second, there is fuel, and each stove will require different fuel to work. Multi-fuel stove can use “Jerrycan”, “Gas balloon” and “Kerosene”, whereas hexagon wood stove – “Chacoal” only. Third, you’re gonna need some meat that you harvested from mutants. When that’s settled you use a stove in the same manner you use a repair kit. The rest should be obvious as long as you’ve read our explanation of mechanics behind repair system.

Artifact containers

There are three attachable artifact containers in the mod, and they’re graded based on their radiation filtering potency, with Improvised Application Module (IAM) being the weakest, Artifact Application Container (AAC) offering the best price/effectiveness ratio, and Artifact Application Module (AAM) providing the only safe means of using the most powerful artifacts. The function of artifact containers is to absorb a certain amount of radiation. We’ve made it so that the weakest container will absorb exactly the amount of radiation emitted by weakest artifacts, e.g. IAM will counter Stone Blood, but it won’t be as effective in case of more potent artifacts like Soul, in which case you’ll receive the amount of radiation that remains after deducting radiation-filtering properties of IAM. Moreover, we have one unattachable artifact container: lead-lined metal container (LLMC). It is used solely for transportation of artifacts, and while it stops all radiation from leaking it cannot be attached to the belt, which means that you will not receive any potential benefits from wearing an artifact (this applies to its drawback as well).

In order to enjoy wearing artifacts without receiving lethal doses of radiation, you have to – for obvious reasons – have a container and an artifact in your possession. Right click on a container, choose “Use” and user interface will pop up allowing you to select a container and an artifact from available options (as was the case with repair system). Removing artifacts in a bit more complicated as it requires an additional tool, i.e. artifact handling tool, however the mechanism remains roughly the same. Right click on the tool, choose “Use” and then you’ll see a list of containers with artifacts inside, click on the container you want to empty and you’re good to go.

Quick release system

Quick release system (QRS) will save you when you’re in a pinch and unable to run for prolonged period of time if you’re overburdened. Basically it’s a device that temporarily removes the straps of your backpack along with its contents allowing you to get out of harm’s way. It’s thus especially useful when you’re coming back to the base after a successful mission or when your inventory is full. To use it, you have to set it a hotkey item and click an appropriate button in emergency situations to activate the release that instantly drops your backpack (and everything inside it) to the ground. Your equipped weapon(s), ammunition, armour and armour attachments as well as UPD remain equipped, so you are ready to fight. You can retrieve your backpack afterwards since it’s marked on the map thanks to a GPS device.

Have you heard about that quick release system? That thing saved my ass when I ran into a massive herd of boars and fleshes. I took some very, very nice loot from what looked like a Duty graveyard. There were literally dozens of bodies along with all their equipment, guns, artifacts, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I actually had to leave some artifacts behind, and I never do that, ever. But I was packed to the gills, and felt like a mule right before his back snapped. So it’s time to cash it in, I thought. While I was slowly walking towards the base, I was mumbling to myself: “not now, please not now, just not today, please”, and then the low pitched roar of a boar cut my prayers in half. I started running away from the sound, but this air is not good enough for that. It was like made of 95% nitrogen, and each time I breathed in, I choked. So I had to make a decision, I had to leave the loot. When that backpack slammed to the ground like a fucking meteor, I sprang forward like a gazelle with grace and whatnot, the air had oxygen in it once again. Later I came back to the stash, some artifacts were missing, but there was also some blood and a nice chunk of what looked like human flesh near it. Someone tried to take a swipe at the backpack, but was probably hunted down by those boars. Maybe they were guarding it while I was gone. I have newfound respect for boars. Haven’t eaten boar meat since.

Magazine feeding

Micromanagement of ammunition and magazines like many other actions is processed off-screen in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. MISERY already expands the aspect of equipment management by introducing unique features such as many new tradable items, armour attachments and artifact containers. If we were to implement an intricate system of manual magazines (like the one found in Zone of Alienation mod for SoC), we think this would entail breaking the balance of realism and a good gameflow by forcing the player to focus on time-consuming and tedious actions like magazine management.

Minimap

In short, we removed the minimap for immersion purposes. MISERY is intended for highly experienced S.T.A.L.K.E.R. players who know the maps quite well or for players that find “artificial” (see above) difficulty fun. We want our players to pay close attention to surroundings, and by disabling the minimap the player’s focus shifts from the HUD (which, as you can see, is as minimal as it gets) to the whole screen. Apart from the fact that it’s good for your brain cells, it allows us to create the atmosphere of danger in which the player never feels safe.

Loners hostility

Neutrals and friendlies in MISERY (as well as in real life) basically don’t like it when you point a gun at them. The fact that they attacked you means that you must have been running with your weapon out and accidentally turned in the direction of an NPC. So if you don’t fancy such situations, always have your shooter holstered when near friendlies or neutrals.

Who wants a shooter in their mouth? Not Stalkers, not bandits, not even your best friends. It is disrespectful and just plain annoying. I’d smack anyone who comes up to me with his shooter towards me, even if I’m selling him something. The trigger finger is a gentle thing, not to be trifled with. Sometimes the gun can shoot for seemingly no fucking reason, and what do you think would happen if it was my face in front of that shooter? You so eager to find out? I’m not, and I’ll beat the ass of anyone who points the gun at me. Treat people with respect, and you won’t get hurt. Well, bandits ain’t people, so in their case it’s a roll of the dice. Maybe they’ll shoot you, maybe they won’t, but you shouldn’t feel too safe near ’em.

Weapon repair vs. buying a new firearm

To explain it we have to present our basic idea for the world in the game. Our plan was to create an original economy of the Zone, one which is at the same time inseparable and separate from the economy of neighboring areas where a wide-spread recession is raging. As is implied in the game and in the mod, relations with the outside world are limited, so importing – smuggling – any goods is quite problematic due to the existence of cordons around the Zone. Repair requires – as is usually the case in the real world – spare parts, and spare parts don’t grow on trees nor do they appear out of thin air. They are obtained only by buying spare guns or by barter. Guns, as you all know, comprise a variety of elements, and one gun can potentially be used to repair a lot of guns before it becomes scrap. That way, by buying one gun for spare parts and using it as repair material for a number of smaller repairs, the technician will be able to profit in the long run. And if you want to have a firearm whose condition is below 50% repaired, the technician will be forced to use almost the entirety of spare materials to perform this one specific repair. That’s why technicians are unwilling to repair highly damaged items. Add to this the workload required to restore an item to a top-notch condition, and you’ll get why technicians want you to pay such high amounts of money. In other words, to balance the potential loss they impose so high a cost. From the viewpoint of economy, it’s a win-win situation. For this reason, the player is encouraged to get rid of worn guns and buy a new one, or make use of repair kits and materials to perform the repair themselves.

No one has as much free time as you do, and Cardan is no exception. Don’t assume he’s just waiting for you to get your ass to his workshop and shove your sticky, shitty, wasted shooter on his desk. No, no, hell no. He’s got his own shit to worry about apart from fixing all the weapons of the world. Sometimes it’s just more worthwhile to fix the shit yourself. Clean the gun once in a while, lubricate it. Get a repair kit and use it when you really need it. But don’t forget the eroding and destructive power of the Zone that will devour your soul as much as it will devour machinery. Cars don’t last here, nor do helicopters or sophisticated machines. Keep it simple, keep it clean, keep it going, and you might see another day.

Anomalies

Anomalies have been subject to extensive changes, and artifact hunting is now gear-dependent. This means that your survival in the proximity of anomalies is linked with the quality of suit you’re wearing, artifacts you have on the belt and drugs you’ve taken. You won’t live a second if you’re not prepared. We’re aware that we’ve diverged substantially from vanilla anomaly “minigame” in which you were throwing bolts in order to locate and avoid “mines” or areas of increased anomaly activity. Granted, “aura” (anomaly field) emitted by anomalies was strong enough to kill you after a while if you arrived unprepared, but even taking it into account artifact hunting didn’t pose much of a challenge. And now it’s a different type of thing. Anomalies in MISERY, be it fire, toxic or psy, possess so strong an aura that you’ll be fried in a matter of seconds if you’re not equipped properly. You can’t just “go” artifact hunting, you have to think beforehand, prepare yourself and be efficient about it. And that’s exactly the attitude we cherish.

Blue screen with strange sound

It’s the mutants. The situation is similar to the one described above: mutants possess deadly “auras” or psy-fields, so you should tread with caution when you see or hear any psy mutant (psy-dog, controller, poltergeist). It’s best you prepare yourself, equip psy-resistant equipment, and you can also take some drugs to decrease the damage of mutant auras. And above all be vigilant.

Stamina system

Stamina is one of the things that we’ve really thought over, but we can understand that it might seem a bit disorienting at first. This is because stamina in MISERY 2.x is not only class-oriented, but also its mechanics have been substantially tweaked. As far as classes are concerned, assaulter has the lowest base stamina, so he’ll be able to run only at short distances, but his strength allows him to carry most items, which means that his stamina regeneration will be least influenced by his carry weight out of all classes. Recon class is the direct opposite of assaulter: he has the greatest amount of stamina, but he’ll lose it the faster the more his backpack weighs. Sniper should be considered a perfect middle class as regards stamina, but with a little extra: one of his perks lets him regenerate stamina when he’s jogging (default speed), so in theory he’s capable of crossing the entire map without stopping.

Ok, then, let’s talk mechanics. We’ve divided stamina regeneration into four categories. First is eating: you gotta fill your belly, and basically for running you’ll need calories that you get from food. Second, there’s equipment and the aforementioned carry weight. It’s governed by a simple principle: the more you carry the worse your stamina regeneration is. We feel the first two factors are quite self-explanatory, but the real challenge begins with the third one, which is drugs and other supplements. And the player should by all means use them since they’re the cheapest and most effective way of boosting your running capabilities. You should, however, take note of their side-effects and be prepared to take some punishment when the positive effects of drugs subside. In other words, if you want to maximize the benefits, you have to think forward and choose only items that are necessary in a given situation. Do remember though that due to engine limitations we weren’t able to make drug effects stackable, which means that the substance you consume last will be the only substance that influences your stamina regeneration (or anything else for that matter). That’s why you should use only one substance at a time. Fourthly and lastly, we have artifacts. Unlike drugs, their effect is stackable and you’re able to carry two or even more stamina-boosting artifacts, thanks to which you’ll be able to run at almost infinitely long distances. This property comes at a price as artifacts are highly radioactive, and shouldn’t be overused if you don’t have means of protection like artifact containers.

Stealth mechanics

We really wanted to provide the players with the opportunity to sneak and to stealth-kill enemies, and we think we’ve succeeded to some degree. X-Ray Engine isn’t exactly stealth-friendly, so you can’t expect miracles though. The problems stem from the fact that AI not only had to be made more challenging to make enemies tougher which also means that they can spot you from a very long distance but also every time you load the game the AI “re-enters” the game and thus does not remember the actions it previously performed (for this reason, it is extremely probable that you will be immediately spotted if you load your game after unsuccessful sneak attempt). Given these limitations, we fell we’ve done quite a good job. So, flattery aside, let’s get to the mechanics. Like in all other games, in order to sneak you have to crouch and emit as little noise as possible. For this reason, it is advisable to use silenced weapons, pistols preferably, or knives. Recon should be considered a perfect assassin thanks to his knife-related perk that allows his knife attacks to bypass armor. It would also be a good idea to hide in the shadows and turn off your flashlight as the light makes it easier for enemies to spot you. Unfortunately, stealth doesn’t work against mutants because they rely not only on sight but also on their sense of smell to locate potential prey. Or so it seems.

Mutant hunting

This shouldn’t be generalized because it’s simply not true that hunting mutants or artifacts is never profitable. However, we’ve made it so that these activities are not always profitable, and for this reason you should think whether what you do will pay off in the long run. For example, fleshes are quite durable and in order to kill them you’ll have to use some ammo, and ammo is expensive. On the other hand, after you kill a flesh, you can extract its eyes, cut off its meat and remove its skin with the aim of selling them. And we’d like to player to ask themselves: can I profit from this activity? Does the cost outweigh the benefits? If the answer is no, we encourage the player to refrain from killing everything in sight. Of course, we aren’t forcing anyone to do anything: if you fancy killing mutants just for the heck of it, you’re more than welcome to keep doing so. We just don’t provide a financial incentive for pursuing this specific activity. The same logic applies to artifacts.

No easy money here. Fools come here, think they’d get fat rich with a few artifacts and after a few hunting sessions. That’s bullshit, my friend. You’ll be lucky to survive. Not to say there is no way to make money, but you have to use everything mother nature provided you with: your intelligence, reflexes, spirit, everything you’ve got, synced to perfection, to be able to get a tiny piece of the cake. Not many of us return to the Great Land, they either die, or get stuck in this hellish cycle: get drunk, cure your hangover with mushroom tea, look for some artifacts or hunt some mutants to get the cycle going, and so the cycle begins anew. And you can’t just decide to leave, going back costs money too. Everything’s got a price on it, and either you buy it with cold cash, monster hides, weapons, favors or using your own fucking skin. As you can see, nothing is easy here, and this place is certainly not for everybody. It sure has its own way of showing this.

NPC surrender mechanics

Some enemies will surrender to you and give you stash coordinates or other useful information you can take advantage of. When engaging in a combat with an NPC you have to make sure not to kill him if you want him to surrender to you. The safest way would be to shoot the legs and the torso as shots to the head are more likely to cause death. If NPC’s health pool falls below certain point, there is some probability your adversary will cease all hostile activities towards you (otherwise he’ll keep fighting until the end or run away). He’ll get on his knees or lie on the ground, which enables you to talk to him and demand some sort of compensation for keeping him alive. After this “transaction” is done, there are many outcomes of this situation so you shouldn’t drop your guard even for a moment.

Pitching tents

MISERY 2.2 features a brand-new system which will allow you to pitch your own tent in the field. In order to do so, you’re gonna need certain materials and the process will proceed more or less like in real life. As you might know, tents are not composed of one part, but comprise a variety of elements which are indispensable when setting up a proper portable shelter. Firstly, tent fabric (tarpaulin) covering the whole tent, which serves to protect you from harmful factors (both natural and supernatural). Secondly, tent mattress (foam mattress) functioning as a portable bed, enabling you to enjoy a good night’s sleep. Thirdly, tent frame (aluminum frames, titanium grid or ropes) supporting the tent fabric and preventing it from falling on your head in your sleep. Finally, tools necessary to combine all those parts together: a shovel, a hammer or an axe. As soon as you’ve collected all of them, just double click on either tarpaulin or foam mattress to commence the process, and follow instructions that will pop up on screen. After the tent has been assembled, its location will be automatically marked on your PDA.

During your sleep, you will be exposed to radiation, but certain items (NRC emergency foil and sleeping bag, especially when combined) will serve to reduce its effect on you. The tent will withstand an emission, but it won’t protect you from one, so setting up your portable home in a blowout shelter is a thing to consider. Bear in mind, however, that the tent pitched in easily accessible places might be spotted by not so friendly stalkers or mutants and damaged or destroyed. After that, your tent PDA location will disappear.

Dismantle feature

Please refer to SalvageHelpPrimer.pdf which should be found in the main S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat folder after MISERY has been installed. Or, even better, when in the game click on the “HELP” button when the dismantle window pops up. There, you will find instructions and information that might come in handy if you want to fully take advantage of this new feature. Also, you might consult item descriptions which are as informative as reasonably possible.

Using items (smoking, opening cans, etc)

In MISERY 2.2, we’ve added a new layer of micromanagement which will require you to have certain items in your inventory in order to enjoy certain activities. Firstly, mutants can now be skinned and gutted only with sharp objects, such as knives, hunting kit, etc. Secondly, some items can be sharpened by using sharpening stones, chimera horn or mutated crow beak. You can, for instance, sharpen a shovel, which will make it a more versatile tool, capable of being used in a wider variety of situations. Thirdly, in order to open a food can (e.g. canned tomatoes or canned corn) and eat its contents you need to use sharp objects. Finally, cigarettes, cigars, weed, etc. have to be lit before use – this purpose is fulfilled by a lighter. Remember that all important information can be found in descriptions of items so make sure you read them carefully as it will make your life significantly easier and more manageable.

Useful tweaks, tips & guides

(important note: some of the fixes in the links above may be redundant and outdated, relating to older versions of MISERY)