Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Welcome back everyone to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Survival Guide. In part one, we covered the basics you need to know before entering the Zone. Now we will explore what you will face the moment you start the game proper.
NB - as before, this guide assumes the player is playing story mode, on the 'Hard' gameplay difficulty and 'Survivalist' progression difficulty settings, that your starting faction and location are 'Loner' and 'Rookie Village', that the player is playing a 'vanilla run' (i.e. without lots of optional addons) and is playing version 1.5.1.
Welcome to Your First Day in the Zone!
You should spawn in a dilapidated house in the Rookie Village, a safe haven in the south-eastern region of the ‘Cordon’ map, which is the southernmost map in the game. A ‘safe haven’ is an area that is generally free of mutants and enemy NPCs. These are the only places where it is safe enough to let your guard down or go to sleep. Be aware however that nowhere in the Zone is 100 % safe.
The first thing you will need to do is open your inventory and equip the following; Jacket, half-face gas mask, flashlight, Geiger counter and backpack (or their equivalents if using addons) by double-clicking on each in turn, because they won’t work if they are sitting in your inventory. Take a moment to familiarise yourself with your controls and your equipment.
The PDF guide attached below will show you the various sections of your inventory screen and what they do. NB – I have been unable to track down the PDF’s original creator, or the website it can be downloaded from. If you know who made it and where it can be obtained, please let me know so I can provide proper attribution – credit where credit is due after all.
Once you feel ready to move on it is time to start ransacking the joint. Smash every crate, tin box or anything else that looks breakable to see if there is loot inside. Open cabinet draws and doors and take whatever you find, and generally pick up everything that isn’t nailed down - you will see a tooltip pop up when something is ‘pickupable’. Note that every item you can pick up has a use, so do not worry about accumulating a hoard of useless junk.
Once you have explored every nook and cranny of the house head outside and make for the building’s rear. Hug the wall as you do so to avoid the hard to spot anomaly! You will find an attic that is accessible via a ladder. Inside the attic you will find a safe, which you may have to go prone to reach. This serves as a stash.
If something is a stash you will see a tooltip appear saying ‘open box’ or similar when close to it. You can both take stuff out of stashes and place stuff in them. This is handy for stashing away items that you don’t need right now, but you may need later.
NB - NPCs do not steal your stuff from stashes in Anomaly, but they may in other mods.
Now explore every nook and cranny of all the other buildings in the Rookie Village. Take time to explore every room, basement, and attic you can reach, as some loot is well hidden. Note there is a stash near the firepit that might have useful loot inside.
Once you have explored the village top-to-bottom visit the trader Sidorovich to see what wares he has available to purchase. He can be found in the bunker just past the western end of the village. If you do not have the hunting knife but he does then buy it now. Extra ammo for your PM would also be a wise investment.
NB - If using one of Anomaly's 'Magazine’ addons be sure to also purchase additional mags for your PM (or whatever other firearms you might be carrying). You will need to fill each magazine by opening your inventory and dragging the compatible ammo to it. This will fill the magazine to its maximum capacity so long as you have sufficient ammo to do so. Once filled, right-click the magazine and select ‘Add to loadout’, as only mags added to the loadout will be used when tapping the reload key. Rinse and repeat for every mag you have.
Do not buy any other essential items or wealth creators just yet as you will soon be able to obtain some of them for free during the Training Day missions. If you still have funds then feel free to purchase an extra medkit, bandage, stimpack, some anti-radiation pills etc. as these are always useful.
Now is the time to take on your first set of missions. I highly recommend doing the Training Day missions before doing anything else, as you will learn a lot of vital information, gain hands-on experience with some of the game's core gameplay mechanics, and you will get your hands on some of the essential equipment discussed previously for free, and some useful loot to sell to boot. This will get your adventuring off to a great start.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Training Day 01 - Talk to Fanatic
Talk to everyone and listen to them carefully - their wisdom might keep you alive
Next, speak to Fanatic, the Stalker standing between the fire pit and the ladder. He is an experienced Stalker who trains rookie Stalkers. Speak to him - by tapping ‘use’ when standing close to him - and agree to the training, which will start the 'Training Day' missions.
Fanatic will now become a companion for the duration of the Training Day missions. Take a moment in the relative safety of the village to familiarise yourself with the companion orders wheel, the associated hotkeys, and how companions respond to these instructions. You will be bossing companions about quite often later in the game, so it is important to understand how it works.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Training Day 02 - Companion Controls
Using hotkeys is often quicker than using the companion wheel. I bind the 'stay here/come to me' key to something easily accessible in the heat of battle.
On occasions, the AI may glitch and your companions may become stuck. If they are out of view, then retrace your steps back to them - once you are within visual range your companions may become unstuck and start operating normally again.
Note that companions generally cannot climb up or down ladders, and so they will be unable to follow you to areas accessible only by ladder. This may be an engine limitation since the retail S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games didn’t feature controllable companions.
A workaround is to use the Quick Companion Teleport addon and teleport them to your location once you have climbed up or down the ladder. This is also useful for freeing stuck companions. The following addons are also highly recommended as they fix several companion system glitches.
He is With Me – stops friendly/neutral guards from shooting your companions.
Modular Miscellaneous Tweaks - specifically the ‘Companions Don’t Blow Disguises’ option.
TB's Companions Deactivate Headlamps When In Stealth - does exactly what it says it does.
Before leaving the safety of the village double-check you have everything you need, that magazines have been filled, weapons loaded, technological items have enough battery charge etc. I highly recommend adding a bandage and a medkit to your quick use slots and stashing away any items not immediately useful to the coming mission. Get into this habit now and repeat this process every time you are about to leave a safe haven.
Training Day – Mission One – Boar Hunt
In theory, this mission is simple - accompany Fanatic across the road to fight a pack of wild boars. The difficulty lies in your lack of a suitable weapon for the task - pistols are not terribly effective against large mutants, and you do not yet have a shotgun.
Open your PDA and you will see a white crosshair like icon. This is the approximate location of the boars. Approach the area slowly and keep a sharp eye out for the boars, other mutants, hostile NPCs, anomalies and the like. Also keep a sharp eye out for friendly and neutral NPCs, as their reactions can give you an early warning of danger.
Keep Fanatic close and approach the boars from an elevated position that gives you a clear view of them and the environment. Fanatic is more durable than you and better armed. He also has infinite ammo - as do all NPCs. Therefore, let him do most of the fighting while you shoot the boars attacking him in their more vulnerable flanks, as in the video below.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Training Day 03 - Boar Hunt
I suspect the 'P' in 'PM' stands for 'pea-shooter'. Get a shotgun ASAP!
If a boar attacks you sprint back to the village, as the sentries may well kill the boar for you. If Fanatic gets hurt instruct him to come to you and head for the village for the same reason. Companions have regenerating health so wait for him to heal then head back and engage the remaining boars. Rinse and repeat until all the boars are dead.
NB - if you are using the ‘Arszi’s mutant bleeding’ addon you may be able to complete the mission by wounding the boars then letting blood loss finish the job. This may save ammo, and it may allow you to retreat to safety. I say ‘may’ as mutants will not bleed indefinitely, and if the bleeding stops before they have run out of HP you will need to attack them again.
Now speak to Fanatic and he will instruct you to test your knife on the boar carcasses. If you have the hunting knife you will be able to ‘field dress’ the dead boars and retrieve pelts, meat and organs. If you do not have the hunting knife you will find that you are unable to field dress them. This is due to your default knife being too small to field dress such large and hefty mutants. (Now you see why having the hunting knife was recommended).
NB - it's entirely possible another NPC may end up killing the boars for you if they encounter them. It is also possible the boars may get themselves killed by blundering into an anomaly, or by fighting other mutants. All of these are fine - you still get the credit for it. This counts for other hunting missions, assassination quests etc. too, which is a bonus when it happens. Simply return to the quest giver to collect your reward.
NB - you may notice a barely visible anomaly in the video above. It is very hard to see, but its characteristic low frequency hum is more easily noticeable by ear, so listen out for it and others like it. You may also note that Fanatic appears to walk through it unharmed. As of update 1.5.1 NPCs do not trigger anomalies. This is deliberate, because in earlier builds NPCs were dying in them all the time, dynamic anomalies especially so.
Training Day - Mission Two - Artifact Hunt
Speak to Fanatic again and he will instruct you to meet him at the ‘Trash Compactor’ anomaly field. Open your PDA and locate the target marker north of the village. Head on over to it, instructing Fanatic to follow you. Once you have both reached the target marker the next training day mission - Artifact Hunt - will begin. Speak to Fanatic and he will tell you about artefacts, anomalies, and how to treat radiation. He will also give you a detector, an LLMC, a pack of bolts and some vodka.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Training Day 04: Learn about 'Anomaly Diving'
Always be on your guard, and remember, "there is opportunity in adversity"
Head over to the location shown in the image below and ensure your detector is equipped and in the hand. Note that the whole anomaly field is radioactive so you will need to get in and out quickly, whilst still moving slowly and cautiously enough to avoid being killed by the anomalies.
Enter the field slowly (I recommend crouch walking) via the gap to the left of the large gas tank. Throw bolts ahead of you to reveal anomalies. If an anomaly is located the bolt will be lost, but you’ll also know where to avoid stepping - an excellent trade for something so inexpensive. If the bolt does not hit an anomaly, then it is safe to move to that spot, and you might be able to pick up the bolt and reuse it - if you can find it.
NB - Bolts can be very hard to spot on the ground, especially amongst grass, reeds and the like. To make them easier to spot, hold down the use key, which will very helpfully highlight them for you. This also works for most other 'pickupable' world objects too.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Training Day 05 - Anomaly Diving for Artifacts
Ignore the anomalous bred, it's a highly radioactive troll item. Get the Jellyfish instead
The safest route through this field is to stay close to the large tank by keeping it to your immediate right as you skirt around it. As you get closer to the artefact the detector will begin to beep more and more rapidly. When you are next to it the artefact will become visible. Pick it up and then immediately open your inventory and place it in the LLMC to minimise the radioactivity you receive from it. Now start making your way out by reversing the route you entered.
NB - There are at least two stashes in the anomaly field, one is in the pipe under the fallen tree, and one is next to a dead body lying close to where you came in. Feel free to loot these too if you still have enough bolts left to find a safe route to them.
NB - anomalies tend not to spawn within bushes, fallen trees etc. so these tend to be the somewhat safer routes to use if you are out of bolts.
Once outside the anomaly field and clear of the radiation, drink the vodka Fanatic gave you to purge the radiation from your body. Now speak to Fanatic again for the third and final Training Day mission. He will tell you to head back to the rookie village. Do so, specifically the spot near the fire pit you first found him.
Training Day - Mission Three - Stash Hunt
Once you are both back by the fire pit speak to him again. He will tell you about stashes in general, and will inform you he has hidden a stash somewhere in the village. He then challenges you to find it and retrieve its contents.
Finding it is easy - it is a backpack on the upper floor of the north-westernmost house of the village. Head up the ladder and you will see it. Take whatever it contains and bring it back to Fanatic to complete the Training Day missions. If you are lucky, he may reward you with another essential item, such as the backpack quick release system. Fanatic will stop being a companion at this point, so you will be on your own again. However Fanatic will remain at the village as a useful quest giver.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Training Day 06 - 'The Great Stash Hunt'
In earlier builds of anomaly the stash was up a tree and very hard to reach. There is no stash up there anymore - I checked.
You may have noticed that the videos are pretty dark, especially compared to the screenshots in Part One. This is semi-deliberate, as depending on the weather, Anomaly can get quite dark and gloomy even during the day, so you should become comfortable operating in the gloom.
However, if you wish to brighten up the visuals - or make them darker - you can alter them on-the-fly via console commands. To access the console command menu, tap the tilde key (the key above Tab on most keyboards) and try altering the following settings by typing the following and changing the number values in the brackets (do not type the brackets themselves.)
r2_sun_lumscale [1.000, 3.000] - Sets sun brightness level.
r2_sun_lumscale_amb [0.000, 3.000] - Sets ambient light level.
r2_sun_lumscale_hemi [0.000, 3.000] - Sets hemisphere light level.
r2_tonemap_lowlum [0.000, 1.000] - Controls effect of tone mapping on darker areas.
r2_tonemap_middlegray [0.000, 2.000] - Controls overall look of HDR effect
The command line when typed out should look something like this:
Addons such as MICHIKO'S WEATHER REVAMP (3.0) (used for Part One's screenshots) or ReShade can also alter the appearance of the game.
Conclusion of Part Two
Phew! You made it this far, but this has probably only covered your first morning in the Zone, and there is still much to learn, but that will be covered in Part Three. In Part Three, we will cover the rouge's gallery of NPCs you will encounter in the Cordon, 'tactical movement', exploration tips, and the many hazards and places of interest the map has to offer. See you all there.
Iain is a 40+ author and gamer from England, who started his gaming journey on the Atari 2600 36 years ago. His specialities include obscure cult classics, retro games, mods and fan remakes. He hates all sports games and is allergic to online multiplayer. Since he is British, his body is about 60% tea. He can be reached via Twitter at https://twitter.com/IainBaker17, and contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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