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S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Survival Guide: #03 Your First 24 Hours - Part Three

Updated: May 25, 2022

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Survival Guide Part Three

Welcome to part three of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Survival Guide. This rookie’s guide will help you to survive your first 24 hours in the Zone of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly.

In Part One we covered some of the fundamentals and equipment. In Part Two we covered the Training Day missions. If you followed those then you should now have survived your first set of missions, made some money, and received some of your essential items.

Now we will cover the ‘who’s who’ of Cordon NPCs, ‘tactical movement’ and the main places of interest in the map. Let’s begin.

NB - Part three of this guide makes the same assumptions as parts one and two, by assuming you are now in the Rookie Village having just completed the third and final Training Day mission.

Now would be a good time to take stock of your situation, check your supplies, retrieve anything you have stashed away and visit Sidorovich. Consider selling him both the ‘junk’ artifact you took from Fanatic’s stash, and the ‘proper’ artifact you retrieved from the anomaly field - you will not be able to use it with your current suit anyway, and right now, you need the cash!

Speaking of your suit, if it is damaged now would be a good time to patch it up. The stuff looted from the village might be useful for this – especially if you were lucky enough to find glue sticks and the like. The video below shows how repairs work.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Repair/Crafting Guide

Traders and Quest Givers

There are several notable NPCs in the Cordon (sometimes spelt Kordon), and in the Garbage – the map due north. Some are traders, some are quest givers, some are technicians, and some are combinations of all three. Some are generalists, whilst some are specialists. This ‘rouge’s gallery’ includes;

Sidorovich (‘Sid’) – Trader and Quest Giver – Rookie Village Bunker – Cordon

As a trader, Sid will buy pretty much anything and will sell a bit of everything, making him a useful early game ‘one-stop-shop’. Note he likes to ‘buy low, sell high’ (i.e. - rip you off) so other more specialist traders are more useful later in the game.

As a quest giver, he has several repeatable tasks, and you will need to speak to him to begin the main storyline missions arc. For a hefty fee, he can also broker temporary truces with factions, which should enable you to pass through enemy territory and speak with formally hostile NPCs. This might be useful later in the game.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Sidorovich
Sidorovich. A useful merchant, but a rip-off merchant...

Fanatic – Quest Giver – Rookie Village – Cordon

Fanatic will occasionally have a ‘hunt the mutant(s)’ mission available which can be easy money. Just be aware that some of the mutants he will need eliminating will be more dangerous and higher tier than the boars you hunted previously. He also has a find ‘the artifact’ mission which is worth accepting, even if you are unlikely to find said artifact for some time, as it does not appear to be time-limited.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Fanatic
Mentor, quest giver and all-around good egg. Knows how to strike a pose too...

Wolf – Quest Giver – Outside Rookie Village Bunker – Cordon

Wolf will usually have several missions available which appear to repeat every 24 hours. These include ‘Hunt the Mutant(s)’, ‘Rescue the Courier’ and ‘Tourist Safari.’ These missions can often be chained together, and are an excellent way of acquiring temporary companions for free (more on that in part four).

S.T.A.L.KE.R. Anomaly Wolf
Wolf has fresh missions daily

Loris – Trader – Northern Farm – Cordon

Loris appears to specialise in weapons and suits, and he may have a greater variety of these to sell than Sid. Note that he does not sell any food or drink, therefore if you are planning on using the Northern Farm as a base, be sure to stock at least one of its three stashes with food and water for future consumption. Note that Loris keeps to 'office hours' and will not be available after about 20:00.

Xenotech – Technician and Quest Giver – Northern Farm – Cordon

Like all technicians, he will repair your weapons, suits, and helmets for you - for a price. He can also upgrade weapons, suits, and helmets for you - but only if he has the tools to do so, which he will not at the start.

As with other technicians, he has three missions for you, namely finding the Basic, Advanced, and Expert tools he needs to perform the upgrades. If you find tools on your travels do NOT sell them to a trader, instead, take on the mission from a technician and then give them the tools. Not only will you get paid for this, but you will also then be able to upgrade your gear with them - again, for a price. (Pretty much everything in Anomaly ‘is for a price’.)

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Xenotech
Xenotech is likely the first technician you will meet. You will meet many others on your travels.

Note that the missions are always given in the find the Basic, Advanced, and Expert tools order. However, this may not match the order you find the tools themselves - you may find the Expert tools before the Advanced, or the Advanced tools before the Basic etc. If so, stash the higher tier tools in the convenient stash until you have found the tier below them. You may then be able to complete multiple tool missions at the same time.

He also has a vice which you can use for about 1000 Ru to upgrade and repair your gear yourself. This bypasses the need for the technician's toolkits and can be a significantly less expensive way of upgrading and maintaining your gear - if you have found the requisite components, upgrade, and repair kits. If you have enabled the ‘delayed repairs from technicians’ gameplay option then DIY upgrades are faster too, as there is no delay for these.

Lastly, he will buy and sell components - for example, those from disassembled weapons and suits. This is handy, as looted suits are often too heavy to carry in their entirety, but the components you get from disassembling them are not. You probably won’t get paid as much for the constituent parts as you would for the whole suit, but it is better than nothing. “Every little helps!” 😉 NB – all the above should apply to other technicians too.

Butcher – Trader and Quest Giver – Train Hanger – The Garbage

Butcher pays significantly more for mutant body parts, meat, skins etc. than other traders. Once you have amassed a decent amount of these, it is worth visiting him and selling them to him for some easy money. NB - if using Arszi's Rotten Meat addon you will not be able to hoard raw meat for more than two days before it goes bad and becomes unsellable. Cooking the meat extends this to five days.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Garage map
Butcher lives in the building at the centre of the map. Note the safer highlighted route to and from the Cordon

Butcher sells food, meat, shotguns, shotgun ammo and crucially - the hunting knife!

He also has repeatable ‘Hunt the Mutant(s)’ missions. Just be aware the mutants he wants hunting tend to be more dangerous and higher tier than the Blind Dogs, Razorhead Boars, Fleshes, Tushkanos etc. you may have encountered thus far.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Butcher
Selling mutant parts to Butcher is an excellent way of earning decent cash early on

Exploration Tips

The Zone is an asymmetric multi-threat environment rich in emergent gameplay, so take nothing for granted. Just because an area was safe earlier doesn’t mean it will be now. This goes double if using the dynamic anomalies option and/or the Dynamic Mutants, Dynamic Nocturnal Mutants, and Living Zone addons, as these make the Zone even more unpredictable.

1. Route Selection and Tactical Movement

It is always wise to choose your route carefully. Find a spot that gives you a good view and take note of the environment and everything in it.

  • Can you see anomalies?

  • Can you see mutants or hostile NPCs?

  • Can you see friendly/neutral NPCs?

  • Can you see buildings that can be used as blowout shelters?

  • Can you see level geometry that can be used as cover from weapons fire, or can be jumped upon to avoid mutants?

  • Can you see routes that would keep you hidden from observation i.e., ‘behind’ hills, buildings, trees etc?

This is especially important if you are unfamiliar with the territory, so you should do this every time you enter a new map. Just be sure your ‘observation point’ is safe and offers cover and concealment, since if you can see them, they might see you too.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Binoculars
Find a good vantage point and see what you can see...

This is made easier if you have a weapon with a magnified scope or a set of binoculars. If you do not have binoculars already, buy some and equip them ASAP. This is especially useful if playing on a relatively small monitor or laptop screen.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Binocular view
Binoculars are invaluable for identifying things at a distance

Once you have surveyed the route ahead and chosen your route, move off slowly. I recommend crouch walking, as it makes you harder to spot, harder to hear, harder to hit and by moving slowly, it will give you more time to react to threats. ‘Slow and steady survives the Zone’ as babushka used to say. Sprinting is generally not recommended as you can easily run headlong into trouble. If something looks suspicious – throw a bolt at it and see what happens – it might be an anomaly.

2. Maintain Situational Awareness

When moving, remember to keep checking your ‘3, 6 and 9 O’clocks’ i.e., what’s to your right, rear, and left, as threats may attempt to flank you from the sides or sneak up on you from behind. You will also need to pay attention to the near, middle and far distances for the following reasons;

  • Near - to avoid stepping onto/into something you shouldn't such as a mine, anomaly or low slung mutant that has crept up on you.

  • Middle - to spot danger approaching you and NPCs that may attempt to engage you with mid-range weapons, such as assault rifles.

  • Far and on the Horizon - to spot danger on the horizon, ideally before it spots you!

When moving around buildings use the lean function to peek around a corner before exposing your body. It may help you to spot a threat before the threat spots you, and will provide cover if they spot you first.

3. Listen to your Surroundings

Also, listen carefully, as you may well hear threats before you see them. To maximise the effectiveness of this, stop moving, so you do not hear your footsteps, and possibly remove your gasmask, so you do not hear your breath either. I also recommend keeping the music volume low, or better yet, turned off, so you can hear uninterrupted.

If using a combination of the highly recommended JSRS Sound Mod and Soundscape Overhaul addons then every voice, gunshot, explosion, scream and mutant growl you hear has an in-game source, and therefore can provide advanced warning of what is going on around you.

JSRS Sound Mod

Soundscape Overhaul

Both videos by Solarint, the addons' creator

At this early stage of your Zone adventuring, it is probably best to keep well away from whatever is making such sounds since you need to avoid trouble – for now.

4. Look Out for Loot

On a more positive note, search every stash you come across. Some are obvious – backpacks, boxes etc., but some are in less obvious locations, such as pipes, graves, and natural objects such as hollow tree stumps and fallen logs. You never know what you might find in them. If you are very lucky this may include toolkits!

Dead NPCs may have loot on them too, as do some previously human mutants, such as Zombies, Zombified Stalkers, Izloms, Burers, and Controllers.

5. Maintaining Stamina

‘Traveling light is travelling right’. Avoid becoming encumbered (yellow warning icon) as this will reduce your stamina, and thus your mobility. This can prove fatal if you need to beat a hasty retreat but are unable to do so due to carrying too much ‘stuff’. If you become over-encumbered (red warning icon) you will not be able to move at all.

If you need to get to somewhere in a hurry – such as a blowout shelter – but it is too far to sprint to without becoming exhausted, I have found a 'sprint-jog-sprint' loop to be the most effective way to cover a lot of ground. This involves sprinting until your stamina bar starts dropping, then jogging (your usual movement speed) until it has re-filled, then sprinting again. Rinse and repeat.

I have escaped from blowouts using this method, when attempting to sprint all the way resulted in exhaustion, thus being barely able to walk - let alone jog - and thus dying from the blowout due to not making it to the shelter in time. Dumping your loot via the backpack quick release system will help with this.

Try to keep a can of energy drink, a glucose shot, an epinephrine shot etc., on you at all times. These can quickly restore your stamina should you become exhausted and will thus allow you to sprint for longer.

Purchasing and equipping a larger backpack is an easy way to increase your ‘carrying capacity’/weight limit. This can make looting and exploration far easier.

Danger Areas and Places of Interest (From South to North)

Now we have covered the basics of movement and exploration, let's look at the map you will be exploring, and its main features. Note that maps in Anomaly tend to be fairly small, but they pack a lot of distinct locations, spawn-points, entrances and exits etc. into them. As such, a lot can happen in even the shortest of trips, so always keep your guard up, eyes peeled and ears open.

The image below shows the main points of interest in the cordon. Below that you will find descriptions of what each of these is. Note that most of the major locations with buildings will have campfire pits, which will be important if using the 'campfire saves' gameplay option.

1: Southern Checkpoint

2: Entrance to the South-eastern corner of the ‘Great Swamp’ map

3: Tent Encampment and the 'Rock Trio'

4: Rookie Village and Sid’s Bunker

5: Radiation field and anomalies on the road in between the barriers

6: Tunnel under the Road

7: Trash Compactor Anomaly field

8: Cordon Vehicle Station AKA the ‘Autopark’

9: Entrance to the Darkscape map

10: Cordon Mill

11: Tunnel with Electro Anomalies

12: Checkpoint under the bridge

13: Entrance to the north-eastern corner of ‘The Great Swamp’ map

14: Rock Crusher Anomaly, Train, and Tunnel

15: Cordon Northern Farm

16: ‘Side entrance’ to the Garbage

17: Cordon Abandoned Farmstead

18: Entrance to The Meadow map

19: Radiation field near the ‘High Hopes’ anomaly field

20: ‘Rookie Eater’ Anomaly field

21: Radiation field on the road approaching the Northern Checkpoint

22: Northern Checkpoint

1: Southern Checkpoint

Military base guarding the entrance to the Zone. Full of trigger-happy hostile grunts - avoid at all costs. Note the minefields from Vanilla Shadow of Chernobyl appear to have been removed.

S.T.A.LK.E.R. Anomaly Cordon Checkpoint Minefields
I suspect the yellow signs loosely translate to 'go away'

2: Entrance to the South-Eastern corner of the ‘Great Swamp’ map

This tends to be the safer of the two routes as it leads to a Great Swamp village usually occupied by friendly/neutral Clear Sky NPCs.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly route to Great Swamps
Thankfully the machine gun from Vanilla Clear Sky has been removed

3: Tent Encampment and the 'Rock Trio'

A minor location, but you may find something valuable in the stash near the tent 😊. If you are lucky, this will be a toolkit.

To the North East of the Tent Encampment you will find three clusters of rocks, which I call the 'Rock Trio'. Hidden amongst the middle cluster is another stash. If you are very lucky again, this may contain a toolkit too.

4: Rookie Village and Sid’s Bunker

Safe havens, quest givers, traders, blowout shelters and sleeping areas.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Rookie Village
Your first home away from home

5: Radiation field and anomalies on the road in between the barriers

To avoid these hazards, walk on the grass just outside the barriers. This should provide some protection from mutants too as most are unable to leap over the barriers.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Cordon
Just don't fall into the mouth of the tunnel...

6: Tunnel under the Road

This can be useful for crossing the road whilst avoiding the radiation on the road above. Note that it does NOT serve as a blowout shelter.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Cordon
There is loot in the 'jeep'. Be careful of the glowing green chemical anomaly

7: Trash Compactor Anomaly field

Location of the ‘Hunt the Artifact’ Training Day mission. It has at least two stashes but is radioactive.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Trash Compactor
Refer to The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Survival Guide Part Two to see the easiest way in and out of the field

8: Cordon Vehicle Station AKA the ‘Autopark’

The Autopark is usually occupied by bandits, and it is often where they are holding the hostage in the ‘rescue the courier’ missions. Some of the roofs are accessible via ladders or climbing collapsed timber beams, making them ideal places to hide from NPCs and mutants. The roofs offer a great vantage point to spot and snipe enemies. Be wary of the pack of boars to the east, they may enter the auto park to eat the bodies after a battle.

Note there is a small tent, firepit and stash to the northwest – this is often occupied by a bandit who may attack you if he spots you on the main road.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Autopark
With a bit of Parkour all the roofs are accessible :-)

9: Entrance to the Darkscape map

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Darkscape tunnel
The Darkscape is dangerous and best avoided until you are better equipped for it

10: Cordon Mill

The buildings can serve as blowout shelters. Hostile NPCs are often found near the firepit. The roof and ‘attic’ of the mill overlook the 'checkpoint under the bridge', and so can serve as a good observation post and sniper position.

S..T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Cordon Mill
There may be several hard to spot anomalies around these buildings

11: Tunnel with Electro Anomalies

This name is out of date. In Shadow of Chernobyl, it had a mobile electro anomaly. In Anomaly it has been replaced with multiple static Burnt Fuzz anomalies hanging from the ceiling - crouch walk to avoid them.

Note that mutants and NPCs – both friendly and hostile – may travel through this tunnel, so the chance of encounters is high. The mouths of the tunnel are good places to set up ambushes as the tunnel itself is a natural chokepoint. Just be aware that hostile NPCs may do likewise.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Tunnel with Electro Anomalies
There are stashes at both ends of the tunnel

12: Checkpoint Under the Bridge

Often manned by bandits, the military or other hostile NPCs. Note that some may be just south of the bridge, some under it, and some just north of it. There may be others 'camping' up on the train bridge as well who will attempt to snipe you. This may include shooting you in the back after you have passed through, especially if you are heading south, as they tend to be placed on the southern edge of the bridge facing south.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly
This is a heavily trafficked route, so approach with caution

Note the Spatial anomaly above the railway bridge - this will teleport you to a seemingly random location in the Cordon. NB - this only applies if using the Spatial Anomalies addon. Without this addon, you will simply fall through it and die!

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Spatial Anomaly
The spherical spatial anomaly's animations make it easier to see in-game

13: Entrance to the North-Eastern corner of ‘The Great Swamp’ map

This tends to be the more dangerous route as it leads to a village in the swamps that is often populated by hostile Bandits or Renegades.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly
Some entrances / exits are less distinct than others

14: Rock Crusher Anomaly, Train, and Tunnel

The Rock Crusher anomaly field is radioactive, so take extra precautions. You may find loot on the roof of the train, although it may have fallen off, in which case look on the ground around it. The tunnel has caved in, so it doesn’t lead anywhere, but it does have loot and a stash.

15: Cordon Northern Farm

Semi-safe haven, although it does get raided by bandits and mutants. The southern building has beds and a stash. There is a second stash near the camp fire in the yard between the buildings. In the northern building, you can find the trader Loris, the technician Xenotech, and a third stash. The roofs of the buildings are accessible via steps. These make for ideal observation posts and sniper positions.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Northern Farm
Your second home away from home. Just remember to bring food and drink

16: ‘Side entrance’ to the Garbage

This route circumvents the Northern Checkpoint and is thus a far safer way of entering and exiting the Garbage map.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Cordon Garbage
Refer to the section about Butcher to see where this leads to

17: Cordon Abandoned Farmstead

The northernmost building (i.e., the one with the intact roof) can serve as a blowout shelter and has an attic accessible via an internal ladder, which makes it a good place to hide from hostile NPCs and mutants. The roof is accessible from the attic, which makes for a great lookout and sniper position. Be aware the buildings are often occupied by either mutants or bandits.

18: Entrance to The Meadow map

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Meadow
Another difficult to spot entrance

19: Radiation field near the ‘High Hopes’ anomaly field

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. High Hopes Anomaly Field
It's on top of the hill. Some anomaly fields are almost impossible to spot, so be careful

20: ‘Rookie Eater’ anomaly field

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Rookie Eater Anomaly Field
Another near impossible to spot anomaly field

21: Radiation field on the road approaching the Northern Checkpoint

I recommend sprinting through this to traverse it quickly, as this will minimise your exposure. Its approximate location is indicated by the blue player icon in the image below.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Radiation field
Radiation fields are invisible. You will only know one is present when you are already in it.

22: Northern Checkpoint

This leads to the Garbage map and can be very dangerous if occupied by hostile NPCs. Note there may be anomalies at the foot of the hill, near the rear of the lorry, and in the yard of the compound itself.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Northern Checkpoint
Note the yellow 'go away' sign

The ridgeline to the west - see the blue player icon in the image below - provides a superb observation point overlooking the compound. From here you may be able to see who is in the compound and act accordingly.

This makes for an excellent sniping position too if you wish to take out occupying Bandits. I wouldn’t recommend doing this if it is occupied by the military, however, since they will call in the Hind helicopter gunship for support.

Note that entering the checkpoint from the north (i.e., coming back from the garbage) can be even more dangerous, as you may spawn amongst a gang of hostiles. Using the side tunnel entrance to and from the Garbage is far safer.

Lastly, in a pinch, the building can serve as a blowout shelter. Just be aware that you might have to fight to the death for it. On the plus side, there is a stash inside, so at least you will have somewhere to store whatever loot you scavenge from any hostile residents.

Conclusion of Part Three

Well done for making it this far. Now you know the ‘who’s who’ and ‘where’s where’ of the Cordon map, and the ‘know-how’ to traverse it, we can start taking on missions, hunting mutants, rescuing NPCs, and fighting bandits. These are all in a day’s work for a Stalker, and these will be the topics of Part Four. 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, and contacted via email at

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