If you’re playing Project Zomboid and wondering what happens when you die, this is the guide for you. Build 41’s launch in December 2021 brought a lot of new players that are anxious to explore this zombie-infested world. However, the true question is, what do you do when you die? Do you lose everything and start anew?
Does it depend on how you die? Such as whether you were turned into a zombie or taken out in multiplayer? Continue reading our guide to learn how it all works. I also briefly explain the difference between dying on a single-player server versus multiplayer.
What Happens When You Die in Project Zomboid
Regardless of whether you’re playing for the first time or not, dying in Project Zomboid can be worrisome. Especially when you’ve got several wounds and things aren’t looking too good. This is why it’s important to know the death penalty and how bad it can be. The one good thing to know is that you won’t lose your world.
This means regardless of how you die in your world, everything will still exist. So if you’ve put hours of time into setting up a base or making your own farm, it will still be there. Assuming zombies haven’t taken to destroying it before you can get back to it. With that said, there are still plenty of penalties since you’ll no longer have your original character. Even if you pick the same traits and name them the same as before.
Here’s a short bulleted list of negatives from when you die in Project Zomboid:
- You’ll lose all skill levels and experience.
- Any learned recipes will have to be learned again.
- Experience multipliers from reading books will go away. You can reread books to get them back, however.
- If you die of zombification, your character will roam the world as a zombie.
- You’ll drop what you’re holding, but keep anything on your back. Such as a backpack.
Even though you’re practically starting at a blank slate with your new character, you’ll retain your map knowledge. This includes any map symbols or markers you’ve made as well. So this can help you keep track of where your base is and any other important markings. Fortunately, you’ll still have your memory of maps you’ve read as well. So those areas will still be visible too.
What to Do If You’re About to Die in Project Zomboid
Assuming you’re not about to die suddenly due to blood loss or a horde of zombies, you may want to store your items. The last thing you need is your zombified character wandering the world with a duffel bag of items. Or if you’re lucky and died to something not zombie-related, you can gather up your items more easily.
If you get caught off-guard by a swarm of zombies and can’t do anything, you’re a little screwed in this scenario. However, you can try to make a mental note of the area so you can return. Even if you lose your character to zombies, that doesn’t mean you can’t kill them and get your items back.
Also, you can try to drop items on the floor if you’re confident you can find your spot again. This can be tougher if it’s dark and you’re not sure where you are. Or even worse, if you’re exploring through a forest of trees. In that case, it’s going to be much more difficult to find your body or items scattered. Even though you can use proximity looting to help.
Another fun tip to take advantage of if you plan on staying in your Project Zomboid world is to lead zombies away. If you’re on the brink of death and can’t get home safely or heal up, you can lure a swarm away. This can make it tougher to get your items if you haven’t already stashed them. But, you may benefit from leading a large group away if they’re close to your base.
What Happens When You Die in Multiplayer
If you’re worried about how the death penalty changes while playing with others, here’s what you need to know. By default, all the negatives are the same as mentioned above. However, the host can tweak the settings and even use mods to change how it works. One example of a relevant server setting is “DropOffWhiteListAfterDeath” which prevents players from creating a new character on death.
This essentially creates a permanent death/iron-mode server where you only have one life to work with. Regardless, that’s not to say the host couldn’t still manually whitelist you again. So make sure you know what you’re getting into if you plan on joining a random server.
That’s all there is to this Project Zomboid guide on what happens when you die. Be sure to let us know in the comments how long you’ve survived and/or how many zombies you’ve taken out! I always struggle once the water and power are shut off.
Jeff is a journalist with over 10 years of experience writing, streaming, and making content about video games. With an associate degree in journalism, he’s a sucker for RPGs, survival games, roguelikes, and more.