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Skills are abilities a character has learned, with their proficiency at that skill quantified by its skill level. The skill level can be increased by allocating skill points, which are earned by gaining experience points (XP).

Skills are grouped into categories. There are currently six main skill categories: agility, blade, blunt, crafting, firearm, and survivalist. Each of these contains multiple skills. There is also a passive category, containing the fitness and strength skills.


The player's current skill levels are found by opening the 'player status' window (click the heart symbol at the top-left of the screen) and selecting the 'skills' tab, or by pressing C.

Selecting the white arrow at the top right of the window toggles between viewing the player's passive and main skill categories:

SkillsWindow regularPassiveToggle.png

Advancement Mechanics

Experience Points and Skill Points

As the player performs tasks they gain experience points (XP) that count towards skill points. Skill points are earned when the player's XP reaches predefined levels, with successive levels requiring greater increases in XP. The player's current available number of skill points and the XP required to gain another are shown at the top of the skills tab:

SkillsWindow skillPoints.png

Skill Point Allocation

Skill points alone provide no direct benefit to the character; to become useful, they must be assigned to a skill. However, in order to increase the level of a skill, it must first be trained sufficiently to allow a skill point to be allocated to it. In the player's 'agility' category shown below, only the 'nimble' skill has been trained to the point that it can be leveled up.

SkillsWindow skillTraining.png

Skills are trained by performing actions associated with that skill: for example barricading a window will train the carpentry skill, while preparing a meal trains the cooking skill. Training a skill generates XP that count towards that skill, while also being counted towards skill points. The XP currently gained by training a particular skill is shown by hovering the mouse over it in the skills tab, along with XP required to reach the next level. As with progress towards skill points, the XP that must be gained to train a skill to the next level increases as it is leveled up.

Allocating skill points permanently increases skill level. Higher level skills can allow the player to perform tasks more effectively, or may unlock new abilities. For example the 'maintenance' skill in the 'blade' category, which is trained to level 1 below, will reduce the chance that the player damages a bladed weapon in combat.

SkillsWindow skillTrained.png

The XP required to level up skills in build 40.43 is:

Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Regular skill 75 150 300 750 1500 3000 4500 6000 7500 9000
Passive skill 1500 3000 6000 9000 18000 30000 60000 90000 120000 150000

The figures shown here are not cumulative. For example improving 'regular skill' such as carpentry from level 3 to 4 would require 750XP.

Skill Literature

Skill books can be used to increase the rate at which the player trains a given skill. These can be found throughout the world on bookshelves or in other containers. Books are only available for skills in the "crafting" and "survival" categories. Additionally, books only apply to specific levels of skill advancement. For example "Carpentry for Beginners" will only provide a benefit to a player with level 0-1 carpentry. Books can only be read if they apply to the player's current skill level.

Reading a book multiplies the rate at which the player trains the associated skill. The multiplier increases in proportion to the player's progress through the book and reaches a maximum when the book is fully read. The presence of a multiplier on a given skill is indicated by animated arrows in the skill tab. Hovering the cursor over a skill level reveals the current multiplier. Below, the player has a multiplier of 3x on the cooking skill. Since training skills generates XP, reading books is an effective way to quickly improve the player's abilities.

SkillsWindow skillMultiplier.gif

Starting Skill Levels

The choices made at character creation determine a character's initial skill levels. Since skills take a long time to train, careful consideration should be given to the skills chosen at the start of the game.

The player's initial choice of skills are also important since skills they begin with receive an 'XP boost'. This bonus is dependent on the level the player begins with on that skill, and remains active over the course of the game. Starting skills' names are highlighted yellow in the skill tab, and hovering over the skill level will display the XP boost received. Here, the player has XP boosts for both the 'fitness' and 'strength' skills:

SkillsWindow XPBoost.png

The XP boosts gained with different starting levels are as follows:

Starting Level 0 1 2 ≥3
XP Boost 25% 75% 100% 125%

List of Skills


Name Effect
Sprinting This affects how fast you can Run and Sprint

This can be leveled by Running (hold SHIFT) and Sprinting (press Left ALT). Note that if the player is too unfit/obese/overexerted/overburdened they may simply "power-walk" instead and could be unable to sprint, but they can still gain sprinting xp by doing so.

Lightfooted This is your general ability to move quietly.

This can be leveled by Sneaking, Walking or Running near zombies while undetected.

Nimble The Nimble skill affects how fast you move while Sneaking (Build 40), decreases chance of tripping (Build 41)

and how much visibility you lose when aiming. It also increases the speed that you move at while in Combat Stance. [1]

This can be leveled by walking in Combat stance anywhere (Pressing C in IWBUMS B41), Sneaking (Build <40) and jumping over fences.

Sneaking Your general ability to avoid detection and make less noise when Sneaking.

This can be leveled by Sneaking (holding CTRL or Z) near zombies while undetected.


Name Effect
Accuracy Influences hit chance, attack speed, damage done, and critical chance of bladed weapons.

Increases when player hit zombies.

Guard Helps the player to avoid being scratched when a bladed weapon is equipped.

Increases when player hit zombies, or get hit by them (Only take damage, no scratches or bites).

Maintenance Gives a chance for any blade weapon to not lose condition when used.

This is levelled by using blade weapons, with one caveat; no xp is gained if the weapon loses condition from that use. To train this, you'll need to use a blade weapon that doesn't break easily.


Name Effect
Accuracy Influences hit chance, attack speed, damage done, and critical chance of blunt weapons.

Increases when player hit zombies.

Guard Helps the player to avoid being scratched when a blunt weapon is equipped.

Increases when player hit zombies, or get hit by them (Only take damage, no scratches or bites).

Maintenance Gives a chance for any blunt weapon to not lose condition when used.

This is levelled by using blunt weapons, with one caveat; no xp is gained if the weapon loses condition from that use. To train this, you'll need to use a blunt weapon that doesn't break easily.


Name Effect
Carpentry Raising the Carpentry skill allows you to repair items better, perform new building options and improve the quality and increases the health of player-constructed carpentry.

The carpentry skill is leveled by barricading, crafting anything that uses planks, dismantling furniture and shelving, or by sawing logs into planks.

Cooking Raising the Cooking skill allows you to increase your crafted food's hunger reduction. In addition, raising your cooking skill to level 4 allows you to make soups and stews with rotten ingredients.

The cooking skill is leveled by cooking food in a heat source or by crafting food recipes

Farming Raising the Farming skill allows you to check up on a plants status and the information available increases as the skill does.

The farming skill is leveled by harvesting crops.

First Aid Raising the First Aid skill allows you to bandage wounds quicker, treat wounds better in general, understand more ailments and spot infections on your health panel and much more besides.

Higher the skill - faster time of healing and bandages gets dirty slower.

The first aid skill is leveled by performing medical actions on yourself or others.

Electrical Raising the Electrical skill allows you to operate generators and create devices.

The Electrical skill is leveled by dismantling electronics (Radios, CD players, etc.) as well as by crafting makeshift ones.

Metalworking Raising the Metalworking skill allows you to build structures that are stronger than wood.

The Metalworking skill is leveled by building metal containers/structures/barricades.

Mechanics Raising the Mechanics skill allows you to repair and change part of cars. Combined with Electrical, it can help you start a car without a key by hot wiring it.

The Mechanics skill is leveled by mount/unmount car parts.

Tailoring Raising the Tailoring skill allows you to patch and fortify clothing, as well as fully repair clothing at higher skill levels. The amount of defense repaired or increased depends on the skill level.

The tailoring skill is leveled by repairing and fortifying and clothing piece that may be inspected and repaired.


Name Effect
Aiming Your aiming skill determines how accurately you can shoot, your chance to make a critical hit, range, angle, and recoil time.

This can be leveled up by shooting an enemy with a firearm.

Reloading Your reloading skill determines how long it takes your character to take out a magazine, load some bullets, and insert the magazine back in.

This can be leveled up by inserting bullets into a magazine, reloading any firearm with a new magazine, inserting bullets directly into any firearm.

Note that when reloading is set to normal/hardcore, reloading a handgun can be done repeatedly just for practice; it's not necessary to discharge the weapon.


Name Effect
Fishing Your fishing skill determines how long it takes you to fish, chance of breaking the line, letting the fish escape, losing bait or tackle, and increases your chance to catch a larger fish.

This can be leveled up by casting your line into the water, or using a spear to fish. No matter what the outcome of the cast you will gain some XP. Larger fish will bring in more XP.

Trapping Your trapping skill gives you a better chance of catching something in your trap and the ability to make new traps.

This can be leveled by retrieving the animals caught in your traps.

Foraging Your foraging skill gives you a better chance to find materials and a higher quality food items and a higher quantity of them.

This can be leveled by going into the forest, right-clicking on an area and selecting Forage.


Name Effect
Strength Your Strength determines your carry weight, as well as certain other factors, such as opening locked windows and melee knockback. It -MAY- also increase attack damage.

This can be leveled up mainly by doing Strength Exercises, carrying a Heavy Load and running. Strength experience is also granted when hitting zombies or trees with melee attacks.

Fitness Your Fitness levels give you more running and combat endurance, allowing you to run farther and fight zombies longer without tiring. It also increases jogging/running and sprinting speed, but much less than the actual Sprinting skill.

Fitness can be leveled by sprinting(you currently gain 1 fitness xp per 1 sprinting xp), doing Fitness Exercises and using melee attacks while the player is not overexerted

Strength 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Carry weight 6 7 8 9 11 12 14 15 16 18 20

Note: Upon leveling Strength or Fitness, your character will gain or lose traits.

Ex. A character with Feeble will lose it upon leveling strength.
Ex 2. A character with no strength modifying traits will gain Stout upon leveling strength.

See also