@impynickers Join the party, comrade! Hardened on RO2, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the massive increase in ballistic lethality.

Two vignettes from the Zone, if I may share: Learning To Share and Fear & Loathing in Kiev Oblast

I feel like such a bastard.

It was raining, that glorious Zone rain that burns the hairs off your chest as soon as the Zone itself put them there. Thick fog had radically curbed visibility and had made my traversal across a swamp towards a small collection of hilltop ruins an even spookier affair than it usually is.

I heard gunfire atop the hill and cautiously made my way up towards the plateau to find a long range encounter between some Stalkers and a group of bandits coming up the road. The bandits fell first, but not before taking out two Stalkers. The remaining Stalker went to check and scavenge from the bodies of his friends, walked up to a mortally wounded bandit and shot him (I was kind of agape at that, so awesome, so cold!). Then I saw it.

I couldn’t help it. I was overcome. This Stalker bastard, whoever he was, had an FN2000.

So I stole up behind him and shot him in the back of the head and took that magnificent gun. It’s a bit tough to source the ammo for it, as it’s a 5.56 NATO round, rather than the relatively more plentiful 5.45…but damn, that scope is useful.

I am indeed a bastard.

I forget the name of that intense health recharge syringe in the inventory from the beginning of the game, but I used it out in the field when approaching a Mercenary base.

Do not do that. At least, do not inject the contents of that syringe without a) finding a safe place and b) have enough food for the ridiculous hunger that’ll beset you when you wake up from your near-overdose. I squatted in the cement sabo slip that ran up towards the Merc base – some scrubby, chemical-stained outflow – near midday, and injected. It hit me like an intravenous freight train; I fell backwards and woke up six hours later the rapidly darkening chill of the evening, utterly famished with blurred vision and not even a strip of irradiated pork to chew.

I should have turned back, but like an idiot, I went to scout out the outskirts of the base, a miserable effort to make the trip out into the wilderness worthwhile. I couldn’t focus properly, kept shaking my head to concentrate…and didn’t make out some Mercs getting a bead on me as I approached the outer perimeter of their base.

Needless to say, I got shot. And bled out on a hillside, with an empty stomach and many regrets.