The Best Skills And Occupations In Project Zomboid

With so many ways to create a character, some of the options you'll have in Project Zomboid are better than others.

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Any run in Project Zomboid begins with players creating their character, who will either become a grizzled survivalist or another member of the undead horde. Either way, the game offers up a buffet of options for actually creating your character. It all starts with picking an occupation and some skills, which will determine the beginning of your run and potentially dictate it until the day your character passes. These are some of the best occupations and skills you can pick in Project Zomboid.

After creating your character in Project Zomboid you'll have to survive the game's first days. Thankfully, we have a guide on how to live through the game's first night.

Project Zomboid's best occupations

Unemployed

Unemployed is the most flexible occupation in Project Zomboid
Unemployed is the most flexible occupation in Project Zomboid

Paradoxical as it may sound, one of the best occupations to give your character in Project Zomboid is none at all. As an unemployed member of society, your character is pretty much a blank slate. You can do whatever you want with them and the eight skill points you're free to spend from the get-go. Make a character who can fish and cook, hotwire cars and build walls, it doesn't really matter. Unemployed characters are the best for anyone looking to make a character all their own.

Veteran

Veterans don't get panicked and handle guns like professionals.
Veterans don't get panicked and handle guns like professionals.

Veterans are grizzled characters, and as such, are made for grizzled players. They're desensitized, so these characters won't panic, ever. Never panicking is a huge deal since the debuff reduces your damage and accuracy. As such, they're one of the best gun-wielding classes in the game. Their lone downside is the eight points of negative skills you'll have to take to actually play as a veteran.

Carpenter

With enough time, carpenters can fortify bases against the zombie hordes.
With enough time, carpenters can fortify bases against the zombie hordes.

If you're a fan of base-building and abhor previously lived-in structures, starting as a carpenter is your best choice in Project Zomboid. It's a simple class, one that starts you off with three points in carpentry. That's enough to pretty much build any simple structure in the game, so all you'll need to start base building is a good axe, a hammer, and some nails, all of which can be found in sheds and garages throughout Kentucky.

Lumberjack

Lumberjacks can tear through trees and zombies alike.
Lumberjacks can tear through trees and zombies alike.

Without any crafting skill specializations, starting Project Zomboid as a lumberjack is one of the game's easier options. You start off with extra points in fitness and strength, meaning you can run longer and hit zombies harder, as well as carry more stuff. As a bonus, you're proficient in axes. Provided you can find one, no zombie will stand a chance against you.

Project Zomboid's best skills

Sunday driver

Taking Sunday Driver means you'll drive slower, although the penalty isn't too bad.
Taking Sunday Driver means you'll drive slower, although the penalty isn't too bad.

Negative skills that barely affect your character and let you spend those extra points on beneficial skills are essentially "free points," and Sunday Driver is a perfect example of that. All the skill does is make you drive slower than usual, and if you're driving on roads only, the difference isn't too bad. That all changes if you start driving on grass though, where your speed will be drastically reduced. Of course, this perk also only comes into play if you can get a car.

Smoker

Thanks to the abundance of cigarettes that can be looted, it's easy to keep a smoker happy.
Thanks to the abundance of cigarettes that can be looted, it's easy to keep a smoker happy.

Smoker is another one of Project Zomboid's "free points" skills. By taking this skill, your character enters the world as a nicotine addict, and will slowly become more stressed out if they don't smoke. While stress reduces weapon damage and accuracy, the stress gained from being a smoker is pretty negligible. It also helps that cigarettes, lighters, and matches can be found in abundance throughout the game's world or even on the corpses of zombies.

Short-Sighted

Short-Sighted characters won't be able to forage effectively.
Short-Sighted characters won't be able to forage effectively.

Short-Sighted sounds like an extremely bad skill at first, but once you actually see its effect in-game, it's not actually too bad. Instead of restricting a player's overall cone of vision (like blindness does), Short-Sighted will reduce your search mode view distance. Taking this trait will make foraging considerably more difficult, but for two extra points, it's pretty much worth it.

High Thirst

High Thirst characters will have to carry multiple water containers at all times.
High Thirst characters will have to carry multiple water containers at all times.

This is by far the most penalizing skill we'll recommend that you take. High Thirst does exactly what it purports to do: your character will become very thirsty very fast, approximately 200% faster in fact. But while this skill may seemingly ruin characters, it can be kept at bay by simply keeping an extra water bottle on hand whenever you go out. Likewise, until water is shut off in your game, you'll be able to find sources of water nearly everywhere you go.

Cat's Eyes

Cat's Eyes greatly reduces the sight penalty applied by darkness.
Cat's Eyes greatly reduces the sight penalty applied by darkness.

If you're playing Project Zomboid and nighttime comes around in-game, you're probably not going to want to go outside, at all. But that's a massive number of hours wasted, time that could be spent gathering resources and looting. If the only thing that's keeping you out of the dark is the inability to see very far, Cat's Eyes is a must-have skill. Your vision at night will be 20% better than an average player's and you'll even get a bonus to foraging in search mode.

Fast Reader

Reading books is key to progressing through Project Zomboid's skills quickly.
Reading books is key to progressing through Project Zomboid's skills quickly.

This skill is geared more towards anyone playing Project Zomboid on a multiplayer server. Fast Reader is another self-explanatory skill, letting your character read 130% faster. In single-player games, this isn't a huge deal since you can just speed up the passage of time in-game until you finish the book. In multiplayer, however, you don't have the same option. Your only choice is to sit there and read, so getting through a book faster means more time actually playing the game.

Brave

If you pick the Brave skill, you're signing up for some frontline fights. You know you're going to meet big groups of zombies and don't have time for panic to set in. The Brave skill reduces the panic your character gains whenever a zombie gets close to you. Of course, large hordes of zombies can still make you panic, but with smaller groups, your character will stay focused and keep all of their normal attack stats.

Keen Hearing

Keen Hearing will make it much harder for zombies to sneak up on you.
Keen Hearing will make it much harder for zombies to sneak up on you.

One of the worst situations in which you can find yourself in Project Zomboid is with zombies immediately behind you. From here, if a zombie attacks it has a decent chance to bite you, and that means game over. Keen Hearing can stop that from ever happening, as it increases your perception radius by a whopping 200%, meaning that zombies behind you are visible much earlier. With this skill, zombies will almost never be able to sneak up on you for that ever-fatal bite.

Stout

So you've just loaded into Project Zomboid and your goal isn't to build a safehouse or survive. Instead, you want to take as many of the undead with you before you also expire. If that's the case, Stout is a fantastic trait, boosting your strength by two points. That means zombies will be knocked back by melee attacks more often and you can even carry more equipment.

Strong

Players with the Strong skill can easily bat away groups of zombies.
Players with the Strong skill can easily bat away groups of zombies.

Remember Stout? As it turns out, that skill is just the baby brother of Strong. While this skill costs a whopping 10 points, players will reap the benefits of having a totally jacked bod. With four extra strength points and a bonus of 140% melee damage, players who take this perk can carry a few days' worth of rations on them and bat away the undead like tissue paper.

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