Soft Skills in DayZ Explained & how you can Level Them [Hammer and Needle]

Published: Nov. 30, 2023
Updated: Nov. 30, 2023

German English

In DayZ you as a player can improve one of two Soft Skills which are represented as a needle and hammer in the bottom-left corner of your inventory. Today, I'm going to explain what the needle and hammer mean, and how you can improve your soft skills in DayZ.

TLDR: What are Soft skills in DayZ?

  • In DayZ you have 2 different soft skills, hammer and needle.
  • One skill is for hard work, i.e. strength, the other one is for dexterity work.
  • You can improve your soft skills by doing labor that falls into the given category.
  • If your character dies, your soft skills will reset.

Soft Skills in DayZ explained: Hammer & Needle mean 2 things

The soft skills available in DayZ were simply overlooked by an incredible number of players. The web is full of questions about the weird symbols and the bar in between. Other players - including myself - completely faded it out and didn't even think about what that could actually mean.

Note that: You can only level on of the two soft skills and not both. The arrow that starts out right in the middle of your soft skill bar will then move towards the skilled symbol, needle or hammer. Once your character dies, you lose all the progression you have made so far with your soft skills. But now let me explain both soft skills in detail:

DayZ Softskills

Here you can identify the starting point of your soft skill level.

1. What do the needle and hammer symbol mean in DayZ?

  • Needle: On the left side of the bar, you can see the needle and thread. This represents your dexterity and influences the skinning of animals, repairing clothes, weapons and tools.
  • Hammer: On the right, you can see a hammer that represents strength. It influences the amount of resources you can get from various sources such as trees and rocks.

2. This is how soft skills work in DayZ

  • Strength: Strength does not affect your melee damage. But it helps you with other heavy-duty tasks such as cutting trees, gathering stones and so on. Also, if you process logs to planks, you have a higher chance of getting twice as many planks.
  • Dexterity: The needle skill represents your dexterity. If you level this soft skill you're repairing tools like sewing kits will last longer. Furthermore, dexterity helps with skinning animals and allows you to get 3 chicken breasts instead of the normal 2, or you get more hide.

3. How to level your soft skills

To maximize your leveling progression with your soft skills you should play in a group of at least 2 people. This way one player can focus on building and gathering resources, and the other player repairs everything and hunts. As you probably already guessed, you level up your needle and hammer soft skills by simply doing activities that fall into the given category:

  • Leveling strength: Cut trees, gather rocks with a pickaxe, build campfires, process resources into building material.
  • Leveling dexterity: Hunt and skin animals, repair clothes and take blood from other players via a blood bag.

Will Soft Skills have any impact on PvP and PvE?

The DayZ team from Bohemia Interactive decided against soft skills that influence PvP or PvE. Back when the system was announced, we asked the developers about their plans. They once had plans to improve more than just those 2 factors. For example, players who would shoot a lot of rifles should become more skilled with it, better recoil control and steady aim. As we know this idea was scrapped and since then, the dev team never adressed PvPvE soft skills again.

Now its your turn: What do you think about the current state of the DayZ soft skills, and what would you like to see coming to DayZ? Let us know in the comments, and you are welcome to join our social media as well as our community discord server (via


The interest in digging deep into the gaming industry stems from the DayZ Mod for Arma 2 in 2012. Kevin started working in the gaming industry in 2016. First as a trainee at Survivethis, the biggest German Survival-Games-Site at that time. Only half a year later, he got accepted at Gamestar and later MeinMMO. Now, on he implements all his Knowledge to deliver comprehensive news, guides, interviews and more unique topics.
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