Weapon of the Earth

The only projectile weapon that can be made from natural resources, this week’s entry in the “Weapons” series is a survivalist’s best friend and one of the most underutilized tools in the game. The Ashwood Bow is imperfect, but it’s far more capable than most are willing to admit, and few are up to the challenge of mastering it.

Making a big splash alongside its mechanical counterpart in the 0.44 update, this stealthy launcher of arrows can be deadly in the right hands. Join me as I talk about this special weapon and find out what makes it appealing compared to traditional firearms.

Improvised Bow & Arrow

The Ashwood Bow that we are able to craft in-game is a simple survivalist design based on real-world examples of homemade weapons. It is a piece of wood and a string with no frills whatsoever — a tool for a job, not a showpiece. The construction of a bow in real life is a bit more complicated than tying some string to the ends of a stick, however.

The process begins by finding a suitable piece of wood, and everything from there on out involves cutting and shaping the wood to suit its new purpose. This procedure involves whittling away sections of the wood to achieve even flexibility, notching it to hold string, and bending it further to improve capability and ease of use.

Creating arrows to use with your new bow is far easier. These too require the right source material, but once you’ve obtained satisfactory sticks, they are honed into arrows by bringing one end to a point and carving away thin layers along the length to make it evenly round. Arrowheads and fletchings (“feathers”) are optional, but greatly improve damage and stability/distance respectively.

If you wish to learn more about the process, start with a simple guide like this one: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Bow-and-Arrow


Image via SensibleSurvival.org.

Widely Underestimated

Something that can be crafted with a stick and some string doesn’t sound particularly intimidating, but its underdog status is part of what makes it so dangerous. Few in Chernarus would expect to meet their end by getting struck with an arrow, and it’s not something you can really be alert for either.

Though it is limited in its effective range when compared to a rifle, the near-silent operation of this bow makes stalking and firing on a target quite easy. An opponent can be taken down without alerting anyone (or anything…) nearby, and the relative lack of spray or splash damage should lead to less ruined equipment.

Some Skill Required

Since the Ashwood Bow can so easily be constructed, it has a different barrier to entry than most weapons: skill. That’s not to say that guns don’t require you to try, but the bow really makes you work for it. A unique sway pattern and challenging aim make it more difficult to be consistent in your shots.

Should you choose to put in the effort and get comfortable with the bow, you will be rewarded with the ability to create and use a deadly weapon starting with nothing but your bare hands. It is incredibly beneficial to have that card up your sleeve when you’re desperate, and you’ll be glad you took the time to learn it.

Hunter's Fancy

Though it is quite useful against human opponents, the bow is actually best used against animals. Most of them, save for larger targets like cows, can be dispatched quickly and easily with an Ashwood Bow and some improvised arrows. Both of those can be created from items you forage or find lying around, and resources from your hunt can be used to improve the weapon’s capabilities.

The stealthiness of the weapon also gives you more time to get off a second arrow if need be, should you be going after a group of targets. More than two may be a bit of a challenge, however.

Scale of Power

Where most weapons find variety in their attachments, the Ashwood Bow has a range of “ammunition” instead. Three of the four options can be crafted from gathered resources, and they all scale neatly from least to most capable.

Beginning with the humble sharpened stick (top left), chicken feathers can be added for improved range to make an improvised arrow (top right), and finally a bone can be attached to create a deadly arrowhead and form the bone arrow (bottom left). The factory-made composite arrow (bottom right) must be looted from houses, but possesses the most power and the greatest range.

Something from Nothing

It cannot be stressed enough how dangerous this weapon can make you with minimal effort and little to no need for looting. The bow falls entirely into its own class in that regard, and sits far above other homemade weapons (like the spear) in terms of capability.

Next time you’re a fresh spawn and you think fists are your only option, consider gathering rags to make some rope and craft yourself a bow instead. You’re quite dangerous with an arrow pointed at your opponent’s head.

Shared by Tatanko on March 14, 2016

The fourteenth in a many-part series covering the different weapons found in DayZ Standalone.

Many thanks to official forum user SGTHornet for assisting with the album.