As a player, you are free to explore the entire world of the Zone. No physical restrictions. No time limits. You will become a Stalker — a cross between a mercenary and a treasure hunter, who is also seen as a plunderer, a scavenger, a loner, and as food. Your task is to locate and retrieve artifacts from anywhere within the Zone.
It's a bit like picking red-hot embers out of an infernal oven. And that's the easy part.
Artifacts could be of various types, but are not found so easily. They will be invisible until a special detector shows their location and lights them with an impulse. More advanced detectors can display more rare and valuable artifacts.
Having artifacts already in your back pack, you will need to sell them to one of the traders or to some fellow stalker, with enough money, of course. Traders can easily be found in the factions’ camps, where you will be also able to repair your weapons and equipment, learn some fresh rumors, get a few drinks from a barman, or even play one of the stalker games, such as arena fighting or crow shooting.
Buying and selling can be done both with cash or barter, so if a trader or some friendly stalker has some interesting stuff for you, like weapons, equipment, ammo, food, or med-kits, you are free to barter them for the items in your backpack.
Performing some deeds, opposing other stalkers, or joining stalker factions, you will form opinions of others about you. All of your actions affect the world around you and its relations with you. Active participation in the faction war can change the balance of forces, expand the range of goods of traders and even help mechanics find out new secrets to upgrading weapons and suits.
The Zone itself is also changing all the time, because of more frequent blowouts. Anomalies grow, appear, and disappear, stalkers and monsters fight, migrate, and rest, day changes into night, and sunny weather might suddenly change to rain with thunderstorm and lightning.
The longer you survive, the more you learn about the ways of the Zone, its locations, behavior of monsters and properties of anomalies. You develop your skills and improve your reputation in stalkers' rating, where nearly every artifact hunter can show up. In order to stay in this rating you need, first of all, to survive fighting all the threats waiting for you in the Zone.
Good luck. Or do we mean Goodbye?