DayZ is a persistent multiplayer mod for ARMA 2. It recently released in alpha state and has sent ARMA 2 up to the second bestselling title on steam which is normally reserved for upcoming games. After hearing all the hype from PC Gaming journalists, I decided to visit the mods homepage and was surprised at what I saw. It was the zombie modification we have all been waiting for albeit in an alpha state. It features 225km2 of open world Russia that has been hit by an infection causing the dead to rise up and hunt the living. However I did not write this blog to try and sell this mod to you. I want to talk about my first experience with it and why I think it is a step in the right direction for game design. So here is my story:
Alone in a scary place
I spawned. Surrounded by a silent coast line, industrial port and a village. Equipped with only a pistol, a couple of mags , a water bottle and two tins of beans. I was scared. The game was not trying to frighten me with excessive pop up zombies or loud noises (although there was some very eerie music playing in the background). It was giving me a strong sense of being alone and tasking me with my survival. I typed in the server global chat asking for some help and stupidly telling everyone my position. Soon after, I had a bullet in my back, making me realize that zombies were not the only thing to worry about in this extremely hostile environment. I had beans and water and everyone wanted to survive even if it meant turning on their fellow survivors for supplies. After my death my character was wiped and a fresh one was spawned back at the beach a few km south. I had learnt from my lesson and was not going out to ask for help this time.
I quickly made my way up to a nearby village to see if I could find any supplies. However Instead I met my first zombies, and they had been alerted by the sound of my footsteps. These zombies were FAST they charged at me zigzagging along the path making it difficult for me to shoot them. I wasted all my ammo on my first engagement, taking multiple hits along the way. I was already close to death and my character was losing blood fast. I had no bandages to stop the flow and so my character fainted for a brief period. I needed help and fast, which is when I saw a fellow survivor who was running across the shore I had just came from. I heard a few more zombies scream at me from behind and immediately sprinted towards him not knowing if he would be friend or foe. He accurately and calmly popped the zombies chasing me before watching me collapse from blood loss and humiliation. He stared at me for a while deciding whether or not he should trust me. I lowered my gun to try and indicate that I was friendly and he seemed to get the message.
My new found friend
We ventured across a field for a while keeping low in the grass so that zombies and other players alike could not see or hear us, I kept fainting every couple of minutes from being so low on blood and despite his efforts to give me his food and water we knew I would need more blood. We had to go to a hospital. He immediately adjusted his path to a rusty gate, we sneaked in and found ourselves in a military base with medic tents to our right and no zombies in sight. We stocked up on medical supplies and he gave me a long needed blood transfusion. We kept on sneaking around the base until we found a long road running across the middle and at least a dozen zombies around it. We knew that we could not fight our way across the road as our shots would alert all the zombies around us so we hit the floor and started crawling across the road as slowly as we could. Zombies passed inches away from us, not looking in the correct direction. I was petrified. We were low on ammo and now completely surrounded by zombies.
We started hearing gunshots coming from behind us so we quickly got up and ran out of the populated base and back towards a field, however when we looked back we saw a man running for his life being chased by around thirty zombies. My new found friend immediately tried to run to the man’s aid, hoping that we could survive better in numbers however the gunfire alerted more zombies and we were overwhelmed. I ran, watching my new found friend and the horde attractor die behind me I turned and ran in the opposite direction. I was alone again.
That was my first experience with the mod. It has no scripted events, characters or story, it just all seemed to happen by itself. It was the first time in ages that I had felt so emotionally involved in a game. I really felt like I wanted to survive. It amazed me how a game with no set story could have told me a better story than 99% of games I have played. I read up more on the mod and found out that one of the developers was also one of the developers of ARMA 2 the base game. I really hope this guy gets a pay rise for bringing so much attention back to the game and crafting something so unique and fun. The mod features vehicles (Cars, Helicopters ect.) that you need to repair, military grade weapons (although we did not find any as they are very rare). Night vision goggles as there is a day night cycle which is done with real time and loads more. I really can’t wait to play this mod some more. I don’t write blogs very often, however this game is definitely worth the time.
If you are looking for a zombie game about survival instead of just killing waves upon waves of undead. A game that gives a similar kind of feel to the walking dead, then I can safely say that DayZ offers the best experience so far and the experience will be polished up even more as the mod enters beta stage and then release.