The world of DayZ is brutal and unforgiving. I’m not just talking about the zombies and other players, the world itself is full of horrific and uncalled for deaths. Want to climb those steps? Think again Mr Broken leg. How about having your character forced through a solid brick wall into zombie Central while attempting to scavenge? Just looking at things in this game can- and almost certainly will- get you killed. That’s the essence of the DayZ experience, the constant, unending fear of death. It’s a great game mechanic. The constant threat of death, not glitching your neck into a tin of beans. The game is still in early alpha so there plenty of updates and patches on the way. To give the people who haven’t played the game yet a little taste, here’s a little adventure from my first character.
Starting off on the shoreline is nothing new to me. I’ve played the mod for around a year and I could instantly tell where I was. The broad, flat, two-lane highway in front of me was the main link between Cherno, one of several large cities on the map, and Elektro another large city. Both of these places would be crawling with Bambi’s (new players to the game) and Bambi bandits (hunters of new players). It’s wise to avoid a main city until you have acquired some weaponry and supplies.
The DayZ standalone map has had some significant upgrades, almost all buildings are now open to explore meaning every location could provide the chance of supplies. Knowing where you are and where you are going is a major part of DayZ. With no map or reference to your location other than the name of the foreign town you’re in, getting about, for a Bambi, can be a challenge.
I break across the highway at full sprint, into the trees ahead. I know I’m heading North West. It’s thick trees and hills for ten minutes before I will see anything of interest. While the mod is in its infancy, the developers have stripped the world of nearly all wild life. Occasionally a bird will glide high above the dead world below. If anything moves down here, it almost certainly wants to kill you.
Five minutes in and I’m thirsty, another minutes passes and my stomach grumbles. I need to find food. I stopped running. I could carry on to Starry Sabor, the mid sized town with some military tents and a super market. It would definitely have what I need. But I could go due West and hit up a few small farm houses and barns. It would be slim pickings but it’s low risk. I pick option three. Just a little South of Starry is a smaller town called Novy Sabor with a church and a few houses. I’ll go there on my way to Starry. A little low risk detour before I venture in to the danger zone for that military gear.
Novy was a bad idea. I cut through the trees to the foot of the hill leading to Novy. The steep hill blocks the view of the church and most of the buildings. It also provides a wonderful jumping platform for zombies. Before I could react, I was ‘happy slapped’ by two undead locals. I panicked and ran. Straight up the hill into the centre of town, through a long barn, out into the road leading back down the hill. I had a number of zombies chasing me by now. I expected to see a zombie priest come running from the church but he never appeared. I was back in the trees where I started still zombies kept pace. I ran South, then West, then South again before the last zombie had given up.
I could still see the tall radar dome in the centre of Starry. I decided to move West through the trees and approach from the East. However, I then thought ‘sod it’ and ran directly into the centre of town. If I was going to get shot at, it might as well be because I’m acting like an idiot. The town was empty. No gunshots. No zombies. What luck! I though to myself as I ran past the large barns blocking the view of the southern road. Just around the corner would be the military tents I had travelled so far to loot. A strange thing happened when I turned that corner. The tents had gone. The small concrete rectangle still lay in the ground but no tents. No loot.
I glanced around. First up to the East, Sniper Hill. Then to the large barn behind. I’m a sitting duck. I crouch and duck into the long barn to my left. A pair of rotten brown trousers are my reward. As I inspect my new pants I realise my character is sliding along the floor of the barn towards the wall ahead. Another glitch, another threat to my life. Then, in the most elegant of motions, my character blends into the wall, there’s a crunching sound. As I passed through the solid brick wall my character snaps and contorts around itself. A mix of broken animations end in silence and darkness. I am unconscious. I am dead.
Welcome to DayZ.