Surviving: Some More Thoughts On Day Z

By Jim Rossignol on May 24th, 2012 at 5:00 pm.


My previous posts on Day Z have largely been about driving home the kind of situations it generates, but I want to step away from that to look a bit more close at the systems it uses, and why it creates such powerful responses in the people who play it.

A few years ago I read a guide to writing screenplays. I don’t remember much about it, other than the observation that the way to make any story compelling is to pile more and more problems on to the protagonist. If he was in jeopardy, add some extra peril. The way the hero deals with that situation then becomes the satisfying (or otherwise) resolution of the story. Something similar seems true of the stories being generated by Day Z: it piles on the danger, the peril, the horror, and then expects you to deal with it. How that is dealt with by you will be unlike how it was dealt with by me, and that’s why the stories are different and interesting, or thrilling, or exasperating.

Of course the game has to be able to create these situations, and it does this in a few ways that are unavailable to most other things we call videogames. Firstly, it has a huge canvas: the Chernarus map from Arma 2. This is a 200km2 slice of central Europe, carefully reimagined as a coastal ex-Soviet republic. It is wide open, and the direction you take might be random at first, or later because you have a goal in mind. A goal that you set. There’s no “high level” area you can’t go into. There’s no story to structure your progress through the map. There isn’t even any waypoint you should be heading to. There’s just you waking up on the beach: now survive. The entire map, the full breadth of the environment, is relevant to this mission. It’s a vast, under-exploited creation that sits deep within the poorly traveled margins of PC gaming. Many of you will know it well, but remember that armies of people who are now playing Day Z – drawn to it by the hype over a zombie survival game like no other – will not. Whether you are familiar with Chernarus, or a first-time visitor, there’s no denying that it is one of the great environments of gaming.


So Day Z is standing on the shoulders of a giant. Arma 2 isn’t exactly a go-to game when you think of discussions of modding, and I am not entirely sure why that should be. Perhaps it’s because in spite of its technical achievements – vast landscapes, meticulous modelling of ballistics, weather, and other things relevant to military operations – the experience is not always a smooth one. The UI is poor. Even aiming your weapon is a little tricky compared to other games, and in trying to adhere to realism the game lacks the bombast and fireworks that we’ve come to expect from our first-person games. The upshot of this is that Arma 2 has been quietly successful, appealing to people who wanted more from their military shooters. It is supporting a community that simply got on with building elaborate scenarios for multiplayer missions (both co-op and PvP) using the substantial toolset that the developers have been iterating since 2001′s Operation Flashpoint, but has largely ignored by the larger spotlights of gaming fame.

It’s certainly true that Arma 2′s innards are full of mod-friendly stuff: vehicles, a huge range of equipment, and a wealth of auxiliary tools. Bohemia might not polish things to a dazzle, but they never stop producing features and content. The latest beta-patch of the game finally nails direct communication, a feature the game has been trying to include for years. This means that (on beta patch servers) speaking with microphone in the proximity of another player will relay your words to them. Meet a stranger in the wilderness and you can actually speak to them. And quite often they will be speaking Russian. Or even American.


(I realise I’ve so often argued against realism as a design goal, and here I am holding forth on its most avid exponent’s success…)

Day Z, then, is able to do what it does because it sits atop a pile of content, and is interwoven within a mature and complex set of multiplayer systems. Sure, the sum of these parts is a buggy, often wobbly one, but the net outcome is a set of experiences that are both demanding and rewarding. The mod itself actually does very little. It provides minimalistic context for our peril, and as such feeds our imagination. It populates the world with aggressive zombies, and gives us a few human frailties to worry about: hunger, thirst, blood loss, and temperature. Run out of food and you can starve to death. You can die of dehydration if you have nothing to drink. You can bleed to death if you have no bandages. And even once bandaged you’ll need to eat or get a blood transfusion to deal with the effects of blood loss. Sit in the rain in the dark, and your temperature will drop – with potentially lethal consequences. It’s all just numbers, with a few screen effects, noises. A shudder and moan of serious injury lifted from the original game. Simple, and nonetheless evocative. We all understand these ideas intuitively. No need to check the manual to figure out what they mean: they’re the same things you face every day, but are never forced to think about, thanks to the lack of a zombie apocalypse. In Day Z you begin to face horrible fates, and stave them off.

This small set of rules, added to Arma 2′s gun-filled, highly-lethal world, are the parameters for the jeopardy we all face when playing the game. They give us motive. Motive enough to kill another person? Possibly. Motive enough to risk death at the claws of zombies, as we poke about in the abandoned towns for scavengeable materials? Certainly. And it is precociously difficult. Enemies are likely to be invisible in woodland, two-hundred metres away, when they strike. Alone, you will simply be dead, and that will be that. In a group, you might not be the first to die. Perhaps you’ll even get a chance to shoot back. Zombies are all too easily missed, and they’re quickly on top of you. Worse, they never stop. You can run, but eventually you will have to deal with them, die. Yes, it’s uphill all the way, even for Arma 2 veterans. It’s unfair. Often down to pure luck. That’s definitely not good game design. Yet few people have complained about that. Instead, they’ve marvelled that a game could be so unforgiving. And that its developer could be intent on making it even more difficult. (He just introduced infections, and the need for antibiotics.) The reason for this is simple, and seen time and again with games like Dark Souls: the experiences that ask little of us often give little back, and come with little sense of achievement when beaten. The ones that challenge us, and defeat us, are the ones which make us revel in their mastery. In the case of Day Z the uphill struggle is one that regularly pays off with an amazing view from the highest peak – literally, given Arma 2′s amazing draw-distance and vast vistas.

(The difficulty, some have said, is only possible because this isn’t a commercial project. It’s a mod. An experiment. And that’s true. But it’s selling copies of Arma 2. It’s top of the Steam charts. Amazon has run out of serial keys.)

And Day Z’s feature list gets worse/better, depending on your perspective, because once you are dead, you are reset to the beach. Anything you collected is gone. You start over.


I’ve noticed a few people – those who have not yet played the game, mostly – question why this should matter any more than it does in a game of deathmatch. If you are just starting again, why do you care? Well, the answer is the persistence of characters across the game. Day Z’s bright idea was to say that your character – which basically means your inventory and stats – is saved when you log off. Join any other Day Z server and you find yourself in the same place, and with the same stuff, even if the other players on the server, and the server settings, may differ. This creates a peculiar psychological effect: Keeping that character alive, keeping your persistence continuous – in other words staying alive – becomes everything.

Because of the time and effort you went to get a map, a knife, a gun, and the other things you need to survive, you begin to become extremely precious about not dying. While in almost any other game with a first-person perspective I would be diving into combat, trying to score kills any way possible, here I have backed out of such situations because I wasn’t sure I wanted to lose all that meat and all those drugs I’d gathered. Conflict is inevitable, of course, but the incredible tension created by this character, whom I’d spent hours building, possibly having is corpse looted by some bastard in camo gear, well, that’s often a risk too far. Terror – of the kind that a game with a save button cannot deliver – is never too far away.

It’s taking extreme discipline not to resort to anecdotes to explain why this is so compelling. Or why I was so furious the last time myself and James – my sidekick for the majority of my Day Z adventures – were murdered by bandits. (He had just been trying to help them.)

Arma 2 has, in some ways, always been an antidote to the way that the mainstream approaches game development. Bohemia have to tried to simulate everything, to actually create a functioning world, rather than the illusion of one. The result is relatively dry – a military simulator that is closer to soldier training tools than the games we are most familiar with – and for many people it has taken the superficial fiction of a zombie apocalypse to see why it has so much potential as a game, as a platform for modification, and as a vehicle for fascination game experiences.

But I’m not surprised this has happened. I am little surprised that it has gone into media supernova, but it’s clear that gamers love freedom. And they love risk. Frankly, I am more surprised that it has taken quite so long for all these things – an open world, realistic survival, persistence, multiplayer – to come together in one place.


I’ve written many times on the power of open worlds being systems that take place independent of the player’s actions. Worlds that don’t care whether we live or die are so much more intense in gaming than those which are ultimately intended to tell us stories and to let us win. Indifference can be a powerful thing. The stories generated by Day Z are, of course, all about our personal experiences – of our character’s blood and hunger and empty ammunition slots – but the reason surviving against the conditions we’re faced with is so potent, is precisely that Day Z’s world carries on without us. Zombies are not paused because you are making a cup of tea, and those bandits will move on from your corpse without a second thought.

And it’s only just getting going. This is the start of an experiment that will, like the other great mods, probably last for years. No, I don’t expect this experiment in multiplayer gaming to have even the slightest impact on what’s happening in mainstream gaming, at least not for many years. It’s no revolution. No, it doesn’t provide a new model, or a new benchmark, or anything else that will really change the way games are made, or the way we play them. It’s probably not even the game that will get this type of survival play exactly right, not least because its strength- that it is an Arma 2 modification – could also end up being the thing that holds it back. Yes, this is very much something happening on the margins of gaming. But, like so much else in culture, it’s often what’s happening in the margins that resonates hardest when we decide what is interesting or important. And this definitely is both of those things.

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162 Comments »

  1. Paul says:

    Jim, just how many more times are you going to prove being my favourite RPSer ?
    Excellent article. I love DayZ, even solo.

    • McDan says:

      Solo is great, even though I can’t play much of it because I’m constantly terrified of everyone and hide anytime I see anyone.

    • Maxrmk says:

      I’ve only managed to play it solo, because I have no friends who play. And everyone else likes to shoot me on sight. Even though I’m not a bandit -_-

    • Thermal Ions says:

      The comments on solo play are interesting as I’ll admit to it peaking my interest but rather doubtful that it would be as interesting solo. It doesn’t strike me as something my regular co-op partners would necessarily jump into with gusto – particularly as none of us own the game currently.

      I’ll probably stay on the fence unless Bohemia put the game on sale, but given the current sales boost the mod is causing I doubt that will be anytime soon.

      • Gandaug says:

        You actually have just missed a 50% off sale from Amazon. Sale price was $15. US only so it may not matter either way if you are not in the US.

    • perruci says:

      I truly appreciate this post. I¡¦ve been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thx again.. agen togel

  2. Metalfish says:

    Absolutely. This game is a buggy mess*, but a brilliant one. The same feeling of being hated by the environment itself that came from STALKER, combined with genuine risks. Remarkable in a great many ways for something in an alpha state.

    It begs the question of why it hasn’t been done before, although I’ve felt pangs of recollection from things as diverse as Freelancer mods to Anarchy Online all the way to the Sims. People have certainly been asking for this sort of thing for a while. Or at least, I have.

    *Really the bugs are being squashed. Again: Alpha.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      I’ve just had an idea… “buggy mess” you say? How about swapping the Zombies for giant spiders! BugE mod? :D

      • chris1479 says:

        Sure and then we can put jetpacks and Epic weapon quests in, along with rezzes and armor mods. K well i’d better get back to WoW ttyl.

        • Baines says:

          Earth Defense Force.

          EDF with a single large map? Assaults on the cities, alien camps in the wild… Could be nice, but I doubt ARMA could handle a 50 foot robot, and particularly not handle the swarms of enemies needed for a true EDF.

          I remember a friend a while back getting on a server that looked like it was trying to be APB, or a game like APB. Cops could arrest criminals. Criminals could rob banks and do something with drugs. In some ways it was better than APB, largely because you could actually interact with everyone. In other ways it was worse, mainly because it was hard to find anyone to interact with.

          Maybe this is part of the real point of ARMA, that people can try to mod it into a larger open world personal version of some other game that…well, they want a larger open world version of. Now we just need to get more industrious people with good ideas to start modding it.

          • Stromko says:

            I remember that ARMA mod, and I definitely had more fun with it than I did with APB. I mostly played a cop, it was probably the most straightforward and probably the least hardcore mode since I could always start out with decent weapons and basic vehicles if I was killed.

            I always tried to be a proper peacekeeper and never hassled civilians unnecessarily … except that time I had a tank and I tried to enforce a ban on anti-tank weapons. :)

          • MordeaniisChaos says:

            I had like 500 jets collide on a map once, I think it can handle swarms.

          • ipshdg says:

            Adam, you should have linked to this Defender’s Quest website instead due to the quote at the top:
            http://www.defendersquest.com/index.html

    • El_MUERkO says:

      The game is buggy {by AAA mainstream standards} and not optimised to use all the power of the latest GFX cards, but then that’s where ARMA 3 comes in, because with minimal tweaking DayZ will work in ARMA 3 and if you looked at the new lighting video for ARMA 3 you’ll know why that is a good thing!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIwfS8uJJIk

  3. Azophi says:

    Really, really looking forward to diving back into this sometime next week, since my essays and exams will all be over and I don’t have to dread bad grades as well as zombies and other players.

    Great write up as always, Jim. If I see you online I promise not to shoot you without making it interesting first, so you have another story to write about.

  4. Pathetic Phallacy says:

    The popularity of this mod is going to drop like a rock sometime soon, for sure. There just isn’t enough to keep people interested. Eventually you realize you’re just collecting garbage for hours on end to inevitably be shot by a sniper you can’t see.

    Right now, I’m loving the game and I’m having lots of fun playing with friends; however, I feel as if this game may have an expiration date. Hopefully it just means I have to take a break from it for a few weeks and then return.

    • cyrenic says:

      I’m wondering how long I’ll keep playing it, as well. It might be like Neptune’s Pride: A game that offers intense conflict and emotion but leaves you so exhausted from it you only play for so long.

      I got shot while logging in this morning (probably my fault for logging out in a barn), on a really geared out character, and it was a huge downer. But then I’m already scheming how to restock quickly, so maybe I’ll keep coming back for more punishment.

      • jonfitt says:

        I lost a nice amount if gear to a bizarre zombie accident (got stuck in a doorway and somehow a zombie one hitted me to death from full blood (probably because I was crawling?)), but I gained better stuff back much quicker.
        Once you get the hang of identifying lootable locations (those new maps really help), it’s a lot quicker. I wasted so much time trying to find entrances to buildings that were inert. It sounds like you got your gear last time pretty quickly.
        .
        If you spawn down by Electro tonight, and I’ll come and find you.

        • psaldorn says:

          I had this too, only I wasn’t near any zombies, I think maybe crawling through a door sometimes kills you, or if the door is closed and you are in the way? I was very annoyed.
          Though a zombie did insta kill me when I had 2k blood left after an epic one-man last-stand (it seemed like it was a not-so-last stand, but then this beret-wearing fucker flew in and took me out as I was reloading. Still bitter..)

      • Tom OBedlam says:

        I just want the community to last long enough for me to play the bloody thing. My entire 8 hours of playtime has consisted of 7 hours of trying to log on and 1 hour on a server where I meticulously stalked a warehouse, looking for a way past the surrounding zombies, only to realise that the script was banjaxed and the zombies were totally immobile.

    • Stevostin says:

      … and ? Ultimately, evey game is kind of superficial. Just played some engi on TF2, a game I own & play since 2007. It’s basically everything you describe, except you die every minute. It doesn’t get old – well it does, but not definitively and slower than most game (ANY game gets old, thank god).

    • GepardenK says:

      Thats like saying The Sims gets boring after you have build all the items. The game is all about personal stories and they keep happening. I have countless of crazy stories myself, some from firefights or zombies, but also from random people I have meet during my travels. Also; alpha! This mod will get a lot more content as the patches keep rolling inn.

    • Shuck says:

      So this was the question I had for those who are playing this. What’s the staying power like for the game? How quickly does the constant uphill struggle get tiresome after you’ve built up a nice inventory of equipment only to lose it with the character’s death, over and over again? Has the game been out long enough for anyone to reach this point, are you still enjoying it but see a definite expiration date, or does this seem like something you could return to, over and over again? (Perhaps if new maps or content were released?)

      (I ask this as I came up with a game design extremely similar to this some years back and my MMO industry coworkers all told me it would be too frustrating for players and it would never sell. I would very much like to have a rejoinder for their arguments and be able to add “You were wrong! In your face, respected colleagues!“)

      • DuddBudda says:

        the constant uphill struggle is, as the article mentiosn, what makes the game compelling

        whether that struggle is for loot, or kills or the longest life you can manage it doesn’t matter; DayZ is always challenging, when you’ve got some epic loot the challenge is keeping it (trust me on this, people will see your silenced and scoped M4 and want it for themselves, nevermind that 12 hours of scouring the map has found you only one 30 round clip)

        • woodsey says:

          Yeah, I considered killing a guy I was looting towns with, and who’d saved me from Zeds twice, because I knew we’d inevitably split up sometime soon and the extra gear would help me along.

          We’re mostly talking some beans and water here (and a couple of rifle mags), which I was considering wiping someone’s hours-worth of play for. I didn’t, but it is fascinating to see how it plays with your “don’t be a dick” instinct. Or “do be a dick” instinct, for some people.

        • Ragnar says:

          While the constant uphill struggle makes it compelling, the rogue-like death and back to the beginning with nothing mean that there’s no lasting attachment. Sure, you care about your character as long as you’re alive, but the moment you die you lose everything you worked for, so what’s to keep you from just walking away? Even in EVE, you’ll potentially lose big, but you won’t reset to a brand new character, and even RotMG has progression in terms of unlocking classes. You’d definitely be catering to the rogue-like fan base, and I’m not sure if that market is large enough to sustain an MMO. Perhaps including stat tracking to mark player records and achievements would give people the sense of progression to stick with it.

      • ghelna says:

        It’s Survivalism: The Online Game, like STALKER was Survivalism-lite: The Singleplayer Game. If you’re into that sort of thing I suppose it’ll have a good amount of staying power. Some of the current popularity comes from 4chan, where telling stories to an impressionable audience tends to result in a lot of interest. It’s new and exciting and even though there have been games like this before, awareness leads to recognition which leads to more popularity.

    • woodsey says:

      I’ve been playing it relatively intensely for the past week or so and, whilst I’m not reloading straight after a death anymore, my desire to play it, to read about it, and the way I think about it, hasn’t changed.

      If you play for 20 minutes and die, you’ve probably got a half-interesting story there. Play for a few hours and you’ve got a winding mass of completely organic narrative.

      It may get old – it almost inevitably will get old – but I think you’re vastly underestimating the sort of staying power that that kind of experience can have. Like Jim says, when you boil it down the only reason you need to survive is because a number drops down quite slowly, but that doesn’t make it any less compelling – nor does the fact that you’re “just collecting garbage”.

    • DickSocrates says:

      I got tired of it before I even got around to buying it.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Surely all games have an expiration date, or we’d be right screwed up.

      • jonfitt says:

        Although CS and TF2 seem to have an expiration date approaching an irradiated NASA meal.

        (Although arguably we’re not playing the same game of TF2 that originally came out).

      • wodin says:

        There are gamers out there who live and breath one game for years on end. Games like War in the Pacific or certain flight sims. Their hard drives are full of mods and expansions sometimes for the one game.

        I’d love to find my No1 game. However I’m not sure it will happen, thought there are game ideas if done right that could be it.

      • Rojas says:

        Day Z is always a challenge and that is what keeps the attention.

    • Kelron says:

      For me it has the twin appeals of roguelike-style play and a multiplayer open world. I might not play it for hours on end every day, but a good roguelike and a good multiplayer game can keep me playing on and off for years.

    • PoulWrist says:

      So? Like a good book it doesn’t need you to keep reading it to have been excellent while you did.

      • Ragnar says:

        That analogy doesn’t work because a good book doesn’t depend on other people reading that book with you.

        A better analogy would be joining a book club where the other people steadily get bored of reading and leave. The books you read are still good, but the enjoyment of sharing the books with others at the book club diminishes as people leave, until either you leave too, or you’re the only one left.

        • thebigJ_A says:

          But you haven’t refuted his point. The people in the book club moving on doesn’t take away the enjoyment you had together.

          • Ragnar says:

            Correct, it doesn’t take away the enjoyment you had, it just takes away the enjoyment you could have in the future, unless new people join in. Much like this mod, which will be fun as long as people are playing, but unless new people keep coming in to replace the old, it’ll become just a memory of fun.

  5. Maldomel says:

    A great read for a great mod I will probably never play. Or at least not this year (it better continue for many years as you say). It might not be perfect, but from I gathered since I first heard of Day Z, it probably one of the best experience in survival, and maybe (for me at least) one of the most interesting mod/game out there.

  6. Lobster9 says:

    I keep wanting to shout and gush about Day Z. But I am also afraid to.. it offers such personal anecdotal stories, that feel cheap when you try to put them into words.

    Some of my friends really can’t get past the quirks and oddities of the ARMA engine, and I must be really annoying them with my long winded tales of running through fields and finding Tins of Pasta… how can one possibly convey that this is the greatest thing to happen in my personal gaming universe?

  7. seniorgato says:

    My absolute favorite part of Day Z. I get in, spawn at the beach.
    And I don’t leave until I have died or its time for bed.
    But if I do die, that’s it for the night. I lost. Game over.

    It makes your death even more meaningful. :-D

  8. ResonanceCascade says:

    Fine. Fine! I’ll buy Arma 2.

  9. jonfitt says:

    I have always like the Arma2 mod/mission Insurgency because of the freedom and teamwork it offered. I would love to see Rocket’s tricks applied to Insurgency.

    Essentially it works like this: The entire map is divided into squares of about 50ft per side. Every square that intersects a building starts off red. A red square will periodically spawn AI terrorist baddies (when you’re not looking at them). If a soldier stands in a square for a few seconds and there are no baddies present it will turn green and stop spawning. Somewhere across the map there are a number of ammo caches that must be found and destroyed. But this is across the entire map, which is vast.
    Occasionally killing a baddie plops down some intel which plops a point on the map with its distance from an ammo cache. Find enough intel and you can triangulate the position of a cache from all the dots.

    What made it good is that you can drop in at any time and participate. Clearing a map could take many hours, so you’ll almost never see a game start and end, but you can drop in and work with a group who are assaulting somewhere, hopping from building to building searching and clearing.

    If you’ve bought Arma2 to play Dayz but fancy trying something more military, I can recommend Insurgency. It doesn’t need an install, just search for the map.

  10. Lemming says:

    Jim,

    ” You can run, but eventually you will have to deal with them, die. “

    Some kind of error here?

  11. Tacroy says:

    I just wish I coud play it, I spent half an hour trying to log in to servers the other night to no avail.

    And then when I do manage to get in, it’s inevitably night (there’s a real-time day/night cycle) and I can’t see my hand in front of my face. Apparently turning on HDR helps, but I haven’t been able to test that (see first paragraph)

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      The game 1,000,000 characters this week, and a bug that meant it couldn’t create more. So most people couldn’t log in for a day or so.

      To deal with the dark: turn brightness and gamma to full, so you can see, and HDR to very high so you get more shades of grey. Or log in to an American server where it is still daylight (a lot of RPS folk do this).

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Funny, about a third or so of the American servers are reversed, so we can play in the day when it’s night in real life. Haven’t any Euro servers done this by now??

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        A few have, but they’re always jam-packed. But when we get home in the evenings, the Americans are all still at work, so the US servers are easier to get into. And the servers that do have their time shifted as you mention just means we get even more daylight hours on them.

  12. tomeoftom says:

    Man, I’ve been playing with a tight-knit Australian group for days now, and it’s been amazing. I love this game.

  13. Mr Bismarck says:

    Day Z is the zombie game I was hoping Dead Island was going to be – “Welcome to the Zombie Apocalypse. You are going to die. Let’s find out how.”

  14. Mungrul says:

    I honestly feel that this is the most important gaming experience I’ve had since playing Demon’s Souls.
    Indeed, it shares much in common with that game, in particular the ever-present possibility of other players being able to hop in and simply ruin your (current) life, or help you out of a sticky situation.

    I’m very much the survivor type, and as such have imposed my own honour system on the way I play. I refuse to kill another player, be they bandit or survivor, unless it’s absolutely, positively necessary. And it’s working; so far I’ve amassed over 400 zombie kills with no murders or bandit kills. If I detect someone unknown in my vicinity, I’ll watch or listen for them, and more often than not just run away.

    I do however regularly play with a bunch of buddies from the TTLG forums, and the shared experience is quickly becoming much more rewarding than the solo one. Sure, I’ll often fire up the game and do some solo scouting, but it’s much easier to come up with interesting goals when accompanied by friends, be it gearing up those less well equipped, or braving a town raid in order to get essential medical supplies.

    I have worries that rocket may make some things more unwieldy than they need to be, but after all, that’s what Alpha’s for. He can afford to play with concepts that drastically change the game and then either revert them or maintain them based on player feedback.
    I’d also say that an unfortunate side effect of his rough Antipodean charm is that many community members have seen his often ironic use of derogatory terms as being a sign that they can use such terms carte blanche, resulting in a worryingly unfriendly community feel.
    But this hasn’t prevented me from enjoying one of the best experiences in gaming.

    I’m just hoping he’s getting suitable recompense for the attention he has brought the games way.

    And can you imagine how crazy this will get if BI decide to hold a Steam sale for Combined Operations?
    People are buying it in droves at the moment at full price.

    Long live Day Z.
    Hopefully it won’t get shot in the back of the head on the beach of development.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      “And can you imagine how crazy this will get if BI decide to hold a Steam sale for Combined Operations?”
      Yep, this is exactly what I’m waiting for.
      …unless RPS ruins my patience with more coverage…

      • grundus says:

        I’m surprised they haven’t already, you’d've thought they’d want to indirectly capitalise on this. I’ve seen a few people on my Steam list buy CO recently, I myself coincidentally got into playing Arma II: OA online and was sad to see that most servers require CO, so I bought Arma II literally a couple of weeks before the Day Z posts started on RPS. I think reading about Day Z in the ARPS sub forum helped make my mind up, though, as well as the thought of all the new toys and (most importantly) Chernarus to play around with.

        Honestly, I can’t think of a single other game that provides what Arma II does, it’s just completely unique. I’d even go as far as to say that if there’s one game that is truly worth the asking price, it’s Arma II, if you’re into that sort of thing that is. Every time I think about it I start drooling.

  15. MiniMatt says:

    Repeating that already said on the forums – I’ve loved the Day-Z coverage and I harbour a craving for more matched only by my hunger for braaaiiins.

    Side note – can an aging ATI 4870 hope to run this?

    • Skabooga says:

      Don’t know too much about the relative strength of computer components, but there is a demo version of Arma 2 out there that you can try, and it should be a good test of how well it runs.

      http://store.steampowered.com/app/33900/

      Demo is offered somewhere on the right sidebar.

      • MiniMatt says:

        Ooh, thanks, will give that a go.

        • seanblah12 says:

          I would have thought so, depending on the rest of your pc
          the free versions runs the same speed on my 4670 in low and high settings so i think its my pentium 4 that may be the problem…..

        • thebigJ_A says:

          The free version only has the lowest textures and such, so keep that in mind. The game’s gorgeous on higher settings.

        • sneetch says:

          I had terrible, terrible performance in ARMA II on my 5850, but ARMA II Operation Arrowhead (which you need for the mod) performed fantastically.

    • iainl says:

      I’m wondering a similar thing. I had to dial the OA demo down from High to Medium to get it running well on my HD4670. And that’s on OA’s map that is lacking in the long grass that everyone hides in for every DayZ screenshot. Do I need to leave this until I buy a HD6850 later this year?

    • Contrafibularity says:

      That should run it fine on low-medium (and some high settings too) depending on resolution and unlike most games it’ll still look stunning. BUT with Arma 2 it’s actually the CPU which ‘counts’; if you don’t have a fast dual, quad or hexacore that’ll be the bottleneck..

      Unfortunately this really goes double for Day Z (or most A2 mods for that matter) because they’re extremely CPU intensive compared to other games. And by that I also mean the vanilla game, because having smooth framerates in the campaign games won’t guarantee you’ll be able to play Day Z, Evo or DomiA etc. smoothly at those settings.

    • Joe Duck says:

      Yes it will, very nicely indeed.
      1920*1200,
      Antialiasing, Vsync and Postprocessing all off,
      Video memory: Predetermined
      Terrain detail: High
      Allt eh rest: Very High
      Also, go ahead and pander yourself: Drawing distance to the max (10000).
      Not bad at all for a 3,5 year old card :-)
      Also, if you have a multicore CPU and Win7, use the following in your steam ARMA2:OA launch options:
      -mod=@dayz -nosplash -winxp -world=empty -maxmem=2047 -cpuCount=4

    • grundus says:

      It can, I ran Arma II: OA on a 4870 for a while, with no tweaks beyond what you can do in the options menu itself, and it performed excellently considering how old it is now. Then again I guess the game itself is quite old too, in fact they’re probably about the same age, but I say that with no knowledge of when the 4870 was new nor of when Arma II came out. Joe Duck pretty much made this comment irrelevant already, though.

      I played it on a 1680×1050 monitor with a little bit of AA but the draw distance set to about 8000 I think, otherwise my settings were the same.

  16. Paul R says:

    Survival, persistency, zombies. These are elements found in Minecraft also.

    • sinister agent says:

      Ha, good spot. The emphasis is very different, though. Basic survival in Minecraft is very easy, and you can quickly become both safe and self-sufficient. In Day Z though, you’re never self-sufficient, and you’re never truly safe – even if you hide in a building and close the doors, any human who saw you go in or is just exploring might find you.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Day Z has that thing which Minecraft lacks. Difficulty.

  17. HexagonalBolts says:

    Do you know what the company should do (seeing as the creator already works for them)?
    Make this an official DLC (or perhaps even an expansion) for ARMA3. With DayZ’s ideas, the company’s resources, and hopefully a more-polished less-buggy game engine, this could make mega-bucks and be great fun.

  18. Bluerps says:

    I must confess, I’m reluctant to try this. I’m not sure if I really want to play a game that seems to consist mostly of tension and frustration.

    But it is certainly interesting to read about it.

    • woodsey says:

      It also falls into a sense of companionship and co-operation and joy from rather mundane occurrences (“Thank fuck, beans!”) – it’s just that usually you have to experience the fear of being shot before you get to them.

    • Vander says:

      Not only tension and frustration. Great joy too.

      I was playing yesterday with a large group of frenchmen, looting and hunting. Our scout team, a sniper and a spotter who were always moving before the main group, and was always on high ground, warned us about bandits ready to ambush.

      They had probably seen our group coming and had moved into position to maximize the effect of panic of the firsts seconds of the firefight. They were more numerous too.

      Most of the main group continued to advance, taking 1 or 2 stop to let a two man team flank them before we arrive at the ambush point.

      Then we strike. Sniper first, then the main group opened fire to pin them. The flank team then advanced very close before opening fire, causing havoc in their ranks. No one escaped. They didnt know what hit them.

      I never, NEVER, feel as good in any MP game. And i felt proud. The fact that serious tactics, caution (scout team),and good execution worked so well, and could reverse a bad situation was so rewarding…

      And that was permited by the letality of the game. In a CoD style of fps, this type of situation never happen, because you dont fear death. In Day-Z, death suck.

      The fact that you can die so easily procure one of the best sensation in the world: having someone out to kill you, and prevail.

      This is a great mod, and i cant wait to see it more fleshed out.

      • Bluerps says:

        Yes, I realize that it can be very rewarding. That’s not the issue.
        (nevertheless, great story)

        • Vander says:

          No, i think i understood. (But pehaps i didn’t express myself well).

          You said that the good side of it its perhaps not worth the tension/frustration. I just wanted to express that i think exactly the contrary. Its totally worth it.

          But, different stokes etc… I can understant that some people want a game that is less “abrupt”.

      • woodsey says:

        “In Day-Z, death suck.”

        I sincerely hope they use that for the game’s tagline from now on.

    • Ragnar says:

      I too love reading about it, but I’m not sure I’m up for a game of of mostly tension and frustration either. I play games to relax, and it seems this game is the exact opposite of that. Having to constantly be looking over your shoulder, tense and nervous, sounds exhausting.

  19. Nikelspank says:

    “Arma 2 isn’t exactly a go-to game when you think of discussions of modding”

    You clearly have no experience of the OFP/ArmA series then, as modding is the lifeblood of it.

    “Whether you are familiar with Chernarus, or a first-time visitor, there’s no denying that it is one of the great environments of gaming.”

    Chernarus has been around since 2009, so making that claim only in 2012 makes you sound a bit silly. It’s also made using the old BI terrain toolset, got no thermal maps, limited enterable buildings… it’s generally a bad map. There’s plenty of far superior ones made by the community (the best ones normally referred to are Lingor and Sangin Province).

    This article is very reminiscent of the entire DayZ community; a limited knowledge of the OFP/ArmA series tied with a sandbox version of a Left 4 Dead mod and everyone’s raving about how it’s a gaming revolution. It hasn’t even done that much for ArmA 2 CO’s sales, DayZ accounts for far less than 25% of the total number sold since 2009, and BI themselves don’t care too much as they’re working on their new flagship ArmA 3 due out later this year.

    I should just be happy that after people get bored with DayZ (and they will, it happens with all mini-crazes) that some of them might look at some of the great communities and mods for ArmA 2 and get stuck in with that, though if it’s any of the seemingly endless horde of 14 year old Russian kids that play DayZ maybe not.

    • oceanview says:

      Don’t be bitter.

      • Izzan says:

        He may sound a little angry but what he`s saying is pretty much factually spot-on. Chernarus is a terrible map with performance issues and modding IS the lifeblood of Arma2, check out Armaholic and the ACE mods, etc.
        I love the fact that DayZ has drawn attention to BI`s game, can`t say i understand the massive publicity surrounding it but whatever.
        I`ll echo the sentiment that i hope it draws people into playing some of the other great mods.

        Alos, with all the RPS coverage of DayZ, nothing has been mentioned about Invasion 1944 (another mod for Arma but one that costs money)! Or am i mistaken?

    • Cooper says:

      Note. The quote was not
      “when you think of modding”
      but
      “when you think of discussions of modding”

      Arma 2 has a thriving modding community, but it rarely seeps into the general consciousness about such things. Think of all the mods that have had coverage in press or forums or other sites not dedicated to Arma 2 and think of how very, very few have been discussions about Arma 2 mods.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “You clearly have no experience of the OFP/ArmA series then, as modding is the lifeblood of it.”

      Oh get off your high horse. I have been writing about Arma 2 on here since it came out, and I’ve written more about OFP and Arma in the general UK press than anyone else. The point – which you are so spectacularly missing in your rush to patronise me – is not whether I am personally familiar with it, but whether Arma’s modding has profile within the wider gaming community. And it does not. It has a strong, small community, but when people think of famous mods they think of Counter-Strike, DOTA, stuff like that, not Arma mods, *until now*.

      “There’s plenty of far superior ones made by the community (the best ones normally referred to are Lingor and Sangin Province).”

      And yet it stands up against the maps in most other games – which is again my point.

      “This article is very reminiscent of the entire DayZ community; a limited knowledge of the OFP/ArmA series tied with a sandbox version of a Left 4 Dead mod and everyone’s raving about how it’s a gaming revolution.”

      This comment is reminiscent of plenty of condescending veterans of endless games I’ve written about who can’t see what all the fuss is about when something new and unexpected happens. I suppose that really that’s just unfortunate for you.

      And who’s saying it’s a revolution? I even specifically say in the article that it is no such thing.

      • rapier17 says:

        I think that this is a revolution. Often when games come out that people are criticising, the smart-alec’s snub people by saying “Well, vote with your wallets” and this time people are in a way that publishers/developers understand. They’re spending money. £25+/- to play a mod. They must see what this sudden surge in ArmA2 sales has achieved for BI and for Rocket (who, as I understood from RPS’s interview works for BI on ArmA3 MP stuff). A 2/3 year old game hitting the top of the Steam charts at the same price some new games come out at?

        This mod makes me think of a quote I heard once from Mark Steel, who in turn was quoting someone whose name escapes me, when asked what effect the French Revolution has had on the world replied with “It’s too early to tell.”

    • Unaco says:

      Hi. Could you let us know which ArmA2 community you play with? Just so we can all avoid it. Thanks!

    • fupjack says:

      I’d sure like more buildings that you could get inside. It’s kind of a bummer to have them be decorations instead of domiciles.

    • nindustrial says:

      Ah, the classic “I was into that band before it was cool” brag/complaint.

    • Dinger says:

      Uh. 25% of total sales, three years later, in a matter of weeks, spurred by a mod, will certainly make Marek, Ondrej and company stand up and take notice. They know how to market it too: I’ll wager a pint of beer there’s a copy of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance somewhere prominent in the BIS empire.

      Yes, the ArmA world, I understand, is a lifestyle — and it’s one of those areas that mainstream reporters (=those who make a living off of it) can’t go, because frankly, there’s not several million people living that world full-time. So they will behave a bit like tourists.

      That said, the RPS crew have always been strong supporters of OFP/ArmA, from well before RPS existed. And at least some of us who were in “the scene” recognized and appreciated them for it.

      If through the mod, people can get some of the best experiences I’ve gotten out of OFP — the interaction between player and terrain, the uncertainty that the next hill may bring sudden death or nothing at all, exploration and survival: tactical movement, worrying more about being killed than killing — then great. The next time it doesn’t have to be a zombie mod.

      The addictive, attractive nature of the open world/powerful mission tools of the OFP/ArmA system was always that you could set up the complete opposite of an “on-rails” shooter, and the environment continues beyond the corridor. Making that work in a game is an achievement several orders of magnitude more important than CTI.

    • Hypnotoad says:

      This is exactly what got me about the article, BI games have one of the richest mod communities out of any game, with tens of thousands of mods ready to go.

      Just made it seem like Jim only played ARMA a tiny amount to review, and didn’t look into the mod community at all.

      Hell, there have been full survival zombie mods for flashpoint and every game since, this is just the first one to have cross server persistence, which is one of the main reasons why it’s taken off.

      Just a little bit poorly worded, have played with RPS ARMA for a bit and having read the past articles I know it’s not true, but seriously when discussing mods ARMA always comes up high on lists in our group.

      • thebigJ_A says:

        No, it was perfectly worded, you just have poor reading comprehension. He didn’t say what you, or Mr. Hipster up there, seem to think he said.

        • Hypnotoad says:

          Exactly, he didn’t say – All it needed was a “despite the large mod community” there is no mention in the whole article about the mod community (Which although not what the article was about, would serve to accentuate the unusual success of Dayz, with it not being the first free-roaming zombie mod for ARMA and the only real change being external server support and inter-server persistence. )

          So with his comment, he’s proliferating the issue!

          What I’m more interested in though, is whether the increase of ARMA purchases will leak players from Dayz into ARMA itself, without them being dragged into the hardcore ACE communities.

  20. fupjack says:

    I think the fun of the game is in playing with someone you know, in a harsh environment. If it was a single-player map, it wouldn’t be that exciting. If it was pure deathmatch, it would be a very slow game.

    The world in this game doesn’t care if you live or die. This makes having another player who does care that much more significant.

    On a more technical note: I kept having issues with building surfaces going all weird if looked at from the wrong angle – they’d elongate and block my view. It made larger cities difficult to navigate. Turning off antialiasing fixed it.

  21. Sinderlin says:

    I’m afraid though that the introduction of temperature might prove too much of realism. Taking shelter from the rain and silently staring into the rain creates atmosphere in films and a solemn feeling in real life but in Day Z it’s simply keeping people from playing, especially newbies/new characters without firewood and matches. Day Z is about exploring the landscape and scavenging for necessities or that extra edge you need to survive but the temperature system forces you to sit on a rock and do nothing while you wait for the rain to stop.

    Finding shelter in time actually creates those situations Jim wrote about. Where you desperately try to find the means to your survival while the need grows more urgent by the minute. But when you finally find a dry hunters shack that’s not patrolled by a dozen zombies means you get to stare at a highly fascinating grey wall while finding a can of beans on an empty stomach still gives you plenty to take care of. Like getting out the bloody door and across the street without being detected by some zombies stumbling around the corner.

    edit to sum up the argument:
    The need to find shelter can create interesting situations but the following minutes of waiting for the rain to stop feel like you’re not playing the game (which is never a good sign for any game design).

    • Elmar Bijlsma says:

      I’m not so keen on the whole temperature/disease modelling either.
      In a game where the average lifespan is 28 minutes, catching a cold ought to be so unlikely that it’s inclusion is entirely irrelevant.
      Or if you balance it to happen to the playerbase at a more frequent rate, likely to be annoying and feeling bogus.

      • Tom OBedlam says:

        I would imagine that, as the community stabilises, survival rates will greatly increase. I’ve no evidence at all here, but I suspect that in the early days of Dwarf Fortress the life span of a fortress was considerably less than the current average. If that’s the case with Day Z, then the introduction of more complex systems that take place over a long time will add a greater level of depth to the experience. Particularly if players begin to cluster in survivor ‘clans’ to band together against the bandits, who will also hopefully form raider gangs of their own. Despite not being able to get any playtime in yet, I’m hugely excited for the potential of this game. Ideally, I’d love Day Z to become The Road. Everything Jim’s written on it and everything I’ve heard from friends sounds straight from the pen of Cormac McCarthy.

    • jonfitt says:

      The rain is so heavy that when it’s dark there’s not much you can do anyway. You can’t see 5ft in front of you. Now when you hear thunder you know you need to find shelter rather than just lying in a field an waiting. That’s pretty good.

      • desolateshroud says:

        I usually just log off at night as it is ridiculously dark, or try to play on one of the few North American West coast servers.

        Regarding the sickness, I like its inclusion. As a player who is prone to avoiding contact, built up areas etc. I think it deepens the survival element of the game.

        Shameless plug: I have written a part 2 to my Dayz survival guide please check it out! http://desolateshroud.blogspot.ca/2012/05/dayz-survival-guide-part-2.html

        • thebigJ_A says:

          A large number of the East Coast servers are on reverse time, so it’s day during RL night. Try those. I’ve been playing Virginia 15 + 16 (several of the other Virginia ones are, too, just not sure which).

          If you see me on there, My username’s Joe. Yep, just Joe.

          Oh, and don’t shoot, I’m friendly *salute*.

  22. oceanview says:

    I just want to thank you guys for bringing this game to my attention, luckily I had bought arma 2 combined operations before in a steam sale so could jump right in. At it’s best it’s truly truly brilliant. Even after days of careful playing, laying on a hill beneath a bush quietly scoping and suddenly being shot in the back of my head, never heard the guy. It’s just a strange feeling of calm.. oke. That was it… in most games I would be infuriated; here it’s not a matter of “if” but “when”.

    I’m even considering seriously upgrading my pc now, haven’t been this exited about a game since my amiga days and when I first bought a 3dfx card.

    So yeah. Great reporting. Love you for it.

  23. RagingLion says:

    Here’s a pondering by just an observer: I’m wondering if this and Minecraft have something special going on with getting into the position to survive. Those 2 games have more in become than just that, but when you talked about people losing it all if they die, it made me think about the fact that it is those first number of hours of getting yourself into a position to survive that are most intriguing. I think that was also true of particularly the early days of Minecraft and I got the sense that people loved just starting a new world again and again to relive that part of the experience.

    Maybe this is a flawed observation though, since perhaps the staying alive after those initial steps is the interesting part of DayZ. But ultimately when you crest the difficulty level of these experiences (say by having a helicopter in Day Z it eventually gets a lot less interesting.

  24. bhagan says:

    Maybe this is a silly question, but have any mac users been able to get this running in Wine?

  25. RoboLlama says:

    Rocket, the mods author, has talked about making this its’ own game. So, it won’t be a mod the lasts for years, instead it will be upgraded with its own engine (hopefully) and thus be a much, much more polished experience.

  26. realmenhuntinpacks says:

    Ha! Been dying to try this, and now I have a reason. I’m studying Russian and have very little chance to converse. Fucking hell, best homework ever.

  27. Chickenfeed says:

    “The latest beta-patch of the game finally nails direct communication, a feature the game has been trying to include for years.”

    The direct communication has worked for years (Since Flashpoint, but I might be wrong, was a looong time ago). It didn’t work with DayZ cause it uses a command that is not compatible with MP.

  28. Sarmatios says:

    I lived in the US for nearly a year and I have visited it many times since but I’ve never heard anyone speaking American.

  29. reyke says:

    i would like to take a look at this mod, you only require arma2 to play ? or do u need expansions if there are such thing on arma?

    • Unaco says:

      You need what is called Combined Operations… Which is Operation Arrowhead (a standalone ‘expansion’/sequel to ArmA2) run with ArmA2 also installed on your machine. It runs OA with the OA assets and engine, and the ArmA2 assets included/available… basically allowing ArmA2 assets to be played alongside OA assets in the OA engine, or just ArmA2 assets in the OA engine. Combining the 2 games, essentially.

      So, in short, you need both ArmA2 and the Operation Arrowhead expandalone. You can buy these from anywhere, doesn’t have to be both from the same place, as long as you point OA in the direction of ArmA2 when running CO (there are launchers and stuff available for doing this easily). Saying that though, I would think most places that offered the 2 separate would also offer Combined Ops (which, as well as being what you call running the two games together, is also the name for the two games as one package).

      Although, you can, reportedly, replace ArmA2 for ArmA2:Free, to make Combined Ops Lite, as it’s known. However, that means that the ArmA2 assets are stuck at the ArmA2:Free low resolution/quality… and DayZ makes use of a lot of these assets, least of all the map (Chernarus) and all the environment.

  30. stinkytaco says:

    What I am wondering is what Bohemia is paying to their PR company to get all this great press.

    Typical game:

    1. Log into 1-6 servers @ approximately 5 mins each time, only to find yourself standing in pitch black.
    2. Finally find a daytime server. Hooray! only 10-45 minutes later.
    3. Search for any kind of upgrade because the default load-out will get you killed. 1 shot brings swarms of zombies.
    4. make some kind of mistake and get swarmed with zombies or get killed by another player.

    The endless walking to pointless scenarios, gets very old very quick.

    The night time is completely asinine. Get lucky and spawn near a campfire, or toss your flairs in a perimeter and stand around in one place for 12 whole hours (because realism is the key here boys and girls, and standing in the dark is SooOOOoo much fun.)

    The elitist jerks that are regulars are armed to the “T”, and sit around and snipe off newbies constantly. There is no leveling or handicapping to promote fair game play. If you are new, you will suck, and your experience will suck.

    If you read all these articles from PC Gammer and the rest of the zealots you will notice that they all have the same thing. Authors with huge imaginations that they employ to amuse themselves while they use this walking simulator.

    The scenarios are pretty much imagined, and somewhat accurate if you want to sit and daydream.

    I must argue, that if ARMA had randomly spawning equipment, and bad guys, you would have a better / funner experience. You could jump right into the “neighborhood-of-make-believe.” just as much as with this mod. You can imagine all kinds of scenarios .

    The only thing I can agree with is that it is somewhat of a unique experience.

    Gameplay can be summerized as:

    Search for stuff.
    Get killed by zombie, or snipped off by some elite player.
    Rinse, and repeat.

    Oh, you can kill bunnys and cook them… Wee!

    I have a feeling, thay this is not actually as much of a user mod as we think it is.

    The fact of the matter is that the mod is made by an Bohemia employee, and you need to pretty much buy their entire line of Arma 2 DLC, and mission packs. And every review site is pretty much 100% for it, Tells me there has been some serious pay-offs going on here. It also tells me that this was planned from the start to be some kind of “indie” game that is going to challenge the “big guys”.
    Fact of the matter is, that if Bohemia just came out and admitted that they are just making this for a sales gimmick that there would not be as much enchantment.

    I may be wrong, but I cant see EVERYONE being 100% behind this mod in its current state without some “monetary grease” tainting their opinions.

    I ended up paying over $50 to see this new wonder. And have come to the conclusion that I would not have payed $10 for it, as DLC. I fell for their little sales gimmick, just like thousands of other people have.

    Coincidence, I think not.

    • clive dunn says:

      You just took a long pee over my future wife.

    • sinister agent says:

      The server issues are because the game’s popularity was hundreds of times greater than its creator anticipated. He’s spent much of the time since it opened trying to keep up with demand. Of course there are going to be long waits to get in – demand far outstrips supply right now. That was pretty much inevitable. It’s annoying, but what else are you expecting, for every modder in the world to pay for servers that can house thousands of players on the off-chance?

      Night time is sometimes pitch black – when that happens, it’s unplayable. I agree, and always log right off when I see that. But when it’s not pitch black but simply very dark (as night actually is), it’s excellent. It will probably be changed. It’s an alpha. It’s a pre-pre-release build of a game.

      The default gear will get you killed if you try to use it as anything other than a defensive weapon, yes. If it weren’t so, everyone would just run around topping each other from the off – there’d be no incentive to do anything but kill newly-spawned player for their ammo.

      Yes, firing draws zombies to you. Which is why you don’t fire unless you absolutely have to. This is a game in which every gunshot should be carefully considered, as it can set off an attack or give away your position to anyone nearby. It’s not a game where you slaughter zombies – it’s a game where you creep around carefully trying to find supplies and escape before they spot you.

      If you’re getting killed that regularly in the same way, maybe rethink what you’re doing? I’ve been playing for 11 days in game, and have died once due to a (now fixed) bug where I fell off a ladder. I’ve been lucky, yeah, but also I’ve been careful. It’s a game about taking precautions and using your head first and your gun last. Survival, not slaughter.

      It’s not to everyone’s tastes, sure, and it does certainly have teething problems. But to suggest that 50,000 people (as of a week ago) downloaded a free mod for a years-old game because a developer spontaenously decided to pay off the entire internet is more than a little ridiculous.

    • Zarunil says:

      I sense this game is not for you.

      • thebigJ_A says:

        Of course it’s not, you can’t even “T-bag n00bz”.

        Generally I don’t like insults, but this tool just accused RPS, and a large chunk of the rest of the gaming press, of corruption, because he wants to play CoD.

        Go back to your casual games, casual.

        Hmm, no, still don’t like insults. Ah well.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      I can’t even count the reasons why this is terrible comment.

  31. ZIGS says:

    Is… is that Steve Jobs?

  32. DarkFarmer says:

    “I’ve written many times on the power of open worlds being systems that take place independent of the player’s actions. Worlds that don’t care whether we live or die are so much more intense in gaming than those which are ultimately intended to tell us stories and to let us win.” <- That.

  33. ichigo2862 says:

    Is that Steve Jobs up there?

    edit: ninja’d

  34. Leosaurus says:

    See, I come from the other side of the aisle. I WANT to like DayZ, but I just can’ t bring myself to it. I have tried over and over to play, and just like Dark Souls, when I play it, die, and lose everything only to have to go back and regain things again, I just don’t find myself enjoying it. It was fun and novel for about 2 hours, but after dying permanently time and again (often from strange glitches like zombies appearing out of thin air) and having to start over, I just wasn’t enjoying it. When I play open world games, I like a bit of a safety net. I don’t like putting in a ton of work just to die permanently and have to totally start over time and again. It doesn’t allow me to truly invest in a character when I can die permanently so very easily.

    Call me stupid for this if you want, but I think being a combat infantry veteran in the real world has a lot to do with it. Video games are a chance at escape from the stark finality of life and the pressure and frustration that results from these kinds of systems takes away that since of impermanence with death that games provide me. I enjoy death not being the final obstacle, and I enjoy a chance to try again…be it respawns, or starting over from a checkpoint, I enjoy the sensation of continued progress without losing absolutely everything and being killed in DayZ is losing everything and starting over again completely, almost like playing NES and turning it off before the era of save games. Everything starts again, and I just don’t find that fun.

    • Ragnar says:

      I don’t think you’re stupid at all. I love reading these stories, and I’d love to try Day Z, but realistically I feel I would just get frustrated and give up.

      I haven’t played Dark Souls, but in Demon Souls you could try to regain your corpse, and spend your points on stat upgrades once you had enough, so there was a permanence to it. With Day Z, I can’t help but feel that after dying, I’d just look back on it as wasted time. A better example than turning off the NES (which is a choice) would be playing a game which crashes and erases all your progress. I found it frustrating as a kid (I remember being heartbroken over losing many hours of progress in Zelda 2 when the NES got bumped), and I find it frustrating as an adult (I’d get too used to auto-saves in Fallout 3, then a CTD would erase 30-45 min on a long map).

    • Skabooga says:

      As much as I like DayZ, you, sir, appear to have a legitimate and well-considered reason for not liking it. No shame in that.

    • Shooop says:

      I sadly have to agree.

      It’s one thing to be challenged by a game, but this is turning into punishment. Where’s the counter-balance? Shouldn’t death be the game telling you you did something wrong and you need to rethink your moves? And when it isn’t even your own fault like just spawning on the beach and there being a bandit sniper waiting there….

      Dark Souls doesn’t punish you nearly as badly as DayZ – you loose all your currency which is a big setback, but you don’t get thrown back to the start of the area with nothing but a wooden dagger and possibly a mob of enemies waiting for you there. You can even recover your souls by finding your corpse so it’s more a harsh learning experience than punishment. But most importantly you get rewarded for learning from your mistakes. You get small victories that have purpose like a ladder shortcut for an area. DayZ appears to be falling into the trap of repetition without reason.

      I think the risk/reward ratio of DayZ is being pushed into complete unfairness because they’re adding more and more ways to die, but not enough ways to circumvent it or make you feel like that risk is worth taking.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Go inland before you decide. The coast isn’t the game everyone’s talking about, it’s just where griefers attack new players, and new players stumble about. The veterans head inland, where people are thinner on the ground, and there’s far more to do.

      I found a dirt bike today. A dirt bike!! Now I just need one more tire….

  35. Dariune says:

    Ive actually only had negative experiences with this so far.

    I have tried three times (in three half hour sessions) to get into the game.

    My experience goes like this.

    Take a while to log in.

    Get shot by someone

    Reload for a while.

    Its dark, no one shoots me. Walk 20 steps and get shot by someone.

    Rinse repeat.

    It just reminds me why i so very much hate playing multiplayer with people i dont know.

    I might give it another go, see if i can get off of the beach. But its unlikely.

  36. buzzmong says:

    I’m suprised so many people are well, suprised, by the feel of DayZ.

    EvE Online’s PVP works of the same principle by (providing you aren’t loaded with in game money or have an easy income stream) having high stakes, which is the reason why it used to be thrilling.

    DayZ just takes it one step further with a total character reset upon death. And it’s chuffing excellent for that.

    I do think night time is too hard though as you cannot see anything at all, some basic moonlight would be handy at times, even if it’s only tiny, as it’s making me enjoy it less when every European server I join (to keep pings down) is at night time.

    Of course, the flipside of the night is that bandits are pretty much non existant and you can sorta travel more freely in the open wilds.

  37. Shooop says:

    This is really getting to be too much I’m sorry to say.

    Dark Souls may be really difficult, but it’s not sadistic. You don’t loose everything when you die in Dark Souls. You loose a lot (all your currency), but not everything. You have the chance to rethink your approach. You’re given the feeling, “I can do that better next time!” But most importantly, you’re rewarded for doing better. Part of the point of the game is even to die because it’s a learning experience. Not one without negative consequences, but it won’t just dump you in the middle of nowhere with just a wooden sword.

    I fear DayZ is tuning into just a masochist’s wet dream, piling more and more odds against you without offering the smallest reward in return for playing by its rules. Why bother getting a better gun, or food, or car parts if you’re inevitably going to be shot by bandits, bludgeoned to death by zombies, now die of illness but not come away with so much as a learning experience? There is absolutely zero reason to bother doing what the game wants because inevitably you’re going to die, and everything you did is meaningless. The feeling of accomplishment of surviving another day is completely erased the moment you fail to. It’s hollow, fleeting, and meaningless not because the game hands you everything like most shooters. But because success just means delaying being a victim of your own failure(s), someone else’s greed, or just bad luck.

    There are no lessons, no “Aaaaaaah! THAT’S a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that before?” moments. Most likely someone else just had a better gun, a better position, and wanted your stuff. Or you just spawned in a bad part of the map with 20 zombies or a bandit with a sniper rifle waiting for you to take 10 steps in the wrong direction. There’s no revelation, no “Ack, I shoulda seen that coming!” moment in deaths like those. Just another respawn and rolling of virtual dice that you won’t be spawned into another impossible predicament.

    It’s terrifyingly like reality in a way.

    DayZ seems to be only demanding more and more of the player but giving them nothing in return for meeting those demands. Isn’t this what some people call a “dead-end job?” Isn’t DayZ supposed to be a video game? It’s nice being challenged a bit at my workplace but when I meet the challenges I don’t want someone to give me the flu and then tell me to do the same thing all over again. I don’t want to same thing in my games either.

    I really was excited about DayZ.

    A true zombie survival game in one of the largest virtual worlds ever created! No scrip limitations! Why didn’t anyone think of this before? As Rocket said, everyone wanted it, but no one wanted to make it.

    But the direction the developers are taking it seems to me like the antithesis of a game. I’d love a challenge, yes. I want the challenge, the emphasis on “It’s you versus the world, and boy does it hate your guts!” I want the constant need to decide whether or not to look in that house for supplies because there might be unfriendly company waiting for me when I leave. All of those things are daring and brilliant. But I’m not a masochist. Call me a “casual” or whatever label everyone’s throwing around these days for thinking like this if you must, but I do see a game I’d love to enjoy, if only it would actually let me enjoy it.

    • Hanban says:

      I absolutely love DayZ, but I hate Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. For some reason I could never get used to the notion of trying to run back to my corpse and surviving to get those souls back, seeing all of what I’d already trudged through again for the third time.

      In DayZ I am much more comfortable with the inevitability of death and the fact that I’ll lose my stuff. It’s a comforting notion, for some reason!

    • Apples says:

      That’s kind of the point, though. That it’s like reality – that most of the time you never saw what killed you, you can’t learn anything from it, and the end result no matter what is that you die alone and have your corpse looted by people who were, in that moment, more fortunate than you. It’s not a videogamey “you can win as long as you try hard enough!” motivator, it’s a brutal simulation. Inevitable comparison to STALKER: my favourite memory from STALKER wasn’t of me getting a better gun, or dealing perfectly with an anomaly – it’s finding a building I knew to be safe in the midst of a blowout, using the door with relief only to find out that someone else has already occupied it and locked it up tight, and dying huddled in the corner of a building desperately injecting myself with anti-rads to no avail. So I guess it depends what you like getting out of games – a feeling of improvement and mastery, or just kind of individual moments and the feeling of living out a ‘real’ (if short) life. If you feel like you’re attempting mastery of the game and keep getting thrown back to absolute zero at death, then yes, you will get frustrated. If you feel like you’re attempting to carry out some sort of ‘survivor experience/story’ and that each time you die, it’s the end of that particular experience, then you will not.

  38. nanowired says:

    An aside: If you’re there to be a bandit and murder people, the zombies are insignificant.

  39. tehsorrow says:

    This game is great but I wish 90% of my time wasn’t spent on the bandit infested coast trying to find my friend, who has spawned 200 kilometres away.

    That and “Waiting for server response”

  40. Captain Hijinx says:

    “Arma 2 isn’t exactly a go-to game when you think of discussions of modding”

    That’s a ridiculous claim Jim.

    Arma 2 has some of the best modding in PC.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I explained this up thread. *Read the words*. It’s not that it doesn’t have good modding – OBVIOUSLY IT DOES – it is that when the wider community talks about modding they talk about Counter-Strike or DOTA or whatever, not Arma. Until now.

      Of course the people who play Arma know it has a great modding scene, that’s why they’ve been playing it. But it doesn’t get wider acknowledgement.

      That’s my point!

  41. hjd_uk says:

    The reson why games like this are so compelling:

    “Triumph Against Adversity”

    Infinitly more rewarding than “Here’s your free prize for watching a cut-scene and pressing ‘X’ 20 times”

  42. thebigJ_A says:

    Some fool in the DayZ forums was arguing vehemently that the persistence across servers was ruining the game, that it made living or dying unimportant, that it should be done away with immediately. Nonsense, of course. To his credit, he did argue for it well, and definitely thought about it, though most of his points are inaccurate upon reflection.

    Here it is: http://dayzmod.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=4180

  43. vivlo says:

    is that guy preparing our minds to his forthcoming own survival open-word game ? :p

  44. The Sombrero Kid says:

    The comparisons between DayZ and Dark Souls are wrong, DayZ like Minecraft doesn’t make you replay content and so doesn’t have player death in the traditional sense.

  45. abandonhope says:

    This should hold me until The Dead Linger is released. It will be interesting to see what they do differently.

  46. nindustrial says:

    Concept is awesome. I think my favorite part so far is spending the better part of an hour after paying $30 and not being able to get it to work. At least the base game itself seems cool.

    EDIT: Finally got it working by using an older version of the code.

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