Pre-Undead: The War Z Beta Is Proving Popular

By John Walker on August 2nd, 2012 at 11:00 am.

MMO players lining up for their next fix.

The War Z isn’t the same game as Day Z. That’s the sort of mantra I have to recite to myself, especially a week after I confused Watch Dogs with Sleeping Dogs. Videogames – get more distinct names! War Z is of course an MMO about zombies, rather than… whatever genre Day Z fits into. And they’ve just announced they’ve had more than 100,000 registrations for their closed beta, so clearly there’s a lot of interest out there for it. If you want to join in with that interest, there’s now a proper website for it.

The final game is due out this Autumn – presumably they’re not nailing it down any more than that before they run the beta. But the game’s senior designer, Eric Nordin, says the interest that’s already been shown has been a real boost.

“The response in the first week since we announced the game has been incredible and it’s totally inspired the team. We’ve been following all of the comments on the various forums as well as our Facebook page and it really validates that we’re creating something that gamers want to play. We’re going to continue working hard and make sure we deliver the best game possible!”

Like its zee-named friend, despite being an MMO the focus here is on survival, even featuring permadeath. Clearly it’s going to receive a lot of comparison with Day Z, and it’ll be interesting to see if that works out favourably. But of course, being released in a few months it’s obviously been in the works a long time before Day Z became a Thing. Although I hope to goodness they’ve had the sense to pay attention to their soon-to-be rival to borrow what works, and avoid what doesn’t.

The new site is currently a touch confusing. They’ve got big PREORDER buttons all over, offering a closed beta place for those who do, but they don’t actually link to any such thing. Instead, it’s still taking you to the regular beta sign-up form. So, I’ve no idea if that’s going to change in the near future.

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46 Comments »

  1. mikmanner says:

    I don’t understand this line on their site, “You may have played games before – now it’s time to live one.” What?

    • SuperDuperStormTrooper says:

      I think they want to kill us or something.

      • Enzo says:

        You die in the game – you die in real life. The ultimate roguelike.

        • inawarminister says:

          S A O! S A O!

          On topic:
          Whew, permadeath is really hitting mainstream now, isn’t it?
          Permadeath and Iron Man modes…

          • neonordnance says:

            Totally ok with me! There’s a reason why folks still play stuff like nethack, despite archaic ASCII graphics– roguelikes are great!

        • Tei says:

          Perhaps this will be the zombies simulation persistent game for me?

          I can’t play DayZ because I don’t like controls, and is “too dificult” for a guy alone. The only gameplay that I can get from it is dyiing from a zombie after running for 40 minutes. It seems that I need a slighly more streamlined …he… ZSPG game.

          • Sarissofoi says:

            If you wanna some help you can contact me.
            I can show you the basics and help you secure the basic supplies and some weapon.
            Steam Sarissofoi

          • profaniti says:

            Happy to help out too – Profaniti on Steam.

            The controls take some getting used to, and the “start game” state can be tough, but improves with practice.

            The pay off it totally worth IMO.

            There is also : http://www.reddit.com/r/dayzlfg

          • FourOfFiveDentists says:

            I too would be willing to help. Honestly I’ve been going solo since the first launched. I’ve got tons of supplies and ammo, but I’m lonely. Honestly the game gets VERY boring if you don’t have anyone to pal around with so I’d love to cap some Zeds with you.

            I do agree though. The game is hard to get into. Part of that is because it’s and alpha, and part of that is by design.

  2. Knightley4 says:

    Still waiting for gameplay video. Hell, any video.

  3. Eophasmus says:

    It will certainly be interesting to see which is ‘better’ and which is blindly praised for being ‘first’.

    Personally, I’ve had trouble with DayZ, so if there are systems in place in The War Z that improve the experience for me, I’d be quite happy. However, I love the Arma engine, so I’m concerned that it’ll become more standard-FPSy in terms of control and lose the open-world feel of Chernarus. Good luck to them.

    EDIT: Apparently it is open-world, and this from their website sounds appealing:

    As you progress through the world, exploring what happened, you will find notes and diaries that NPCs and other players left for you. These will have hints to the whereabouts of supplies and weapons you will need to survive.

    • Derppy says:

      While both are about zombie survival, they are quite different games.

      War Z is an RPG. You gain experience and skills, there’s safety with currency and shop system, you can buy “convenience items” with real money, there’s also 3-4 times more players per square kilometer.

      No doubt it will be a fun game, more of a game than DayZ, but I think I’ll still stick with DayZ for it’s brutal realism, lack of artificial advantages and disadvantages and the constant danger. I prefer the simulation to a well balanced “normal” game.

      • Eophasmus says:

        Indeed, the simulation aspect of ArmA II and DayZ is it’s strongest point, and it is still in alpha, so it has plenty of opportunity for refinement and betterment.

    • Spengbab says:

      Yea well, the problem with that “note” stuff is, its only going to contain ASCII art depicting massive gonads or hateful stuff. Day Z showed how amazingly friendly the general Internet scum can be. Now imagine them as MMO players. Pass.

      • Eophasmus says:

        If it had a good community, it could be a really amazing idea – treasure maps or information for other survivors, threats from bandit clans, etc. But in reality, you’re right, the player-left notes will be capitalised ejaculations of how fat our mothers are or how everyone is new at the game therefore clearly not worthy of playing it.

  4. Xardas Kane says:

    I still haven’t gotten my hands on DayZ. Is it really THAT amazing?

    • WinTurkey says:

      Only the concept is, the game itself doesn’t work both because the engine isn’t suited for that sort of gameplay (including modelling the zombies) and because when you set a bunch of players loose in an open environment with no rules they’ll turn everything into a deathmatch with no hope for cooperation.

      • Derppy says:

        Have you played the game?

        While there’s issues, I think Virtual Reality is a great engine for a game like this. It’s pretty much the only engine that makes a game like DayZ possible with only small adjustments. The game has pretty good AI, but the zombies use a very basic animal AI for now, because the servers couldn’t run 500 individual, complex AI characters. The inventory system is complicated and not very user friendly, but it also supports stuff like moving gear to a bag and putting bag in a trunk of a car.

        Cooperation isn’t hopeless, it’s required. If you go solo, you either die to bullets, or to boredom while sitting alone in the middle of nowhere. When you play with friends, set up a camp and get into vehicles, the game starts truly shining. Every trip is a risk that could go wrong in multiple ways, ruining days or weeks of progress.

        Besides, playing as a group has a ton of advantages. The lone bandits rarely even bother to open fire to a group of people, it allows blood transfusions and makes zombies a less of an issue. Most importantly, it allows you to discuss with your friends while hiking miles from point A to point B in the middle of nowhere.

        • sophof says:

          One of those many needed adjustments. The server never HAS to simulate 500 zombies, although I guess it is possible in some situations. lod is also possible for AI and network applications. Neither is zombie AI complex and it IS very animal like. However, if we were hunting animals in this game behaving like this the problem would still be there ;)

          I’m liking the game, but it is a bit too full with bugs and unoptimized code for me to recommend. The fact that the animations and AI still aren’t fixed is also worrying. Either no one knows how, or can’t be bothered. Especially because rocket must have the backup of the arma2 team by now.

      • PoulWrist says:

        @WinTurkey – Except everything you say is wrong :p

    • pigchicken says:

      It really is, although you’ll need some friends to play with, or even us RPSers, as the enemy survivor paranoia has reached it’s peak. There is a huge problem with hackers atm too, especially on the RPS server, we seemed to have been targeted for some reason, an incident most nights.

    • CrookedLittleVein says:

      Nooooo. Nope. Nah. Nein. Nyet.

      Buggy, looks like arse and the community is awful.

    • simonh says:

      One of my thoughts after playing Day Z for a while has been “please someone copy this mod and make a proper polished game out of it” (not saying The War Z is it). I know Bohemia are doing everything they can to improve it but with ARMA 2 as a base I doubt they really can take it far enough.

      I think one of the reasons people turn it into a deathmatch is because other than the other players the world is honestly not much of a threat. Zombies are easily outrun and dealt with, and food and water is plentiful. It’s happened to me several times that I’ve got a backpack filled with refillable water bottles and self-hunted meat, where if I wanted to I could easily have stayed out in the forest and survived forever and with little risk of being discovered by other players. Only thing is, at that point, what are you supposed to do? Just sit and wait for your hunger and thirst meters to go down so that you can fill them up again? The only thing left to do really is PVP.

      • Xardas Kane says:

        Knowing the concept of the mod, the problems you described were the first things on my “what could go wrong with this concept” list, thanks a lot of the comment. It does sound like a wonderful idea though, but being a poor student, I think I’ll wait for the actual game the mod creator has promised instead of giving away 30 bucks for a shooter I have little interest in just to try out a mod.

      • varangian says:

        I’d go along with that. Like you I’ve no idea whether War Z will be it – though I suspect not – but I’d love to see someone get this right. Based on what I’ve seen of Rocket’s decision making so far I doubt very much if it’s going to be him.

    • Unaco says:

      Yes.

    • Ganjatron says:

      For me personally it is, but I’m also a person who knows what the term Alpha means. The game mod isn’t perfect but most of its problems can be squarely put on Arma2′s engine. People tend to forget this is an APLHA MOD of an already established, and if you can work with its quirks, then you should enjoy the game. Just remember, there are no goals or end game, and the game can be brutally mean to you, but if you can deal with all that, then yes, the game is amazing.

    • Slinkyboy says:

      If you’re like me, you won’t enjoy Dayz was much, I bought it because I had to, if I didn’t I’d go insane not knowing what it’s like. It’s not what I thought it would be like. I bought it for 15 dollars just for Dayz and I played Vanilla more than Dayz.

    • xaphoo says:

      DayZ really is that amazing. I haven’t been this excited about a game since my dad bought my an NES when I was 8. It’s brought out more emotional intensity than anything I’ve ever played. It fits simple pieces together into a kind of awe-inspiring majesty.

      Dwarf Fortress or EVE are greater monuments to gaming architecture. But DayZ is the essence of power in simplicity. I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

  5. eel says:

    “Start playing in our first world “Colorado”, t o d a y, and prepare yourself to join other gameplay locations scattered around the world as we release more and more content.”

    Has the beta already started?

  6. houldendub says:

    God this game looks A-MAZING, DayZ is an absolute TON of fun, but sometimes it’s just a little bit TOO challenging (and I can respect that, hell it’s based on ARMA, I’m not expecting run-n-gun gameplay or anything), and, well I just don’t have THAT much time as I did a few years ago when I’d be powering through WoW or some shit.

    No subscription, DLC or expansion pack fees is just, mindblowing, I really hope they can maintain everything well, adding in servers paid for by the user is a thing DayZ did fantastically, and I hope that it’s done well here (although, 250 player servers… I wonder how expensive those will be, and if they’ll only really be viably bought by organisations).

  7. RegisteredUser says:

    Preorder, huh.
    There go all hopes of being able to mooch myself into another F2P. :p

    Path Of Exile for life it is then!

  8. Beanchilla says:

    Is there a price yet?

    • PoulWrist says:

      F2P with microtransactions, no doubt :p

    • BinkBankBonk says:

      Quoted from their FAQ

      Is the game free to play or is there a subscription model?

      Neither. The game will be available at launch as a single-purchase download with no payments required to play after that. No subscriptions or hidden fees. You’ll be able to spend money in the game for items of convenience or to rent game servers.

      • Sidion says:

        Mannnnn P2P WITH micro transactions? I remember a time when you bought a game and got to enjoy it. If it was profitable before, why did they need to alter it?

  9. derbefrier says:

    Looking forward to some actual gameplay videos or a beta invite, which ever comes first. The zombie sandbox game I am really looking forward to is The Dead Linger though. It looks like what day z would have been if it was developed from the beginning as a stand alone full game.

  10. The Random One says:

    WARDOGS
    DAYFIGHTER
    FACE Z
    WATCHWAR
    SLEEPINGFACE
    etc.

    OT: I haven’t played Day Z, since I’m waiting for it to become both standalone and stable, and also because one more guy on the already struggling servers probably won’t help, and also also because my computer is currently buggered. But when I saw the first news on War Z, I didn’t think putting back the things Day Z removed that made it so big is a wise idea.

  11. Elmokki says:

    War Z could be good. I am however very reluctant to like it without knowing it far better. One of the charms of Day Z is the Arma II engine. Yes, it has terrible features and terrible bugs, but the more realistic movement and damage, ability to make trees fall and buildings blow up (though stuff that is able to do such things is rare in DayZ) and a fairly huge seamless world are things that I really doubt War Z will have. At least not all of them.

  12. Clavus says:

    It’s weird that this game is going to be released in just a few months, but not a single second of gameplay footage has been shown to public yet. I’ll remain sceptical for the time being.

    • cyrenic says:

      No way that release date will hold. They’ll be lucky to have a beta running by the end of the year.

  13. Ganjatron says:

    No footage at all, all purchase buttons go straight to the beta form, and supposedly releasing this fall? Yeah right, call me when actual media showing the game in action gets released, I’m not buying into phantom hype.

  14. jimangi says:

    I think there’s a lot of people wanting a standalone, easy to install, less clunky version of Day Z. There are quite a few barriers to entry after all.

  15. fish99 says:

    I was watching some DayZ twitch streams and the way some people play the game has pretty much put me off. Stuff like tricking a player with no gear into thinking you’re friendly, luring them off somewhere and killing them, then laughing about it, then doing it again and again and again. That sorta crap is why everyone has to just KoS and the game has turned into nothing more than glorified deathmatch. Seems like the game has already been ruined by it’s own playerbase.