The Saline Bandit: DayZ Diary – Part Two

By Emily Richardson on January 24th, 2014 at 9:00 pm.

DayZ is a multiplayer zombie survival sim which, though buggy and incomplete, produces anecdotes of drama, desperation and clown mask-wearing weirdos. Emily Richardson has been playing it with a question: can you be a good person in the videogame post-apocalypse? Read part one here.

I’ve started a new life in DayZ and I’m determined that this one isn’t going to kill anyone. I’ve already lost all my friends, but I’ve got a lot of food and water from the town of Polana. It’s time to head back to the coast, meet up with some allies and begin my work as a good Samaritan of Chernarus.

This is my third life. In the second, I spawned in Kamiwobo and decided to sit by the water pump until my friends caught up with me. As I was sitting in a little hedge reading Twitter, a voice asked, “What are you doing?” I look back at my primary monitor and there’s a guy in a green t-shirt and bright red crash helmet looking at me. I look back at him.

“Are you alright?” he asks.

“Yes, I’m just reading Twitter.”

“Oh, right.” He sounds perplexed. “Are you going somewhere now?”

“No, I’m waiting for my friends to meet me here.”

He tells me he’s waiting for his friends too, and then starts playing Let’s Get Ready To Rumble at me over proximity chat. We move over to the road so we can do the wiggle and dance a bit. His name is Charlie, and he sings all kinds of songs to me until my friends appear on the horizon.

“Are those your mates?” he asks.

“Yup! You should sing to them too,” I tell him. “They’d like it.”

I turn around to wiggle at them and YOU ARE DEAD. Charlie decapitated me with an axe.

In this third life, though, I did much better. I made my first venture to an airfield and immediately ran away again when my comrade got shot in the back and died. I survived for a good day and a bit and let two random players pass by me without them even knowing I was there. Part of me always wonders if I should have shot them for saline and loot, but when I see that fluorescent little backpack wiggling across the horizon I just don’t have it in me. Besides, how many times have I survived an encounter I didn’t know existed?

I decide to meet up with a pacifist ally called Edward George Terry Fenning. He’s a pacifist ally because he’s new and does whatever I say, and I make a point of calling him Edward George Terry Fenning at every opportunity. Apart from when I forget who he is and call him Will.

We team up and head back to Elektro to see if we can’t get him a gun from the fire station. Along the way we’re joined by my friend Sean, who, upon arriving in Elektro, immediately falls off the topmost roof of the hospital and kills himself, landing on the roof just below.

Edward George Terry Fenning and I find his body and begin to load Edward George Terry Fenning up with all his gear, arming him with a rifle and magnum in the process. It’s at this point I see a little man running away from a zombie and into the hospital below. I order Edward George Terry Fenning to equip Sean’s rifle and aim at the door. I wait at the top of the stairs, knowing he’ll have to come up if he wants to escape the zombie who can, at this point in the alpha, walk through walls.

Sure enough he sprints right up to us. I point the gun at his face and tell him to hold still and put his hands up, which he does with no hesitation. However, because of the networking issues, he slides through a wall and pings back, appearing behind me in the doorway leading onto the roof where Sean’s body and Edward George Terry Fenning are. I’m stuck behind the guy, basically, and I look like a bloody fool.

With a few gentle shoves in the back, the guy takes a hint and walks out onto the rooftop. I’m concerned he has a concealed weapon, so I begin handcuffing him. I feel a bit guilty and don’t want him to panic and bolt off the edge of the roof, so I tell him that it’s okay and I’ll free him again after I’ve checked him over.

At this point, the guy begins to exude weirdness. “ARE YOU A GIRL? WHY GIRL PLAYING DAYZ? WHY IS GIRL PLAYING DAYZ HANDCUFFING ME?” I ignore him, getting a sense that he’s just one of those creeps and not aggressive. Edward George Terry Fenning keeps his rifle trained on the guy while I check through his gear and do a bad thing – I take a bag of saline out of his backpack. Meanwhile, the guy is still shrieking, “I’M AUSTRIAN, BE GENTLE WITH ME!” and other nonsense. I pull back and aim my rifle at him while Edward George Terry Fenning takes the last of Sean’s gear.

“ARE YOU TWO MARRIED IN REAL LIFE???!!” asks the Austrian, with two rifles pointing at him and a dead body on the floor.

“No,” replies Edward, “We’re not.”

The Austrian can’t seem to get his head around this. I start to take his handcuffs off and tell him to take whatever is left from the body. Then I think and say, “We didn’t kill him by the way. We don’t do that.”

“SURE YOU DIDN’T, YOU CRAZY MURDERING PSYCHOS!!”

I ask him if he’s hungry or thirsty but I know he has food and water in his backpack, and he says he’s not sick or injured so there’s little else to do. We decide to leave, wishing him a happy new year as we go.

Holding him up and stealing his bag of saline isn’t exactly healing and helping him on his way, but it’s about the best we could do in this situation.

The next one though, the next one will be perfect.

The Saline Bandit will return… on Monday.

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63 Comments »

  1. FurryLippedSquid says:

    “Part of me always wonders if I should have shot them for saline and loot, but when I see that fluorescent little backpack wiggling across the horizon I just don’t have it in me.”

    That will soon change, mark my words. This game makes it it’s business corrupting the purest of hearts.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      Not everyone:

    • alienation says:

      Not everybody wants to make the game hell for others. Some just want to watch the players be happy:)

    • Continuity says:

      I’m not sure its a case of “corrupting hearts”, in my opinion its simply a case of ultimately there being nothing else to do that will keep the game interesting. At its core Dayz is an FPS, once you’ve learned the map, all the survival skills, and good tactical awareness, there really isn’t any challenge at all in “surviving”. None, zero.

      So you can play russian roulette by trying to engage with other players, and find that most of the chambers have bullets in, or you can become a man hunter, taking out likely looking bandits. Or more likely you do both, and just get tired of kids trying to fuck you over when you’ve gone to great lengths to find them an help them, then you literally have nothing else to do but quit the game or start hunting players.

      Simple fact is that ultimately hunting players is the only end game.

      • Amun says:

        At least with the old bandit skin system you could go hunt evil doers and feel good about it. Now your options are hide in the woods, get murdered because you trusted someone, or hunt the most dangerous game.

    • Dario says:

      Ikd if its just my client or something but everytime I spawn on any server I always get spawned on the east coast, beside berezino or solnichiny in the standalone. Is this just me or is this happening to everyone?

    • Xylismand35 says:

      my roomate’s sister-in-law makes $82 /hr on the computer . She has been without a job for 6 months but last month her income was $14862 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read Full Article…….
      http://www.Jobs84.com

  2. Cheese Wold says:

    Almost the entirety of gameplay in DayZ seems to consist of forcing people to do things at gunpoint.

    Also, I have bet a friend that there will be three more DayZ articles over the weekend. Don’t let me down RPS!

    • Walsh says:

      And axe murdering people from behind.

      I was trying to figure out how to fill my canteen out in the woods, when out of goddamn nowhere lunatic flies at me then hits me in the neck with an axe. I was loaded to the gills with stuff. Seems to happen all of the time.

    • Spakkenkhrist says:

      We’ve been forcing people to listen to us sing and then give us honest critique, our feelings have taken quite a beating.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Almost the entirety of gameplay in DayZ seems to consist of forcing people to do things at gunpoint.

      It’s a real life simulator!

  3. Hanban says:

    This pretty much sums up DayZ for me:

  4. GamesInquirer says:

    After something like 50 deaths and learning the basics as I understand them to be, DayZ just doesn’t have lasting appeal for me. Living in that world seems pointless since you may easily die at any time without necessarily doing something wrong with a lack of skill or know how and the only real progress you ever see in the game is simply finding some good items, which can occur in 5 minutes of gameplay if you happen to find a freshly restocked military base/airfield or not happen at all for days or happen like a cheat because you joined a different empty server where every piece of loot was intact making it a completely random factor that doesn’t feel like natural progress or a personal success. It’s kind of like Minecraft without building, mining or crafting and full of psychotic murderers. Before someone makes the comparison, it’s very unlike real roguelikes where death rewards you with knowledge you then use to do better on your next life, not to mention the far more clear goal (however impossible it often is in such games) and obvious progression through floors or potentially quests. I really hope later versions provide some depth and variety, or I happen to stumble upon something I’ve been somehow missing.

    • misterT0AST says:

      I don’t think the game will change much. The appeal is right there, it’s just not for you.

      It’s about living interesting stories with interesting human beings, just because they’re human beings.

      Psychology, ethics, economy are the main focus rather than skill. I don’t think they will ever put in any bosses or progression system, that’s not really the point of the game. And strolling around the wasteland in search of adventure without any traditional objective is not for everyone.

      I think having a friend to play with would improve the experience tenfold.

      • Shooop says:

        One big problem with that notion: people don’t act the same in reality as they do when controlling pixels on a screen.

        And another almost as big problem: it’s always more rewarding and far less risky to just assume everyone is hostile and kill them as soon as you see them in this game then anything else. The game’s very base mechanics reward indiscriminate killing more than anything else. There is literally zero incentive to do anything else because at worst they were just starting out and they won’t drop anything useful for you. There’s zero negative consequences for anything except not treating everyone else as an enemy.

        There’s no psychology lesson to be found in this game, it’s purposely built to encourage a specific kind of behavior.

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      “Before someone makes the comparison, it’s very unlike real roguelikes where death rewards you with knowledge you then use to do better on your next life”

      That’s simply not true, every death teaches valuable lessons. That lesson can range from “Oh, shouldn’t have drunk that particular water” to “Damn, should have been far more tactically aware in that situation” and finally to “Trust no one, unless you’re willing to die on a whim”.

      As the previous reply stated, it’s all about the little stories. It’s not about the endgame, it’s about the journey. In that respect it’s very much like the Fighting Fantasy books. You’re not supposed to win, it’s all about how you die. And that, believe it or not, is very addictive stuff for a lot of people.

      • GamesInquirer says:

        Note I mentioned learning the gameplay basics there, so that includes learning that water (and almost everything else) can be fatal (but hey, you will have to risk it anyway if you haven’t found any other water or purification tabs or whatever else, always based on luck rather than skill) and that anyone could kill you at any time because you happened to pass him by and he happened to have found a better weapon or armor before you did in this life or he happened to see you first not because he was more tactically aware but because that’s how your paths happened to randomly cross. It’s the same thing every single life and there’s no consequence to death other than losing your stuff which again based on luck you may get even better stuff within 5 minutes, or never in that particular life if you’re unlucky and there’s no real reward for doing better, no more possibilities open up, no more discoveries beyond yet more types of food and weapons that behave much the same as any other. Basically you just use some common sense in that fucked up situation (with all the psychotic murderers and how anything can be potentially fatal and of course the zombies) eventually after you learn some basics and if you’re lucky enough you’ll have also found the supplies some of that common sense needs to be utilized so that you don’t risk quite as much every time you need to do something like drink, eat, or simply move about. It’s not long before you’ve encountered every type of situation the game has to offer beyond the at best unpredictable player interactions which can occur in any other game (but in this one it’s most likely to predictably result in a fight to the death). And yes, roguelikes are often impossible (for me) to beat but that doesn’t make their progression any less evident. And it’s not like I asked for the game to become Call of Duty, you can have progression in a sandbox game as in the Minecraft example where the longer you play the more stuff you get to do even if you’re not as lucky as others. You will have to invest some time regardless of luck to grow from nothing to someone with good tools, weapons, armor, a house, and so on, things that in DayZ either don’t exist or are based on luck so much more than your actions that it doesn’t feel as satisfying to achieve it. I didn’t make my weapons, I just happened to be at a good place at a good time to find all that good stuff and instantly go from nothing to a pretty well equipped murderer.

        • FurryLippedSquid says:

          If you’re going to run along roads, or sprint standing up through forests, or approach people without a care in the world, or enter a village without lying on your belly beneath a bush and scoping it out for 15 minutes, or not check your six every 20 seconds, you will die. You will die a lot.

          If you take care not to do any of those things, chances are you will survive quite a long time. If you’re not prepared to treat the game like danger lurks at every turn, don’t play it.

          Because you will die.

          A lot.

          • GamesInquirer says:

            Nowhere did I imply my problem is death. Death becoming of no importance because there’s no real progression and after dying you’re back to playing the same way you want, (whether careful or reckless) in no time as if nothing happened with only a change in gear (for the worse or for the better based primarily on luck, like near what place you spawned and what type of players are there at the time etc) is part of the problem for me. It’s not like I’m asking for it to become COD, sandbox games can have organic progression, like what if players could actually build functional settlements, barricade them, post guards against zombies and hostile players, use all that generic loot to craft things to better the defenses, assign missions to themselves with teams searching for supplies to keep the settlement and its people running, rotate tasks for variety, leave it up to that particular settlement’s people how organized they want to be, if they want to raid other settlements, expand, build outposts or stay as they are, and so on? People could also not be a part of one, but still interact with them in a hostile or friendly manner. Just a random idea. Death could still become pointless if after dying you simply just rushed back there and were brought up to speed by the rest, but at least you’d work towards something with some depth to it. Though I wish they could find a way to make death matter. Perhaps you couldn’t join the same settlement again and had to build relationships all over again with others but that would be hard to balance and would suck if you wanted to play with a certain group of friends that aren’t just in game strangers. Perhaps think of it as Eve Online set in a zombie apocalypse and less about money (though perhaps a settlement could choose to be as organized as making a currency for their own use, rewarding its people with it so they spend it amongst each other for different things like rations and supplies) and such. I dunno, I’m no designer, I just know I’m not enjoying this any more. I’m glad you’re enjoying it though, keep it up.

          • FurryLippedSquid says:

            Survival is the ultimate progression.

            “after dying you’re back to playing the same way you were”

            Only if your imagination dictates. Think outside of the box. May I also suggest paragraphs?

          • harr0p says:

            Yeah couldn’t agree more. Me and my fellow hunter have been alive now nearly a week real time. Takes a lot of doing but its completely in the realm of do-able.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Hmm. I see DayZ as being at its best as a roleplaying game – a true roleplaying game where you talk like you are the person you represent in the game.

            For that reason, I don’t think progression, in the sense of a game like Minecraft, is necessary. I think you need players to have more and less, but I don’t think you need to make players earn their sweet loot, it’s perfectly fine if they just get lucky and find it (Kinda like it might be in a real scavenging situation, maybe you do find a gun-owning home right off the bat!) just as long as they go on to act like a human being i.e. not killing everyone on sight like a psychopath because haw haw I gots a gun and I can murder everyone easily and without risk.

            Even then, having some psychopaths does make things interesting, though not if it just means randomly getting shot in the head by someone with a scoped rifle.

            Basically, I think it’s likely that the game won’t be developed in all the right ways. It will, I very much hope, however, contain all the tools needed for someone to create a decently-moderated private-ish server wherein roleplaying is enforced and killing people for reasons not beneficial to yourself is not okay. When that happens, that is when it will be the game for me.

        • shagohad says:

          I think you are first misinformed about what the current state of the game is versus the end goal. Right now there is very little persistence in game, less than the mod and that will change as early as beta with vehicles and tents ect.

          Secondly there is a gear imbalance at the moment. There are 3 guns in the game, its not hard to find any of them, thus if you were to visit an airfield you are likely to find almost everything you need because the number of items in game (alpha level content) means that probability is increased you will find something good.

          and finally as for never learning anything. I am a dayz fanboy and played the mod since it was first written about here on RPS. Way tooooo much dayz have I played. That has culminated in an intimate awareness of the map from orienteering to knowing where there is a stream bed that can be used for cover, a clump of trees that snipers sit in. I know the strengths and weaknesses of different firearms (in the mod anyways), how to use rangefinders in a variety of weapon optics, I can predict general player movements based on terrain and what gear they are using, I have a pattern of movement for every major looting location. A friend asked “how do you always spot players from so far away?” Its because Im looking for them in very specific places.

          In short Im not trying to show off but there is a huge amount to learn and when it becomes second knowledge it can be deeply satisfying and none of these things are just mechanics.

          And of course the best part, the game has so many great equalizers. All it takes is a a new spawn with one rifle round or perhaps a mad man with an axe who gets lucky and they can take everything from me if I slip up. So yeah get out there and die some more, but more importantly kill some assholes too.

          Also for the love of god play 1st person.

          cheers

      • GoTo2k says:

        With my last death, I learned that I shouldn’t be so careless on rooftops as it is quite a far way down… ;)

        EDIT: Aw crap, I did it again… it even was in the same town

    • Smuckers says:

      I would say that right now the SA version isn’t worth it. There’s way less content than the mod, so you’re better off starting there and finding a VANILLA server to try it out. I think part of your problem is that the SA is still quite (understandably) broken as it continues to develop. You have to come to grips with the idea that you’re going to die with all your cool stuff every time you play. This is especially true if you play by yourself, but this isn’t a bad thing because on your way to losing your shit you will probably encounter people and places that you haven’t seen before and that can be rewarding in itself.

      Dayz seems to give back what you put into it. I’ve been messing around with the mod lately, and it’s probably the most interesting thing i’ve played with in a long time. Just the fact that you dont spawn with a map or compass does a tremendous amount for immersion and forces you to learn the landscape, and how to navigate by the sun and the stars. Meeting people is always a risk, but if you communicate (failure to communicate will mostly cause you to be shot on sight) most people (on the mod servers, anyway) won’t hurt you, and may actually want to help you. Dayz is a game about interaction and survival, in that order. Collecting stuff is nice, but there’s no point if you’re not willing to risk it all IMO.

      Then again, it may not be for you, and that’s okay too. Not every game has to appeal to every type of person.

    • Jac says:

      I’ve filed DayZ in my list of games that I love reading about but don’t manage to extract anything near the stories or experiences as others seem to when I actually play myself. Especially weird in this case as on paper this is My Kinda Game.

  5. Gap Gen says:

    Did you meet the Master Chief in the first shot?

  6. The Hairy Bear says:

    I can’t help but feel that the renewed adventures of Captain Smith would be perfect for DayZ fresh from his bloody conquest of Mount and Blade

  7. The Random One says:

    “I’M AUSTRIAN, BE GENTLE WITH ME!”

    All of his dialogue in the article is now being voiced by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    You’re welcome.

  8. harr0p says:

    I’ve never surrender to anyone and never will its that simple. I will die a million time before that shit happens

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      That’s pretty much my outlook, especially in Online Bastard Simulators like DayZ. What’s the point of surrendering when the only negative is getting killed, coming back fresh, and getting all your shit back in a matter of hours?

      • harr0p says:

        The last time I died was a perfect example Id just arrived krasnostav airfield. Only to hear the beloved words of “stop put your hands up”. All I had was a spade so my in kind I told him to go f*@k himself. He got a spade round the face and I got his friends 5.56 in my back. I died laughing.

      • TWChristine says:

        I’ve only seen a few videos on the game, but this is the main question I ask myself, since usually at some point in the video this happens. If you know they are going to either A. steal your stuff, or B. harass you and “make you do things” (which I don’t understand how that happens anyway, unless you’re simply giving in with the hope they’ll keep their word not to shoot you), is it really worth putting up with their crap?

        The other day I was watching a video of Rust where two guys decided to help someone. Along comes some pre-teen wanting to join their group and they chased him off with something like “I’m going to give you to the count of three to run before I start shooting,” and in the kids voice he honestly sounded scared/nervous and all I could think was “Really? Are you going to be bullied by these random idiots and lose nothing since you’re already naked as it is?”

        Anyway, rant time over..I find these games some-what interesting (aside from the bastardry) but I don’t think they’re for me.

        • harr0p says:

          Yeah death becomes only a little annoyance after a while. The threat of gear loss is minimal seems as I know chernarus like the back of my hand from the arma 2 days. There really does need to be something added to actually make death a real slap in the face.

          Dean did mention skills at one point (Medicine etc) weather he’s scrapping that idea I don’t know but it really does need something.

          I do love the game but there really does need to be an extra level to make it harsh again.

          • GamesInquirer says:

            Even something as simple as having to play the next life as a zombie that can only be killed by other players might make people dislike death more while also providing some more interesting situations for other players on top of that. That seems like a pretty easy to implement half measure to start off with, not that I’d want them to stop there.

          • harr0p says:

            I really like the idea of skills that would shake up the whole murder on sight mentality of some of the more immature players.

        • shagohad says:

          you put up with it for fun

          if you dont roleplay just a LITTLE bit, at least, you will not have that much fun in these games.

  9. Continuity says:

    “At this point, the guy begins to exude weirdness. “ARE YOU A GIRL? WHY GIRL PLAYING DAYZ? ”

    Well, to be fair Emily in my experience you are something of an exception to the rule. I’ve played probably 1000+ hours of Dayz mod across all the maps, well the good ones anyway, with clans ranging from 4 guys to 15, and I have never once met a woman playing Dayz, or at least no player that identified themselves as female by speaking. So I guess its possible that there are hordes of mute girls out there, but it doesn’t seem that likely.

    • WhatKateDoes says:

      I mostly play mute, aside from team speak with close friends.

      Love DayZ. Playing the mod’s mod Epoch at the moment. Still sitting on hands at the moment regarding the standalone, but likely not for much longer if I can convince my cronies to get on board. Am a little concerned that we would be exchanging rough looking slightly shonky but advanced game mechanics with vehicles and base building for prettier but just as shonky game with none of the advanced bits :(

    • Gap Gen says:

      Frankly at that point I’d have just shot the bigot upside the head.

      • TWChristine says:

        Yea, the whole time I kept waiting for her to say she did and in my head I was going “Do it-do it-do it-do it-do it!!”

        • Gap Gen says:

          Mine was more of a Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction. “Say ‘girl’ again, motherfucker, I dare you, I double dare you.”

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Expect an outraged article from John Walker here in the next few days regarding that very topic.

    • nmute says:

      i always play mute.

      have exactly 2 people i have spoken to on voice since 2003/2004.

      there are probably a lot more than you might guess.

  10. Dudeist says:

    I’m big dayz fan and I understand why all this noise, but I think, more impressive now is rust and here not so much info about this game, or just not enough. I think this is biggest surprise in gaming last weeks. Dayz is great game, but over one year developement for early alpha still is a shame a little. This is not small indie company, Bohemia.

    • Continuity says:

      They’re not a small company but Dayz is a side project at best, their flagship game is Arma 3 and their bread and butter is simulators for the military. To be frank with the relatively small team they’ve had working on it, and all the engine work they’ve done, I’d say they’ve done pretty well.

  11. akbarovich says:

    I’m not sure what’s worse, shooting somebody and allowing a quick respawn, or handcuffing him and stealing his stuff, in effect respawning him with nothing.

    The other day I ran into another survivor who yelped out “Friendly! Friendly!” Then a dude with a rifle barged in and in this super authoritative wannabe cop voice ordered us to get down and drop our weapons. I ran off and hid behind a door. “Friendly” dude promptly dropped to the floor whimpering, and after gung-ho dude stole every last bit of his gear, he sniveled “Thanks for not shooting me! Shame on that other guy! He was TOTALLY not friendly! Heh heh!” Gung-ho man opened the door and promptly got a hacksaw in the face from me. I got shot, but it was totally worth not playing into his power-trip fantasy, especially since he would have stolen all my stuff anyway. Honestly don’t know why anybody would play along if the end result is having all your kit gone.

    To make the “capturing and robbing” work you need to make dying more of a consequence than respawning down the road…

    • shagohad says:

      i mean this kind of relies on role-play. If someone takes all my shit and poisons me I will go, make myself vomit and work from rags to riches, and maybe someday I will be looking at my robbers down a rifle scope. You may never know its them (until smaller private communities exist) but hey, its worth it.

      But if you wanna fight and die I feel you, I hate people being rude to me in game so I usually just go after them of bugger off into the woods

  12. Badfinger says:

    btw, the town you were talking about is Kamyshovo. The “W” character is an SH sound. Good luck not shooting anyone. I try when I can, but it’s hard.

  13. Stonycharlie says:

    Oh my God, that ‘axe murdering’ guy is me! Im sorry! Hahahha, I have a screenshot of you on my Steam account (same name)

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