Surviving In Day Z: Part Two

A large part of the internet is telling Day Z stories. People feel compelled to communicate what they’ve experienced in there. There’s a good reason for that. This unfinished modification is more interesting than 90% of games that will land in the same year. It is a game that – for many people – represents this kind of experience we were promised. An open-world, persistent, zombie game, where survival is the goal, and where each encounter with another real human being is a moment of terrible tension. What’s astonishing about this unassuming zombie mod is that it manages to take what is most interesting about MMOs – persistence, co-operation, risk of genuine loss in PvP – and add them to a multi-server FPS. Not just any FPS, either, but the monstrously deep simulation provided by master soldier sim, Arma 2. It’s unflinchingly bleak. It offers freedom, while threatening destruction. The stories that result from it are enthralling.

There’s also an uneasy feeling here, because once you start playing, you understand exactly why it has captured our imaginations. It makes you wonder why it took this long to happen. It’s almost too obvious. And consequently this is already the most intense, evocative, and interesting game I’ve played in 2012. If this year can offer up a more potent and affecting game experience before it closes, then I will be amazed, and blessed.

After the events of my first diary, myself and my real world chum, James from Big Robot, began to work with a few other RPS readers. We moved away from the coast, where waves of incoming newbies (and the bandits who prey on them) make life difficult. I began to be amazed at how much the persistence aspect of the game mattered. To die, and potentially lose everything that we had scavenged, seemed like a huge danger. We had to avoid it. We had to survive. And all it took to die was a moment’s loss of vigilance. A hungry newbie with his last bullet… For a while we began to try and fix up a car so that we could drive north to safety. After a while I took to simply watching our group from a hilltop tree line, where I could see what was going on in the valley – and see enemies coming – keeping my allies safe. The extent to which working with small bands of people you can trust matters is more powerful in Day Z than in any game that expects grouping mechanics by default.

Anyway, I had – with some annoyance – to leave my PC behind this weekend. I logged my character off in the wilderness. James continued his quest, and that’s outlined below. This stream of anecdotes should give you some idea about why we’ve become so entranced.

Over to James:

Jim killed him. That guy from the last post. I fired first – I think – but Jim must’ve put the killer round in because he got the murder count. I took comfort from that, only a few days ago. Since then I’ve killed other men, and not all of them deserved it. I’m still a survivor, I’ve still got my humanity, but I wonder for how long.

Like nothing else I’ve ever played, Day Z is a journey. I’ve seen more actual character progression in the last few days than in weeks spent roaming lonely RPGs. I’ve banged my head against Eve and bounced off, looking for meaning in a world with persistence and people at it’s heart. Day Z has provided all of that – almost by accident, it seems – and I’m totally hooked.

To make sense of our experiences, and my stories, I have to outline the difference between the two types of characters. At the heart of Day Z lies the break between the survivors and the bandits. Everyone starts out as a survivor, alone on a beach. Kill “innocent” survivor characters, and you become a bandit, a murderer. Prey only on those who have already fallen, and you keep your appearance as a survivor. Watching newbies getting dragged into the ruthless bandit mindset is a glimpse into real banditry. Many Day Z players will kill strangers on sight. Lose your humanity to repeated murders, and you get a new skin which to all intents and purposes is a ‘shoot me on sight’ sign above your head. And I can totally see how this was supposed to go: Bandits would become outcasts, survivors would treat them as worse-than-zombie scum, and you’d get a nice dynamic faction split. Lovely and neat. But in my experience it doesn’t play out like that. To new players in this incredibly hostile world, bandits seem capable, hardy, maybe even a little glamorous. You start seeing groups roaming around comprised of maybe one or two bandits, tooled up with assault rifles, NV goggles, maps, GPS, more food than they can eat and so on, and they’ll be followed by two or three new survivors, who seem to be learning a dark trade from these grizzled warriors. That’s how it was for me anyway…

After Jim and I parted company I’ve been tagging along with a few of the RPS community who’ve found their way into DayZ. My first few hours playing with Jim were characterised by furtively scuffling around in outhouses looking for a few cans of beans and ooh-look-a-shotgun while trying not to aggro the zombies. I’ve since learned this was a pathetically meagre existence. I don’t go near towns now if I can help it. I’ve learned to live off the land, hunting animals, cooking their meat to restore lost blood and fill my regularly nagging belly. I’ve stopped drinking scavenged cans of pop and started taking water from lakes and the occasional water pump. I’ve been alive for days now and I think that’s the whole point of this mod. You get a ‘days-alive’ count every time you log in and hey, it’s in the name you know…

How I’ve managed to stay alive is contentious. Some people are playing DayZ like deathmatch. Shooting everyone, dying lots, recouping their lost kit and getting back into action to kill and die again. I’ve just been trying to stay alive for as long as possible. On Saturday, before I learned to live off the land, I had started to run low on food and water. I had learned to fear going into towns, because alone and low on ammo I expected to die by cold zombie hands as I had done many times before. Then I chanced upon another survivor and unseen I stalked him through the woods. I had several chances to kill him during that incredibly tense pursuit but I always hesitated. Eventually he must’ve heard me because he turned around suddenly and started shooting. I fled. I was furious with myself. I could’ve killed him easily but I was weak. If I was going to live I had better learn to kill. It wasn’t going to go down like that again.

And so I teamed up with some bandits from the RPS crowd. With their help I managed to secure some better kit, an M4 assault rifle, a map and compass, some grenades. They were about to raid one of the big cities, specifically to hunt other players. They had so much kit, my new bandit friends, so much food, this was clearly how you survived. I was in. Now I had a purpose, tooled up and on patrol with these guys, I was ready. As we ghosted through the edge of a wood we spotted a pair of survivors outlined against the sky. Not bandits. Just guys like Jim and I had been, sticking together to survive. Our group opened fire without hesitation, killing one and wounding the other. I don’t think I hit them, but I did fire. Our group moved up and surrounded the wounded one, he was helpless on the floor, still able to look around but unable to move, probably hoping his buddy was still alive and coming to revive him before he bled out. His buddy didn’t arrive, but we did. We formed a circle around him, aimed at him, knowing he could see us, and on cue we all fired. I don’t think anyone even bothered to check his body for loot…

These low moments with the bandits have been balanced by thrilling highs. After spending hours trying to find all the parts required to fix up a car – only to have a the server die and waste our efforts – we were elated when we stumbled on a fully functional military jeep parked in the woods. Because you spawn back to the same spot where you log out, it’s easy to lose the group your moving with. If you log at a different time to them, when you come back online they could be literally miles away. A car means you can be collected. It can also be stuffed full of gear that you can’t carry. It’s bloody brilliant.

We took the jeep. As we tore away across the fields behind us the previous owners raged in the chat window, howling at their loss. We were best.

Later, with just two of us remaining in the group, we stalked the map at night. Watching an abandoned power station that we’d looted earlier that day, we spotted a bandit group running across an open field in the pitch black. My heart raced. They outnumbered four-to-two my bandit chum. But they were in the open. We had to roll the dice. I opened fire, me with the same M4 I’ve lovingly carried for days, him with scoped M16. Two assault rifles blazing away in the dark. Our targets scattered, firing wildly, diving for cover. We killed two – according to their hysterical anger in global chat – and retreated, not daring to follow up for the loot when the ambush failed to kill them all. There were two men alive somewhere down there. Hunting them was suicide. The noise from the brief firefight had rung out all over the nearby town, drawing zombies and bandits alike, but the hit felt glorious all the same. We’d engaged a large force and survived. I suddenly saw how simple it would be to start just enjoying the hunt. Despite running with the bandits, somehow I’d managed to keep my humanity high enough to remain a survivor. I wanted to stay that way. It wasn’t going to go down this way either…

This morning when I logged in I decided not to rejoin my bandit chums. With my new understanding of the rules of this game, how long could I survive without seeking out conflict? Forget the looted soda, forget picking over the slain. I wanted cool water and peace. This morning instead of raiding the coast for new players and the beverages they carry, I headed inland and sought out a lake to refill my water bottle. Cautiously I left the safety of the treeline, filled the canteen as fast as I could and scurried back to cover. Relax, no one was watching. I saw a rabbit. I risked the noise and shot it. Deeper in woods I lit a fire, cooked and ate it. I could live like this!

By the afternoon I was lonely. A few of the old bandit crowd were raiding in the south. I headed north, listening to their teamwork over the voice comms. Leaving it behind. But then, with the old crew miles behind me, I stumbled across another RPSer, recently respawned and without much kit. He was really thirsty. I needed to refill my canteen, too. Against my better judgement we decided to enter a nearby town and use the waterpump there. This was against my new regime… but he was thirsty. We went in.

In a courtyard outside a church as we picked our way silently through the town, just meters from the pump we heard the sound of a gun being reloaded. We froze. Someone else was here. Ahead, a solitary figure ran to water pump and refilled his canteen. Not a bandit. A survivor like us. But with more kit than my newly spawned friend… We could take him easily. We thought he was alone. He ran back into the church. We followed him, aiming at the door, ready to shoot when he reappeared. How quickly I’d slipped back into murder. He stepped back out and I raised my M4, then an unseen zombie came snarling across the courtyard straight at him. He fired, felled it, and swung round to face me. We stared at each other. He lowered his rifle. I hesitated, then did the same. I almost shot him, almost lost my last few points of humanity (and in the game).

He saluted then, all friends together, and – from inside the church – four of his companions, who we’d never seen, and would certainly have killed us when we went over to loot the body, came out and said hi. That moment of charity had saved us. Humanity and compassion, not murder, had led us to survival. We spent a few minutes covering each other from waves of zombies as each man filled his canteen from the pump, offered the others bandages and morphine when the zombies got through, then said our goodbyes and left the town in different directions, each to survive in his own way.

Day Z is an Arma 2 modification. It’s in alpha now.


  1. Aximili55 says:

    My only complaint is the lack of detailed instructions for installing it.

    • suibriel says:

      If you can’t google how to install it, you shouldn’t be playing it.

      The perfect screen.

      • yoansug says:

        It’s this video of a jaguar eating some plants and getting high.

        • laddyman says:

          I was promised a high big cat. Instead I got a stealthy spam link. Damn you sir! Damn you to the deepest reaches of black Hell!

    • The Greatness says:

      There’s this I found:
      link to

    • derbefrier says:

      theres also a good thread in the operation arrowhead steam forums that i used and had it up and running in minutes

    • Splotch says:

      My only complaint is the price for CO just for this mod. Anyone know if there’s to be a steam sale soon because i’m about to buy it.

      I guess i’ll still feel good about ‘sort of’ funding the devs for their effort with such an amazing looking mod. Fuck it, can’t wait. Buying now

      Edit: Is it worth paying an extra $30 for the X edition with higher res models or not?

      • Chufty says:

        Best price I found was at Gamersgate (UK)
        link to

        • dbdkmezz says:

          You don’t need to buy CO, you can just buy OA and combine that with the official free version of Arma 2. So it’s only really £8.50! :-)

          • WhiskeyBiscuit says:

            Yes but the free version doesn’t support the adding of mods or addons AFAIK. Heres the quote from the site ”
            Arma 2: Free (A2F) redefines the free-to-play battlefield with its truly unrivalled scale and gameplay possibilities. A2F serves up almost everything offered by the original Arma 2 – the ’13th best PC game of all time’, according to PC Gamer – minus the campaign, HD graphics and support for user-made addons and mods.” Please correct me if I’m wrong

          • Kaje says:

            You’re wrong, Whiskey.

            I’m currently playing it with OA on Steam and ArmA II: Free installed non-Steam.

            Works a bloody treat! :D

        • Baines says:

          Combined Operations is 50% off the US Gamersgate, or $30.

    • Aximili55 says:

      I never said I did not figure it out. That the lack of detail on installing it was my only complaint. Next time, read you know. Left to right, top to bottom lol.

      For the others, I appreciate the help even if it wasn’t needed.

  2. Schaulustiger says:

    I always thought I’d look forward to May 15th because I could finally play Diablo 3.
    I’m now looking forward to come back from work on May 15th and fire up Day Z, losing myself in this dark, gritty sandbox that happens to spawn so many vivid memories through emergent gameplay and not through cutscenes or scripted events. This is my favorite game of 2012 so far and it’s the best multiplayer experience I’ve had for well over 5 years.

    I’m curious about the new 1.5.7 patch which seems to bring the zed numbers back up after they have been way too low for the last days. Seems like the devs made those numbers a bit too high, but I’m eager to see how that changes PvP dynamics and the overall hunt for loot. It has been too easy to simply walk into every house and gear up.

    • ninjapirate says:

      It’s the exact same for me. The wait for Diablo 3 seemed so long, and I thought I’d just give this mod a shot to kill some time.
      Right now I’m more likely to play Day Z than install Diablo 3.

      • Premium User Badge

        kororas says:

        I feel the same and the only thing stopping me is the fact one is in alpha whilst the other is ready to go. That and the fact that it takes me 15mins sometimes just to get into a game.

    • jaronimoe says:

      Diablo 3 is the reason, I’m not buying Arma2 CO right now – event though it’s really tempting.
      Because I know that I wont have enough time to give both games the attention they deserve.
      It sucks, because I really would love to play DayZ right now :(

    • Syra says:

      Alas! Since the patch today zombies are everywhere -overrunning towns in their hundreds – the game is temporarily unplayable for new players. Even I, with my fully kitted out survivor with some of the best gear in the game can’t walk into a town and hope to scavenge freely. Consider if you will Balota, a low risk medium-to-high reward area usually full of players and very few zombies… today I logged into the forest nearby with my red dot COG m14 dmr and felt genuine fear for the zombies were out in their hundreds, and the stronger soldier types were in the fields and forests around where I spawned. Only last night I had used that same gun to lay waste to the entire city of StarySobor deep in the map with a population of only 60 odd zombies, how can a coastal town with two houses and a small airstrip be host to a horde a hundred strong? The same scene was repeated up and down the map, isolated shacks in the countryside with zombie populations of eight or ten (enough for a whole town previously). I even came across a road sign in the wilderness with a zombie tethered to it.

      • Blaaaaaaag says:

        I’m afraid to log in now lest I succumb to the increased zombie hordes and lose Lucy, my precious M16. How is it out there? If I can bring myself to log in before the next patch, I doubt I’ll be going anywhere near a town…

  3. Syra says:

    I’ve played it nonstop for a week with a group at times and at times alone, late into the night and the dark, navigating by the stars and stalking bandits.

    Nothing I’ve played in years has given me this level of risk/reward satisfaction. It just keeps escalating. It really is a new experience every time, and death just means you get to try something different next time.

    Getting loot feels better than any RPG, finding that sweet high tech weapon in a military base, or getting a bunch of friends scavenging to repair a car then going on a road trip. It’s epic.

    • grundus says:

      Gahhhh, I have Combined Ops yet I still haven’t downloaded this, I think it’s because it terrifies me just as much as it interests me. The last two paragraphs of this article were just… Oh man. I know if that happened to me I’d just shit myself and hold the trigger down until I was either dead or out of ammo.

      I do really want to try it but I’d want to try it with someone I know and trust, and of the people I know and trust only one plays games, and Arma II isn’t one of them.

  4. HexagonalBolts says:

    It is bloody brilliant. Where are RPSers going to play with one another?

  5. Follett says:

    10/10 would read again. But really some one should write a book about their dayZ story.

  6. Harlander says:

    I’m not cut out for this game.

    I’d been playing with some RPSites, but I’ve found their descent into gleeful murderousness utterly nauseating.

    I won’t buy into the idea of killing to get what I need in a world where the resources are literally infinite.

    Also, because it’s ArmA, If I’m killed it’s usually by someone I never spotted.. :p

    • unangbangkay says:

      Resources in Day Z, at least by my experience, are FAR from “infinite”. There are no obvious rules as to what items spawn where (besides some known tendencies for higher-end guns to end up at the airfields and cities), so it’s never fully guaranteed that you’ll find food or water when you need it, especially not at night where hunting animals is nigh-impossible.

      At least, this has been my experience, which may be atypical due to complaints that loot doesn’t respawn until the servers are restarted (a bug, supposedly). Scarcity is real, so true “pacifist” play can be as difficult as the stories say, especially if you hang out in areas that have been picked over by others.

    • kataras says:

      lol, I can guess who you re talking about!

      On a serious note, I would like to play with someone who isn’t intent on killing anyone who crosses his path. The other day I spent 20 mins spying on someone through my scope unable to decide if I should kill him or not (he hadn’t done anything to me, didn’t even know I was there in the grass). In the end I could not decide so I just moved on.

    • ninjapirate says:

      Not everyone is playing it that way. Plenty of us are content with helping friendly people that we come across.
      I’m pretty much a loner in this game, as it allows me to move in my own pace and play by my own rules that let me keep my humanity. I’ve only fired a shot at another player once, and it was solely to scare off a bandit.

      • sinister agent says:

        I’ve basically been the same so far, although I did kill someone who refused to say anything or even pay attention to me after I’d revived him from certain death, using up the last of my medicine in the process. I wasn’t expecting a medal, but refusal to even pause for a moment just screamed “this guy is bad news” to me. Turned out he’d been injured while attacking someone, so I stand by that.

        Also I shot one innocent by mistake, as I was certain he was about to kill me. Apart from that, the only people I’ve killed were those who attacked me and/or obviously innocent people.

        I may yet fall into banditry (and I think just about everyone is all but guaranteed to be an arsehole occasionally, which I think is a Good Thing), but I think it’s more likely that I’ll start hunting bandits instead. They have better gear, and it’s less of a hollow triumph than shooting some helpless new person still stumbling around with the unfamiliar controls.

        • chansu says:

          I’m eagerly watching the evolution of this mod and it’s players, since my geriatric 7600GT can’t understand ArmA. It’s utterly amazing what can blossom from simply not telling players what they should be doing. Teaming up means more when you don’t have to team up, as does the choice to not kill. But the thing that’s really getting me right now is the ‘bandit hunting’ idea. This occupies an interesting middle ground of morality. The real kicker is that, as a bandit hunter, you are likely to become a bandit yourself in official game terms. Other bandit hunters, observing your behaviour, are likely to hunt you. Fascinating.

          Another thought I had. This new 1.5.7 patch, with the increased zombie numbers, is reminiscent of an event in an MMO (regardless of whether it is intended that way). It’s like the world this game is set in is evolving, making the persistence more weighty as a character weathers these storms (or succumbs to them). This could periodically happen, at the mod makers’ whim, to shake up the play dynamics from time to time. What other things could a patch change that wouldn’t break the continuity of ‘how the game world works’ too much, but could also shake up a player’s normal patterns?

      • DuddBudda says:

        that would be me – if I’m alone I sit on a crane in cherno with an M4A3 and throw down flares to gather up noobs while I cover them with my NVGs

        when I’ve got a group of four or so I take them to get rifles; once everyone’s kitted out I send them on their way

    • Alethron says:

      Same for me, Harlander, with not being down with the sociopaths, but I’m still playing a lot. I find the experience of trying to survive, much like James in this article, extremely satisfying.

    • Mordsung says:

      By “descent into gleeful murderousness” I think you meant “ascent to glorious murder party.”

    • ffordesoon says:


      That comment actually makes me much happier than anything else I’ve read. The fact that you literally recoiled in horror from the game due to another player’s actions speaks volumes about its effectiveness.

    • Skabooga says:

      @Harlander: I feel you man. After trying to meet up with a group of RPSers for a half hour, their continuous cackling over murdering the survivors who stumbled across them made me change my mind, and I just started heading in the other direction (mind you, I was lost, so I might have ended up actually walking towards them).

      But I’ve yet to purposefully kill a man (I did accidentally wing a guy as he was being mauled by zombies, which dropped my humanity way down), and I know there are others like me, so there are people you can team up with without fearing the loss of your sanity.

    • Blaaaaaaag says:

      As all these others have said, you don’t have to play that way, and the fact that some people do just makes it that much more intense.

      I’ve been going for a week now, and never killed maliciously or for sport. The only time I’ve gunned down another player, it was a matter of necessity. My two squadmates and myself were sweeping Electro for supplies, and one of my mates seperated and went back to the hospital for blood bags. While he was there, another group of 3 (all six of us were listed ‘survivors’, with no previous player kills) descended on the hospital for the same reason, pinning him down. My other mate and I had to quickly head back and rescue our pal from that situation, which resulted in the two of us being branded ‘bandits’. I suppose if our two groups had worked together, perhaps there’d have been enough blood to go around, but they didn’t see it that way and opened fire first, forcing us to make a difficult choice rather quickly.

      I have to say that goes down as one of the most memorable gaming experiences I’ve ever had. Wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  7. Squirrelfanatic says:

    Anybody knows if the g00ns are already in?

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Well, obviously. :P

      link to

      • Blaaaaaaag says:

        Haha, from the Steam group description:
        “Put “[LLJK]” in your Arma profile name to avoid being shot on sight”

        That should really read “Put “[LLJK]” in your Arma profile name to *ensure that* you’re shot on sight”

        You know what to do, fellow survivors.

        edit: does this mean goons only play on normal to avoid shooting each other? player tags are irrelevant on veteran difficulty…

  8. philbot says:

    I started playing this today, and I freaking love it.

    I just wish the mouse acceleration would go away.

    • Colej_uk says:

      You can turn mouse smoothing off in the options.

      Same with head bob etc.

      • joebucksvoice says:

        Go into My Documents > Arma2 > Open your .arma2profile and .arma2oaprofile with a text editor, find the MouseSmoothing=’value’ change it to 1.

        This has the added bonus of making the game feel like it is performing better.

        One more plug for the survival guide I wrote:

  9. McDan says:

    Amazing, can’t wait to get home to a pc that can run ARMA 2 alright and get this thing playing.

  10. Drake Sigar says:

    I’ve rarely killed anyone who didn’t at least look like they deserved it (bandits shadowing me and a bloke with a CZ hunting rifle camping in a high spot with a survivor corpse below).

    I survived for about 4 days (10 hours) in the secluded northern woods, but in the end I came back south out of sheer loneliness and made a few friends. And enemies. When I approached two survivors in town, and they began circling me while exchanging pleasantries, I knew I was dead. My only consolation was later that same day I bumped into them again and killed one before I was killed. Then I ran back with my respawned character as fast as I could, looted the dildo’s body while under fire from his partner, and ran off giggling into the night with a shiny new m16.

  11. DarkLiberator says:

    The new 1.5.7 update now makes zombies even more numerous. Its not uncommon to be chased by 40-50 zombies if you’re not careful. This is a game where you need to plan out your approaches carefully. Towns should be avoided because of bandit gangs.

    • philbot says:

      The new numbers of these zombies make it nearly unplayable IMO :/

  12. Cross says:

    I want to play this quite badly. What i don’t want to do is pay for a game i will never play outside the mod.

    • wearedevo says:


    • Unaco says:

      That’s a shame for you… having those two, conflicting attitudes. It’ll mean you’ll never play the mod, I guess… unless you sit down and play it at a friends house.

      • Cross says:

        Correctly Correctington. And that’s a damn shame, because i like what i am seeing. Oh well, maybe the price of Arma II will drop as DayZ’s development goes along.

        • 0WaxMan0 says:

          It is unsure if the mod will move to arma 3 when that is available and we are still waiting to hear the plans for monetizing DLC, full game or stay as a mod. Holding off is not a bad decision atm.

    • Axyl says:

      Why not just think of it as paying £24.99 for Day Z and have done with it?

      The mod is easily worth this, and even more so once it progressing further through development. :)

    • Davee says:

      The mod is ever as fun as it sounds, but I personally also really like some of the community-made MP mission scenarios the normal game has.

      If you’re just buying it for DayZ, I’d recommend waiting a while for it to get more stable. Right now you’re likely not to be able to play due to master server overload.

  13. psychoconductor says:

    I have zero interest in playing this game, but I love these articles.

  14. perfectheat says:

    I’m the RPS guy you stumbled upon. The moment with the guy at the pump was really tens. Walking to the front of the church the first time I thought the doors were shut. Coming around the other side, getting a glimpse of him laying on the floor, aiming out through the open door, I still thought he was alone. I actually was a bit afraid seeing there were so many of them, even though I did not have much too loose at that point. Will probably be spawning at the same lake tonight around 8.

  15. Zeewolf says:

    Hah, awesome.

  16. wearedevo says:

    As a hardcore veteran Arma 2 player of several years, and a huge Stalker fan, I feel like all my Christmases have come at once with this mod. I know Chernarus like the back of my hand, and I’m familiar with most of the weapons. In game, I’ve become a dedicated bandit hunter. No one kills me, because no one ever sees me. Today I lay at a good vantage point perhaps a click out of Elektro, for maybe 15 minutes, watching a shady looking character under my crosshairs. He was on the roof of the hospital. He didn’t have a bandit skin but I was sure he was up to no good. Sure enough, he took a shot at a survivor in the street, and I pulled the trigger. I’d zeroed my scope perfectly, no need for a rangefinder. Perfect headshot. I hate to brag, but I felt like the goddamn Batman*. And then the rage in global chat while I smirked and disappeared back into the woods.

    *I realize that Batman would not, strictly speaking, shoot someone in the head from a kilometer away.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      You’re a bally hero, good sir.

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      Someone get this man a trophy.

      • wearedevo says:

        Haha, I don’t really want a trophy, but woe-be-fucking-tide these assholes if I ever get my hands on a Vintorez: link to

        Right now I’ve just got a CZ hunting rifle. It does the job but it’s so loud it may as well be a dinner bell, so I have to hit and run.

    • Howard says:

      Every single thing I have heard about this mod sounds terrible apart from what you just said. If I could meet up with someone like you I would probably play this. Kudos to you sir!
      As is, I think I’d rather drive rusty nails through my scrotum than play a game so geared towards people screwing each other over. Get enough of that in the real world – I like my games to be somewhat more pleasant.

      • wearedevo says:

        But that’s part of the fun. I can see how it wouldn’t be for everyone, though. I don’t believe it is necessarily geared towards screwing each other over, it just includes that option as a valid playstyle. There are bandits, yes, but it’s not a bloodthirsty free-for-all. There are many players who either can’t bring themselves to play the cold-blooded killer, or who appreciate the challenge and structure of not resorting to that behaviour. I’ve been given food and water by others when I was starving, and I’ve handed my sidearm and ammunition over to someone who had just been robbed.

      • derbefrier says:

        my experience so far has been pretty good. If you really hate the idea of PvP so much just avoid the big cities as the CoD pew pew death match kids all congregate around the 2 big coastal cities for the most part. Makes it much easier to stay alive and gather some supplies so you might have a shot of surviving if you do decide to venture into one of these cities but they can easily be avoided. I have been sticking to the smaller towns finding plenty of food guns and everything else while only running across the occasional survivor (who like me always seem to be trying to avoid the bean wars in the big cities) I also think the zombie spawning bug has made PvP a little to tempting. I have been on servers that have had as little as 30 zombies on the whole map, it just becomes something to do since without zombies survival isn’t really an issue. hopefully it will be fixed soon and the focus can go back to the zombies and survival

        • wearedevo says:

          Yeah… Avoid the city at all costs. I’ve really been in only once, to get to the hospital, because it’s the only place to get the best medical supplies. I wouldn’t go back without a buddy on overwatch with a sniper rifle. There’s some decent loot to be had there, sure, but there’s loot elsewhere too, and you can’t use it if you’re dead.

      • Blaaaaaaag says:

        If you’re dead-set on pleasantry, then this game may not be for you.

        The most charming aspect of it, to me, is that under some circumstances, the need to survive (and also the overwhelming tension clouding your judgement) can push you to behave in ways you never thought you would. Yes, other’s around you can lose any sense of humanity out of desperation, but so can you, and that’s what’s really neat about it.

      • subshell001 says:

        According to the new stats posted on the official site, only about 10% of the people playing are bandits. So it’s really not that bad.

        • Skabooga says:

          Which itself raises the interesting dynamic that it only takes a small proportion of assholes to ruin things for everyone else and turn them into paranoid wrecks. And in the game.

    • Axyl says:

      Dude, I would love to meet up with you in game and learn your ways.

      I, too, freakin’ hate bandits. I had to kill a friend in-game as he was stuck in a glitch and immobile for over 2 hours and gained the bandit skin as a result. After having to dodge every single person for hours and hours as i waited for my humanity to tick back up so i didn’t get lumped in with the mindless killers..

      I would love to offer a little firm, yet effective balance upon the rampaging hordes. Zombies too.. ;)

      Fancy an apprentice? I’m new to both ARMA2 and Day Z but I’m a veteran gamer of over 25 years and take direction very well. :D

      • wearedevo says:

        I dodge people most of the time too, be they survivors or bandits. I’d be happy to give you some pointers but I play on Australian servers so we might not be in the same place at the same time.

  17. nasKo says:

    I’ve read of groups of 40 zombies. I can’t imagine that this wouldn’t be frustrating to the max since the zombies I have seen were basically Usain Bolting straight into your face.
    It’s what prevents me from getting it, yet. Motherfucking fast as fuck zombies.

    • Reapy says:

      Yeah that’s what has turned me off.

      I hate fast zombies! For me the zombie survival is all about vigilance against lone zombies in an odd place, and triumph over dense herds by strategically thinning them in a section and escaping, because there just isn’t enough ammo to stop them… not because they ran at you fast around a corner.

      At some point will have to check this mod out though.

  18. Firkragg says:

    Oh my god, been reading these articles and thinking what a shame I’ll have to wait playing this till next month since i’m out of cash. Then I opened steam and lo and behold, Arma 2 is just sitting there, never installed, bought during a sale (I presume).

    Now I’m just mad at myself for not having played this non-stop since the first article went up here.

    EDIT: Did someone break Day Z’s website? Poor buggers :S

    • olemars says:

      Not broken as such. They’re setting up a proper website today to replace the rather barebones one they had before.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      … I just realized that this could be true for me too. This all sounds really interesting, but I don’t want to buy Arma 2 right now. Maybe I already did (I just can’t confirm it at the moment). Man, Steam sales have some weird side effects (like not knowing which games you have).

      Edit: Sure enough, there it is. Arrowhead, too.

    • JS says:

      I don’t think the mod will work with only Arma 2, pretty sure you need Combined Operations (Arma 2 + Operation Arrowhead).

  19. Derppy says:

    This mod is the zombie game I’ve always wanted, I don’t care if it’s a buggy alpha, I need to play it and I need to donate some money to the developers, so they can get more servers running.

    Running multiple 50 player servers 24/7 isn’t free and the developers don’t get any income from this mod, so I suggest you do the same if you want to support a project like this.

    • nasKo says:

      Well the Developer of the mod happens to be a dev at Bohemia Interactive. So I guess buying Operation Arrowhead to play DayZ is kind of…like…contributing to the dev.

    • Unaco says:

      Technically, I think the Developer/Developers DO get some income from the mod. The primary Dev of the mod is a Bohemia Interactive Studios Dev (the people who make ArmA2/OA). What with the sudden sales surge of A2/OA, he’s sure to be rewarded, in some way.

  20. Shinan says:

    Does anyone have any tips on how to play Arma2 if you’re left-handed? Like a step-by step guide to rebinding keys or even a downloadable config file with all the keys pre-rebinded. I’d prefer IJKL for movement buttons but really any pre-fab keybindings would be good.

    I remember trying the demo ages ago and getting stuck when moving forward also brought up some menu. (apparently I had double-binded). Then I tried the “free” version later but again got stuck in the keybinding menu.

    It just seems like an amazing game and DayZ seems even more amazing. But that initial keybinding hurdle really is gigantic to me! (Maybe I’ll try it again this weekend…)

    • Shake says:


      The keybinding is actually very flexible when you get used to how the menu works, so there’s no reason why you couldn’t set it up for IJKL movement.

      It doesn’t automatically unbind a key when you make a duplicate bind (it highlights key conflicts in red), but you can click to select whichever action or function you want to rebind and then click ‘Delete’ to remove the duplicate (red) bind.

      It’s definitely worth the effort of getting your keybinds set up, the mod is amazing.

    • Caddrel says:

      Just map the existing keys to exactly the same positions on the numeric keypad. Use left arrow for run/run-toggle, Keypad – for free look, and Keypad . for reload.

  21. tlarn says:

    I really can’t wait until we see an article that happens during v.1.5.7’s increased zombie spawn rate.

    • derbefrier says:

      sweet i heard the low zombie count was a bug. that servers needed to be restarted like every 4 hours to avoid the problem. I bought Arma 2 just for this mod and don’t regret it a bit. Its all i played all weekend and will be what i play in between Diablo 3 sessions. Mod of the year right here if your unsure whether to spend 30 buck on Combined Ops for this mod i would recommend doing it. 30 bucks isn’t a whole lot for the amount of entertainment you will get out of this mod alone, then there’s this whole other game you can play to add value on top of that. If you do i would recommend reading some noobie guides and save yourself the inevitable bullet in the back while your trying to figure out how to get that can of beans in your backpack. there’s plenty of youtube vids and guides on the Day Z forums for the uninitiated . The community seems pretty helpful to new players also.

  22. psaldorn says:

    Played my first game last night, spent first 25minutes typing into wrong chat walking forwards into a pitch black night (no sky at all, just black) and having accidentally dropped my flares.

    Eventually sorted out gamma, got munched by a zombie, found a winchester rifle in a shed, killed a survivor and bled to death. Awesome! Looking forward to daylight.

  23. TV-PressPass says:

    I have 300+ hours in Arma2 on steam, and $10k+ of guns in real life! (don\t believe me? Check it: link to


  24. Rob Maguire says:

    The most important question for me is, how is zombie spawning handled? Do they come from player corpses? The cities? Do they only spawn when there isn’t a player nearby?

    The reason I ask is because while survival gameplay in a zombie apocalypse seems to be so many people’s perfect zombie game, my dream game is thriving in one. Gathering allies and resources, clearing out infested remote outposts (with the scarce supplies and server population cap, I doubt taking a city is possible) and setting up camp in them, the inevitable breakdown of law and order because INTERNET, rinse and repeat.

    The existing stories would be unchanged. Hardcore survivalists would still be living in the woods, occasionally sneaking into the outskirts of towns to get supplies. Bandit packs would still hunt newbies, loners, and the unlucky. It would just add new stories on top of the pre-existing ones: a roving band of zombies is sighted near your camp and you don’t have enough players online to repel them, so you can only watch and hope they don’t come close enough to notice you. A bandit stealthily followed a player to your base, and now knows where you live (and giving bandits a reason to NOT shoot on sight adds a whole mess of fun to the game).

    Ultimately, it boils down to what makes a better personal story: that a bandit raid cost you your shiny assault rifle, a random drop anyone could have obtained? Or that the raid cost you your hard-won outpost, killed several of your friends, and let the bandits obtain an outpost and enough supplies to become a major threat in the area? Or the reverse, that you and some friends wiped out the bandit scourge, ending their reign of terror and getting a massive cache of supplies as a reward?

    So I guess what I want is something with the power-building and inter-player drama of EVE Online without requiring several real-life months of time/money investment before you can make a difference, and with an omnipresent external threat to prevent any group from getting too big and powerful. How does DayZ hold up?

    (Of course, the problem with all of the above is that it doesn’t really work if the zombie spawning algorithm continues placing them in conquered places regardless of your efforts. I guess a lot also depends on the level of persistence, which I doubt the ARMA engine is good at.)

  25. Ciber says:

    I’ve got operation arrowhead and I couldn’t get on with it due to the many bugs and much too many keys to remember. So does this mean day z is not for me?

    • 0WaxMan0 says:

      No DayZ uses very little of the extensive controls in ARMA, most of the controls are related to manageing the AI. You will need movement keys, movement mode toggles (Shift, z,,x,c) Alt for free look and ctrl for lower weapon (does not work with pistols). plus Enter if you prefer to use the quick actions or scroll wheel and left click for all other actions.

      The game play is very nicely stream lined the HUD shows all that is really needed, the only clunky bit is accessing your back pack. Other than that after a little time it is actually extremely concise and give great control with out getting in the way.

  26. torchedEARTH says:

    Great. Please keep it up. Your story is very compelling.

    “Our group opened fire without hesitation, killing one and wounding the other. I don’t think I hit them, but I did fire”

  27. Palindrome says:

    If this doesn’t get a retail release in its own right I will be amazed. As it is though I won’t be buying Arma 2 just for one mod which is currently only in an alpha.

  28. golem09 says:

    The high speed zombies are what’s turning me off about this as well, besides the obvious problems, of most people not handling this game as poetic as these RPS article, but just as a simple Deathmatch game.
    Also I wonder why the screenshots here on RPS always look way better than the Day Z videos I see on Youtube.

    • Palindrome says:

      Youtube videos are almost always quite low quality.

      • golem09 says:

        I mean in terms of models, shaders and stuff like that. Those YT videos were in 1080p.

        • Bonedwarf says:

          There is naturally a system overhead to capturing video of a game. I imagine people are having to turn the detail down a bit to get good framerate while capturing.

    • 0WaxMan0 says:

      I don’t know where you are getting that even those playing ‘death match’ have extremely immersive game and a bunch of really cool experiences.

      And the fast zombies make them scary with out having to have hundreds and killing the servers AI. The fast zombies are infact one of the best bits of the game they really are. If you are careful you can get the drop on them when they are stumbling around before they are aware of you and start running.

      • Love Albatross says:

        Trouble I’ve had with the fast zombies is they combine with the glitchy animation and lag to make gunfights a gamble. I shot one in the head and it kept on running, hit me, then eventually keeled over. Another was running and suddenly teleported to the side then ended up behind me.

      • etusa says:

        What I’d prefer is normal speed zombies without any choppy movement but I’d buff them not to die from just about hitting anywhere (atleast that how it seems from what i’ve seen). It would be lovely if they would only die from headshots (the traditional zombage) and would lose part of their ability to move if you hit the legs a few times, as in would start crawling.

  29. Maldomel says:

    So then, why the heck did no developer worked on such a game before? The closest I can relate to who be Stalker, but even that game is different. Too bad I can’t play that mod because it is exactly what I was searching all this years…

    • Harlander says:

      Project Zomboid is a bit similar to this. So is Fort Zombie (but that’s even buggier than a Bohemia production). There’s probably others.

      The large player counts are pretty new, though.

  30. Mitchk says:

    Sorry if this has already been asked above – I’m in a bit of a rush to post this, such is my busy life – but is this mod worth buying Arma for? Judging by these articles it sounds tremendous but I can’t really decide whether to splash the cash! Perhaps if there’s any deals around it would make up my mind for me…?

    • Skabooga says:

      Just from my personal experience, and I’ve seen others with experience to the contrary, I bought Arma II: Combined Operations for $30 solely for this mod on Friday, and spent nearly every free moment of my time on Saturday and Sunday playing this game, and already I feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth.

      It’s a bit of a hassle to set up (well, that’s mostly Arma’s fault, the mod itself is ridiculously easy to install if you follow the video tutorial posted and stickied in the DayZ forums), it’s still being worked on (not sure how I feel about the increase in zombies with the latest version, I’ll have to play tonight and see), but even so, the experience I’ve had playing this game is like none other, and the reality of it largely matches how I imagined it would be like (from Jim’s description).

      • Mitchk says:

        Thanks for the reply, I’ve just gone ahead and bought it! Just gotta sit here impatiently waiting for it to download now……come on!!!

  31. tomeoftom says:

    Great story. I fucking love this game.

  32. gunny1993 says:

    Its the best game ever, the servers however ARE FUCKING SHIT … arma 3 dev people fucking fix it

    • Squiffy says:

      Sheesh, that’s a bit heavy handed isn’t it? You OBVIOUSLY know the deal at this point (Alpha, tiny dev team, FREE) so why on earth are you raging so hard?

  33. Mordsung says:

    This game is how I imagined the future of gaming 10 years ago.

    It’s sad that it takes a mod to realize what mainstream gaming should be trying to achieve.

    Emergent gameplay is king.

  34. Gary W says:

    This is just a long-haul deathmatch with orienteering elements and extremely sketchy up-close combat.

    You can LARP you’re in “I Am Legend” or “The Road” all you want, but all you’re really doing is trudging around Chernarus having a tenth of the fun you’d have playing something like Op. Flashpoint.

    • JB says:

      “all you’re really doing is trudging around Chernarus having a tenth of the fun you’d have playing something like Op. Flashpoint”

      I’ve played OpFlash, Arma and Arma2 extensively. You’re wrong. *You* might only be having 10% of the fun, *I* however am having ALL the fun.

      • Unaco says:

        Indeed. I have played OFP, Armed Assault, ArmA2/OpArrowhead, all through the years. I’ve got ~450 Hours sunk into Combined Ops, and probably play for at least 5 hours a week what with ARPS and FOLK sessions… playing “normal” ArmA2 stuff.

        I’m having immense fun with DayZ, and have been for the last month or so.

    • Squiffy says:

      You’ve completely missed the point. What about atmosphere? What about suspense? Dayz excels in delivering those. The sparsity of features you complain about is what enables the rich emergent gameplay to exist. If you’re pretending it’s a deathmatch, you’re doing it wrong.

    • durns says:

      “You can LARP you’re in “I Am Legend” or “The Road” all you want” – exactly! That is what is fun! How do you not get that?

    • Skabooga says:

      Admittedly, the long walking (running, really) distances between towns of appreciable size might be off-putting to some, but it is precisely the barriers presented by these distances which prevent the game from devolving into a deathmatch.

    • Dominic White says:

      I’d like to hear of any other deathmatch games that make you think and weigh up both the moral and risk factors involved in pulling the trigger on another human being.

      • sinister agent says:

        Indeed. This is the first ‘deathmatch’ I’ve ever had where I had to bluff, hiding in the darkness while sending threatening messages to a player who’d attacked me, telling him I had a bead on his head and he’d better leave right now and not turn back, when in fact I’d used my last two bullets already.

        Also the first where I went out of my way to track down and warn a player who was about to wander into a zombie hive, only to see him light a flare and run away from the single zombie he’d set off, and shout “DROP THE FLARE YOU FOOL”. Some people you just can’t reach.

    • Highstorm says:

      LARP is Live Action Roleplay. Without the live action bit, it’s just roleplay, and it’s awesome.

      Also Op. Flashpoint was terribly boring.

  35. Moonracer says:

    This sounds great, though my general mistrust of people and good nature would lead me to solo all the time.

  36. Snuffy the Evil says:

    I personally blame the glamorization of bandit life on the German KSK model they get instead of something more menacing like a Takistani guerrilla.

  37. nFec says:

    I insta-bought this after reading this for 24 Euros. Now i logged like 15 minutes, after spending a few hours downloading and setting the mod up. I want to like it, I really do. But this game… 100 keys to remember the binds of, the UI is horrifibly complicated, the inventory system does not make sense to me at all. Half the screen full with messages from other players and I can not even find out how to type.
    So I quit the game and will stick to reading your beautiful stories. I do not think I will invest the time, I guess at least some hours, till I am comfortable with the game’s controls.

    • sinister agent says:

      I agree with all of your points, but be prepared to be pelted by howler monkeys if you ever say those things to some diehard fans.

      In case you do have another go, it’s the / key to type. Fullstop and comma changes between chat channels, but you only really need Direct and Global/Side/Group (the three do the same in Day Z). The rest are only really for vanilla arma with different command levels and vehicles etc.

      Also the inventory isn’t the best, but in Day Z it is very bugged – bags in particular have a habit of disappearing, not opening, being droppable but not pick-uppable, etc.

      • nFec says:

        Thanks for the advice :)

        We will see, perhaps this game is worth the effort to learn its controls.

  38. BlackCanopus says:

    But you are not survivors, you are bandits. You are in denial, though. Looking for justifications to call yourselves ‘survivors’.

  39. iucounu says:

    Has anyone done the “Day-Z, Day-Z, Give me your ARMA 2” joke yet? No? Oh. I’ll… I’ll get me coat.

  40. Thirith says:

    Every time I try to join a server I get the “Connecting failed” message. Any help would be much appreciated. (Could it be my Netopia 7000 router?)

    • MaxNormal says:

      I was getting kicked from every server with an error from the Battleye anti cheat service. “Client not responding”. I emailed the Battleye support having tried every fix I could find on the net and they asked about my ISP and router. They quickly confirmed that my ISP specific router had a bug and that new beta firmware from them would fix it. I got that firmware and the problem is fixed.

      This issue affected all online games of ARMA, operation arrowhead and expansions.

      My ISP is Orcon in New Zealand and the router is a “Genius” ADSL modem / router.

      The firmware will be getting pushed to all customers over the coming weeks, but if you can’t wait, grab it from here:
      link to

      While trying to fix the issue on the weekend I saw that there are other routers that cause this issue – the fix is the same – installing new firmware.

  41. hello_mr.Trout says:

    actually surprised the comparison with stalker hasn’t been made more! it feels like i am in the hostile zone!

  42. Sisco says:

    What an excellent read, I´m really enjoying this. Keep it up please! :)

  43. neofit says:

    Nice writeup. But a nice writeup would make being repeatedly ganked and corpse looted in Wurm as something glorious too.

    Some people like hunting others. Others need to be hunted to get their adrenaline flowing. I don’t like any of those, I played hundreds of hours of Arma coop. If the mod becomes really Day *Z* instead of Day G (ank), as in coop PvE survival with persistence then I’d be all over it, I’d pay full retail and/or a monthly fee. But as it is I see nothing interesting to do there, there are enough fucktards around IRL, I don’t need them polluting my game time too.

  44. Fuzzy_Fenix says:

    If you guys need any more proof that this mod is awesome check out this video
    link to
    He has to kill a bandit minutes after spawning!