Interview: What’s Next For Day Z

Incidentally, housing prices in this location are now at an all-time low. So buy, buy, buy!
We like Day Z. A lot. You may have heard. Sadly, I couldn’t play it during E3 because, well, E3. So instead, I had to settle for chatting with creator Dean “Rocket” Hall – all the while wondering if he had simply lured me into his tiny booth cubicle to catch me off-guard and steal my ammo. Happily, however, I came away with a recording that was more than just 17 minutes of scuffling sounds and people getting walloped with a Metro: Last Light themed gas mask. Rocket told me all about his plans to bring Day Z to ARMA III, why modding doesn’t get the credit or attention it deserves, what keeps the zombie fad from finally becoming worm food, and tons more. And then he killed me and took my things.

RPS: Most obviously, given what’s on display here, do you have plans to bring Day Z to ARMA III once that’s out?

Hall: Well, I think that – given the commercial and critical success of Day Z – personally I want to see it develop almost as its own entity. And so, given the amount of sales it’s made, it’s really just a question of when. And the cool thing about ARMA III is that so many new features come with it that’ll be really good for Day Z.

RPS: I have to imagine you could use the new night lighting to pretty amazing effect.

Hall: The night lighting is just fantastic. And it’s definitely something ARMA has struggled with before. There’s also a different approach to structures – like underground structures. That kind of stuff would be great for Day Z. Just perfect for it. The visual improvements are obviously huge as well. The improvements to vehicles, physics, and ragdoll animations – all those kinds of things – make a big difference. Those things really bring it to life.

But the beauty of the approach Bohemia takes to its products is that it’s actually pretty easy to integrate different elements between the different engines. So you can pull one thing out of ARMA III and plop it over here. So it’s a great way of developing.

RPS: Day Z rocketed [retrospective look of sheer horror as I see what I did there] ARMA II back to the top of the charts. How much crossover have you seen between the Day Z and ARMA communities, though? Through Day Z, have people realized that ARMA II’s pretty great as a standalone as well?

Hall: I think so. Maybe a little bit less than I’d like. I think that maybe some of the original ARMA II players seem to have not liked it so much, but then others have really embraced it. Like, I don’t know if you know Dslyecxi, who runs Shack Tactics, but that group of ARMA II players really got behind the whole concept. Their numbers have increased, and interest in the group has increased a lot – which is great to see.

I think is really good to see the gaming media put a spotlight on Bohemia Interactive and their approach to modding as well. I think that modding is a very viable mechanism for designers. Even people who are already working in the industry can use it to test out their ideas.

RPS: Seems sort of silly that even companies like id Software seem convinced that modding’s heyday is over and done.

Hall: I think that’s more a reflection of what they want. For a variety of different reasons – especially on consoles – everything does come down to money. People have to put food on the table and put their kids through college and whatnot.

But I do think that, if you can cross off a few specific problems, then mods are a really fantastic way of dealing with your product. Like, I’d tried to pitch this concept to other studios before, and people just weren’t interested in it. I’m sure [Bohemia Interactive CEO] Marek Spanel wouldn’t mind me saying that, if I came to him with the concept and without these kind of numbers, he probably would’ve thought I was a bit crazy as well. So modding allows you to do this kind of exploration.

So, by solving the issue of piracy – because you can’t pirate Day Z [due to persistent servers] – that means everybody who wants to play it has to legitimately buy the product. So the sales are actually a reflection of the number of people playing it. That’s why our numbers have been so good. And if you want to make the game industry notice something, you affect the bottom line. You know, I didn’t go out and buy 100,000 copies of ARMA II. People did that. And that sends a really strong message.

RPS: When people turned down the Day Z concept, what specifically did they say? That it sounded too much like “daisy”?

Hall: Mainly, that people can’t handle it. The biggest one was that gamers say they want this stuff, but they don’t actually want it. They say they want permadeath or this or that, but if you actually give it to them, they’ll reject it. And I don’t know – I’m a gamer. I know what I want. My friends and I have talked about it. And who hasn’t talked about what they would do in a zombie apocalypse? Even at parties and stuff after a few drinks.

So I thought [those publishers] were wrong. And I’m fortunate enough to have been put in a situation where I can probably say there was at least some truth to what I was claiming.

RPS: It’s been wonderful to watch, too. It almost seems like – between Kickstarter really catching on, indies of all shapes and sizes, and mods like Day Z – 2012 has been the rise of the niche audience. Like, given a reasonable budget and whatnot, you don’t need half of the earth’s population to buy your game in order to turn a profit.

Hall: I think a lot of it comes down to social media. Social media has really come of age. Like, you look at all the protests going on all over the world. I think the same thing’s kind of happening with games. It’s certainly why Day Z was successful. There was no promotion. I made one little tiny post in the Bohemia Interactive forums asking people to help me with testing. And then, all of a sudden, people began having these experiences.

Initially, all I put up was the download for the mod and the server name. That’s how it started. So people would have these very authentic, very real emotional experiences. And because, as humans, I believe we’re natural story-tellers, people wanted to tell their stories. The way they do it is through forums – NeoGAF and, well, Rock Paper Shotgun. You know, Jim wanted to tell his story as well. So people see these stories, and they’re like “Well, I want stories too.”

RPS: Definitely. And it has, once again, made zombies cool. We seem to have this cultural cycle going, like “Ugh, zombies are played out” followed repeatedly by “Oh wait, here’s this new thing that does them really differently!” Are we actually nearing a saturation point, do you think?

Hall: Well, I think it’s not so much about the zombies. It’s about people being infected and stuff like that. People are scared about losing their humanity – and about what would happen if everything changed in the world. That’s why we’re fascinated by it. Like, the movie Contagion and how scared people get about things like swine flu. That reflects a real fear, and fear is a great platform on which to build a survival game.

RPS: And certainly, there’s the element of glorification as well. Paradoxically, I think each and every one of us has, at some point, thought “I would be the only survivor.” And then we fantasize about how we could do whatever we wanted without being beholden to work, social obligations, etc.

Hall: Yeah, and I think maybe people are frustrated with some of the other zombie games – which, incidentally, I like a lot. Like, I love Left 4 Dead. But it wasn’t giving me what I wanted in terms of answering the question you just raised – sitting around with a group of friends saying, “Well, I’d so survive the zombie apocalypse” followed by “And what would you do?” Well, I’d go here and get a gun, or go into the hills or go into a town and snipe people or whatever.

RPS: Those possibilities in mind, what’s next for ARMA II Day Z? Are more varied locations and new assets on the way?

Hall: Well, first we need to lock down what’s there and make sure it’s working properly. I think following a Minecraft model is a good way to go. So I think we need to provide something quite clean and packaged – just moving toward that more mature Minecraft product. You know, emphasis on survival. I think that’s a really strong area gamers want. Another kind of experience – like you said, maybe the growth of a whole new niche market.

RPS: Would you ever consider making Day Z: Walmart Edition? Yes, it sounds incredibly silly, but I’ve always felt like the first game to replicate this type of scenario in a location everyone – at least, in America, in this case – visits frequently would stand a chance of creating something horrifyingly resonant.

Hall: Yeah. And I think that if the concept gets bigger, we’ll be able to expand it a lot more.

RPS: Thank you for your time.


  1. frightlever says:

    Any word on what’s being done with that logging in/out potential exploit?

    • fionny says:

      This was just added to the change log for 1.7.1:

      * [NEW] Player body exists for five seconds after disconnect (UNCONFIRMED IF WORKING)

      Mayhaps too short but a start.

      • sirdavies says:

        I think more than that would be unfair -you could get killed without you knowing about it- I think what they should do is, when you disconnect from a server, you have to wait a couple of minutes before you can log in again.

        • Lobster9 says:

          How about a countdown like PVP MMOs usually have? You click abort but you have to wait 8 seconds before it actually disconnects you. Obviously it would need an actual update of the ARMA interface.. but if it ever goes Standalone, it would be an idea.

        • argonaut says:

          Well, honestly if someone was only a few seconds away from killing you and you didn’t know it, you were probably going to die anyway.

      • dontnormally says:

        Here’s my simple solution:

        1. When a player logs out, start a timer
        2. Once the timer reaches x, the player body disappears
        3. Once the timer reaches y, the player is allowed to log back into that server

        Set x=5, y=60

  2. Setroc says:

    “Well, I’d so survive the zombie apocalypse” followed by “And what would you do?” Well, I’d … go into a town and snipe people or whatever.”

    ^ If this was actually someone’s response, I’d be a bit worried about them!

    • Mungrul says:

      I’d steal ALL the beans.
      Then probably get shot in the back of the head by another survivor attracted by the noise of perpetual farts.

    • Harlander says:

      DayZ, along with every other zombie survival game, has just proven the validity of my all-purpose two step plan for the apocalypse:

      Step 1: Suck
      Step 2: Die

      • Phantoon says:

        Suck what, though? If you’re pretty, I’m sure you could survive a while with the raiders on their Nitro-trucks.

  3. cpy says:

    I was considering buying not so good game Arma 2 just for DayZ, but i’ll wait for Arma 3 DayZ or some standalone game based on arma3, so yeah good to know that they’ll be making it in A3, i like how this mod works.

    • Quarex says:

      C’mon, man. Ground floor. Buy the game already. Tell all those newbies in 2013 about how you were playing it in the ARMA II engine, and about how much cooler the game used to be!

  4. Clavus says:

    Day Z is the kind of game that you play all day without experiencing too many interesting events, and you put it down thinking you’ll stop for a few days, but proceed to pick up the next day with just as much zeal as before. Playing with friends makes it even more fun. They constantly end up in some situation where they need to be picked up somewhere across the map or need help raiding an airfield.

    I logged more nearly 100 hours in this game in little over two weeks. My current character has been alive and well for a week and we’ve been hoarding vehicles from across the map. Next target is finding a chopper!

  5. Sp4rkR4t says:

    If Arma III can do melee that version of DayZ would be orders of magnitude better.

    • hjd_uk says:

      I agree: the fact that you cant even punch a zombie, or use the hatchet / knife you may have means that if you aggro a zombie and you are out of ammo, its either log out or die.

      • Malk_Content says:

        Not all the time! Last time that happened to me it was at night and someone was using flares to gather a group. I had to run for like twenty minutes (the group was continually moving and I couldn’t stop and ask them to slow down in chat for obvious reasons) but caught up to them. My mini hoard killed one of them before they took it down, so I was even able to get some more ammo from the corpse! There was then a long debate about whether they should kill me or not, but I lived as they needed everyone they could find to carry car parts.

      • Andy_Panthro says:

        I’d suggest slowing down the zombies would be a better idea than melee combat.

        I tried running away after using all my ammo, and ended up just running for miles along a main road with an ever-increasing mob of zeds following me.

        pic: link to

        • Morlock says:

          For whatever reasons, zombies don’t like jetties and won’t follow you on them.

          • Harlander says:

            They also have trouble getting through normal-sized doorways (they’ll at least stop), and last time I played, they couldn’t penetrate the broken long window of the hospital building at all.

      • billyphuz says:

        The changelog for 1.7.1 said something about 1. Zombies not being able to see/attack through walls anymore and 2. Being able to hide from zombies. I think between those things, a player who runs out of ammo at least stands a chance.

    • Sardukar says:

      Melee is in.

      Pending Hotfix: Build
      * [NEW] Tone Mapping to enhance nightlighting conditions
      * [FIXED] Generic Loot not spawning (such as food etc…)
      * [FIXED] Animals stand still and HURR DURRR (they now walk around)
      * [FIXED] New blood values not being saved when a player eats (they do now)
      * [FIXED] Duplicate players not being removed (should now be removed on login)
      * [NEW] Melee Weapon introduced: Hatchet (can only drop through right click in gear menu)
      * [NEW] Maximum animals increased
      * [NEW] Melee Weapon introduced: Crowbar (can only drop through right click in gear menu)

      There ya go.

  6. Simas says:

    Whatever is with Brits and Zombies?
    Seriously tho, I tried Day Z myself and it didn’t hold me interested that much. Maybe I am just tired of all the Arma 2 engine glitches and “fast zombies” don’t make sense to me. Anyway, I wish the project good luck.

    • Chaz says:

      I didn’t realise we Brits were any more into zombies than any other part of the world. For starters the journalist who wrote this article is based in the US.

      Most zombie films are American made, but also quite a few Italian ones too.

      Resident Evil and Silent Hill games heavily feature horror zombies and are Japanese.

      Apart from 28 Days Later and Sean of the Dead, I can’t really think of much in the way of other UK fiction about zombies. Although I suppose you could draw parallels with something like Day of the Triffids.

      • rapier17 says:

        Whilst it is ‘Shaun of the Dead’ you’ve given me an idea where Sean Bean takes on a world of zombies as Boromir/Ned Stark and kicks arse. Then he’d ‘die’ at the end as per everything he is in these days.

        The ‘zombie’ obsession is not a British thing as Chaz points out. In fact apart from the two Chaz mentioned, and Charlie Brooker’s ‘Dead Set’, there’s very little in the British industries to do with zombies.

    • DodgyG33za says:

      Dean Hall is a Kiwi, which is about as far away from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island as you can get.

      Something else about Brits. They ain’t. I can’t remember anyone calling themselves British.

      English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish. The Cornish can even take offence to being called English.

      Must be a Yank thing :o).

      • MacBeth says:

        I agree it’s rare but with a mix of English heritage, a dash of Northern Irish and being born and brought up in Scotland, “British” is as close as it gets for me, and I happily consider myself such…

      • Unaco says:

        I’m British as well… not Scottish (born), English (parents), Irish (family history), Manx (other family history)… But British. We do exist.

    • Lord Byte says:

      You’re not alone. Between patching arma to the latest beta patch, then DayZ then do it again a couple of days later, and the still rampant bugs (for two years the blurry tunnelvision bug persists, over two different videocards and cpu’s and several installations), I just couldn’t do it any more.
      Then the last few days getting regular disconnects (only in DayZ)..
      Nah. Got too many games that actually work and are less of a hassle to play.

    • Simas says:

      You are taking my comment too seriously :)
      I am a huge fan of zombie games myself (looking forward to Dead State and the new Project Zomboid update), but my point was that Day Z is 90% arma 2 fame and 10% the mod. That 10% doesn’t keep me interested enough. And I have already seen enough of Chernarus before Day Z came along.

  7. Ross Angus says:

    Isn’t the setting part of what makes Day Z special? To shove it into the Amercan midwest would make it reminiscent of too many other games.

    • TariqOne says:

      Chernarus will only get staler over time though. I think with an equally or more detailed world (more enterable structures, to take a small example), where exactly you drew that world would be almost irrelevant, so long as it had variety of terrain and towns and realism. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan, either Dakota, Idaho, basically all of the south, most of the Rust Belt, are some weird ass, scary ass places as it is, and each attractive in their own way.

      And yeah, replacing Stary Sobor with a Wal-Mart or a giant mall would an homage to classic zombie canon, and pretty cool. You could even build your small survivor community in the prison down the road a la the Walking Dead comics. America! Prisons and malls.

      Not being in America is fine too. More than fine. But I’m just sayin’.

      • buzzmong says:

        I’d rather it was set in Coventry, England tbh, than see another generic American town/countryside.

        And I hate Coventry.

    • InternetBatman says:

      How many games are actually in the American midwest?

      • derbefrier says:

        hmm probably any cowboy video games like red dead revolver but other than that? I cant think of any off the top of my head. I think he missed the point and just wanted to take the opportunity to bitch about the US though. Of course it doesn’t have to be america but a more populated less 3rd word looking place would be a lot easier to relate to is what he was saying. it doesn’t have to be America any random suburban city setting would be good enough and allow the player to be better able to relate to his surroundings and add to the immersion.

        • IAmUnaware says:

          He said “midwest”, which is probably a bit confusing for people who aren’t Americans because the area known as the midwest is actually almost entirely in the eastern half of the country. So cowboy games are mostly set in the actual “west” (which really means southwest) rather than the midwest.

          That said, I can’t really think of many games that are set in the Midwest. I guess there was that Michael Jordan game on the SNES?

          • nimzy says:

            I can’t properly communicate the extreme irritation I get when people say “midwest” and mean territory lying east of the Mississippi River. I start to froth at the mouth and insist that “midwest” should mean everything between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River. Even their time zone says Central (when it’s not).

  8. andytizer says:

    If anyone is interested in installing DayZ, there is an installation guide here: link to – also lists a number of bugs, fixes and workarounds. If you discover a new fix, take some time to add it in (no account required).

  9. Mulkyz says:

    Man I love DayZ, I think it’s one of the very very few survival games that actually does survival right, which is really surprising since most ‘survival’ games seem to be just shooting games with a few survival elements – it’s almost like none of those devs/publishers have taken a step back and looked at what survival actually is.

    Awesome job Rocket! Keep it up, can’t wait to see the Arma 3 version. You’ve given a lot of people a long overdue new perspective on what survival is and how it should be done! I’ll of course continue recommending DayZ to everyone I know :)

    • DodgyG33za says:

      Agreed. And all this despite the UI from hell and zombies that look like they are phase shifting or something. And hit rego that is so slow it is surprising your bullets don’t turn into arrows.

  10. hjd_uk says:

    Only ‘problem’ with DayZ is that although you may consider actual survival would depend on other people helping each other, Day-Z is in fact, every-murderer-for-themselves .

    • Chaz says:

      Yeah, I can’t help think that in reality that people would actually band together a bit more than they do in Day Z and create survivor safe havens.

      • Derppy says:

        If you woke up in a middle of zombie apocalypse and saw people shooting each other, would you trust someone who’s approaching your location with a gun?

        Teamwork is extremely rewarding in DayZ, it’s the absolute best way to survive. Lone bandits wont even open fire on a group of 4+ people. It’s easy to loot cities, repair vehicles, recover from wounds and so on. Making a group out of strangers is extremely hard because people don’t trust each other, but it happens and it’s quite possible. If you don’t want to take a risk, you can form a group outside of the game and play together.

        I really hope Rocket wont listed to the people who claim absolute freedom is a bad thing and there’s too many murderers. The bandit system was absolutely terrible. Completely unrealistic, locks the player in one playstyle, punishes for self defense, simplifies the game.

        I want it to remain a game where I can kill a guy for his beans and when a group comes by the scene, I can lie it was self defense and potentially join them.

        The natural advantages and disavantages of various playstyles are enough, artificial advantages and disadvantages ruin the game.

        • TariqOne says:

          I don’t think anyone’s claiming that “absolute freedom is a bad thing.” But I like what you did there, Sarah Palin. I don’t know why “liberals hate America,” either. I guess we’ll never know!

          Per my post below, Rocket/devs should listen to people saying that the complete lack of disincentive to murder as a default is itself unrealistic and immersion-breaking. Add to that the elements of population caps on servers, ping issues, connection issues, and a host of other reality-based constraints that make it very much a game (and not reality), like it or not, “play with friends” just isn’t an answer.

          Creative people can come up with solutions. I think its disingenuous in the extreme to claim well hey, bandit system sucked, freedom rocks, let’s ignore the issue, demonize anyone raising it as haters of freedom, and demand that nothing ever change.

          It’s a problem. Fixes should be considered. Full stop.

          • Derppy says:

            It’s not a problem, it’s a part of the game and it doesn’t need to “fixed”, unlike something like the instant disconnection to avoid death or server-swapping to farm deer stands and military barracks.

            The balance between murderers and friendly players can be adjusted by shaping the world and in a realistic fashion. For example, Rocket is considering to remove the starting pistol.

            It’s an adjustment that’s not unrealistic, or artificial advantage or disadvantage for anyone. It would reduce the “beach deathmatch”, because when people would find a gun and have the ability to kill, they’d already have something to lose and might not want to stick in the most risky position of the map.

            It would also make forming groups easier at start, since meeting someone unarmed is pretty risk-free and you can easily group up.

            I’m perfectly OK with systems like this, which impact the gameplay, but in a way that makes sense.

            Predicting or simulating the effects killing a person has on someone is impossible and results in a disaster. Better to not even attempt it and instead add realism in other ways.

          • TariqOne says:

            You just said you’re OK with adjustments that make sense to you. And without any surprise there, as I’d hope you are in favor of iterative attempts to improve the game.

            A total lack of incentive to cooperate or disincentive to defect at all times — exacerbated by a sharded world, short -term view, capped servers, and a host of connection and other such technical issues — is a flaw. I think your post actually recognizes it can be improved on.

            If you move away from this singular focus on bandit skins and think creatively, I’m sure you could embrace (and indeed seemingly have embraced) the idea of simple, realistic improvements to the game itself or systems around the game that would provide some incentives to cooperation. This would only increase immersion, for reasons amply and ably stated elsewhere (see Macbeth’s post below, for example).

            Oddly, the one you mention favorably, shearing the sheep of the little wool they have in the beginning, seems terrible. Stripping one of the ability to even have a chance at fighting back in the beginning would seem to lead to all sorts of spawn camping by the powerful, but I do applaud the creative thinking. The issue isn’t particularly beach deathmatch, because who cares at that juncture anyway. It’s the impairment of any long-term incentive/ability to work with others unless you come with a preset gang.

          • Apples says:

            What is the disincentive to murder in a real life zombie scenario? Presumably the only things are a) your murder might go wrong and then the intended victim knows your position (already in the game) and b) you don’t want to kill an innocent person because you have basic morality. Unless you’re kind of an asshole, this should already be in the game because you should not want to ruin other peoples’ fun, and if you are an asshole, the problem is entirely yours. I know assholes WILL play this game, but I’m inclined to think that such a slowpaced game won’t actually attract that many of them, and the conflict between “I want that guy’s stuff” and “but I have to be a jerk to get it” is the central core of the entire game. Allowing another phrase of “but it’s okay because that guy’s a bandit/got a high kill count” or “but I’d better not or I’ll get some arbitrary game-y punishment” ruins it.

            Complaining that you can easily kill a person at the end of a grouping session, like some people are saying in this thread. is not really an issue. You could easily group up with someone in real life and betray them once they have helped you raid somewhere, with the disincentive being that afterwards they’ll have better equipment and might have the same idea about backstabbing you, which again is already in the game.

            Good riddance bandit skins.

          • TariqOne says:

            Really? The differences between real-life and Day-Z are so numerous and profound I don’t even know where to begin. They’re why, in real life, humans have always banded together in the face of an intensely hostile environment to form enclaves, towns, Paris. And why, in Day-Z, that’ll never, ever happen.

            In real life we aren’t all virtually identical looking dudes who can’t talk. Our actions have profound and permanent impact on ourselves and others. In a real life horror we’d either have real-life families and friends who cared about our outcomes, or else be so desperate for a friendly voice and a helping hand in the insanity that would far outweigh the risk of encountering some random psycho or desperate cretin. We don’t log out of real life to go work a job or play with our kids or placate our girlfriends for hours at a time; we don’t log into real life for short stretches for lulz. In real life the people we meet don’t log out and log back in to whatever server they can manage to log into.

            Real life has women.

            Need I go on? The lack of actual consequence to the victims or victimizers beyond losing your compass or M4A1 SD creates an artificiality that fundamentally rewards short-term, experimentally anti-social behavior. It is, sorry to say, immersion breaking on some small but basic level. It is unrealistic.

            This isn’t about bandit skins. They were flawed and I understand their removal. It’s about thinking of ways to make the game richer and more awesome. Striving for a bit more realty isn’t a bad thing in a sim this rich.

          • TariqOne says:

            Shooop — don’t get me wrong, it’s not a game-breaking problem and the game is still a must-play. It’s an alpha, though, and this is just one thing among many others that needs tweaking.

          • Sassenach says:

            I’d just like to ditto that and say that was really well argued Tariq.

    • TariqOne says:

      Agreed. I think removing the humanity element was a small step backwards for the overall experience. I realize that humanity and bandit skinning was a seriously flawed way to accomplish the aim, but there really does need to be SOME disincentive to just plinking away at everyone you see. It’s to the point that it’s immersion-breaking the other way now.

      Now before someone comes and cites chapter and verse about how “there are no bandit skins IRL” or whatever, I am constrained to note that RL is also played on a persistent single-server with permadeath and absolutely one logoff per customer (unless you’re Buddhist or Hindu or whatever, but even then, one logoff per character).

      So while I understand that the core lesson of zombie fiction is the whole HUMANS ARE THE REAL MONSTERS element, that only works when the plucky heroes are huddled defiantly against the prevailing winds of anarchy and evil. Without a disincentive to evil, or at least an incentive to helping and cooperating, you just lack that second, crucial bit.

      And yeah I’d play with friends but my best gaming buddy won’t play anymore because she’s sick of getting shot in the face all the time (and bugged zombies, but such is life).

    • SooSiaal says:

      Since the whole bandit system is gone people have started shooting at sight.
      People are getting too paranoid and others just shoot everybody because noone will see that they did so.

      • MacBeth says:

        Becoming a paranoid sociopath is a valid response to a zombie apocalypse – but it should only work in the short term. Since Day Z is all short term at the moment then it ‘wins’ as a tactic for obvious reasons – only the paranoid sociopaths survive the race to the bottom. It may be realistic but it’s not much fun for people who would rather live and let live where possible. If the game is going to expand from its current situation to have the emergent survivor groups, surviving long(er) term, that people apparently want, then there need to be realistic/plausible advantages to helping one’s fellow man rather than shooting on sight. The big question is if Rocket *wants* that to happen…

        Needing more pairs of hands to accomplish things is one possibility, though gangs of bandits can still trust each other and co-operate even if they don’t give anyone else a chance. I personally think there do need to be consequences for being merciless – but any penalty for being a sociopath has to be plausible in-game where things are intended to be as realistic as possible, hence bandit skins don’t ‘work’. The only part of the game that doesn’t have any clear correlation with realistic consequences is the zombie infection. So, it could be used to impose consequences on being a heartless killer without sacrificing any of the hard-won realism of the rest of the game system…

        Retain (with some tweaks) the humanity scoring system, gaining humanity for co-operating and helping others (especially strangers), and have players with persistently low humanity become at risk of turning zombie… perhaps implemented by having food, water & blood transfusions become less effective, controls/accuracy being hampered, etc. to the point of losing control of one’s actions and attacking anyone in sight… I know people hate having control taken away from them, but in a zombie game, isn’t losing control part of The Fear? The zeds themselves have become something of an irrelevance to the game, as a relatively minor hazard, so making becoming one yourself be a genuine peril if you don’t act in a humane way could be quite a good way of re-establishing them?

        • -Zarathustra- says:

          Utterly dreadful idea, and one that would be ruinous to the game. You want to implement game enforced (rather than player enforced) laws to punish players in a game whose essence is to see how players react in a hazardous world when no laws exists? You’re undermining the very concept of the game. I know I would immediately cease playing if such an idea were implemented. Truly abominable.

          • Guhndahb says:

            Just because you like it does not make it “the very concept of the game”. There was a bandit skin system, but that was changed, because it was too flawed. Well some of us consider the current system also to be flawed. You may enjoy dicking people over and being dicked over, but I don’t. I like emergent coop. I want to need to work with some stranger because, if we don’t, we’ll die. Day Z has a lot of potential, but it’s not meeting it, to my tastes.

            As another said, until you only have one life in the game, ever, people aren’t going to act realistically. People do not take killing a player in the game even remotely as seriously as killing a real person. And while that’s exactly how it should be, it strongly influences any correlation between how people act in the game and how people act in real life. So people saying “this is how we’d act in a zombie apocalypse” are simply egotistical pseudo-sociologists.

            In my experience, some people band together in real-life crisis situations, others prey on the weak. They are both valid responses to a simulation of a crisis and should be expressible in the game. But I think the balance is way off right now. But I agree that the solution should be something more elegant than the bandit skins (though I’d rather them than nothing).

          • MacBeth says:

            Can you explain why you think it would be so ruinous? The interesting thing about what-if zombie apocalypse simulation is not simply noting that nearly everyone would turn into complete bastards, but the struggle to maintain some sort of humanity in the face of disaster. That’s where the drama comes from – the struggle to survive and save ones friends/family from becoming monsters themselves. Simply shedding any pretence at being a civilised human being and joining in with the monsters straight away is not the point of zombie survival at all.

            The behaviour my suggestion would counter (though not stop) is players being *totally* ruthless and inhumane. Players are currently immune from the results of actions which, in the real world, would severely affect their mental state. Currently in the game a wildly disproportionate number of players are role-playing being a total sociopath, because there are no downsides to that sort of behaviour. My suggestion is to have a progressive effect – the worse you behave, the more monstrous you become.

            There’s clearly no way at all for players to enforce any kind of laws, because it’s total anarchy – you and I both agree that’s the point. Therefore only in-game laws can be used with any kind of effectiveness. The only option players currently have is to shoot first, which is what gives rise to the problem in the first place.

            Needing to play cautiously, being worried about other players actions’ and being able to take advantage of them would still all be there in the game. Why would it ruin your game to no longer be able to murder everyone else at will without any consequence?

          • TariqOne says:

            To go a step further, you’re actually a moron if you DON’T kill everyone you see.

            I’ve logged about 100 hours in the game. I’ve shot at two players and killed one. And the one I killed I mistook for a player-killer (turned out he was shooting Zs). I’m doggedly determined to stay the course and roleplay the human I’d want to be, but I’m not deluding myself about how fucking stupid it is given the way the game works. Until the game is tweaked some it is astronomically stupid to hesitate when an unknown player is in your crosshairs.

          • MacBeth says:

            Quite – bit like playing at night without NVG and trying to decide whether to adjust monitor settings in order to see, or not. Currently you’re a (romantic) fool not to, despite the fact it ruins the feel of the game. Would be a dreadful shame if this awesome concept becomes unplayable because of people playing it the most ‘efficient’ way. Meeting a fellow survivor should be mixture of “Thank God… but what if I can’t trust him”… not *always* “Kill him before he sees me, because he’ll kill me if I don’t”

          • Peanut Noir says:

            I think what needs to be done to remove the shot on site dea so prevalent in the game is not to give solo players and players with low humanity negative effects, but perhaps give players working in a group positive effects.

            Another idlea would be to implement an insanity meter (everyone knows running around in a country you don’t know surrounded by zombies, with the constant threat of death around you would be devastating phsycologically). The meter could (very) slowly increase over a long period of time, and go up when positive contact with other players was made. Of course, the idea is pretty drastic as it forces player contact, and (in the spirit of the game) there would not be any measures takento stop them from shooting each other in the face right afterwards

            Anything to remove the shoot on sight idea infecting DayZ!

          • -Zarathustra- says:

            Macbeth: this is a game, and you can not simulate the ‘struggle to… save ones friends/family from becoming monsters’ when all you have is an nondescript avatar whose life is expendable, and whose in-game actions – as awful as they might seem to you if they were real – do no more than mildly inconvenience fellow players.

            If you want to simulate the repercussions of anti-social behaviour, then you need to look at reality. A game-enforced morality-meter which turns you into a monster if you’re a naughty boy is ridiculous, and doesn’t reflect reality. Killing people does not in itself ‘severely affect [your] mental state’. This is a different debate, there’s good reason to believe that the sort of inner turmoil you’re speaking of (very potent feelings of ‘guilt’) is not inherent; it is the result of accepting and internalizing the morals of your society, and analyzing yourself and your actions through them. What I’m saying is, it’s silly to impose ‘guilt’ on me or any other player through some contrived morality mechanic, when we simply may not feel it.

            So what other possible repercussions are there? Reputation. In reality, bandits would be quickly identified and their names, positions and descriptions would be circulated among less homicidally inclined survivors. Of course, having so many servers and no requirement to stay on any one makes this difficult, but I think this is where you should be looking for a solution, and not arbitrary punishments based on quantified morality.

          • MacBeth says:

            Only got time for a quick reply but “Killing people does not in itself ‘severely affect [your] mental state’. ” is a mindboggling thing to say if you’re talking about reality. I think we could be confident in saying that the vast majority of people would be functioning under the societal morals you’re discussing, and making the simulator assume a default state of ‘sociopath’ is not conducive to fun gameplay (except for actual sociopaths or people who like to pretend to be them when gaming)
            How can bandits possibly be identified and dealt with if they have killed the witnesses? And in a game with zombies in, why is making the player risk becoming one ridiculous?

          • oceanview says:

            I’m a peaceful fella in dayz, but when i meet you macbeth i”ll have a bullet ready. So many people wanting to destroy the essence of this mod and punishing people who play it not the way they would like them to play. You’re just another cop.

    • DodgyG33za says:

      I think the way that this has evolved is one of the fascinating things about Day Z.

      Having said that, there does need to be a greater reason for not back stabbing people you team up with. After all, if you are at the end of a session, it is just so easy to off your new partner before your log off. It is not as if you future depends on them, since you will probably continue on a different server.

      Since the problem is not “realistic” maybe the solution shouldn’t be. How about a murderer starts with less and less resources each time they restart. Or just keep track of the murder to game time ratio and show that on the server player list.

      • tigershuffle says:

        I do think the game needs to reward ‘humanity’ in game

        Would love it if ‘loot spawn’ and after death respawn could be factored in to your humanity.

        If you share or help other survivors… get rewarded on respawn ie better starting locale and equipment

        ….if you bad you get less of a loadout and harder respawn…some will still enjoy the challenge.

      • TariqOne says:

        Persistent player-kill stats you can call up with “p” or whatever would be a decent way to assign consequence to actions outside of the game mechanism yet within the gaminess of the overall thing.

        The idea of some sort of madness with in-game effects related to a descent into total immorality raised above is also super intriguing way to address it in game.

    • Syra says:

      Wrong. The emergence of trust and suspicion as a mechanic is what keeps the game interesting. regulation of any form would take away some of the truth to the interactions. I’ve quite happily met people in chernarus, travelled with them, arranged to meet them again and made friends with them outside the game. We have a ts server with a whole bunch of friends made along the way now. And sometimes someone will walk up and shoot you but that’s the risk and reward that makes it worthwhile.

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        I totally agree that trust and suspicion is what makes interaction with unknown players interesting. Either total trust (a hypothetical non-PVP server) or total distrust (deathmatch) reduces the possible interactions with other players.

        This is why I regret the loss of the bandit skins. It was kinda broken, but did make interactions with other players more interesting; it predisposed you to judge a player as “survivor” or “bandit” and presume a corresponding level of (un)trustworthiness. It was certainly not perfect; not all survivors were trustworthy by any means, and not all bandit skins were fully deserved. And to be honest, it would have been less interesting if the skins had been a more reliable indication of player intentions. A little ambiguity is good.

        Right now the game is skewed too far toward the distrust end of the spectrum, and so most encounters with other players play out the same way, with whoever gets the drop shooting first.

  11. JB says:

    like underground structures. That kind of stuff would be great for Day Z” – Oh gods. It’ll be like the STALKER X lab all over again. *shudder* (I do look forward to it though.)

    but that group of ARMA II players really got behind the whole concept. Their numbers have increased, and interest in the group has increased a lot – which is great to see.” – Not only true of ShackTac, I believe the ARPS group is seeing a greatly increased turnout since DayZ kicked off.

    • Unaco says:

      Indeed. ARPS’ weekly Tactical Tuesday session has grown from 25-30 regulars up to 50, sometimes more. FOLK Sundays have also seen a similar uptick in player numbers. It’s been pretty great, and has even caused FOLK to come with a new Order of Battle, and all of our dedicated Mission Engineers to start increasing the player slots in all their missions.

      Here is our sub-forum on the RPS forums, if anyone wants to check out what we’re about. Also, drop into the RPS Steam chat if you have any questions… a lot of the regulars linger in there.

    • dslyecxi says:

      To put it in perspective for ShackTac, we’ve had literally years worth of applicants in the last few months, after CHKilroy’s ‘The Days Ahead’ DayZ series ( link to ) took off like a… uh… rocket. We’ve peaked at 117 players in session recently (and that’s with being very selective about onboarding!), and if it continues like this… who knows. Having two full platoons (46 players per plt) plus a weapons squad in a giant coop operation is pretty insane to see. Having that many people in adversarial missions is crazy as well.

      Any group that isn’t currently seeing an increase of numbers from the swarm of DayZ players flooding into the community probably needs to reevaluate how they approach things like onboarding, PR, etc. The interest and people are there, it’s just a matter of letting them know about you and giving them a reason to join up.

  12. Moraven says:

    “because you can’t pirate Day Z [due to persistent servers]”
    DRM disguised as a Feature I say!

    Where is the outrage? Torches? The Pitchforks tipped with internet rageee? The 30 minutes server connects! If I had a local character this DRM would not be a problem! I could actually play it whenever I wanted!

  13. R1ckyChav3z says:

    Hi guys!
    My friends and I started playing Day Z and we are recording our adventures as we play the game and so far I have Day 1 up and we are currently recording Day 2, where we started playing together as a team. Also I shot one of my friends accidentally in the face. If you’d like us to add or change anything or want us to make a video explaining how to do something, leave a comment below.

    Hopefully you like the video and subscribe to my channel, as we continue making videos for the Day Z community.

    Day 1 – Introducing the Game and running around in circles in Utter Terror:
    link to