No End Of The World: MineZ Is Zombie Survival Minecraft

I’d forgotten that Minecraft can be terrifying. It wasn’t until I was leading a conga line of zombies through a dark forest, hunger stinging me, dehydration stabbing away, that I remembered the fear it can instil. I say “remembered”, like I rationalised it. “Ah, yes. This feels familiar”. Really, I was screaming and swearing and panicking and clenching. MineZ sharpens Minecraft’s fangs
in the same way that DayZ turned Arma II feral.

You’ll note the similar naming convention: this is DayZ in Minecraft. A server-side mod that puts you and other players into a world without rules. Survival like it used to be, back when you couldn’t easily sidestep a zombie because you didn’t know what the hell you were doing. This time it’s because zombies are meaner, stronger, faster and can see you from a long way away. There are no other NPC creeps to mess with, just the undead. And humans.

It starts on the south coast. You spawn with only a bandage, sword, water bottle, and an eye (that sends chats out to the world – I’ll explain later) in your inventory. You’ll need to eat, drink, and not die. Like DayZ, how do it is completely up to you. Life is hard, made harder still by heading north where the cool things are. Loot is semi-rare, and you can always rely on people to be assholes right from the second you’re born. I’ve died seconds after spawning on a few occasions, I’ve watched people chasing others and did my best to get out of sight. It can be wholly unpleasant, which is the entire point.

It’s a hand-made world of desert, forest, snowy mountains, dotted with abandoned buildings, towns and villages; a place still in flux as the developers play God with the landscape. Like DayZ, places are relatively far apart. It’s a fair yomp from the edge of the world to the centre, and it’s possible to see only a few buildings on that route. The towns are where most of the loot is sat, in crates housed in the buildings. There you can pluck weapons, food, and armour. If you’re brave enough to enter, that is. They draw a crowd.

The first one I found was Grimdale: it’s one of the bigger areas. I couldn’t see anyone around, and it was getting dark, so my options were limited going in there, or braving a forest full of zombies. Here was a walled town that offered some protection, so the choice was easy. I did my best at scoping it out, looking for a floating name tag or two. It’s important to note that the chat channel is split: if you type into it normally you’ll only be ‘heard’ locally; holding the eye casts your voice across the server. It enables people to scheme without being overheard, but it also lets you tell the server when someone has ganked you. I had to use it before I managed to get into the town: I was so busy looking in that I missed the prick sneaking up on me. He killed me and took my pathetic leavings. I hope the wooden sword gave him splinters.

When – and not if – you die, the server punishes you with a minute’s downtime before letting you log back in, and you’re spawned on a random section of the coast. There’s little chance of getting revenge.

All I have is hope. Hope that he starves and dehydrates and cries about it. Hope that someone bigger, with more armour, sees him taking a drink and wants his bottle. When it’s not people coming up Behind you and catching you unaware, it’s hunger or thirst. The Minecraft UI bears the bad news: what was once the game’s levelling system now tells you how hungry you are and how thirsty you are.

I did once die with a full bottle of water in my inventory, because I wasn’t paying attention: even if you are used to the Minecraft UI and forget what the numbers mean in this instance, the game generates chat messages to warn you. I was busy looting a village and died anyway. That really hurt, because I was finally in a group and feeling confident. We all met on the road: I spotted six of them emerge from the desert and asked if they were friendly. They bobbed by pressing crouch, and I joined their little fellowship. Someone asked where everyone was from: Australians, Americans and a Scottish bloke in London. All questing together.

They were going to Yawpton, a small town in the middle of a forest. As we followed the road, the zombie attacks became more numerous: we formed a tight little knot and swung swords together. Health was doled out, weapons swapped: I took a half-worn wooden sword and combined it with my nearly broken one in the inventory to make a slightly better one. You can do this with any perishable object, just like vanilla Minecraft. It would do till we got to town, where I was promised there would be loot.

And loot there was. Loot galore. Yawpton is a square of buildings with a tower in the middle. The biggest of the buildings has many chests. We went from floor to floor, treasure hunting. I was handed a glowing bow and some arrows, and upgraded my armour. I was proud, I was a member of a thing and that thing had weapons, equipment, and armour. It wasn’t until we’d agreed to move on that my game started hitching: I thought I was being attacked and flailed a little before noticing the 0 hydration level. I died of thirst with a water bottle in my hand, face down in a fountain. It was because I’d made friends that I died. I was reading their messages and missing the warnings.

Friended to death by thirst is probably a first for anyone, ever.

But grouping made me thirsty – in the gaming sense – for more. There’s a wider world out there, and I’ve only seen perhaps a tenth of it. The further north you go, the more dangerous it gets, too. I want to see it what’s beyond Yawton and the frozen forest I made it to after I respawned (and was murdered for my shiny hat). I’m torn between wanting more scenery and hoping they don’t overpopulate the place: more hills, caves and hollows in the forest, sure, but keep the buildings to a minimum, developers. You are reading this, yes? Good.

I’m still finding my way in MineZ, in an experience that echoes both people discovering Minecraft for the first time, and people discovering Day Z for the first time. I’ve yet to kill for anything other reason than preservation, though, and I’m not counting it out when it comes to revenge for a previous killing, or stopping an attack in front of me. I’ve not planted wheat or uncovered what the green dyes purpose is. But, again, like DayZ and early Minecraft, part of the fun is the discovery. It’s possible I’ll have seen enough when I know how it all works. Or its possible it will evolve and draw me in further still.

For now, though, all I can do is report back here, to you. If you’re intrigued, then all you need to know to get into the game, including the free public and paid for private servers, is here.

Join me.


  1. pakoito says:

    Server side mod means that I don’t have to install anything locally?

    • amoliski says:

      The server doesn’t require any local mods at all, however, Rei’s minimap is insanely handy for keeping track of locations.

  2. Secundus says:

    does every cool survival minimmo with permadeath and looting have to be zombies? Dayz is the best zombie-related game I have ever played and the zombies are easily easily the most boring and tedious part, other than the schlepping. I’ve wanted a decent populated pvp minecraft survival server for ages and when one comes along its about the most boring enemy in a game full to the brim with boring enemies.

    • Spacewalk says:

      Would you prefer Creepers?

      • Secundus says:

        none of the minecraft enemies are fun to fight but creepers atleast yield cool explosions. and also: they arent fucking zombies

      • Stromko says:

        Reign of Fire anyone? Minecraft should already have AI for dragons and everything. Might be especially cool if there’s ruined buildings here and there that you can fortify, but the only thing you have the means to build with is wood. ;)

        • EPICTHEFAIL says:

          Ignoring the fact that we already kind of have that in the form of Skyrim + a billion mods to make dragon fights actually challenging, and the fact that it isn`t an MMO… Yes, please. Oh god, yes. I would pay full price for that, quite happily.

      • The Random One says:

        Minecraft aside, you could make a hyper-realistic game in which you are defending against surprisingly aggressive wildlife. There might be enough variation in enemies that you’re never sure of what you’re going against, but you can be sure they won’t be able to open doors or operate heavy machinery, and their AI can be kept simple so there can be ten bazillion of them wandering around a large gameworld.

        I’d call it The Happening II: Fauna

        • Twisted says:

          If you make one where all the wildlife is out to get you, you live in a walled fortress of a city and have one handgun strapped to your forearm… and call it Deathworld, I will pay you full Australian price for that game if the graphics are half-decent and you promise to follow it up with a movie.

    • Salt says:

      Is it the fact that they are themed as zombies that’s dull, or the fact that they behave as zombies?
      If DayZ’s and/or MineZ’s enemies were reskinned as insane robots would it be preferable?

    • PseudoKnight says:

      They’re doing their best to make the Minecraft zombies more interesting… but ya, they’re still zombies. It’s because they’re basically copying DayZ, so you end up getting all the DayZ limitations along with the Minecraft limitations. Unfortunately a unique game mode wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much attention as MineZ is getting, and for all its faults, it’s still fun for those playing it.

    • Claidheamh says:

      I imagined something like DayZ some years ago, but with dragons or some such flying monster that just roamed the skies killing people/destroying buildings. Not Skyrim dragons, but dragons that would actually take a lot of people to kill, some team effort. So instead of zombies, you’d have dragons that would provide some big benefit, when you kill them and boom, you’d have basically DayZ but with some encouragement to associate yourself with others. And you wouldn’t have any indoor pathfinding issues. :P

      • HighlifeTTU says:

        There is the giant zombie we added. It takes team work to kill. :)

    • Wisq says:

      Bruce Campbell on zombies:

      link to (at 4:19)

      “Zombies suck as bad guys. They do. Because they go ARRRR ARRR ARRRARRR. Because you can’t communicate with them. It shouldn’t have to take a hundred zombies to kill one person. The only way they can kill him is to surround him so he can’t run away from them. Seriously. Yeah, you try and run away, but you can’t, because one of them is going ARARRRRRRAARRR. They move too slow!”

      • Torgen says:

        Yeah, but they never get tired, never need to sleep. They aren’t a danger like a tiger is, they’re a danger like a wildfire is. You have to stop and rest, have to sleep eventually. They don’t.

    • Jengaman says:

      I’m with you 100%.

      Zombies are the most boring 1 dimensional enemy ever made in video games.

      I want a good dinosaur survival game. OR a planet of the apes survival game.

      • Mollusc Infestation says:

        Dinosaurs please! They could call it … DayD! Better if they didn’t though.

    • BluElement says:

      So pretend they aren’t zombies. Problem solved.

      It’s minecraft. There aren’t many differences between how the enemies attack you other than creepers and endermen.

      I mean, I see you complaining about it while offering no solution. If it’s not a survival game with zombies or zombie-like enemies, what would you like it to be?

  3. misterT0AST says:

    I can’t afford Arma + expansions right now, this thing sounds very, very, VERY interesting.

  4. McDan says:

    Well I shall definetely be joining you Craig, ridiculous deaths ho!

  5. smoozles says:

    This isn’t anything new, there are a lot of Minecraft zombie maps. There was a Minecraft-Server with the same setting, only in a city I played on like 1,5 years ago. There were skyscrapers, zombies, fastfood restaurants and you couldn’t trust nobody. But I can’t remember the name…

    • amoliski says:

      If you give it a shot, you’ll see that this is different from any other ‘zombie survival’ servers. We overhauled the AI and added a ton of other little tweaks like visibility being displayed on your experience bar and thirst.

  6. BubuIIC says:

    I was a quite surprised you can’t download the mod and install on a private (or even local) server like you can do with every other Minecraft mod? I think this would also be quite fun just at home with a bunch of friends and then fight the zombies.
    I guess they also have something like cross-server persistence then? I don’t quite see the benefits in there (also in DayZ), You can’t have different save states (like on different servers) and if you are in trouble you can just log off and go on on a different server. A per server persistence would make more sense for me, but maybe I’m missing something.

  7. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Cute and terrifying. Like a bunny with the Rage virus.

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      “That’s no ordinary rabbit! LOOK AT THE BONES!”

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Heh fellow Monty Python fan :)
        Lobbest thou thy holy hand grenade

  8. Pamplemousse says:

    It suffers from typical minecraft multiplayer problems, i.e. extreme lag and intolerable rubber banding that make fights impossible.

    Does anyone have any better experiences or is this pretty common?

    • HighlifeTTU says:

      This is from the update to 1.3. Normally they run very smooth. :-\

  9. tlarn says:

    I got a good laugh from “I died of thirst with a water bottle in my hand, face down in a fountain.”

  10. Jon Tetrino says:

    It’s funny that it’s gaining traction now, after the initial problems.

    See before they decided to be adult with their service, they were charging a flat $30 for access to the mod. Period. For that you may as well buy ARMA2: CO or wait for The War Z.

    I am interested to see how this pans out, but my view on the developer has been permanently soured by this early cash grab.

    • amoliski says:

      The thing is that running 27 servers with enterprise level DDoS protection is VERY expensive. If it wasn’t for the people who donated to get access to the beta, we wouldn’t be able to offer the number of servers we do today.

  11. HighlifeTTU says:

    Very excited to see an RPS article on the mod. This has been a dream come true for the entire development team. A few things that players may not know about the mod:

    1. We use persistence across all servers, so you can hop from server to server with your inventory and location saved.
    2. Giant zombies are in the game. They have a very unique AI that does a special “stomp attack” and take anywhere from 4-10 people to kill. They are very hard, but are rewarding to defeat.
    3. The world is always expanding. I am about to roll out a second continent that we will begin populating with new towns and dungeons. We want people to be able to always have new locations to explore and puzzle dungeons to take on.
    4. We have a ton of planned features. While DayZ gave us our original inspiration, we are taking MineZ a much different direction and are using the strengths of Minecraft to create some great features.

  12. Randomer says:

    Unfortunately, some large fraction of the time you spawn in a huge forest. There is no food, shelter, or chests in the forest, and you can walk for 15 minutes in one direction and not get out of it. Plus there are tons of zombies. It’s extremely frustrating.

  13. Jupiah says:

    I think this would be much better if you replaced all the zombies with creepers.

  14. Marty123 says:

    Seems like a pretty neat mod but I’ve been trying to play for about an hour and the servers are so terrible that I can rarely play for more than 5 minutes without timing out. Even when I manage to stay in a server for more than 5 minutes the lag is horrible – I mean absolutely horrendous. Definitely not worth playing in its current state.

    • BubuIIC says:

      That was exactly my experience with DayZ. It probably got better but I haven’t tried it any more after the initial frustration. :-/

  15. TsunamiWombat says:

    Are there any player made fortifications that keep out the Zombies? Can I spend a day mending broken fences so the hoarde doesn’t overrun us come night?

    • amoliski says:

      Right now, you can place spider webs as a barricade and give yourself some safety. The next big feature we are working out are settlements- ruined structures that can be repaired by bringing it items like wood planks. A group can repair a small fort that gives some benefits like the ability to repair weapons and armor.

  16. RaviN says:

    ArmA2 Dayz for the win, minecraft is for carebares

  17. Lord Ivan says:

    How does one manage to die of thirst with a water bottle in your hand?

  18. craig131 says:

    MineZ is an amazing game. Out of all the MMO-esque Minecraft gameplay mods I’ve experienced, MineZ is the most immersive, with Dwarves vs. Zombies being a somewhat close second. There are moments where everything feels so real, being a survivor, hunting for your next meal, pvp.. I can say for certain that this game will be around for a long time, perhaps even as long as Minecraft itself.

    If you weren’t already aware, there exists a community powered MineZ Wiki where anyone can share their knowledge about the game. Come join us if you want to hang out with some real diehard MineZ fans, we are always in need of adventurers :)

  19. Margraff1211 says:

    whats the ip