Is it worth playing DayZ Standalone in its current alpha condition? Probably not. But anecdotes of scary charcoal-eating clowns, wiggle cultists, forced axe fights, and slow death from disease and dehydration, make it hard to resist.
Still I’m a little sad the changelog for the next experimental patch doesn’t contain more basic fixes, like maybe ‘Removed the invisible sodding zombies‘, or ‘Zombies can no longer run through walls and floors‘, or even ‘Doorways are now easier to manoeuver through‘. Instead I have to settle for the likes of “Balanced stomach capacity”, as outlined in a post by Dean Hall over on the official forums.
The patch prevents you being able to put backpacks inside one another “backpack-Inception style”, tweaks the spawn rates for some weapons, and adds a “Stuffed” notifier when your stomach is full instead of a “Sick” one. My stuffed notifier goes off constantly throughout the day, because I’ve taken to eating large bagels before bed.
It also adds a bunch of new features, including the ability to craft sawed-off shotguns, to open cans with a saw, and to go berry picking. The latter is especially interesting, given the current reliance on canned foods for pretty much everything.
In order to play the build, you need to go to DayZ Standalone’s Steam settings screen and opt-in to the “beta branch”. This will download the new client and allow you to connect to experimental servers. There’s likely to only be a few of those however, so think twice before doing it. The patch, assuming it doesn’t break DayZ more than it already is, will be rolled out to the general population in the near future.
Fixes and additions are of course welcome, but DayZ is at its best when everyone playing it has bought into the survivalist fantasy. Right now the game needs re-balancing in ways that enforce that kind of behaviour. Too often I’ll be slowly exploring a town only to see another new survivor sprinting bow-legged towards me without a care in the world, because that survivor doesn’t yet have anything of value to protect, knows they can outrun any zombie they aggro, and can more quickly search houses that way. It’s also common to have new survivors come up to you and beg you to kill them, if there aren’t any tall buildings around that allow them to do it themselves, so they can respawn at a hopefully better location. All of this undercuts the the central conceit that you’re vulnerable and your life is valuable.
Anyway, progress is being made. I just need to wait. If only those charcoal-eating clowns wouldn’t stop drawing me back in. There’s a full changelog in the forum post.