Let's play a game of good news, bad news.
Good news! DayZ's developers have laid out their development roadmap for 2015 and it includes long desired features, and should finally bring parity with and improvements over the original mod. These additions include basic vehicles and better zombie AI in early 2015, and eventually will stretch to construction and base building in late 2015. The game also has a projected final release date sometime in the first half of 2016.
Bad news! The game's price is going to increase gradually over the remaining development period and to begin with has increased from $30 to $35 and then immediately been discounted by 15% back down to $30 as part of the current Steam sale. Depending on your point of view this is either a nice way to soften the blow of an understandable and inevitable price increase or, in the UK at least, a breach of consumer protection guidelines.
Let's start with the bad. The UK's Pricing Practices guide (PDF), helpfully pointed out by Reddit, states that a price used for comparison in a sale should be "your most recent price available for 28 consecutive days or more." DayZ clearly isn't doing that.
But rather than something malicious, this seems like a simple attempt at good PR that has turned into very bad PR. Price increases are expected as early access games move gradually towards completion, and DayZ's developers wisely decided that they wanted to give people a heads-up about the coming cost bump. That's good! The issue is tying that in with a broader sale, where even with open and honest blog posts sat alongside, the natural presumption is that the discounts are applied to the current cost and not a future cost.
It's stupid and not evil, is what I'm saying. Here's what the blog post has to say about both this and future price increases:
Along with the remaining updates this year you can expect a new price point for DayZ, a slight increase to 27.99 EUR/34.99 USD. This is part of a gradual price change as we progress with the development and reach the goals that we along with your help set for the project. We would like to avoid a sudden increase in price once we hit 1.0. Don`t be discouraged by this increase however, the current price of 23.99 EUR/29.99 USD will still be available during the Steam fall sale. If you want to jump into DayZ, now is a good time.
We are all very excited to announce that the first half of 2016 will introduce our final version and release from early access, with our final price point of 39.99 EUR / 49.99 USD.
So let's end with the good. DayZ has been making steady progress over the past year of its development, quashing bugs and gradually adding new features, but there's still been some major systems missing from the game as compared to the mod and as compared to the chatter of its excitable designers. It sounds like both those types of things will be coming next year. Here's the full list:
- Basic vehicles
- Central economy (advanced loot distribution)
- New renderer
- New Zombie AI
- Basic stealth system (zombies, animals, ...)
- Advanced vehicles (repair, modifications, ...)
- Advanced animals - life cycle, group behavior
- Player statistics
- New UI Stamina / fatigue
- Dynamic events
- Character life span + soft skills
- Animal predators + birds
- Aerial transport
- Console prototype
- BETA version
- Animal companions (dog, horse)
- Steam community integration (Achievements, Steamworks modding, etc)
- Construction (building shelters / walls / ...)
Which all sounds splendid and exciting to me. I long for DayZ to have some sort of endgame, and being able to build shelters and form camps with other friendly survivors seems like the best, least sociopathic candidate.
If you're sad about any of this, mourn instead for Chris Livingston whose DayZ perma-permadeath diary means he'll never be able to experience these updates or play this game ever again.