I took a vacation day the other day because I was exhausted. I spent it at home not doing squat but playing video games (NBA 2k12, SWTOR). About halfway through the day my friend Jeremiah alerted me to a new mod for Arma2 that is picking up steam called DayZ. Long story short: this is the game I’ve been wanting someone to make for years. It’s pure zombie survival.
First, the idea is to survive as long as you can. You have to eat. You have to drink. This means you need to scavenge for supplies. You can hunt and cook meat, but that not only requires matches/lighter, but it also means giving away your position. Other players trying to survive will hunt other players to loot their stuff, so stealth is crucial.
The map is huge, which you can get by watching this clip.
And the super cool thing is there’s no duplicates. It’s really just a huge landscape. Very realistic.
Here’s the main factor: there’s perma death. If you die, you lose everything and can spawn back after logging in, but you have virtually no gear. This adds an element of fear to the game I’ve not seen elsewhere. Surviving is important. It’s the most important thing. You freak out when you see another player, and they freak out when they see you. You both typically draw your gun and, if nobody says “Friendly!” within a few seconds, bullets fly out of fear.
When you approach a new town, you’d best get on the global chat and say something like, “Hey, Zerowing approaching Cherno from the West. FRIENDLY FRIENDLY FRIENDLY!” It might help people not snipe you. But many players will welcome the safety of groups, so you might even get a response from someone who is hunkered down in a grocery store or something offering up a place to lay low for a bit. I’m finding, of course, that cities tend to be full of bandits.
To give you some perspective, go to the bottom of the map. The hike from Balota to Cherno is about a ten minute jaunt. The map is freaking huge. You generally spawn along the Southern coast, which means the towns along the Southern border are pretty populated. This weekend I’m going to try and make my way North to scavenge buildings on the outskirts of towns.
You can also interact with the world. If someone has bled out from a wound you can try and find a hospital to do a blood transfusion. You can scavenge auto parts and repair vehicles.
The game also progresses in real time, which means night is a bitch. You can’t see much. You could light a flare, but zombies see that stuff (so do bandits).
The mod is in alpha so it’s a bit rough. There are definitely some kinks to work out. That being said, it’s amazing! This will likely be my main game for a while. I dropped $30 on Arma2 (and the Arrowhead expansion, which you need for the mod) and it was so worth it. This weekend I’ll be on and will tweet my server and location.
If you see players flying the ADEMA (Alternative Department of Emergency Military Assistance) flag, that’s our group. We’re friendly and will help.