Written by Micah Messer
For some reason it’s always seemed like developers are been afraid to create a realistic zombie survival game, instead relying on goofy zombie kills and silly weapon crafting. I don’t want to see how many zombies I can kill, I want to see how long I can survive. I don’t want to craft an electric chainsaw that zaps zombies to death. I want a game that forces me to scavenge for supplies that are essential for my survival. DayZ is that game– well, mod technically. Created for the game Arma 2, DayZ is a mod that puts the player in a massive open environment full of zombies and other players. Arma 2 being a realistic military simulator, naturally it turned out to be the perfect game for a hardcore zombie survival mod.
The entire point of DayZ is to scavenge supplies and to survive at all cost. What’s the number one way to make death feel important in a game? Make it permanent. That’s right, when you die, that character is dead for good. You respawn with next to no items in the middle of nowhere. When you’ve spent a week playing the same character and stocking up on supplies, generally you’re going to want to avoid losing it all. Hunger, thirst, temperature and blood loss are all things that you need to account for. There’s a large variety of items to find on the map. From a broad arsenal of guns, to a plethora of medical supplies. You can also find bikes and a number of vehicles including cars, buses, boats.
Your best bet for survival is to bring as little attention to yourself as possible. Stealth is your friend. If a zombie notices you, they will essentially chase you forever, but there a couple of ways to lose them. You can shoot them, obviously, and you can run through buildings and lose them around corners.There are also some areas that they just won’t enter, such as piers (I guess they hate water?) Firing your weapon for an insignificant reason is usually a bad idea, as the sound will more than likely attract more zombies, so you’re going to be doing a lot of running away. Often times when getting hit by a zombie, you’ll start bleeding. This will not go away over time, and you will bleed to death unless you can manage to bandage yourself. Keeping your distance is recommended.
Some might say that the other players on the server are more dangerous than the zombies themselves, and this can definitely be true. When you run into another human player with a gun, you have to decide if it’s worth taking the time to see if they’re friendly and risk giving them the opportunity to kill you, or take the initiative and gun their ass down and score some free supplies. Your average player will most likely do the latter, but you occasionally encounter friendly individuals. If you do have a group of friends to play with, your odds of survival go up exponentially. There are few problems that can’t be fixed with a friendly player at your side. The downside is you have to split the supplies you find with a group of people.
DayZ is not without flaws, however. The mod is still technically in Alpha, so saying it’s clunky would be an understatement. The game can be incredibly unforgiving for new players. Menus are confusing, some of the default key bindings are really wonky, and load times are incredibly long. Most of this is understandable and will most likely be polished out as the game continues to be updated. I for one can’t wait until the game gets a standalone release that’s more polished and streamlined, because they’re really onto something great with DayZ.