DayZ, Day 1: Trying to Survive in DayZ’s Zombie Apocalypse #dayz
I caved in and bought ArmA II just to play DayZ. Yep, I decided a mod was worth $30 of my money, even if it did go on sale for $15 like two days later. I’ve not gotten very far into it, but it is certainly not like anything else I’ve ever played before, and that’s worth something. I will say that installing the mod is not hard, but it is not easy, either. Someone may have made a self-executing installer somewhere, but I didn’t come across it. Instead, you have to download about six different archived files (which are all grouped together on www.dayzmod.com) and then unzip them into a folder you make in the ArmA II directory. Then, you have to do a command line prompt in your shortcut to get it to run the mod. Oh, and you have to manually patch Arma II itself. This is not exactly user friendly. I used this Installation Guide from the DayZ forums and didn’t run into any real problems.
Once I got the game up and running, I picked a random server that had a good ping and was in my timezone (The day night cycle is real time based on the location of the server) and spawned out in the water somewhere holding a pistol. I get out of the water without any incident and find that I am near some woods which, as I approach, notice has a zombie in it. I manage to successful walk around the zed without incident, but I’m on edge. I’ve heard things about DayZ, in particular how merciless it is, and I know that I only have a handful of bullets (although I have no idea how to open my inventory at this point – it is “g” if you are curious). It is here that I learn my first great piece of advice for DayZ: Make sure you know how to play the game.
Whatever the case, I may not know how to do much, but I’ve played enough games to figure out how to walk and I soon come across a town. “Town’s,” I think to myself, “Mean food and stuff, which I assume I will need to survive. Also, maybe other Survivors, so that will be my goal.”
I have no idea (this is a recurring them) how to crawl (“Z”) or crouch (“X”) so I go through running through this field like a fool. Needless to say, I soon attract the attention of a zombie that does not seem happy to see me and screams its displeasure. The zombies are fast. My experience is that once you set one off, it will start to make a circle around you at light speed and then, eventually, stop and run at you like a maniac (or an undead person). It will then proceed to try to bite you. This is not good. I am so frazzled when this particular zombie goes about this process that it takes me a moment to line up the shot and put the darn thing down. At this point, I am bleeding badly (the little blood drop indicator is getting increasing redder) but, luckily, I have read enough to know I need to bandage myself. I do this by bringing up my quick menu by moving my mouse wheel and selecting “Bandage Self.” Still, I lose a fair amount of blood before this process is done.
It is at this moment that I decide that, perhaps, cities are not for me and, wobbling badly, and my screened lightened from my injury, I find a path into the woods. I come across a farm and, knowing that if I don’t find more bandages I likely will not make it far (and having not learned my lesson about populated areas from before), I decide to head for it.
This, as you might guess, turns out to be foolish. My story, at this point, is a short one. I manage to make it to the farm, but – being clumsy (and having no idea of the need to go prone to hide from zombies) I go stumbling into the farm and I am quickly assaulted by a zed. I do manage to line the zombie up and put an end to its undeath, but I am out of bandages and die trying to crawl my way to the farm in case there are bandages inside. There probably were. I’ll never know.
My first impressions of DayZ is that it is certainly unique. The game is not “action filled” much of the time – although you can make it that way if you don’t want to last very long. Instead, the game is one about surviving and making alliances with people and avoiding zombies and bandits (players who have gone to the dark side, offing their fellow players to continue the own life). In that way, it does an amazing job of projecting a zombie apocalypse in a unique and interesting way. For that, alone, its worth the price of entry (ie, Buying a copy of ArmA II). I’ll definitely be exploring it more as the days go on. Hopefully things go better for my future iterations. Probably won’t.