Survive as long as you can and trust no one, that’s the basic gameplay mechanic to DayZ, a semi-massive online zombie FPS.
If you haven’t heard of DayZ yet, you’re out of the loop because this Arma2 mod is on fire right now. Only a few days ago was it announced that it had reached 400,000+ players and checking their site today its currently at 460,000+, less than a week later.
DayZ is your ultimate sandbox game where your only goal is not to die, whether it be from zombies or from other players, you’re main objective is to survive as long as you can and if you should fail, say goodbye to your character and inventory.
I learned about DayZ a few weeks ago and quickly purchased Arma2 and downloaded the mod. The mod installation process was complicated, but if you can get past that it’ll be worth it. Currently the game is in alpha, so don’t expect a polished game because it’s filled with bugs.
However the premise is genius and from the explosion of popularity surrounding this it, I’d say players agree.
When you begin you start in a random empty field with nothing, you can’t even punch, so you’re first priority is to hide. Once you’re out of view the goal becomes to find some weapons so you can protect yourself. There is a full size map of the world, however it was bugged for me and never loaded, so I had to just randomly explore. I came across small houses, farms and even towns along my journeys and since zombies like to hang-out near structures, stealth becomes a big part of the game. You don’t want to alert the zombies nearby, especially if you have no weapons, otherwise you’ll be running for a while until you lose them.
Once you start collecting items you can start doing other things like build a camp or base, create a fire and cook food, which you’ll have to do if you don’t want to starve to death. However once you start to build up your items, not only will you have to survive the zombies, but other players as well who’ll want to steal you stuff. Again keeping out of view is key as a sniper could be lurking anywhere just waiting to pick off his next victim.
DayZ doesn’t have one main server, but hundreds which are all loosely tied together. Your character and inventory will remain when switching servers, but anything you built wont. So if you built a tower on one server, it won’t be there if you switch to another. Each server also has a limit of players allowed at any one time and is around 50 or 60, I forget. So it’s not massive in the sense there are a ton of people on at the same time.
I think the MMO industry can learn a lot from the six developers working on DayZ. A game doesn’t need 5,000 quests or fully voiced storylines to be interesting, all you need to do is put the power into the players hands and let them do as they please. I mean the entire concept to this game is “don’t die” and nearly half a million players have paid $30 just to try it out and it’s still in alpha.
Personally I can’t wait for DayZ to hit beta and get a bit more polish on it. I can see this becoming the next breakout hit since Minecraft.