• What is Day Z?

    Day Z

    ďYou want to know something crazy? As civilized as we are, when the chips are down, we are simply savagesĒ.

    read me, you will piss your pants.....-16x9-slider-jpg

    Ragged breathing and footsteps pierce the shadowed air. The limp footing of a zed plods laboriously towards me. Limp drag plop. Limp drag plop. I can't see him but I can hear his languishing moans; a good sign he's real close. As in I'm about to become a zombie sandwich if I don't hustle or make a move. Slowly I pull back, I thumb my rifle tenderly. Closing in on the road I spot silhouettes, there must be at least 20 in town. Fires flicker down the street, smugly dancing shadows taunt me. I refocus, keep one goal in your mind. Survive. Slithering I gather up some bravery. I enter the abandoned fire hall. It's dark outside. In here it's pitch black. I'm sitting in a murderous soul, and the only way out is through hell. Deafening shots rip the air and tear into a target, voices, more metal shrugs off blood, shouting, so much shouting, silence. Flies.

    read me, you will piss your pants.....-survivors-jpgI am MaximusBoomus. The world has ended and left a few of us to enjoy the catawampus that remains. At first the humanity was abundant, we huddled, protected each other and told tales of winning, of surviving hell and walking into a new clean, safe world. Then the world didn't change. The infected worked us over and left a shell of humanity. Our groups became small; our intellect made us cold, calculating, and vicious.

    I sink deep into my corner, I check ammunition. 3 shots. Words start to appear in the darkness, emanating from some soul's voice box, hidden behind the wall. The cold prickles my senses, I hear limp drag plop, snap. Swearing gargles in a battery of loud pops, zings and fire. My legs burst with energy as the hospital springs to mind. Blood pumping as Zeds emerge from all corners. Run, Damn you! Limp, limp, thud. One of the close ones fell without a sound. Another. This time a whiz-crack, my stomach sick as a round tears through my leg, I drop in the street. So much blood everywhere, shaking I drag myself into an alley, praising the inky darkness for its cover, metal gets eaten by asphalt. I apply heavy pressure and wrap a gauze on the wound. The needle of morphine doesn't even register. The empty case falls to the ground, grinding painkillers, I place a solid wall between me and the general direction of my assailant. Hushed chatter hurriedly rushes down the street, my actions and options continually are getting squeezed like the end of a toothpaste. Turning a corner I come face to face with a wide eyed, dazed looking man, he whimpers "help me." Judging from the harrowed look he hasn't been here long enough to develop the steel of survival. Nodding and beckoning him, I point into the street I came from.

    "I'll cover you" I lie.

    Whiz, pop, splat. Flies.

    Limping to the hospital, the moonlight shimmers off twisted metal and shattered glass. A serene scene, it almost warrants a post card. Nearby chatter erupts, they've found the body, they no doubt will spread out - forcing the sniper to bow out lecherously or give away his position. Crack. Screams. Limp drag flops quicken... Limpdragflop Limpdragflop Limpdragflop.... Racing past the hospital, not stopping now I hear an engine... Quickly and coldly I round the corner, Enfield raised, no hesitation, one to the bandit's grape. Smug elegant success flows through me as the town shrinks in the rear view mirror...
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    You want to know something crazy? As civilized as we are, when the chips are down we are simply savages. Day Z is a terrible glimpse at the horrors and paranoia of humanity.

    Glaring light rebounds from the sharp jagged edges of littered destruction along the road. Ahead a writhing mass of undead lingers in the field, a conga line of zombies point to a party in the industrial section of town. Muzzle flashes rebuke the lightlessness like a paparazzi welcome, as I press the pedal harder into the firewall. Lead finds flesh and bone and not milled metal and melted sand. Not daring to tempt fate the area vanishes again in my rear view mirror.

    Its the little ones that get you.

    You see I wasn't always like this. My soul filled with tempered desolation is a relatively new state. I was naive to assume the apocalypse would give birth to a new era of peace and friendship. The beginning is always the safest. You have nothing really to fear; you can find your precious remnants of a bygone plum living. Itís early, the sun kisses the land like an eager lover, and the tears of the night lay rotting in the allies. ďChernoĒ is a large town, and it has all the amenities needed to survive. Pushing away empty cans I retrieve a battered water bottle. Itís empty but will serve as a great addition to the newly found camo rucksack I shoulder.

    ďFriendly coming in!Ē

    Words terrify you in this new era. I watch a young man appear in the doorway, he has a Russian pistol and a M16 on his back. The Cold war personified, I chuckle as I eyeball the newcomer. He waves me over and we chat in hushed whispers about stories and goals. We grab a map, and head out. In the Fire Hall, we get lucky. My new found friend and protector hands me his Makarov and scoops the M9 Silenced pistol on the floor. Seems like Cold War personified went full US of A. No names. We never want to give those up for some reason, like a toddler with an ill-gotten toy. I pickup a SMG - itís military grade so the ammunition will likely be rare, unlike the relic in my hand, the 1946 competition winner replaced the M1895. I used to love history - said it was no good knowing the present without knowing where you came from. Guess I was right... We seem to be heading backwards now. The eerie silence is now broken by the light footsteps of Cold War. He knows the town better and leads us away from the chiseled stone and compounded sand. Woods. I grew up in a village, my early years spent playing Indiana Jones in the woods. Here we move quickly, almost brashly under the false security of bark, moss and leaves. An uneventful jog through the woods was disrupted by a deep unnatural smoke plume from a field. My gut tightened as I approach the tree line. Cold War is invisible. Heís in a Fir tree watching with a bizarre detachment. His M16ís high powered scope eyeballs the fire. A helicopter. The crew is now joyfully roaming doing the well known zombie dance ďLookiní for brainz for meself an dí boyzĒ. Then I see it. Cold War isnít looking at them. He is looking away slightly, and low. A person is there! Finger to lips his eyes fix on mine. I find a tree to hide in, Cold War seems to have the right idea, use the foliage to break up your easy-to-spot rump. That's a savior... The survivor stands. Looking at me he raises a gun. British made, L85A2. It has an unusual box scope on it, I am unfamiliar with it. The thing looks like a space age lazer from this distance.


    Red spray.


    I gasp, nerves shattered and body shaking. Cold War just went Jackson Pollack on that man, his canvas the helicopter, his paint the mans blood, and his paint brush a NATO 5.56x45mm round. He gestures to me to move up. ďIíll cover youĒ he says. There they go again. Those words suddenly there, terrifying you. I shakily move up, jogging towards the body. A round digs into the ground, an enormous crack from the distance. Iíve never been shot at before. I hit the ground and start fumbling for my SMG. A puff of dirt a few feet from me peppers my face with sand, dirt and rocks. Tears sting my eyes, adrenaline makes my mouth dry. Limp drag plop. Limp drag plop. Dear god the pilot is coming back. Belly crawling to the chopper wreck I shield myself from the grassy knoll. Body parts and guns are strewn in the grass. I drop my SMG and pick up a large rifle. Stock sights, another remnant from World War II. Mind clouded, I canít think of the name other than "boomstick." I reload my boomstick, the rounds look sleek, like miniature missiles on a mission from god. Angel redeemers. I grab a piece of glass and use it to start to scour the ridge. I see him. He has a large caliber sniper rifle. And a tea towel on his head. He looks like an insurgent from the middle east. Cold War has moved too, heís gone. Middle East is prone, and sighted on the chopper, this I know as my hand feels the air ripple as a round buries into the ground. I pull my hand back, blind. Waiting is hard. If youíve ever stood behind a coupon lady in a supermarket you can get a quantum of perception of the current status. I pull out the Makarov and pop the pilot. Heís crouching too close and worry heíll ruin my hiding spot. This provokes another big bore bullet whizzing by the nose of the chopper. Donít worry Mr Middle East, I didnít forget you were there. Propping my back against the chopper, I survey the surroundings. Trees obscure a lot, but in the mist beyond the trees I see a large ball on a pole. And a factory. Lucky me, after searching the pilot's body I pull off a pair of military spec binoculars. They have a rangefinder built in, I have no idea why youíd need them, but they may come in useful. I spy some movement. A large truck heading north.

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    That didnít sound big. Not like the usual shots. Peeking I spot Cold War waving. He just killed Middle East.

    By the time he gets to me the sun is beating down. I placed the binoculars in my rucksack, and managed to find some miscellaneous medical supplies, all of which are in my pack. Cold War now has a larger backpack, with the large caliber rifle on his shoulder. He grabs the British thermal sight rifle and casts aside the M16. Guess Cold War went coalition now, would he make up his mind... Moving out, bee-lining for the northern town.

    Cold War leads, confidently avoiding detection I ponder how long heís been doing this as I inexpertly run around losing zombies down alleys. I decide he is simply riling them up for me to avoid personal embarrassment.

    Green Tents. Military grade canvas. Bodies. Burning barrels. Dessicated cars. Blood. Death stench.

    We watch the scene in silence. Something bad happened here not long ago. Sitting in bushes eating cold beans. Cold War takes a Pepsi can from me (he didn't ask, that hurt my feelings a little), and chugs its contents like a car filling up from a Jerry can. All this time he watches the green canvas tents. After a solid half hour, we reluctantly move. He points, I go. Like a two legged Labrador eager to please. After heís satisfied my presence in the tents does nothing, we begin borrowing from the dead. I say borrowing, but I canít shake the feeling weíre stealing. Looting the dead to survive is now a daily occurrence, it no longer seems barren and void of humanity. It is humanity. Oh my. I recover from a tent a military GPS. I gathered that up quickly, proudly presenting it to Cold War into the tent Iím in. He smiles and asks if it still works? I nod. I smile back. For a moment I feel normal again, I havenít seen a smile on his chiseled face before; its arrival feels alien and conflicting. Even my own faces smile seems to be an impostor We walk outside, his silenced pistol tears a hole in a zombie where his life once was. He points. That way is the airfield, weíll find evac there. Zestfully I look in that direction.

    The world goes dark in a gentle whisper as a 9mm bullet jettisons my innocence out of my head like a ripe cherry tomato popped between your teeth on a summers day.

    You are dead.

    Itís the little ones that get you.

    So now here I am. A chiseled veteran of the apocalypse. I trust no-one. Morals are a bygone restriction.

    I am MaximusBoomus and Iím a survivor.
    read me, you will piss your pants.....-chopper-jpg
    So how to explain the ever growing phenomenon of Day Z. I must first specify that I only play on a private hive since the public sector is rife with crazy hacks. I only play on TeamPlayerGaming's "whitelisted" day z server. It's a great community, and I believe that community makes the game even more than just a simple survival experience. The short story above is a true tale. None of it truly fictional. You see Day Z is a paradox of sorts. Face value things are not great. It's one of the clunkiest, badly encoded, glitchiest games I've ever had to play. It's a game mod based on the war sim ARMA II. You can break a leg, catch a cold, get infected, as well as having to eat, drink and survive zombie and human attacks. Itís pretty realistic in many ways. The current mod has its problems, sure, but is that the real allure? Rocket is hard at work working on the stand alone and it looks amazing, I just hope he realizes what he has done right and not focus on what other developers have done right. Current graphics are OK, my PC isn't a slouch but the game really does kick it hard, I run the game on medium low graphics to make sure I have constant fluid gameplay. The animations are robotic, Zeds lurch back and forth creepily. Sound wise the game doesn't compare to any of the new titles. Battlefield 3 has spoiled me. The sounds in that game are tremendous, and I use that as the yardstick. The game, as I mentioned, is glitchy. You break a leg if you do something the engine doesn't like, and sometimes for no apparent reason. Running into a player will break your leg, prone under a chopper will too, I heard haystacks have similar effects as well. So with all that horribleness, why play Day Z? The gameplay. Just like Minecraft, Day Z relies entirely on its solid gameplay to win you over. Itís an addiction that many have found hard to resist. I cannot review this title right now as itís a mod, and not the stand alone. So instead, read the story; understand the emotions the game will give you (faint hearted people should think twice about playing this game). I kid you not some of the most intense adrenaline rushes in this game make me physically shaky. Day Z is the worst best game I've played in 2012. If Rocket succeeds in making this game exactly the same but glitch free, I foresee a new era of complex games created simply because one game engine had the ability to mod. And therein lies my conclusion: Games that allow mods.

    I can say without a doubt that modders are probably the best asset for any game maker. By allowing the public to mod Arma II, the game developer made a fortune. I bought Arma II for Day Z. I never heard of Arma II till then. Steam sales saw Arma II topping charts many a time, directly due to the popularity of a mod. A mod. I donít have the numbers, but I bet the sales exceeded the vanilla Arma II sales. Remember that little half-life mod called Counter Strike? Even Skyrim's developers' gorgeous game was made even better with the judicious application of mods. Modders should stand proud in 2013, they should realize that their unselfish, unpaid work makes the general gamers experience a deeper and more enriched one. And for those gaming companies out there relying solely on brand and naming, think heartily about this: Notch created a game that went viral, and didnít need a publisher. Rocketís Day Z didn't need a publisher. Now granted heís working with Bohemia right now, but it makes you wonder if the current state of video game publishing is changing... These 2 games have more depth and emotion built in than any studio funded game Iíve played. I never felt truly like my character in Battlefield, Far Cry or COD. I was me playing a character. In Day Z I feel like I am on the line. My battles with players are bloody, adrenaline filled, and filled with a sense of honor. If I could name Day Z as a game of the year I would. But due to it being a mod, and a stand alone around the corner, Iíll hold judgement and settle for the most imperfect perfection I've had the privilege of playing.

    This is MaximusBoomus in a tree with a can of beans wishing you happy hunting.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. a weakling spaz's Avatar
      a weakling spaz -
      Great read! It makes me want to try Day Z again. I had a hard time looking past the clunkiness and glitches.