Life in an Open World Zombie Outbreak, DayZ, an ARMA 2 Mod – Part 1
My first death was a naive one. I could hear gunshots up ahead, the sound of inhuman snarls and responding muzzle-blasts. I figured someone was in need of saving. Little did I realize that person would be me.
Through a doorway I dashed, and waiting there to greet me was one of the flesh-eaters. Hunched down, shuffling towards me like some rotting ape on its knuckles– I knew what had to be done. Hefting my entirely manly newbie pistol, I emptied the magazine in the zombie’s general direction. A good 3/4 of the shots missed, but one of them was lucky enough to connect with the beast’s head. As it collapsed into re-death, I reloaded my pistol and scanned the interior.
On the other side of the room was another survivor. Armed with a Winchester rifle, he was surrounded by the corpses of the former undead. I approached, careful to aim my pistol away from him, reassuring him over the directional VOIP with “Friendly!” and “That was some fight, eh?” Things were cool. We would be buddies. Adventures were going to be had. Then his barrel pointed at me.
I backed up and connected with a wall. I stammered “Friendly!” again. Maybe he couldn’t hear me? Maybe he didn’t want to. Another survivor entered the room. A friend of his. He also had a Winchester, and it was also aimed at me. Before I could react, three shots ripped through my body, killing me instantly. My bullet-riddled corpse crumpled to the ground as they approached to loot it. I had died with only a pistol and a few cans of beans to my name. Such was life in Chernarus.
It’s probably worthwhile to back up a bit and explain things. I’d been playing DayZ, a mod currently in alpha for ARMA2 Combined Operations. A good number of you have likely heard of it by now, which is either a good or a bad thing depending on who you talk to. The mod, obscure and with only five or so servers to its name not long ago, has exploded population-wise via word-of-mouth and press coverage.
Of course, there are valid reasons for all of that attention. DayZ’s a mod with zombies, but zombies are actually the least of your worries. You wake up in Chernarus, a 250 sq km post-Soviet country with a bad case of the undead. Supplies are limited and need to be secured fairly quickly. Now add 49 other people into this world with you. Things quickly become the Wild West, and before long, you’re running from bands of marauders and scrounging what you can from the corpses of those that weren’t as lucky as you. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and the only rule, the only objective, is to survive.
If that hasn’t hooked you already, then I don’t know what will. Admittedly, it’s difficult, the ARMA2 engine is less-than cooperative, and running the game requires a half-decent computer. But all of those obstacles are well-worth what’s on the other side, which is an immersive, open-world experience of survival.
I’m really looking forward to future updates for this project, but what we have in our hands now is already one of the most amazing experiences you can have in today’s gaming markets. Stay tuned for more travel-logs from Chernarus. I’ll leave you all with a fan-made trailer in the meantime: