I Am Legend - My time in the DayZ mod for Arma 2
I Am Legend - My time in the DayZ mod for Arma 2
Thanks to the successful release of DayZ sales for Arma 2 have leapt up the Steam charts - the game is in the top 5 sales in both the US and EU as a result. Limimi pimped the mod back before it was cool, and since then I've been playing it. And there's something in the game nobody has spoken of - being a bad guy.
First - a little background for those who don't know what it is. And be forewarned - screenshots don't do this game justice, so this is going to be a wall of text.
At first glance it probably looks like a 'zombie' mod for the ultra hardcore shooter Arma 2, but it's not. It's a survival mod with zombies as a dressing. The game begins and you are plonked on the coast of Chernarus - the North Asian paradise from the main game. In your hands is a Russian made Makarov pistol, and in your kit is an assortment of survival gear.
The goal is to live for as long as you can. According to the mod's official site the average life expectancy (at time of writing) is four hours and forty minutes - this is false.
Your average life expectancy - at least starting out - is probably around an hour. The problem isn't the zombies - they pose a threat, but they're easily circumvented. In DayZ your hell is other people.
The beauty of the DayZ mod is that it's a multiplayer only mod (for the time being). The servers I have played on have had about 40 other people spread across the map - all of them trying to survive just as much as you.
It's a passive sort of competition - most of them don't actively want you to lose, they just want to win. The question - as many a coach would tell me growing up - is who wants it more?
The answer is me.
I've played through a number of lives now. I've been killed by zombies, long falls and other people. I've killed more than a hundred zombies, bandaged people I've never before (and given them blood), I've gutted a cow (and scored some inedible uncooked meat) and I've deliberately died because I ran out of ammo.
And this morning, I shot a man in the back because I knew I was going to get away with it.
At the time I couldn't understand it. I was running North, heading to what I assumed was going to be an empty city that I could loot. I was aiming for Pavlovo, a town away from the sea. My thinking was that I could loot it without fear of other people seeing and shooting me once while I was getting all the good stuff.
The road to Pavlovo is an actual paved road - bitumen, lane markings, the whole bit. Only a crazy person actually uses roads though, so I shifted about 50 metres right of it. I wasn't wearing camo gear, but at least I'd be a little less conspicuous moving from shrubbery to shrubbery.
As the town of Pavlovo came into sight - I could see a sign in the distance marking the disappointingly small cluster of houses that was my supposed Shangri-La - a figure came running down the middle of the road. In his hands was a revolver, and on his back a rifle or shotgun.
He appeared to be legging it straight down the middle of the road, as if the paint in the middle was his guide - and he appeared to not know I was there. I ran across to the road and began to follow him. He was so oblivious to my presence that I wound up barely 10 metres behind him by the time I crossed to intercept him.
I ran behind him for a bit - staying off the road - and then he stopped for a second. I stopped too, a few steps behind him, and before he could start running again I put seven bullets in his back.
To my horror he turned around, his pistol dragging over me. I fired again and he fell without pulling the trigger. In the top right hand corner of my screen, a zero changed to a 1 - I'd committed my first murder.
My model changed as well, though I didn't yet understand why. I walked over and started looting the corpse, and my victim appeared to have a lot more than just a couple of nice guns. On his back was an extra large backpack - handy for carrying extra loot - and inside it was a stack of ammo for my new Winchester shotgun. On his wrist was a watch, and in a pocket he had a compass. As I took his hunting knife from him I heard footsteps.
He must have spawned nearby and returned to take his stuff back. looked up. Less than five metres from me was a guy with his Makarov pistol pointed at me. I was still in 'search the corpse of the guy you just shot' mode, so he had me cold. He took a few steps towards me, but still didn't fire. I was confused, but I wasn't going to let it go to waste. I hammered my mouse button to draw.
My new revolver whipped out in front of me and fired twice. He fell to the ground, also dead. I grabbed the only thing he'd have of worth on his body - his (full) water bottle - and I legged it.
His mistake was in not killing me straight away. My first murder had turned me into a 'bandit' - someone not to be trusted on sight. DayZ has a karma system where helping others - bandaging them, giving them medicine etc. - earns you positive humanity, while killing them takes it away. The moment your humanity drops below zero, you become a bandit.
To get your humanity back in black you need to help people - bandage them when they're hurt, give them blood - or you need to kill other bandits. It's not that easy, obviously. Being a 'bandit' means most people really will just kill you the moment they see you, and those who need blood or bandaging will still try to take you down (you probably have what they need on your corpse).
My second victim - the new player - had the one thing my first did not - a full water bottle - and it told me exactly why my target was sprinting down the centre of the road. He was heading back to a source of water, and there was a very real chance he'd die of dehydration. The road lead him directly to a source, and he was too busy to worry about common safety concerns.
I hoofed it away from the crime scene and decided to make my way to a different place. Eventually the road north of Pavlovo runs into the large town of Zelenogorsk - while not as big as Chernogorsk or Elektrozavodsk, Zelenogorsk should provide me with the loot I needed.
Suddenly I was terrified of roads - my previous 50m weariness grew to me giving the bitumen around 150 metres of space. As I approached a barn - usually ripe with plunder - I saw a figure moving in the distance. Moving towards me. At first I thought it was a zombie, but when it suddenly went prone I realised it was a human.
Not a human. An enemy.
I dropped to the ground and hit the 'e' button to roll sideways four times before raising to a crouch. I could see my foe zigzagging his way backwards past the barn and into some bushes.
I swept east slowly, aiming down the sights towards the bushes. As quickly as I dared I changed to my new Winchester and loaded it with slugs. As I crouch-walked my way towards the barn, I realised I wasn't afraid of this person. I was hunting them.
With about 100 metres left to cover before I reached the barn I saw a figure sprint away from the barn, heading down a road (the road to Drozhino I worked out later). For whatever reason, I didn't believe this was the same person as before - there was no sense of hesitance, no caution in his running. After running for 20 seconds he stopped suddenly and looked back towards the barn - and I shot him, once, clean in his centre mass. He dropped instantly.
Instinctively I swung back around to the bushes from before. My foe ran from the bushes now, heading for the barn. I dropped him in a single shot as well. I'm pretty certain person A told person B to run out as bait. Whether he was looking for an easy escape or a distraction to kill me, I'll never know - but either way it was an evil action.
And yet it wouldn't have cost him any humanity.
I've got one more 'murder' under my belt - a man came at me with his makarov drawn, firing from about 40 metres away. Ironically his firing drew zombies, forcing him to defend himself while I lined him up. This one was clearly self-defence - but it ticked over as a fifth murder.
It was another encounter, and another learning experience. This time, I learned that from 40 metres the safest evasive movement against someone with a Makarov is to not move at all - the weapon spread is too great.
I haven't died since I became a 'bandit', but I can guess how I will die when I do. I'm out of water and I'm too far away from any source of it that I could see, so I'll probably be dehydrated before I find some. My only hope is to stumble across some victims - some unlucky souls who just spawned and who won't see me coming.
Well, it's not going to matter if they see me coming.
For locations in my piece I used a combination of road signs and the translations indicated on this map. For more information on how to install/play the game, I recommend the DayZ Forums - [OCB]Magnet's thread in particular.
Comments on this Article
Mon 14 May 12, 2:50pmJoaby
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Mon 14 May 12, 3:53pmJunglist
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Mon 14 May 12, 3:56pmJoaby
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