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Day-Z Mod Review | ChristmasMelon

Day-Z Mod Review

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7.5 Overall Score
Graphics: 9/10
Gameplay: 8/10
Zombies: 9/10

Most Realistic Zombie Survival | Challengingly Difficult

Buggy Multiplayer | Alt-F4ing

Game Info

GAME NAME: Day-Z Mod

DEVELOPER(S): Dean ‘Rocket’ Hall

PUBLISHER(S): Dean ‘Rocket’ Hall

PLATFORM(S): PC

GENRE(S): Zombie Survival

Day-Z is a game modification for the three year old “ArmA 2”, along with it’s expansion pack “Operation Arrowhead”. It is set in a fictional post Soviet nation called Chernarus, where an unknown virus has turned the large majority of the population into hungry, hungry zombies. The player is first washed up on the shores of Chernarus, with next to nothing to his/her name. They start with a flashlight, painkillers and a single bandage. The game requires the player to find food, water and equipment for their player character, to defend themselves from the ravenous undead, and the other threat: Players. The map itself is huge, 225 km2 big, with vast areas of wilderness, and a few cities and towns dotted around the environment. The game features a revamp of the medical system used in ArmA 2, players can have their legs broken, bleed, become unconscious, go into shock, be in pain and catch diseases. All these status effects have a specific cure for them, and your character only has a limited amount of things he/she can carry! This contributes greatly to the authenticity of the experience, and also makes the environment a key factor in the survival of the player. The player can hunt animals and cook their meat for food, make fires for heat and light, and above all, scavenge everything they use from towns, cities or military installations. But the main part of Day-Z is the interesting way in which PvP (Player versus Player) is implemented.

Imagine the scene: You’ve managed to scavenge a few items of food and drink from the supermarket in one of the cities. You’ve been very careful to sneak around zombies, but you’re armed with a trusted axe should any come your way. On your way out of the supermarket, you’re told to stand still and lower your weapon and hand over all the loot you’ve just scavenged. You turn around and a player with a headscarf is standing a few metres away from you with an assault rifle. What do you do? This is what makes Day-Z completely unique. PvP is always on. A player could come along and be your friend until he finds a gun, and then he shoots you in the back and takes your stuff. Do you trust people to be friendly? Will you shoot on sight, for fear of being shot yourself? The player interactions are what really bring Day-Z to life as a new game. Also, when you die, you’re dead. You lose everything you were carrying. Sure, you can respawn and run all the way back to your body if you wish, but you’ll have to find it first. Other people could’ve looted your corpse and taken whatever useful items you have. This adds huge amounts of intensity, pressure and straight-up fear to playing the game. Do you risk going into the city for the potential of better loot? The city will have more players, and more zombies.

The game could’ve just stayed that way and would still be quite a success, but I believe the key to players returning was the “Hive” system that is being utilized for Day-Z. All your character’s data is saved to an external database called the “Hive”. This means that a player can go onto any server they wish and their character will still be the same as when they had been playing on other servers. It also means that character data will not be lost when a player goes offline. Day-Z rapidly became a huge success in a very short amount of time, due to the various gaming communities around the internet picking up on it and spreading it around. Not dissimilar to the way Minecraft reached it’s success, lots of Youtube content creators, as well as people on Reddit, Facebook and Twitter took the game and shouted about it from the rooftops. Videos started to pop-up on Youtube, and soon Day-Z was the talk of the gaming community.

The game is based entirely around the concept of “Emergent Gameplay”. This is a concept in which the game itself does not tell you what to do, the story, or what to believe. Most of the content is developed by the player community. An example of this is the “Green Mountain” in Chernarus. Lots of players have contributed to the idea that it’s haunted, and going there will be the death of your character. There’ve been stories that have been shaped from a player’s experiences in game. Along with the player developed stories, the “End-game” of this mod has been shaped by players too, though the limitations of the modification have something to do with that as well. For example, you’ve managed to scavenge enough food and equipment to survive for quite some time off on your own in the wilderness. What do you do now? Just survive? Hunt other players for the thrill? Try to find better military grade loot from dangerous airfields that are frequented by players? Look for vehicles to repair and travel in? Help other players? Whatever you want to do, you can do it.

Now, with the good must come the bad, and there certainly is bad within Day-Z. The mod is rife with bugs, hacks and exploits, often ruining the experience for many other players. Many hackers have taken to spawning in whatever items they wish and going to kill players who have just started playing and have no way of fighting back, or “nuking” the entire server, killing all players instantly and making them lose all of their progress. There are duplication exploits, where a player can “Dupe” all of their items and store them inside a tent. If they die, they can come back and get all of their gear back almost instantaneously. I talked about the permanent death feature earlier on, and the fear this brings into the game. It’s also had a negative effect, with people often scavenging for hours to be killed by a random player and lose all their loot. They started “Alt-F4ing” which is the keyboard shortcut to close the current program. This means they would disconnect and close the game the instant they were engaged by a player, for fear of losing their gear.

These issues are affecting the game dramatically, with lots of players quitting as they feel the game is not worth playing when all their hard work can be taken away so easily. There has been a rapid decline in concurrent players over the past few months. In August 2012, there were a million unique players logging in, and today, October 4th 2012, there are less than fifty five thousand. That’s still a huge amount of players for just a modification of a game, but these issues needed to be fixed.

With the huge amount of sales of ArmA 2 and Operation Arrowhead that were generated by Day-Z, the company that made the game the mod uses offered Day-Z creator Dean “Rocket” Hall a job at their company and the funding and team to make a standalone game out of Day-Z. Confirmed by Rocket, the standalone “Has to be” out by the end of 2012 to fit their time schedule. The creator and his team are very aware of the problems the mod has, and have been working non-stop to fix them in the standalone. This will hopefully mean the end of hacking and exploiting, making the game 100% better for everyone who plays it! The standalone will also feature “Chernarus Plus”, where the map has been greatly expanded and revised to fit the nature of Day-Z. Many more houses will be enterable, as well as different environments. It will be using the ArmA 2 engine still, but with another mod incorporated into it, called “Take on Helicopters”. The Day-Z standalone, referred to as “Day-Z” where the mod is referred to as “Day-Z Mod”, is following the Minecraft business model. Players can buy the game in it’s Alpha phase at the end of 2012 for a cheaper amount than the finished game will be. Day-Z is expected to cost €15 at launch, with the full game costing around €25-30. Players who buy the Alpha version will receive all the updates and fixes leading up to the finished game, just like Minecraft. Rocket has not ruled out the possibility of a console port, but says this would be dependent on Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo to work with them and how successful the standalone is on PC, first.

Rocket has encouraged player and server modifications to the mod, with private hives allowing server hosts to add certain things to their version of Day-Z, such as extra bases, vehicles, weapons and enemies. The community involvement in the development of Day-Z will stay high, according to Rocket. In the future, he envisions player created maps being offered as other options to the default Chernarus map. These updates and changes are expected to be added in as Day-Z develops as a whole, depending on sales and the success of the project.

All in all, I think Day-Z is a magnificent idea and game, another brilliant success story in the indie market that is now growing at a massive rate. With the fixes that the standalone brings to the table, when we see a polished Day-Z, I think it will be nothing short of spectacular, something that I will play for many, many days!

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Author: BozzY View all posts by

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