Day Z Diary – Day 0 Part 1

DayZ is increasingly becoming the greatest mod/game of 2012.  Well at least in my books.  It’s put ARMAII at the top of Steam and Amazon sales, and there are at any one time over 100k players logged into the game all over the world.  It’s not even an MMO, but the player persistence, the open PVP concept, and the ever looming threat of permadeath may possibly make this the greatest hardcore “MMO” most of the world has not yet played.

Instead of doing a standard review, I’m going to start recording my accounts in this epic game, and if it intrigues you, tickles your fancy, and makes you want to play it, then I have done my job.  Read on for my entertaining adventures in DayZ’s very own zombieland.

I started the game on the coast.  There’s no backstory, no narrative as to why I, or any other survivor is placed there.  Maybe I was washed up from the sea, a survivor of a ship wreck, pulled in by a Bermuda Triangle-esque magnetic phenomena in the general vicinity of the island.  Kinda’ like Lost.  Whatever it is, I’m on the island now, and the only thing I can do is survive.  Looking around, I spy a town just in the near distance along some train tracks with cargo cranes looming overhead.  I decide to creep closer.

I didn’t hear any zombies the closer I got into the town, but I spotted another survivor proned very stealthily in the grass just in front of a stationary cargo train ahead of the crane.  He was wielding an AK-47.  Dangerous.  I wouldn’t have spotted him if I wasn’t looking around carefully for zombies, and if I’d gotten closer, he might have shot me right there and then.  The beauty of the game is that players get to make their own decisions on how hostile or friendly they want to be to other players on the server.  There is no guide, no mission to kill or befriend other players, no checkbox to activate a game-mechanic alliance.  Just pure player agency, your choices are yours alone.  I knew better than to run up to the survivor with arms wide open.  Best to get around him.

But if the guy was smart enough, he’d know that the sound of his shots would alert zombies to his position and get him killed as well.  I was counting on him knowing that, and staying his trigger finger.  I think he had seen me by that point, but I slowly backed away to hide behind the cargo train, hoping he wasn’t going to get up and follow me.  I moved slowly along the side of the cargo train, always keeping an eye out for the walking dead.  I managed to get the jump on the survivor who was still proned and facing the direction I was previously located.

I gave him a wide berth such that I would end up approaching him from behind.  He was definitely looking around for me, his body flailing left and right jerkily.  He didn’t spot me, and I shot him once in the head.

Unlike other survivors, I’ve decided the best thing for me would be to shoot first, ask questions later.  I wasn’t going to bother with typing “friendly?” in the global chat.  If I didn’t know you in real life, you were an enemy.

Before I could loot his body though, I suddenly heard the snarls and grunts of a zombie, and looked up just in time to see one rush at me with a huge swipe.  It cut me, and I bled profusely.  What a way to handle my first zombie encounter.  The frustrating thing about this game is that you can try to be as careful as you want, but it only takes a slight mistake to have you die a horrible death.  I didn’t want to die just yet, so I made a run for it hoping to get enough distance between me and the zombie so that I could get a shot off.  I ran back from the way I came, but as I looked over my shoulder, I realized the zombie had stopped following me.  That was odd.  They usually followed relentlessly until either it or you died.

I quickly hid in a nearby shack and bandaged up the bleeding wound.  Health points dwindle quickly in this game, and blood spurts increase zombie awareness to your position.   Then with gun at the ready, I decided to take my chance and get back to the guy I murdered.  I didn’t want to let his loot go to waste, or for another survivor to find and take the stuff.  And sure enough, back at the survivor’s corpse, I found the previously chasing zombie had forgotten about me and turned its attention to chomping down on the corpse.

I took aim and shot the zombie once in the head.  It flopped over but didn’t die.  It groaned a horrible sound and started crawling towards me through the bush.  I shot it again and this time it went down.  That was two shots too many though, and I quickly rifled through the corpse’s backpack for items, I didn’t want to be around lest other zombies come running.

I was in luck, the guy had a ton of stuff with him.

He had an AK, a couple of mags for it, food, blood pack, bandages, etc. as well as significant survival items like a set of binoculars, hatchet, knife, watch and the all-rare map.  I took out a pretty seasoned survivor it seemed.  I heard the blood-curdling snarls of zombies again, and decided to run up the crane that I had just passed.  Zombies can climb but at least I’d be getting enough distance between me and them before anything bad could happen.  At that moment in time, two friends logged in and told me through Skype that they were, separately, somewhere around my area.  I told them that I was preoccupied with zombies but we should regroup at a landmark nearby.

I clambered up the crane’s ladder and as soon as the zombies were right underneath, I shot them both in the head.

After that, one of my friends PJ informs me that he was situated in the forest that overlooked the town.  My other friend Navin was in the next town and we all agreed to meet at the forest.  For me, that meant exiting the town I was in from the way I came and sneaking  northwards towards the forest.  I passed by an abandoned construction site with a big yellow crane, a well-known hideout for bandits, and heard gunshots.  These towns were hotspots for bandits sitting high up watching hapless inexperienced survivors stumble into their territory, only thinking about the zombies, only to be picked off with ease.  I wasn’t going to be one of those survivors, so I kept moving.

Eventually, I found a dirt path that led to a smaller town outside of the bigger one.  Then suddenly, PJ cried out on Skype: “Is that you?!?”

I looked up at the hill towards the forest and noticed a survivor crouched along the treeline.  I asked him to move about so that I know it is  PJ and not another survivor looking to kill me.  He scurried back and forth a few times and I quickly made a beeline for him.

For those who’ve played the game or about to play and find out, rendezvousing with friends in a huge island is not an easy feat.  And when you do, it is a moment of huge relief and elation, for now our chances of survival were twice as high as when I was alone.  That was not all, we were on the way to being joined by a third party member, Navin.

PJ and I waited in the woods just behind a small hamlet, watched the walkers stumble about the open fields with nothing on their minds except for fresh meat, and saw Navin cut across the field to where we were.  He managed to miraculously not draw the attention of any of the zombies and we were all reunited in the woods.

Celebration Two commenced. By then, I was getting thirsty and so were my team members.  We took swigs from our water bottles and decided that we should refill our bottles for our long trek up north.  Our fourth member of the group JX was due to arrive on the server anytime soon too.  We had to hook up with him and make our way forth.  PJ said he knew where to get water nearby, but I was not sure if it was a safe move.  Especially since we had all just met up.  With the game’s average life expectancy pegged currently at 30 minutes, I wasn’t prepared to die and lose my gear and friends.  But PJ was confident, and I trusted him.

Would we make it safe to the water source?  Would we reunite with JX?  What horrors awaited us in the world of DayZ?  Find out in the next installment of DayZ Diary – Day 0 Part 2.

Talky talk

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