Experience Points: My Life As A Survivor In DayZ Standalone
Welcome to 2014, a year where next-gen is finally upon us, or should I say current-gen. Because now current-gen is old-gen, and next-gen is the new current-gen. Nothing confusing at all is to be had here. What did I do during the festive season, you ask? I continually browsed through the Steam sale every day of the sale, checking on deals and finding really good bargains. Although DayZ Standalone was not on sale, it was featured quite prominently and for a decent price too. I have always loved the idea of DayZ and with the release of the Standalone I decided to give the game a try. With DayZ Standalone being an early access game, bugs, glitches and instability are expected, and are par for the course. My experience with the Standalone has been one of the most enlightening experiences I’ve had for awhile.
The first thing I learnt quickly when playing DayZ is that no one can be trusted. You’re preconceptions about universal human morality do not apply to the world of DayZ, and such naivety is severely punished. You can only trust people on your Steam friends list, although some of your friends may decide to betray you and kill you for your loot. There will undoubtedly be some broken friendships along the way. The gist of one of my first experiences in DayZ Standalone had me collecting loot in one of the major cities on the coast of the map, known to many players as “Elektro”, two players came across me and I decided to declare that I wasn’t willing to fight as I was easily outnumbered. They thought it the best choice of action to gang up and kill me, and I was dead in no time, well unconscious and I started hurling profanities at my two assailants as they just laughed. Let’s just say it wasn’t the greatest gaming experience I’ve ever had. But the experience motivated me to succeed and try to survive. From that point, I was hooked on DayZ, so much so that haven’t played much of anything else lately.
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Although the Standalone may be glitchy and unstable, with constant problems such as desync, having your character fly over the edge of a building or teleporting across the map. When the game works and is stable, the experience is always fresh and exciting. I think this has much to do with DayZ having a persistent world that is continuously changing, even after you logout. Because DayZ has no true set of rules governing the game world, the players define the gaming experience. In turn, if everyone on a server decides to play as douche bandits and kill-on-sight, there is nothing much you can do about it. To make any type of progress in the game, you have to be tactical with your choices such as when to pick up loot, go in town and who to join up with in a party. Everyone is free to do so as they choose. Someone who you are exploring the map with may decide to betray you and take all your loot, and there is a very real danger that you will die quite easily. Yet this pushes the experience beyond any other multiplayer game I’ve played recently.
Of course, in DayZ Standalone you can easily become sick from eating something rotten, or drinking unclean water. The game is based squarely on “survival” in the zombie apocalypse and you have to eat, drink and stay alive at all costs. You can suffer from blood loss or break a leg. You then have to take a risk and venture into a town or an area of the map to procure medical equipment and supplies. You can drain blood from other players, with an IV, to counter blood loss from being attacked by other players and zombies, but you’ll need to make certain the other player is the right blood type with a blood test. To counter spawn killing, DayZ has players randomly spawning across the whole map, so you can have a good amount of luck and be placed in a prime area where weapons, clothes and supplies are readily available, or you are put into a worse situation than before.
DayZ Standalone is a game of luck and karma. I have been killed multiple times by glitches and bandit players. However, I have also had my fair share of amazing moments in the game. After I was killed by two bandits, I respawned and found said bandits dead after being attacked by a horde of zombies. One of the bandits was being ravaged by the undead and the other was just a corpse in a house. I looted the corpse for all of its supplies and weapons, and then made a run for the interior of the map. That was a good day indeed. I did die the next day after glitching off a ladder and falling to my death, but it was still a great experience. The other day, I spawned outside Elektro and ventured into the city to get some loot and basic equipment. I found a two-story house that was littered with backpacks and gear in the top story. I now have a pistol, a rifle, a huge backpack and all the medical supplies I could need. I just had extraordinary luck, and as I was exiting the house I heard a gunshot. In reaction, I bolted and am now making my way to my friends to join up with them.
DayZ is an extraordinary game, and if you’re on the fence for buying the Standalone, you should definitely consider buying it. The alpha is a great experience, and the early access problems don’t tarnish the overall experience as much as you think. The game’s design is a winning formula and I see many games following in DayZ’s footsteps.