The DayZ Experience: Part 1

This series of short articles is going to be a reflection of my experiences within the DayZ community, both the ‘Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead‘ mod and the standalone DayZ game. We will take a look at how the game has progressed, from my perspective. Your opinions may vary. As well as the current community involvement in keeping ‘the DayZ experience’ alive and where I see it going in the future.

The Beginning of the Addiction

Like a lot of people in this community, I spent many hours playing the ‘Arma2: Operation Arrowhead‘ mod, DayZ. From the vanilla mod, to the popular Epoch and Overwatch forks and everything in between, there was something to suit everyone. For me, the vanilla mod is what kept me coming back for more. The gritty open world survival, the hordes of infected roaming the iconic Chernarus map of the Arma series. The thrill of scavenging the towns for precious limited supplies. The excitement of finding a Lee Enfield in a barn and a few rounds to defend yourself with. It was a feeling that no other game had EVER given me, I wanted more, I was addicted!

I remember the very first time that I loaded the DayZ mod onto my machine. A fellow gamer that I met at a local LAN party I helped run recommended it to me. I was hesitant at first and dismissed his praise of the game. Then maybe a month or two later, it was a late night and I had finished playing some other game with friends, most likely Battlefield 3 or similar. I was looking for something else to play. I stumbled across the DayZ mod files I was given by the LAN friend and decided to give it a go.
After quite a while of browsing forums and figuring out how to get the mod working and updated, I eventually loaded the mod and joined a server.

Unfortunately for me, the server I joined happened to be dark, it was the middle of the night and all I could hear was what sounded like water and the faint outline of hills against the horizon. So I figured out some controls and started running toward what looked like a town. Next thing I know I had someone (or something) in hot pursuit, it turned out to be an infected AI, and I died shortly after. Respawn.

The same thing happened several times over, eventually I started to make my way inland and was literally crawling in the pitch black through the part of the map which I later found out was called ‘Three Valleys’. I soon came to a building, I could see several figures moving around the building. At this point my heart was pounding, I had no weapons, no idea where I was or where I was going. All I knew was that I was alone and there was multiple players in front of me, they edged closer and closer to my position, eventually making their way past my position and leaving me to survive another 10 minutes.(give or take)

It was at this point, I was in love with the game, I hadn’t played much more than an hour and all I had done was die to infected attacks and crawl through the dark while watching the silhouette of several figures walking past me. But the intense rush I felt and the excitement of not dying, was nothing I had ever experienced from another video game ever, and thus began the 2000+ hour love affair of DayZ Mod.

In part 2, we will take a look at what DayZ standalone has to offer, how it is played and my perspective of how the community plays the game.

Featured Image Credit: @theaussieck

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