Early Inaccess: The Case for Not Buying DayZ Just Yet
Roll with it. That was my thought-shrug as I proceeded to dolphin dive my way out of the building like an extra in Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. I wormed my way around the small yard surrounding the building, got out to the main street and did my thing down Broadway. After a few minutes of slow progress, I arrived at a church. I made it my destination and belly flopped my way toward its wide-open double doors. Perhaps a prayer would alleviate my crippling symptoms?
Before I could make it to confessional, another character came sprinting out, his two legs working just fine. He saw me diving and spun around back into the cover of the church, evidently believing I was going into attack mode. I made my way into God’s house and saw the player standing by the altar. I put my wrench away, hoping to signal that, while clearly disturbed, I meant no harm, and continued my awkward advance. That’s when the fire axe came out.
Knowing that typing “friend” in chat is as good as a declaration of war in DayZ, I stopped my approach and started doing my thing from side to side. After watching me dive around for roughly 20 seconds, the other player evidently understood, because he slung the axe to his back and crouched down, duck walking towards me before he too went prone on the stone floor.
A moment later and we were both flopping around the church like a couple of Pentecostals filled with the holy spirit.
Wherever you are out there, anonymous DayZ player, thanks for the dance.
That’s it. That’s my DayZ Belly Flop tale, and it’s as good as it has gotten for me in the zombie survival sim in my week-plus of play. Most of the time I’m just trying to walk a short distance without being interrupted by major server-side problems like lag, stuttering, rubberbanding, disconnections and crashes. I’ve never been able to get through 30 straight minutes in a gameplay session without encountering major game-breaking problems.
Even the zombies have it tough. Walls are like fly paper to the undead. I’ve lost count of the number of shamblers I’ve encountered who can’t come after me because they’re trapped in geometry limbo. I’ve been trapped a few times myself, too, like when I entered a building and was teleported into a room that wasn’t room, at least not yet. There were windows, but no visible walls, and it seemed like I’d entered some sort of glass house. Check that: it was a glass prison, because there was no way out.
I jumped, crawled, ran, walked and attacked my way around every inch of that glitch space before finally giving up and quitting. Just one problem: when I reloaded, on a different server no less, my character was still trapped inside his extra dimensional box of torment.
Frustrated, I left my poor character to starve to death while I sought entertainment elsewhere. And that’s what I find myself doing most times I log onto DayZ: struggling to play it before giving up.
There are already 1 million people in DayZ early access and I’m thrilled for the game’s success. But at this point, Hall and the folks at Bohemia don’t need your money or your input to continue development and, hopefully, create the zombie survival sim we’re all envisioning. You know, the one with extensive crafting, base building, vehicle driving, animals, cooking and more.
That day is a long day away, however. Bohemia says it doesn’t expect DayZ to enter beta, let alone a full release, until late 2014. So unless you’re fully familiar with playing an early alpha and what that entails, be patient and wait (at the very least until the server kinks are worked out in a couple months). You’re not missing out on anything.
Unless you’re into belly flopping.
UPDATE: Mike’s updated his rating of Day Z. Check out his updated preview right here.
Verdict: Wait On It
Game Front uses three potential evaluation ratings for Early Access titles. Read the full explanation of our Early Access policy.
Mike Sharkey is a former GameSpy (RIP!) editor. He’s currently contributing to Game Front while spending way too much time in Starbound. Follow @mjsharkey on Twitter.