Safe to Survive: Patches Greatly Improve DayZ Early Access
I’ve read somewhere that the victim of a well-aimed sniper round is dead before they hear the gunshot. Evidently, the bullet is traveling faster than the speed of sound.
That’s not the case in DayZ.
I heard the distinct crack of the rifle a moment before my screen went black and delivered the unvarnished truth: You are dead.
My response was a bit more animated. I believe, “Aw, SH*TF*CK!” were my exact words. See, I’d traveled further than I’ve ever been on the island of Chernarus (I found the airstrip!) and survived longer than I’ve ever survived in DayZ. Hours in fact. Imagine that: playing a single “mission” in early access DayZ for hours. That’s something that was basically impossible just a week ago.
In my first standalone DayZ write up, I recommended you not jump into early access because it was buggier than the underside of a rock in April. I’m happy to report a series of post-holiday patches have alleviated the biggest problems and you can now actually play the survival sim you paid $30 for.
DayZ (Early Access)
Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Publisher: Bohemia Interactive
Release Date: Dec. 16, 2013
Version Evaluated: 0.32.114.557
That’s just what I did in my longest trip through Chernarus to date. From nothing more than the clothes on my back and a flashlight with a battery, I steadily advanced all the way to a Mosin rifle (complete with pointy bayonet), a baseball bat, and a backpack full of canned food, bandages, medicine, a canteen full of water… everything a growing survivor needs to get through the day. I finally felt like I was comfortably exploring the infected isle and not simply trying to survive minute by minute.
That was my fatal mistake. Getting comfortable is a no-no in DayZ, and I was reminded of that fact faster than it takes to flip a light switch.
Just when you think you’ve hit your stride, DayZ is adept a sticking out a leg and tripping you up. Finally found a morsel of food for your grumbling stomach? Too bad it was rotten. Now you’re sick. Cured your dehydration with a few greedy gulps of water from a murky pond? Sick. Not scared of zombies anymore now that you’ve got your trusty firefighter’s axe? Let one seemingly harmless zombie swipe connect and you’ll start bleeding – a wound that will bleed out if you don’t have a bandage or rag to bind it.
Ace that basic crash course in post-apocalyptic survival, and then you’ll have to deal with the real threat in DayZ: other players.
If you’ve ever played the now two-year old Arma 2 mod, you’re well aware of the threat so-called bandits pose. The good news is you should now fear other players in the early access version of standalone DayZ, as well. Yes, that is good news. You no longer have to worry about the bugs, glitches, and server-related stability issues that made it nearly impossible to simply walk an in-game mile, let alone encounter other players or survive for any lengthy stretch and discover how foolish it is to become comfortable in Chernarus. A month after early access launch, the core DayZ experience is here.
Issues remain, of course. This is still early alpha, after all. One issue in particular you should be aware of if you do decide it’s now safe to push the ‘Add to Cart’ button in Steam: zombies run through doors and walls like undead teleporting sorcerers. You are not safe inside, so you might as well just keep on running.
Overall content is still relatively slim, too. There still aren’t any vehicles, animals, or base building, crafting is limited and the overall zombie population – while up significantly from its previous level of ‘rare’ – is still Wyoming-esque in terms of numbers.