Friday, September 28, 2012

Night and DayZ, An Explanation and Session One

Like many other people recently, I have tried DayZ, the zombie apocalypse mode for ArmA 2, but I have never had much luck surviving. Too many griefers, too many hackers, too few people to join forces with. Admittedly, I have a few stories to tell of my past exploits: my very first attempt with the game, someone in a helicopter discovered me and offered me a ride -- shortly before crashing into the side of a mountain I was near and crushing me underneath.

This is something different, however. I have decided to start again from scratch, this time keeping track of my progress with logs that I will post here on Loading Checkpoint. (I must admit, the idea was partly inspired by Brandon Keogh over at his personal blog Critical Damage. Take a read of this touching story of his experience in DayZ. It's a great read!)

There is a twist, though: from what little experience I have with DayZ, I have discovered that I feel much safer at night. Despite the fact that nighttime in ArmA 2 is something close to pitch black -- and reduces my visibility because of this -- I feel much safer in the knowledge that other players and the zombies suffer from similar difficulties. It's like it levels the playing field: no matter how well-equipped someone is, as long as I have darkness to rely upon I feel much safer. As such, every session I play in DayZ for this log will take place in the middle of the night.

Due to the nature of nighttime in ArmA 2, screenshots will be few and far between: because the game is so dark at night, screenshots and video capture ends up being little more than a black screen. So there won't be many screenshots of my exploits. What there will be, however, is a map detailing my travels each session, with points mapped out to show where notable events occurred. I will also narrate my actions in this log, detailing everything that happened and the thoughts going through my mind at the time.

(Please note, I am also going to be referring to the DayZ DB map located here, both to help me decide where to travel and to use as a guide to track my path.)

So dig in and enjoy my tale as I try to eke out an existence (if not a living) in DayZ!

Session One, Start Time: 12:13 AM

Whenever you spawn into the game for the first time, it gives you a relative area where you are. When I spawn in this time, it tells me I am in:  
Day 0

I don't need to check the map to know where I am: the only airstrip near to the beaches where people spawn is between the main city of Chernogorsk and the smaller town of Balota, located to the west of Cherno. I take a quick scan of my surroundings before I head forward, looking for the road and railway.

I scampered across the main road, seeing that my suspicions were correct and that the buildings of Cherno rise out of the dark to the east. I run into the woods and turn west, trying to see where the airstrip begins. Instead, I spot a pair of buildings across the field and decide to check them out. Deftly avoiding zombies shambling in the field, I make my way across the road again and search the area around the buildings. It's at this point that I realize I should start checking the map more regularly, as the buildings hold no loot.

Session One Map
Not yet daunted, I move back north and head towards the airstrip and the garages on the eastern end of the strip. The entire time I am crouch-running, not wanting to draw any untoward attention on myself. As I cross the airstrip itself and approach the buildings, however, I decide to fall prone and crawl. Having spotted some zombies in military garb, but still without a weapon to deal with them, I felt it best to approach silently.

Sneaking around the buildings, I enter the first garage (labeled 1 on the map above), quickly shutting the door behind me and plunging myself into even darker surroundings. Equipping my flashlight, I scan the floor of the garage, finding a can of Coke and -- more importantly -- a hatchet at the back of the garage, tucked behind a deployed length of barbed wire. I snatch the hatchet and equip it (making sure to reload it!) before checking the second garage. I find some basic supplies (bandages, drinks, et cetera) but nothing of any particular note.

Feeling much better about my chances now that I have my hands on a weapon, I turn and make my way along the airstrip, wanting to hit the hangars next. Surely they must hold a gun for me to wield! The biggest weapon I've ever had before was an M1014 shotgun, a weapon I discovered in one of the hangars ahead, so I was sure I'd find something of use.

I reach the small building next to the hangar (labeled 2 on the map) before I have my first close encounter with a zombie. I had managed to enter the building quietly, hearing the groans of a zombie nearby, and managed to close the doors before scanning for supplies. All of a sudden, I get hit from behind; spinning around, hatchet at the ready, I see a zombie standing on the other side of the window swinging at me. I swing back, dropping him in one hit with my hatchet, stopping his attack.

I find a great deal of ammunition for various weapons (AKM mags, Makarov mags, M9 mags and shells for the M1014) in the building as well as the hangars (labeled 3 and 4 on the map) but no weapons. I do find an M203 smoke grenade, however, which I find amusing and pocket. I have never had an assault rifle, never mind one with a grenade launcher, but decide I might as well keep it until I find something more worthy of the spot in my inventory.

I eventually reach the air traffic control tower (5 on the map) after dispatching a few more zombies with my hatchet. As I enter, I find the entrance barricaded with a length of barbed wire, something that speaks to the presence of people. Vaulting the wire, I ready my hatchet and slowly ascend the stairs, ready to fight for my life.Instead, I find an empty building nearly devoid of supplies.

Disappointed in the results of my search, I decide to brave the outside once again. Feeling optimistic, I opt to take a second look at the hangars I passed through, hoping something useful may have spawned since my previous search.

In the first hangar (4 on the map), I manage to find two things of note: a 200-round belt for the M249 Saw, which I deposit in my backpack for shits and giggles; and a military flashlight. Throughout my searching I had been using the flashlight given to you at spawn which, while useful for light, causes you to become a beacon in the night. Never having found a military flashlight before, I am surprised when I turn it on and it emits red light instead of white. Considering red light is much harder to see at night, I am intensely satisfied by this find.

But not as satisfied as when I reach the second hangar.

Lying on the ground in the second hangar (3 on the map), I find an M16A2 M203 and two magazines for the rifle. I am thrilled: not only have I found an assault rifle, it is a weapon that features a triple-burst firing setting and a freaking grenade launcher. It is easily the rarest item I have ever found in DayZ and it gives me an immediate sense of security I did not have moments before.

I make my way back to the air traffic control tower, M16 at the ready, without anything else of note. When I arrive, I vault the barbed wire once more and make my way upstairs. On the landing, I find a can of sardines and another clip for the M16; things are looking up!

Upstairs, in the tower itself, I find an AKM and three mags on the ground, but decide to keep my M16. It's at this point that I wish I had found a larger backpack: even though I feel very secure with my possessions, I almost feel like I'm spoiled for choice. There is so much useful equipment around that I can't carry everything I would like.

Deciding I have had enough for the evening, I decide my objective next session will be to find a larger backpack. Unfortunately, this objective may take me into Chernogorsk -- but that is an issue I will deal with next session.

Log Out, 1:32 AM

And so concludes the first session of Night and DayZ. Next time: Will I find a larger backpack in Chernogorsk or will I instead find my untimely demise? Stay tuned for the next session's log to find out!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have something to say? Do so below!