PAX East: The Future of DayZ
This is a guest post from my buddy. He had the chance to go see the DayZ panel while I was otherwise occupied. Here’s his take on it.
Of the several panels I witnessed exclusively on video games at 2013 Pax East, the Dayz one had the best presentation. They were prepared and informative and all of my queries were answered in the hour. They had some very preliminary demos of their stand alone game, and I was immediately impressed; it was seemingly already a better game than the Arma 2 mod version. They addressed a number of technical issues that plagued the mod version such as fixing the clunky inventory, tightening up the aiming and controls, and adding some rudimentary customizations such as clothing which will be both cosmetic and functional (e.g. hoodies that will determine the number of inventory slots).
With the new version of the game they also fixed a lot of the quirks with the zombies such as they will be able to spawn in forests, path through buildings properly, and be persistent on the server rather than despawning, among others, which should lead to a more challenging and fun experience. They also addressed the complexity they are going through to ensure that players won’t be able to cheat; you can’t get too much more frustrating than having to start over because you’re suddenly 100 feet over the airport and falling to your death because of some cheating jerk.
They also will include a radio feature that will allow one to spy on a zone if you hide it in the area. I assume it will also function as a walkie-talkie to stay in touch with one’s allies, though I don’t recall hearing that definitively. An audience member asked about a party feature to be able to find your friends, but the panelists had a good point about the wandering experiences one would have trying to hook up with your friends; I got the impression that a party feature will not be included in the final version, but maybe.
Unfortunately, there were a couple of concerns of mine that were discussed but I felt like I didn’t get the desired answer. The biggest concern I had (and I’m sure most did, as well) with the mod version is the lack of incentive to just kill on sight any survivors encountered. “I’m bored,””because I can,” and “it’s just a game” are all not valid excuses to ruin other players’ fun. The spirit of the game is to work together (or apart) to survive, not to rack up PKs.
This was the first question asked in the Q&A. The panelists said they were working on things such as the idea to have to hold a button down to aim which might discourage the shoot first mentality, though if you ask me, people will just hold the button down and the fire at will. They also said the alpha community will flesh out what, if any, would be done to remedy the KOS situation; which sadly sounded like “working as intended” to me. The main reason why I stopped playing the mod was for that reason; no matter how well one did or how long one survived you always got killed for no reason by another player, ruining your experience and fun.
I’m not against the availability of PKs, mind you; I just want them to be meaningful. The best time I had with the mod was my third or fourth spawn when I encountered another player who at first shot me in the back to get my attention. He then proceeded to ask me in voice if I had some food. I had an extra can of beans (and no gun) and was more than happy to give it to him if he would let me go. So I threw the can on the floor – noobishly in the brush – and it took him several minutes to find it; the whole time I was genuinely excited by the tension generated by this activity. Was he going to take the can then shoot me anyways? Finally he found the can and then I ran like heck away from him.
It’s those kind of moments that I thought would be prevalent in Dayz; the true spirit of zombie survival, not kill on sight play; the other player generated conflict cause he need to to survive. There are innumerable multiplayer FPS games that one can play if PKs are all one is looking for. Hopefully, the complexity and difficulty of the zombies will be better in the stand alone version that will discourage people from shooting on sight for no reason, but if real decisions aren’t implemented to discourage wanton player killing then I don’t think the Dayz stand alone game will be for me.
– 9 Toes
Or for me, either. Thanks!
Stubborn (who can now be followed on Twitter @sheepthediamond)