Day Z: The First Days

Surviving in the world of Day Z alone is no easy task. Starting off without any sort of weapon except for your wits and perception demands a player to be cautious of their surroundings at all times. Zombies roam the countryside and towns, littering the streets, moaning and growling, looking for their next meal. But, while always a lingering threat, zombies can be avoided with patience or through sheer agility. The real danger lies within fellow man.

While Day Z is a multiplayer mod for ARMA II, playing with others is merely a question of trust. Players can either be only in it for themselves, choosing to shoot you on sight, or they can team up to survive. The most dangerous entities comes from those who do both, luring unsuspecting players in with goodwill, only to callously murder them after a decent loot run. It becomes unsettling knowing that the person who was betrayed learned a harsh lesson, no longer trusting anyone else. They soon become the betrayer.

This was my experience through the first several hours of Day Z. The first was when I was trying to outrun some zombies chasing me through the forest, when I heard a voice over my speakers. He tells me to run to him, and that he will help. I foolishly believed him. He gets rid of the chasers then proclaims a half-hearted “Sorry,” before taking one shot to my head. He presumably loots what little supplies I had left. I was never quite the same after that.

Until, the next spawn.

After an hour of finding a few weapons, some food and supplies, I was feeling good about my chances. Though, while running from a pack of zombies, I ran into a small shed. The monsters were able to open the door and give me a few good lashings, resulting in a broken limb. I was down. I popped a few shots into them with my Makarov, but there were too many. I began crawling through the back door. Crawling for my life. There was a hospital somewhere nearby, and maybe if I could reach it, it would be okay.

Then another player appeared, and took out the rest of the zeds with his 1911. We exchanged a few words and he gave me a shot of morphine. I was able to stand again, but what was his game? I came to find, that this was a decent person. For another hour, we explored the city, and the countryside on the outskirts. We hunted for some food, and killed a few other players trying to pick us off.

On top of a building, a few zombies had followed us up. My only ammo was for a Lee Enfield rifle. I shot one round into the gut of one of our pursuers. My new friend turned to me and said, “Alright, don’t fire that gun in the city anymore.” I asked him why, and he told me to look down. A crowd of zombies were parading towards the building.

But it couldn’t have lasted. Some bandit sniped me while I was getting meat from a lamb, and we never saw each other again. But now was the time for me to go lone wolf. Explore the island and find the treasured loot.

It was about this time where the mod really started to shine. I was cautious and hardened from previous experiences. I knew how to avoid zombies. I figured the best places to find supplies. I took shots carefully, thinking about how much sound they would make, and what kind of impact it would be. I found a map, and routed where I was going to go next, using a compass to find my way. I was a man on a mission and I had survived for a long, long time. But I knew that it could end at any moment.

A sniper could be lurking in every town. Zombies could corner me. I could run out of food or water. Unsavory characters could hunt me down for my precious loot. Distant gunshots induce fear rather than comfort or hope. Every step could be my last. It was unsettling.
Needless to say, that I eventually died, though extremely far into the island in the town of Gorshino. I won’t say how I died, but I will say that it was due to a glitch, which is the most upsetting part. All of the time, just wiped away because of the game’s bugginess.

The mod is buggy, in some part because ARMA II is inherently buggy as well. It is still in alpha and being updated quite a bit, but it is janky. Zombies hit you through walls or hit you from dumb distances, they walk through closed doors, and they rubber-band to you when you’re running away allowing them to be on your ass most of the time. Then, players also take advantage of some of the quirks. Because your location on the map and your personal equipment is consistent from server to server, it makes sense that if a player is getting messed up on one server, they can disconnect before death grips them, switch to different server, load up and they will be perfectly fine. It’s a little cheap, but as long as players can do it, it will happen. So expect that if you don’t kill someone with one shot, they could very likely just log out before you finish the job.

Still, the mod is beautiful in its simplicity. Scatter randomly generated zombies and loot in places on a giant map. Have various unique locations, like a helicopter crash in the middle of a field. Then let sixty players roam around and see what happens. It’s almost a crazy social experiment.

Players needlessly killing others is not inherent to the mod though. It just becomes necessary when you never know the intentions of these people, and with little consequence for doing murder (in fact it’s one of the major stats being tracked), it’s bound to happen. It seems that if players come into the world wanting to be friendly, they quickly learn; that isn’t the name of the game. Unless you have friends that you trust, it’s killed or be killed in Day Z.


*Screenshots from:

Minecraft: The Adventures of…

That's what it is!

I  appeared in a brand new world, completely conjured from blocks. I don’t know where I came from but I suppose my first natural instinct is to survive. I looked around this brave new world and see the normal aspects of nature. Hills, mountains, trees, water, and animals. I started where any naked human would start. I built myself a shelter. The question first in my mind was: out of what, and how? The trees could provide me with lumber for a nice house. Something that would sustain me for the coming days while I figured out my destiny. Fortunately I was much stronger that any normal human, and was able to break apart the tree trunks merely with a few strokes of my hand. After destroying a forest for my materials, I set to making my shelter.

The blocks seem to stick together quite nicely without the need of an adhesive or nails. This made the construction go much smoother than I anticipated. After only a few minutes, my quaint wooden hut is complete. Though it felt somewhat dark inside. I could punch out a hole for a window, which I did, but how much can a window do when the night has fallen. I needed torches. However, I had only wood. I needed to find a source of fuel and fire.

The world before you, is yours for the taking...

Before I set out, I fashioned myself a workbench for tool making. There I created a pickax made of the excess wood in my inventory. I then ventured forth into the wilderness to find precious coal. The world was strange, yet somewhat familiar. The landscape changed so rapidly sometimes, and I feel that I could walk forever. I passed endless trees and lakes before I approached a large cliff. I looked up the daunting face and there I saw a peculiar deformity in the rocks. Can it be? I had found a small pocket of coal right in front of my eyes. I knew I must reach it somehow. I looked around, yet all I saw was dirt. At the time, it would work. I broke apart the nearby hillside collecting mounds for my excavation project. I finally had enough and began piling the dirt under me, higher and higher, until I finally reached the coal. I pulled out my wooden pickax and smashed the bricks to reveal bits of coal everywhere. My search was complete.

I found my way back to my humble abode just as night began drawing near. The squarish sun was setting to give rise to a rectangle moon. The night was cold and unforgiving. The only light came from the torches in my hut. It was quiet that night, until…they, came. I never saw them at first. I could only here them. Their sounds were terrifying and cold. They were the sounds of pure evil. The sounds of creatures who wanted nothing more than to kill. I heard a hiss in the distance and peered through the hole I deemed a door, when I saw two red eyes in the distance, slowly drawing near. I hastily went to my workbench and made a makeshift wooden door. I bolted the door immediately to the frame before a disgusting and grotesque spider lunged for my throat. Had I not been as quick, I would have surely been destroyed. All night I saw them through the windows. Standing there, waiting for my flesh. There were some more spiders. Others were creatures who might have been human once, but are no more. All I could do was wait for the safety of day. I stood and I waited. I held my ground.


The next morning I exited my home. The creatures were gone, but  I knew they would be back by night, so I had to work quickly. The day before I had seen what looked like a cave, not far from my hut. I decided to explore. I had my torches and my pickaxes. I had found some stone earlier and made new, stronger pickaxes. I approached the mouth of the cave, when out of nowhere, a musical queue of horror rang through my eardrums. I don’t know where it came from or what it meant, but it was not going to stop me from going in. I went as far as the light from the opening would go when I placed my first torch on the wall. The torches would be my light, and my ball of yarn to escape the labyrinth if need be. I ventured further and further, finding coal as I went. My hope was to find other materials as well, but after quite a bit of time in the cave, I heard the most gut-wrenching, heart-stopping sound. It was the sound of a zombie. So, this is where they hid when the light of day burns their rotting flesh. I had to be careful.

Well, hello cave. Ready for me to penetrate you?

I pushed a little further, the sound of the zombie echoing through the corridors. I placed yet another torch, and, as the light illuminated the walls, the zombie that had been haunting me suddenly appeared, dragging its decaying body along the floor. It crept towards me with surprising speed, lunging for my brains. I took out my only weapon, a stone pickax, and swung at the demon. It hit, but it did not kill. I swung again. And again. And again. Finally, with the blood of the creature dripping from my face and hands, the monster disappeared in a puff of dust. This was my first trial. I had defeated my greatest fear. There was nothing that could stop me now. Nothing, except, for my own madness.

After the battle, the cave showed me its true wonders. I began to find vast amounts of iron, and even gold and diamond. I found my way back to the entrance with my inventory stock full of precious materials. I went back to my hut as night fell, and began to plan what I was to do with everything I had found that day. I was going to change the world. I was to build myself the most glorious of courtyards. With a castle and a royal mine. I was going to build towers as high as the sun, in memorial of myself and my greatness. There was no limit to what I was going to do. I would conquer the land, the sky and the oceans with my power. I would start immediately.

After much timed had passed:

What am I to do with this place. I am constantly building. Constantly adding. My city stretches far and my mine deep, and there will be no point at which I stop. This is where I believe I am to be mad, for only a madman would continue. Then I accept my madness. I shall be called the Duke of Madness and I rule over all that I see. I suppose I just long for another human. To witness that which I had created and to help with my building. To give input and ideas. We could rid the earth of monster and go on many adventures. We could sail into the sunset finding the wondrous of lands. Lands we have never seen before. That no man had ever seen. We could change the world together.  Someday soon, someone will be dropped into this maddening world as I have.

Fortunately the creator will add multiplayer any day now.

My kingdom. My land.

The End.