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I go by the name of ModernCreed. I play games and things. Specializing in the open world genre. Expect my blog to contain mostly musings about games like GTA, The Elder Scrolls and Just Cause as well as commentary on player autonomy and player choice.

It all started when I was very young picking up my dad's game boy to play an obscure puzzle game called Quirk. I loved it so much that the following Christmas my parents got me a super Nintendo, starting me on my journey through the wonderful world of video games. From there, video games served as my introduction to into the world of geek culture which quickly took over my life.
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Welcome to hard lessons in DayZ a short series of personal stories from my adventures in the early stage ARMA II mod. In each edition, I will tell you a short story from my experience and then lay out the lesson I learned from it so that you will not make the same mistakes.

I was starting to feel a little down on my luck. After two failed attempts at surviving, I wondered if it was possible that anything could change for the better during my next play through. I reflected on past events and apprehensively started the game over again.

Despite what I had been told, I decided to ignore the prevailing advice coming from other players about heading north away from the action. Instead I headed south from my spawn towards the two large cities on the continent. After some reading online, I discovered that these places were the epitome of high-risk, high reward. They offered more buildings to raid and more valuable loot inside of them including the extremely rare blood transfusion bags found at hospitals. To counteract this, these large cities are loaded with zombies and generally attract players that are ready to kill you for your precious equipment.

Looking for a bit of an adventure, I ignored these issues and plotted towards the city anyways. Getting closer I decided to stay on outskirts and raid any open buildings I could find. To my surprise, there was little to no resistance. Given, I wasnít in the centre of the town, but I rarely saw any zombies and never even heard another player.

And then I did hear one.

I had been rummaging through a house looking for supplies when I heard about half a dozen shots being fired in close proximity to me. The sound was foreign, I had never even seen another player, let alone hear them engaging in combat. I quickly armed the Winchester rifle I had found just moments earlier and rushed towards a window. Looking outside I couldnít see much at first. I saw two zombies rush across the road, presumably to attack the gun totting survivor, but I still didnít see him. I waited at the window, ready for action as I heard several more shots go off.

Finally, I saw my first real sign of life.

Coming from behind a house I saw another survivor, gun at the ready putting holes into several zombies. I wasnít sure what his motives were so I made the hard decision to let him work things out himself while I watched from the window. He was clearly using the original pistol that you begin your journey with so it was obvious that he was a new survivor just like me.

To my surprise, he managed to fend off the hoard, then bandaged himself up and continued on his way. Not ready to pass up a golden opportunity, I decided to follow behind him out of sight. At the time, I had no real malicious intentions, but that changed quickly.

He moved along the edges of the city, building to building much like me, and I followed from a safe distance behind, staying out of sight. I was starting to think of way I could approach this guy without getting my own head blown off. I was better armed than him, but I wanted to avoid a gun fight if possible.

I figured my first plan was to try to get his attention through the chat box. Several times I typed: ďFriendly survivor in the southern outskirts of Elektro. Anybody else around?Ē He never responded to any of them.

Although I had yet to blow my cover, I was starting to get desperate. I had been surviving for almost three hours at this point and had made the poor choice earlier to trade much of my food for other supplies thinking that they were more important. I was desperately hungry and this lone survivor was looking like my only option for food. He failed to establish contact and simply approaching him was far too risky.

Things were looking dire.

Eventually he came along to what looked like some sort of scrap yard with an open gate. He wandered in toward the building on the far side of yard. Seeing no other way out, I decided to wait and crouched down at the gate until was finished. At one point I had a close call as he turned around very quickly looking right my direction. I immediately dropped to the prone position and he didnít seem to notice.

After looking around the yard for what seemed like an eternity he finally went into the small hut in the corner. I crawled forward, trying to get a better view on what he was doing. Moving slowly through the overgrown lot, I was eventually able to get a good view through the front door. He was crouched down clearly trying to manage his gear and was facing away from me.

An opportunity had arisen.

My hunger was blinking red and he was my only way out of this problem. It was me or him and I chose myself. I armed my pistol, got into a crouching position and snuck towards the doorway. He still seemed preoccupied with his inventory. I got right inside the door frame and stopped.

I armed my pistol, and in one fell swoop, lined up the sights with his head and fired. His body slumped over immediately, and I knew he was dead. I rushed over to his pack and opened it desperately looking for food. To my excitement there was a can of baked beans sitting right on top ready to be eaten.

With my hunger subdued, I felt better, but now I had become a cold blooded murderer.

Hard Lesson #3: Leave Your Morals At The Door. There is a lot of debate on the forums about how to handle human encounters in DayZ. Although there is no definitive answer, it seems that the best strategy is to do what you can to minimize risk and maximize survival. Often times that is going to mean doing things youíre not proud of. Although other survivors will come and go, the only thing youíre being assessed on is your ability to survive as long as possible. Leave the ethics out of it.

Wanna learn more about DayZ? Check out the website: www.DayZMod.com
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Welcome to hard lessons in DayZ a short series of personal stories from my adventures in the early stage ARMA II mod. In each edition, I will tell you a short story from my experience and then lay out the lesson I learned from it so that you will not make the same mistakes.

On the official DayZ website, there is box in the top right hand corner saying that the average life expectancy for a player is 27 minutes. In my first escapade, I clocked in at only 22 minutes before dying. I knew I needed to learn from the experience and prepare for my next shot at life.

If you arenít already aware, when you die in DayZ, it is game over. All of your characterís items and weapons are lost and you start all over again on the beach. I knew if I wanted any shot at life I needed to get educated. After reading some guides online, I learned more about modís equipment system and how to use healing items, something which caused an untimely death last time. Equipped with more knowledge, I spawned a new character in and got back to surviving.

Despite my death last time, I decided to trek northward again, but only this time being a little more careful with what I did. After crossing through a large forest, I came to a small service road which seemed to have several houses dotted along it. I decided to see where it led and maybe pick up some equipment along the way. Learning from last time, I made sure to stay well away from stray zombies and to go as slow as possible when I found myself in tight quarters. The strategy worked and I hiked much farther than I had before.

The problem was, I was still alone.

Despite the odd zombie there was no one around. I had heard stories of people lying for hours at the treelines with a sniper rifle just waiting for survivors like me to walk to into their trap. I had to stay vigilant because any time I could be crawling for my life with a bullet in my leg.

Moving along the service road, I spotted a farm in the distance with a large barn that seemed to be open. I began to approach silently keeping a close eye on the zombies surrounding the farm. As I got closer, I wandered into the yard around the farmhouse, and I started to hear a rather foreign sound: flies buzzing around. I ignored it at first, but as I peered into the barn I found the source.

The barn was littered with zombie bodies, I would estimate almost three dozen. Despite the silence, it was clear that there was action here not long ago. I followed the line of bodies up into the rafters of the barn and discovered a gruesome scene:

A dead survivor lying in his own waste with a string of zombie bodies around him.

I had yet to have any other human contact, but this first encounter seemed like a bad omen. Opening his pack I found many of the same things I had in mine. It was clear this guy wasnít very different from me. Mere hours ago, he was prodding through the countryside looking for somewhere to survive. In a way it seemed good that he had finally been put to rest and brought out of this nightmare.

Unfortunately, now was not the time for sentiments.

Looking back in his pack, I found my first real sign of hope: a soviet era sniper rifle. For the first time, I felt like I might actually have a chance at this. I checked the magnification of the scope and was amazed at the range. ĎDefinably a weapon to keep aroundí I thought to myself.

Finding nothing else of use, I continued along the road for several kilometers making some periodic stops along the way. Eventually, about five hundred meters away, I saw what seemed to be a small town. I would never get to see it up close.

Using my new sniper rifle scope, I checked out the surrounding area and spotted two zombies ready for the killing. Maybe it was finally hiving the big gun or maybe it was fate, but I got cocky. I crouched down behind a set of bushes, put one of the zombies in my sights and fired.

I missed.

Fatal mistake.

No less than thirty seconds after, every zombie in the county wanted my blood and armed with only five shots in a long range sniper rifle and a peashooter for a pistol, I was overwhelmed in a matter of minutes. A little over an hour after I had started for a second time, I found myself dead once again.

Hard Lesson #2: Donít Get Cocky, Never Instigate. Despite DayZ being based around a third person shooter, shooting should almost always be a last resort. Keep your gun at the ready, but never pick a fight if you donít have to. When you first get the ball rolling it is easy to feel powerful after having been so vulnerable. Try to avoid this feeling and consider everything you pick up as extra safety measures rather than tools for instigation. You will go much farther.

Want to learn more about what DayZ is all about? Check out the official website: http://www.dayzmod.com/
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NOTE: I have been a long time Destructoid lurker and recently discovered the wonderful community blogs on here. Having some interest in writing I wanted to contribute to this. In particular, I figured the community needs some more content on DayZ, the AMRA II mod that is currently blowing up all over the internet.



Welcome to hard lessons in DayZ a short series of personal stories from my adventures in the early stage ARMA II mod. In each edition, I will tell you a short story from my experience and then lay out the lesson I learned from it so that you will not make the same mistakes.

DayZ, the now infamous zombie survival mod for ARMA II, doesnít really start off with a bang. After grappling with the installation and finding a well maintained server, you find yourself standing on the shoreline of a vast eastern European continent with no real goal in sight.

Itís a peculiar place to find yourself. We are so used to games guiding us around and telling us what to do. We need map makers and objective lists to enjoy ourselves now. The opening of DayZ brings you back to the time when games didnít lay everything out for you and it was a trial by fire to find the solution.

After familiarizing myself with the complex controls, I ventured off ready to survive. Looking left and right, I saw very little of interest. There were no towns or shacks around; just a road with a railway running alongside it, backdropped by a vast forest. I had read a few survival guides online prior to beginning my adventure and the prevailing advice generally was to get off the shore and head north.

So thatís what I did.

Walking across the tracks and into the forest, an overwhelming feeling of dread passed over me. I had been playing for ten minutes at this point and had yet to see even a single zombie or player. I was starting to think I might be the only one left.

Trekking through the forest was confusing and unreliable. I had been walking for half an hour and had yet to see any signs of life aside from a few wood piles and the occasional rabbit. I started to wonder just how massive this country is. The sun was starting to set as it cut through the trees and I began to worry if I would find shelter before night time. Little did I know, I would never get that far.

Eventually, I saw a clearing cutting through the deep fog of the forest. It looked like some sort of outpost. Ready for anything, I armed my pistol and began to approach. As I got closer, my heart sunk. Beside one of the buildings, I saw a single zombie lumbering along. He wasnít close enough yet to pose a threat, but I crouched down and began to walk rather than jog towards the outpost. I needed supplies and it was either him or me that was going to succeed.

Keeping him in my sights, I crept closer and closer to the buildings until I came along to a high fence on the edge of the settlement. Walking along, I found where it had an opening which led to an alley between two buildings. Peaking around, I noticed I was in much more dire circumstances than I thought. I spotted two other zombies wandering around the middle of the clearing and one of them was lumbering in my direction.

I had to make a decision quick. I could just turn around, leave, and not take my chances. But, the sun was setting quickly and I knew I had no chance of surviving after nightfall. I could see an open door to one of the houses on the other side of the clearing.

I knew there had to be something in there.

The house was simply too tantalizing so I started to go deeper into the clearing, watching for zombies on my way.

The three I had spotted had spread out somewhat so I figured just walking through the centre of the clearing slowly should keep me hidden.

How wrong I was.

Only after about ten meters of walking did I trip one of them off. I immediately began to back pedal, arming my pistol on the way. The zombie ran at me, landing a few good hits before I was able to take him down with some poorly placed shots to the body. My gunfire had alerted the others and they both took chase as well.

I held my ground, popping off shots into each of them as they continued to strike at me. It was only after losing close to half of my blood that I managed to take them down. I thought that was the end. I was losing blood quickly and to add onto that, I had started to shake violently and could barely aim down the sights.

To my surprise three more zombies came out of the surrounding forest and I quickly became overwhelmed. But, somewhere in between the many strikes and reloads, I was able to take them down.

It was a pointless fight.

My blood was now at critical levels and there was little I could do to help the situation. I had no clue how to heal my bleeding as I frantically rummaged through my gear looking for a solution. My blood continued to tick down as I wandered into the middle of the clearing. Before I knew it, I was dead.

Hard Lesson #1: Never assume. Although DayZ seems to be bound by simple rules, every situation is complex and you should always be ready to take the safest option. In the early days of your character, donít tempt fate; youíre not prepared to deal with the consequences. Although it goes against the gamer instinct of instigation, it is always best here to take the option that will have the least amount of action.

Picture courtesy of DayZFans.com: http://www.dayzfans.com/what-is-dayz/
(I am not affiliated with the site in any way, I will start to get my own screenshots as I play more)
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