How to win friends and influence people in DayZ

There seem to be two kinds of people in DayZ: Friendly and alive

DayZ is a lot of things to a lot of different people. For some, it’s a chance to test their mettle against an overtly hostile world that would like nothing better than to see them die cold, hungry and alone. For others, it’s a virtual playground for unleashing their inner troll; killing on site for nothing more than a chuckle, or torturing other players simply because there is no one to stop them. There are heroes, too. Self-styled vigilantes and do-gooders seeking to create some sort of order amidst all the chaos, but as well intentioned as they may be, they’ve still got blood on their hands as well. 

It’s a grand social experiment when you think about it. DayZ is a lawless space where individuals are free to be themselves, however horrible or wonderful that may turn out to be in the end. And, to tell you the truth, I think that is why the game fascinates me as much as it does. It’s less of a “game” to me, as it is incubator for emergent behavior within the framework of a videogame. Hall’s standalone version of the popular ARMA 2 mod serves as test bed for anarchic human behavior without the worry or concern of real-world consequences.

One of my first conversations about the game revolved around exactly this point. A friend made comment that he didn’t feel the game was a realistic portrayal of a zombie apocalypse; that other players ruined the experience, made it less “real” to him. I laughed, and replied that that is exactly why DayZ seems realistic to me — the real monsters in the event of a zombie apocalypse wouldn’t be the mindless infected; really, they’re nothing more than an obstacle to overcome or avoid. As evidenced by the scenarios in this humorous live-action film based on the game, the real monsters in a world like DayZ would in fact, be those who do what it takes to survive.

Rob Morrow