In Its Current State DayZ Is Both Pointless And Insulting To Its Fans
Usually I would prefix this article with some combination of words to best prepare mindless fan boys for what's to come in an effort to reduce the chances that trolls set me ablaze but when it comes to DayZ, I really don't care. Grab your pitch forks, accuse me of whatever you please, in its current state DayZ is not only a complete waste of time but it's an actual insult to those that supported the mod and standalone development for so long.
That is where most of the idiots would have stopped reading before heading to the comments below with some variation of "OH EM GEE It's ALPHA YO". So now that they're out the way and wasting their time let's get to actually looking at the issues surrounding DayZ today and why it's a disappointment to the members of its community that actually followed its development cycle.
I'll take you back to September of 2012. The development had already been underway for some time and Dean "Rocket" Hall was attending the EuroGamer event in London, in which he hosted a discussion panel with fans and members of the media. During that event he specifically stated "DayZ will definitely be released before Christmas" as the developers "Could not afford another delay". However only a month previous was he quoted as saying "We don't need to sell that many copies to break-even. We want to be a hardcore game and I think if we make a good game people will come back.". So there was no financial pressure in regards to rushing a release, a point we'll come to a little later.
A short while after that event and after missing a deadline which they just couldn't afford to miss, Dean Hall was interviewed by EuroGamer and said "DayZ Standalone isn't here because we had the chance to go from making a game that was just the mod improved slightly, packaged simply and sold, to actually making the game the way we all dreamed it could be,". A few more months down the line in November and another pitiful excuse arose for the delay as Hall stated to Examiner that optimization issues were the main culprit of the delay, "The new zombies are still a work in progress as they glitch through walls often at low frames per second"
Okay so now that I've shown you what people that followed the game were exposed to, what's my point? Well when the mod finally did launch, after a delay of over a year when he originally said they couldn't afford a delay, it was overpriced for an alpha when compared to practically any other game available on Steam. Why was such a large price necessary when even he stated the game had very little financial pressure and the mod alone netted Bohemia thousands upon thousands of additional ARMA II purchases. How many people do you know that have played the DayZ mod but have never actually bothered with ARMA II? The zombies, and other optimization problems that caused another of the delays, were still more than present in the game. Invisible zombies, poor frames in certain locations, zombies moving through walls, these were all apparent are release.
This is now where the people that will mindlessly defend DayZ regardless of the flood of misinformation will quote Dean Hall's very honest selling of his alpha client:
I really can't emphasize enough - this is going to be an early access project on steam. It's a true-blue alpha. Massive areas of the engine were entirely reworked, involving a large team of people over the last 12 months. Much of what these achievements will enable won't be seen for many months - so I really plead for anyone who is on the fence to take a skeptical approach - watch streams, read reviews, watch some let's play and form your opinion. You could always come back to the game in three, six months time and buy it then.
Great. Spend two years telling me all the awesome features that will be in your game and then release something that has none of them prefixed by a quote that millions will use to save you reputation on internet boards across the gaming space.
Was I expecting a game filled with exciting features and genre defining mechanics? No, it's an alpha. Was I expecting something a little more than a hiking simulator with potential PvP opportunities? Yes. There are MASSIVE problems riddled throughout the DayZ experience that far too many people are defending with the "It's an alpha" argument.
Riddled With Over Complex Crap From ARMA
With all the work on everything that we can't see, why are we still lumbered with the terrible control scheme from ARMA II? A game infamous for having practically every combination of keys do something. The official forums and just about every other DayZ board was flooded with players who couldn't even figure out how to turn on a flashlight. Even now people aren't 100% sure why their characters suddenly stop sprinting at full speed because they hit a certain button too many times in quick succession and why can't we run up stairs or hills?
Screwing The Community That You ASKED To Help
You've got a game in alpha, you listen to feedback and make changes accordingly, great. So why the hell won't you give us the tools to actually test your game and enjoy it? I never server hopped for loot but now when I change servers I have a 5 minute timer to spawn? A 5 minute timer for what? What am I doing here? I'm trying to help shape your bloody game. These are the kind of changes you make nearer release, not at the start of an alpha phase. People server hop because of terrible loot mechanics, even worse loot tables, complete lack of zombies and many other elements that should not have been released in the current state, even in an alpha. Why should people spend 15 minutes trying to meet up with friends? Why can't you give us a simple suicide option as currently we're amphibious and are able to breath under water. Hell, we can even vomit 50 times in 20 minutes and still survive and be healthy.
Remove the DayZ label and this game would be eaten alive by any gaming community. You have 1 large map, items that spawn and that's it. I'm not blind to the potentially amazing interaction possibilities with other players but for most of your time in DayZ, you'll walk around picking up objects. That's it. Even if you can find objects as they don't respawn until a server is reset so once it's gone, it's gone.
"Winning" DayZ Is About Mechanics Knowledge, Nothing Else
A successful DayZ player doesn't pay any attention to your poor crafting system or over complex healing and recovery mechanics, why should they? They know the building models that you have used to store the better loot, they understand that logging in for 20 minutes after a restart is more lucrative than playing for 5 hours straight in the evening and they understand that the average player that's just picked it up off Steam will spend aimless hours walking around a mostly empty map that's almost totally ignored with the exception of a handful of locations.
Don't get me wrong. DayZ has massive potential and I have every faith that it will eventually be the experience it promised to be but right now, it's not even close to the quality of the mod. Ya' know, that free thing we downloaded a few years back? What's worse is the core problems, such as the controls, PvE and RP opportunities, loot tables etc, are posted on a regular basis but immediately thrown off the to-do list by community idiots that do nothing but counter every negative argument with alpha defense mechanisms.
Is it an alpha? Yes. Are there too many people moaning about obvious alpha elements? Yes. Have they failed to deliver on practically every promise prior to the release of the alpha? Yes. DayZ could be amazing but right now it's a poor excuse for a video-game.