Reunited with a Killer: DAY-Z (Standalone Alpha)
This is the story of how I met a man playing Day-Z who would quickly ruin my play session and drive me to suicide, only to have him anonymously discover the story of his terror via twitter the next day.
- Day-Z is a perma-death, multiplayer survival game. The most important thing to know about it, for the purposes of this story, is that it impossible to restart if you have a living character tied to your account. Bleeding and dying of hypothermia in a shallow pond? You'll have to log back in and let mother nature take her course until you can re-roll and start again. Simply, Day-Z is a game about being alive. Sure, there are zombies in it but nobody really gives a shit about them. After reading this small account, it should be obvious way.It's also worth mentioning that the story I'm about to tell is not extraordinary. Things like this happen all the time. Right now there is a man hunting another person in a virtual world with the expressed intent of doing something terrible to him or her. He probably hasn't even concocted what he'll do yet -- he'll get creative in the moment and that's just it -- his unique brand of ad-hoc improv cyber pseudo-terror is what will make the game worth playing.Quick setup: I've been playing the game for about three hours and don't have much stuff. You begin with a flashlight and basic clothing at a semi-random location on the map. I've spent the past 3 hours trying to find my friend Olly, with little luck, and am now climbing a hill near the outskirts of a town that english-speakers refer to as Balota.Suddenly I hear a *crack* as a gunshot rips over my head.It's worth mentioning that Day-Z began as a mod for the game Arma II (a tactical military shooter with a perverse attention to detail, especially of things like bullet physics) so hearing a bullet *whiz* means it's a little ways off and you're fine. A *crack* means you're lucky to be alive.I immediately hit the deck. I lay flat on my face in the dark and just wait for whatever is happening to no longer happen. I tell Olly over Skype that I'm being shot at and I just need to hide for a while."Get up. I can see you."This person's voice is casual and familiar but colder than anything you'd hear day to day. Probably a young man in his mid to early 20's. It's scarier than some put-on monster voice or the raspy timbre you would expect to hear if cast in the movie of this experience. It's completely inappropriate to say but whenever I see stories about a mall shooter or a kid who brings a gun to high school, I always imagine what they sound like when they're commanding people to do what they say. I try to hear it in my head and it fills me with genuine fear in the way that only something familiar but totally alien can. Anyway, I'm not saying this guy sounded like that. But I'm not saying he didn't."OK, OK, be cool, this is a new character, I'm just trying to find my friend.""Put your hands in the air.""How do I do that?""Press F2."
- After standing up, the man in a mask above emerges from the darkness. Things are never for certain in Day-Z but upon first impression I'm 99% certain that this man means me harm. Also the only things in my inventory are the clothes I am wearing, a flashlight you begin the game with, and a wrench. So the odds are he's going to just kill me and go on his merry way or see that I have nothing and leave me alone.He speaks casually but with a put on form."Dont' move," he says, walking behind me."What are you going to do?""I'm putting handcuffs on you.""COME ON!"
- Note a few things in the screenshot. I'm "extremely hungry." This man's name is Tex. Of course it fucking is."I've taken your flashlight, your shoes and your shirt for rags. Gtood luck."Tex doesn't really mean that."What am I going to do?" I sound like a helpless baby."My friend is a sniper in the forest over there, I can have him shoot you.""No, this entire experience is too interesting... don't do that. Hey, where are you going?"Tex doesn't say anything, he just starts walking into the woods, and then he stops, holding something.
- "....Is that a crowbar?""No you idiot it's an axe.""Oh shit don't axe me please; if you axe me I'll probably be too horrified to play this game again.""OK."Tex runs off into the darkness and I am left shirtless, retching and hogtied on the ground."HOW DO I GET OUT OF THESE HANDCUFFS?" I yell into my mic.
- Here am I, now alone and barefoot in the dark. Without shoes it's impossible to run and only a matter of time before my feet start to bleed, sending me down the path to a slow and painful death."You're still not out of them?" I look up and my assailant has returned. "Just mash a bunch of buttons together, you'll eventually get it." The idea of this man running hundreds of yards away and then returning out of, I dunno, a confusing mix of guilt and curiosity amuses me now but was lost on me at the time.Finally I free myself and Tex disappears for good.Right then I think "shoeless, with no light, if I come back from this this is going to be a hell of a survivor story. Maybe one day I'll run into Tex when I'm kitted out to the nines and really fuck him up. Wouldn't that be something. That's the type of person I am -- a survivor -- that's the type of player I'm going to be."I can't run without stopping to puke. I just sorta poke around in the woods until suddenly the silhouettes of two massive buildings loom large against the night sky. I decide to enter the looking for food and anything that will make my situation better.Without my flashlight it is impossible. I fumble in pitch blackness for twenty minutes, hugging the walls, seeing nothing and then realize that I'll die of starvation or thirst before the sun comes up. This is how my game is going to end.Through shear luck the tooltip to climb comes on screen. I use it and am moving up an invisible ladder. I find myself ten stories up, searching another empty, godforsaken room until i catch a sliver of moonlight coming through a doorway. I walk towards it and then out onto a balcony. The moon is low in the sky to my right; the mountains draw peaceful, rolling waves to my left. It's dead quiet. It's actually nice for a moment. And then I look down and see a burned out car and the idea hits me that I don't have to just wait around to starve.The decision makes itself almost instantly. It's bothersome. What type of player am I?
- I go for a mind-clearing motorcycle ride and then a few hours later decide to hop back into the game. I fire a tweet out into the ether.
- Little did I know but that was retweeted by Dean Rocket Hall, the lead and creator of the game, so my at replies filled up over the course of the night. Regardless, I ended up teaming up with my pal Evan.
- But then I check my @ replies today...
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