A few of you seemed at least somewhat interested in Day Z. My work schedule is pretty nuts right now, and I don't have the time to type anything solid up, but Kaaso and I have been tooling around in the dead-infested nation of Chernarus together the last couple days, and our first outing as a team was pretty successful, even if it did come to a tragic end.
Anyway, it was a fantastic zombie-survival experience, and I've decided to type it up as a kind short-form narrative.
To begin with, finding your friend on Chernarus can be a little daunting, and pretty time consuming.
You spawn on the coastline -- mostly the southern coast, I think. You can get a rough idea of what area you're in by watching the lower right side of your screen for a few seconds after you spawn -- it will tell you your region, which seems to consist of which city or landmark you're nearest to.
Kaaso started at the small western airport town of Balota. I was on the western side of Chernogorsk (perhaps the largest city in the game, and luckily the closest city to Balota), on the small peninsula which helps create Mutnaya Bay. If you look at that map, you can see a small pier jutting out from the belly of Balota -- Kaaso was hanging out there.
The coastline of Chernarus is a dangerous place. It's where all the survivors spawn disoriented, with their starter kits of bandages, pain killers, morphine, cans of beans and full canteens. The laziest, loneliest bandits of Chernarus tend to live just inland from the shores, between the towns, and they tend to eat a lot of beans.
Needless to say, running across the coast toward Kaaso was a tense experience (I will have to capture video or grab some screenshots or something next time for you guys :3). A couple times, I heard gunshots ring out from the airfield -- which is fenced off, swarming with zeds, and looked to be covered with medical tents. I flinched every time.
Kaaso was actually waiting on the pier, and sighted me long before I saw him. There was brief rejoicing (it was a happy occasion -- we had both died several times hunting for each other over the course of about two hours as we found functioning servers, slowly learned how to tell where we were spawning, opened a map in the Steam overlay to get our bearings, etc.). The area seemed to be a small cargo staging area, with a warehouse and some shipping containers. The relieved happiness may have gone on longer, but another survivor appeared from the other side of the dock area toting a rifle. When survivors meet, there are often hastily typed messages in global chat or VOIP talking -- always asking the same thing: "Friendly?"
This guy didn't say anything. He sprinted up and ducked behind a shipping container.
"Fuck, he's got a Winchester!" I said.
"Come on, in the warehouse!" Kaaso said, "It's kind of fortified."
So we ran and hid in the small warehouse, closing the big bay door (which had been closed off with razor wire by some other survivor, maybe this fellow with the rifle) and smaller exit door. Kaaso later told me that he had found a stash of ammunition for the Makarov pistols you start with on the dock. In hindsight, we might have raided this poor bastard's supply stash in front of his face.
Anyway, we hid inside for a few minutes, until we got bored and ventured out. Our frantic movement inside the building had alerted a few zeds outside to our presence, and we had known they would chase us when we left the building, so we ran out onto the pier to dispatch them as far from the town as possible. It went easily enough, except for the last hopper*, who couldn't path us correctly and instead crawled around the piles of junk around the warehouse like a coked-up four-year-old until we surrounded it and put it down.
(*There are three types of zombies in Day Z -- walkers, hoppers, and crawlers. Walkers shamble about in typical zombie fashion, or sometimes just stand still in one spot and wait for somebody to chance upon them. When alerted, they sprint after you, and can match your speed, so freaking run! I have recently (like, within the last forty seconds) found out that zombies can't sprint indoors, though, so running into an open building will give you a chance to line up a headshot. Hoppers sort of jump around on their hands and feet like giant frog-people, and crawl after you in a disquieting way that reminds me of Japanese horror flicks when alerted. They currently tend to stand up and remain still when they attack you, so backpedal to avoid the damage and line up the quick headshot. Crawlers are always prone, crawling around on their bellies. They're pretty quiet, so if you aren't watching out after popping three or five zeds, they might creep up on you. Zombies can change positions while wandering about. I've watched a hopper stand up and become a walker, for example, and a walker kneel down and start hopping around. They seem to maintain the behavior of whatever position they're in when they become alerted.)
After a short conversation about the merits of heading through Balota to hunt supplies (the airfield could very well have military-grade equipment or advanced medical supplies -- the zeds were wearing military gear, the tents all had big red crosses on them), we decided to head for the wilderness. As far as I can tell, zeds can't find you if you're crawling on your belly, but it's a slow way to move, and if you push yourself too hard, you'll hurt yourself, resulting in blood loss and a short-lived limp. Crawling slowly should keep you hidden as long as you don't actually make physical contact with a zombie, but it feels horrible, crawling on your belly as these things shamble around you. Also, a particularly dickish player could spot you and attract the zeds to you by tossing an empty can, smoke grenade, or road flare at you. You can't shoot at them without compromising your position -- you're totally exposed.
Well, that's wasn't the way for us. Besides, that guy with the rifle could be in there.
Maybe a klick outside of town, we found a farmhouse with a nice barn (barns are known to house hunting weapons, beans, and bandages), so we crawled over to it. The entrace closest to us was blocked with razor-wire, so we slowly crawled around the building to the other door. Kaaso hopped up to a crouch and made his way up the stairs, and I kind of lost sight of him for a moment -- I didn't know which loft he had climbed up to, but I caught sight of him up and across from me as I carefully checked behind hay bales for piles of supplies. We were moving slowly because there was a zombie standing across from me, staring into the corner of the building.
"Where are -- oh, there you are," he said.
"Yeah, just popping around the hay down here."
"Down -- wait --"
"Whoa, wait, is that you up there?"
The guy I had assumed to be Kaaso was staring right at me. Arma II allows you to lower and raise rifles with a double-tap of the control key, but pistols don't work the same way -- there was no way to tell if he was lining up a kill shot or just curious. I dove behind the hay bale.
A message appeared in the global chat box: "Howdy fellas."
We both typed "Friendly!!!!11" and relaxed a bit.
"You've got a zombie just beneath you," I typed helpfully.
"Yah, he's my mate."
Haha. This guy was alright. Kaaso and I, in our steam voice chat, quickly dismissed the option of murdering him. He had ample opportunity to blast both of us. Good guy.
I stood back up and jogged up the stairs on Kaaso's side of the barn -- and a zombie walking nearby sighted me. It shambled through the building toward the stairs, and Kaaso popped it in the head.
"Well, shit," I said.
We wound up having to kill the entire population of the farmhouse with our new buddy. After the last of them went down, we headed north and he headed south.
"Should we -- should we kill him?" I asked.
"No, he helped us kill the zombies."
I felt relieved -- I hadn't really wanted to be one of those cut-throat bastards, and knowing that my survival buddy felt the same way was reassuring.
If you're following along on the map, as close as I can tell, we were on the dirt road doutheast of Bor. We quickly left the road to wander through the trees of Windy Mountain, following a game trail.
We noticed military zombies -- they were wearing combat gear and fatigues, and a couple of them were bumming around a deer stand at the edge of the treeline.
The first one we checked had only garbage; shortly after, we found another containing a DMR mag and some chemlights. These deerstands had a lot of potential, we realized -- they were probably military watch posts before the outbreak. After a brief search for more in the nearby woods, we continued on our way.
I don't remember what we were talking about, but suddenly Kaaso interrupted the idle traveling chatter:
"Whoa whoa whoa! He's leveling up on you!"
"LOOK OUT HE'S LEVELED ON YOU!"
I caught a glimpse from a few yards away -- a dark figure with a rifle as he crouched behind a tree. I immediately hit the dirt and crawled sideways to get a shot at him --
Four or five shots, tiny pops, not rifle rounds. The guy had been watching me, and hadn't noticed Kaaso sprinting past me to flank his position.
"Is he dead? Did you get him?" I asked, rising to a crouch. I kept my pistol raised as I approached.
"I think so, yeah. Yeah, I hear flies. He must have despawned, though."
(Due to a recent patch, player corpses now de-spawn extremely quickly -- a matter of ten seconds, I've heard. You can still hear, however, the telltale buzzing of flies around the non-existent body, and it's a good way to figure out if a foe was killed or managed to escape. The de-spawning is hopefully a bug, because the guy had a rifle, a Winny or a Lee Enfield, and it would have been nice to collect that firepower.)
As we traveled, we were more wary now, more careful to stay concealed. Our conversation regarding the man Kaaso had killed was short: he hadn't tried to communicate, he was clearly pointing a gun at me. His intentions were obvious, or he made some bad decisions. Kaaso reacted admirably.
As an aside, when we were at work today, Kaaso mentioned that he felt kind of guilty. What if the guy was just afraid of us, trying to stay vigilant? How long had he been alive? What was his story? It's worth mentioning -- that feeling of guilt is what sets this game apart from others. Killing can have an impact on a survivor, especially a split-second decision like that one.
We curved around the eastern side of Drozhino, heading up Kurgon. That's when we found the barn, on the outskirts of Zelengorsk (I think).
It was actually a whole farm, with two stables, a large barn, a water pump, and a small storage shed.
By some windfall, there was only one zed in the complex, a walker who we easily avoided as we took turns filling our empty canteens (and the extras we had picked up along the way) at the water pump and rifling through the buildings. In an outhouse toilet, Kaaso found a stack of ammo for a scoped hunting rifle. We also picked up several cans of cola and some frank 'n' beans from the stable -- where we found the rifle that matched Kaaso's ammo.
In the shed, there was nothing, but I picked up a Lee Enfield rifle in the barn, and several magazines. Kaaso handed over a couple he had picked up, and we set out for a huge landmark: the massive radio tower atop Green Mountain.
The open field we had to cover to make the treeline of the mountain was crawling with zombies. We managed to pass most of them by, but as we walked, Kaaso asked me, "Wait, do you hear something?"
I hadn't but I turned toward him (holding "alt" allows you to look around without changing position) to see a walker right behind him. It looked like it was sniffing his hair, arms over his shoulders.
"WHOA! ZOMBIE ZOMBIE RIGHT BEHIND YOU!"
We killed it and approached the treeline of Green Mountain.
Sneaking into the military installation was simple -- we just popped a few zeds and climbed the tower. The buildings in the installation were all tragically inaccessible, and we found no supplies.
At this point, we logged off, secure in our giant tower. Later on, Kaaso jumped online to scout for supplies, but it was night-time, server-side. He crawled out of the base and into the trees, explored the nearby area, then made his way back. He logged in the woods outside.
When we both jumped back online earlier this evening (oh god it's getting late, wrapping this up soon), we set out intending to move further north, so the small cities unfrequented by the waves of new survivors, to find better supplies, perhaps some bulletproof vests and military rifles.
We were hoping for a hunting knife, to allow us to cut up wild game, and matches, so we could start a fire to cook with/avoid freezing to death.
We came across a small farmhouse as we looped south around the base of the mountain to check the deer stands which we knew would be there. We quickly devised a strategy: we had the rifles, we had the range. We usually wound up fighting zeds inside the buildings anyway, so why not set a perimeter and lure them to us?
In hindsight, I think we may have gotten turned around a bit in the trees and emerged from the trees near Sosnovka, because when we opened up on the zeds outside the barn, we were suddenly facing down eight to twelve each.
"Which way?" I asked.
"Through the trees." Kaaso said calmly.
We bolted for the field on the other side of the woods -- open spaces make targeting so much easier! -- but a zed broke one of Kaazo's legs as he ran, and they were on him.
I managed to take down the seven or eight who were following me, and I could hear the sounds of them chewing on Kaaso. He was still savable, I knew -- I just needed to give him some bandages and a shot of morphine, and he would be able to get up and hobble away. The plan formed in my head instantly -- we would find a hospital in a city somewhere, crawl in, carefully pick up the blood packs we needed for transfusions, fix ourselves up, and be gone before anybody or anything noticed.
I tried to follow the sounds of happy zeds to Kaaso, but more of them had come up from the woods behind me, from Green Mountain.
So our first outing as a team lasted about two and a half hours longer than the average lifespan on Chernarus, which is currently 27 minutes. We died horrible deaths, eaten alive by a small horde of the undead.
We're already working out our survival plan for next time, though.
Fetching twitter status...
Aiden Flux: Aw! Sometimes I just think about the guild and how amazingly fun TCV was. Miss you all!
Ararius Valanteene: I bow my head in memoir to this once amazing guild. I hope all my fellow members are doing well in their lives.
Adexi Khalgaryen : Want to join the Imp guild? Don't forget to check out the site as well! http://kaasimperiallegion.enjin.com/
Alvina Shatal : Free to play is being dumb and not letting me join the channel. I'm Althèa on Imperial side. The è is alt,0232.
Alvina Shatal : I have an Empire character, Elana, if the guild is on Empire now.
Alvina Shatal : So, I haven't been on lately, computer problems. Where's everyone at?
Adexi Khalgaryen : Today's LiveStream Q&A session http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8kyB5SLb8_I#!
Adexi Khalgaryen : Aiden did you make a guide for ranks? I wanted to make sure people are at the right level. ^_^
Aiden Flux: Oh Arnan yeah! Totally join up. Oh Bron is KCR on Ebon Hawk now too? And the channel is /cjoin KILLOOC
Arnan Vekarr: If we are going to start this up again on Imp side I would absolutely love to come back and be apart of it
Bron Cuthus: KCR was made on Imp side (and somehow the leader position fell to me?). I can hand it off to Aiden or whoever.
Mallek (Merkaile): Is there a channel imp side? I remember something but I can't recall it at the moment.
Aiden Flux: *hugs Alvina and Jereth* <33
Jereth: Wow a Wild Aiden is back!
Alvina Shatal : Aiden! ^.^ Long time no see!
Aiden Flux: It'll be cool beans seeing you all on Ebon Hawk. Not sure what I'll end up back as @_@ I can't use a single character name I had before. (And that's cool so many of ya are on GW2 ^_^)
Even Corvallis: If you're coming back to SWTOR, I'm still playing on Ebon Hawk as Evén and Abbard (pub side) and Architect (sith).
Alvina Shatal : For anyone who is on Guild Wars 2, I'm Althena.1328 on the Tarnished Coast server, hit me up and we can rp.
Alvina Shatal : I'm coming back to swtor as soon as they open up the Free to Play.
Andul-Suun Hegge: Throwing up a flare here - if you are playing GW2, I'm valkyriebait .9235 . Find me, and we'll RP!