New DayZ and a Family Christmas
There's a lot to consider with Day-Z potentially going beta next year; although I imagine Dean Hall and the guys are doing pretty well out of their Alpha mod.
This Christmas, the family and I will be spending a lot our time eating, watching movies and playing Day Z together.
This time two months ago I was completely pained with the new Day Z but, as ever, my kids and my wife have proved otherwise.
Not unlike everything which succinctly and surreptitiously teaches you how to survive a zombie apocalypse, we used to know who were d***s and who were the good guys. We made our own story world in old Day Z - but that's not to say you can't do that with the new one.
This is what Day Z will mean for my family this Christmas.
Human-nature reflected in survival horror
I guess this was a pro for old Day Z, and the entire point of the genre. But the point I want to make is this: even though the new story world feels essentially hostile, there are quite a few friendly - sometimes over-friendly players out there.
I'm mostly playing Day Z with my teenage daughter Danni who's been following it from the start with her classmates; and the whole family along with her best friends will be playing at our house through Boxing Day.
My wife loves scavenging and our youngest son (he's 14) is completely entranced; so much so that he's started journaling and expanding on his experiences in a set of dystopian mini-books.
For our Danni, though, it's been an often hilarious lesson in the cruelty of human nature and the consequence of choices. While she never takes anything personally unless it's League of Legends (she's learning), there's plenty for her to take away in terms of strategic thinking when approaching cities, pacing and understanding your base: for Day Z, we know it's the shoreline.
In a lot of ways, the game is helping her grow up and treat the real world with a scalable sense of rationality, the expectation to be surprised, and to always apply humour where you can. Her mom and I help her sometimes, but, as in any zombie-infested world with assassin squads, we get shot in the ass and she has to be the house hero.
Huge World Map increases the need to explore
My kids stay in a lot of the time. We don't force them out (unless its walking the dogs), but when they do go outside, we make a huge deal. Positive reinforcement works to a point, but they can definitely see through it, damn kids.
That was until about a month ago.
Day Z's massively expanded world map has done the opposite - they walk further out in the mornings (well, the walks are longer and dogs are definitely exhausted and ready for breakfast); they've even offered following their Mom and I on our Sunday morning hikes. They love the fields and the trees - we're amazed.
Being a Dad and remembering the good old days
Of course, Day Z used to be Dad time. I lovingly remember the good old days of playing on one server. Yeah, one server. OK, so don't get me wrong the richness of the game has definitely panned out as it's grown and I've made some real-life friends, like any MMO. And maybe it's elitism - the way we all got to know each other properly. Moving on already.... even though you got to keep your character, we bumped servers as the SA came out.
Last year it was basically me and some guys from work on one server for months and months. We still talk to each other over on Steam and XB1 now. We weren't exactly The A Team, but we definitely knew exactly what we were doing. Now, we all just get besieged.
And then I think - actually; it's got loads better. It's Alpha. It's playable as an Alpha. They'll probably never finish it...
I remember when a lot of people on Steam were shouting up about the fact that scavenging itself was a task.
"Well duh, pussies; it's a survival game at heart no matter what mods you love/hate/have distinctly ambivalent feelings for." I can't claim the epiphany was mine. Those were Danni's words, and I'm proud.
Perhaps I miss the old Day-Z because there isn't as much chance to observe before taking part. I know you can't do this in a *real* zombie apocalypse:
Maybe that's it. I just wanna find some popcorn in Day Z for the family.
But it won't matter. We have each other, Alienware and a tonne of zombies to fight together for as long as we can.