In this section I want to detail what I think were some of the major issues with the mod, and whether or not they have been addressed in the SA. I’ll be ranking them from least to most important and they’ll cover what I consider to be the entire DayZ spectrum. At the end I’ll provide a summary as to my thoughts behind the organization process and why I arranged them the way I did.
#6: Unintelligible street and town signs:
– Literally. Many of the characters aren’t represented in the English language and next to those it’s not uncommon to see numbers. Good luck figuring out where you’re at without the addition of a third party website that translates the street signs into something you can say over voice comms or even type on a keyboard. I’m fortunate enough to speak the most common language in the world (well, technically mandarin is #1), so why are we using a language that is largely contained to a single country? I don’t care what language my character emotes in, says hello, or waves goodbye with, but if reading the street signs is my only way of figuring out where I’m at, at a bare minimum I want to have a solid stab at pronouncing the town without taking a language class online.
#5: Food and drink cycle:
– In the mod not only did you have colored indicators showing where your food/drink levels were at, but it sure didn’t seem to pop up quite so often. In the SA they’ve now switched to a text-based messaging system (see: annoying) that pops up constantly letting you know that you’re thirsty and or hungry. Apparently there are levels to this which require huge sums of food and drink AND closely border the point to which you get sick and puke. In the DayZ SA, there’s a good chance that if you’re not running, you’re probably eating and drinking.
#4: The incessant running:
– A large part of what makes DayZ great is the amount of time and dedication put into your character. The idea isn’t to instantly respawn and be fully geared up and jump back into the fray. That said, there’s so little in DayZ currently happening outside of gearing up that it makes a 45m to 1 hour long run seem pretty ridiculous. Why the hell would I spawn in on the east coast with little to no chance of player interaction and a minimal amount of loot, when I can easily kill myself and spawn in somewhere closer to balota and make out like a bandit within minutes?
Traveling between towns such as cherno and elektro isn’t horrible, but I wouldn’t call it enjoyable either. The only danger currently present is the danger of being sniped, and most of those snipers aren’t camped out along a boring road in the middle of nowhere. They’re probably at the airfield or in the actual cities themselves.
#3: The spawn system:
– There’s no choice in any way in either what you spawn with, or where you spawn, or who you spawn with! As if the unintelligible street and town signs with numbers in them aren’t bad enough, try linking up with a friend when you have no map, no way to read the street sign, and once you do figure out where you’re at (via a third party website), you’re over an hour away from each other.
#2: The lack of end or late-game.
– DayZ currently has an early game that is front-loaded with difficulty if you’re a new player and unfamiliar with the spawns. Once you work your way out of those potholes, the mid-game takes over (large backpacks, high-powered weaponry, abundance of food/drink). Exactly what that entails will be different for everyone, but it’s essentially setting yourself up with enough gear that you’re no longer in danger of starving to death and you have a decent change at running off bandits should they show up.
Many players in this game are often upset by the large amount of bandits and or camping of military spawns, but what else are people supposed to do once they’ve stocked up on food/drink and equipped a mosin/m4? There’s no leveling system. There are no skills to work on to advance your character. There aren’t any raid bosses. There’s no way of building forts or trading posts. Players that are at the end of their mid-game phase are at the end of the phases in DayZ. They either have the option to run in circles and deplete their food/water meters, or engage in PvP with anyone and everyone.
#1: DayZ engine and performance issues.
– Framerates around large cities/buildings. There are any number of fixes to this issue which range from downloading a new .cfg which decreases draw distance to simply removing most features from the game. Even with the boost in frames you’ll get from downloading the .cfg or removing shadows/ambient environments, the game still feels extra slow and sluggish around big buildings and large cities.
– Zombie pathing. I debating about where to put this one (and I may end up sticking it in a few places…har har) because it has the potential to fall under so many different categories. In this context, it’s an engine issue. Zombies that clearly walk through walls, landshark (walk through sidewalks and floors) is an engine issue. The scariest threat a zombie presents in the realm of DayZ is knowing that if you’re on a ground floor a zombie could literally come in from anywhere at any time.
– Survivor pathing. By this I mean the ability to rubberband and get yourself stuck in walls/buildings/rooms that are otherwise impossible to get out of. I’ve fallen through floors, warped through walls, been locked in rooms that no exit, etc. Accessing doorways on the 1st floor while I’m on the 2nd and attempting to open a doorway in a similar location is another issue. The ability to phase through walls/doors by grabbing a ladder on the outside is another.
– Clunky feel. It’s hard to pin this term down because of the issues with zombie pathing and the engine, but overall the game simply feels clunky. Each and every motion is exaggerated and takes what feels like an agonizing amount of time to complete. Simply filling up your canteen or moving around inventory is a process that leaves one being incredibly vulnerable and “locked” in roundtime.
Pulling out weapons and putting them away is another area that could use some work. Most of the time I’m able to pull out my melee weapon on the move, but sometimes I’m stopped when I put it away and or pull it out. Equipping any primary weapon while on the move (even a slow walk) is also impossible and requires a dead stop before the (long and drawn out) action can be completed. Similarly with the sidearm, while I love the idea of having a pistol, the time required to pull one out necessitates either having it equipped at all times or forgoing the pistol entirely in favor of the primary weapon.
Bandaging teammates, giving transfusions, bandaging yourself, force-feeding/drinking someone, anytime you’re attempting to perform an action that lasts more than a moment, it can be broken and you’re forced to start all over again. It’s difficult to figure out why the actions break sometimes. Simply turning your character can interrupt a bandage but most times it will not. Attempting to force drink or infuse someone else requires both characters to be perfectly still and not move for the duration of the animation. This may or may not include the other player managing their inventory and or turning their heads.
My original idea was to make out a list of problems in the mod, and then dissect their current status in the SA. When I was writing my list I realized that every single problem I could think of from the mod was and still is a problem in the SA. I think the big exception is probably the lack of hacking so far. With a few questionable situations of warping, I have yet to see boats dropping in or terminators walking down the street. Other than the hacking, the only noticeable difference from the DayZ mod are the graphics. I guess that’s what rocket and team bohemia felt was a priority; looking good for close-up screenshots.
As far as my list goes, I think DayZ’s biggest issue is probably a combination of 2-5. Unfortunately it’s not possible to tackle any type of game balance so long as the platform the game is running on doesn’t work. The best example to naysayers who tout that DayZ is in alpha need only look at Rust. It has large scale open world combat with 3-4x the amount of players in DayZ, and there aren’t any performance issues. It bills itself as being in alpha stage, but that’s because the dev’s haven’t fully decided on the direction they want the game to go just yet. Their framework is in place but their ideas aren’t fully fleshed out. This is in stark contrast to DayZ where both the framework and ideas are in shambles.
DayZ is a game built on potential, sold with hype, and kept afloat with hot air. People should be outraged that a game with so much potential has been allowed to languish in such a state of a disarray. Charging $30 for DayZ SA in it’s current state is not acceptable nor is rocket’s statement where he discourages people from buying the game (after everyone has already bought it).