DayZ, the free-to-play zombie apocalypse survival mod for Arma 2: Combined Operations (Bohemia Interactive Studio, 2009), can be disorienting at first. Gameplay takes place on an open-world map covering 225 square kilometres, built from satellite data of a part of Czechoslovakia. Each time you begin anew, you start without a map, and with little idea about just where you are, and often less idea about where you can find equipment (and more importantly find water).
You’d think there would be some handy online resources to help you out. And you’d be right.
If you want the thrill of discovery, you might want to give the maps part a miss. Otherwise, let’s look at what resources are available to you.
It seems a rather unpleasant person has gained access to a key email account, which in turn has allowed them to compromise the DayZ server network. Anyone who provided login credentials to the DayZ team should consider those credentials compromised. Likewise, a trojan was placed on the US mirror as dayz_auto_updater.exe, and this will have installed back-doors on systems that executed it.
Server admins, get someone to make coffee, because you’ve got a fair bit of work to do to see if you’re safe, or to fix things if you’re not. DayZ forum users, your forum passwords have been leaked. Change them.
The idea of the DayZ mod is simple enough. Take Arma 2: Combined Operations (Bohemia Interactive Studio, 2009) with its open-world, ground-pounding, all-weather, military simulation chops and refit it as a persistent world multiplayer zombie survival game.
Set in the mythical Eastern European country of Chernarus (where the primary Arma 2 campaign takes place), each player begins with a water bottle, a pistol, a little ammo, a couple tins of beans, a few medical supplies, a handful of flares, no clue and an average life-expectancy of about 28 minutes.
Map? Compass? How about a wristwatch? You don’t start with them. Unless you’re already familiar with the 225 square kilometres of Chernarus, you’ll be learning as you go. Even if you are, you’ll wish you had a map and a compass. Anything and everything beyond your paltry starting equipment, you’ll have to find.