Home Editorial Balance Dear Day Z anti-PvP whiners: Kindly shut up now

If you’ve been online in the last few months, you’ve likely heard all about DayZ, possibly from our E3 interview with its creator.

If you haven’t, allow me to give you a short summary: You’re on a 200km2 island infested with zombies, and you’re a survivor who spawns somewhere around the coastline. You have to make sure you eat and drink, but all you spawn with is a torch, one box of bandages, one box of painkillers, and an empty backpack (you used to spawn with a gun and some ammo but that’s just making things too easy) so you’re going to have to loot buildings to survive.

Of course, there are zombies around these buildings. And in places where a lot of buildings congregate (also known as towns and cities) there are a lot of zombies. All you have to rely on at the start of the game is your own ability to somehow Metal Gear your way into a house whilst hoping, praying, that there’s some food or water, or a weapon inside that will let you live just that little bit longer.

But zombies aren’t your only problem. There are other players who, like you, are trying to desperately survive and they can be a little… problematic. They may (unlikely) or may not (likely) be sympathetic to your desire to take up resources on the island. And if it’s the latter, they have the means of letting you know, since PvP is always on.

All in all, it isn’t surprising that the average lifespan of a survivor is around forty minutes in this surprisingly realistic survival game. I’m almost tempted to call it a zombie survival simulator. Being in the very early stages of alpha, the game has a few hiccups and glitches. Zombies could clip through closed doors and walls, bones could spontaneously break whilst running down some stairs, and it turns out that the ARMA engine (which the mod is built on) is more than a little susceptible to hackers. But hey, all of that is par for the course for anyone who’s played very early versions of the game. Remember the crazy stuff that would happen in the early days of Minecraft?

Of course you don’t, confirmation bias instantly makes you think that it was the best thing ever created and that it should be illegal to play anything after version 0.8 but that’s not the issue here. The issue is an inane complaint common among players in the DayZ community.


Survival of the asshole-est

As I said earlier, you’re not the only one who’s trying to survive the zombie hell of Chernarus island, and some players take issue with the practice of killing other players. Some have asked for a PvE version of the game, and others have asked for the PvP feature of the game to be removed entirely.

I, for one, hope that a PvE version is never created nor that PvP be removed. What DayZ does that separates it from other (more typical, boring) zombie games is that it makes pew-pew zombie hunting a very bad idea. Assuming that you get a good weapon and plenty of ammo, do you really think you could take out the entire zombie horde? If you fire your weapon, other zombies will move to your position to investigate the noise, and they won’t be leaving you alone any time soon.

You may do a little better if you have some friends with you but, at the end of the day, what’s the point in killing all the zombies? The only objective in the game is to survive, so running into a mass of zombies guns a-blazing seems like an incredibly stupid way to avoid death.

Let’s assume that the situation in DayZ does happen; a zombie apocalypse breaks out and you need to survive as one of the (arguably) fortunate few who didn’t become infected. Do you really think that every other survivor you meet would want to help you or become your friend? Sure, some people who you already know might help out, but strangers have no built-in incentive to avoid putting a bullet in your skull.

That’s because, whether you like it or not, killing others is an incredibly viable way to survive.


Hunting season reasons

For starters, other players are likely to have something that you need to survive. If I’m struggling to get enough food or water to survive, why wouldn’t I kill someone to take their supplies? I have the feeling that if I were to ask them very nicely for a can of beans when they’re also struggling to exist, they’ll either refuse politely or refuse not-so-politely with the addition of bullets and gunpowder. Why the hell would I waste half an hour searching for food which may not even be there when I can see some guy through my hard-earned rifle scope whose backpack is almost overflowing with Doritos and cans of Coke? He’s basically a walking grocery isle! Similarly, if I’ve been struggling to supply myself while fighting off the despicable infected, I’m going to pop a guy in the back of the head to replace my now-empty revolver with an AK-47 and enough bullets to last me a few days. I wouldn’t even hesitate. If you have to die so I can keep on fighting for survival, so be it.

Secondly, other players are a major threat. There’s just no way that I’m the only person who is willing to kill another survivor for food, weapons, or anything else, and there’s nothing to stop them from killing me. Not only could they be harboring a murderous desire for my supplies, but so long as they’re alive in the same area as me, they’re also picking up loot that I might need. If I’m running low on food and someone else moves into town to have a look around, he could hit the jackpot before I even have a chance. I can’t let that happen if I want to keep on living.

Finally, even in an uneasy alliance, betrayal remains a powerful option. Let’s say you’re in a team of five people and shit has hit the fan on an industrial level. You, your squad and several dozen zombies are running out of town in the same direction. Now you can’t exactly stop, turn around and start laying waste to the horde; you’ll make so much noise that all the zombies and nearby opportunists will flock to your position to make sure you die and/or loot your corpses.

Your group needs to survive. Someone needs to be bold enough to make an unpopular decision. Calmly and quickly, you need to pick a member of your group, draw your pistol, and fire into his legs until they break. He goes down. You keep running. Your ex-friend has now become the target of the zombie’s attention and the rest of your group gets away relatively unscathed. It’s not popular and it’s not always fair but it’s the right decision.

In fact, there’s only one situation where letting another player live is preferable. They’ve attracted the attention of all the zombies in the area and are running away with the undead close behind them. They’ve now very kindly led all the zombies away from the area, allowing me to sneak into town and take anything that isn’t nailed down. That other sap? He’s basically got a 50/50 chance of living or getting ripped to shreds by the vengeful dead.


Dying in Day Z? Deal with it

Honestly, I don’t see why there was a shocking realization by Day Z players that some see it as beneficial to kill other players on sight with no questions asked. Sure, there was once the possibility of announcing that you’re friendly to potential attackers before anything went down, but that basically translates to “I won’t put up much of a fight.” When it comes down to it, going up against the zombie horde is fun for a while, but the real challenge of survival is going up against other survivors.

I also don’t see why people get so pissed off about dying when the advice given to new players is “It’s OK to die and it’ll happen a lot.” Just because you’re no longer a new player doesn’t mean you’re immune from death. Just ask [insert recently deceased celebrity].

Remember, the two main causes of death in DayZ are your own complacency and greed. Or hackers. Or a glitch. Or ambiguous text which results in you letting go of a ladder at the top of a lighthouse, falling straight down, shattering both femurs and dying of blood loss right after looting a dead body for a hunting knife, hatchet, pistol and a map. Ah well, easy come, easy go.

21 replies to this post
  1. Great article, and some very interesting points. I’ve been watching a good portion of gameplay on DayZ, and if Arma II goes on sale during the Steam Summer Sale, I plan on picking the game up for a cheap price and trying to survive the zombie apacolypse. I also will have no qualms about killing other people to survive.

  2. Removing PvP out of DayZ is completely insane. The game is not about zombies, they are just there as an additional threat and to justify the apocalypse. The game is about surviving in a post-apocalyptic scenario, and it involves dealing with scavenging and human relations much more than aiming at zombies mindlessly. Not spawning with a makarov anymore adds a random factor to the game, that in my opinion was changed to bring new players, since it(random factors) makes games more appealing to the new and low skilled public, as demonstrated by Richard Garfield.

  3. I always find these kind of whiners amusing. They are placed in the same camp of kids who think games, like MW3, will allow you to be shot and killed always a killcam away from coming back. Survival is the one of the first and most powerful basic instincts of a human being. If that means pit stabbing a man to curb hunger for 30 minutes it will be done.

  4. I disagree with that shooting your friend in the leg is the right decision. If you die because of zombies you do somthing wrong. If you just run they cant hit you?! Why would you shoot someone to escape if its 100% not needed?

    Anyway I agree with the other points. Iam killing everyone whos not in my group on sight ;)

  5. The trouble is that an infinite supply of human beings is the one area in which DayZ differs from real life, and it affects the gameplay dynamics in slightly undesirable ways. If people weren’t able to simply try again, then there would be no one LEFT on Chernarus, and all the cannibalism among the living would stand as a very bad idea in hindsight. People are after the zombie film experience – where a human being is a welcome sight, a sight which means there’s still hope. It’s justifiable to be disappointed when DayZ doesn’t offer it.

    The solution would be to redesign the game for permanent 50-player partitions, which go until everyone is dead. Kind of a Space Station 13 style format. It’s justifiable for murder to be an option, but it’s weak for it to exist in a consequence-vacuum.

  6. […] Is DayZ still aware that it’s a game? Of course it is. You can’t easily qualify hunger or thirst without a psychical sensation. It’s somewhat forgiving when it comes to the zombies seeing you, and it rewards you for smart play, barring outside interference. Soda is the drink of choice, and raw meat is good for patching up bullet holes. Despite what little quips I could make, DayZ comes closer to a real zombie apocalypse than anything so far. Like Minecraft, it gives it players free reign to do, say, and kill what they want. The only punishment for legitimate play is dealt by the edge of an ax or the barrel of a another player’s gun. […]

  7. Yea, typical hardcore ignorance. People who want a non-PvP option aren’t out there to break you’re deathmatch version of the game. We want BOTH options. If you hate the idea of no PvP: don’t join a non-PvP server; it’s quite simple. Even if it was implemented most severs will stick to PvP, as most people prefer it. Is it so unreasonable to allow others the configuration options to play how THEY want. You might also consider for a moment that the appeal for co-operation might have something to do with our species being a social one.

    • Pretty much every Zombie game from the last five years have been co-operative PvE fare. I’ve found that a lot of those who play zombie games, especially the likes of Day Z, are the ones who say they want a game which is basically a simulation of if the zombie apocalypse happened. Like I said in the article, there will be people who don’t want to co-operate. Why? It’s easier and costs fewer resources to have someone else do the hard work and fuck them up than it does to do the work yourself.

      I don’t really know what to say about my ‘hardcore ignorance’. Is my ignorance the hardcore part or is it that I’m a hardcore player who is ignorant?

      Many players nowadays want a game tailored to THEIR specification and are dissatisfied if one little thing isn’t right. “This single texture doesn’t look right so the game sucks”, “One guy in the multiplayer shot me on the face and laughed about it, the community is awful and the online sucks”, they’re making rods for their own backs. The game was made to be a realistic, unforgiving representation of a zombie outbreak. You don’t like the idea of other humans killing you for your stuff or for fun? What a damn shame.

      You’re right, our species IS a social one. We’re also notorious for treating each other like shit for the benefit of looking out for Numero Uno.

  8. When I say hardcore ignorance I mean those that demand the game be a set way for everyone: forcing everyone to play it in the way they see how it should be played. Once again I set you the question: is it unreasonable to allow a server switch to turn PvP on/off? Bearing in mind that is will have ZERO effect on your gameplay experience?I can appreciate the realism, to some degree, of PvP always on. However, I also see the ripeness for exploitation and griefing”. It is extremely apparent to me that a number of gamers simply shoot other players to rack up a tally count, as if they are playing quake arena– this is hardly survival horror; though this is a margin point and doesn’t directly add to my argument. I simply don’t like player killing, for me it ruins the enjoyment. Some people are just natural not competitive. One may think “Well, play something else”; but this is a survival horror game, not Call of Duty; having simply the switch for PvP on/off at the server creator’s discretion. I would – in closing – like to emphasise that I meant ignorance strictly on this one point, and not as a broad (indeed insulting) sweeping statement on your ‘gaming personality’

    • First of all, apologies about my first reply, I was heavily intoxicated at the time.

      It may not be unreasonable but whether or not it’s possible is certainly the more pressing question. Making a PvE mode for the game takes time and resources from adding new content and fixing general bugs and exploits. Everything would be as it is now; a shouting match to see which side could be more vocal.

      “If they weren’t working on the PvE mode, these huge bugs/glitches would be fixed, this game sucks now.”

      “To all those complaining bugs aren’t being fixed, they wouldn’t be in the game if you weren’t all griefing, human-killing fuckwits.”

      And so on and so forth. The silent group of players don’t get represented and feel left out and the developer can’t do anything right which, as we’ve seen before, doesn’t get us anywhere. With sandbox games as big as Day Z, I think it’s important for a developer to say “You know what, play it how you guys want, I’m not going to restrict either side”. In a sense, it’s kind of like EVE in terms of the realistic nature of the game world; Some good stuff happens, some bad stuff happens,sometimes you win, sometimes you get sucker punched and there are a fair number of arseholes. Add restrictions to play and you get loud people complaining, the same thing happens with zero restriction.

      I have to disagree with your point of people running around as if it’s Quake or Call of Duty because playing Day Z like that gets you swarmed by zombies within seconds. I also have to disagree that players killing other players as their objective detracts from the game being a survival horror. What’s scarier than zombies trying to kill you? Players trying to kill you in an environment that hates you anyway.

      Without PvP, Day Z has very little going for it in the way of fun. One of the hallmarks of Day Z is that you can be doing OK and on your way to doing kind of good when you suddenly die (either by way of zombies or PKer) and have to start over again having learned a very harsh lesson. If PvP were removed, I’d be willing to bet players would get high-end level equipment pretty easily and even assemble vehicles without much trouble save for the fact that it would take them a long time due to the size of the map. They’d introduce a friend or two, show off their sniper rifle(s), drive around in a jeep, get their friends good equipment and then get bored with the game not to mention the lower sense of accomplishment in doing all the above compared to doing it in the game as it stands (or stood, I’ve honestly not played it for a while).

  9. Remember though I am advocating a simple server switch “friendly fire off”, I shouldn’t imagine that would take up too much development time. Plus it should certainly be the case that players made on PvP-off servers should not be able to join PvP-on servers, and vice-versa. One would simply have 2 characters, one PvE, one PvP.

    Also think of it as a compromise; a method of protection against the hordes of idiots who are most definitely out there simply to rack up PKs (the type waiting on beaches to shoot new players or sit up in sniping positions all day server hopping): this isn’t playing the game how it was meant, as a realistic immersive experience. People might defend themselves and even murder out of desperation. However, it’s as plain as a pike stick that the aforementioned do it out the oft questionable desire to ‘pwn’.

    In times of great crisis, historically, humans have been known to work together with much greater efficiency — as well as become far more selfish. It does seem at this point the latter is a little over-represented.

    Allow simple server switches, to enable people more freedom in how the game works (for them). Limitations, when optional, can actually add to freedom.

    • Either way, there will still be whiners and there’ll still be griefing. The way I see it, it will solve one small problem whilst creating a host of other problems.

  10. The problem with DayZ isn’t that it has no limitations on PVP, it’s that in its current form the most interesting thing you can do is go around killing people and it has no systems built into it which give incentive to cooperation unless your game is on a server whose organization caters for sophisticated play (i.e. those private servers where a group of players has decided to run a helicopter rescue service.). Etc.

    In effect if the main reward system is getting loot; the risk/rewards for banditry without negative reciprocation is grossly disproportionate to anything else you can do in the game.

    There are hints of systems in the game aimed towards cooperative play such as the epi pens/blood bags but even then you can circumvent that simply by eating enough. Simply put; In its current state of infancy the greatest challenge that DayZ generates right now for most players is other players.

    I do not agree that there is sufficient justification for PvP as a legitimate survival strategy. Surviving on loot drops and hunting is trivially easy. Without coloring it as good or bad; people PvP simply because that is the predominant gameplay that DayZ supports right now with its given systems.

    The assumption that the “whiners” don’t “get it” is not getting it.

    Objectively; people SHOULD whine about it. Even if their specific suggestions are probably invalid and destructive to the kind of game DayZ is trying to be in all likelyhood that their gut instinct that there are shortcomings about the way things work in DayZ is correct. A cognizant designer knows how to take their cue from that and create a gameplay opportunity.

  11. I can see that the article is pretty old, but I just feel like pointing out a few things here:

    Disclaimer: Personally I do not encourage totalitarian PVP-only/PVE-only solutions for the game.I am merely looking for something reasonable that will be fun for everyone.

    When I first heard about PVP in DayZ I was so excited.”Whoohoo, evil bandits gonna be robbin us, occasional gunfight, hell yea”.That was my, and my friends’ mindsets.We were so excited to see something that had never been done before appear on our screens.But after a month or two of gameplay, my excitement was slowly turning into frustration.I cannot deny the fact that endless bugs and ArmA’s “jerky” and not-easy-to-get-used-to gameplay (for me, at least, since I was not an experienced ArmA player) we defining factors in this frustration of mine, but a large part of it stemmed from my encounters with other players.I quickly came to realize that encounters with others in DayZ were, for the most part, not what I had in mind when I downloaded the mod.Many months later, I finally reached my curren conclusion, which is that PVP has now become a defining factor of DayZ, so defining that IMHO it should be called Day-PVP.Why do I think of this?Read (if you have time) below.

    When DayZ was first released, it attracted a LOT of people of various gaming backgrounds.Among them you had ArmA vets, zombie game fans, and of course, you had some trollful people hop on board, along with (yes there are several of them)…younger players, whose primary FPS experience had been games such as Call of Duty.As you understand, the amount of freedom provided by the game meant that everyone could do anything.Including shooting at players.

    Since the DayZ community consists of players with so divide gaming backgrounds, it is hardly surprising that each would have his own style of play.CoD players were used to shooting on sight, just like ArmA 2 players (for which the game may have seemed too easy), and trolls were used to doing what their name suggests.What does this mean?It means that when the time came for one’s first encounter, odds were that if he belonged to one of these categories he would shoot the other player right in the face.Because that’s what he’s used to doing.Be it “survival instinct”, spontaneous reaction, or just a way to piss somebody off, bullets flew off the barrels anyway.

    This is how PVP basically begun.How it continued is, obviously, not hard to understand.New players would be turned to swiss cheese even when they approached others with the best of intents.Once, twice, three times, four times, indeed at some point it gets tiresome.”Either be the prey or the hunter” is their motto.And the vicious cycle continues, with each new player preferring to kill than to “be a victim”.

    AS expected, anti-PVP supporters were quick to appear.Players who believed that PVP was getting too much, more than what DayZ should have.Most PVP supporters (read as “most DayZ players”, because most of them do seem to be such) would quickly oppose them.

    1)I am after your beans (either food, guns, meds, or ammo), because I have to survive,

    2)PVP is part of the game, what do you think would happen in a real zombie apocalypse?,

    3)I have found a gazillion barrets and use them to snipe the countless mountain dews I’ve found, I have to do something else cause I’m bored,

    4)If I don’t kill I will be killed

    were some of the most common replies they received.And now I’m just going to respond directly to these arguments because writing an (already bad) essay-like text is pretty boring.

    1)Yes, you do have to survive.We all do.And I will show more than compassion and understanding if you are hungry/low on blood/dying and you just shoot me because you desperately need something.But that’s not a situation you live every day in DayZ.The cities are literally flooded of food (and so are big villages, and don’t forget corpses and animals), so unless you are playing in a really crowded server (where hostilities are anticipated and food is expected to be limited) this should not be a problem.And I would just like to ask, what makes certain people so desperate and in need of supplies to justify the fresh spawns or people at NWAF being killed by snipers?Clearly this is something done for personal amusement and that serves no other benefit.

    2)Horrible things, actually.But what happens in DayZ is at least most of us, if not all, would want to play it real.Sure, being a random guy but still being capable or repairing and flying helicopters isn’t quite the realism.However, shooting people on sight for no significant reason does not reflect the psychology of an actual, reasonable survivor.It’s one thing to pull the trigger in a gaming environment and another to shoot a man in front of his own kids (okay, overdramatization but you get the point) in real life.Of course there would be death, exploitation, betrayal, not denying that.I just deny to accept that a sane civilian would mindlessly dump bullets into others with no prior indication of a life threat.I also deny to accept that people would be so uncooperative and negative in a real apocalypse.I mean, wouldn’t anybody think that the human race has to team up in order to survive?Not intending to criticize lone wolves here, but it’s just my opinion that mutual cooperation between players is far more efficient than going solo and making sure you’re as alone as possible in that world.If other players are such a pain for you, why don’t you play in empty servers?No player looting problems, because the cities are full, no dangers to worry about(besides the bugged zombies).Seems like that’s what certain people need.If you kill because of fear you might be killed, or because you need supplies, it looks like an empty server would do you good.

    3)”I’ve finished the game a million times, but I’m bored, so I’m gonna go on multiplayer and hack on one server and ruin the game for the team by teamkilling/not PTFOing on another one”.Does that sound good to you?If you’re bored, choose another activity.Okay, too easy/boring for you, understandable.But why does my fun have to be ruined because someone’s bored?You wanna shoot?Correct me if I’m wrong, but since you have DayZ, a very realistic and hardcore shooter game is also installed on your PC ;)

    4)This is the general mentality that has led DayZ to the removal of “Z” from its name.This is everyone’s modus operandi.None asks for a change, they choose the easy way around.Why not tell Rocket why you feel dissatisfied about certain aspects of the game?Rocket likes to help out the community.If the community switched from going PVP to asking the dev to ease things up a bit with PVP (and focus more on zombies, IMHO), I’m sure the demand would be met.

    To finish up with this comment that most of you have probably found too long to read in its entirety, I will repeat myself and say that I do NOT support REMOVAL of PVP/making DayZ easier, or anything like that.This is a mere expression of my views regarding the game.And according to those views, what would make DayZ a better experience for everyone are the following:

    -More emphasis on the zombies, because for the time being, they do not represent a very big threat,

    -Addition of new options/gamemodes that will focus on cooperation between players,

    -Addition of options for servers to modify the rules/circumstances under which PVP battles can be carried out (in other words, allow servers to be able to prevent players from shooting whoever they want whenever they want for whatever reason they want),

    -A general change in players’ ways of thinking.Lots of players started playing DayZ wanting to wear the Hero vest.This proved impossible for some, but there is no reason to go from one edge to the other.Why not just avoid someone?Remember, putting a bullet in somebody’s head for no reason is why this whole debate is so hot.Find a good reason to do this, and in my eyes you are completely justified.

  12. Actually you guys call the game realistic. How so? Just imagine if there were a pestilence that ravaged mankind and dwindled the population to only hundreds of thousands around the world. Would it then be logical to kill off the rest of the surviving population that you need to build up society again? That is pretty counterproductive in regards to actually surviving. This game is fine as a make believe game and fine that a lot of people seem to want these days to kill each other in games. That has been a long trend because people bought into the idea that people killing people is the only way to get your gaming thrill. This in turn makes developers lazy to code good AI. So then we are stuck here where I personally won’t buy a survival game if it is strictly PVP and I am not alone in that way of thinking. In a true scenario your environment and surviving animal population would be your biggest threat as well as having to actually grow and gather you own resources. If you throw zombies in there then they would be the other nuisance. Only insane people would not cooperate if a world catastrophe happened. A truly potentially realistic game would be something I would be interested in: one where shooting your neighbor isn’t the main objective because let’s face it…that is what the game goal always ends up as with PVP games period.

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