While Chernarus will always hold a special place in the hearts of most DayZ players, one map is never enough. Even one as large as Chernarus will eventually run out of surprises. What better way than new maps to make a fading experience bright and shiny again? As DayZ remains in mod status, any and all extra “DLC” maps are free to download and play on. While there are plenty of others, two maps have risen to the top of the pile: Namalsk and Lingor. Of the two, I prefer Namalsk, so I’ll cover Lingor first.
Gear up and go hunting
There are two main things that make Lingor a fun map for me. First, the layout. Unlike Chernarus with a defined combat structure in the south and north, Lingor favors a “kill everything everywhere” strategy. Not only is the environment new, set on a tropical, zombie infested island, but there are a bevy of new vehicles, weapons and outfits to try. The map’s roundness makes conflict a constant threat and makes sure you’re never traveling through a boring wilderness for too long. DayZ’s exploration mechanic remains intact, and there are plenty of places to get lost in, but you’re never left wanting for some civilization to look at.
Of course, having a round layout would mean little if there weren’t plenty of places to scavenge high powered weapons of death. Unlike vanilla DayZ or DayZero, Lingor is rife with military spawns, most of them large value with plenty of mid and low values thrown in. Where Chermarus needed a the Breaking Point and Overwatch mods to up the ante on combat, Lingor is built for it from the ground up.
More importantly, those cities with more residential loot are constructed almost like arenas. You’ll find residentials surrounding or facing a central square or courtyard like stands, and any survivors willing to can duke it out below. More than one TeamSpeak server’s been lit up with cheers for one side and jeers for another on mother f’ing Lingor.
The problems Lingor face, however, are twofold. It’s smaller than Chernarus by a fair amount, and therefore more predictable. And beyond the island setting, there’s little to differentiate it from its larger cousin. Like any small map, once players master it, it quickly becomes a bore to play on. And when high level gear is plentiful, finding it looses much of the weight owning such power previously possessed. Death becomes an inconvenience rather than a Sisyphean climb back to dominance.
What makes DayZ different is that sense of weight and worth that comes with having powerful gear. Take it away, it might as well be another shooter with power weapons. And no one in the community wants that.
Freeze or die. Or just freeze.
Namalsk has the answers to every one of Lingor’s woes, I feel, and not because it has fewer military spawns. It has as many, if not more. The difference is scale and verticality. Where Lingor is flatlands, Namalsk is snowy mountains that hide powerful treasures. Where Lingor has arenas for DayZ gladitorial fights, Namalsk has canyons for survivors to get lost and shot in. Where Lingor is predictable, Namalsk has that element of Chernarus unpredictablility.
The main thing that sets Namalsk apart form its peers, however, is something everyone understands: temperature. Set near, or above, the Arctic Circle, it’s literally freezing in Namalsk. Oh, and those heatpacks that served no real purpose in Chernarus or Lingor? Well better stock up, son, ’cause this shit is cold.
Suddenly, the zombies aren’t the biggest problem (like they were ever an issue to begin with). And other survivors have to think about their own internal heat gauge, leaving you valuable time to escape to freeze some more. Where vanilla DayZ is Man vs. Man and Man vs. Self (patience is a bitch), Namalsk ads Man vs. Environment.
Now, there are warm clothes scattered around the map, and these keep you from dying of exposure, but they make you a target. A big, yellow target. If the server you’re playing on allows the taking of clothes from dead players, that big red circle’s even bigger, but most people with warm clothes probably have good loot otherwise. Shoot on sight might be the first reflex in DayZ, on Namalsk when you see some guy in a yellow jacket, “friendly” shouldn’t be in the vocabulary.
Add to the above that the map is quite well built from a gameplay variety standpoint, and the presence of some fairly funny (if cheesy) easter eggs, and you’ve yourself a winner. Just make sure you’ve got some friends who know what they’re doing. ‘Cause the freeze is on.