Steam calls it Early Access, but so far there’s been very little access available. The long awaited standalone version of the DayZ mod for Arma II, from Bohemia Interactive, is now theoretically available, but servers have so far been inaccessible much of the time. Optimistic players are waiting to log in today, causing most servers to show as full in the in-game browser.
[Edit: servers are now showing as empty in the browser. Still can’t log in.]
Upon entering the game, players see a black screen with a warning (shown in the image). The gist of it is “this game is not finished, it won’t work right.” Players must click a button saying “I Understand”… every time they run the game. Ironically, the button overlays some of the text, making it almost illegible, underlining the truth of the statements.
I did get in the game for a while last night. Unfortunately, after trying three servers, as far afield as East Coast US, West Coast US and Germany, I found none that was playing anything but the dead of night. So it was impossible to see much of the new graphics. I wandered around for a while, but encountered no zombies, no other players (bandit or friendly) and no pick-up items.
The new user interface is minimalist. There’s a crosshair in the middle of the screen, and nothing else. Except for occasional text messages noting that “(player_handle) uses modified data file.” (I’ll have to see what a modified data file is, and why I might need one.) And messages providing helpful status information such as “I need a drink” (but not where and how to get one). My inventory held a pair of pants, a pair of shoes, a battery and a flashlight. Dragging the latter into the box marked Hands allowed me to use it, not that there was much to see.
One thing, clearly, hasn’t changed from the mod version to the standalone: DayZ remains an uncompromising game, and often a frustrating experience. The mod version certainly could be amazing at times, well worth the effort. It remains to be seen if the standalone can take it to the next level. I’ll continue trying the login, and post an update as soon as possible.