DayZ

DayZ Diaries: the one where a friendly player gives Andy a crisis of conscience

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Andy Kelly at

Every Tuesday, DayZ Diaries recounts Andy's adventures in post-apocalyptic survival sim DayZ, where beans and friends are frequently in short supply.

Last week I decided that, if I'm ever playing DayZ alone and I run into another player, I'll kill them on sight. Harsh, yes, but the only way to make sure I don't get punched in the head by a fresh spawn with nothing to lose. So there I am, running down the coast towards Kamyshovo, when I spot a survivor up ahead. Not taking any chances, I drop to my knees and shoot him with my Mosin. The way I see it, a bambi is just a bandit who hasn't found a gun yet.

Then I hear a thud. I turn around and there's an unarmed player in a t-shirt swinging his fists at me. Either he just spawned or he snuck up on me while I was busy with the other guy. I pull out my Magnum and fire at him, but he's moving too fast. One bullet grazes him and he starts to bleed, but the other five miss completely. Never fire from the hip. "Nice shot, homie." my assailant mocks, running in circles around me. "Ooh, so close!" I try to equip my axe, but the animation freezes my character in place and a fist connects with my head while I'm vulnerable. I'm knocked unconscious and I hear my gear being looted.

Maybe I deserved that. Not just karmically, but because I was sprinting around in the open like an idiot, rather than sticking sensibly to the treeline. The biggest mistake you can make in DayZ when you have a gun is feeling invincible and letting your guard down. So I spawn back at the beach once again - this time near Berezino - and start looting. After a careful hour of sneaking from house to house I have a backpack, an axe, and a nice haul of food and drink. I decide to head north to the wrecked cargo ship, then to the town of Svetlojarsk.

I'm on the outskirts of Berezino, near the lumber mill, when I hear the ping of a ricocheting bullet. Someone's shooting at me, but I don't know where from. I take a hit and start bleeding, but I manage to escape into a row of backyards before they can finish me off. Through an alley I see the gunman and his buddy on the main road. They're decked out in military gear and fully armed. "I think I got him." one of them says over voice chat. "Yeah, you did," I respond, knowing I'm safely hidden behind a wall. "But you're a terrible shot. Asshole."

Realising that I'm foolishly mocking a man who's carrying a big gun, I make a run for it. After a few minutes of nervously checking behind me I'm certain they haven't given chase. I can see the cargo ship in the distance perched on the edge of the eastern shore, so I keep pushing on. Then I spot another player on the road directly in front of me carrying a shotgun. I consider running away, but decide that it's probably smarter to let them know I'm not a threat. I approach, expecting a face full of buckshot. Instead, I get a cheery hello.

"Do you need any assistance?" the stranger asks. It's finally happened: I've met the only friendly armed player in DayZ. "No, I'm fine," I say, giving a wave. "Thanks!" We silently part ways and he continues towards Berezino. "Wait!" I call to him. "There are two guys up ahead with guns. They shot at me, but I survived. Be careful." "Oh, thanks. You too." Did I just save his life? It's entirely possible, and now I'm having a crisis of conscience. If I had a Mosin I would have shot him the instant I saw him in the distance. I would have murdered the nicest man in Chernarus in cold blood. I feel like the bad guy in the movie who has a moral awakening and turns good. I swear, from this day forth, I will never shoot on sight again.

Andy is documenting his every death in DayZ on dayzdeathdiary.tumblr.com, and recently devoted the latest entry in his Other Places video series to Chernarus. Here it is, rendered in the slightly plushier Arma 3 engine.