After nearly 5 years, DayZ finally moves into beta

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The first beta build of DayZ has hit the experimental branch with new base building, "player restraining" and vehicle updates. "I'm excited about this first step to a more polished gameplay experience with more endgame goals to achieve" writes lead producer Eugen Harton in a DayZ blog post.

The 0.63 update will hit the default stable branch imminently and after that the developers plan to concentrate on fixing the game. "While features are in, their functionality is often broken," Harton admits. "We know that's what makes or breaks a game, and now is exactly the time to get that fixed. During this period of stabilization and iteration, you'll see the game change around the details that matter."

The team plans a period of stability from the beta through to a 1.0 release, which means most of the core features and items are now in the game. Remarkably the plan is for DayZ to get to 1.0 before the year is out. "While there are large numbers of issues left, only about 600 of them are crucial to make DayZ work as intended. We plan to do exactly that. Fix features, stabilize the game and make it enjoyable after being weighed down by bugs for a very long time."

The devs might not be adding much to DayZ in the coming months, but
"experimental" mod tools are being worked on to give the community a way to contribute new ideas. The tools will launch alongside a DayZ Steam Workshop to make sharing mods easier.

DayZ has had a choppy development since it first arrived late 2013 and became a craze for a time. It may be buggy and messy in some ways, but it still creates good stories. Chris Livingston returned to DayZ this summer and found a lot to like.