One of the worst ways to die in DayZ is being shot by an unseen player. There you are, minding your own business, merrily looting a building, when some invisible bastard kills you with a Mosin. I've always cursed those players, but last night I became one.
I'm scouting the Balota airstrip with a friend, Tobias. We've just cautiously looted the military tents to the south, and the area seems clear of players. I have an M4 with a pristine ACOG, he has a Mosin with a pristine long range scope. Next stop, the hangars.
We creep through the treeline, taking it slow. Then, directly across from us, we spot two players in full military gear sprinting past the AT tower. They look armed, so we go prone in the grass and watch them for a while. They loot the hangars, kill a couple of zombies, then head towards the barracks. This is when we decide to make our move.
We sneak up the airstrip until we're parallel with the barracks. Tobias aims his scope at the door from the treeline and I push forward, hoping our oblivious targets are still busy looting. Crossing the runway leaves me exposed, but halfway across there's a patch of grass. I'm wearing green, so I go prone and train my ACOG on the entrance. My heart is racing.
Suddenly, one of the players appears at the door. I fire a burst from my M4 and he falls to the ground. He's dead, but his partner understandably panics and runs back into the barracks. With Tobias still providing cover with his Mosin, I stand up and sprint towards the building. I circle it slowly, looking through the windows, but there's no sign of him. I have to go in.
I enter the barracks and inch forward. As I turn the corner towards the stairs, I see the player at the top of them. He has his M4 pointed at me and fires a few rounds. Miraculously, none of them hit me. I leave the building and sprint around the back. If he follows me Tobias will get him, but he doesn't. About five minutes pass without any signs of movement. Maybe he logged out?
Then, just as we're beginning to let our guard down, he makes a run for it. He's moving too fast for Tobias to take the shot, but I appear from behind the barracks, fire my M4 from the hip, and take him down. I've played the game for 60 hours now, and this is the first time I've not only survived a firefight, but come out on top. I am the invisible bastard.
Looting the bodies, we realise that our victims had modded M4s and enough ammo to supply a small guerrilla army. We help ourselves to their supplies and scurry back into the trees. The adrenaline rush and preceding tension of our attack is one of the most exhilarating experiences I've had in DayZ so far, even though I probably just ruined someone's evening.
I'll never become the asshole bandit who hunts fresh spawns on the coast for sport, but this encounter has given me a taste for PVP that I've never had before. Usually I avoid trouble and stick to the trees, but now I have a thirst for blood and beans. I do feel a little bad about killing those guys, but they would have done the same to us if they had the chance… right?