DayZ standalone developer Dean Hall says in a forum post that buying early access to DayZ on Steam will be disappointing for those wanting a complete experience. "It's a true-blue alpha," he writes. "So I really plead for anyone who is on the fence to take a skeptical approach—watch streams, read reviews, watch some let's play and form your opinion. You could always come back to the game in three, six months time and buy it then."
Our expectations and understanding of "alpha" and "beta" builds of games changed drastically over the past few years. Whereas these used to be much cruder versions of the game seen and used strictly internally, they now often act more like demos. Developers may be stress testing their game with a lot of these betas, but in reality they wouldn't make them so wildly available if they weren't pretty confident in the game at its current state. I spent almost 50 hours with the Battlefield 3 "beta," for example, and my experience with it was practically indistinguishable from the experience I had with its retail release.
People who purchase early access to DayZ Standalone on Steam, Hall warns us, should not expect a similar experience.
On the other hand, as Hall explains, if you're actually interested in the development process, and not just the finished product, the DayZ Standalone early access might be really interesting to you. "To enable a smooth launch, we really are targeting it at a core audience who want to get deeply involved in a very barebones experience that is a platform for future development ."
Sadly, Hall still didn't give an exact date for when we should expect DayZ Standalone's early access release on Steam. We await it bated breath, and commend those gamers curious and brave enough to play it in its nascent, alpha state. You will not crash to desktop in vain, we hope.
Hall also shared a bunch of technical details about the progress he and his team have made in the past month. You can find that information here .