Every Tuesday, DayZ Diaries recounts Andy's adventures in post-apocalyptic survival sim DayZ, where beans and friends are frequently in short supply.
In last week's diary I spoke with some relish about my first foray into the thrilling world of cold-hearted banditry. But then the update happened and my character was reset. So here I am, back on the beach in a t-shirt, thirsty, unarmed, and helpless. But I don't mind, because some of the best stories in DayZ emerge when you're at the bottom of the food chain.
I'm in Berezino. The town has already been emptied and all I manage to scavenge is an axe, a backpack, and a few cans of beans. As I'm looting the supermarket, I run into another player. He's a fresh spawn too and sounds friendly enough over voice chat. "Do you want to go to the north-east airfield and get some better loot?" he asks. I agree, and we head inland.
We make small talk on the way, exchanging names. I don't have a compass, but it feels like we're going in the right direction. We poke our heads in a few buildings along the way, but they've been picked clean too. The server is full, so I'm not surprised. We hike for about five minutes until we hit a dirt road, when a figure suddenly emerges from a bush.
"Put your hands up." I comply. I don't have much choice with an M4 pointed at my head. The bandit handcuffs me and orders me to drop to my knees. I'm wondering why he isn't bothering with my new friend, who's been lying prone this whole time. Then I realise what's happening. They're working together. "That'll teach you to trust people!" the betrayer laughs, stealing my axe and backpack. I'm angry, but also impressed. I'm angpressed.
They uncuff me, but rather than suffer the indignity of trekking back to Berezino in my underpants, I ask them to kill me. My former friend refuses, saying they're 'nice bandits', but his friend approaches, silently loads his pistol, and pulls the trigger. Now I understand why so many people kill on sight in DayZ, even when confronted by a seemingly harmless bambi. There are more back-stabbing bastards in Chernarus than Westeros and Deadwood combined.
My pride is hurt, and I'm more paranoid than ever, but I'm still not willing to kill on sight. Interacting with other survivors is half the fun of DayZ for me. I start a new character, and after a successful raid on the north-west airfield with a friend, I'm geared up again. I have a Mosin, a long range scope, a case of ammo, and one of those neat-looking military berets added in the update. My friend logs off, so I go for a wander along the south coast.
As I'm running along the highway connecting Solnichny and Kamyshovo, I end up with three fresh spawns tailing me. They ask to tag along and I agree, not for a second considering them a threat. I have a gun after all. We run into a zombie and I take it down with my axe, but it gets a hit in before it falls. "Dude, you've been hit!" says one of the bambis. "You better bandage up!" Foolishly, I do, and as I'm locked in the animation, he starts punching me in the head.
I pull out my axe. "Sorry! I just wanted your loot!" I swing at him, but he's running in circles, still punching. Then another bambi joins in. In the confusion I kill all three of them, including the one who wasn't attacking me. "Nice try, idiot." I curse over voice chat. I'm still bleeding, and the colour is draining from my screen. I bandage up and continue heading west, this time with my rifle loaded and primed. As Roger Daltrey once sang, I won't get fooled again.
This is the turning point for me. After 75 hours of Dayz - of near-constant treachery, deception, and duplicitous dickery - I've decided that enough is enough. From now on, when I'm playing solo, I'm killing anyone I see. Even if you're a bambi in a t-shirt, you're going down without hesitation. Chernarus has ruined me. I'm Christopher Walken at the end of The Deer Hunter: a dazed, dead-eyed shadow of my former self, numbed by the horrors I've seen.
Andy is keeping track of his every bitter demise in DayZ, you can follow those at DayZdeathdiary.tumblr.com .