To understand the present, we must understand the past.
Can you remember the first time you played DayZ? It may have been the vanilla version of the original Arma 2 mod, or maybe Origins, Epoch, Overwatch or a whole bunch of others. It might even have been DayZ Standalone. Some of you may even have been a first-timer in all of them. But can you remember the very first time you ever set foot in the DayZ universe?
I can. It was the original version of the mod, based on Arma 2 with the Operation Arrowhead expansion, back in the summer or autumn of 2012. I first logged in with my friend Peter, who had been playing for a while before me. It was late in the evening so it was late on the server too, and the daylight was dying as I managed get myself an axe and some supplies. We were just north of Prigo, between Cherno and Elektro, and we were very cautiously approaching Prigo’s outlying farmhouses.
We managed to loot a few of the farmhouses before the meatsticks caught us. Peter was holding his own, but I got pretty badly hit and broke my leg. It was dark already by the time I’d crawled back to the treeline, Peter covering my slow retreat. He told me that he would go to the Cherno hospital to see if he could find some morphine for my leg. We agreed that I would either wait or try to crawl my way towards Cherno so we could make up every bit of time already lost.
I crawled to Cherno anyway. I can´t remember how long it took but I got there eventually and we even got my leg fixed. I never thought of respawning, never thought of crawling back to Prigo to let the meatsticks kill me, never cried in Side Chat for somebody to kill me. That’s how strong the immersion was for me when I played it for the first time. I simply had to survive.