Diaries from Chernarus

Recently I started playing the popular survival game “DayZ” and the following is a recount of various escapades in the wonderful post-apocalyptic world of Chernarus. DayZ is a survival game that pits players against AI-controlled zombies and each other. The incredible part about “DayZ” is human interaction and how a game with serious consequences like permadeath can influence how gamers go about their lives in “DayZ.”

Chernarus is a not-so-barren wasteland full of the walking dead and, of course, survivors, the latter being the more dangerous of the two. Survivors come in all shapes and sizes but the main thing about them is that near zero percent of them can be trusted.

I recently came into possession of several high quality items via pilfering a miraculously untouched airfield in the northeast of Chernarus. I came sauntering out of the air base carrying a SKS rifle with a scope as well as an FNX 45 with a magazine. Those two big items along with my previously owned gear had me walking around like I was a force to be reckoned with in Chernarus, but on my own I could be taken out in a heartbeat by a group of survivors.

After hauling away my weapons and ammunition, I began to seek out one of my friends who was just logging in for the first time. I found my friend Chris wandering around the forest in a red shirt and motorbike helmet. Of course he had to be wearing a red shirt, so the first order of business was getting Chris set up with some equipment. I laid down my spare revolver for him with six shots in it.

“Don’t waste them,” I told him.

After finding Chris some adequate gear and even finding a shotgun in a hospital, we set out for the main target of the night, the city of Berezino. It took us about half an hour to cover the distance to the big city and by the time we arrived I was feeling wary having not seen anyone on the roads. I climbed up a ladder to scope out the city before venturing into it. Looking at a place before charging in was something I learned to do early on in the game. Charging without knowledge of the place gets you killed faster than anything.

“I see a group of three people,” I said to Chris over Skype, our own radio frequency outside the game.

“Shoot them,” he shouted at me.

I was of course not going to shoot at them right then and there. There were too many “what ifs” to take that chance – what if I missed, what if they had a friend near us and he heard the shot. No, we were going to have to go down and interact with this group or avoid them entirely.

Chris and I set out for the main plaza in Berezino and set our eyes on the church in the city, looking to find Chris a suitable backpack. Luckily enough, we managed to avoid the group from earlier altogether and in no time found ourselves rifling through what little there was in the church.

I turned around to start to leave the church and I suddenly saw a man with a green motorbike helmet approaching the doors to the church, and he had seen us too. I fumbled about trying to get out my pistol but the stranger fired first, and Chris got off a shot with his shotgun before the stranger disappeared around the corner.

I aimed down the irons of my pistol and watched the entrance of the church like a hawk, waiting to see if our unknown assailant would try his luck.

“I think I hit him,” Chris told me over Skype.

“Well you sure didn’t kill him,” I said to Chris.

We waited for a moment, quietly voicing over the in-game VOIP the magic words, “friendly, don’t shoot.” We waited for what felt like an eternity until we both deemed it a safe move to venture out of the church. After the adrenaline from the encounter subsided we cross into the courtyard of the church and there, crouching, aiming his rifle in our direction, is green helmet guy.

“Shoot him,” I yelled at Chris while unloading the 15 rounds in my pistol in the stranger’s general vicinity. I must have missed because the guy fired several times at us and got up to run away. I tried to follow as Chris fired the last shot in his double barrel at the stranger, but I soon realized I couldn’t get up. One of the shots from the rifle had kneecapped me and rendered me virtually immobile and bleeding. I pulled out my rifle to quickly hit the guy with a single round before Chris got in my line of fire, and I saw a spurt of crimson and knew I had hit the mark.

“Don’t let him get away,” I told Chris as I tried to bandage myself and stem the bleeding from my open wounds.

“I got him,” Chris said. I crawl up to Chris, still unable to walk from the wound suffered in the skirmish. I soon learn that Chris had chased the man down and pummeled him with an axe until his figure lied slumped in a heap.

“I think he’s still breathing,” Chris told me. Infuriated at being crippled by an errant bullet shot from the man’s rifle, I pulled out my own rifle and put a bullet into his head.

“Not anymore,” I said to Chris. We search through his belongings and take his rifle as well as some medical supplies to mend my wounds. I learned that day that there is a real combat high that comes into play in “DayZ”, and the satisfaction of coming out on top when someone tries to kill you is inexpugnable. 

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