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Video Game / DayZ

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DayZ is, at best, unreasonably cruel.

DayZ is a post-apocalyptic survival simulation game set in the fictional 225 square kilometer post-Soviet state Chernarus (carried over from ARMA II), after an outbreak of an unknown infection that has wiped out most of the world's population. Players can stay out of the way and fend for themselves, team up with other survivors, be a bandit and murder everybody they come across, or anywhere in between. Whichever they choose, they will also have to contend with what's left of the indigenous population, turned into shambling infected.

Originally a mod for the video game ARMA II, which converted the realistic military sim into a post-apocalyptic zombie-survival simulation. DayZ proved extremely successful, giving ARMA II a huge boost in popularity and at the time shooting it up to one of the top ten games on Steam. On August 7th 2012, the official DayZ blog announced that DayZ would become a standalone game.


On December 16th, 2013 the Standalone game was released in alpha on Steam Early Access. Almost five years later on December 13th, 2018 the standalone came out of Steam Early Access and was released as a full game. You can get it on PC here here. In H1 2019, the game was released on both the Xbox One and Playstation 4.

The first downloadable map, Livonia, was released on December 3rd 2019.

Note: For your own sake, do not confuse DayZ with its Mockbuster, The War Z (later renamed Infestation: Survivor Stories).


The DayZ standalone game provides examples of:

  • After the End: Just you, a few other people who may or may not be out to kill you, and the zombies.
  • A.K.A.-47: During early access the standalone game used correct firearm names and attachments, when the game hit version 1.0 these were changed to avoid possible legal issues, even if only the most minimal changes were made. For example, the SVD has become the VSD, an AK-47 is now a KA-47, an ACOG scope is now an ATOG scope, and so on.
  • The Alleged Car: Almost all vehicles spawn in bad shape with multiple parts missing or damaged. Even pristine vehicles aren't exactly going to set the world on fire. Justified because vehicles have been sitting there or scavenged for parts by other survivors, and of course there's no one left to enforce road traffic laws. Given that even a fairly minor collision will kill you, that's yet another reason not to drive a car in bad shape.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: While not overly common given the game generally strives for realism, there are a few:
    • Any long fence or wall, particularly those around military bases, will have multiple gaps in. Since a player may be carrying too much to climb over tall objects, this prevents one from having to run all the way around the outside until they find the one gap.
    • Certain items such as footwear, weapon magazines, ammunition, and most tools and suchlike spawn in perfect condition. It would be extremely frustrating to finally find such essential items and then have them be useless due to damage.
  • Armor Is Useless: As with most elements in the game this is modelled realistically. Even the best headgear is likely not going to stop anything other than one or two of the weakest bullets, and that said you would almost certainly be knocked out by the force even so. The best vest in the game will stop maybe one high calibre bullet to the chest, or a few lower calibre rounds. And while it might also stop that bullet going into you and causing a wound, you will still take health damage because as with real life, that energy has to go somewhere. All in all, it might stop a stray bullet or give you a slight edge against other players, but if you're in a close range fight the chances are it won't make much difference.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Zombies don't just run straight at you, instead zig-zagging in an unpredictable pattern making it very difficult to get a headshot. Despite that:
    • Artificial Stupidity: Zombie pathing still has some issues. Zombies will occasionally get stuck on the smallest of obstacles.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Military grade weapons. Sure, they are powerful, but good luck finding ammo for them, and even if you do, that will eat a bunch of inventory space. They are loud, overkill for dealing with zombies, and greedy players might even kill you to nab them.
    • At the same time you can find sufficient rounds for it, or stock up over time, which can take a long time depending on your luck. But it can also result in a heavily geared player with enough ammo for more than enough encounters to keep them going and even raid for resupplies, given the few specific locations such Military level gear and ammo drop, and in the process nudging this trope more into the one directly below.
      • They also have a lot more bullets to a magazine than any other weapon type, meaning it is possible to carry more rounds on your person and rarely will have to either drop another item or leave the ammo where it is.
      • And then there's the simple fact that all that time you spent gathering up high-grade military equipment can be foiled by a simple fresh spawn with a civilian double-barreled shotgun and the element of surprise.
      • So you've got an automatic weapon? Great, time to annihilate stuff with your superior firepower, right? Nope, Reality Ensues. Unless you're at very close range, all that will happen is that firing on full auto will mean a lot of misses, wasting vital ammo.
  • Bag of Holding: Originally in the standalone, certain container types could be fit into other containers, while carrying more slots of internal space than they actually occupy in a Grid Inventory. The caveat is that they could only be used to hold specific item types. Examples include things like first-aid kits which can only hold medical items, and ammo boxes which can only hold ammunition. This was later changed so that containers like first-aid kits and cooking pots can contain as many slots as they themselves take up in the inventory.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bears are very tough, taking multiple rounds even with high calibre weapons. Getting hit by one is more or less a death sentence, as the force will almost KO even a player in top health.
  • BFG: The anti-material rifles are extremely powerful, but the tradeoff is that they are extremely loud unless suppressed, giving away your position immediately. They also make you a big target for other players.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Actually has an effect on gameplay. All road signs in Chernarus are in Russian and, naturally, being able to read them is a big help when trying to get your bearings.
    • If you somehow end up in a situation where you hear other players communicate in other languages, being proficient in more than just English gives you a serious edge when needing to communicate with them in turn (assuming they're not already shooting at you).
  • Boom, Headshot!: The most efficient way to kill zombies, even with weak weapons.
  • Boring, but Practical: You have very many small items like matches, a compass, a watch, a map, and others that are utterly vital to your survival for anywhere that isn't the coast.
    • Weapon-wise, the humble Sporter .22 in the standalone is an extremely effective weapon for clearing out zombies. It is very accurate, very quiet, its ammo takes up almost no space in the inventory, and it can accept a 30 round magazine, effectively turning it into a poor man's assault rifle. One can easily clear out an entire zombie-infested town with it without alerting the rest of the horde. The only real downside is its low power in PVP situations, and even that can usually be negated with careful headshots.
    • Another weapon (before it was Dummied Out) was the bow and arrow; it was extremely cheap to make (only 1 long stick and a rope (that can be made from 12 rags)) and its ammo was practically infinite with a never ending forest you could make arrows out of, the weapon made no rattling noise when moving, firing it made next to no sound and if you had good aim you could 1 shot pretty much anything (even fully geared players). The Dev's have said they were going to bring it back but so far it hasn't been re-implemented.
    • Hunting and fishing are far better than risking going into a city for food simply because going into a city carries the risk of being shot by other players; however if you stay in the woods and survive off natural lakes and hunting animals you will have practically no need for anything less.
    • Speaking of hunting and fishing, simply spending most of your time in the forests is a brilliant way to avoid being shot, all trees in the forest are bulletproof and escaping a sniper by retreating into them is a great way to get away from them, meanwhile defending yourself in the woods is paradoxically even easier, the trees act as great cover (along with the bushes) and somebody chasing you can be given the slip fairly easily by simply hiding behind a tree, where you are able to ambush them.
    • Further more camouflage of any type (even just wearing brown and green clothing) is extremely useful for avoiding fights all together.
  • Breakable Weapons: Any tool or weapon will break if used enough, and all items in the game can be destroyed by damage. If you want to keep using an item, you'll need to use the appropriate tools (weapon cleaning kits, sharpening stones, duct tape, sewing kits, etc.) to repair it. Firearms as of 1.10 degrade much quicker than their real life counterparts, being destroyed outright after a few hundred rounds of non stop firing, and before that, it'll start jamming every few rounds. Suppressors originally wore out extremely quickly but this was eventually tweaked to a more reasonable value.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Played realistically, only certain vests will stop high calibre rounds, and only a few at that. It's also possible to get knocked out by the force, even if lethal damage is prevented.
  • Car Fu: Very effective if you can actually hit enemies. Unfortunately due to the questionable implementation of vehicles, this is much easier said than done.
  • Commonplace Rare:
    • Antibiotics and other medication, justified in that during a zombie outbreak demand will be high. So, if you get an infection then you better get used to the symptoms.
    • Drink cans and tins of food are difficult to find as you would expect in a Scavenger World.
    • Even something as simple as finding rocks can be difficult.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Mostly averted, bullets — especially high energy rounds — can penetrate most surfaces realistically. However, some surfaces arbitrarily don't allow bullets to pass through.
  • Continuing is Painful: You will lose everything you looted and respawn at the starting location, probably far away from any friends you may have been with. However, you can store equipment in a tent to resupply yourself; but you better pray no one came across it or that the server doesn't delete it.
    • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Tents are persistent across server resets and an infinite number can be placed on an infinite number of servers. At this point in the game they are so common that a new player can fully arm themselves in a matter of minutes on a high-population server and veteran players are more worried about their tents being found than they are about being killed — in a game where permadeath is the cost for failure.
  • Cool Shades: Available in multiple variants.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer/Competitive Multiplayer: The game walks a balance between the two. On the one hand, pretty much everyone is liable to kill you, if only because they're afraid you'll kill them. On the other hand, teaming up with others makes things much easier, especially in terms of having someone to watch your back. Fixing vehicles also basically requires teammates, in that the vehicles tend to spawn in high traffic areas, often because of the vehicle, and the items needed to repair and fuel them take up large amounts of space.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted. Health is measured by the amount of blood in your body as well as a specific health value. As they get lower, your vision deteriorates, your character begins breathing harder and walks with a limp, and at the lowest levels may begin to randomly fall unconscious and eventually die. Blood can be raised by natural replenishment, or having another player give you a blood transfusion. Health can only regenerate naturally over time, with no other way of raising it.
    • Partially played straight, however, with regard to most anything with a scope. Sniper rifles usually kill in two hits anywhere and the AS50 and M107 will kill you from 3 to 15 times over ... if they hit you in the toe. But then, those weapons are designed for "one shot, one kill".
  • Crapsack World: The Zombie Apocalypse has happened, society has collapsed and people will kill you over a tin of beans if they're desperate enough.
  • Crazy-Prepared: You if you happen to be even a halfway decent survivor. Ammo counted to the bullet for your weapons, materials for a splint for broken bones, painkillers for trauma and, well pain, bandages for bleeding, all balanced out with food and water along with munitions and other misc. supplies in a very limited grid style inventory.
  • Damage Over Time: The zombies do very little damage with their clumsy attempts to claw at the player. However, they are very good at getting the player to start bleeding with every strike they make. Their lethality does not come from hitting the player hard, but from causing them to slowly bleed out over time. If the player has bandages or rags they can bind themselves to stop the bleeding, but that requires being safely out of combat (by which time they may have lost a lot of blood already) and having enough bandages on hand (which is not always the case, especially early.) Even if the player does stop the bleeding, blood is slow to regenerate and requires them to stay satiated with food and water, which they may not have access to. Death by zombie often comes at the end of a long test of endurance rather than a sudden attack.
  • Daylight Horror: The game during the daytime, which is when most players are likely to be playing. Especially so with high dynamic range lighting. Going out of a building or treeline into direct sunlight will briefly light-blind the player, particularly if they face a sun low in the sky. Likewise, going from outside indoors will briefly plunge the player into darkness. Trying to stick one's face out of cover to see if the coast is clear when one hears zombies about can be a tense experience.
    • On the other hand, without a flashlight or night vision goggles, playing at night is all kinds of terrifying since the default vision level at night is slightly further than your own nose, but you can still hear the zombies, and you know there are players out there that can see you. And if you're in the forests and hear wolves howling in the dead of night without good gear...
  • Dead Character Walking: A bug existed that left husks of dead corpses standing and reacting to hits. Cracked covers this.
  • Diegetic Interface: This has come and gone during development. The mod had gauges on the screen to indicate hunger, thirst, etc, but early on in the standalone the player had to rely on their Player Character telling them they feel hungry/thirsty/cold etc. Later on the minimal gauges came back, and certain information can only be inferred from seeing how your character acts. Other information is shown on the UI such as body temperature, but you'll probably notice your character shivering or wiping their brow first rather than seeing a tiny icon change colour.
  • Drone of Dread: Pure, unadulterated horror. On a more literal level, the drone of an approaching helicopter is usually a sign of impending death. It means that an organised group of survivors have spotted you. Expect the chopper pilot to be directing friends on the ground towards your location.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Colors dull as your blood levels drop. Lose enough blood and all color is lost.
  • Driven to Suicide: In addition to 'unofficial' methods like deliberately leaping from a height, drowning yourself, wandering into a pack of infected, or blowing yourself up with a grenade, there's also an 'official' way of doing this providing you have a firearm or some sort of sharp implement. Shooting yourself in the head isn't too bad, stabbing yourself in the throat with a knife or a spear is a bit brutal. The worst method involves getting a tool such as a pickaxe or hatchet and slicing your arm open lengthwise with a tearing noise that is not for those with a faint heart or weak stomach.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: Duct tape can be used to repair certain damaged items, craft others, or even restrain players.
  • Early Game Hell: Surviving the initial portion of the game (without well-provisioned friends to help you get on your feet) can be absolutely brutal. In addition to starting with almost no storage space, no protection, no equipment, no medical supplies, no food, and no weapons, the spawn rate for basic items is low and the coastal areas are often well picked-over by other newly spawned survivors. This results in the initial portion of the game being a Drought Level of Doom. Early survivors will be living a hand-to-mouth existence just to get enough food and water, often contracting food poisoning or infection by eating gone-bad or contaminated sources when the alternative is starvation. This is even worse as of patch 1.10, due to the extremely cold climate. Not only do you spawn half starving, but because you have no protective clothing you immediately start suffering from hypothermia, making you burn through your limited energy reserves even quicker. If it's raining as well, then unless you find shelter and clothing immediately you might as well just respawn.
  • Earn Your Fun: Since the game is designed around the realistic scenario of a zombie outbreak, new players may be overwhelmed with the concept of trying to gather supplies to stay alive and trying to avoid other players due to high paranoia amongst everyone else. Unless you're friends with other players, the only way to acquire better loot is to keep playing and wandering around until you can find better gear. Assuming that the zombies and other players don't kill you first.
  • Easter Egg: Down that chimney is... ZOMBIE SANTA!
  • The Everyman: Until The Virus, Survivors were just ordinary average people, with no special skills or training.
  • Everyone Chasing You: One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to use a loud weapon in a zombie-infested town. This is one of the most common mistakes made by newer players.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: Of course.
  • Everything Is Trying to Kill You: The Game. Zombies will kill you and hunt you down, no matter the distance. Bears and wolves try to kill you. Human players might be a bit more merciful, unless they blow your brains out the next time they spot you. And you probably won't even know what killed you, if you haven't already succumbed to starvation, thirst or worse.
  • Fallen Hero: Not every 'shoot-on-sight bandit' started off that way, some players start off intending to kill only in self defense or even hoping to team up with others and form a co-op group. After getting gunned down one too many times (or worse, getting killed by someone pretending to be a friendly), some just decided that the only way to survive in this game is to be equally ruthless.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: An unusual and meta variant: "DayZ" is pronounced like "daisy", which is grossly inappropriate for a game like this.
    • Some players pronounce it "Day Zed" to avert this.
    • Some go as far to say "Days-Zees", trying to sound like they are sound Disease.
  • For Want of a Nail: One of the most frustrating ways to die is to have a can of good food, and starve or die of thirst because you have no tool to open it with...
    • In early builds of the standalone, as well as the mod, this was particularly bad since only a can opener would do the job, but now tins can be opened with most sharp implements, even if some of the contents will be lost if using a tool not well designed for the job.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: The only melee attack all characters always have access to is to punch stuff. That said, it does very little damage at all, to the point that it is only ever used in desperation or as a means of Cherry Tapping. However, a hit to the head has a decent chance of knocking a player or zombie briefly unconscious, giving the attacker time to get away or snatch a weapon from the victim to finish the job.
  • Grid Inventory: Your vest pouch in the mod, meant for easy access to things like ammo and bandages. The Standalone release gives a separate one for each piece of worn equipment, similar to ARMA III. Of course, players spawn in the standalone with no inventory slots other than the pockets in their pants...
  • Griefer: The nature of the game encourages this, really. Why else kill newly spawned players, especially when you're specced out in high-grade military gear?
  • Hammerspace: Ruthlessly averted, especially in the stand-alone where every square of the Grid Inventory can be accounted for somewhere on the Player Character's person. Finding good clothes is more than just a cosmetic thing: having more pockets on you allows you to carry more. A backpack is indispensable for this.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Averted. Night time is extremely difficult to navigate, requiring the use of flares, glowsticks, flashlights, or night vision to see where you're going. The first three give away your position to zombies and other players alike, so night vision goggles are some of the most sought after items in the game. Natural night vision does however have more colour than during the mod days where vision was essentially grey-scale.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Averted, in the standalone game suppressed shots are still easily audible and will attract attention from players and infected alike, suppressors merely reducing the range your shots can be heard from. They are still beneficial however, since unsuppressed weapons can be heard an extremely long distance, and attract infected from far away. Supersonic ammo also will still have the distinctive crack of the sonic boom.
  • Humans Are Bastards: One of the original purposes of the mod was as an informal scientific experiment to determine whether or not this was true. Your Mileage May Vary on what the results say (spoilers: Yes. Yes they are).
  • I Ate WHAT?!: It is possible to consume items that are not, strictly speaking, meant to be eaten. For example, chugging down disinfecting alcohol which (while useful for sanitizing bandages among other things) will make you sick.
  • Ideal Illness Immunity: A player in sufficient good health is immune to all diseases in the game, except for brain prion damage — this being a function of hydration, nutrition, health, and blood levels. If you're in this state you can drink unsterilised water, and eat raw meat with impunity. This said, players are immune to The Virus in the first place, so they might naturally have very strong immune systems.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: After killing other players you can skin and eat them if you so wish, though this comes with the risk of contracting an incurable brain prion disease.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Averted in most cases. Headshots with most weapons, as well as most hits from the most powerful weapons can still down you instantly. However, players hit with less powerful weapons may still take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes to bleed out. Certain mid-range weapons may also knock you unconscious without immediately killing you. However, in the latter case, you're dead anyway without a friend nearby to give you a bandage and a blood bag.
    • It's not uncommon to come across areas with several bodies of players strewn around and nobody has been looted. This can happen if several players get into a firefight and the survivors succumb to their wounds immediately after taking out their opponents, and thus never getting the chance to loot the spoils. Use caution when trying to claim the loot however; as areas like these can be used as bait by bandits, especially in cities and military bases.
  • Interface Screw: Happens at lower blood levels as the game becomes more greyscale. If you're on the verge of passing out, the screen gets darker around the edges, taking up almost the entire screen with a 'tunnel' effect. If you pass out the screen is blacked out.
  • Improvised Weapon: There are a few melee weapons in the game that are not, strictly speaking, weapons. While essentially any item can be used as a weapon, these mostly do the same damage as a regular punch. Some examples with tropes of their own:
    • An Axe to Grind: The hatchet can be used to harvest firewood, cut items, and open tins, but can also be equipped as a primary weapon. Considering how easy it is to find in common areas like barns, and that it is completely silent, kills in one or two hits, and has virtually unlimited uses, it can be a freshly-spawned character's best friend. A log-splitting axe and a more powerful fire axe are also available, and some of the better melee weapons.
    • Batter Up!: Wooden baseball bats are uncommon (though still more common than would be expected for a former Soviet-bloc country) and are useful in a pinch, but not especially powerful compared to other weapons.
    • Crowbar Combatant: Not the best weapon, but better than fists.
    • Drop the Hammer: A mason's hammer is handy for cracking zombie skulls, a sledgehammer is even better.
    • Machete Mayhem: A useful tool, and one of the best melee weapons in the game.
    • Powerful Pick: One of the most damaging melee weapons in the game.
    • Savage Spiked Weapons: Baseball bats can be upgraded by adding nails to them, increasing the lethality.
    • Shovel Strike: Shovels are fairly effective at knocking other players out, especially if you hit the player in the head.
    • Wrench Whack: A smaller spanner is better than nothing, and a larger pipe wrench is substantially better than your own fists
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": According to Word of God, the game's name is properly pronounced "Day-Zee".
  • Jump Scare: You're liable to have your heart rate shoot up when you hear the screams of an infected you weren't originally aware of, or a player starts blasting you out of nowhere.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Some of the zombies.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Surviving your first hour of the game. There is something to be said for survival skills that you can learn, layouts you become familiar with, etc. However, just finding enough food to eat in the early portions of the game depends on being able to actually run across it in the game world, and the stand-alone in particular has very low spawn rates for any food and water that will not make your situation worse for having wolfed it down in desperation.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Can potentially happen if you get in a fight with zombies and other players at the same time, or if more than two players are involved in a fight and aren't all on the same side.
  • Nobody Poops: But they do eat, drink, and try to stay warm. Mind you, someone actually suggested this on their forums.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: There is absolutely no story in the game and no explanation for why a Zombie Apocalypse is occurring.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Especially since going standalone. The number of zombies has been drastically reduced since the old mod days, but those zombie's awareness has likewise been drastically increased. This can result in players finding apparently empty urban environments with potential salvageable loot, only to become overconfident and get chased by a few zombies they never noticed were there.
  • One Bullet Clips: Ammunition and magazines are found separately, magazines have to be manually loaded with ammunition, and if you don't have magazines and aren't using a gun with an internal magazine, you'll have to manually chamber each round before you fire by going into the inventory and actually dragging the ammo to the gun, (which is okay for hunting or perhaps sniping if you're good enough but in a battle it is inconvenient at best).
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Generally Flesh-Eating Zombie.
  • Pistol-Whipping: You can heavy melee attack someone with your gun. Naturally with a pistol, it results in this.
  • Player Killing: A big part of the game. Much of your time will be spent defending against bandits or being one yourself. See Paranoia Fuel on the YMMV page.
  • Poison Mushroom: Especially in the standalone, there are plenty of "beneficial" items which will potentially cause you more harm than good. Rotten fruit, for example, should only be eaten in the direst of hunger, because it is very likely to give the player an infection. Likewise, tearing up clothing to make cloth rags can also cause an infection when the rags are applied as bandages, if those cloths are soiled and not disinfected first. Even drinking water can cause infections, unless one can get it from a filtered source (like an unbroken plastic bottle) or boil it first. Eating dry cereal will satisfy hunger well, but will also drastically dehydrate the player, putting them in further danger unless they have a fresh source of water at hand to wash it down with.
  • Power Fist: Brass knuckles can be equipped to increase the damage of punches.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Some of the clothing a person can come across is done in bright, cheerful colors. Unfortunately, bright cheerful colors make for poor camouflage, and many players will avoid wearing them for that reason if they can help it. However, many will still wear them anyway, because the items might offer other crucial benefits that they may lack. For example, a bright shirt might be put on to replace one earlier torn to rags in a moment of need and get some pockets, or a colorful backpack might be put on because the player has none and could use the extra carrying capacity. Typically these will be replaced with better blending colors when the player comes across something to switch them out with.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: Well, not rats, but rotten fruit is relatively frequent, satisfy only a little hunger and are likely to give you food poisoning. Only desperate players (typically freshly spawned ones) will engage in this, but the alternative is often death.note 
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: Badly damaged firearms are extremely prone to jamming, meaning you'll probably only be able to fire off a few rounds before having to spend 10 seconds or so clearing it. All very well and good, except for the fact that even a weapon in perfect condition will only be able to fire a few hundred rounds before it starts jamming non stop. In reality, a decent firearm can fire thousands of rounds without maintenance before you're likely to see malfunctions.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: If you can find a revolver and the ammo for said revolver (which is a challenge in itself) then you have yourself a pretty decent firearm, its powerful, requires no magazine and unlike semi-auto pistols in game the revolver never jams.
  • Reality Ensues: As expected from a survival simulation, all over the place.
    • You will die very unexpectedly, often just to random snipers desperate to get a can of beans off your corpse. The zombies themselves are often much less of a problem then actual people with guns.
    • If you're in poor health (weak from blood loss, dehydrated, malnourished, etc.) you're much more susceptible to diseases.
    • In addition to health damage, losing too much blood kills you outright. Losing blood also gradually greys out your vision due to loss of blood pressure, and makes you much more likely to be knocked unconscious from further damage, or passing out from too much exhertion.
    • Trying to walk with broken legs results in so much pain that you're almost certainly doing to pass out, unless you have pain killers.
    • Eating rotten or raw food is almost certainly going to result in food poisoning at best.
    • Eating too much at once will make you throw up, losing valuable water and nutrients.
    • Wearing inappropriate clothing for the elements puts you at risk of hypothermia or hyperthermia. In winter, you ideally want thick clothing and to keep it dry, and even then being out in the open or at night you'll still slowly start to freeze if you don't take shelter, start a fire, or carry warm objects. In summer you need to wear light clothing or keep cool by drenching clothing in water.
    • When players engage in firefights, even if victorious, there's a half decent chance that the survivor will succumb to their wounds. It is far from uncommon to come across the corpses of multiple players as the winners subsequently die from their injuries.
    • Firearms are extremely loud, and even when suppressed all this does is make them less noisy.
    • Equipment in a damaged state has reduced functionality. Damaged clothing offers less protection from damage and the elements, damaged weapons are likely to jam.
    • Shots to vital areas such as the brain or heart, if not stopped by any protective clothing or items like a bulletproof vest, are instant kills.
    • Items can carry diseases and require disinfecting to be sure they're not contaminated.
    • Unlike most video games, there are no health kits to regenerate hitpoints, the only way is to naturally heal over time, with this process being quicker the better health you are in.
    • If you don't wear gloves, your hands become contaminated when skinning bodies, risking infection if you don't wash them. Wearing gloves also protects your hands from damage; if you try sliding down ladders or breaking sticks off bushes with bare hands, you will very quickly get cuts.
    • While most games try to balance weapons for gameplay purposes, just like in real life, military grade weapons have much more firepower than a simple pistol or hunting rifle. On a similar note, even the most basic firearm gives players a massive advantage over an opponent with a melee weapon.
    • You can have the best gear in the game, but still be killed by a barely geared fresh spawn if they catch you unaware or hit you in the right place. And if you attract too much attention from infected or hostile animals, you can still be overwhelmed and mauled to death.
    • Jumping out of a moving vehicle, sounds cool, right? Even at low speeds you're going to take a beating, and above 30km/h, you die instantly.
    • Firing a weapon on full auto is pretty much useless at unless at very close range, since all that will happen is you'll eat through ammo in seconds and probably miss almost all your shots.
  • Rule of Cool: In a gameplay perspective wearing a helmet of any type (even skate helmets) significantly increases your chance of surviving a firefight, even the weakest helmets can stop at least one fatal bullet from entering your skull however a good portion of them look really dorky and brightly coloured so lots of players avoid them anyway.
  • Savage Wolves: If you stick to the wilderness, you're much less likely to encounter infected or enemy players, but you will likely have to fight off wolf packs instead. Not only do they attack in packs and are often difficult to hit due to fast movement, but they're most often encountered in forest terrain instead of open areas where you can get clear shots. God help you if you encounter a pack at night with no means of seeing.
  • Sawn-Off Shotgun: If you can find a hacksaw then you can create a Sawed-off double barrel, a Sawed-off mosin, or a Sawed-off BK 18 Rifle; while reducing each weapons weight and making them small enough to hid in a back pack or even a shirt, sawing them off has the very realistic results of making them far less effective.
  • Scavenger World: Weapons, ammo, and other supplies are scarce and often found in abandoned houses, warehouses and such. The best weapons and equipment are found in abandoned military bases which are usually overrun with bandits.
  • Schmuck Bait: Invoked by the players where they can drop their items on the ground to lure other players into a trap.
    • Also be careful of looting bodies, which could have been a poor soul just shot by a sniper who may still be there.
    • The game's chat feature is also this. Since anything that is said in chat can be seen by everyone, new players tend to be hunted down when they stupidly reveal their location in the chat console. Because of this, most players that quickly adapted to the game don't use the in game chat at all and use 3rd party chat clients like Skype.
  • Self-Surgery: If you lack a means to bandage a wound, you can sew it shut with a sewing kit in a pinch.
  • Serious Business: Occasionally happens when you kill another survivor.
    • In one case, on the mod's forums a gaming clan demanded a ransom in the form of handing over a number of in-game guns and ammo magazines, threatening their target with kill-on-sight status.
      • Which when you consider that 90% of players will kill you for even the most meagre of supplies (the so called Bean wars) it's actually a completely worthless threat.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: A humble backpack may not seem very impressive on the face of it, but it drastically improves a survivor's odds of surviving further by allowing them to carry much more than they could with only the pockets on their clothes. Useful items that got passed over before can now be hoarded and saved for when the situation calls for them if you have one of these.
    • A compass is one of the most useful items in the game. Not only does it make it much easier to keep on the correct course, but you can also use it to determine how much daylight is left by the direction of the sun.
    • A container that you can fill with water, such as a plastic bottle, canteen, or cooking pot. Since you can endlessly refill them from a water source (preferably purifying first), you can use it to become well hydrated. Dehydration being one of the biggest problems for new characters.
    • Any variant of knife, which has many uses. From cutting up clothing to use as bandages, chopping trees for firewood, and skinning animals and fish for food.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Averted. Shotguns exhibit realistic spread and reasonable damage, making them effective out to about 50m, or out to over 100m with slugs. Even if a blast from a shotgun doesn't outright kill you, it can easily knock both players and zombies unconscious for several seconds.
  • Standard Status Effects: In addition to food and water, players may also need to scavenge for supplies to deal with these, such as heat packs for hypothermia, morphine for broken legs, antibiotics for infections, bandages to stop bleeding, and painkillers to stop the screen from shaking.
  • Stealth-Based Game: In many ways. The player can lower their profile and move slowly and on soft surfaces to avoid their chances of being seen or heard. Distracting objects like flares, or regular items, can be thrown to lure away zombies and let the player slip by. Weapon sounds are a major consideration as well, since light and noise attract zombies. Plus other players might be attracted to the sound of gunfire and be looking for an easy mark. This also applies to base building, since a well fortified base will be difficult to break into, but a base that can't be found is impossible to break into.
    • On the other hand, at the beginning of the game players have so little to lose and so desperately need items that most just run for it, counting on being able to lose zombies in the cities or find something useful quickly, completely ignoring the much slower, stealthier paths.
  • Sticks to the Back: Each character in the stand-alone has a slot for one long-arm, and one melee weapon. In the case of long guns, we can at least pretend that they have a strap. The melee weapons have no such justification.
  • Survival Sandbox: Bears a good part of the responsibility for the genre's existence, what with the emphasis on Resources Management Gameplay.
  • Technically Living Zombie: As good an in-universe explanation as any for headshots not being essential to kill them.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: As you start off, your chances of even surviving for an hour can be slim. You have to scavenge for food and drinkables, as well as equipment and surviving for long enough without getting murdered by another player, are just as low as when you started.
  • Undeathly Pallor: All the zombies look as though they have white paint caked to their faces, with dirt and grime elsewhere, and blood on their hands.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Played with. You can get items off infected if they're equipped in certain slots, such as a backpack, helmet, or vest. However you can't grab regular clothing (probably for the best), or a pair of boots. Also sometimes due to bugs, you can't grab items off dead players.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Helping other survivors out by bandaging them up, giving them blood bags, etc can gain you a valuable ally...
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: ... or you can just murder them and steal their stuff.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Since going standalone, a feature has been added which risks damaging a person's items when they are killed. A bandit who is too trigger-happy might find themselves ruining the goods they sought to plunder. Items like handcuffs and ropes that can be forced on a person to restrain them have been added to encourage things like capturing a target alive if you want to rob them. On the other hand, this opens up entirely new avenues of Video Game Cruelty Potential...
  • Virtual Paper Doll: View-able on the inventory for changing the Player Character's cloths and other accessories. Some choices are just cosmetic, but most actually have a gameplay function, like more pockets or better protection from the environment, among other things.
  • With This Herring: New characters spawn with no weapon and minimal supplies.
  • Survivor Needs Food Badly: Emphasizing the Central Theme of survival, players must find food and water, lest they die of hunger or thirst. Some of these values go down faster than others, and the rate at which they decrease can shift depending on how active the player is being. Running around everywhere will dehydrate the player faster than walking at a modest pace, for example.
  • Zerg Rush: Can and will happen if you get too trigger happy with zombies nearby. Wolves also hunt in packs.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: But of course.

Tropes applying specifically to the mod:

  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": Your health is measured in "Blood." Averted in the stand alone release however, where blood is still in, but now exists alongside "health." Running out of either will kill you, though.
  • Commonplace Rare: You can find a lot of Coke and Pepsi but Mountain Dew, forget about it. Somewhat justified by the Ruritania setting: Mountain Dew is apparently much harder to find in Europe than in the US while Coke and Pepsi are common.
  • Game Mod: One that managed to singlehandedly make ARMA II extremely popular. To the point that Steam's store pages for both ARMA II and Operation Arrowhead specifically point out that DayZ requires both of them to run. This may also count as an example of an Ascended Game Mod, since the development team licensed the engine from Bohemia Interactive to publish it as a standalone product.
  • Impossible Item Drop: Due to the random loot spawns, it's possible, albeit rare, to find military weapons such as a .50 cal rifle lying in someone's shed.
  • Hollywood Silencer: The silenced M9, the Bizon and the MP5SD are extremely quiet, but the M4A1 CCO SD can still easily give away your position; all of them however do follow the trope in that zombies do NOT "hear" suppressed weapon shots at all, in the mod.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Largely averted. The measure of "health", if you can call it that, is how much blood is in the player's body. To the extend that this is played straight, eating food does restore a small amount of blood, but not enough to use it as a quick healing method, and food is rare enough that a player will not want to chomp it down unless they are also hungry. This practically insures that healing is done slowly over time.
    • However, this is played much straighter with cooked meat taken from animals one might come across and slaughter. The large source of fresh protein is much better for restoring lost blood, regaining back four times as much as canned food. A player with low blood and the equipment to do so (a weapon to make the kill, a hunting knife, wood and/or hatchet, and a matchbox) may find themselves gorging after finding a large animal and regaining a substantial blood in a short amount of time by doing so.
  • More Dakka: The light machine guns. Recoil is high however, so too much dakka will result in not being able to hit anything; this is right out of vanilla ARMA 2 though.
  • Nerf: Early-availability handguns. Players used to spawn on the beach with pistols that could kill other players in 5 or 6 hits and zombies in two. Then DayZ took their pistols away. Still, if they found a handgun while looting it would take only 1 (if you have a revolver) to 2 (if you have a Makarov) shots to kill a zombie. So, after further nerfs, it now takes an entire mag of Makarov bullets to kill a zombie (short of a headshot) and two full magazine to kill another player.
  • No Bikes in the Apocalypse: A Double Subversion. Bicycles do exist and are a more efficient way to move around than being on foot, but players tend to rarely use them because, thanks to the ARMA engine, it's near impossible to dismount and return fire against anyone attacking you before they kill you.
  • Obvious Alpha: To be expected. The mod is still in Alpha and still immensely popular.
    • Its original incarnation was a "proof of concept" of the persistence aspect which was tried out by an ARMA 2 player community to test server implementation and capacity, only for word-of-mouth and hype to spread before he'd implemented much of anything else about the mod.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Despite the mod's efforts at being as "realistic" as possible, morphine somehow fixes broken legs as good as new.
    • Also qualifies as Rule of Fun, since realism would require a splint/cast and hobbling around on crutches while your broken leg took several weeks or months to heal fully.
  • Zombie Gait: Averted most places outdoors, where zombies will run around in a serpentine pattern, but played straight indoors, where they slow down and shamble in a straight line toward the player, or when they are climbing up steep hills.
    • Strangely enough, ship cargo docks are considered "indoors" for this behavior, despite being large unobstructed flat areas open to the sky. Considering players always spawn on the beach, this detail can save a freshly spawned character's life when they are looking for their first supplies.


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