Player vs Player: The One About the 2018 DayZ Beta
Welcome to Player Versus Player, a new series on TL;DR Games where Jan Ole Peek and myself discuss the various points of view in relation to current gaming news. Sometimes this will be the biggest story of the week, and at other times it will just be something random that we have the need to argue about. It’s all about seeing things from all sides and growing as gamers. Just kidding, it’s all about arguing and making the other guy look like a fool. Let’s get started.
Bill: Jan, last week I read a story about how 2018 was going to be the year that DayZ Standalone left early access. I nearly fell out of my chair for a couple of reasons. One, the chair is wonky and on its last legs. Two, DayZ Standalone is never leaving early access, right? I mean, what does that even look like, and why would gamers care? I have gone through four video cards since DayZ went into early access. So, among all my questions, I guess my question is, could DayZ be the worst example of early access usage in history, or is it a case of developers getting it right at all costs?
Jan: To give DayZ a little bit of credit before I slam it for doing a lot of things wrong, Bohemia were among the pioneers of early access games, so they stepped in many potholes that others were able to avoid later.
I do, however, believe that they entered early access way too soon. They essentially changed engines two years into their development, which is a big thing to spring on your game’s supporters. And, I can certainly understand player skepticism because we’ve heard this all before; 2017 was supposed to be the year of the beta. We were supposed to see vehicles and aircraft and, yes, we got vehicles, but not vehicles and frame rates at the same time.
There are so many holes in this game after so many years that the excuses have become a little bit stale, no matter how valid they may be. There’s a reason that most games get developed behind closed doors; it’s generally a mess for a long time. Bohemia just saw it fit to include the public in that mess, and the results are what you would expect. Do you honestly believe that we’ll see the beta in 2018, let alone console versions and a final release?
Bill: Console version? You want me to believe that DayZ Standalone, the game that used to give me a solid seven FPS in Cherno, would run on a PS4? The PS4 is four years old! Come to think of it, DayZ Standalone released at almost the same time as the PS4 (Q4 2013), so maybe it’s a match made in heaven?
As for whether we’ll see the DayZ Standalone PC beta in 2018… probably, but I don’t care. I have 431 hours into DayZ and feel like I have a good grasp on what it is at its core. Despite performance issues and bugs, I will remember most of my time with it fondly, but I’ve moved on. The gaming world has moved on. A perfectly optimized DayZ is still the same core experience that you had in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.
What about you? Are you going to organize the group for a big night of DayZ once it hits beta? Give it one more shot? I feel like you’re that guy, but I don’t think there are enough players with that attitude for DayZ to be relevant again. DayZ is like the NHL player that somehow went from prospect to past their prime without ever being in their prime. Are gamers going to stop and care just because Bohemia is going into beta five years after they launched into early access?
Jan: I’m in complete agreement with you on the console issue. The beta could frankly be released whenever they feel like it; in the end it is up to Bohemia to decide what they call a beta. As for whether I would organize the usual suspects to get back into DayZ when it hits beta, that’s a tough sell. The game would have to offer something new. Merely having an optimized version of what we’ve already sunk hundreds of hours into isn’t going to be enough. We’ve got too much else going on to spend that time.
If, however, DayZ gets to the point where persistent base-building is a thing, and vehicles are a reasonably attainable, and perhaps there are more things to do than just repeat the “loot-kill-die” cycle, then maybe. That’s a hard maybe. If I were a betting man I’d say we’re never going to spend more than 10 more hours in DayZ from this point forward. Which is too bad. The game came out too soon, went through too many changes with no visible results and, frankly, it missed its mark. I’m ready to move on, and I know you already have.