Feature Article

Worlds Apart: How DayZ and Rust Fill Different Roles in the Survival Genre

Opposite ends of the spectrum.

by

I had no idea what to think when that first arrow flew past my head. Here I was chasing a boar across a hillside with nothing more than a rock, desperately trying to gather enough meat to stay alive one more night. Who was this person trying to kill me? Why would they waste perfectly good arrows on someone so clearly lacking worthwhile items?

Then the second arrow came. Only this one didn't hit me, but rather the boar. I barely had time to process what just happened before a voice came crackling through my headphones. "What up! Hey, I'm gonna kill that boar for you." I turned back to see an archer standing atop a rocky cliff, decked out in the sort of high-level armor I could only dream of owning. He loosed another arrow and dropped the wounded boar in its tracks. "Go ahead and take that one," he said. "I don't need it."

And just like that, the archer was gone.

Moments like these are what make Rust such an intriguing game, and one that has me convinced the multiplayer survival genre--trendy as it may be--still has plenty of terrain left to explore. On the one hand, Rust is heavily inspired by DayZ. In both games you wander through an unforgiving landscape scavenging resources in an attempt to stave off hunger and hostile enemies. Sometimes those enemies take the form of shambling zombies, but more often they appear as other human beings: bandits, desperate survivors, and outright jerks. And just like in DayZ, death brings with it a clean slate. When you die, you begin anew.

But it's here that the two games diverge, and the result is a pair of very different worlds and experiences. DayZ is great for myriad reasons, but most of those come back to just how grim and unforgiving its setting is. Chernarus feels bleak and postapocalyptic, with sprawling cities almost entirely void of life, save for the roaming undead and handfuls of brave players dashing through decrepit buildings in search of supplies. You feel like the end is just around the corner, and that rifle or can of soda you just found is the one thing that will help you delay the inevitable.

It's a setting that leads to incredibly tense player interactions, where a general sense of desperation is underscored by the fact that there are only so many supplies to go around. DayZ is a game of standoffs, uneasy alliances, and virtual kidnappings. If the best stories come from moments of adversity, then DayZ is the ultimate compendium of survival tales.

Rust mimics a lot of what makes DayZ great, but in a wholly different setting. Whereas Chernarus feels like a world in ruins, home to the dwindling vestiges of humanity, Rust is just the opposite--there's almost a prehistoric feel to it. Beginning the game with little more than a rock, you must hunt animals for meat and gather enough wood to build a crude shelter. As time goes on, you begin to craft tools, weapons, and larger, increasingly complex player-built homes. It's a game whose learning curve could easily double for a human evolution chart.

As of now, DayZ feels like a much more complete experience. Rust has promise, but it's very rough around the edges.

You eventually reach a point in Rust where you no longer feel like you're scraping by, but genuinely thriving. It's a sense of progress best seen in the homes and team bases that people have crafted across the game's various servers. In my travels throughout Rust, I've seen sturdy fortresses flanked by rows of spikes, seaside villas with sprawling balconies, and massive watchtowers looming above the landscape like the Eye of Sauron.

This is a world on the upswing, and that slow crawl toward civilization has a tendency to rub off on players. Rarely have I struggled to find players willing to trade items, team up to take on some of the bigger wild animals like bears, or just offer advice over voice chat when we're crossing paths. At one point, while on the verge of starvation, I wandered up to a fortified encampment and pleaded with its denizens to allow me in. They ushered me inside and gave me food on the condition that I do their dirty work--collecting wood and various resources--while they expanded their base. It was great. I was finally part of a crew. And then a zombie attacked me while I was chopping down a tree, and I never saw them again.

But there is a steady undercurrent of civility in Rust, the idea that this isn't a world on the decline but one on the rise. Sure, Rust has its fair share of jerks. My God, does it have its fair share of jerks. But that's precisely what makes the game so much fun. You have the good Samaritans, and you have the sociopaths, and that broad spectrum of interactions is what makes things so wonderfully unpredictable.

You eventually reach a point in Rust where you no longer feel like you're scraping by, but genuinely thriving.

Case in point: the man who once killed me for saving his life. I was strolling by a rather nice-looking house when I heard a voice crying out for help. It turns out this guy got locked inside his work-in-progress home when some random player came along and slapped a wooden door on a frame he had yet to fill in. Doors in Rust can be operated only by the player who places them, so this guy was trapped.

Normally you can just use a melee weapon like a hatchet to knock down a door, but all this guy had on him was a handgun. Perhaps he grew a little cocky after acquiring the gun, deciding he no longer needed any melee weapons. But who was I to judge? So I decided to help him out. After a few minutes of work, I managed to destroy the door. That's when he decided to shoot me. If there was ever a griefing version of the long con, this was it.

DayZ works because its harsh world drives good people to do terrible things. Rust works because its growing world encourages you to work together and build a civilization--right up until the point you decide you'd really rather not. And that, I think, is the beauty of the multiplayer survival genre: these are open worlds where the tone and makeup of the setting gently guide you in one direction, but what players actually choose to do is an entirely different matter.

Discussion

110 comments
Aragorn823
Aragorn823

This is a funny story. Break open a door to save the guy crying for help and he shoots you. Backstabbing jerk lol..

MigzBR
MigzBR

I hope Dayz's crafting system is as vast as rusts. I believe they are aiming at some player build content as well. It just hasnt been implamented y

devilzzz2014
devilzzz2014

These games show how pathetic humanity is.  Instead of making sure everyone in the world is happy we continue on with commerce and other great things that make for a horrible society.  What I saw in that video does not make me want to play either of these games as instead of working together to survive we just end up with a back stabbing murderous traitor filled mess.  I don't need to be reminded of how the real world is.

thermalcold
thermalcold

that guy that killed you for helping him probably thought you put up the door in the first place

Alecmrhand
Alecmrhand

All i picture is Shaun McInnis going around the Rust world like he would on GTA Online, asking every player "Are you a Cop?" or stating in his hilariously emotionless delivery "you look like a cop", and crushing them with a rock or an alternative melee machine of destruction.


If you have never seen that video, its classic McInnis in all his legendary dry wit glory.


Anyway, good article. It nicely sums up the dichotomy that inhabits these game worlds, and even the players themselves.

Sw1tched
Sw1tched

The sleeping death idea is the dumbest videogame idea i have ever seen. Giving griefers who's only objective is to kill everything that isn't NPC the ability to do it with sleeping bodies?

randalmcdaniel8
randalmcdaniel8

I want to like dayz but the fact that bohemia interactive is the biggest group of douchebag dev's on the planet who simply refuse to make the engine support multi-cpu support is beyond me. Not even arma3 has multi-core support. Users who questioned bohemia got this answer


"Some things are just too hard and we are not willing"


TOO HARD AND WE ARE NOT WILLING Google it if you don't believe me. I know one gamespot arma3 reviewer posted a link to the direct source of dev saying that


Even the laughable warz has multi threading support in their game. Arma/dayz could be one of the most responsive/smoothest running realistic games if they just added multi core support. Imagine dayz graphics with counter-strike responsiveness and combat,but NOO "it is too hard and WE ARE NOT WILLING" fuck that then i am not willing to give you my money then you retards. It's 2014 and their engine only uses up one core. These assholes even had the nerve to say "It's reccomended to have a very high clockspeed on a single core" what a bunch of retards. It's like a carraige with 8 horses only having a rope tied to one horse and they are too lazy to hook the other horses up to the carriage to distribute the weight. SAD.

vadagar1
vadagar1

people keep forgetting that humans have been living without modern technology for thousands of years they did not call it an apocalypse



Brazucass
Brazucass

Sociopaths and jerks are good words to describe most of those 

vadagar1
vadagar1

cant wait for day z beta at least i might actually get it

Jah_Glow
Jah_Glow

Zombie survival does not interest me, but this just might after its full release.

scarred_fox
scarred_fox

all I've read on recommendation comments on STEAM regarding DayZ, "group handcuffed me, took my pants, cut my legs and left me to die..WHAT A GREAT GAME!!!"


not very appealing and the comments I've continue to read on here reinforce that. might be interested later when I'm bored but, not now

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

one thing i reckon would be good for this game, is if you could find a white flag of truce, and you could wave it or wear it as a bandana or something. It doesnt mean it prevents people from shooting you, but its an indicator that you are for peace. But you should have to still find 1 and you lose it if you die. It would also make the people shooting you feel like dicks if they kill someone with a white flag and you could tell people in the server, be weary of that guy, he kills people who wear white flags.

Tao_and_Zen
Tao_and_Zen

What I've seen of DayZ didn't impress me. It's a marathon simulator?

I'm really offended by this idea that murdering everybody for your own survival is normal or natural. In times of adversity, people actually band together and help each other out, instead of rampaging around with the free-for-all-kill-everybody-for-their-loot mentality that these "survival" games foster. Survival is much easier and safer in numbers than solo.

What I've seen from Rust was certainly more interesting for me, precisely because of that cooperation Shaun mentioned. However, the game is still in alpha, and I imagine that after full release there'll be a lot more griefers wanting to ruin it for everyone else.

Jacanuk
Jacanuk

Rust and DayZ are a testament to how a bad game/concept becomes "popular" because it has multiplayer.


Because if you look at the games, they are absolute terrible and in terms of purpose have none, except the crucial one and that's the ability to play with others and "compete" against or with them.


Kinda sad.



EMPTY-V
EMPTY-V

it will be a while, but I can't wait to see what the modders do with DayZ. Kinda weird, since DayZ was a mod in itself. Some mods just totally surpass the initial vision of the developers, and that's when I donate.

daabulls23
daabulls23

These games are much better when played with people you know. Survival games are best when it's you against the elements that the world provides (like State of Decay) and not random strangers shooting you.

hadlee73
hadlee73

I played the DayZ mod extensively (haven't played the standalone yet). I only ever encountered 2 people who didn't shoot me on sight.

Victer642
Victer642

Paying for a game still in alpha hoping the devs will make an excellent game. Soon you will be paying for just an idea.

jedediahpelland
jedediahpelland

You guys should do a video on Nether, that game blows both of these out of the water. If your looking for more of the crafting + zombie survival sandbox then try 7 days to die.

SerOlmy
SerOlmy

I dunno, I have been seriously tempted to buy DayZ, but I think it would really frustrate me in relatively short order.  Can't say I have though about buying Rust, I'm just not into the whole building thing.  Never played Minecraft, only got about 5-10 hours out of Terraria and that was just because my buddy was into it.  

If anything I might buy DayZ later on once it gets some more content. 

Leignheart
Leignheart

@devilzzz2014  ah, how wonderful that someone that has devil in their name preaches about morality. i love irony.

jaje21
jaje21

@vadagar1  False, every human has lived with modern technology. When you are alive the technology around you is modern at that time.

Noclippin
Noclippin

@nyran125tk What a nice idea. I'll be the first guy to wear that bandana and shoot your face.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

@Tao_and_Zen its a decision players are making. Should i kill this guy or not? Thats the question and its an interesting question if you are starving. YOu are always going to get dicks in life, outside of a game to as we all know. But when you do find people that are willing to work together, its quite interesting.


Pikdum
Pikdum

@JacanukYeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man,

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

@Jacanuk  "Rust and DayZ are a testament to how a bad game/concept becomes "popular" because it has multiplayer."


interesting, i feel the exact same way about Battlefield conquest mode. Rush mode not as much, but the 64 player large Conquest maps in the new BF games, i most definately feel this way. Battlefield 64 player large map conquest mode is an extreme mundane boring game mode concept, but its popular because it has multiplayer.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

@daabulls23 then youve missed the point in what makes DayZ exciting. Random guys shooting you IS the interesting thing about it. The fact that one guy might wan tto work with you and another guy might not, is the interesting thing about dayZ and its a really interesting concept.

Moegitto
Moegitto

@hadlee73 It's a sad thing that every game that has a free form version of a Multiplayer mode always turns into a form of Deathmatch, happened with GTAV Online. Any chance for people to generally be a protected asshole online they will take it.

Colinschindler
Colinschindler

@Victer642 The creator was an officer in the new zealand army, has already proved himself with the dayz mod, and has climbed everest. So we don't have to question his ability, ambition, or honor. Have some faith man.

Divisionbell
Divisionbell

Nether is great but the fact that you lose all your skills and experience when you die is awful. I get losing your gear, that's fine, but an RPG that takes away all your skills is kind of a joke.

Poodger
Poodger

@jedediahpellandNether indeed blows Day Z out of the water, but Rust seems more like a Minecraft style game than a Day Z style game.

hystavito
hystavito

@SerOlmy The building thing is what really appeals to me :).  I really like the idea of progressing through increasingly advanced crafting, structures, player towns created completely arbitrarily would be pretty awesome to me.  I haven't bought Rust, but I like all the games coming out now based on survival/crafting/building.


I have played DayZ the mod a few times, and haven't experienced much that interests me.  When I watch videos of it the stuff I like most is when people are able to build fortresses :), and then seeing crafty people breaking in is cool too.


I also might buy standalone DayZ later when it has more content, as of now it has only a tiny fraction of what the mod has.

crazywolf5150
crazywolf5150

@SerOlmy  They're adding shotguns, hacksaws, a new town, etc. very soon in the next update: http://dayz.gamepedia.com/Changelog


They're also adding a ton of new content in the future, like the AK-74M, Ruger, SKS, GPS, campfires, hunting, drive-able vehicles, new maps, etc. It's a very fun game even without all of that content. I've already played it for more the 50 hours and I enjoy it more than BF4.

Tao_and_Zen
Tao_and_Zen

@Pikdum  Which makes sense to me. I only checked out a couple of DayZ videos on YouTube, but the majority of each video featured marathon running.

Tao_and_Zen
Tao_and_Zen

@nyran125tkFair enough. However if you're starving in real life, your effectiveness at killing others would be greatly impaired and the interesting question would be less "should I kill this guy?" and more along the lines of "how can I convince this person to help me instead of ignoring me and letting me starve to death?" I suspect it may be necessary to kill sometimes in real world survival situations, but I think the circumstances would be more like self-defense than outright aggression. I believe cooperation is a more successful strategy for long-term survival.

haze0986
haze0986


@JethroThePoet @jaje21 @vadagar1 moderns deffinition" of or relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past." so thats exactly what modern means

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

@stealthyninja81 @cyloninside @Colinschindler @Victer642 well actually , doing the standalone game IS actually GOOD for the game!!! BEcuase they can soley focus ON DayZ as a standalone product, and that means it will get better adn better. As  mod you arent going to be putting as much effort in over the long run. Now its standalone they can focus all attention on making it better and better. While it was attached to ARMA they could only go so far.