DayZ is the insanely popular zombie apocalypse multiplayer mod of the year, the most realistic backstab-for-beans simulator of the decade, and the greatest e-drama instigator of the century. DayZ puts the player in Chernarus, a fictional 225km^2 landmass, surrounded by the undead and the unclean (That is to say, every other player you come in contact with.) and without anything more than a box of bad cocaine mislabeled as painkillers, a demonically possessed undying and unhelpful flashlight, and a Scooby-Doo band-aid to survive.
The game is actually quite formulaic, following a simple three (actually four) step process that dominates most every other formula in the gaming industry with the exception of Minecraft's two-step process (That process being "mine" and "craft.")
DayZ is a persistent (somewhat-)massively multiplayer world, and a very unforgiving one at that: When you die, you lose everything you manage to scrape together during your pathetic existence and start back at the coast. And don't worry, you can die from most everything, including but not limited to: zombies, bullets, other players, bullets, doorhinges, bullets, warped laws of physics, the wrath of God, Fate's cruel whimsy, and bullets.
"DayZ was designed to be impossibly cruel, dark, and brutal. It was not designed as a game. It was more of an experiment. I prefer the term 'anti-game.'"
-- Dean "Rocket" Hall, the father of DayZ, public enemy number one, and your messiah from this moment forward.
(JULY 18, 2012) HEY KIDS, RELEASE CANDIDATE 3 IS OUT.
Use these files instead of the ones linked later on in the OP to update:
(JULY 14, 2012) You signed an unspoken contract upon entering the Facepunch server which binds you to devote your entirety to the good of the Facepunch community and server. If you are not willing to give up your life in defense of its greatness, then you should at least donate some money so the rest of us can continue being martyrs!
Chernarus, our server admin, needs our help with funding the server to keep it running at the awesome level it currently does, and to continue improving it. If you are feeling charitable, throw some money that nigga's way.
(JULY 14, 2012) We've got a Steam community page as of right the fuck now!
Join it because it's an obligatory thing every other game community here has, so click the image below to be transported to a magical place where you can join the group and subject yourself to random people bothering you for everything in your Steam inventory!
"We are the walking dead."
-- Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead
(If you're already one of the unfortunate souls who has devoted their life to playing this pathetic excuse for a game, then you need not read this part unless you just really like my humor. If that's true, I pity you.)
Looking to play DayZ? SURPRISE!! DayZ is a mod, and thus you must purchase ArmA2: Combined Operations (which is ArmA2 and ArmA2: Operation Arrowhead crammed into one big bundle of badassery) to actually play this game. It's also bugged and broken, and is not for the average gamer. In many respects, it's not a game at all. Just because you saw the Yogscast be super-l33t or you just really liked listening to TotalBiscuit's voice when he made a video about it doesn't mean you'll like the game. This isn't meant to scare you away, but instead act as a warning... The game does cost $30, after all. Buyer beware.
"I don't give a fuck, I'm a necrophiliac and enjoy getting beaten more often than a daytime hooker, where can I buy
DayZArmA2: Combined Operations?"
On BIS's website. (Steam version.)
On BIS's website. (Retail version.)
"Alright, I just promised my mommy I'd be extra good for the next few days if she gave me her credit card. Holy fuck this game is huge. Are you sure my computer can handle it?"
I'm not even sure if the computers at NASA can handle it. ArmA2 has a funny way of being more frustrating than that Oriental family that lives next door to every upstanding citizen in an apartment complex. If your computer is not self-aware and currently engaged in a rousing game of chess with SkyNet, the kind souls over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun have compiled a few simple notes to improving performance so that the game doesn't run like shit, which you can find here.
"So I've finally upgraded from dial-up and downloaded this 16GB (YES IT IS 16GB) monster, now where can I sign my soul to Satan so I can start killing some zombies?"
This is the download page for the most recent version of DayZ. There are multiple ways to download and install the mod: Pick your poison. Each of them gives problems to different people, and it's entirely hit-and-miss on which option you'll like the most. Six Launcher is fine, Steam is fine, manual install is fine, just fucking pick one my God woman we've been in this department store for ten minutes.
Our friendly neighborhood dead-language aficionado latin_geek created a short text guide on how to install DayZ without Six software, which you can find here:
"Holy shit, it's taken me about three days to get all of this ready. This is going to be one of the greatest experiences of my young virgin lif-- Wait. ... What the fuck? I spawned without a gun! How am I supposed to 'pwn teh noobz' without a fucking handcannon?"
As of 1.7.1, you no longer spawn with a weapon of any kind. You will have to make do with the flashlight (Which I'm pretty sure is the development team's personal way of laughing at you.) until you find a weapon through scavenging. Don't forget that you can't eat bullets, either: You'll need some food and water if you're going to survive long enough to blow your load all over an equally hapless survivor's face with lead and sticky bodily fluids.
"What the hell is all of this hooha all over my screen?"
(Click to enlarge.) (Image courtesy of sevee.)
"You know, despite all of the rage that boils in my blood after breaking my bones in the middle of nowhere and all the hatred that flows through my veins every time I die, I thoroughly enjoy playing this game. Is there anything else I should know before I venture out into the Zone-- er, Chernarus?
Below you will find a list of helpful links that will give you guidance while playing and help you connect to other Facepunchers. You'll find that DayZ is a lot more fun when you meet up with people and have random awesome experiences rather than shooting everything that moves in your line of sight, so overcome your social anxiety and hang out with some FPers -- Otherwise you might end up getting shot in the face by paranoid "friends."
Play the basic ArmA2 tutorials! If you're new to ArmA2, you need to play the basic tutorials. You don't need to do all of them (as there are a lot), but at least the basic movement and weapon use tutorials should be given a once-over to familiarize yourself with ArmA2's control scheme and feel, as it is much different from the other games you've played.
Don't be afraid to ask questions! Even if everyone is a dickhead to you because they're upset they lost their L85 or their can of beans, there will be a few that will actually help you.
If you feel that you are beginning to tire of the game, take a break: It's not worth burning yourself out on the game in a week, because that just makes it lame. (If you're finding yourself bored of DayZ, there are is a metric fuck-ton of awesome user-made missions over on the BIS forums you can try!)
"On a long enough timeline, everyone's survival rate drops to zero."
-- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
The Glorious Mumble Server
DayZ's official website.
ArmA2 Beta patch. (You will need to check this regularly for new updates, as you need ArmA2 updated alongside DayZ to play!)
DayZ DB, a hub for everything DayZ.
DayZ map with advanced loot searching.
Facepunch Squad Tag -- Identify friendlies (or targets, if you swing that way)!
A comprehensive list of ways to improve ArmA2 performance.
“The values to which people cling most stubbornly under inappropriate conditions are those values that were previously the source of their greatest triumphs.”
-- Jared Diamond, Collapse
You will eventually run into some sort of error while playing or be confused about something, and your first instinct will be to come and ask what in the hell is wrong with your game. Luckily, since this happens to everyone, your issue has probably been encountered before! Here are some F.A.Q.'s that may help. If you don't see your issue here, feel free to go to the end of this thread and read the last few pages: Who knows, maybe someone has recently encountered your same problem and an answer has already been given. If you still can't find an answer, ask away.
"I can't join a vast majority of the servers. Upon joining a server, I get an issue that says something like 'Bad version. Connection rejected.' What is the issue?"
Most likely you are running an older version of either DayZ or the ArmA2 beta. You can find the most recent DayZ update on the DayZ website (if your game doesn't automatically update). You can find the most recent ArmA2 beta patch at the top of this website. If this link doesn't work, ask for a mirror link. Many Facepunchers frequently reupload the most recent beta patch for others to use.
"My game is up-to-date and I'm still not getting into some servers. What's the deal?"
Perhaps you need to update your RC (release candidate). If this is the case, follow the directions in this useful post provided by Chernarus (or James), our great server admin and revered info-guru:
You'll need to update BattlEye (ArmA2's great [hahaha] anticheat system.) manually. Here's a simple guide on how to accomplish this feat:
"When I install the latest ArmA2 beta patch, it tells me 'Wrong CD Key.' What do I do?"
I myself am not entirely sure what causes this error, but the good news is is that it is a common error and simply clicking "OK" and installing the patch as normal will work every time.
"How do I communicate with other Facepunchers? What the hell is a Mumble?"
Mumble is a VOIP similar to TeamSpeak or Ventrilo, used primarily for gaming. Facepunch's Mumble server is your best place for quickly getting in touch with other Facepunchers and your only source of unadulterated e-drama. You can download Mumble (FOR FREE!) from here. Now you may be confused on how to join the server. Well, if that is the case, don't worry, because I've got you covered.
The hunting knife is a tool that can only be used to gut animals for meat steaks. It cannot be used as a melee weapon. The only melee weapons in DayZ as of 1.7.2 (and all its subversions) are the crowbar and the hatchet.
"How do I equip this hatchet?"
Right-click the hatchet in your toolbelt and click "Remove from toolbelt." The hatchet is now your primary weapon. Remember to put the hatchet back into your toolbelt before picking up another primary so that you can keep the hatchet for collecting wood in the forest in the event that you are in need of a fire. (Fires can be used to cook raw meat steaks, which is a good thing!)
"How do I cook meat?"
-- A hatchet. (Or a wood pile that you have randomly come across.)
-- A matchbox. (Found in grocery stores and pubs, generally.)
-- A hunting knife. (To gut an animal and acquire meat steaks.)
Once you've acquired these items, go to a safe place and make a fireplace by right-clicking the matchbox with the wood in your inventory. Then use your mouse scroll to select the cook meat dialog option, and voila!, delicious cooked meat.
"Shit, I died. What do I do?"
IF YOU HAVE ANY F.A.Q.'S/TIPS YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD, SIMPLY POST THEM IN THE THREAD AND I WILL ADD THEM AS SOON AS I CAN.
Discuss your sick addiction to this game. And finally...
(Courtesy of tarnation.)