DammitBael: Playing Without Sound

Sound Bael. Play with sound!

“Shots Fired!”

“Hit! Dead! Man down.”

“Get back in the buildings! Watch the windows, cover the stairs.”


Grimm was calm and collected, giving orders to the group of us. One of our members had been shot and killed. We had been moving from one apartment to the next on the north part of Berezino, and the poor soul in the middle of the line had been taken out. Those who were already heading to the second apartment breached safely and took cover while those of us still in the first apartment were stuck waiting, taking cover and searching for the enemy.

My memory gets a little hazy here. The most I remember for a small while is being terrified out of my mind. My gut was twisting. My teammates were mobilizing for a counter attack. We had little intel as to size and strength of the enemy. There was confirmed two ghillies lying on the hillside. Grimm took a couple guys to try and flank. Grenades were thrown. Death messages spammed across the screen.


“We’re dead.”


“Some of them are dead too.”

“How many more enemies left?”

“Unsure. We got a Solnichny spawn, we’re coming back to help.”

“Who’s left alive in there?”

“Josh and Bael.”

That was worst possible sentence to have ever heard muttered– poor Josh, getting stuck alone with me. He might as well have been the last man standing. I looked over to my left. Josh and I had been using the windows to try and give the team leverage. I was positioned in the first hallway, on the top floor of the tallest apartment, prone, pistol trained on the doorway. Josh was moving to my left, checking all the rooms, going from balcony to window, watching for players.


“I hear them moving Bael.”

“You hear what?”

“Someone’s moving outside the building. He’s coming in—I can hear him on the stairs.”

“Josh, you have to be my ears…I don’t have my sound on.”

Grimm chokes on something.

“You don’t have what, Bael?”

“Sound, Grimm. I don’t have my sound on….”

“Shhhsh Bael, He’s coming up, get ready!”


The screen flashes white, I receive the indicator on the side of the screen for shock and surprise. I jump and squeal and unload a whole mag from my M1911 into the corner of the wall.


“What are you doing Bael?!”

“Killing him?”

“He threw a grenade…Dammit Bael. Reload, I’m covering the door.”



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A few seconds pass. I ask sheepishly, “Josh, Do you think he’s dead?”

“No. I can hear him moving around.”



We wait some more. A barrel of a gun pops around the corner, I empty a mag into the wall again. Bullets spray over my head from two directions.

Josh2b has been killed.

I’m alone. I’m deaf. I’m terrified.

The barrel of the gun appears around the corner once more, followed by a body. I close my eyes, pull my legs up to my chest and click the mouse frantically.

You Are Dead.


While we were all running back from our various spawn locations, we debriefed. The two questions I had to answer was why wasn’t I running with sound, and why was I using a pistol. I thought the answers were simple, and I sure felt noobtastic as I tried to explain to my squad. At some point, the zombie sounds and the music and the ambiance had fried my nerves. I was a wreck playing the game. It was bad enough I was a terrible shot, was always getting lost, and panicked every time something unexpected happened, the zombie sounds made my skin crawl, so I just turned it off. I was using a pistol because I had been put on zombie killing duty in the city, and didn’t think to switch weapons. I felt I had more control over a pistol instead of the high-powered rifle. I corrected these “mistakes” quickly.


To this day, I’m not sure how I ever played without sound. Hearing a player before actually seeing the player has saved my life countless times now. The directional sound is amazing. Hearing gunfire is so important, it’s funny the things you overlook as a new player. The windsucking zombies still make my skin crawl, but I’m a lot less scared of them.


As for killing things with a pistol—sure I could have taken out a player with a 1911, I have recently, but at the time this encounter occurred, it was difficult enough for me to shoot a zombie. I hadn’t really had player contact that wasn’t taken care of by a teammate. In fact, I was once so bad at determining which weapon to use for the job, Grimm made me a meme—something about “Give Bael shiny new M4 CCO; Uses pistol whole time.”

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