“The Freeside Trading Company” by Joss, The DayZ War Photographer

“Photojournalism from the fronts lines of the Chenarus infestation.”

Trust is a finite resource on Chenarus, but it’s a commodity that the boys of the Freeside Trading Company must rely on. 

Click here to read more about our war correspondent Joss.

(Gallery of full-sized images at the bottom of the page)

A customer is met at the entrance before being escorted into the Trading Post.

When two people meet on Chenarus, usually one of them ends up dead. But the Freeside Trading Company is attempting to carve out a little piece of civilization in a world dominated by mistrust and desperate aggression. They are doing this in the face of banditry, zombie infestation and relentless hacker attacks.

The Company is run by three main officers: Publik, Vulwulf and Kurkistan. When Publik first contacted me he told me that they had managed to set up a working trading post on Chenarus. Every weekend they meet, customers turn up and they facilitate trades between the people who arrive. I was impressed. How could this even be possible? It seemed to me like a logistical nightmare. When I asked Vulwulf why it is that they do this he told me: “I can’t give you a really good answer as to why I do it – why we do it… So many people had said ‘this is a great idea but it isn’t possible’. I did it half to prove them wrong and half to do something amazing.” They have certainly achieved this goal.

After being met on the coast I am driven to the trading post in one of the Company’s vehicles.

When I arrived at the camp I was even more impressed. Barbed wire, tank traps and sandbags have been placed to force customers through a prescribed route through the camp and into the customer holding area. Customers are met a short distance outside of camp and are escorted by two members of the company whenever they wish to enter or leave. They must walk at all times, never run and have their weapons lowered. They are constantly watched by ever-vigilant guards. Customers must all stay inside the holding pen at all times and sit on the floor when not making a trade. That can either trade with each other or sometimes directly with the Company itself. The whole operation runs smoothly and efficiently with everyone aware of their roles.

Kurkistan puts down an errant zombie

The Company faces a problem. It’s the big one. The hackers. Every single op they run is a huge target for those looking to test out their new hacks. I had only been at the trading post for an hour before a hacker ran a script that insta-killed everyone on the server, and the hackers are taking their toll. Publik speaks of an “utter lack of morale at this point with all the bullshit that we pull. DayZ at the moment is kinda run by the hackers. It’s sad but true.”

A group of traders is escorted out having concluded their evening’s trading. Just moments they and everyone else on the server were killed instantly by a hacker’s script.

So why are the company still trading in the face of this onslaught? “Every time I see a post on the forums saying ‘you guys are doing a great job, we traded with you guys and despite what’s happening with the hackers you should keep going’ that is what keeps me going.”

Juicebox, a charismatic and confident combat officer, told me: “It’s the greatest game I’ve ever played when you actually fight someone that’s legit. It’s the most intense feeling I’ve ever had. That’s why I keep playing, just hoping for that fair fight.”. Then Vulwulf chimes in: “We actually had a legit attack on Friday’s op. From what I gathered from the radio chatter during the confusion there were 8 of them. We had killed four and lost two of ours. We were laying down suppressing fire while a team of three led by Kurkistan tried to flank them. Then just as they were coming up on their flank a hacker teleported us all to Solnichniy and tried to blow us all up with a satchel charge. Even with the hacker attack it was still the most fun I’d had during an op.”

A counter-sniper team including Juicebox, Xyro and Kitrick keep a vigilant watch over the Trading Post and constantly scan the treelines for possible attackers.

I was along for the ride during trading hours last Sunday when they suffered their most devastating attack to date, which ended with an explosive finale. For once the attackers appeared to be genuine non-hackers. They were highly organized and on this occasion the Freeside Trading Company were bested. Their number were diminished quite possibly due to the morale issues cited by Publik – ten players, four new. According to Vulwulf this is “what I consider just enough people to safely defend Devil’s Castle.” I was atop the tower photographing of one of their sniper team when it happened. The shot rang out and the sniper fell to floor before my eyes. I immediately hit the deck and crawled panicking back down into the tower. The radio chatter became furtive as the Company responded. Snipers manned their posts, the guards on the gate readied for battle and a team was designated to mount a counter attack on the snipers, to be led by Juicebox. This team needed another member and, tempted by the thought of the amazing action that might greet the lens of my camera, I volunteered. Big mistake.

Santaman the guard hops his bunker wall to clean up a few zeds.

 

 

Click read the rest of this entry below to finish this article and see more screen shots

 

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Online Debate: What is the Best PvP Gun in DayZ?

Let’s have it out. What is the best gun for PvP in DayZ. Comment below and at the end of the week we will have a poll to find the ultimate best PvP gun in DayZ. There might not be an easy winner here because there are so many ways to go about PvP in this game. Do you like to be up close and personal? Snipe from afar? Do you like to ninja in and pew-pew-pew with your beloved MP5SD6? Are you a straight up AS50 whore?

 

I Think My Backpack is Glitched Again

 

Everyone has their favorites, and different reasons for why. I am going to start off the debate by saying that I think the best gun in DayZ is the AKS-74 Kobra. The AKM can be zeroed and has more power (and is much more common for both the gun and ammo). The M4CCO has a similar sight and more plentiful ammo. Click here to view the weapons comparison chart.

 

I just have to say for running around the city there is no better gun than the Kobra. It is accurate up close and has a very clean, easy to use sighting system. Believe it or not, it is a pretty good zombie gun as well. At a deer stand or helicopter crash you can stay way back and head shot the zeds, and if you are careful you can pick them off one at a time without aggroing the others. But we are not here to talk about sniveling, slobbering zombies.

What is the best PvP gun in DayZ and why? Comment below, lets get a lively debate going and after a couple days I will take all the suggestions, put them in a poll and we will vote.

 

Why You Should Turn Shadows Off When Playing DayZ

Follow up here: The Eternal Debate Over Graphics Settings

As we all know DayZ at times becomes pretty much a sniper simulator. For better or worse, most engagements are at long ranges. However even the closer encounters can be shaped by the lighting on the battlefield. Yes I called it a battlefield. If I have a gun and you have a gun, it’s a battlefield. In the hills, in the woods, in the cities, and even inside buildings shadows play a huge role.

 

Phryxx Providing Overwatch

 

 

Seeing and Being Seen

Success in DayZ, ArmA, other FPS games, and even real life combat has distinct stages.  Sometimes both partys are moving,  hopefully they are using ALT to turn their heads, scanning and sweeping. We call this “keeping your head on a swivel”. Checking ridgelines, fields, treelines, and other potential ambush positions. Other times one party is stationary and the other one is moving. In this case the stationary party has a huge advantage as I point out in this blog post about movement in DayZ. As long as the ambushing group stays still and stays hidden they should “get the drop” and be able to shoot first. When the bullets start flying people tend to freak out and forget all their tactics. Also, it is usually very hard to tell where the shots are coming from. This leads to a huge mess and often ends up with a lot of flies in the air.

Your skin and also what gear you are carrying play a large part in how you are seen in this game. The Czech backpack is not very large, but it is fully cammo making it a great pack for the sniper that has not found a ghillie suit yet . The ghillie suit basically removes the skin and model of your pack so it does not matter how the pack looks. The ALICE pack is a great pack. Large, easy to find. The problem is that it sticks out like a sore thumb, especially at the lower LOD levels. LOD or Level of Detail just means that as you are farther away from an object the skin changes and gets less detailed to save processing power. The ALICE pack currently has an almost white skin at longer ranges (chick pants anyone?).

 

Click the link below to see the shadow comparisons and read the rest of this post.

 

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DayZ Heightmap and How to Use it

In computer games a heightmap is an image “used to store values, such as surface elevation data, for display in 3D computer graphics”. Without getting too technical, when the developers create the game they usually use a black and white image to determine the actual elevation changes of the terrain. This lets them both easily tweak the terrain using something as simple as Photoshop, and also they can take images from satellites and use that for the elevation data.

 

The DayZ heightmap is rather interesting. Unless you are in a helo (I encourage everyone to go in the ArmA2 Armory and fly around – have a look for yourself) you can’t really tell much about the terrain as a whole. Lack of a birds-eye view limits what you can see from the ground. You can use this map to plan routes to the north, find out where to set up a base, or look for high ground for your devious bandit activities.

 

Click below to view the Chernorus heightmap.

 

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DayZ Myth Busters

In this great DayZ video series we get to uncover some of the myths that people think are true about DayZ such as can you get your items back if they fall in the water, an that you can one-shot a vehicle with a 50-cal.

I won’t spoil them here, watch them and find out for yourself.

Part 1

 

DayZ Myth Busters Part 2 is on the next page

 

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Sky-lining and How to Avoid it

Sky-lining is a concept that I think a lot of DayZ newbies are not familiar with. In DayZ sound is a lot more of a crucial element, but a close second is your visual picture. 99.9% of all combat is going to be within sight of someone else, and if you can see them – they can see you. To a lot of veteran gamers managing your sight profile is second nature, but lets examine the subject more deeply.

 

 How Our Sight Process Works

In my Words of Wisdom post about movement I explained how easy it is to see and be seen in DayZ while on the move (or Oscar Mike as we call it). Staying still is very effective if you have the right cammo or ghillie skin, and you use terrain and objects to either mask, break up, or confuse your outline from being seen. Like I said the human eye can very easily catch movement, especially out of the periphery.

 

Another thing that really catches the eye and your attention is any shape that looks like a person, face, gun, animal, anything that tells the brain “HEY! Something is going on over here” something is coming through the background clutter of trees, rocks, bushes, and dirt. This is usually in our sub conscious, but if you don’t quickly learn how to tap into that part of your brain then you are not going to “do well” in this game. Don’t think I am saying I am some bad ass elitist. Not getting your brains blown out on a regular basis is considered “doing well” in this game.

 

The most obvious, eye-grabbing, attention-getting moments are when the familiar shape is silhouetted against a solid color object. That could be the sky (hence the term sky-lining), an open field, or the white wall of a red-roofed barn. Making sure that you do not put yourself in this situations, and learning to recognize when others are in this vulnerable zone, is a key to being “good” at DayZ (and most other FPS games).

 

A Player Is Sky-lining Himself


In the screenshot above a player has clearly sky-lined himself. If you were quickly scanning this area his shape and outline would instinctively tell your brain to stop scanning, and focus in on that object. At this range it is very hard to see a face, gun, even clothing. The shape is what gives him away. More specifically, the anomalous bump that is created on the naturally smooth ridgeline.

 

Generally speaking, if you are at the top of any ridge there should be at least two different places that you can be seen from. Lazy players often follow ridge lines and even the best players get lazy sometimes. When I am moving I usually keep a count in my head of how many places am I vulnerable from, and I am always trying to keep that number to one or less.

 

Click read more to go to the last page

 

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Weapon Russianization Suggestion by Dreganius

cIrXT.jpg There have been many suggestions before me that have asked for less European/American weaponry and more Soviet/Russian weaponry, or at least weapons that would be considered “more common” in Chernarus, considering it’s a pseudo-russian state. Rather than just ask “Can we replace some weapons?” I’ve decided to do some research. Here I will list just what weapons make good counterparts (and thus replacements) to the current set of Euro/US weapons. Should the story of DayZ remain in Chernarus, and not move to a distant shoreline or somesuch in a later build, this list will make a very easy comparison table for the Devs to use. I’ll also give modeling the weapons a go, because I might as well, it’ll help my own portfolio, and I like the look of a lot of these weapons.

Please note: My own preference would be to heavily reduce the spawnrate of all NATO weaponry and also implement all these Russian counterparts with an average spawnrate, that way the NATO weapons would still exist, but not be as common as they are at the moment.

List of weapons and possible counterparts below

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DayZ Weapons Comparison Chart

DayZ has a variety of different weapons. There are many different factors to consider when choosing which weapon to use. The main thing I worry about is how loud the weapon is, in other words what range can the weapon be heard. There are 2 types of audio ranges one for players and one for zombies, sometimes they overlap, sometimes they don’t.

The next thing I think of is how easy it is to find ammo for the weapon. This chart does show the ammo type, but does not show the scarcity or rarity of the ammo. For example, it is not too hard to find an AK-74 or it’s variants (Kobra, AK-74U). These are pretty nice guns because although the damage is not high, they are kind of quiet in comparison to the AKM or M-16. The problem is that the AK ammo (the orange magazines that come in green pouches) can be very hard to find sometimes. AKM ammo (looks like a black AK mag on the ground) is very common.

 

Use this chart to compare the various audible ranges, ammo types, damage amount, and fire modes. Unfortunately it does not show the weapons firing range. obviously the sniper rifles have a very long range while the shotguns have a very low range. I read somewhere that the revolver has a higher range than the M1911 so keep that kind of thing in mind as well.

As of the 1.62 patch the numbers have been lowered considerably – click here for the new chart

 

Old, outdated chart below in case Rocket changes it back.