DayZ is a popular, open world, multiplayer survival game set during a zombie apocalypse in the post-Soviet nation of Chernarus. Players have to scramble for food, water and the necessities for survival, while competing with each other for control over weapons and crucial supplies needed to defend themselves against an ever growing horde of zombies.
The title found it's origins as a modification for ARMA 2, a niche, military simulator developed by Bohemia interactive studios. The mod took a game geared towards military enthusiasts, and made it approachable to a popular audience that was fascineted by the popular sci-fi theme of zombie appocalypses made popular by films such as Dawn of the Dead, Zombieland and The Walking Dead.
The mod's features also derived from the increasingly popular genre of survival and resource gathering games made famous by titles like Minecraft. Features such as injuries, illness and starvation made the learning curve for the mod extremely challenging to master for casual gamers.
The mod's popularity grew rapidly, and servers began springing up everywhere. Popularity for ARMA 2 rose alongside DayZ, and the two entities formed a mutually beneficial relationship. This culminated in the mod's creator, Dean Hall joining Bohemia Interactive Studios with the task of developing a standalone DayZ game.
The DayZ standalone game's first early access build became available in 2013, where players were able to get their hands on an early, bare-bones version of the game. It was met with both positive and negative feedback, but development continued to progress. The full release of the game came in 2018, and the servers and player-base have continued to grow ever since.
Reviews have been mixed since the game's final release, but sales have been consistent. Players continue to harkon back to the original mod, and weigh the pros and cons of the standalone game by comparison.
DayZ has proven to be a trailblazer for the model of video game mods becoming standalone titles. In recent years, modding communities for popular games have becoming testing grounds for new and innovative concepts, some of which have gone on to become successful, standalone games. This culture of video game modders has opened the doors to numerous young, unproven artists and designers, looking for a foothold into world of game development.
In keeping with previous titles by Bohemia Interacitve Studios, DayZ has also fostered a modding community of its own. Submods continue to pop up on a daily basis, keeping the game fresh and offering new experiences for players who have been around since the game's inception. Some more dedicated players have taken steps to host their own DayZ servers. Running a server can be difficult in its own right, but games with large modding communities bring their own host of difficulties.
Luckily, some companies have taken stops to offer hosting services that simplify the process of running a private or public server. In multiplayer dominated games, making it easy to host a server is crucial in ensuring the survival of a game in the long run. The more servers there are, the greater opportunities for players to engage in exciting multiplayer experiences. However, many small multiplayer games with few servers have slowly died over the years due to an ever shrinking player-base. However, DayZ multiplayer community continues to thrive, and it has never been easier to get a server of your own.