The world as we all know it has been destroyed, and just a few have survived this apocalypse, which indeed killed 95% of the human population.
The few survivors of this catastrophe are now struggling for their lives, and will need to use their instinct to scavenge around the world to get all what they need to survive; food, water, weapons, ammo, all of these can be found around the map, in the middle of the forest, or inside the little camps; around the already destroyed cities...But be aware, the threat of a horde of zombies is always there, wherever you are...
Zombies are just slightly slower than survivors, and not that intelligent; yet, they will follow their instincts, bloodlust and hunger for human flesh, and survivors are going to need to use their intelligence to be able to survive an attack from zombies, either fight against them, or run away, that is survivors' call, but there is another threat around, other survivors.
In a world where everything is gone, where family, friends, and everyone you used to know is dead, you cannot trust anyone. Some will kill you on sight in order to loot what you carry in your bag. This is a raw world, but if you want to survive, you must be smart. Form alliances with other survivors, get into a building and make it yours, defend it against both zombies and bandits, or become a bandit yourself; the choice is yours.
Character Creation & Server Login
This is the first step for anyone trying to get into this post-apocalyptic world; in here, it is all about the looks of your character, if it is going to be a male of a female, and the outfit they are going to wear during their journey over Colorado. Please keep in mind, their looks will stay with them until they are deleted.
There isn't much to customize in here yet, but there are 3 different characters to select, with some different faces, tops and pants; and the Game Mode, as there are two game modes in the game, the Normal and Hardcore modes. The only difference between them is that on Normal mode, if your character dies, you can revive it after 60 minutes, while on Hardcore mode if a character dies, it is gone for good; so be sure to not to die on a Hardcore character.
Your second step as a War Z survivor would be to select the server you want to join; either a random server by using the "Quick Join" option, or a selected server from the server list. Here, you will be as well able to select your personal maps (Strongholds) in the case that you have purchased/rented one (option not available yet).
When you select the server, you will be logging into the world of Colorado, the code name for the first map of this game, which is 160-170 square kilometers, including forests, a river, mountains, and different cities, which every player will be able to explore as this is an open world game. Survivors will randomly spawn in the middle of the forest, and guided by the provided map, everyone will select which way to go in order to start their survival.
- This has been removed already from the HUD, yet in early alpha testing it always showed the date and time; now to see this information you must go to the "Pause" (pressing ESC) to see it reflected in the lower left corner of the screen
- This is really important, as here survivors can see how visible they are to both, other players and zombies, as well as how noisy they are; this is important as zombies will notice that you are there and will go to you, to try and get your down, same with other players
- Another important part of the game, survivors' health; on the left side it shows the "hunger-meter" basically it will go down periodically until the character eats something, which will bring the bar up, depending on what they ate; while on the right side, it is the thirst of each character; in the middle it would be the "health" of the survivor. Be aware, if you lose health, the only way to recover it is with bandages/painkillers and so on, it won't regenerate automatically
- These are the quick slots from your bag; the first one is going to be used just by a non-melee weapon; while the other ones can have either different melee weapons, or food/water/medicines/binoculars, you can switch from one to another by using the scroll on your mouse, or pressing the number on the keyboard
- Bullet counter, pretty self-explanatory, when you carry a gun with you, this will show you how many bullets/magazines you have left
The way to play this game is pretty generic for any FPS game:
- W/A/S/D to move your character
- SHIFT to sprint
- CTRL to crouch
- Z to crawl
- C to change your view from third person to first person and the other way around
- M to open your map
- E for actions, such as picking up items
- I to open the inventory
- TAB to see the players list of the server
- Left click to shoot at your opponents or attack them with your melee weapon
- Right click to use the binoculars and aim when using a gun
The game environment is basically the Colorado map, which is a 400 square kilometers area which players are able to explore. It mostly consists of forests, where survivors will be spending a lot of their time, but also has some little towns and even some big cities that are connected by a highway. We shall not forget about the safe zones, that are the only places in which survivors will have access to their account's Global Inventory, which is a separate inventory that can be used by any of the 5 characters an account can have. Also, there is a radio around these zones which will prevent users from using any sort of weapon.
As the game is on its Closed Beta phase (started yesterday, October 31st) NPCs (Non Playable Characters) have not been added yet, and it is said that these NPCs are going to defend the safe zones, keeping it safe from bandits and zombies.
The soundtrack of the game essentially consists of environmental sound. All you will hear is the sound one would expect when going to the woods, along with sounds of the steps of other survivors, the incomparable cry of the zombies, and obviously the sound of shots when other survivors are using their guns. Apart from this, there are some random sounds while playing, which will make players paranoid, because sometimes it implies that there is a threat nearby, but some other time it is simply a random sound without any particular meaning.
There is a vast amount of different items which can be found in game such as food, water, medicines, weapons, binoculars; and depending on the size of each item would be the effect they have; for example, a bottle of water (1L) will obviously help your character’s thirst bar more than one of just 375mL.
When it comes to weaponry, they are divided in different groups, to give a total of 53 different weapons survivors will be able to use, going from a simple flashlight, up to a UZI.
Basically, we got 53 different weapons, divided on ten different types, which are:
- Light-Machine Guns
- Sub-Machine Guns
- Assault Rifles
- Sniper Rifles
Here are the 53 weapons that can be found in-game:
There are different attachments for the weapons, these are extremely rare to obtain in Colorado, therefore, really valuable; between these attachments we can find different scopes for rifles, silencers, laser pointers and grips to increase the amount of bullets a weapon can carry.
In the Colorado map, survivors will need to cover their heads and chest in order to improve their survival chances; therefore, they will be able to find different helmets, hats and chest protectors, which will do the job protecting them against bullets mostly, yet it will decrease the damage received from zombie attacks as well.
There isn't much information provided as of which vehicles will be found in game yet, besides the fact that players will be able to drive "some" ground-only vehicles; if they have the needed fuel for it.
Logic of the game: Hero or Bandit
In the world of The War Z, players are identified as Heroes, Neutral players, or Bandits; this is measure by the game engine, which will count how many players you kill; yet this would be divided between "Killed Civilians" and "Bandits Killed"; the more civilians you kill, the worse your reputation will become, while, if you are killing bandits, you will start becoming a hero.
Currently, there isn't any downside on being a Bandit, as there are no NPCs yet, but as it has been said, bandits won't have access to safe zones, and when the Quest System is put in place, there will be an option for a player to pay to put a bounty on a bandit's head, as well as different quests involving this task.
There isn't much information regarding the quest system yet, hopefully an update about this will be provided soon.
This feature was added during the "Foundation Release" this past December 17. Basically a clan is a group of players which will be able to chat privately by using the in-game "Clan" (by pressing F3 key) and will be able to be localized by any other member of the same clan, as each member will have a blue arrow above their heads.
To be able to start a clan, all the user will need is a character with over 20 survived hours; it is worth to mention that currently 10 "real-life" minutes are equal to 1 in-game hour, and that's it, as this feature is free. Yet, the clan comes with limited slots for characters, which means that after the clan has filled every character slot, the clan leader will have to pay Gold Coins (just obtainable by paying real money) in order to unlock the desired amount of additional slots.
Skills & Experience
While surviving such a raw world, players will earn experience, which will help them enhance their characters.
Basically, by killing zombies -or other players- each character will earn Experience Points (5 exp points to be exact). These points can be exchanged to unlock new characters, or to train the character. The Training consists on characters improving their stats by unlocking new nodes from the Skill Tree, or learning some new skill.
I know we are talking about stats already, yet these stats are not like the normal ones we find on MMORPG games, as these stats are going to be realistic ones, such as stamina and strength.
The War Z offers an in-game shop, in which players are able to purchase different items; yet, nothing that can't be found in the map. The way to purchase said items is either by exchanging the in-game currency (Dollars) or with Gold Coins, which can be found in-game, as well as be purchased with real money.
The items in the shop have a value in Dollars or in Gold Coins, so if a player wants to purchase an item to save some time, will need to have the amount in the right currency, as there is no way on doing an exchange from Dollars to Gold Coins, at least not right now.
Players are also allowed to rent their own private server, in which just the ones with the password can play. These private server rentals give you some choices; the first one is if you want it to be European or North American; the second one would be how many slots do you want? This means, how many players will be able to play at the same time, and the choices are just 50, 70 or 100. Another option you are given is the period of time, which are 1, 2, 3 or 6 months; currently 1 month is valued at 7,200 Gold Coins, somewhere around $50 USD (yes, I know, a ridiculous price).
They are also giving the option to choose which map you want -as they are supposedly working on more maps to add to this game-, what name do you want for your server, and the password for it. And 3 other options which are: Show Nameplates, Show Crosshair, and Show Tracers.
My personal experience with this is that, even if there is game's downtime, if they take out the game for several days, or if anything gives you errors in your rented server making it unplayable, they won't care, and the timer will keep counting down, and pretty much "stealing" your time.
So far, after almost 1,000 hours of playing this game, I personally think that there is a lot to improve; yet the game is really enjoyable so far. If you are the kind of person that likes exploring the world, there is a lot to explore in this game, keeping in mind the dimensions of this first map named Colorado.
As well, if you prefer to hunt people down, there are many opportunities to do so, as in order to survive, people will need to look for food and water in cities and towns, as well, they will need to go to safe zones to access their global inventory, and do trades.
There is a lot to do in this game, and the expectations are placed on the upcoming California map, which has been said is going to be twice as big as Colorado.
My personal rating of the game, would be a 5
out of 10; the game has a lot to offer, it is enjoyable and time consuming; yet, this bad rating comes due to the fact that, in the hands of this company, this game is doomed, their support is pretty useless, they don't care for their customers, and they don't even respect their Alpha testers -whom actually paid even more for the game-.
In the hands of someone else, this game would have a huge future, but I, personally, can't see this becoming any success in the hands of this company.