There are two main reasons why I stopped, for a long period of time, caring about DayZ. Yes, it was one of the most powerful experiences I had in gaming this year, and yes, it’s got some of the most interesting emergent stuff I’ve seen happen in a game, and yes, it’s a totally different kind of experience when I play with Marco, which makes DayZ an incredibly versatile experience. But I still stopped playing, and therefore caring, for a long time.
One reason is simply that the way I game has changed. I frequently want to be able to hop on and hop off within 45 minutes having had a complete gaming experience. DayZ lends itself great to short, terrified narratives, or long and sprawling narratives. Neither are the bite-sized experience I enjoy. That has been somewhat solved by abandoning Chernarus for the smaller Namalsk map.
The other reason I stopped playing DayZ is that, frankly, DayZ is a pain in the ass. It’s a mod for Arma II, and it’s not yet done, which means that there’s a lot of tinkering and patching and googling and forums and troubleshooting and searching for servers and the like. None of that is fun, and while mods (like DayZ) are one of the reasons I’m first and foremost a PC gamer, I don’t want to spend 35 minutes tinkering for 45 minutes of gameplay. The infrastructure, even with the Arma II utility 6Launcher, was simply too time-intensive to want to maintain.
Enter DayZCommander, a new DayZ-specific launcher. It’s clean and styled after Microsoft’s Modern UI (formerly Metro), provides a snappy server browser, and tons of other functionality that makes me wish I knew about it months ago when I left the game behind. (On these images, click to enlarge.)
Not only does it offer a far friendlier interface than 6, but DayZCommander also gives you an easy way to keep the mod up to date. And not only that, but it gives you an easy way to update the mods with which you have modded this mod. That’s right! All the alternate maps and such, many of which I did not know existed, are at your fingertips to install and update.
The option to save favourite servers and search for friends is handy, now-standard functionality that makes getting a good game going an easy process, and the numerous filter options make discovering new servers a breeze.
If you’re playing DayZ and are still using 6Launcher, frankly, you’re doing it wrong. DayZ commander is a prettier, more-functional option that will make the experience that much better. The amount to which it’s sped up and facilitated the patching and launching experience has gotten me back into the game in a big way.
Paddle your own canoe, folks.