Part Two: It’s a Trap
Ever since finding our Russian Candy Van, I have been hot on the search for every kind of vehicle in DayZ. I scoured remote locations, peering into thick clusters of trees for any evidence of a bumper or a headlight edging out between the branches. I wanted that safety net and comfort a car provided. A physical and psychological rock in a harsh world of bandits and dangerous infected.
Hitting objects, while your fuel tank is red, is not a great idea.
I managed to find and steal a small red sedan, stranding it up on a remote hilltop behind a tree; apparently sedans are not great for off-road travel. My obsession and greed got me killed when I found a tractor, its engine block and fuel tank dangerously low. I decided to try and use the tractor to haul off gear from the sedan, but a slight miscalculation in turning caused me to hit a tree. The tractor exploded underneath me, throwing me from the vehicle and killing me. I did mention I was a notoriously bad driver in video games, didn’t I?
My behavior in game grew more risky. I would die frequently in the pursuit of vehicles by sprinting through industrial areas, trying to find parts in case I found a car or a motorbike. I spent my time searching for backpacks and tents just to try and store more car parts. I would run around town with an axe and a backpack full of wheels and Jerry Cans. Careless survival with a vision of finding a vehicle I could lovingly repair and use to start my survival fortress.
One day I wandered through an area of the map I had briefly visited, Green Mountain. The top of the hill had a giant radio tower and I had heard rumors of military zombies and gear. I decided to wander up there just to check it out, not sure if there was anything of value on this site. I crawled on my belly through the gravel, trying to be as quiet as possible among the shambling boots of the infected soldiers.
Suddenly my plan for surviving in comfort and security became a reality.
I crawled around the edge of the front gate and stopped in my tracks. For the first time ever, I caught sight of my dream vehicle, the Land Rover. A military 4X4 truck, painted in camouflage color schemes, the perfect vehicle to surmount the demands of the zombie apocalypse. It needed wheels and probably all the other vehicle parts; finally I could repair my own dream truck! I inched my way excitedly towards the vehicle and opened the cargo storage.
Inside was a surplus dream: 30 STANAG magazines, ten grenades and assorted other gear. I had hit the mother lode! Spam and Vagabond were going to be ecstatic; this truck would be a game changer for us! I quickly grabbed as many magazines as I could carry, just in case something happened and crawled off to a safer location to head back to the lobby. I wanted to get Vagabond and Spam online to help with the truck before someone else found it.
In my excitement I didn’t keep track of how I was returning to the lobby and backed completely out of the server. OH. MY. GOD. I had been server hopping and I just found the truck of my dreams and now had NO idea what server it had been on. Was it Seattle 46? Maybe it was Seattle 86? Panic set in as I tried to get Vagabond and Spam on Facebook and Steam, posting a picture of the truck and frantically trying to remember what server I had been on.
Vagabond logged on with excitement and started heading to towns near his location to find vehicle parts while I tried to find the server again. Server after server, I logged in to find no truck. I decided on one server I should at least explore the nearby radio tower while I was there. Maybe it had something in it at least. I climbed up the tower but found nothing upstairs and logged off.
The next server had a fuel tank upstairs that I could use for the truck, but no truck. I left the tank and tried another server. BINGO! I looked over the railing of the radio tower and below was the gleaming machine. I relayed the server to Vagabond and Spam; Vagabond switched over to it to continue a search for vehicle parts.
Trying to be sly, I told him I would be right back because the server I had just visited had fuel tank parts at my location. I was going to just grab them and be right back. I placed all the ammo I had removed from the vehicle, back in the truck and disconnected from the server.
This is when I discovered what a bad idea it is to server hop and also to do this from on top of a structure. I logged onto the other server and found myself thrown off the edge of the radio tower. I fell for a second and hit the ground with a thud. ‘You Are Dead’. Serves me right for trying to cut corners and server hop; I accepted my Karmic payback and returned to the truck server to embarrassingly respawn.
I raced up from the beach with just my flashlight, making a beeline for the warehouses in a nearby town. I found a wheel, a windshield and some other parts. I crammed what I could into my little coyote backpack and took off running for Green Mountain.
I had no idea how much of a noob I was about to become.
I met up with Vagabond at a deer stand and he provided me with a rifle he had found during his search. Together we made our way to the top of Green Mountain, excited to fix up the truck and take off with the drivable treasure chest. Except for the soft moan of infected soldiers, the mountain top was quiet. There were no visible signs of activity. No-one had added any additional parts to the truck.
We were about to become Kings of the Road!
We lined up along the left side of the truck, Vagabond on my left, and started adding the various parts. Just a few moments had gone by and the truck popped up on its wheels, ready to go. Just as I closed my inventory window, gunfire erupted and Vagabond slumped to the ground in a spray of blood. I jumped back to the tailgate of the truck as gunfire sprayed in my direction and zombies started running like maddened hornets. It’s a Trap!
Vagabond and I returned fire in the direction of the attack. I decided to try and flank, running across the small yard, towards the back of the radio tower. I saw Vagabond firing for a moment behind me and then I saw him flying as a grenade went off. He yelled in voice chat, “I am out but still alive, kill those zombies and come and help me quick. I think I killed him.”
I was hoping to draw gunfire and hungry zombies away from Vagabond; he was unconscious and bleeding out, but still alive. I ran around shooting zombies and trying to not present a solid target. I combed the edges of the field, looking for signs or sounds of whoever had attacked us. Nothing. Maybe we had killed him?
I was about to pull the biggest noob move in recent memory.
Vagabond urged me, “Hurry! I am still unconscious but I am going to bleed out soon.” I ran over to his body and leaned over to bandage him. In the middle of the process, I realized I had missed checking a corner of the yard. I didn’t realize the building in the corner had space behind it. I could not stop the action of bandaging Vagabond and had to watch helplessly as a bandit rolled out from the corner, took aim and unloaded his rifle into me. Dead. We had walked right into a trap, the bandit letting us fix up the vehicle for him and attacking us once it was finished. All that work only to be killed in a trap set by a player named Admiral Ackbar, how ironic.
The bandit didn’t realize that Vagabond was still unconscious on the ground. Apparently my bandaging had saved his life for the time being, at the cost of my own. Admiral Ackbar started rummaging around in the truck’s cargo hold, unaware of Vagabond regaining consciousness behind him. With a heroic effort, Vagabond spun on the ground and brought his rifle to bear on the murderous bandit. The bandit turned at the same time, both of them firing off a hail of bullets and killing each other simultaneously.
The race was now on. All of us knew the truck was still functional. The grenade somehow hadn’t managed to destroy it and it was sitting there, ready to be driven and full of loot. Now it was a respawn and footrace to Green Mountain. A dead sprint through a zombie apocalypse, racing for a survival prize. Spam had logged on during this escapade but was far to the east, doing his best to run to Green Mountain from the other end of the map.
Vagabond was already at the edge of the treeline. We were so close to our prize!
We watched chat as we saw the bandit trying to respawn to a better running position. Ours weren’t great either, but time was of the essence. I sprinted through the woods and fields, heading in the general direction I thought Green Mountain resided. No gun, no food, no drink. Just my pounding feet and a wild dream of winning the vehicle we had worked hard to repair and obtain.
Vagabond was about half a click ahead of me as we headed toward the radio station, the antenna guiding us towards the prize. He was about 20 seconds away from the entrance of the radio station when he heard the truck engine start. Too Late! We watched helplessly as the truck barreled off across the field, kicking up a cloud of dust and emotional despair.
My dream passes me by with a cloud of dust.
I felt immediately crushed and humiliated for being so dumb to walk into a trap. I was angry that I hadn’t run around that corner and killed that bandit before saving Vagabond. We had spent the better part of five hours trying to get to the truck, get it running, only to have it snatched away at the last second. If only I had cut left through the trees, or taken a slightly quicker route up a hill; we would have beat the player back to the vehicle and would be riding around like Kings. Instead we were standing in a field, dying of thirst, weaponless as the sun began to set. We risked it all and lost everything; such is survival in DayZ and why I love this game so much.