Die2Nite Preview: All They Want Is To Eat Your Brains...
By Kat Miller (Sareini), OnRPG Journalist
The zombies attacked again last night, but we got lucky and only two people died this time. This morning I had to drag one of them outside the gate and leave him there. I could have used some water to destroy the body, but our reserves are running low and I didn't want to waste what we still need to drink. So I guess I'll be seeing him again tonight... Meanwhile, the zombies are still out there, moaning, and we don't know if we'll build up our defenses in time for tonight...
Die2Nite is an upcoming game from developers Motion-Twin, a French games studio whose previous offerings have included MyBrute and MyMiniCity. It's a browser-based game where the objective is simple: survive for as long as possible in your town in the midst of the zombie apocalypse.
They're Coming To Get You, Barbara...
When you start the game you are placed randomly into a new town - although really, they're less towns and more "huddled groups of survivors" - with nothing more than the clothes on your back and one day's worth of stale food. You then have to work with the other residents of the town (or against them, although if you do your actions may well have consequences!) to build up the town's defences by scavenging for items in The World Beyond, and then use them to build various things to aid the town. The zombies are a constant threat, of course - you can come across them while out scavenging and have to fight your way through them to escape, and every night they will attack the town en masse. If your defences aren't up to the task or, worse yet, someone leaves the town gates open, the zombies will get in, at which point your best hope is to pray they eat the person in the tent next to you and leave you alone...
Die2Nite is, essentially, a strategy game. From the very start, you have to decide how you're going to use your limited Action Points (AP) each day. You can refill them through eating, drinking or taking homemade drugs, but it's still not much and so you have to be constantly aware of everything going on, or risk being stuck outside with no AP left to get to safety... You also have to work with the other residents of your town to build essential defences and structures, and this can be where things get very interesting, because while you might think your town needs a Water Pump the most to survive, someone else might think you need a Great Pit, and you have to work out some sort of compromise (sadly, there is no Thunderdome for people to work out their differences, so you'll have to do it the old-fashioned way).
When There's No More Room In Hell...
There are many ways to die in Die2Nite. You can die from dehydration, from an infected wound, from being outside the town when the gates close at night, and of course from being eaten alive if the zombies get past the town's defences. If you're really unlucky, you can even be murdered by someone else in the town... But in Die2Nite, death is not the end. Instead, you are ‘reincarnated' and placed into a new town, ready to start the fight for survival all over again and hopefully learn from any mistakes you made the last time.
When it comes to the other residents of your town though, it's best to try to get along with them. After all, you all need to work together if you have any hope of surviving more than one or two nights, and what's more, everyone has the option to make a complaint against another player, for various reasons, and if you receive eight complaints you are promptly banished from the town and left to fend for yourself. So it is generally in your best interests to work with the rest of the town and not do things like upgrade your meagre tent to a hovel or a shack... at least, not at first.
On the other hand, those who get banished have one other option available to them - they can work to overthrow the town and put everyone else out in the desert. If several people have been banished together, this can all happen remarkably quickly too, so while it might be tempting to throw out anyone who doesn't agree with your plans for the town, it can very easily come back to bite you - in more ways than one.
"There's a Lot To Get Done Before You Can Afford To Lose Me."
Another feature of note in Die2Nite is the Hero system. There are two ways to become a Hero in the game. One is to survive the longest in your town and receive the coveted "Last Man Standing" title, which "upgrades" you from being a regular citizen to being a Hero. The other way is to buy Hero days in month-long blocks. Currently it costs around 12 Euros for a month of Hero days, with discounts if you buy several months' worth at once. The price does put some people off, due to the exchange rate, but the devs are working on several other ways for players to gain Hero days without having to pay quite so much.
There are several benefits to being a Hero. You can carry slightly more items, and once per day you can choose to do a heroic action, such as killing two zombies in the same zone you are in with your bare hands, or rescuing someone who has gotten stuck outside the town minutes before the zombies are due to swarm in, eating everyone in their path. When you are a Hero, you also get to choose one of three special professions - Scout, Scavenger or Guardian, which all have special abilities that can prove very useful for your town (Scout, for example, can sneak through zones full of zombies that would normally trap normal citizens, making him very useful for scouting out areas for potential expeditions).
Of course, the game is only just out of its English-speaking beta and so it still needs some polishing. The occasional piece of untranslated French can still be seen, and the game isn't yet optimised for all browsers (Chrome, I'm looking at you). There also isn't currently a way for friends to play together unless one of them gains Hero status and creates a coalition, and even then there's only space for six people. Otherwise your placement in towns is more or less random. The relatively small amount of AP you have per day can also be maddening, especially when you're trying to build things up. Overall though, Die2Nite is shaping up to be a fun and original little browser MMO, and one that's well worth a look if you can. After all, what have you got to lose except your delicious brains?
- Interesting strategy-based take on the zombie game
- Good for casual players who can just jump in and out when they have time
- Strong community
- The current price for Hero days can put people off
- Difficult to play with friends without a lot of organisation
- Working with the other players can be as much a curse as it is a blessing