A Shift in Focus and What it Means for DayzUnderground

DrDeSync

3 months ago

The TL;DR

While we understand that some may not want to read this entire article as it is quite long a TL;DR for the content of this piece has been made, however we urge our members to read through all sections as these pertain to the past, present and potential future of DayzUnderground and the rationale behind our changes.

The Problems

  • Server Stagnancy
  • Reduced Player Retention
  • Overall deviation from the purpose of DUG and OrganicRP

What We Changed

  • Base Building Rework
    • Removal of Combination Locks
    • Separation of Fence and Gate Kits to remove “Ghost Gates”
  • Changed the loot economy to help ease early-life survival.
    • Increased Low/Mid-Tier weapon spawn rates
    • Slightly tweaked High-Tier weapon spawn rates
    • Made adjustments to the CLE refresh timers to create a smoother looting experience

Regearing our Focus towards OrganicRP

  • With the changes listed above we hope to see a shift in our playerbase’s focus from looting and hoarding to interacting and traversing the map instead of relying on one specific location(s).
  • We are also working on a new Wiki project to help publicize our lore for anyone to enjoy, regardless of their whitelist status.
  • We will also be taking a look at some of the processes that exist within our community such as the whitelist process and our group-and-faction system.

The Status Quo of DUG

After hardcore was introduced 3 years ago we entered with the mindset of giving our players a survival experience on-par with the original DayZ Standalone environment with a focus on increased difficulty to further players interactions and show that the choices you make truly matter for your survival. However, over the past several years we’ve become more oriented towards that of a “faction warfare” server in the eyes of our Staff Team, Current Members and even from those who have parted ways with us. While fingers can be pointed in numerous directions as to what the root cause of the issues we have seen, a major proponent (be it through Support Tickets, arguments amongst our Groups and Factions, etc.) has been the meta of base building.

At its initial release, players quickly found base building to be unusable in its current state due to its various issues, so we looked towards mods to alleviate them. Freedom was given to our base builders by providing them with the BuildAnywhere mod. Over time, however, new issues continued to prop up. Groups and Factions became unable to control themselves in regards to base size, loot hoarding, raiding, etc. Over the years we’ve made adjustments to try and alleviate these issues including removing Build Anywhere from the server completely. Still, there were countless issues in terms of server performance, server stagnancy, and especially base related support tickets.

Due to these issues we have seen a major fall off of player retention, especially those new to DayzUnderground. With a lack of “new blood” in the environment, our regular and hardcore players were left pitted against each other to an unhealthy amount, furthering the server’s stagnation and resulting in closeted resentment towards one another. With no new experiences or stories being pushed our community was faced with the same cycles of repetition no matter their playstyle. It began to devolve into a simple game of loot and store more gear than others as there was no other way for players to feel successful in an environment where numbers mattered more than the words coming from someone’s mouth.

Changes Moving Forward

In an attempt to correct the focus of our server back to being an OrganicRP and interaction driven experience we talked with our community, past and present, and collected as many perspectives as we could. With all of the opinions in mind, and after significant internal deliberation we have done the following to our server:

The largest change, albeit heavily controversial, was the removal of Combination Locks entirely from the server. Based on evidence seen throughout the years after the introduction of base building, we have found that most bases created by users took their functionality to the extreme and created a “safe space” to skip an important aspect of DayZ as a whole. This fostered an environment where power gaming and metas were commonplace to garner a foothold over others. While we know there were some who made their creations tastefully, they were sorely outnumbered by those who chose to create “vaults” to store an indefinite amount of loot that a majority of these users would never end up actually using. No matter what rulings were added or settings tweaked the status quo remained as people would quickly find a way to get around these stop-gaps, furthering the core community’s focus towards a “faction warfare” environment.

We think that it is important to make clear that we do not hate bases themselves, but instead the way they were being used. We hope our players will continue to create and maintain structures under the premise that anyone could enter them at any time. These items should be used to show a continued presence of others in an area that people can visit as they did previously, be it with friendly or hostile intentions. Diverting storage towards a stash-based system should help players quickly get back on their feet, just not at the same speed and protection as it was previously. Gear should always be at risk, no matter if it is on you or not. This change should help promote players to traverse the map frequently for them to maintain stashes and encounter others at places previously empty of player interactions. With that being said, we understand that the removal of Combination Locks might not solve all of our problems and may even create more for us to solve. With that in mind, we have made several changes elsewhere to help both our community and those outside of it get accustomed to a life that does not simply revolve around the maintenance and storing of items within a set location.

The In-Game Economy

Originally players on our server counteracted the Central Loot Economy by creating large, nearly impenetrable vaults with Base Building in which they would store any if not all high-tier weapons and items to offset the loss on a death or take advantage of out-of-game methods to trade with others. The removal of Combination Locks has severely crippled this method of play and forces players to choose the loot they store on themselves and in the wild via Barrels and Stashes.

To compensate for this change, we have made some adjustments to early and mid-tier weapon spawns (pistols, shotguns, low-caliber rifles, sub-machine guns, etc.), along with minor adjustments to some select higher tier weapons, providing a more rewarding experience for both newly-spawned and long term survivors. We have also made some technical adjustments towards the CLE’s refresh timers in various areas in order to create a smoother looting experience. This means new items will appear more often or replace items untouched by passing survivors.

This will enable a more robust experience for all players and allow smaller groups or solo players to climb a hill, rather than a mountain as it was previously. This will also create a more consistent set of losses for our larger groups and factions in conjunction with our removal of Combination Locks. Newer or smaller groups will now get a better foothold in the DUG environment and have a more concrete impact in their storytelling with our established groups and factions and be on a more level playing field when it comes to engaging them. 

While we would like to give you a list of every change we’ve made, we would rather you figure them out on your own instead of focusing on the “meta”. Even if you don’t see or feel a change we’ve made, it’s still there and being actively tweaked as is needed. The CLE is as complicated and RNG dependent system that results in everyone having a unique experience while looting the world. While you may be having poor luck another player might be thriving, but this will not always be the case. In a hardcore environment something like this will be commonplace even with our changes and tweaks, so it is up to you to dig deep and strive to survive.

Regearing Focus Back to OrganicRP

All of the physical changes to the server and in-game experience mentioned above are made in the hope to better facilitate and encourage OrganicRP on DUG. This is heavily focused on increasing player movement. As a staff team we believe that the Base Building “meta” that was established before these changes crippled player movement on our server and stifled chances for OrganicRP. All of the changes we made were designed with the idea of getting people moving again to bring back random, organic interactions all over the map. 

We are also determined to reshape our image. We mentioned previously that we have seen ourselves become a “faction warfare” server. This is not what DUG is supposed to be. At its core, DUG is an OrganicRP and interaction-based server. We need to make that goal and those priorities clearer to our potential Community Members. To do this, we’ve decided to focus on the following projects within our Community and Staff Team:

Firstly, we are working on a new Wiki Project with several Community Members and Staff at the helm. The purpose of this project is to publicize the deep and intricate lore that has been built on DUG since its creation more than 8 years ago. DUG has always had a Wiki, but it has been locked behind our whitelisted subreddit. Our final goal with this project is to make our Wiki publicly viewable, up to date, and recreated with a better structure than before. Our hope is that this can help better show where our priorities lie and help bring in new players who are interested in making their mark on the DUG community.

Next, we want to take a look at our current whitelisting process. It’s no secret that every system has its flaws. We’ve been using the same system for accepting new members to our Community for years now and we think it’s time to reevaluate. This does not mean that the whitelisting system is going away. We want to refine the system and take it in a direction that better serves our Community, and better serves the goal of bringing in talented roleplayers, storytellers, and anyone who can positively contribute to the overall goals of DUG. This is a project that will take time to complete as a near overhaul to the system may be required to attain the members we want to see moving forward. 

Lastly, we want to take another look at our Official Group-and-Faction system. This is something that has received a lot of attention and been changed many times over the years. We believe our Group-and-Faction system requirements have devolved from trying to find the groups that are Pillars of our Community to a system that rewards everyone simply for participation (or lack thereof by waiting out a timer). As it stands these requirements do not add enough value to our Community as a whole and need some serious work. Similar to our whitelisting process, this is another project that will take some time to complete, but by the time this is done, we hope to see these changes orient our Groups and Faction towards being more focused on storytelling and interacting with the DUG Community as a whole inside of the game as well as out of it.

Your Feedback Matters

With this major change we are constantly keeping an eye on our community and those outside of it who are privy to our changes, whether they agree with them or not. We will be evaluating players’ overall experiences, thoughts on Base Building, the Central Loot Economy and other factors within the game. With this being our first public iteration, we look to you for your feedback. 

 

If you’re looking to try DUG out for the first time, or come back after a break feel free to join our Discord. We will be happy to answer any questions and provide any support you need. You can find our server information here.