Die2NitePosted by Mat on 1st March, 2011
As of Sunday evening, I finally succumbed to the devil that is browser gaming microtransactions. I paid Twelve Euros for the privilege of better statistics in Die2Nite and I have zero remorse for it.
Okay, some remorse, but still; Die2Nite is so clearly the right product to help transition me from curmudgeonly stinginess to freely handing off money like it’s a cigarette to a girl you want to try and make think you’re generous. I’m fascinated by the social dynamics that Die2Nite offers and I genuinely haven’t seen anything like it before.
The game’s gimmick involves trying to accomplish tasks in a group where there’s no inherent leader figure and everyone has more or less the same level of possible impact on the world. Your character is one of 40 survivors in a town with dwindling resources and you are under attack each night by a pack of zombies. Daily the amount of zombies increases and you need to boost your town’s defences to keep them out.
This would be dull, if not for the inclusion of a lot of other stresses, as well as opportunities for any of the other 39 people with you to screw everything up.
Everyone plays the game a little differently. Some think it’s very important to get a watchtower up as soon as possible so that the town can start accurately tallying the amount of attackers. Others, knowing the first night won’t bring a harsh attack, like to start working on defences straight away without having an estimate. Personally; I like to build a workshop right off the bat, this starts to cut down the amount of “Action Points” that are required to put up other buildings and ensures that everyone doesn’t waste their effort from then on, as well as ensuring that any of the base materials collected in the area around your town can be converted to their useful forms.
The problem, obviously, is communication. When the majority of people feel that they have the right idea, it can be perilous to try and just go your way without winning over your comrades. I’ve had a town that worked fantastically for four days go to shit because we all became indecisive about what project we were going to pick up. Some thought buildings providing AP replenishing food would be more important, some (rightly) wanted to shove everything we could into defence, and some dickheads just decided to start building a goddamn catapult.
You want to talk about games having a personal effect on someone? Die2Nite has forced me to be anti-catapult.
My previous town suffered incredible losses and in the final day I was one of 5 people still left alive. There weren’t enough humans around to perform meaningful tasks so everyone scavenged what little resources we had from the town bank, fortified their own houses and hoped to ride out the night’s overrunning. It failed. Every last one of us was slaughtered and ripped apart like the turkey at a reasonably priced carvery.
It’s easy to start making a lot of political observations, not even the just obvious ones like the principles of communism falling apart when you realise everyone is inherently selfish. There’s a lot of weirder comparisons too: The main parable I’ve been making is to a lot of voter apathy and herd mentality. Some people are willfully ignorant of how important certain new buildings are and will vehemently defend not wanting to make them because they’ve misunderstood a lot of the good they can bring. Others aren’t doing their research either but will just go along with things because enough voices are shouting that it’s the correct path to take.
I’m absolutely shocked that a game like this can have such thoughtfulness and insight to let the human element be what drives it, Developer Motion-Twin have gone above and beyond expectations.
If you’d like to play with the majority of the ONVG team, here’s a link, and I hope to god you don’t build a fucking catapult.