DayZ has finally sprung to life on Steam Early Access, but be warned - the game might take more than a year just reaching beta functionality.
There's good news and bad news, zombie hunters. The good news is that the long-awaited standalone version of Dean "Rocket" Hall's DayZ is now available on Steam, via Early Access. At this very moment, you can head to its Store page and buy your way into the survivalist phenomenon for an entry price of $30. The bad news is that it's not done yet. In fact, it's got quite a ways to go. Right now it's got the essentials - humans, zombies, guns to get killed by other survivors with - but a number of features are still scheduled to be added over the next year or so.
If you're familiar with the Arma II mod, you know how this works. DayZ (the standalone) drops up to 40 players into a post-soviet state with 230 square kilometers to explore and loot in your quest to not die. You can craft new items and improve old ones, customize weapons, and scavenge for various outfits and armor. What you can't do (yet) is drive vehicles, hunt wildlife, construct player-made structures, utilize all the environment and crafting options, or mod the game. That's all coming, but the development roadmap estimates that the game won't be ready to move into beta for "more than one year from current stage," and full release is even further away than that.
To the developers' credit, the game's description includes multiple up-front warnings about the current state of the game. The "core pillars" are there, they say, but they "strongly advise you not to buy and play the game at this stage unless you clearly understand what Early Access means and are interested in participating in the ongoing development cycle."
Fans are no doubt giddy to have an official build available, but keep in mind that the standalone was originally planned to launch last December, and the mod was complete long before that. It might be too little too late - especially since everybody knows the game is just a rip-off of The War Z anyways.