Once players learn the aesthetics of The War Z and its world, the next step is learning to interact with fellow players. Players can band together to form parties for supply runs and for general zombie hunting. However, players must also be wary of troublemakers, because humans can prove just as dangerous as zombies. Players can kill other players at literally any point in the game, regardless of whether they're out in the open or in the hallowed grounds of safe settlements. And just as players can assign hits on zombies, they can also likewise assign bounty hits on other players, as well. Of course, to prevent outright trolling of others, each safe settlement has sentries that will attack out-of-control players deliberately attacking humans in those areas.
After clearing remote areas of zombies, players can opt to build over it to create safe settlements for themselves, their supplies, and their clan of friends. However, some players have exercised creativity in crafting their strongholds. Titov recounts a story of one of the game's testers building a gladiator arena around a player spawn point using wooden barricades. He would then lure a pair of zombies into the arena and wait for players to spawn in. Players that survived the arena battle would be welcomed into the clan with loot and cash.
After learning of The War Z's features, it was time to jump into the world for myself. With Titov acting as my guide, we spawned into the wilderness in the middle of the night. The darkness limited visibility, even with the flashlight in my inventory. To make things easier, Titov set the game to daylight before taking me on a tour of the neighboring area.
Clear out the zombies, then you can build safe areas.
A town was just across the hill, so Titov showed off the sniper rifle, zooming in on zombies and relieving their heads from their undead bodies. He noted that only head shots could kill zombies, so anyone hoping to get by on body shots will be sorely disappointed. We decided to move in a little closer to see what kinds of supplies we could pick up. Unfortunately, we must have made too much noise, because a herd of zombies snuck up behind us and started reaching for our precious brains. I quickly ran out of ammo on my sniper rifle (not that it would do much good as such close range, anyway), so I tried to melee with my flashlight. That proved a futile gesture, so we picked up and ran away. Titov said running away would prove less useful in the final version of the game, as an endurance system will be fully implemented.
Through my short time with the game, I was told that there would be no player leveling or upgrades. There is an experience point system, but it is used as a way to unlock gear, such as larger backpacks, different skills, or new character models. Currency can be used to buy supplies, but there are also rare gold coins that can be used for rarer items. Gold coins are found after disposing of special mutated zombies, who are a rarity in themselves.
The War Z is an amazingly ambitious title, putting zombie experience fully in the hands of the players. It will be interesting to see whether players can band together against the zombie menace or turn on each other, Mad Max-style.
The War Z is set to begin its closed beta later this fall.
Only head shots will kill a zombie. So no shots to the body.