Its inspiration/competitor DayZ is an exercise in tension and mood. The WarZ, on the other hand, is an exercise in boredom and broken code.
Making things worse, my first five games all ended in some way or another with other players killing me, and I suspect at least two of those, given the range and immediacy of my death, were the result of cheating.
Now, normally, I'd find this practice abhorrent. In a game that works, cheats subvert the rules and undermine most regular player's experience.
But The WarZ isn't a game that works. To call it an alpha would be to give it too much credit, so shonky is the world and its inhabitants, and if you stick to the rules, there's very little to do except hold down the W key and develop a lingering sense of regret.
So cheating in The WarZ might just be the only way, at least at the moment, to have some fun with the game. Which might explain why cheating is already so popular with such a new title.
A community has exploded around the idea, with many major cheating sites offering a range of cracks, hacks and trainers to let people tailor their WarZ experience.
The speed with which they've been able to offer these programs, usually for a price, suggests The WarZ's protection measures against such activity aren't exactly top-shelf. But the scale with which they've been picked up also suggests many customers who have paid for the game are now paying a little more to see if they can salvage some enjoyment from the title.
Some of these cheats are straight-up cheats. Access to better weapons, instant headshots, etc. But others reveal an interesting side-effect of The WarZ's broken launch: a form of community improvement. Below is a tweet I saw earlier today from ArtificialAiming, one of the biggest cheat sites on the internet.
New WarZ feature!- No Fall Damage!Never die again due to shitty steep hills or SuperJump!Enjoy!... fb.me/BzbJCyVs— ArtificialAiming (@ArtificialAimAA) December 27, 2012
In the game, that's an actual problem. And here's a fix, not from the developer, or a mod, but from cheaters. Other sites are offering similar programs, offering ways around other things people have issue with, like The WarZ's excessive (and even more boring) night cycle.
It doesn't atone for the fact most other cheats undermine other people's experience with the game, or that sites like AA are profiting off such behaviour, but it is a strange and wonderful thing to see regardless.