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I was watching this video critical of DayZ, and when mentioned I got thinking about the end game, this is what I came up with. Now, I'll just premise this by saying: I'm almost certain some of these ideas have been discussed before in passing and my take on it may or may not be that far removed from the someone else's suggestion but I have quite a particular view, which I will attempt to explain bellow. (that said, I did a few searches and couldn't really find anything that address this quite so specifically or vaguely even)

The video mentioned above hits on a commonly held idea, that DayZ has no end game and I think it's worth some debate. I'm yet to hear a definitive proposal or compelling solution, that isn't either game ending objective state (which this could be) or distorting DayZ into raiding simulator MMO RPG 2045. The game needs a long term broad survival goal that isn't simply not dying and or loosing all your stuff. (don't know how many times I've heard this)

 

//begin
Doomsday or Day Zero:

Rough idea: A literal death clock that ends server progress, kinda i.e a nuclear melt down at a power plant or strike rendering Chernarus completely undead. (feel like you've heard this before, #MeToo) 

Summary:

Basically, there's a fixed point in the map that has the potential to significantly impact the environment (radiation), should certain conditions be met, whether because of neglected by players or intentionally or unintentional triggered. It could be a nuclear power plant, undetonated nuclear bomb, chemical plant, intercontinental ballistic missile silo, nuclear waste dump etc.. (if say a power plant, it could be used as a source of power, as was my initial idea)

This source of radiation is monitored by Dead Hand monitoring stations across the map. Players are alerted to changes at the site, by several unintrusive means, radio, at the station, etc.. 

Once an incident occurs warnings are issued and a number of effects begin unfold across Chernarus, mainly increased difficulty in surviving. However, I imagine there being several distinct stages \/outlined bellow\/ with increasing severity. I personally think it would be most interesting if surviving became so hindered that only those with radiation gear could survive, dooming fresh spawns unless aided by equipped players; with the intention of creating a true finality to death at this stage of melt down. Beyond this point, the Dead Hand could be triggered dooming the server with a silent count down to demise or the game could shift into a bonus mode also outline bellow or just remain at this critical third stage perpetually. (depending upon server options)

Server Options:

I would prefer that such a system be entirely optional at the server level and fully adjustable, for things like: time intervals, severity and progression. (maybe, the admin doesn't want radiation to be unplayable after a certain point or maybe they do or perhaps you'd want the game state to only progress up-to a certain point)

To be more specific: 
I envision this being a constant in the DayZ world, not an objective to either achieve or prevent once or periodically as a pseudo-raid. It isn't a literal clock that pops up warning of impending doom, it should be subtly implement and unintrusive. This system should also have broad reaching effects on both the player, and environment and so too must the players, and environment impact the state of this system via: player interaction, weather, seasons and zombies.

How does the player know of their impending doom?

There should be several indications, but no intrusive ui elements with an ominous count down. Instead opting for: power shortages/black outs, radio broadcast alerts, environmental radiation hindering survival, rad meters, physical observable damage at the nuclear power plant and on site stations/monitors of melt down progress.  

Game State Progress:
all clear - melt down imminent - various stages of melt down - dead hand

All Clear
Power is on, and no detrimental effects.

Melt Down Imminent
Black outs, radio alerts, air raid sirens, fire or smoke at the plant, and monitoring stations issuing alerts.

Melt Down
Power shuts off completely, updated radio alerts, map wide intermittent sirens, detectable environmental radioactivity, visible damage at the plant, updated monitoring station information.

(The alerts below would signify the severity but the impact of the melt down should progress incrementally between stages, not suddenly at each juncture)
Alert Stage 1' Plant and immediate vicinity deadly without protection. 
Alert Stage 2' Map wide radioactivity severely hindering survival, especially for fresh spawns
Alert Stage 3' Protection from radiation is needed whilst outdoors. Fresh spawns require immediate attention for radiation poisoning (effectively, making death truly permanent, unless assisted by other players) 

Dead Hand
Radiation triggers a silent count down to the cold war era nuclear response deterrents, known as "Dead Hand" Monitoring stations can be disabled or melt down stopped.  

Bonus 

Battle Royal Mode?

Perhaps, this system if allowed to progress could trigger the start of a Battle Royal mode. Foreign military jets and artillery strike monitoring stations to prevent nuclear annihilation. Gas is deployed to kill enemy combatants and destroy zombie threat (perhaps this backfires and increase the zombie threat) Like with other Battle Royals, it's at this point that players are forced together, randomly towards one of a dozens or so monitoring stations for the final freestyle battle to survive the dead hand.
 

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