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When selecting a server, I see Veteran, Regular, and Recruit. Do these designations have any in game effects or are they more like reflections of the general attitude of the server?

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According to the DayZ Wiki:

Servers differ in difficulty level, regular difficulty allows third-person, has a crosshair, and allows you to see other players nameplates. Veteran servers do not permit these.

Additionally, I found this forum post which relates to the proximity detection of zombies according to the difficulty level:

  • Recruit Difficulty - Zombies will be highlighted regardless of their location. (shown as white dots around the edges of your screen or through walls)
  • Regular Difficulty - Zombies will be highlighted only around the edges of your screen (again shown as white dots)
  • Veteran Difficulty - There will be no highlighting of zombies anywhere on your screen.

As far as I can tell, the proximity detection is the only difference between Recruit and Regular, while the lack of third-person and cross-hair support is the main difference in Veteran.

It is worth noting, however, that your mileage may vary depending on the server, as any of these options (third-person/crosshairs, etc.) can be disabled at any time by the server admins, allegedly.

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There are actually four difficulty settings, and from everything I've read, the difference is in the default settings; you can set up a recruit server to not allow those things as well. Also, some config-options cannot be changed on veteran/expert. –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Jul 25 '12 at 6:09
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To chime in with @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft, the wiki is just listing the defaults for those levels as those settings are configurable on the server (I have played on a veteran where I can go in 3rd person). It is the info from the forum post that is most often the difference. –  James Jul 26 '12 at 2:11
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