Early Impressions: H1Z1


Why is Sony’s unfinished multiplayer zombie survival game H1Z1 (official site) proving so popular? On paper, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Initial reports were negative; we’ve already got DayZ; even if we wanted a less hardcore DayZ with more crating, we’ve got 7 Days To Die already.

So what on Earth is H1Z1 for? And why am I enjoying it even though I really feel as though I shouldn’t?

Part of the success is due to it H1Z1 coming from a big company with a big marketing budget (not to mention with direct access to few hundred thousand Planetside 2 players), of course, but even so, maybe it’s inadvertently the right game at the right time. DayZ is an old kid on the block now, even if it is still a work in progress, and H1Z1 comes along doing something similar but with a need to learn new rules. Working out how to stay alive, how and what to build and, eventually, how to totally dominate a server is a journey of discovery, at least for now. That’ll keep happening for a while, as the game updates, and it reminds me of early days in all the online games I’ve loved and lost – WoW, City of Heroes, Planetside. They all felt so much more special when they weren’t yet full of people telling me exactly how to play, when I felt I could just poke at things and figure them out myself.

In a funny sort of way, this is where even very rickety Early Access games can excel – a chance to get a handle on one set of challenges, then have a foundation to work from when a whole new bunch of challenges arrive further down the line.

H1Z1 is, I suspect, popular because it’s familiarity plus novelty, but also because it’s massively successful familiarity paired with more massively successful familiarity. The Minecraft element is as big as the DayZ element, and the two go together rather well (not least because Minecraft was doing deadly night-time survival long before DayZ was). There’s a major difference between a game which asks you to scavenge and a game which asks you to build too; in DayZ my first priority is to find buildings and hope there’s a weapon in there, whereas in H1Z1 I head to the nearest shrub, grab some twigs and make a few arrows. Though first – and I do love this – first you’ll need to remove your t-shirt and shred it in order to make a string for your bow. The idea that this would create a bow capable of killing zombies with a single shot to the head is laughable, but wonderful.

I’m also fond of raiding cars for scrap metal, and of picking up clothing and bags I don’t actually need then reducing it all to cloth scraps – an essential building material – rather than leaving it for someone else. I found so many backpacks, a precious item because they can carry so much, and merrily ripped ’em all to shreds. It’s the game building in greed for greed’s sake, and I am not at all above that.

I’m not hating it, in other words. I have hit a fair few bugs, including floating zombies, crashes and (quite often) being unable to use anything in my inventory, but despite that flurry of outrage at launch, it doesn’t now seem any worse than the early access norm (if there can be said to be one). It is fairly obviously only the starting point of a game, however. There isn’t too much to do or build as yet, but that doesn’t trouble me too much for now. I suspect it would if I was heading in every night, but that’s not my plan until it’s further along. Really, the issue is lack originality, but while that cannot be denied oddly it’s not winding me up.

I think that’s because the essentials of the game feel pretty good, if on the rickety side. Crafting is quick and satisfying, and requires a little bit of experimentation to learn ‘recipes’, running through dark woods in search of shelter is creepy, and the zombies are on the slow/fast sweet spot – slow enough to be zombies, fast enough to be dangerous.

And, if I’m entirely honest, it’s fairly forgiving. It’s fairly straightforward to recover from injuries (presuming you win or escape from the fight), there are always blackberry bushes around to slightly top up ailing energy and hydration, and again, getting your first weapons and items is something you can do almost straight away. I like DayZ’s brutality and all, but part of me enjoys the chance to muck around that much more. H1Z1’s world, while by no means novel, is an atmospheric one, and I get a lot out of simple exploration, like crossing a long, lonely bridge and finding an abandoned gas station at the other end. In DayZ, I can’t relax enough to appreciate that stuff.

Then again, here comes the big, guilty confession: I’m playing on a PVE server right now. I will progress to PVP in time, but I want to figure the game out first. This massively reduces the risk of sudden, unwelcome death, though clearly it takes away a great deal of the ad hoc roleplaying too. I don’t need to guess whether someone’s malign or helpful, because there’s not a damned thing they can do to me, apart from potentially train a few zombies my way.

Even so, suddenly spotting another soul is terrifying – partly because of DayZ memories, partly because if they’re in the same place as you that means they might hoover up all the loot before you can. This makes me angry. I’m the local kleptomaniac. I don’t want to share. Of course, once in a while they drop something useful at my feet, and suddenly I feel horribly guilty for sprinting around grabbing everything in sight the second they appeared.

I also feel guilty for enjoying myself. I guess we’ll see what tomorrow brings – this could well find more of its own character further down the line. Right now, H1Z1 is profoundly unoriginal, and not doing anything that far smaller studios aren’t attempting already, not to mention thats it’s in very basic shape and has had a brief encounter with the ugly stick, but I kind of like it anyway. I probably shouldn’t, I realise that. But we don’t get to control these things, do we?

H1Z1 is out on Steam Early Access now, costing £15. It’ll be free on ‘full’ launch. This is kind of a thorny issue for some people.


  1. Uglycat says:

    Anyone know what happened to the pay to win scandal from a few days ago?

    link to reddit.com

    • Tacroy says:

      The Internet was outraged at something they were told would happen, basically.

      The devs had said in the past that that’s how air drops would work, and they really are a free for all unless you’re calling them in an empty area.

      • Hex says:

        According to the reddit thread it looks like the devs had previously stated that air-drops would provide only cosmetic goods, and in fact they provide balance-disrupting gear.

      • airmikee says:

        Did you even click that link?

        “Official h1z1 youtube channel 3 DAYS before launch: “you can’t buy ammo… you can’t buy guns….” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K6cv–warY#t=2439

        Sure sounds like they said that airdrops would include ammo and guns for purchase just 3 days before launch, right? Or are you trying to claim that you’re the kind of person that doesn’t get upset when they’re lied to by a snake-oil salesman (if that’s the case I have a bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in buying.)

        • Bone says:

          You still and probably never will be able to buy guns directly into your inventory, but that’s common sense because it wouldn’t be much fun for a survival game?
          Now what’s currently spawning in airdrops is nothing more than a chance to fight for a small head start. The risk is likely higher than the reward and it’s supposed to be a fun server event and nothing more. We’ll still have to see how it plays out with clans and gamechanges in the long run, but that whole P2W debate from the first day was laughable.

          • Flopper says:

            Holy shit. Someone who talks about it using logic! The steam user reviews are ridiculous. Everyone copy and pasting the same thing. Oh noes! Someone can pay real life money for an airdrop and end up getting shot in the face and all their shit taken!

            So basically you can buy guns for other people. Cool.

      • lupinewolf says:

        I have seen many air drops in H1Z1 and yes, they have a small chance to spawn something valuable like a shotgun with bullets. But it creates gameplay around it that everyone can share, and that’s quite fun. The context is important.

        When someone calls a drop, there’s a long and LOUD sound like an Inception horn, which is the carrier plane drawing near. It takes what seems like a few minutes to reach the zone where it actually deploys the crate, which parachutes down with lights flashing. After a very slow descent, it crashes on the ground spawning zombies. Once they are dealt with, you can loot the container, which takes 10 seconds to actually open to you.

        I can’t tell you how exciting it is to be looting quietly during the night and suddenly hearing the horn. Going outside, looking for the source. Spotting the plane. Trying to guess where it will deploy and running over there. Seeing people appear around the woodwork like wild dogs hearing the dinner bell all running to that same point. From then onwards, anything can happen. The guy calling the raid might have been laying a trap. He might be hiding around, waiting for everyone to inevitably kill each other before trying to loot. He may ask for protection from people who come first, promising to share the spoils. Or he may get killed by the zombies. All of these and more have happened to me and they were all fun as fuck.

        Can you get a drop in a 100% safe way? I haven’t checked if there are workarounds or abuses or just tips out there, but since you can’t tell the exact number of people on your server (you see how full it is, like when choosing servers in an MMO) I don’t think you can get be safe from THE CHANCE to have someone “drop in” on your drop.

        tl;dr I haven’t actually payed for any drops, but I would hate to see them go. It creates emergent gameplay scenarios which are the core of this kind of open-ended game.

        • jonahcutter says:

          Lolwut? Zombies in the airdrop?

          Is there some kind of lore to the game to explain the sadistic bastard who is airdropping life-saving supplies to apocalypse survivors, and including more zeds in the package?

          Or is just a dev /shrug and “Video Games!”?

          • cocodacrow says:

            I was wondering that as well. A less silly solution might be for the flashing lights from the descending airdrop attracting any zombies already in the area instead of lazily spawning new ones on the landing site.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            As far as i understand it zombies are interested by the airdrop, not necessarily inside of it.

            Sure, that still means that the game is still spawning zombies out of nowhere if the area in question would have been otherwise “clear”, but i feel it’s a fair concession nonetheless. I mean, it doesn’t bother me that i never get to eat a single thing in Dragon Age, as a random example.

          • lupinewolf says:

            I can’t say if it’s an alpha thing, or a “lol videogames” thing. In general, H1Z1 is much more gamey than say, DayZ, so I’d go for both. For example, the tshirt you spawn with can carry things. It says in the description that it has a couple of pockets but you wouldn’t believe how much stuff you can carry “in” your shirt, it’s ridiculous. But gameplay-wise, it forces you to choose: do you want more carrying capacity right from the go, or would you rather tear that shirt to make a bow? So it seems they are not going for full realism.

          • Kelduum Revaan says:

            Is there some kind of lore to the game to explain the sadistic bastard who is airdropping life-saving supplies to apocalypse survivors, and including more zeds in the package?

            Because… some of us H1Z1 devs are EVE players? :)

      • jimmbo506 says:



        • Mrs.Derpintine says:

          Maybe H1Z1 should add some weed, for you to help you chill the fuck out.

    • EveryoneIsWrong says:

      People learned the facts and found out the “pay 2 win scandal” was a bunch of ignorant manufactured outrage.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Which indeed is rather common as far as interwebs outrages go, not necessarily gaming related only.

  2. Porkolt says:

    H1Z1 is probably some fictitious viral subtype designation like H1N1.

  3. stringerdell says:

    cool idea but it looks like a ps2 game

    • Anubis says:

      With a world of that scale, a persistent world, and the planned amount of players per server, having such intricate graphics isn’t feasible. It’s a necessary trade off.

  4. Artist says:

    Cant wait to see how Mr Smedley will take h1z1 down the pay2win road as he did with Planetside2 and everything else SOE will touch. Only fools believe that Sony will do anything thats not 100% geared towards their shareholders….

    • Rizlar says:

      Erm, you realise that making a first person, open world, multiplayer zombie survival game is exactly the way to cash in on the Forgelight engine? So don’t worry, it’s already happened!

  5. Tutamun says:

    I must say I’ve been enjoying H1Z1 quite a bit. The atmosphere is great. Especially the sound. Always listening for footsteps, howling wolves, etc.

    First I tried playing on PvP servers. It was short and adrenaline rushing fun. The first time I went into a city and heard footsteps I walked towards them and got a shot right into my face. The second time I went into a city someone sneaked up and ended my misery with an arrow right to my head. Didn’t even see him coming. The third time I started to run the moment I heard footsteps. This kept me alive for a while. Running zigzag also helped a lot. Only once did I meet a player who shouted that he was friendly when I started to run. I stopped and we had a short chat. He was really friendly. Later there was a guy shooting arrows in my direction and after zigzag running I decided to return the favour and stopped to shoot at him. I think I managed to hit him with one arrow… but fell to his team mate who I had not seen… My last encounter on the PvP server was when I decided to search through a multi storey building when I knew there was someone in a nearby building. Well the guy came over to ‘my’ building, closed all doors (as I later found out) and searched for me… when he found me I started to run, him always a few steps behind me swinging his knife. The closed doors were my doom…

    What I don’t get is why most people just kill on sight. Every time I only had the most basic gear… a makeshift bow, some arrows and a handful of berries. I never started attacking anybody… and most of the time I just tried to run. Still it was fun. One day I might return to the PvP world… but not right now. Starting over every 10 or 30 minutes is not the fun experience I’m after.

    Now I’m playing on the PvE servers and enjoying a totally different game. With almost no loot to be found it was great picking berries, crafting a bow and arrows. Hunting some deer or defending against wolves or zombies. I’m a pretty bad shot… so I often have to heal up with bandages. My basic routine is going to camp sites to light a fire to cook the wolf and deer meat and boil dirty water. Then do some scavenging of cars along roads or some houses with not much to be found… and thus having to go back into the wilderness to pick more berries, sticks for arrows, and fill up water bottles at lakes or streams and then going back to places with camp fires unless I was lucky and found an axe to chop down my own trees. What a life!

    This was the perfect experience… until servers were patched and loot was plentifully available. There were also too many other players around. You constantly run into someone. Even on a low pop server. The map is just too small and everyone ‘meets’ in cities. Almost no interaction between players. And if there is any interaction it can be this annoying guy who jumps around you, swings his weapon at you without making any damage… and you can do nothing about him. At least ignoring seems to help.

    Once I played shortly after a server restart and found all sorts of nice loot like a shotgun, a hunting rifle, a backpack, more food than I could eat etc. I then encountered a bear and down in a valley and decided to try my luck… it was the first time I used the hunting rifle and the first shot did not kill the bear. He started to charge up the hill while I tried to get a good second shot on him. Five seconds later I was dead and all that nice loot gone. Next time I will not make the mistake of attacking bears… when I see them I’ll turn around an run in the opposite direction.

    • BrickedKeyboard says:

      People kill on sight in DayZ (and clones) because in a game with realistic firearms, the first accurate shooter always wins. There is also no reason to spare anyone.

      If you fire the moment you see someone clearly :
      1. You get to take all of their stuff
      2. They have the least chance to shoot you instead. Even if they are sighting in on you at the same time, getting shot disrupts your aim in this type of game.
      3. They don’t get a chance to run away

      If you don’t shoot, then
      1. They might axe or kill you. In a game with client side prediction, they can run up to you (on their screen) and swing away. On your screen, you won’t see them moving until the network packets get there. I’ve found that in practice this means if you are within a few meters, someone can just suddenly sprint out and axe you before you can possibly react, even if you have a machine gun.
      2. They might cough up some of their stuff but keep the good stuff (efficient bandits always murder their victims!)
      3. They might distract you while their buddy sneaks up

      And so on. There’s no consequences to pulling the trigger in a game like this.

      In the real world, the reason humans don’t do this is because humans need to survive and take as little risks as possible – in real life, you don’t get to respawn. So killing another human you encounter who might help you stay alive is a bad move. Furthermore, in pre-firearm days, attacking another person was not guaranteed to be a clean kill. In these kind of games, any injury short of death is easily treated. In real life, if you tried to murder someone, say, by beating them to death with a bone club, they might get a chance to stab you and you might suffer from that wound for the rest of your days. Civilization had existed for centuries by the time firearms were invented.

      And that’s the next thing. In these games, shooting people has no consequences. No one even knows your name, you can’t have a bad reputation for being trigger happy, there are no NPCs to treat you badly, etc. You don’t really have the option to not shoot – if you encounter a stranger and try to rob them at gunpoint, they often as not won’t cooperate because they know that nothing stops you from shooting them after they give up their stuff. You won’t get a “bad reputation” for this action.

      Now, I don’t know if fixing all these issues is a good thing. It obviously could be done. They could make it where if you shoot other players, and then try to visit NPC outposts where gun merchants live, the guards machine gun you on sight (because they magically “know” about your bad deeds). They could let players, instead of respawning, get to control NPC “bounty hunters”, who are armed and armored to the teeth and tasked with eliminating specific problem players (and the game would tell them where they are). Players would be given a reputation of how many murders they commit per encounter/per hour by the game, and this reputation would carry over across servers.

      However, Dean Rocket Hall talked about that desperate, starving experience he had in military survival training he wanted to emulate, and that’s what DayZ is about.

      • SomeDuder says:

        But… Why would I play this game if its just another shooter? Why bother with the survival stuff? There’s games that do both better, even combined.

        Well, the question is false anyway, I’m not interested in yet another MMO with a zombie-theme. I’m guessing people enjoy this game (right now) is that it’s unexplored territory, a new environment and hype.

        • TheMopeSquad says:

          Likewise, whats the point of the zombies if people griefing killing people is the focus of the game?

          • Celestialwrath says:

            Its not the focus of the game the killing of another is seen as another form of survival that’s all it is, usually based on if you have good gear you don’t want to lose it just like DayZ. to say whats the point in killing each other would be like saying whats the point in the hunger and stamina system in pvp.

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        Love how you completely left out human empathy, feelings of solidarity or pity out of your list of reasons not to kill real-life people. When traveling in poor countries, you’ll find that people are incredibly welcoming and generous to strangers, and usually expect nothing in return. But that wouldn’t cross your mind huh?

        The Interwebz: the place to chat with psychopaths.

    • ez2slip says:

      just remember if you like pvp that is smooth play h1z1 . Dayz has the worst pvp in any game created you shoot at a person and you have to wait 10 seconds before you know if you killed them or not. dayz is so clunky that it makes the game unplayable.

  6. MultiVaC says:

    For me the problem with DayZ isn’t that it’s too hardcore, it’s that despite being in development since 2012 (I think?) and over year of early-access the game still borders on unplayable, or at least too buggy to be reasonably enjoyable for me. It’s getting a bit hard to swallow the fact that they can’t even seem to get such basic things as zombies that don’t constantly walk through walls and have some semblance of working hit detection, despite the having had what are essentially a million unpaid testers at their disposal and raking in a huge amount of money from its sales the entire time. At this point I have very little faith that it will ever reach a state even remotely close to what they had promised during the earlier stages of development, or even that it will make it to the point of being a passable retail release by the time interest in it has almost completely faded. So for me the appeal of H1Z1 isn’t so much a more casual DayZ as it is a DayZ that might be a functional product sometime in the near future. I can’t really agree with the “we’ve already got DayZ” sentiment because we haven’t really got DayZ; just an expensive alpha test that probably has another year at the very least before it can be called an actual release with a straight face. I haven’t played H1Z1 yet because it’s gonna take a lot to convince me to touch anything labelled “early access” with a 10 foot pole, but it’s at least good to see someone else taking a shot at a really promising and popular genre that has yet to see even a single game that is actually complete.

    • flashlight_eyes says:

      pretty much this. Seriously the zombies are so frustrating to try to fight, and the PVE when played to the highest Meta involves laying in the grass and taking pot shots at people. I want to love DayZ, but there rate of production is horrendous, and I look forward to 7 days to die taking the crown, as far as PVE goes.

    • Nokturnal says:

      I think one of the problems is people aren’t really aware of the development process with DayZ.
      Yes it has been in development since 2012 (late 2012, August I believe) but I doubt that was them seriously starting work from August 2012.
      The team had to be created and they had to decide whether they would simply update the mod or redevelop the engine and make the game they wanted. They went with the latter, this is why it is seemingly taking a long time.

      The other thing is people say ‘early-access’ as if all games under this banner are available in the same state. This is not the case.
      DayZ came into the world in a very, very early alpha stage. I think there were just a couple of weapons and everything else were placeholders. H1Z1 is built on their own engine, without the need to spend ages modifying it to do what they want. Not saying it’s H1Z1’s fault they are better off, but it needs to be noted that they are in different stages.

      Things such as the zombies being more or less placeholders, people being easily able to exploit loopholes with scripts and the rampant duping, are all intentionally not the priority because Alpha, for DayZ anyway, is the time where content is added and the engine updated.

      There is no reason they should focus on fixing bugs when there’s a high chance that the work will be undone when you add the next major feature. The major bugs are dealt with, the many many, many…minor bugs are ignored.
      Alpha is when they add all the major content, new features, weapons/gear, improved AI, advanced vehicles/wildlife/player behaviour, air units etc..
      Then Beta will be the time when they focus more on the bug squashing and cracking down on cheating.
      Beta is scheduled for Q4 of 2015.

      Now that said, I have to take disagree with the ‘borders on unplayable’ comment. I have not encountered any game breaking bugs myself, a few issues where I lost an item I dropped for a moment to pick up another but I can’t think of much else. If the game was so unplayable we wouldn’t be able to point to hundreds of people with thousands of hours play time each.
      People don’t play a broken game. A game with issues, yeah some people will be able to overlook them and enjoy themselves but not if it were borderline unplayable.
      Additionally, DayZ doesn’t pretend is has no issues. The devs themselves even tell you not to buy the game!

      “I see this question asked a lot, so I figured I could answer this from my perspective – and pin it.

      In short, during Early Access? No.”
      That’s from Producer Brian Hicks.

      They want people who buy the game to recognise the early stage the game is in and have patience.
      They go one step further, when you log in to the game you are presented with yet another warning.

      Who else does this?…

      So far as I can see, things that they have promised (and given deadlines to) have been delivered.
      They said we’d get vehicles, we got them. They said we’d get new weapons and gear, we’ve got them.
      They said we would be able to grow vegetables, we can now.
      They said that we would get an improved AI and better anti-cheating/duping fixes and we shall see if that’s delivered with the next patch…

      I think DayZ has a bad reputation because it was the first (proper) game in this genre to be out of the gate and people look to it as being the longest in development and then expect it to be more complete. Whilst ignoring the clearly stated and widely available to read roadmap.
      People should also look to the company creating it…Bohemia Interactive are far from incompetent and have one of the best reputations in the industry when it comes to looking after their customers.
      ARMA (original) was released in late 2006. It got a patch 5 years after that…Again, who else does this?
      Their games live on long after their release and continue to get support from the devs. If we have to wait a while for the finished game, so be it.

      H1Z1 is to DayZ what Battlefield is to ARMA. It will always have a place as will DayZ. I think people should stop comparing the two and instead look at reasons why they can co-exist.
      You can jump into H1Z1 and meet up with your friends easily, you can gear up easily, you can have full blown clan battles, again, easily. With DayZ it may take you an hour or more to meet up with your friends. You might be playing for a few days before you feel ‘fully geared’. As for clan battles, I don’t think there have been many yet…

      TL:DR – DayZ is almost a year away from Beta.
      Check the developer’s roadmap for DayZ before wondering why it’s so far from completion. It’s all intentional, as annoying as that is.

      I have less than 50hrs on DayZ – I am no ‘fanboy’ of DayZ. I am a fan of Bohemia I have faith in them and so should others. If you’ve already bought into the game you have nothing to lose, just check it out again in a year.

      • JimboHooN says:

        DayZ SA has always had a lot of potential, unfortunately Bohemia Interactive are making it with a bastardized Arma engine and as far as I can tell they’re a company that couldn’t put out a polished finished product if it tried ( See all Arma games).
        But DayZ is awesome / terrible at the same time imo, if only it was on a half decent engine with a team who we hadn’t given tens of millions of pounds to for a game they haven’t even finished….
        Personally H1z1 replaces DayZ for me hands down, it plays sooooo much better than DayZ and its only been out a few weeks! Take note DayZ devs, buck your ideas up…. oh wait you’ve already been paid… fool us….

  7. shrieki says:

    the best is when it starts to rain- the atmosphere is really cool with the rain drumming on the roof while you are rummaging through cupboards…zombies roaming about. when they make the zombies break down doors etc this will be really sweet- even” just in pve”… i like pve.its guilty pleasure :D

  8. flashlight_eyes says:

    I really really like seven days to die with just a couple of friends, and find the zombie AI/survival mechanics to be about perfect, only problem with it is that it pretty much lacks a soul, seriously those people need some creative designers stat. There is also no real end game, or anything much to do once you have a nice base set up with decent weapons.
    Can anyone that has played both 7 days to die and this game give me a rundown of the plusses and minuses of the two?

    • DarkMalice says:

      +Base building
      +Crafting/recipe system
      +Scary & dangerous zombies: not plain annoying (DayZ) or ridiculously easy to avoid (7Days)
      +Hunting wildlife
      +PvP & PvE servers with no admin abuse from kids hosting them
      +No hackers who can see everyones base location (this kills 7Days for me)
      +Battle Royale mode servers for the deathmatch mode of play

      -Alpha, bugs
      -Loot balance is swinging from one extreme to the other right now (I expect that to be sorted within a couple of weeks though)
      -No mining!
      -No terraforming!
      -Craft system incomplete
      -Weapon balance was nice and rare, but now it’s a bit too common (guns/ammo). The dev intention, from what I have read, is to sway it into the ‘rare’ balance once more.

      As a huge fan of 7Days, a past fan of DayZ and a person who loves the survival aspect over deathmatches, I’d say it’s certainly worth consideration. I
      ‘m loving my little base in the woods; hunting deer, trapping rabbits; venturing now and again into town to scavenge metal whilst avoiding marauding pairs of survivors and head-shotting zombies with my bow. Yet to find myself a vehicle to fix up.

  9. Darth Grabass says:

    “Right now, H1Z1 is profoundly unoriginal…”

    I’m enjoying it, but I’ve been following the dev streams for a while now, and the common theme across the board is a distinct lack of creativity. From the predictable “easter egg” references (e.g. Romero’s Supermarket) to the entirely unimaginative map layout, there’s nary an original idea to be found.

    What I find most interesting at the moment is that the dev’s stated vision for the game and the current reality couldn’t be more different. You can go back to pre-release streams and see the creative director becoming increasingly exasperated by guest streamers who kill on sight, but join any random server at the moment and it’s a PvP battle arena with the pace of an Unreal Tournament match.

    While watching the lead up to early release, I feared that nobody on the team was actually thinking about their overall vision for the game. Every now and then, somebody would say something about how they were going to keep guns super rare and that kos wouldn’t be a problem, but they clearly didn’t think any of that through. They presented this as a game that would be shaped by community input, but I don’t think they anticipated the community they got.

    • laijka says:

      That sums it all up pretty nicely.

      I’m actually kind of concerned about the direction they’re taking the game in. Even if it is a bit early to really see, it doesn’t feel like they are following what they initially set out to do.

      Doesn’t help that Smedley goes out to say he doesn’t think of the game as an MMO while they have MMO plastered all over the place on Steamstore, their own website etc.

      • Darth Grabass says:

        Yes, the fact that the devs can’t even settle on basic conceptual points is a clear indicator that there’s no coherent creative vision behind the game. For instance, when they first went public, they established that the game takes place 15 years after the collapse of society, and then they began designing the world to reflect that. After a month or so of people on their reddit forum complaining that there wouldn’t be enough loot with that timeline, the devs began saying that the game would take place 3 or 4 weeks after the collapse. So then they began designing loot and working vehicles with that timeline in mind. Their world design and their loot levels are now at odds with each other, and if you ask them about the setting now, they will say that they are still undecided about when exactly the game takes place.

        • Bone says:

          I’ve always heard weeks to months, and they were very open about the fact that it would be more difficult to make the assets look old and overgrown and I’m fine with that. I don’t understand if folks want them to do something totally different to other Z-MMOs or just a more fictional or realistic art style? More locations and different buildings? Sure those are in the making. I think Zombie AI capabilities go a long way to make this game the first immersive AND massive zombie MMO that is actually any good. They have to cope with the server side lag to make the zeds more responsive and tweak how they spawn and act as a horde, and this will be great I’m sure. Diversify the loot and add locations like hospitals, schools, overrun military outposts. There’s tons of reasons to be excited for this (and it’s OK to like it!).

        • laijka says:

          That lore change really disappointed me. The 15 years after felt like a breath of fresh air. Having to rely more on hunting/gathering/farming/crafting for supplies than looting. But I can see why the changed it.

          It’s going to be interesting where they end up with this. If they can make the “hardcore zombie survival MMO” they set out to do or if it will end up a slightly more polished version of WarZ (which currently is the closest game to it imo).

  10. racccoon says:

    I’ll wait for its release! thanks for the info though. :) enjoy

  11. fish99 says:

    I wish Planetside 2 did have a few hundred thousand players…

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      *sarcasm detector failed to load*

      You mean you’re finding the servers rather empty or on the contrary the battles too crowded? It’s a really honest question, i just played some games at release and i wouldn’t know.

      • fish99 says:

        Neither, I just wish it had a few hundred thousand active players, for many reasons. Firstly because it’s a good game and I wish it was more successful, but also because the amount of resources SOE will assign to continued development of the game will be roughly proportional to the size of the playerbase, so as it’s down to just 5 severs now, development has slowed and the game is kinda doomed to a slow death.

        100K people did try it that first weekend after launch, but most of them moved on quickly due to the games’ poor optimization (now fixed but sadly too late).

  12. Contrafibularity says:

    Incidentally, could anyone report on DayZ’s progress towards becoming something half-playable? I am just about failing to understand exactly why playing the mod version was fun, largely bug-free, stable, had virtually zero lag or disconnects, zombies that didn’t glitch-lag-teleport all over the place etc., and worthwhile gameplay loops that allowed people to actually team up once in a while – when the DayZ standalone, at least when I played it a year ago and a few months ago, was a complete and total mess on all fronts.

    I get that they’re adding and testing features. I don’t get how so many people are playing it? Assuming a million+ people are not voluntarily testing it? How do they kill zombies which due to server lag become some sort of ghostly ethereal beings (also immortal)? How do they not get disconnected every 10-20 minutes? How to find a server which doesn’t seem like it’s running on a 300Mhz Pentium? How hard would it be to create a half-way decent or functional UI? What the fuck is happening with this game? Please, someone tell me it’s now progressing in the right direction.

    • Nokturnal says:

      Wall(s..) of text incoming..
      It’s entirely playable. If you want features that aren’t there yet, then of course it is not…But considering it has on average 15k people playing it at any given time, you can safely assume the game is playable from a content/bug level perspective. They’re not sitting there twiddling their thumbs for hours.
      There are groups of people playing together, forming alliances to protect sectors. A friend of mine organised 10-20 people to protect the North from bandits on some well known server.
      Others help ‘bambies’ (bambis?) and just generally work together to survive and have someone to chat with on the journey.
      Of course there’s also probably 13k of those people who are being dicks killing any/all on sight. And a further 500 or so who are cheating and using scripts but hey, what can you do?..

      There is also, as I discovered the other day, a rather large RP scene coming into play. A friend signed up and the process requires them to make their own backstory and stay in character all the time. Nobody kills for no reason there, a very nice idea and hopefully we see more servers pushing certain types of gampelay.

      You get out of it what you put in. As stated earlier I’ve not even hit 50hrs yet but have enough enjoyable experiences from that to show me that it’s a game worth keeping on my radar. That said, I personally don’t have the time for it currently and have moved to easy to pick up and play games. (Work/home life take over frequently).

      Now as for why the standalone is not working like the mod – It’s an entirely new engine. Not just because it used a more updated A2 engine (2.5, the Take on Helicopters engine) but because it’s had chunks taken out and replaced with their own. They built up the engine, which was the main project for over a year, to allow them to do what they want without it feeling/looking so buggy and awkward as it does in the mod. Chopping trees down and producing bullet ricochet sounds for example..

      They decided long ago that it would not be just the mod remade and with a price tag. This confused a lot of people who bought early on. But hey, at least you’ve got the game now. Just ride out the ‘storm’ that is the development cycle.

      You complain about zombies, but also mention you haven’t played it since it’s release? That’s quite unfair. Zombies ‘work’ fine and are either a competent foe or easily dispatched depending on your skill level and weapons available.
      I’ve been chased around town while a new spawn more times than I care to mention. Others say you can batter them to death but I’m no good with the fists. (Melee combat is still being worked on apparently).

      Servers run fine, I’m in the UK and can pick from dozens of servers giving me under 100 ping, with the only lag coming from my own end.

      The UI is indeed an issue. I personally hate the action menu system and have done since ARMA days, even in A3 they’ve not fixed or given us something better…
      The inventory thing in DayZ is…Well sloppy, but better than what was in the mod. I’m sure it’ll be in the Beta list of things to fix as it’s not ‘broken’ it’s just, well…shit.

      I am not the person to say whether it’s going in the right direction. I refer to my limited experience in game. But I do try to follow the news and I think they are staying true to their plans of a 3year development period which is something.
      Beta comes at the end of this year so if you want to avoid the annoyances of bugs being overlooked and features being added that may break the game, I would suggest waiting for 2016 before trying it again seriously.
      If I had the time to spare running around for hours I would be playing it.

      I hope none of that came off as offensive or cheeky – One thing I REALLY hate about DayZ is the community and if possible I’d like to not seem just like the rest.

      • Contrafibularity says:

        That’s great to hear! This warrants another download then. Actually like I said in my post I have tried playing the standalone numerous times, but it was just too broken to play (by contrast I played the mod for many many hours) since getting spotted by a single zombie basically meant being chased by an ethereal being made immortal by server lag (you know, glitching all over the place). And usually within minutes it would then disconnect and I would somehow wake up on the beach once more despite not even getting hit (what with the panicked running from the immortal glitching zombies). I don’t mind playtesting but that was ridiculous and over the course of the last year it didn’t improve, or I just had some terrible luck picking the two dozen worst servers or something.

        Anyhoo, I’m downloading it again and will give it another try, thanks much for your wall o’ text! :)

      • ez2slip says:

        yo man i agree dayz is one of the worst mod games to go to a full game ever made! i log in to do some pvp i get a gun and i shoot at a guy thats in front of me right in the head. it kills him but it takes 15-20 sec to see if hes dead or notcuz dayz is to damn clumpy maybe dayz will be good if they learn how to make it as smooth as h1z1.

  13. no1funkydude says:

    If i was to just pick one of these recent Zombie games which should i choose?

    • fish99 says:

      If you want single player I’d go with Dying Light if your system is up for it.

    • laijka says:

      If I had to pick one and only one zombie game I’d go with Project Zomboid.

  14. geldonyetich says:

    Prior to reading this, I didn’t even know H1Z1 had a PvE mode, so now there’s hope I might play it after all.

    Sure, call me a carebear if you crave tickling your testosterone production mechanisms by doing so, but what I would call myself is a gamer. Getting repeatedly ganked by griefers who enjoy griefing more than the game tells me this is not a good game. It does so in the same way getting repeatedly wet underscores it might be raining; it’s a clear cause and effect relationship. The obvious lack of quality gameplay, more than the ganking it produces, is what causes me to bounce off this whole genre.

    If I sound a little passive aggressive here, it’s because I would love to play a game with the kind of immersion and virtual world consequences these games are reaching for. But these unmitigated gankfests feel like they’re a step in the wrong direction. Most DayZ games suffer from this, they’re just giant rugby piles of schadenfreude and the degenerate narcissists who love them. H1Z1 got immediately shoved in my, “Never going to play” box because I knew that apple would not fall far from the tree.

    So H1Z1 has a PvE mode, and borrows liberally from Minecraft? Great, it has a chance, sounds like there might be some decent gameplay in there. It has moved from the “Never going to play” box to the “Now considering if this early access game may actually be worth investigating if I can find the time” box.

    What’s stopping me is the knowledge that I’m pretty sure a lot of the griefers from the PvP mode will come over to do as much damage as they possibly can in the PvE mode just because this formula of game attracts them like flies on excrement. In few situations does that scatological analogy apply quite as well, as the “flies” in this case are players buzzing around like the single-minded opportunistic vultures flies are in real life, and the “excrement” is a game concept that never really worked. Maybe they should put in a completely solo mode, making it even more like Minecraft, as it will probably smell a lot better to me in a vacuum.

  15. jimmbo506 says:



    • DarKlFatE says:

      Agree with you jimmbo506, dayz is now far far far to be a playable game. Hackers everywhere, lag´s as hell, the server is always desinc with your character, 1 year of bs, to finish last year givin some hope to us, they give us a useless truck, tents that are always wiped, bad loot respawn, invisible helicrash… Dude, fuck dayz, let´s stop letting this ##@$@!% ruin our fun, at least in H1Z1 I can have fun.

  16. Roach1985 says:

    Unless the games are finished and polished products all these alpha funded projects are pretty much the same, crap to play, and bugged like hell. Dayz will never be finished and H1z1 looks like it came out in 2005 enough said these two are in a pissing contest with each other and we are the fools funding their geeky energy drinks. Let them COMPLETE something, maybe then we will have something to talk about. :)

  17. Dethangil says:

    I would say that the game has one problem…but that would be a lie. But if they figured out this one problem it would probably allow for more progress.

    The engine that it is built on is crap. Couldn’t tell you the name of it.. I don’t really care.. but I think that is it.

    What the problem isn’t money availability. They say they have sold some 3,000,000 at roughly $29 (what I paid).. give or take. I played a lot of hours so I am not complaining about not getting my money’s worth. Just can’t get over running for that smoking column on the distance.. if H1Z1 gets that.. I am never coming back.

    Good thing for them is that they have those chairs made out of four foot high stacks of crisp $100’s drinking beer while making Eastern Suppressors that don’t fit on most of the Eastern long weapons or pistols, dresses, trucks that act like they are made out of papermache (mostly because that is what people bitched the most about), derringer pistols (why?), and Steyr Augs that can’t be painted and come with (what seems like) 1.5-2x scopes. That is what I would do..drink beer. This allows them to continue to make money (sucking more people in), say they are making progress (which they are..barely), and drink copious amounts of beer while contemplating the next torture device over, say.. fixing things they know are broke.. or knowing they can’t because the engine is terrible. We needed cannibalism didn’t we… sure we did, not crafting, or more reasonable weapons like SVD’s or M40s (hey, they have NATO helicopters).. nope we needed to be able to tie people up with guts. Yeah us…

    They need a damn project manager and need to overhaul their engine. Do it now.. apologize to the masses and just do it now..

    Only reason I am playing it is H1Z1 is down for server maintenance.

    • Dethangil says:

      Also I like beer.. I don’t like that some weapons can’t be draped with the almost impossible to find fishing nets. Coincidentally, the US Army has/does makes Ghillie suits using those camo nets that are stretched out in the “Tent City” base camp. Just saying..