So maybe you weren't expecting SOE's vaunted Star Wars Galaxies spiritual successor to be an overtly DayZ-inspired zombie MMO called H1Z1. And maybe you're not exactly shaking the sand out of your old Tatooine-scouring boots in excitement. That's fair. But as far as these things go, SOE does seem to be kind of on the right track. CEO John Smedley isn't shamefully shambling (shamebling) away from DayZ comparisons, and he's tackling community complaints head-on. Case in point: the survival-obsessed masses are easily spooked by the notion of rampant nickel-and-diming, but Smedley assured Reddit's assembled hordes that SOE won't charge for anything that affects gameplay. Smedley gave a rundown of a how H1Z1 will function as an F2P offering, outlining six core pillars:
- We will be selling wearables. We felt like this will be a good, fair revenue generator. However - we recognize how important finding wearables in the world is so you'll be able to find and craft a lot of stuff. We agree that's something important. We've also come up with a pretty awesome idea to let players who kill other players loot stuff. So if a player has a black ski mask and gets killed by another player, that player can wear the ski mask for a few deaths (we have durability in the game. Station Cash wearables won't degrade at all but when you loot something, it will degrade. Please note the original player always keeps their SC purchased wearables.) This gives the great feeling of whacking some unsuspecting fool who decided to bring a knife to a gun fight.
- We will NOT be selling Guns, Ammo, Food, Water... i.e. That's kind of the whole game and it would suck in our opinion if we did that.
- Nor will we sell boosts that will impact #2.
- Emote Pack - of course we'll have the basics for free. But we felt like this is another good and fair revenue generator.
- Character slots - feels reasonable.
- Crates - You can find crates sometimes in game. They're filled with random cool stuff from the store. We're considering letting you see what's in them before you buy a key (ala Dota 2.). This idea isn't fully locked yet.
So basically, SOE's going all-in on the "no pay-to-win" thing, which is nice given that some F2P games claim as much only to muddy the water with the odd balance busting weapon or boost that turns the level curve from agonizing uphill climb to reasonably breezy stroll.
I'm still not sure if the world needs another post-apocalyptic survival sim, but SOE could be doing a whole lot worse here. Between this, an intriguing fire system, and servers that support thousands of players (instead of the 40-125-ish of DayZ and/or Rust), I'm certainly not ready to write H1Z1 off as a symptom of the epidemic that is rampant copycatting. Now if they'll just let me purchase the option to turn all zombies into anything else (but preferably something original like military men or palette-swapped ninja pirate zombies) then we might be onto something.