I hope this doesn’t come off as much as a rant as it may…but I think it’s pretty well deserved if it does. Today, we’re going to be grading the current state of H1Z1, about a year after its initial release, I think it’s in enough of a state that we can render at least some criticism on it. Yes, the game is technically still in alpha. Yes, I understand that alpha means the development process is ongoing, but there are so many things wrong about H1Z1, and about the progress that has/hasn’t been made on it. We’re going to give it a grade, but remember, the grade may change depending on how the game develops.
To start, we’ll talk about the good things…well, what little there are. The graphics are great. The world is huge. It’s a bit of a walking simulator, but at the same time, it’s pretty cool to see your character skin out, dress up, and run around the world. Skins are very well designed, and offer a variety of looks for characters, so that you can feel the personality in your player. Most skins are offered through crates, and the crates provide a wide variety of themes. Some fit the zombie motif, while others are a bit wackier and meant to be fun. On top of this, it has a wide variety of locales to move in and out of, and a much better mapping system so that you always know where you are. With that out of the way…we’ll talk about the bad.
H1Z1 has been in a kind of development hell ever since the inception. Daybreak Games, the company that created H1Z1, was originally Sony online. After getting the axe from Sony (I can understand why, after this development cycle) most of their game became self managed properties. You may know them from games such as Everquest and DC Universe online. Before talking about the studio, we have to talk about Daybreak as a unit. Daybreak games is possibly one of the most inept, incompetent, and borderline brain dead companies that has ever graced the gaming industry. They are completely out of touch with their community, and due to the massive backlash, they’ve completely clammed up.
With an early access game, it’s hugely important to be vocal, and have weekly/thorough updates to your fanbase. H1Z1 started in controversy, with their air drop system, which basically allows you to call in supply packages bought with tickets that cost real world currency. It wasn’t a huge deal, as the crates didn’t make you altogether powerful. With that aside, the game WAS extremely fun, and although you ran into hackers on the public servers, lots of fun could still be had. Through the development of the game, Daybreak has managed to kill, maim, and then reanimate their game into the unfortunate Frankenstein monster that it is today.
H1Z1 has numerous problems, so, we’ll start from the top. The gunplay is abysmal. Aiming is extraordinarily difficult, at best. With time, you can become a pretty good marksman, but lag and latency plaguing the servers messes with your FOV and hit detection. Basically, the way it works is as follows: Player A sees Player B. Player A sees player B .5 seconds after Player B sees Player A. Even though Play B saw player A .5 seconds before Player A, Player A saw Player B’s model first, and shoots. On Player B’s screen, he saw the other person first, and has no idea why he died. This creates a hostility between the two, and so on, and so on. It’s a little complicated, but it basically breaks down to someone thinking they saw another player first, shooting, and then not understanding why they died, because of the lag that occurred in milliseconds.
Speaking of the playerbase, H1Z1 has one of the most toxic, disgusting communities that currently exists. The COD community is pretty perverse, harboring a pretty colorful cast of some of the worst human beings to grace the internet. Yet, if you really want to find some racist, trashy, and always offensive villains, you can find them on H1Z1. At first, it was a novelty. You would run away from zombies, and have villains that you would take on inbetween fighting the zombies. After a few hours of running into every single person being a heel, it starts to take the fun out of everything. Speaking of killing, the game has devolved into a zombie-less kill on sight free for all in which most of the players are either hackers or no clippers from China, or players that would never be able to get away with their vulgarity anywhere else.
H1Z1 was a game billed to be reminiscent of the Walking Dead. For many, it was the ultimate MMO experience. It was the idea of getting to play a Walking Dead-esque game and have a lot of fun doing it. For a while, that IS what it was. Once ammo crafting was entered into the mix however, the game became about bigger clans forcing out small groups and making the area uninhabitable. In fact, one clan can easily rule an entire server, and just kill every person that plays until they quit. They can hoard all vehicles (we’ll talk about those too) and keep the little guy down. I suppose some would argue that’s a basic mechanic, join or die. “If you don’t like it, go to a PVE server” and things of that nature are constantly said. Why should we have to though? Shouldn’t there be some semblance of balance in the game?
Bases are a joke. There are fifteen different ways to no clip or hack into anyone’s base, or the people that live on the game can simply sit on for fifteen hours and farm up IEDs, and then blow everything up to their hearts content, once again, killing off the little guys. In fact, this happens so frequently that the population of H1Z1 dips HEAVILY pre patch, as players wait for a wipe and head off to play better, more well made games. Speaking of no clipping and hacking, this is yet another reason Daybreak Games proves that they are inept. Part of me wanted to give them credit for contiuously trying to fix the hacks, yet, every fix that they implement breaks more things. This is common, but when patches break THE WHOLE GAME, what did you really patch?
Also, I’m baffled at the idea that they have a test server. A game in alpha…has a test server. Isn’t the whole point of the alpha to test things out and work out the bugs? If you’re going to parade a test server, and treat the game as a “LIVE version” for 20 dollars…doesn’t that mean the game is nearly done? Well, I’ll tell you this, this game is in a shabby state, and nowhere near to done. Oh, and let’s talk about them splitting up the modes for a moment. That was the most despicable, disgusting cash grab move I’ve ever seen a company pull.
Daybreak created a mode for the “main” survival base game. It was supposed to be a spin off mode for those who wanted to take a break from survival. This was called Battle Royale. What happened was that Battle Royale ended up being more fun, and more balanced than the base game. So what does Daybreak do? THEY SPLIT THEIR STAFF. Not only do they split their staff on a game that is STILL incredibly broken, they actually left the junior developers on the survival game. Why is this despicable? Basically, the survival game is what we all bought in for, and they decided to abandon it in favor of the Battle Royale. They’ve even said that Battle Royale will be finished far faster than Just Survive, and they have NO ESTIMATED RELEASE date for Just Survive, but King of The Kill (The BR spin off) has a release date. Also, both game are SEPARATELY $20.
On top of all this, the microtransactions have gotten out of control. We can’t expect any new guns, any new free skins, or any new vehicles. Rain, sleet, snow or shine, you can expect new SKINS. New CRATES that cost real world money, and then can be sold on the market place. Oh wait, no they can’t because if they did that, people would buy the skins and not the crates…so Daybreak said you can’t sell them anymore so they could make more money. Disgusting. Oh, and they also did an update that removed almost all zombies from the game and have yet to correct it.
Battle Royale is a death fest. You either die in thirty seconds to a random shot from nowhere, or live long enough to die to a hacker thirty seconds before the end of the game. It’s absolutely zero fun due to the shoddy and sloppy shooting mechanics and extremely laggy hit detection. Crafting a miserably tedious, and menus are clunky at best with minimal thought to player navigation. Oh, not to mention that a year and some change after its release, the game is still horrendously buggy.
So, what’s the final verdict? Daybreak is a greedy company that has killed their own game. There are almost NO English speaking players left anymore, most are hackers from other country. The company itself has changed leadership twice during the development project, and has managed to get hacked by an organization after their president mouthed off to them, compromising their customer’s security. The game is a sloppy mess with minimal support from its creators, and continues its trend of horrific microtransactions rather than genuine development. Patches break more than they fix, and shady business practices continue. If you haven’t already bought this game, DO NOT BUY THIS. If you have, play it to your heart’s content, but please consider not giving Daybreak another penny of your money, they’ve proven they can’t be trusted with it.
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