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I will start off by admitting that I am not a PC gamer. I don’t particularly enjoy first person or zombie based games, but there was something about H1Z1 that caught my eye. The open sandbox style with the day to night changes, as well as the eating and drinking for survival mechanics while nothing new, are certainly underused, so I decided to go all in on my immersive zombie experience.

It’s very much still in its alpha stage and some of the more hilarious bugs such as zombies stuck motionless in the air, zombies running through and getting caught in the walls of caravans as well as the way that crates had a tendency to be smashed to pieces before miraculously popping back into reality could all be easily forgiven. None of this was game breaking and was sort of charming in the way Goat Simulator is.

I had read about all the fun you can have punching people to death as you start out with little more than the clothes on your back and your wits, but my first couple attempts at gameplay were met with eons of loneliness. Sure I punched a wolf to death, but where is the fun in that if you don’t have the simple things, like someone to share the moment with, or a way to harvest its meat.

h1z1

H1Z1 though does contain one of my pet peeves: it doesn’t pause in menu. When I was looking at the controls or messing around in the inventory, which I will admit I probably did more than the average player might, I would find myself attacked by one of the slowest zombies in video game history and as such have to spend 5 minutes out running him before going back. I did at one point pick up a really sweet axe and machete which made the zombie hacking so much more blissful, but then I bitterly lost them both as I died of starvation because I didn’t figure out you had to right click things to eat them fast enough.

On three occasions I had to wait at least 25 minutes to get into a server but it was a pain I didn’t mind enduring as I hungered for human contact. The first instance was met with bitter disappointment as I spawned into yet another empty forest. However, it was in my second server while searching an abandoned home depot that suddenly my speakers burst into life.

“Hello” shouted a voice over the oceans. There was someone here another player, what would we do, what adventures would be go on. Then for no good reason he shot me, I ran, and what ensued was a 10 minute sequence of him chasing me through the forest screaming much like many movie psychopaths “Stop running boooooooyyyy, you’re only making it harder booooyyyy” over and over. I was hoping benevolent sexism would save me here but sadly my laptop microphone was too quiet for him to hear my girlish screams of annoyance until finally he caught up and stabbed me to death.h1z1 game

On one server with my new character “sugerbumms” I did find a small band ofhelpful people and we bounced around gleefully punching zombies to death together until I looked at the inventory and they disappeared. I spent the rest of my time on that server getting shot, punched and generally smacked outby other in game players for no reason other than they were bored and looking for something to do.

I only played about a few hours of H1Z1 and I think that was about enough for me and the alpha. I certainly believe that it has a lot of potential to be something special, but it’s just not there yet. There were 2 things that I think H1Z1 needs to attend to before all else and it wasn’t even the 25 minute server wait time. While the in game micro-transactions were not completely intrusive, I could see the air-drop option conspicuously in the bottom left corner on the inventory screen, and knowing air-drops attract players, in the depths of my loneliness I was tempted to click it just to feel the warm rush of human communication.

The second was the problem of everyone simply killing each other instead of banding together to hopefully survive longer. Zombies are slow, sparse and can be easily outran or punched to death and as such there is no need to band together against the common evil. I understand that they wanted to create a more realistic playing experience, but in my personal opinion a few objectives placed in the game here and there could prevent all the person on person killings that seem to have completely overrun the gameplay.

Keep an eye on H1Z1 as it might just become something really good but it’s not just yet.

Disclosure: TechRaptor’s copy of H1Z1 was provided complimentary of the developers.


Georgina Young

Contributor

British girl, currently in Japan. Surviving on a diet of retro games. Worshiping the god that is the Sega Megadrive. I like Nintendo.



  • I’d be okay with Airdrops being a microtransaction if there were an alternative way to acquire them in game. Perhaps as loot on randomly spawned military zombies / fallen soldiers. That or as part of a quest/mission. This games holds a lot of potential that it has every chance of squandering. As SoE has done many a time in the past.

  • CB

    “I will start off by admitting that I am not a PC gamer.”

    But you can be. You just have to believe.

  • Elmar Bijlsma

    Welcome to the shoot on sight mentality that pervades all these survival games.
    And the worst thing is that before very long you will do the same, after yet another act of kindness and faith in your fellow survivors results in your murder.
    Oh, that fun moment where you save a guy, heal him, feed him, gear him up a little and after some time adventuring together you find him a decent gun and ammo… and he kills you with it within 10 seconds.

  • Gasbandit

    Georgina Young: The Bambiest Bambi.

  • Jake Martinez

    The problem with open world games that allow for PvP is that they never have harsh penalties for engaging in anti-social behavior, so people will treat it like they do a single player game – the other players are just “mobs” with a slightly better (or in some cases worse) A.I. system.

    The real world handles this by both having “Permanent Death” (ahem) as well as Police and a Criminal Justice system. Basically, consequences for engaging in anti-social behavior. It doesn’t stop everyone, but it stops enough people that the rest of us can get on with our business.

    Games like this really ought not to have PvP except in special modes (matches) or they need to make it so that there are real consequences for being anti-social (Who wants to play an anti-social social game?) otherwise people will probably get bored with it.

    Because let’s face it, the PvP is done well when it’s done in a match setting where people are balanced against each other and competitive. Otherwise it’s just greifing. I’ll enjoy even a lopsided match in a “Pay to Win” game like Neverwinter Nights because the experience has been tuned that way. Open world PvP is hardly ever tuned in a way where it’s enjoyable and challenging (and it might not even be able to be, I can’t recall a single game with complete open PvP that didn’t devolve into a clusterfuck)

    Maybe H1Z1 will prove me wrong on this, but so far it’s not looking good.

  • Nick

    Completely agree with this. Open world games that incorporate PvP need to have a huge wake-up and re-envisioning. Instead of just dumping people in and letting them kill each other they need to provide rewards for working as a team and penalties for trying to kill everything you see.

  • Toastrider

    Yeah, that mentality isn’t new. Show of hands: who here played on a MUD with any kind of PvP functionality?