by Ewan Wilson
The launch of Sony's H1Z1 didn't go so well
H1Z1 is Sony Online Entertainment’s foray into the flourishing zombie-survival MMO genre. Or in other words, it’s them jumping on the, consistently rickety, Day Z band wagon. Of course, SOE have as large a history of ruining MMO’s as they have of making good ones, and so their Early Access excursion was bound to run into trouble eventually (or instantly in this case).
Launching last Thursday, the game had severe user authentication issues that kept players out of the game, players including high-profile YouTubers and Twitch streamers that Sony had rallied to feature its game. Despite having its team work deep into the night, Sony failed to fix all of the authentication problems until the next morning.
Beyond this, there was also the popular outcry over SOE’s sudden announcement of purchasable airdrops. Player’s are able to spend real money to order a randomised package of weapons and supplies to be dropped on their in-game position. Players have called this “pay to win”. This is despite previous statements by SOE saying that the game would only feature cosmetic-style microtransactions.
Sony are also arguing over whether the airdrop feature is really “pay to win”, pitching the airdrops as “world events” that other players can participate in. By participate they mean a player-bandit can ambush you on your way to the drop-off, shoot you in the head, and then take off with the goodies you just paid real money for.
Sony are offering a no-questions-asked refund for those who’ve been put off by the inclusion of airdrops – which is surprising considering no fewer than 3000 people have taken to Steam in order to trash the game with negative user reviews. That’s a lot of refunds! H1Z1’s launch has been a bit of a disaster, but things are sure to quiet down soon, with clearer-headed impressions to follow. Considering Day Z may well never be finished, I think H1Z1 may well carve out for itself a sizeable chunk of the budding janky-zombie game genre.