PAX West 2017: A closer look at H1Z1 King of the Kill’s combat practice
I spoke with Daybreak Lead Systems Designer Tony Morton at PAX West about the recent combat update, and he showed off the upcoming combat practice feature.
“What we’re doing is system by system and segment by segment,” he told me. “We’re kind of gutting it; we’re starting over from scratch in a more systematic standpoint.”
At the end of August, King of the Kill received a combat update that included a number of quality-of-life improvements aimed at enhancing the gameplay and increasing the speed of the action for new players and veterans alike. Morton described these QoL changes as “a lot of little things [Daybreak is] doing to combat to increase the fluidity of combat and make it a lot easier and faster to play.”
The changes include a dynamic combat reticle to help new folks with aiming and a new camera view (both of which veteran players can revert right back to classic). Bullets now also have tracers to add a visual cue to where they go, which is even more helpful since bullet speeds were more than doubled. Morton explained this is intended to “make the game feel more snappy and more responsive.”
Additionally, the crafting panel has been merged with the inventory UI to speed up the whole process. A much-appreciated new feature is that players actually show up on the map as do their groupmates; add to that a more detailed compass that includes degrees and players won’t be wasting time trying to decipher where friends are. And speaking of the map, the distribution of the gas has changed, so battle can end anywhere on the map now and not just dead center every time.
Combat practice is a new feature that Morton said has been used internally for about six months, although it was being shown for the first time at PAX. It will be released to the game before the next major milestone, so within the next six weeks. Combat practice is a concentrated map (only 2km by 2km) meant to help players get back into the game after a long absence, introduce new players to the game, or even just provide a warm up for regular players.
“The idea behind it is you spawn in fully geared,” Morton told me. “You don’t need to scavenge for anything; you run around, you get some kills, and then if you get killed, you simply respawn and you are back in the action.” The whole point is to decrease the time it takes to get in on the action so you can get the feel for the gameplay — to practice without a lot of downtime. The small map is modeled after the main one to give a feel for the situations you may encounter. There is even a shooting range with distance markers to test out different guns.
On top of this, Morton also said that devs are working on removing some of the RNG from the loot distribution so that players don’t have to waste time scavenging in building after building looking for enough gear to start play. Instead, he explained, “you hit the ground, you hit a couple of buildings, you get what you need, and then you just get out into the fight. Because that’s the fun, the exciting part.”