Official Site: H1Z1
Studio: SOE, now Daybreak Game Company
Launch Date: January 15, 2015 (Early Access)
Genre: Post-Apoc Survival Sandbox
Business Model: B2P (Cash Shop)
Platform: PC

Massively OP Podcast Episode 161: Project power

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin roll up their sleeves and take on projects left and right. It’s a look at the announcement of Project C and the imminent early access launch of Project Gorgon, among many other exciting developments this week!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Massively Overthinking: Is battle royale a fad?

This week in Massively Overthinking, I want to talk about something out on the fringes of our genre: battle royale games. We’ve been watching BR take off, first with H1Z1, then the explosion of PUBG last summer and fall, and now Fortnite has taken the crown, becoming even more popular and raking in even more money, at least on console and potentially overall. And yet less than a year ago, we were embracing Fortnite as a PvE building game – see how blazingly fast Epic pivoted to catch this trend? I remember when PUBG started to plateau in the west even as it continued it climb in China, and I wondered then whether anything could ever dethrone it – and I have to say, I didn’t think it would be Fortnite.

So let’s talk about battle royale. Is it bleeding an online subgenre – MMOs, shooters, MOBAs, or survival sandboxes, or is it just something everyone’s tacked on top of existing gameplay? How will mobile keep up? And most importantly, is it a fad that’s destined to eventually fade away, or is it here to stay?

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H1Z1 is finally going free-to-play

Remember way back in the long, long ago, before H1Z1 hit early access, split, reconstituted, renamed, didn’t launch, aborted a console port, and all those shenanigans? You know, back when the game was planned as a free-to-play title, but it didn’t happen?

Now it’s happened.

Following the official launch of H1Z1 (the battle royale half) last week, Daybreak has formally announced that it’s going free-to-play. Today. There are brand-new buyable packs on Steam running up to 100 bucks, but they are at least technically optional.

Readers will recall that the game has appeared to be struggling on Steam over the past half year as other battle royale games picked up players; as of February, the game had apparently lost 90% of its playerbase since last summer, presumable to the likes of PUBG and Fortnite, the latter of which launched free.

The zombie sandbox half of the game, Just Survive, hasn’t made any free-to-play announcement yet.

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Betawatch: Camelot Unchained is working for its beta on July 4 (March 2, 2018)

After a lengthy wait, the first beta for Camelot Unchained is here at last! That’s what we’ll be saying in about a hundred days, because that beta doesn’t actually start until July 4th, but there’s a lot of work being done in the ramp-up for that beta. So now we have a bit of time to kill until then. Who’s up for Scrabble?

Meanwhile, we bid farewell to H1Z1, as the game… technically launched? It’s kind of ambiguous. We’ll go with a launch. Get out of here, H1Z1. Let’s get on with other beta news.

Below us, the list of games we have in testing can also kneel in deference. You, dear readers, can just look through the list at your leisure. Do let us know if something is on there that ought to be listed differently, though, or if there’s something else awry. We appreciate it.

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H1Z1 has launched after three years of early access with a ‘massive’ patch

If you bought the rumors and teases last week that H1Z1, the artist formerly known as King of the Kill, was about to launch, then congrats: You bought the real deal. If you thought there would be a huge marketing push with lots of hoopla after three years of early access and an aborted launch two summers ago… now there I will be disappointing you.

Yes, the battle royale half of the original H1Z1 has technically launched today, shedding its early access tag and emblazoning a new February 28, 2018, launch date on its Steam portal. It’s still got its $19.99 pricetag, however.

Daybreak is capping off the stealth-launch with a totally not stealthy and in fact respectably massive patch to bring the game up to version one and season one; expect the planned spawn changes, combat balancing, way better match rewards, tweaks to account leveling, UI upgrades, and the new scoring model that ditches the high-kills scoring method and instead takes into account top 10 games, average placement, and kills. The studio also announced Auto Royale today if you’d prefer to with cars.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 159: Panda punching

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin dive into deep mysteries, get ready for a slice of RIFT Prime, and once again try to figure out just what the heck Daybreak is doing with its H1Z1 franchise. Also, BREE SINGS. It’s as amazing as you always imagined.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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The Daily Grind: Given H1Z1’s plight, are you worried about Daybreak?

Last week, it became clear that H1Z1 has forfeited a ton of ground in the battle over battle royale games as it’s lost 90% of its Steam playerbase since July. Now, I’m gonna be honest: I don’t really care about H1Z1 for its own sake. Even if the game didn’t make me internally cringe at the “Star Wars Galaxies fans can come home” silliness, I really dislike zombie settings, I find battle royale modes dull, and the game has been a mess for years, with missed launches, missed ports, and more marketing do-overs and renames than I can shake a sawed-off shotgun at.

But I’ve nevertheless had the impression that H1Z1 was propping up Daybreak quite a lot, which made it hard to bear it any ill will. It really was a popular game on Steam for the last few years and had to have made quite a bit of dough. We’ve already noted this year that Daybreak’s down to a bare handful of titles, and I have to wonder whether DC Universe Online’s console crowd, the vets stretched thin over the EverQuest and PlanetSide franchises, and the Standing Stone publishing hustle are enough.

Are you worried about Daybreak?

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Betawatch: Where have all the H1Z1 players gone? (February 23, 2018)

Oh, the many antics of H1Z1 have brought us so much joy over the years. Remember when the game launched into paid early access that it never seemed to leave? And remember when it got split into two games to chase the success of its unexpectedly popular battle royale version? And remember when it lost 90% of its players since July once there were competitors for that gameplay style? Ah, memories. Well, that’s all of them. Given all of that, maybe it makes sense that the game is at least approaching launch now… probably.

Do we have other beta news this week? You bet your sweet bippy we do, and much of it has significantly less schadenfreude.

And, of course, there’s a whole list of games down below, games that are forever in testing and those that are just in testing for the moment. Is something on there that ought not be any longer? Do let us know so we can correct it. Or just share beta stories in the comments, that’d be cool too.

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Rumor: H1Z1 may finally be launching; the ‘royalty showdown’ begins today

Yesterday, in our report on H1Z1’s plummeting player numbers since the onslaught from PUBG and Fortnite, we mentioned that the game’s launch, once planned for 2016, had been canceled and indefinitely delayed. And Daybreak didn’t launch it in late 2017, when it split the game’s branding.

But Daybreak may be preparing for a real launch at last. Friend of the site Babagra.pl pointed out to us that during Friday’s livestream, Daybreak showed off a season one screen and suggested there “won’t be any more pre-seasons.” That could just be a segue into the “Royalty Showdown” event that’s going on today, as the top 75 players from the 7th preseason will compete (the first event starts today at 1 p.m. EST). Or it could mean the game is finally preparing to launch.

In the meantime, the studio’s just rolled out a ton of big changes to the test server, including pre-match spawn selection timeouts, full-heal consumables, and new loot crate rewards for winning matches.

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Daybreak’s zombie battle royale game H1Z1 has lost 90% of its playerbase since July

Polygon has a report out this afternoon sourcing data aggregator GitHyp, both of which are casting doubt on H1Z1’s future viability as a game and as a professional e-sport.

Daybreak-watchers will recall that last autumn, the MMO company dropped the King of the Kill branding from H1Z1 and the H1Z1 branding from Just Survive, splitting the two games up amidst a push for a China launch and a new pro league. In October 2017, we were already eyeing H1Z1’s falling playerbase numbers in comparison to PlayerUnknown’s Battleground’s meteoric rise – even at the time, H1Z1’s peak concurrency had fallen a full third since August.

That trend has unfortunately continued, according to GitHyp, which now says the game has lost 91% of its players since its July peak. Steam Charts suggests the drop-off is almost that bad too.

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The MOP Up: Black Desert’s Ninja arrives in Southeast Asia (February 11, 2018)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Vendetta OnlineWorlds AdriftMonster Hunter WorldHellionRustSkyforgeBlade and SoulPortal KnightsFinal Fantasy XIDreadnoughtPUBGHyper UniverseCrossoutBlack DesertDark and LightH1Z1DauntlessRobocraftFortniteWar of RightsCosmos InvictusUltima Online, and Vendetta Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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H1Z1 struggles to counter rapid player strafing

Well here is something that we learned today: the meaning of ENAS. If you’re not deep into the PvP shooter scene, the East North American Strafe is “a method of movement that involves moving your mouse back and forth rapidly while running forward and strafing to make yourself extremely difficult to be shot by other players” that is especially prevalent in H1Z1.

And because the developers see ENAS as straddling the line between skill play and exploit, they are attempting a solution to artificially counter it and level the playing field so everyone doesn’t look and act like jittery deer.

Daybreak’s fix here is a “movement modifier” that kicks in when a player starts juking the mouse rapidly. If the system detects rapid mouse movement (due to ENAS), it reduces a player’s speed and makes him or her easier to hit. Additionally, all movement speed in the game is being slightly lowered. The studio will be trying out this system and tweaking the penalty on the test server before bringing it over to live.

Source: H1Z1


Trademarks, copyrights, and patents: What they mean for you and for video games

Has the pace of news moved so quickly that we’ve already forgotten about Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene’s statement that video games lack any IP copyright protection? Because that was really ridiculous. Especially since what he was referring to was not actually even remotely related to copyright, but covered something that would be handled via patent. And even that wouldn’t have worked!

Of course, you can’t really blame him. By which I mean you can totally blame him, but it’s a common misconception that turns up time and again. People talk about copyright, trademark, and patent issues in the same general melange of “this company owns this,” and the thing is that they’re related terms and concepts that nevertheless mean very, very different things.

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