h1z1

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

Perfect Ten: A list of all the MMORPGs I supposedly hate

Did you know about all the MMOs I hate? I sure as heck didn’t! I mean, I knew there were a few games I hated (Scarlet Blade, Alganon) and some that I have pretty poor feelings toward for various reasons (Star Citizen, EVE Online, League of Legends, H1Z1: Kash of the Kow), but those are also games I discuss only in particular circumstances.

Yet thankfully, I have been informed over the near-decade of writing about MMOs that there are a number of games I thought I liked but that I do, in fact, hate. This was a surprise to me, but I think that for purposes of comprehension, it’s best for me to list for reference all the games that I apparently utterly despise. It’s all very confusing to me, but I’m confident that by sharing and making the occasional off-color joke, I’ll be able to decipher it all.

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Daybreak on H1Z1 and Just Survive: ‘It’s best to consider each game as a separate entity moving forward’

Gotta stop teasing Daybreak for a month: Just Survive, the actual zombie sandbox half of the H1Z1 salmagundi, is getting love. The latest patch includes a number of base changes, map updates, raiding adjustements, damage balancing, and more fixes for Badwater Canyon.

“In September 2017, the decision was made to move forward with a second shift, but in a far more familiar direction,” Daybreak explained yesterday. “That shift was developed in parallel with the recent update including Resolution Ridge, and is making its way to the Test Server today. With this new update, we will spend several weeks iterating the large adjustments we’ve made to the core game before this new direction is published to Live. Given the gravity of the changes it is important to test this at scale and get this content in front of our players for feedback as quickly as possible.”

The studio is also emphasizing that “it’s best to consider each game as a separate entity moving forward.”

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Massively Overthinking: The state of early access, alpha, and beta ‘testing’ in the MMO genre

I remember years ago when then-Massively-columnist Rubi Bayer let loose with a blistering rant on the state of faux beta MMOs. She helmed Betawatch back then, see, and she was fed up with (mostly imported) MMOs claiming to be in beta when in fact they’d soft-launched. A lot of readers didn’t understand her fury at the time, but boy have things changed, right? Now, every game’s in on that very old trick, only they call it early access now, while some are still pushing the boundaries, charging $1000 for pre-alpha.

MOP reader Pepperzine proposed a topic for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s right on point. “I was thinking it would be interesting if we could discuss when people consider a game to be in alpha/beta versus a final launch as a topic,” he wrote to us.

“Back in the day, this was easy to determine. Selective testers were extended invites into beta who were experienced testers who had the computer hardware to handle the software. The primary purpose of being in the testing phase was exactly that, to test and bug report. When the game was made available to the public at a price, a game was considered launched. Now, players are granted access to pre-launch titles by ‘donating’ or purchasing access. For the most part, the primary purpose of participating in the pre-launch experience for these players is not testing or bug reporting but rather to experience and play the game. The division of purchasing a game and donating to test has become so blurred that it is no longer a valid way of determining if a title is at a state to where it is launch ready. These titles can stay in this pre-launch phase for as long as they deem necessary, easily deflecting criticisms by reiterating it is still in development. So when do you consider a game to be launched? Is it when the producers declare it is? Is it when there is no longer the possibility of wipes? Is it when cash shop monetization is implemented? Is it as soon as the company begins selling access?”

Where’s the line in 2017? Let’s dig in.

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Betawatch: Closers Online’s alpha is totally open this weekend (October 20, 2017)

Welcome back to another edition of Betawatch, the game where literally everything is in early access forever. Except Closers, of course, which is open! I never get tired of that. Yes, Closers Online is running a fully open alpha this weekend, which I guess is what we do now when open beta is actually soft launch. Regardless, you can play it and check it out. What else happened in the world of eternal testing this past week? Let’s see…

  • Go Project Gorgon! It put your crowdfunding to work on a programmer to overhaul the in-testing UI.
  • OrbusVR kicked off its third round of closed beta testing. Backers could also take part in Dual Universe’s second pre-alpha, which begins tomorrowday.
  • Both Legends of Aria and Prosperous Universe put the wraps on their alpha testing.
  • Crowfall talked up its action harvesting, while Ship of Heroes went all pew-pew with lightning.
  • H1Z1 changed its name. Again. This is its third try and it’s still in early access! So is PUBG; it broke 2.3M concurrent players last weekend. Not too shabby.
  • Don’t get your hopes up about Star Citizen spinoff Squadron 42; it’s not launching this year. Star Citizen itself is still busy breaking alpha 3.0. But Bless Online is definitely coming (to us) in 2018!
  • Conan Exiles, on the other hand, will stay in testing an extra quarter.

Did we miss anything? Other than Eliot, who will be back in action next week? Send it along to us! And in the meantime, check out our ongoing list of MMOs-purporting-to-be-in-testing that we’re watching.

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H1Z1’s three-day $500K prize pool Invitational tourneys kick off right now

We may roll our eyes at H1Z1’s flip-flopping on names, gameplay splits, and apparent inability to actually launch, but there’s no doubt Daybreak is still putting money and effort into the game’s competitive community. This weekend’s H1Z1 Invitational, whose challenger qualifiers kick off at TwitchCon just as this piece goes live, will be followed by three more legs of the multi-part tourney all weekend. The kicker is the $500,000 prize pool, split over three tiers of play.

“The most watched event at TwitchCon since its debut in 2015 has returned bigger than ever with an overall prize pool of $500,000 and three action-packed tournaments. In anticipation of one of competitive gaming’s biggest showdowns, Daybreak has updated H1Z1’s look, simplifying both the in-game menus and the name. Moving forward, the game will be simply referred to as H1Z1.

We’re including the trailer (which is actually not as lame as you’d think) and the embed if you wanna watch along at home!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 140: Dubious drops in LOTRO, FFXIV, and SWTOR

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree navigate the dubious updates that dropped in several major MMOs (as well as a few other ones that seem to have gone off OK). It’s practically an all-patch, all-the-time show with the addition of a couple of interesting listener emails regarding accessibility and crafting!

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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H1Z1 has defeated its ‘King of the Kill’ branding in a last-man-standing battle royale

Looks like at least some of the rumors last week have proven true, as Daybreak is indeed removing the “King of the Kill” branding from H1Z1, meaning the battle royale half of the zombie survival sandbox is now getting the unified game’s original name free and clear.

You’ll recall that in 2016, Daybreak split H1Z1 into two separate games, H1Z1: King of the Kill and H1Z1: Just Survive; this past summer, the company dropped the “H1Z1” from Just Survive’s branding, cutting loose the survival sandbox half of the original split-apart game, and then it announced a pro league for H1Z1 just last week.

“Throughout development we’ve continued to define the vision for H1Z1, which is competitive at its core with fast-paced and action-packed combat,” Daybreak explains. “Over the past year, the game has grown by leaps and bounds in terms of both player base and development, so we thought it was time to evolve the game’s look to something that better represented the spirit of H1Z1 and the level of quality we aspire to. H1Z1 is also the name that our players connect with most, so it was just natural evolution for us to transition back. We’re also working to ensure that H1Z1 can be enjoyed by players around the world, and having the word ‘Kill’ in the name of the game can be limiting with some global audiences.”

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Betawatch: Wild West Online’s alpha just isn’t ready (October 13, 2017)

It’s not high noon in Wild West Online. It’s not any time at all, in fact. The game’s early access alpha would have established a time, probably, but that’s been delayed because… well, the game just isn’t ready for that sort of testing yet. Disappointing for those looking forward to the game? Certainly. But probably for the best in the long run, we hope.

This week has been thin in terms of beta news, but we’ve still got a few pieces here and there to show off, don’t we? Of course we do; check out this list.

Sorry there’s a little less news this week, but we do have that whole list down below; that’s something cool, right? You can let us know what you’re thinking about betas you’re playing in the comments, or you can let us know if something surreptitiously launched without us noticing as well. We would prefer that you not place your recipe for chili con carne in the comments; just mail that along.

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Rumor: H1Z1 is about to drop King of the Kill branding (and maybe it’s really launching)

Remember in 2016 when Daybreak split H1Z1 into two separate games, H1Z1: King of the Kill and H1Z1: Just Survive?

Remember back in August when Daybreak dropped the “H1Z1” from Just Survive’s branding, cutting loose the survival sandbox half of the original split-apart game?

And remember earlier this week when Daybreak announced a pro league for H1Z1 – without using the words King of the Kill?

Put that all together and you may be figuring that King of the Kill is about to get its own rebrand. Indeed, while it hasn’t been officially announced or confirmed, it seems backed up by a video pulled of a new splash screen on King of the Kill’s test server, which shows just the term H1Z1 by itself. Redditors are further speculating the game will finally go free-to-play, which was SOE’s original plan, though that was chucked overboard pretty early on.

Hey, while we’re making crazy predictions, maybe we can predict that the game will finally launch. Because it still hasn’t. That was slated for a year ago, but it (and its console port) was indefinitely delayed.

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Daybreak is launching a pro league for H1Z1 e-sports

If you were wondering what Daybreak is up to as we have been, wonder no more: It’s been putting together a pro league for H1Z1, which it is now characterizing as a “groundbreaking survival battle royale game.”

“Daybreak Games has partnered with Twin Galaxies, whose new Pro League Division will establish the H1Z1 Pro League for Daybreak’s fast-paced, last-man-standing game, H1Z1. The goal of the league is to create a sustainable esports ecosystem in partnership with teams for the benefit of H1Z1 players, viewers, and League partners. Focused on a ‘player-first’ approach, the H1Z1 Pro League will include a guaranteed player minimum salary, team owner and player representation on the governance committee, along with a comprehensive Player Bill of Rights and a well-defined revenue sharing model. The H1Z1 Pro League will launch its inaugural season in early 2018.”

The studio says it’ll form the league around 15 teams of 5 players that will come together in live 75-person matches over two 10-week splits next year. “There will be no fees or buy-in costs for teams to take part in the league,” Daybreak notes, “and teams will be selected through an application process that will begin this fall.”

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Leaderboard: Are you one of the 2M people playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds today?

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds just keeps on growing globally: It’s completely outstripped every other game on Steam in terms of concurrency, having now set a new record of 2M concurrent this weekend. As GIbiz points out, its closest competitor now is Valve’s own Dota 2, which saw 700K concurrency over the same period. That’s up a million for PUBG just since last month, with 13M copies sold to date. Oh, and did I mention it’s still in early access?

We’ve previously noted that the game is primarily pulling from the CSGO audience, but now it looks to be hitting the other top games too – H1Z1 especially, whose peak concurrency has dropped a full third since August – and I have a few guildies playing who normally play MMOs. How about you? Are you one of the 2M people playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds today? Let’s take it to a Leaderboard poll.

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H1Z1: King of the Kill tunes weapons and loot while introducing a new skirmish

Weapons in H1Z1: King of the Kill are pretty important. Without weapons, how will you ventilate other players (and enemies on the off chance you choose to do so)? So it’s probably for the best that they’ve received a tuning update with the latest patch, although you’ll note that most of the tuning in question means that bullets are more affected by recoil and fall off faster. That means you’ll have to get closer to your targets, and it also means you’ll want to take advantage of more loot-filled regions in hopes of getting onto the new leaderboards.

Of course, if you don’t feel like bothering with the difficult part of shooting people at shorter ranges, you could always take on the new Swagnum Opus skirmish. In that mode, you spawn with the powerful Swagnum gun and a single round for it. The good news is that one shot with the Swagnum kills whatever you hit; the bad news is, well, everyone else has one and you just have one bullet. Better get looting more ammo quickly if you want to take part and unlock the Air Guitar emote.

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Battle Bards Episode 106: Early access themes

Instead of looking back at MMORPGs this week, the crew of Battle Bards launches forward into early access! What would a show about music from MMOs that aren’t even officially out yet be like? We’re going to find out in this wild and woolly episode!

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 106: Early access themes (or download it) now:

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