Earlier this week, Daybreak‘s John Smedley told H1Z1 fans about a metric that startled me: An awful lot of post-apoc gamers are annoyed with night cycles.
We had a very interesting report run just now. It shows a much higher percentage of people log out when it gets to night. We play the game too, and we’ve tuned it as best we could to be fun and not too dark, but the data is quite stark. We are considering experimenting for a few days with no nighttime on the core PVP servers (hardcore would still have it). Personally I love the night, but data is data and it’s you, our players doing the logging out when it gets dark. You are literally voting with your feet on this issue.
The more hardcore types who populate Reddit were quick to rally to the defense of pitch-blackness, so don’t worry; Smed isn’t taking away your nighttime, though Daybreak plans to tweak it and add daytime-only servers.
I think I’ve grown up around roleplayers and immersion-centric modders and forgot that while most people do like being wrapped up in an immersive world, first they like to be able to freakin’ see it. Yeah, I want nighttime and lanterns and weather and all that good stuff to roleplay by, but if nighttime is so dark that I can’t actually see what I’m doing, well, I can close my eyes and get the same effect for free and with no ganking too. It just startled me to realize that enough people agree that it’s measurable, even for the usually-very-hardcore survival MMO crowd.
It shouldn’t have, though, considering that H1Z1 is one of those games whose screenshots I always have to brighten up for use on Massively OP so they’re not too dark to see. For demonstration purposes, I didn’t retouch the image in this post. See what I mean? You can barely see the zombies coming for your brains. Sometimes it’s more scary that way, but sometimes it’s just not.
How about you? Do you crave diurnal cycles in MMOs? Do you log out of games when the nighttime darkness setting is just too punitive? What’s the right approach to this problem?