H1Z1’s delayed patch arrives this week

    
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The latest H1Z1 producer’s letter has arrived, this one focusing on the Just Survive half of the now-split zombie survival sandbox. Daybreak begins by saying that it will continue to balance trade delays, which were instituted to help the devs “deal with significant organized fraud being attempted against the marketplace.” The studio aims to “make changes going forward to try [to] find that balance between convenience and fraud control.”

As to Just Survive, Daybreak says it had planned to push out its zombie update on Friday, but things didn’t go to plan.

“This update failed internally and as we started to unravel it, we determined that it would be easier to cease that effort and begin getting ready for a full update to our test servers which had not happened in some time. We are in the final stages of testing that update right now.”

The new patch will include those zombies, plus better zombie AI, a test for base building restrictions, and a visual upgrade. Expect it on Wednesday.

Last month, we asked Daybreak Senior Game Designer Salim Grant about the state of H1Z1 and the split.

Massively OP: How long had the split been planned? Why did Daybreak decide to charge $20 for each half rather than $10?

Daybreak’s Salim Grant: H1Z1 has really progressed since its release on Steam Early Access last year. We’ve sold more than 2.5 million copies, it was the number four top selling game on Steam of 2015 releases, and it was the 6th most watched game last year on Twitch. During development, both the game and the community grew tremendously, evolving into two really unique gaming experiences. Our players even started to notice just how different the games and communities were, and they repeatedly suggested on the forums, through social media and on YouTube for us to split the games. Because of all this, we decided to separate H1Z1 and as of the 17th, we now have two games: fight-to-the-death spectacle, H1Z1: King of the Kill, and open-world zombie survival game, H1Z1: Just Survive.

Our audience has seemed more interested in the more MMO-like survival sandbox half of the game, and now there’s hope that it won’t be left in the dust of the more popular battle royale module. Can you discuss how much support each team will be getting? Are players correct in believing the teams are roughly equal and that both halves will receive the same development time going forward?

We plan to fully support both titles and have separate, dedicated development teams for King of the Kill and Just Survive. We are establishing a Just Survive roadmap that is independent from King of the Kill and with two teams, we can refine our focus on creating a persistent, open-world zombie survival experience. Additionally, the longer development cycle will really benefit the game by allowing us to create really robust scavenging, crafting and base-building features for Just Survive.

We also asked Daybreak about the rationale for the abandonment of the original F2P plan, whether that was part of Daybreak’s anti-F2P shift in general, and what it would say to players who purchased the game a year ago on the belief that the game would stick to its planned model. In response, Daybreak directed us to another interview, in which CPO Laura Naviaux is quoted as saying,

“At that point in time there was the thinking that this game would potentially be free-to-play. However, as the market landscape has changed, I think that us as a publisher, in addition to the rest of the industry, has seen how quickly business models are evolving and we’re paying a lot of attention to that. Let’s face it, we live in a democratized world where players and consumers have so much that they have to choose from and at their disposal. … We need to pick appropriate business models on a per-product basis, and what’s best for H1Z1 is to have a modest download fee with optional microtransactions.”

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breetoplay

Necro Mage I did debate not posting them, but generally I think that publishing an interview like this is more useful to our readers than burying it. And I did think it was a good sign that they made an attempt to answer some of the questions, even if the answers felt terse or deflective. That is a big step up from where they were last year.
For the record, they did not answer my question about EverQuest Next at all. Twice.
And honestly, this is far from the worst interview I’ve seen from an MMO studio recently. Some studios will delete interview questions when they reply and expect us to not publish that we asked a thing because they didn’t want to answer it (we don’t do that; we will publish our question and their no comment). Daybreak didn’t ask us to do that, which is to their credit.

Vhalen
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Vhalen

Karl_Hungus Vhalen MorpayneRADIO Your sarcasm is not misguided, but I was speaking about my personal opinion in regards to ‘my’ zombie game. While it is logical to apply PVP systems to a zombie apocalypse, I would choose not to, or rather, in a limited fashion. I prefer that the core tenets and the budget of my zombie mmo be spent on social systems, events and zombie ai. PVP would be a small subset of this world. I was one of the original designers of EQ and I like the way we handled PVP there. It was a choice. Although logic would dictate that Koada’Dal and Teir’Dal players should be sworn enemies, players were not automatically PVP by race or excluded from grouping. We made a decision that Group Adventurers such as those in D&D are what we wanted to offer rather than Realm v Realm. For me, the undead threat in a zombie game should always be the highest threat and if I had a budget to spend I would be sure to make that my priority rather than create a bloated or patchworked PVP system. However, your example of Burning Man does make me dream of HVH (Hippie vs Hippie) systems.

Necro Mage
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Necro Mage

That’s gotta be annoying for the Massively writers.
They FINALLY get DBG to say something, and one of the answers is an evasion, and the other two are blatant Marketing speak trying to gloss over really bad decisions.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they were half-considering just tossing out the whole interview after reading those answers.
I for one am glad they posted it, so we can all once again bask in DBG’s amazing ability to make bad decisions.

Denice J Cook
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Denice J Cook

MariusDainys 
Actually, they said that both sides of the game had evolved greatly since their original debuts, and that fans of each side had asked for the game to be split in two.  I don’t believe in paid alphas/betas and I don’t play either one (nor will I when and if they ever officially launch), but this is what they claim.
As for F2P, when they originally adopted it for EQ2 anyway, the rationale was that it would plump up server pops for the subbing crowd, so there’d be more people to team with.  Unfortunately, “hoping” the free players would eventually spend something in the cash shop didn’t pan out, and in general all free players really do is cause more server strain with no contribution to help keep those servers running.

BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

MorpayneRADIO Vhalen PvP should be extremely dangeous as to be viewed as a last resort. The resource are scarce, the zombies are plentiful, and each dead player is a potential threat, both by one less helpful hand, and one more zombie.
That means that when a player kills another, is because of constant abuse, or powerplays. Things that HAVE consequence in the society inside the game.
Right now, it’s just a goddamn pvp e-peen waving fest with no substance and no decisionmaking. Not even the ambience is good enough for a survival mmo.

Jack Pipsam
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Jack Pipsam

Talk about some non-answers.

MariusDainys
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MariusDainys

Massively OP: How long had the split been planned? Why did Daybreak decide to charge $20 for each half rather than $10?
Daybreak: Uhh fuck fuck let’s avoid that question by copy pasting our announcement of the split.

MrEllis
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MrEllis

Q: “Why did Daybreak decide to charge $20 for each half rather than $10?”

A: “Is that  pony?”

agemyth
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agemyth

Oh my god. Daybreak are communicating again. Directly to Massively, even.
Not sure these answers do much more than repeat the points mentioned when the game originally announced the split, but I’ll take this over silence.

MorpayneRADIO
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MorpayneRADIO

Vhalen MorpayneRADIO I agree with you except for the pvp bit. There absolutely needs to be pvp but the gameworld has to be such that it makes pvp a last resort, much like in the shows and movies. Trade and cooperation need to be at the forefront of all cooperation and pvp should be a tool of survival for your guild when situations get really bad and the guild in the next valley has food they refuse to share etc etc.

My personal opinion has always been the zombies have to be made more numerous and much more dangerous to help meet that goal.