After yesterday’s livestream of Sony Online Entertainment’s Zombie Survival Open World MMO H1Z1, President John Smedley took to Reddit and Twitter to make a few announcements and respond to some questions raised by the stream itself.
First of all we hear about a very interesting and quite democratic feature named Player Servers, that will give players the ability to vote for new server rulesets:
I’d like to announce a new feature for H1Z1. Player Servers. Similar to other games from SOE, H1Z1 is an MMO. We will launch with different rulesets and variants to cater to different playstyles.
We’re excited about taking our dedication to letting you get a say in our games to a whole new level with Player Servers.
The idea is simple – If a community of our players wants to host a server with a specific theme or ruleset then we’re going to do our best to give it to them. players will recieve a pledge token for free if they’ve played more than 5 hours. This pledge token can be used to cast a vote for a server. But use it wisely. You only get one free one per year. Make sure it’s a community you believe in and that has a good chance to succeed because we’re going to set the bar such that the community can sustain an MMO server (more details will be announced later). If you find yourself dying to vote on another server initiative we’ll also sell pledge tokens but you can only use 2 pledge tokens a year max. So again, it’s up to you but we want to make sure if we build it you’re coming. We’re also going to refund the station cash you used to buy it to your account if the Player Server Initiative succeeds. The Pledge token also comes with a wearable that’s going to look sweet.
Why refund it if it succeeds? Simple – we really want to give you the kind of servers you want. We’re going to set that bar high. If it succeeds, you’ve built a community of fellow players you want and as our customers we want to give you that. But we also need some indication of reality in order to make this work.
At SOE we’ve been doing a whole lot of asking our players what you think of our ideas. This is no exception. If you have better ones, we are all ears.
He also gave some additional information on how it’ll work:
- Smedley can’t promise invite-only servers for now, because that could cause the creation of idle resources when a server isn’t used enough.
- Rulesets will be later expanded to more features, for instance if a community wants to go more militaristic, they could add more military vehicles.
- Players will be able to buy tokens with Station Cash, and it’ll be refunded if the pledge is successful.
- Voting will grant you one of the game’s “cooler wearables.” So even if the pledge fail, you get something.
Afterwards, Smedley moved on to answer questions, including the classic one on the differences with DayZ.
That stream today didn’t go quite as planned.. the server they were on had an issue and we had to restart it. That meant we didn’t get time to show everything we wanted to.
Next week we will have a lot more to show including crafting, building and a lot more about the survival aspects of the game. All that stuff is in there. Not all of it’s perfect but it’s really getting fun. So we’ll show it to you. Didn’t mean to take the extended ride in the jeep.
Answers to common questions I saw:
1) We will have first and third person. Third person will not give you LOS over obstacles. We intend to make it more of a preference. I find myself switching to it occasionally but I love combat in first person. To those who say we can’t serve two masters – play the game before you judge.
2) Vehicles will be in third person only. Could this change? Maybe but that’s what we’re putting in for now.
3) Why was there so much stuff around 15 years later – we wanted to show you how the mechanics worked. Simple as that. We intend to make surviving a lot about catching your food. Longer term about growing it and protecting it.
4) How is this different from Day Z? – saw this a lot. Not going to give some politically correct dodgy b.s. answer. It is a survival in a Zombie Apocalypse game. So is Day Z. They have made a brilliant game (first I might add). They have a great vision for it and can count myself and most of the people on our team as fans and contributors.
We’re making the game we’re making. Long term we plan on making this about a persistent world with a big landscape with thousands of players. The way we would like to see this roll out is much more like players building small enclaves or pockets of territory and hold out against a legitimate zombie threat that’s ever present while others go it alone taking their chances.. These player built structures, forts and towns are one of the ways the players try to carve out some small space in a dangerous world.
We also want to make sure we have a deep in-game economy that is heavily dependent on crafting. Players will be able to become manufacturers.. sell bullets, arrows.. etc. The in-game economy will be entirely player driven.
So this is our take on the Zombie Apocalypse with a lot of friends and hopefully some great enemies both living and dead. We’re proud to be up front and say we love Day Z and the job they’ve done and we hope they enjoy what we make too.
I can say this another way.
I love 28 Days and 28 Days Later I love World War Z I love Warm Bodies (oh come on you did too you) I love Night of the Living Dead.. and all the other ones. I love The Walking Dead.
And so do most of you. So sure. We’re another Zombie Apocalypse game. Call it what it is. But our goal is to make ours fun, accessible, hard core and super, super deep. As time goes on we hope our take on the end of the world by zombie is fun and lots of people get to try it. You’ll also have all the information you need when you start Early Access for $19.99. You can watch others stream it. You can decide to wait till we switch it to Free to Play. Either way you’ll see our roadmap and you’ll see if it’s something that’s for you.
Smedley also provided more miscellaneous information:
- High resolution videos (better than streaming) are coming.
- On Monday SOE will have an internal meeting to take decisions on monetization. Some ideas from the community already changed minds at the studio. The goal is to have something the community feels good about.
- Nothing that you need for survival will be sold for real money. What you buy with cash can’t be lost if you die.
- The answer on the existence of safe zones was “What’s a safe zone?” He then elaborated further:
Longer version – I believe there is a logical reason it can work here where it might not in other games. Our Zombies are an equal threat to all and therefore what I’ve seen tends to be what I would call smaller gang warfare. In our game players can assemble in larger numbers if they so choose. that gives more protection. Small clans/guilds/outfits (seriously we’re open if there’s a good name for groups in a genre like this) can band together. But it’s equally true that any player will be able from the very start to gather the basics and survive by themselves if they’re smart.
In short, we want you to be McGuyver meets The Road Warrior meets World War Z
- The game is 100% about “science zombies,” there are no “supernatural zombies.”
- The game will encourage players to team up against the zombies to survive, so it shouldn’t become a death match between players like DayZ or Rust.
- There won’t be in-game currency at the beginning (but it might be added later) or territory-assigning mechanics, to gain territory you simply build a base: “Your territory is where you make people believe it is through your own actions.”
- Player studio will be implemented after early access, and will start with wearables (making clothes, basically). There’s also the possibility of it extending to housing afterwards.
- Cars will be very hard to find, but they won’t be easy to destroy. They will also have the ability to store items for transportation.
- Female characters aren’t implemented in the game yet, and they won’t be at the beginning of the early access, but they will be added in a “short timeframe.”
- Whether you turn into a zombie if you get killed by a zombie is still to be decided.
- There will be a clan system, but not at the beginning of early access.
- Nothing is planned at the time for talent trees, but something like that has been discussed internally. It surely won’t happen soon, and it would be discussed with the community beforehand anyway.
Finally, Smedley also gave a description of what the world will be like, and how it will evolve:
Think of our world as a fictionalized version of Anywhere USA. The truth is we have the tech to make an insanely large world if we want. Keeping it interesting is the challenge. Our goal is to simply keep expanding while keeping it fun and interesting. Will we be able to have larger cities? I think so. But we have tech work to do. Larger Towns? For sure. Military bases? Heck yeah. All on one seamless landscape.
Once that’s done we start to explore what happened in other parts of the world. But this is a long term plan.