My initial reactions to SOE’s H1Z1

hizzyIn a move that surprised very few people who have been paying attention to the teasers and hints, SOE is creating a zombie sandbox MMO called H1Z1.  Lots of crafting, building, fighting against zombies — where have we heard that before?

My initial reactions:

  • H1Z1 is a terrible name.  Just terrible.  It’s not only annoying to type, but there’s no way I’m pronouncing all four letters and numbers every time I’m going to talk about it.  I’ve already decided that I’m calling it “Hizzy” until and when SOE realizes how bad the name is and changes it.
  • Smedley so should not have promised that this game would fill in the gap that was left by the cancellation of Star Wars Galaxies.  He probably looked at the crafting systems and player-built towns in that statement, but man that was a dumb thing to do.  Reactions from the ex-SWG community has not been kind so far, which is understandable.  Zombie sandboxes are not science-fiction sandboxes with a strong IP tie.  Smed’s statement will haunt this game for a while to come, mark my words.
  • Nobody, SOE included, can deny that this is coming out into a crowded field.  There are a lot of zombie survival games, both single- and multiplayer, both out there and in the works.  Some see zombies as overused, but I think they can be pretty fun as long as the setting and game is done well.  There aren’t a lot of zombie MMOs right now, not on this scale, and that could work to SOE’s advantage.  I’d love to see a State of Decay-like MMO (which makes me wonder how Undead Labs is taking this announcement, since it’s most likely working on a zombie MMO too).
  • Smed’s passion for PvP and its strong mention in this announcement worries me.  I don’t care for another DayZ gankfest that encourages cruelty and a zerg mentality.
  • What does interest me is a contemporary, post-apocalyptic setting, especially if it’s not 100% about fighting and avoiding zombies.  Exploring, surviving, and making tools to increase my life expectancy has strong appeal.
  • Free-to-play is good, if expected from SOE.
  • Playable soon?  I’m pretty amazed that it’s far enough along for this, especially with all of the other projects at the studio.  Between this, Landmark, and EQN, I’m not surprised that SOE felt it had to cut out four other MMOs to make room for future development.  Of course, trading Free Realms for a zombie MMO is no great consolation for the studio’s younger set.  Or maybe it is, who knows.

11 thoughts on “My initial reactions to SOE’s H1Z1

  1. I very much agree to most of your points.
    – SOE drove us out with a stick from SWG. And keep beating on us former SWG players whenever they see a chance. There are other companies who treat me well and thus get my money instead.
    – All previous zombie survival games like this for some reason focused more on players killing each other and making each other miserable than on actual zombie survival. Now we have another one of this kind, and immediately the PvP aspect is highlighted. So, yay! Toxic envirnoment guaranteed, how much fun will that be. (Warning, sarcasm detected! )

    In theory survival in a postapocalyptic world with zombies could make an interesting game. In practice, as long as the games cater specifically to the worst part of our community, who love nothing more than griefing each other, those games are not of my liking.

    All the games of this kind have the same philosophy: kill and grab stuff. You are better off by yourself or in a small group of predators, and this game seems to follow the very same concept. I wonder when somebody will come to the idea that perhaps the best strategy to survive in such a world is to actually cooperate, but it seems like a system for cooperation is so much harder to build, so all developers rather focus on the easier part of players killing each other. Alas, not my cup of tea.

  2. Connecting this project to SWG was just crazy talk, but I don’t imagine that mistake will have any impact on the intended market for this game, which is almost certainly a demographic in the teens and twenties that has never even heard of Star Wars Galaxies.

    It’s F2P and included in the new Access Pass, which I have, so I might try it. I don’t have the slightest interest in zombies, apocalyptic settings, survival mechanics or full loot PvP, however, and I can’t honestly say I’m all that interested in classic sandbox gameplay either, so it would have to be something very special indeed for me to do more than take a look so I can get a couple of blog posts out of it.

    As a longtime customer and supporter of SOE I’m becoming more than a little concerned about how thinly they are spreading their resources and how far they are moving away from their core proficiencies. At this rate I don’t expect to see EQNext until 2016, which, oddly enough, was my original estimate when they first announced they’d scrapped the original version. I certainly wish they’d put the resources used to make H1Z1 (weird name – does it stand for anything?) on EQN instead.

  3. I’m sure there’s a market for this, but fully employed adults with families probably isn’t it. My gaming time is severely limited, and I’m not interested in spending it building a structure only to have a gang of 12 year olds burn it down, kill me, steal my stuff, and call me a “noob” while simulating sexual acts on my corpse.

  4. @bhagpuss I believe it’s a reference to the H2N1 strain of influenza, in which case the explanation for the existence of “zombies” in that world will be an infection.

    Still not interested.

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