This past week, my zombie hunting troop has decided to revisit H1Z1 after months of letting it build up its alpha state. The newest patch added in female avatars amongst other things, and wiped all the servers. So, we felt it was a good time to see what has changed since our initial experiences.
Note that we play on a PVE only server, so my thoughts and impressions are influenced by that.
While character creation is still non-existent, I do like being able to choose a female avatar now. I think the avatars are tastefully designed, too, and pleased that she looks like an average-Jill you’d actually find running around in jeans and a t-shirt. Thank you for that, Daybreak. (Oh, it’s going to be so weird calling them Daybreak…)
Speaking of Daybreak, all players got a free Daybreak cosmetic t-shirt in game with that edgy and slightly intimidating new logo on it. Bright red, it’s not something you’d want to wear on a PvP server. But I did like how cosmetics applied to any shirt you picked up easily, and was interested that they’ve already considered a rudimentary kind of mini-wardrobe for cosmetics.
Grouping. What can I say about grouping? I’m glad it’s being worked on, but I don’t really see that it has any effect on gameplay aside from changing the color of someone’s floating name. We still can’t see each other on the map, nor does it do anything useful like causing a party member who dies to rez closer to the party. Hopefully this kind of thing will be coming.
In game map and grid system. This is much better than no map at all. Our initial experience with this game was running and running and running forever trying to figure out directions and coordinates to get everyone in our group to meet up. I think we actually spent more time looking for each other than playing together. And then, when we finally did group up, a bear made short work of our reunion.
There’s still a lot of running to meet up if you die (a big pet peeve of mine… we need a way to fix respawn points, at least on a PvE server). But it’s much easier to know where you are thanks to the positional grid and the map. If you get lucky, you can find an improved version of the map by looting, too.
Loot. Finally. Back when we were playing, there was no loot anywhere. Period. I think in the 11 hours I played, I found one combat knife and a few empty bottles or something. We knew they’d tweak the loot, and it’s a whole lot better now.
Crafting. Because loot is now working, I finally get to do what I wanted to do – try crafting. Limited inventory is a real pain in the butt. However, even with just a satchel, I was able to set up a couple of shacks (not the small ones) and get some storage chests running. I’ve learned a lot about crafting this time around, and it remains part of what I like to do most since I’m a crafter and builder more than a hunter.
We’re mostly hanging out around the church we found and building just down the hill from it. We’re in close proximity with plenty of lootable places, but we don’t get bombarded by too many zombies or hordes.
Honestly, though, it’s still the wildlife that is the most dangerous. Wolves and bears can tear you apart in no time. They still seem to follow forever, which is super annoying. I hope that’s something that’ll get changed eventually.
Aside from that, there isn’t a ton to say about this game right now. From a PvE viewpoint, it’s mostly gathering materials and figuring out how to build stuff. We fight zombies if we have to and stay away from bears. Aside from finding better backpacks and maybe some guns, though, I don’t see a lot about how I can make my character more powerful. I know there’s armor in this game, but seeing how a single wolf can take my life down from 100% to 26% in short time, we really need to have a way to protect ourselves.
I can’t get a feel for this progression, and because of it, the game seems stagnant to me. There’s no reward for killing zombies (unlike 7D2D, where there is a leveling system). In fact, all there is is risk of death, the punishment being the most annoying thing to me – randomly respawning in the middle of no where, losing all my stuff (progress), and having to run back to my base. So, even death is more frustrating than it is frightening.
I don’t see an incentive to do much of anything but build a shack, carefully scavenge, hunt some deer, and turtle the rest of the time to avoid the frustration of death. If there’s something more that I’m missing right now, please tell me. I really would like a goal and a way to progress, but I don’t see one.
That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the work that’s gone into the game. I think it’s already come a long way for an alpha. But for a PvE player, it needs to keep developing and providing ways to strengthen my character and build up my little settlement to make it my own.