This week sees a massive H1Z1 update for PC, one that is quite welcome. As far as battle royale games go, H1Z1 stood at the forefront of the genre. It will be forever credited as one of the innovators of the game style, itself. In recent times, while the game’s PlayStation 4 player base seems to be growing, the PC version is struggling. With the success of other battle royale titles such as Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the computer gamers seemed to have all but checked out. With only around five thousand players on Steam, H1Z1 has been free-falling pretty hard from its peak numbers in July 2017 – nearly 90,000 players. Publishers Daybreak Game Company, eager to draw PC gamers back, have released a significant update to the computer version.
Wait, what’s H1Z1 again?
Inspired by older entry DayZ, H1Z1 is a massively multiplayer online game with a zombie apocalypse setting. Similar in style to the newer Fortnite, the emphasis is placed on survival. Players must gather resources and craft weapons, items and build a base to fend off invading zombies. Taking place in a huge world that supports over a hundred players, gamers can either work with each other in PVE modes or kill each other for resources in PVP modes. The most popular game mode is currently battle royale – where up to 150 players battle it out. In this mode, the last man standing wins – and it’s no surprise why it gained such popularity. As of this week, even more chaos is coming with H1Z1’s latest PC update.
H1Z1 update’s new map
With this update, H1Z1 is offering a new map called “Outbreak” which is 8x8km in size. While certainly offering a ton of new terrain to explore, this map isn’t exactly new. Outbreak is actually a remastered classic map with many added features. The intent of Daybreak in this update is to recapture some of the more classic elements of H1Z1, while also maintaining its battle royale gameplay. In addition to new map POIs, there are also new loot spots and improved terrain. One of the major driving factors in the remaster is to improve navigation, especially regarding vehicle travel. The structures on the map are also updated aesthetically, and some of them altered to better fit the area. In addition, there are also several dynamic weather and lighting details which are on display here. The map is available in all regular modes of the game – which include solo, duo and fives.
In addition, there are some exciting new gameplay changes coming to H1Z1 in this update. From the official patch notes:
- AR-15 and AK-47 have been adjusted to allow two to three (depending on how fast you’re firing) extra shots put on target before recoil growth kicks in. This does not affect tapping shot behaviour.
- AR-15 and AK-47 are now 60% more accurate when hip-firing.
- Crouch fatigue has been removed, so players are no longer restricted with the crouch action regardless of how often it is used.
- Jump animations have been shortened to provide a more responsive jump action, allowing players to jump more frequently without having to wait for animations to complete. Additionally, player momentum and velocity persist in the direction of the jump, allowing you to freely aim and look around without prematurely shortening your leap.
- Running and sprint animations have been restored to Preseason 3 versions, with the Rifle class of weapons having a prominent forward-facing position.
- Much-beloved bullet impact sounds have returned. Helmet break, headshot, and laminated/makeshift armour break sounds are all back from Preseason 3.
In addition, spawn selection has been disabled for all game modes. This was based on both community input and the results of their test server.
Daybreak is also giving away two entirely new pieces of content until July 4: The Homecoming Scrubs Set and Z1 Zombie Mask. To get the Scrubs Set, players need only play one regular game match. H1Z1 devs state that this offer is their way of welcoming returning players back to the game. If fans have an H1Z1 account that was created before September 20, 2016, they can obtain the Zombie Mask by similarly playing only one regular match. Both of these items are granted to players who qualify after July 4.
H1Z1 has also released a new loot box called The Apocalypse Crate, which can be purchased in their cash shop. Items include a Rainbow Unicorn set, summer-themed gear and a new Legendary gun skin called the Apocalypse AK-47. More details on this crate can be accessed on their site.
Worth giving H1Z1 another shot?
H1Z1 developers have made it very clear about their intentions for the new content and gameplay changes. They want to both attract new players to the battle royale game and convince older players to return. This update is also riding on the heels of a larger PS4 update as well. Changes to the significantly more popular console version include:
- Altering the jump mechanic by maintaining the player’s heading and velocity when they leave the ground. Now, players can freely aim or look around while jumping without prematurely shortening their leap. They will still have the ability to alter their path slightly by using their left stick.
- Fixing an issue that could cause weapons to lock.
- Fixing certain Daily Challenges not getting cleared after completing them.
- Environmental sound effects in the hospital no longer persisting after leaving the area.
- Group member indicators are no longer blocked by grid references in the compass.
- Vehicle kills now showing the correct vehicle and skin in the kill notification.
- Cancelling queue no longer incorrectly highlighting the Message of the Day window.
- Cancelling queue now properly clearing out the queue information window.
- Removing redundant way to open Settings by pressing circle while spectating.
The PS4 update also comes with three new bundles available for in-game purchase. These snow-themed bundles, called Snowstalker, include a weapon pack, outfit pack and a complete pack. The gear features an entirely new outfit, two new weapon skins and a bonus ATV vehicle.
Can H1Z1 win ’em back?
It’s anyone’s guess whether or not the H1Z1 update is enough enticement for former H1Z1 gamers. The community reception is mixed so far – some players complain about bugs and gameplay problems. However, Outbreak is also receiving a lot of community praise as well. So far, this month has shown 12% (633 players) increase, with players peaking at around 11,000. H1Z1 has certainly drawn some intrigue, but will they sustain it?
What are your thoughts about this update? Will you be returning to hack some zombies with your friends? Let us know in the comments.