H1Z1 was released on Steam Early Access a few days ago, and I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve played it. When I say the time I’ve played it, I mean the time not spent sitting in a queue to enter a server (Which totals at around an hour for me, altogether). I do not mind though, it’s a sign that the game is currently popular and I’m going to end up on a decently populated server.
It’s a good early version of a game, but unfortunately a lot of the discussion on the game has been controversial and surrounding the monetization aspect of the game. You see, H1Z1 is $20 to buy into Early Access but will eventually be Free To Play when it is released. The way they plan to make money is with a few items you can buy with real money. These are as follows:
Keys, which open crates containing cosmetic skins to style your items. Crates are apparently earned as you play, and the skins can only be applied to items you have already found.
Tickets to special server types, such as Battle Royale. I am yet to do anything along these lines, but I have one or two Event Tickets so I very well may in the near future. The cool part about these is that you can either earn them over time while playing, or buy them for a dollar each if you don’t want to wait.
The final item doesn’t get a dot point, because it’s the focus of this post; air drops. Air drops cost five dollars and initiate a special event on a server provided it has 120 players at that time.
Once an air drop is called, a very loud plane moves slowly over head, deploying a package that descends slowly. That package has beacons on it, and when it hits the ground it spawns a cluster of zombies around it. The air dropped package contains a bunch of items including food, water and weapons.
When the game first released a few days ago, drops were not tweaked properly, and you had people calling airdrops that would fall within 250 metres away. Since they were close, they were able to run, grab the items and have an advantage. To everyone who saw or heard of this, it sounded completely “pay to win”. Now it has been corrected with a whole bunch of changes (including slower descent/deployment, and it can now drop almost three times as far away from the calling player).
People are still crying Pay To Win because to them, the fact remains that you can pay five dollars to deploy these things with food and weapons in the game. I absolutely disagree here.
We need to look at this a different way. From where I stand, I don’t see people buying weapons and food. Instead, I see people paying to initiate a major event on the server. An event where you have to fight players and zombies alike to get to the reward at the end.
Think of it like you were playing a game such as World of Warcraft. You’re on a map that is reasonably full, but there isn’t much happening in the way of events. Now imagine you could pay a few dollars to activate a special event everyone could participate in. The players who score or perform the best during that event would be eligible for the random rewards on offer. I don’t know about you, but that sounds awesome.
It sounds awesome, and that very hypothetical situation is pretty much what is happening here. Sure, there is loot on offer if you can get it, but that’s not what you’re paying for. You are paying to create something. Imagine if twenty people see that drop and run over to it, all fighting each other to get to it. Further still, imagine if several groups of survivors ran to it. You very well may have created a fucking bloodbath, as people struggle over a reward that could just contain a bow and torch. You made drama.
I would pay five dollars to see that.