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 ‘H1Z1’ Dev Offer Refunds Over ‘Pay-to-Win’ Accusations

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PostSubject: ‘H1Z1’ Dev Offer Refunds Over ‘Pay-to-Win’ Accusations   ‘H1Z1’ Dev Offer Refunds Over ‘Pay-to-Win’ Accusations EmptyMon Jan 19, 2015 10:43 am


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The launch for zombie-themed survival sim H1Z1 has been a rough one. The game, which features players in an open world attempting to survive the zombie apocalypse, is a product of the team at Sony Online Entertainment, whose first foray into this specific genre type has been met with an overwhelming amount of hype. People want to see what a company with the heft of SOE would accomplish in the post-apocalypse.

The first casualty in the game’s release were the servers, brought down by the normal issues that accompany almost every online-heavy game released in the last few years. The problem was exacerbated by the presence of the streaming community — some donning H1Z1 t-shirts — sitting around, utterly unable of making it into the game itself.

The team worked overnight to get the game stable, even though some major server issues were still occurring the next afternoon. (Note: I experienced long wait times but no real gameplay issues upon logging in to a server.)

Then, on Saturday, what will probably end up being deemed “AirDropGate” (or something similar) happened, creating further complications during the H1Z1 rollout. When it was revealed (mostly through Reddit) that the game featured in-game microtransactions above and beyond the purchase price, and gamers were furious. Reddit user Gravitasnotincluded posted a screencap of streamer awildwatermelonappears receiving loot from an airdrop, and the internet lost its collective mind.

This “pay-to-win” strategy, as some are calling it, contradicts an earlier statement by SOE’s President John Smedley, who claimed players would not be able to spend money to beat the game:

“We will NOT be selling Guns, Ammo, Food, Water… i.e. That’s kind of the whole game and it would suck in our opinion if we did that.”

John Smedley @j_smedley
Refunds - if you are upset about the airdrop P2W issue and want a refund email bwilcox@soe.sony.com and we will take care of you
12:35 PM - 16 Jan 2015

The furor over that contradiction became such an issue that SOE is now offering refunds over the debacle. There are very specific requirements to get your money back, and according to Smedley’s Twitter feed, Steam is cooperating throughout the weekend. As of Sunday morning, Smedley claims via Twitter that “.5% of the people who have bought are taking us up on the refund.”

John Smedley @j_smedley
.5% of the people that have bought are taking us up on the refund.
7:37 PM - 16 Jan 2015

Smedley and SOE’s Adam Clegg have also messaged that SOE will be changing the airdrops in a variety of ways to make them less of a sure thing. Rather than have users pay for definite, tangible guns and supplies in-game, they will pay for a sort of supplies opportunity. In other words, there might be weapons, ammo, and other items in the airdrop, or you might come up with bupkis.

Additionally, the airdrops will apparently draw attention to you or your party, which will further increase the tension in deciding whether or not to buy the potential lifeline.

Clegg himself goes on to explain the specific percentages in these airdrops in an impromptu post on the /r/H1Z1 subreddit. Judging from the new parameters, they appear to be far more restrictive than game-breaking in nature, and the team also claims to be figuring out other ways of making the airdrops challenging.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that Smedley has apparently mentioned microtransactions and used them in previous streams. There is also another Reddit post in which Smedley floats the idea to the community, which appears to be receptive to it, though the specifics are not totally detailed.

And, to be fair, it should be noted that H1Z1 is still in Early Access and that anyone worried about massive changes coming to the game should perhaps hold off on purchasing it until the game itself becomes more stable, if not finished.

However, the messaging regarding any sort of in-game monetization model has not been clear, which is partly to blame for the response from users. We will be covering the story as it develops.
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