Welcome to the neighborhood
Even for an early access game, H1Z1 has had a rough rollout. Technical problems and server outages, a controversial change to the airdrop system, and Sony Online Entertainment being sold to an investment firm all contributed to an uncertain start for the multiplayer survival game.
Despite this, H1Z1 remains a top seller on the Steam charts, interesting for a game that will someday be completely free to play. I dove in to take a look at its current state in this multi-part diary.
The running man
I spawn on a remote hillshide, and start running. A wolf immediately appears and begins chasing me, joined by a second wolf. For several minutes they follow, occasionally joined by a zombie. I can't outpace the wolves, and they can't catch me: our running speeds are identical. I can't stop long enough to craft something to fight them with, either. So, I just have to keep running.
I spot a river, and hope the wolves will be slowed by trying to swim. Unforunately, the river isn't that deep, and the wolves, now three of them, continue running despite being completely submerged except for their ears. It's now been almost ten minutes of solid running.
I spot a radio tower on a distant hill, but the thought of doing another ten minutes of running fills me with dread and boredom. I stop and let the wolves dine on my privates. A zombie shambles over to watch the show. Eventually, I succumb to my groin wounds.
Step on it
I respawn near a small housing development. After looting a couple houses and cars, I find a backpack, a couple guns, a few rounds of ammo, and a few other useful odds and ends. I find a Jeep and manage to get it running with a battery and some spark plugs. I run over a deer and a couple zombies, then lightly nudge a curb while driving slowly. The Jeep immediately flips onto its roof and catches fire. Physics!
After the Jeep burns for a few seconds, it suddenly leaps ten feet into the air. Then it explodes. It's odd. I'd have maybe expected the explosion to throw the Jeep into the air, but the leap came first. More physics!
What about a pointed stick?
After all the running I did in my first life, and with my Jeep now gone, I decide to just stay in this little town. To defend it, I create punji sticks and place them in the street. A zombie runs through the sticks but is completely unharmed by them. Strong shins, I guess.
Food for thought
The first time I tried H1Z1, food was incredibly hard to find. Now it's everywhere, but I find myself constantly looking for more because my food meter drops so quickly. Just today I've eaten two cans of beans, two cans of tomatoes, a can of tuna, a can of salmon, a can of vegetables, over a dozen blackberries, and now two cooked deer steaks. As I finish the second steak, I check my food meter. It immediately drops from 100% to 99%. I can't stay full for even a second.
On the outskirts of the town, I find a small player-made shack with a locked door. Luckily, I have the password: hacking away at the door all night until it finally breaks. There's nothing inside.
I craft a new door, and move into the shack. Now I have a base! I build a furnace to melt down some scrap metal, though filling my tiny shack with smoke and burning metal seems like it would be a bad idea. Also, for having a home base I can't help but feel a bit underwhelmed. I'm basically living in an outhouse.
Bear with me
I spot a bear wandering around in the neighborhood, and put an arrow in his rump. He gives chase. I lead him over to my punji sticks to see if they hurt him. You can probably guess the answer. He runs right up to me and I instantly drop to the ground, dead. My precious bag of loot lands next to my body.
I respawn at Bubba's Truck Stop, which is just down the road from my home base. Excellent! I dash back into town and find my bag of carefully collected garbage. I'm made whole again within five minutes of dying, though putting on my old clothes and backpack doesn't make them appear on my body for some reason. I don't see the bear anywhere, though there are a few new zombies hanging around. I hack at them with what appear to be broken arms.
Living in a tiny shack seems silly when there are empty houses everywhere, so I decide make one my new home. I chop down a few trees, gather the logs, and turn them into planks. I also make nails from metal scrap, then create barricades, placing them over all the windows on the first floor of a house. A zombie eventually shambles over to investigate. After a couple minutes of moaning outside, the zombie walks right in through the closed door. Sigh.
I log out for the night. When I log back in, I find the severs and characters have all been completely wiped. That's fine, and expected in Early Access. Besides, my tiny stolen shack and useless barricaded home weren't anything I'll miss. Besides, the server I was playing on was lacking something important: a buttload of other players. I didn't see a single person the whole time I played.
Next time, instead of hunkering down in one spot, I'll do my best to get out in the world and meet some of the locals.