H1Z1: King of the Kill update makes big changes to the map and improves hit registration

While PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has been grabbing headlines lately, it's not the only popular battle royale shooter out there, and the developers of H1Z1: King of the Kill haven't been sitting by idly. An meaty update to Daybreak Game Company's multiplayer shooter has landed, bringing with it some big changes.

The map has undergone improvements such as lighting and terrain changes, plus three new points of interest have been added in hopes of creating new hotspots for combat and filling up some of the barren regions of The Arena. Hillside Villas is a new neighborhood to the east of Pleasant Valley, Morton Distribution is an industrial zone featuring a tall crane that acts as a landmark, and Henninger Plaza is a new strip mall with a gas station, mega-store, and shops. There are also some new smaller loot spots sprinkled around the map, some new roads, changes to building interiors, and less fog to provide greater visibility.

The patch also brings new vehicle skins for the pickup, ATV, and offroader to make it easier for players to tell at a glance which vehicles can be driven and which are useless wrecks. Skirmishes—special weekend matches with revised rules—are making a comeback, too. The first will be a mode where the only weapons available are shotguns and sniper rifles, so get ready for close-quarter combat mixed with long-distance headshots. Speaking of the shotgun, some changes have been made regarding its spread and damage.

The UI has also been changed, and now inventory and crafting panes appear in a single window, which will presumably make it easier for combining items in a hurry and determining how much room you have available in your pack, pockets, and pants.

Perhaps most importantly, KotK's hit registration has been improved, including tweaks to lag compensation, projectile tracking, and more accurate and forgiving line-of-sight checks. Also, a change has been made to firing while up against an object or wall. From the patch notes:

"Previously, if your character was right up against the collision surface of an object, the system would prevent you from firing entirely.  Now, the blocked reticle and gun animation have been removed and you’ll be allowed to fire – though the shot will still strike the blocking object.  This is meant to alleviate the distraction of having your gun go in and out of the blocked state as you go in and out of cover."

Check out the developer video and full patch notes below for more details.

Gunplay and hit registration updates

  • Lag compensation has been optimized to provide more accurate player movement positioning. This system works best when the players are playing in low ping environments.
  • Projectile tracking fidelity has been increased to ensure the hits are registered more quickly and consistently.
  • We no longer block you from firing if you are up against and object. Previously, if your character was right up against the collision surface of an object, the system would prevent you from firing entirely. Now, the blocked reticle and gun animation have been removed and you’ll be allowed to fire – though the shot will still strike the blocking object. This is meant to alleviate the distraction of having your gun go in and out of the blocked state as you go in and out of cover.
  • Line of sight checks should be more forgiving to reduce frustrating moments where it appears you should be able to shoot a target but can’t. It’s still tuned to ensure that one player should never be able to shoot at another player cannot see or shoot back at them.
  • Pointblank shots in first person should be much more consistent.

Shotgun refinement

  • Pellet spread is now systematic, with some variance, instead of completely random
  • Increased the number of pellets
  • Decreased the damage per pellet
  • Removed normal damage fall-off over distance; as the new spread mechanic will reduce the number of pellets that land the further away your target is.
  • Added a 2.7x damage multiplier for headshots, which falls off over distance

The Arena

  • Empty list Three new POIs have been added around Pleasant Valley to break up some of the larger open areas in the map.
  • Hillside Villas are just to the east of PV and offer luxurious comfort and loot. They consist of a variety of larger homes that have been built on various elevations which can lead to unique gameplay and firefights.
  • Morton Distribution and Storage is north of PV, it features a large crane that can be seen from far away. Exploration is rewarded as the gameplay spaces span across the shipping containers providing a unique feel for the game through verticality.
  • Henninger Plaza was added west of PV on the way to Kurama Hospital. In this location you will find a superstore, gas station, and a few smaller shops making it a good source for loot and intimate gunfights.
  • Added nine additional loot spots of new variations, small residential areas south east of The Villas, and major roads connecting Hillside Villas and Morton Distribution & Storage to existing highways.
  • Many building interiors have been adjusted for ease of navigation and increased optimization
  • Fog has been significantly decreased
  • Lootable objects now have a small outline at close proximity
  • Fire extinguishers have been removed from the Arena
  • Explosive barrels have had their spawn rate decreased by 30%
  • Shadows have been lightened for better visibility

Bug fixes and quality of life updates

  • Crafting & Healing timer has been moved so it no longer obscures the crosshair.
  • Items from the Weekend Challenge (5/13 - 5/14) will be granted with this update.
  • When using classic hit markers, the marker will turn bold for headshots
  • Incoming hit sounds should more clearly distinguish headshots from body shots
  • In team games, teammate chevrons have been removed to lessen the visual distraction they were providing. Activate free look (default: alt) to see teammate nameplates at unlimited range.
  • Body armor (laminated and makeshift) now always show up on top of parkas.
  • Players can now disable vehicle degradation sound effects in the useroptions.ini by editing the VehicleDegradationVolume=1 line.
  • When you get a kill, there is a new UI element that will indicate the name and tier of the player you killed as well as any XP gained as a result.
  • Icons on the Main Menu have been added to let you know when you have a new item in your character inventory or when there is a sale in the Marketplace.
  • To make navigation easier, we combined the Unlocked and Locked Crates into a single view.
  • Items in the Appearance menu now show how to acquire the item (Crate, Scrapyard, etc).
  • Ping display in the HUD will update more often than it used to.
  • The Inventory “More Info” panel will now be closed by default.
  • Parachutes should no longer spin when starting a match.
  • Removed collision from arrows once they’re stuck in a target to prevent them from blocking other projectiles.
  • You should once again be able to use voice chat after dying using mouse buttons.
  • Stun grenades will now affect players in vehicles.
  • Adjusted the model of the taxi to more precisely match the police car (the collisions were already identical).
  • Fixed camera issues that could occur when entering a vehicle while prone or crouched.
  • Fixed the Twitch Prime offroader skin not correctly applying in-game.
  • Fixed several HUD elements that were displayed incorrectly in some languages.
  • Kill feed should no longer overlap the score elements in team matches.
  • Region should no longer change itself after selecting one then accessing Settings.
  • Fixed an issue where right-clicking on a skin you don’t own could cause the item you previously had highlighted to be scrapped.
  • Button prompt to open/close Inventory will now update based on keybinding selection.
  • Pressing escape will now cancel a change in quantity on Inventory stacks.
  • Stack-splitting will no longer lose functionality if the menu is exited after changing quantity.

Known issues

  • The Kill Receipt occasionally does not display the name or correct tier of the player you killed.
  • Playing a Skirmish immediately after playing a Solos match can cause some information to be missing on the End Screen
  • We are aware of some shots registering as body hits instead of head shots. This is not addressed in this update, but will be soon as we now know what is happening to cause this.
Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.