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H1Z1 Early Access Review

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H1Z1 Early Access Review

H1Z1 is a Steam Early Access zombie game from SOE - the same chaps behind Planetside 2, Everquest and Landmark. It’s plays just like every other zombie survival game, including scavenging, crafting and merciless PVP. It has a few points in its favour: performance, even on low-mid tier machines, is excellent. The devs are quick to react to feedback. It also has some intuitive ideas when it comes to game modes; PVE servers combat the “kill on sight" mentality that often plague these sort of games. 

But H1Z1 is not better or further along than DayZ. And that’s it’s biggest problem. 

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It’s official: Planetside 2 holds the Guinness World Record for biggest FPS battle in history

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It’s official: Planetside 2 holds the Guinness World Record for biggest FPS battle in history

Over the weekend you could have taken part in a small part of history. Planetside 2 was trying to reclaim the Guinness World Record for ‘Most Players Online in an FPS Battle’. The record was held by Man vs Machine, who had managed to get 999 players into a single game.

Planetside 2 smashed the record, bringing in 1,158 players.

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The great DC Universe Online name reclaim will free up inactive hero and villain aliases

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The great DC Universe Online name reclaim will free up inactive hero and villain aliases

Like those who say a superhero (or villain) is nothing without their suit, they’re also nothing without a defining name for their ultimate persona. Well, Sony Online Entertainment are beginning an initiative to free up names on inactive accounts, allowing them to be used by active players.

If you haven’t logged in for a while and want to make sure your superheroes name stays intact, you’ll need to log into the game by January 20th.

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Hold Nick's hand tonight through the launch of H1Z1 over on our livestream

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Hold Nick's hand tonight through the launch of H1Z1 over on our livestream

Tonight, SOE’s zombie apocalypse survival game, H1Z1, is being unleashed on the public via Steam Early Access. We’ve equipped our Nick with nothing but a copy of the game, some flat pop and a half-eaten pack of mini-eggs, before kicking him out into the zombie infested wilderness.

He’ll be streaming his adventures over on our Twitch channel, and you’re more than welcome to come and watch; there’s a good chance he’ll die, a lot, all for your entertainment.

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You can help Planetside 2 get into the Guinness Book of Records

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You can help Planetside 2 get into the Guinness Book of Records

Some of us just aren’t that talented: I can’t pull a 188 tonne planeI can’t beat the highest score on Donkey Kong; and, until I grow a womb, get pregnant, and have triplets, it’s unlikely I’ll ever hold the Guinness World Record for heaviest birth. But everyone, even my crap self, can help break the record that Planetside 2 is aiming for. In fact, it’s essential that we do.

SOE want to break the record for ‘Most Players Online in an FPS Battle’ and they need you to do it.

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H1Z1 shambles onto Steam Early Access with zombie infested trailer

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H1Z1 shambles onto Steam Early Access with zombie infested trailer

SOE’s zombie apocalypse MMO, H1Z1, has finally moaned and groaned its way onto Steam Early Access, ahead of a January 15th release date for its alpha. The game will be available in two bundles - Standard Edition and Premium Edition, but there’s no word on the pricing on either one yet.

“H1Z1 Early Access will be your chance to experience and make a difference in H1Z1 as it evolves throughout the development process." says the Steam store page. “We anticipate a full release later this year."

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Planetside 2 grows space pumpkins in today's update

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Planetside 2 grows space pumpkins in today's update

Did you know? Space pumpkins boast a variety of medical and scientific uses over their plainer, earth-bound cousins. If you didn’t, not to worry: you’re about to become rapidly acquainted with the orange wonderfruit’s interstellar variant.

In a fortuitously seasonal mix-up, a ship-load of pumpkins has been spilled evenly over the surface of Auraxis. The galaxy’s fruit-pickers aren’t equipped with the necessary training to enter that famous warzone, so it’ll be up to Auraxis’ soldiers to send pumpkin seeds along their way.

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EverQuest Next will let NPC groups roam the map and dynamically determine quests

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EverQuest Next will let NPC groups roam the map and dynamically determine quests

Oh, goodness. It’s time to start getting guardedly giddy for an MMO again. Throughout this 30 minute demo, EverQuest designers throw around words like “procedural" and “simulation" as if the ‘90s never ended and RPG design never grew up to lean on scripting like a zimmer frame.

In EverQuest Next, we’re told, players won’t be pointed in the direction of “NPCs with question marks over their heads". Question marks are banned. Instead, they’ll participate in dynamic geopolitical events. Events defined by AI groups who roam about the game’s map, guiding by nothing but their own motivations.

If you’ve ever sighed at the conservatism of MMO design, consider this essential watching.

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Yogscast gift Landmark to all of Yogventures' backers

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Yogscast gift Landmark to all of Yogventures' backers

You might still be feeling a little bruised if you backed Yogscast’s Yogventures. The sandbox game project crumbled away as its developers, Winterkewl, realised they’d taken on more than they could manage and their coffers ran dry. Yogscast, who lent their name to the game and endorsed it during the funding stage, have been working to heal some of that hurt since.

To that end they’ve gifted a Landmark beta key to all the project’s backers.

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Getting to know H2O: SOE explain H1Z1's dynamic weather system

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Getting to know H2O: SOE explain H1Z1's dynamic weather system

What’re the most atmospheric weather conditions under which to endure a zombie attack? Fog has them lurching from the white at an uncomfortably close draw distance. A no-brainer, as it were. But then, blazing sunshine offers that horrible juxtaposition of death and the domestic that the Walking Dead excels at.

Luckily, sandbox shooter H1Z1 can do both, and plenty in between. SOE programmer Ryan Favale's had rain, clouds, surface wetness and a host of other weather systems working for a while now - and is currently finishing up dynamic snow which forms and melts according to temperature, humidity and wind.

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Planetside 2 continent two years in development is now live in "early exploration" state

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Planetside 2 continent two years in development is now live in "early exploration" state

Hossin. If the name of Planetside 2’s new continent sounds familiar, that’s because it’s been bandied about since the game’s launch - and been in development even longer.

“We’ve figured out that creating a ‘good’ outpost in Planetside 2 takes about 2-3 weeks of level design, art playtesting and iteration time minimally, per outpost," said SOE’s Matt Higby. “Multiply that by 80 or so, and you’ll get a good idea of how much work is required for a high-quality continent."

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ProSiebenSat.1 and Planetside 2 part ways; EU accounts to migrate back to SOE

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ProSiebenSat.1 and Planetside 2 part ways; EU accounts to migrate back to SOE

The division between the European Planestide 2 community and its international counterpart became much starker with the introduction of the game's Player Studio, which wasn't available on ProSienbenSat.1's EU servers.

So the atmosphere today is of quiet gratitude on the official SOE forums, and of sweary celebration over on the Planetside Reddit. SOE have announced the near-future migration of all ProSienbenSat.1 accounts for Planetside 2, DC Universe Online and EverQuest II back to SOE.

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A new you: PlanetSide 2 gets implants and gives the medic class a fresh coat of paint

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A new you: PlanetSide 2 gets implants and gives the medic class a fresh coat of paint

PlanetSide 2 has been in for a spot of surgery, and has come out with some implants. Not pert buttocks or enhanced pecs, but bits of tech implanted into soldiers that allow them greater flexibility, improving loadout choices. 

Three tiers of implants are available to players, and everyone will receive a tier-1 implant: Enhanced Targeting to kickstart the body modification craze. More implants can “drop", a bit like a traditional loot system but absent the actual act of looting, or can be purchased for certs or Station Cash. 

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Landmark’s Landmarks of Landmark contest goes live with Landmark video depicting landmark landmarks made in Landmark

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Landmark’s Landmarks of Landmark contest goes live with Landmark video depicting landmark landmarks made in Landmark

SOE’s EverQuest Next tie-in game, Landmark, allows players to construct buildings out of voxel parts. It’s something the game’s community have latched onto with a passion and used to make incredible architecture.

On top of a video showing off the creative work of players, SOE have announced a contest. The winners of the Landmarks of Landmark competition will see their work permanently added to the game’s world.

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SOE think they've figured out how to make paid-for items lootable in H1Z1

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SOE think they've figured out how to make paid-for items lootable in H1Z1

H1Z1 is SOE’s DayZ-inspired zombie survival sim, about killing a man for his sweet goggles. But it’s also a fully-fledged free-to-play MMO - with permanent gear purchasable from its in-game store.

Do you see the problem yet? SOE do - and they reckon they’ve already come up with an acceptable solution. One that’ll uphold the game’s values of inventory murder, without leaving paying players screaming.

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John Smedley on DayZ and H1Z1 similarities: “this is our take on the Zombie Apocalypse”

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John Smedley on DayZ and H1Z1 similarities: “this is our take on the Zombie Apocalypse”

“Not going to give some politically correct dodgy b.s. answer," SOE president John Smedley wrote on Reddit. “[H1Z1] is a survival in a Zombie Apocalypse game. So is Day Z. [Bohemia] have made a brilliant game (first I might add). They have a great vision for it and can count myself and most of the people on our team as fans and contributors."

So, how do they differ? Well, for one, SOE can spawn zombie hordes on servers whenever they’d like.

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Why EverQuest's dev director thinks we should want all MMOs to be free-to-play

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Why EverQuest's dev director thinks we should want all MMOs to be free-to-play

The imminent release of The Elder Scrolls Online - not to mention Wildstar, that other, underdog hope for the post-WoW MMO - has dredged up that argument for the ages (and ages, and ages): will free-to-play really replace the subscription?

EverQuest development director David Georgeson has helped shift his series over to the former, but won’t speak ill of the subscription model. Instead, he’ll tell us why he thinks free-to-play is better for players.

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Everquest Landmark closed beta review

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Everquest Landmark closed beta review

Landmark just hit closed beta, dropping several things - the words 'Everquest' and 'Next' from its name, and $40 from the cost of entry. The first bit seems a bit odd, but there's no complaining about the latter.

The final version will be free to play, and the only real benefit of jumping in now is, well, being able to jump in now. $20/£14 is a much more reasonable fee though, especially as Landmark has come on a long way since our first visit. It's still far from finished, but it's increasingly coming together into what Sony wants it to be.

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