H1Z1: Just Survive just launched its largest update yet, adding a new map, completely retooling its base building, adding in-game currency, and reworking all the game’s weapons.
While on the subject, here’s what we think are the best survival games around.
Speaking to us last week, creative director Ben Jones broke down everything included in the new update.
“This update takes a big step forward for us, it’s something we have been working on for months, definitely the most comprehensive update in the history of the game,” Jones says.
“One of the major components of this update is base building, which has always been a component of Just Survive, but we are really taking it to the next level with this update. Ultimately it is about survival in this post apocalyptic world where danger be it living or undead is lurking around every corner.”
Previously, players could build bases wherever they wanted in H1Z1’s world but after this new update they will only be specific plots in the game world that are available.
“We really wanted to layer in these identifiable locations for strongholds,” Jones explains. “It lets players move from the ramshackle construction in the past, to building more robust structures, and fortify these structures with an array of defenses and traps to fend off attacks from other players. This system allows players to customise with a number of different pieces to make strongholds which reflect their own personalities and their desire for defence, and allow them to push their personality out into the world with their own structures. They should be unique, and we are also adding in decorations as well, so lots of ways for players to stand out in the world.”
It also fixes a few problems Daybreak has run into as the game has evolved. “You could barely move without running into someone else’s base,” Jonessays. “The performance issues aside that’s really not desired gameplay, we really wanted to create this system of plots where we define a significant number of locations in the world where players can build these structures and they have to purchase these locations from the military that has taken over things in this post apocalyptic world.
“By focusing in on these plots we create a number of strategic locations that drive value and contention. For instance, potentially I want to be more of a loner, or I’m part of a small group, then maybe I want one of these strongholds deep in the woods, a smaller single plot stronghold. The inverse is maybe I am a larger clan, or a group, who play hundreds of hours a week and we are on it all the time, perhaps then I want a larger four plot stronghold that’s closer to a major place of interest like a dam or a city, that offers numerous loot abilities and is a lot more high action.”
Besides only being able to exist in certain locations, H1Z1’s new stronghold’s differ in how they can be attacked. “There are a lot of games in the genre that allow you to build structures,” Jones says. “We looked at the genre and said ‘We all play these games and it sucks when I have spent hours and hours and hours building a structure, and I log off for a night and come back to see everything I have built is in ashes’. Some people might say that is a core tenant to the survival genre but we think that for us it is really about the reconfiguration between attacks – ‘Where do I put my traps?’, ‘How do I build my base so it is more difficult for attackers to get in and get the loot I have spent hours hoarding?’.
“We have added in these timed raid sequences that we call the attack/defence cycle, which scales with the size of your base.” After each attack phase there is a regeneration phase “so you have time to really think about what you want to change about your base, rather than spend hundreds of hours again to rebuild it from scratch.”
The new map, Badwater Canyon, has been built to show off this new system, with plots spread over the world in expected and unexpected locations. Another huge change – though it may not seem it at first – is that players can now earn in-game currency. “We found this huge problem with item hoarding on the world where players would just gather up everything and it would just sit in containers and a lot of it was unused,” Jones says. “So we created this currency where players can turn in items that they find in the world to this interim government, the military that has taken over, for these golden eagle coins, which they can then use for other gameplay items.” You’ll need currency to buy a stronghold plot, too. Before, you needed to find materials in the world to craft a pad for your base.
“This is step one of many,” Jones says, answering my question about whether players will be able to trade with currency. “Everything you are discussing right now fits into updates we’ll see in the future, so I am really excited to push on systems like currency, to encourage players to come back, day after day to Just Survive.” It’s a big new push for a game that, in light of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ success, was beginning to look a little stale.