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.
SOE president and habitual Redditor John Smedley told fans yesterday that the studio held their first H1Z1 monetization meeting on Tuesday. SOE will sell wearables - but have come up with a “pretty awesome” plan to let players who kill others loot their paid-for gear.
“So if a player has a black ski mask and gets killed by another player, that player can wear the ski mask for a few deaths,” explained Smedley. “This gives the great feeling of whacking some unsuspecting fool who decided to bring a knife to a gun fight.”
Players won't ever lose their paid-for wearables. Instead, their killers will be able to loot a degradable, but otherwise identical piece of equipment.
“What this means is when you buy items of clothes with money you always keep that item,” said Smedley. “However, if a player loots your corpse and takes that clothing item they will also be able to wear it for a few lives but they won’t keep it indefinitely.”
Here’s what won’t be purchasable in H1Z1's store: guns, ammo, food, water and the like. Smedley and team recognise the contents of a player’s inventory are “kind of the whole game”, and compromising that “would suck”.
Extra revenue will be garnered through emote packs, character slots, and keys for Dota 2-style crates found occasionally in the game world.
It’s tricky territory, but Smedley thinks SOE are managing to “steer clear of the stuff you just don't want to see”. Do you think they’ll manage it? Planetside 2’s free-to-play was “modelled after League of Legends”, and SOE seem to have a firm handle on the concept by now.