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New H1Z1 details and video: Player Servers and third-person view

on 21 April 2014

John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment, has taken to Reddit to answer common questions seen on a recent live stream (archived by 2rgames) and explain, among other things, how Player Servers will work in SOE's hotly anticipated PS4 and PC zombie MMO.

"Q: Will there be 3rd person?

A: We will have first and third person. Third person will not give you LOS over obstacles. We intend to make it more of a preference. I find myself switching to it occasionally but I love combat in first person. To those who say we can't serve two masters - play the game before you judge."

We're glad to see this inclusion, and it's heartening to hear that SOE is aware of the competitive complications third-person view presents. In DayZ, for example, third-person is widely used to peek over walls and obstacles, which removes some of the immersion and lets players see opponents coming prematurely.

"Q: Will vehicles be 3rd person only?

A: Vehicles will be in third person only. Could this change? Maybe but that's what we're putting in for now."

In the same breath, it's strange to think that SOE would strive so heavily toward a sense of immersion with first-person gameplay but remove that option for vehicles. The PlanetSide 2 vehicular gameplay is great, where third-person rules the roost, but first-person within vehicles brings a great sense of immersion.

"Q: How is this different from Day Z?

A: Not going to give some politically correct dodgy b.s. answer. It is a survival in a Zombie Apocalypse game. So is Day Z. They 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.

We're making the game we're making. Long term we plan on making this about a persistent world with a big landscape with thousands of players. The way we would like to see this roll out is much more like players building small enclaves or pockets of territory and hold out against a legitimate zombie threat that's ever present while others go it alone taking their chances.. These player built structures, forts and towns are one of the ways the players try to carve out some small space in a dangerous world.

We also want to make sure we have a deep in-game economy that is heavily dependent on crafting. Players will be able to become manufacturers.. sell bullets, arrows.. etc. The in-game economy will be entirely player driven.

So this is our take on the Zombie Apocalypse with a lot of friends and hopefully some great enemies both living and dead. We're proud to be up front and say we love Day Z and the job they've done and we hope they enjoy what we make too.

I can say this another way.

I love 28 Days and 28 Days Later I love World War Z I love Warm Bodies (oh come on you did too you) I love Night of the Living Dead.. and all the other ones. I love The Walking Dead.

And so do most of you. So sure. We're another Zombie Apocalypse game. Call it what it is. But our goal is to make ours fun, accessible, hard core and super, super deep. As time goes on we hope our take on the end of the world by zombie is fun and lots of people get to try it. You'll also have all the information you need when you start Early Access for $19.99. You can watch others stream it. You can decide to wait till we switch it to Free to Play. Either way you'll see our roadmap and you'll see if it's something that's for you."

Smedley also announced a unique feature to H1Z1 called Player Servers.

"Hello fellow Infected,

I'd like to announce a new feature for H1Z1. Player Servers. Similar to other games from SOE, H1Z1 is an MMO. We will launch with different rulesets and variants to cater to different playstyles.

We're excited about taking our dedication to letting you get a say in our games to a whole new level with Player Servers.
The idea is simple - If a community of our players wants to host a server with a specific theme or ruleset then we're going to do our best to give it to them. players will recieve a pledge token for free if they've played more than 5 hours. This pledge token can be used to cast a vote for a server. But use it wisely. You only get one free one per year. Make sure it's a community you believe in and that has a good chance to succeed because we're going to set the bar such that the community can sustain an MMO server (more details will be announced later). If you find yourself dying to vote on another server initiative we'll also sell pledge tokens but you can only use 2 pledge tokens a year max. So again, it's up to you but we want to make sure if we build it you're coming. We're also going to refund the station cash you used to buy it to your account if the Player Server Initiative succeeds. The Pledge token also comes with a wearable that's going to look sweet.

Why refund it if it succeeds? Simple - we really want to give you the kind of servers you want. We're going to set that bar high. If it succeeds, you've built a community of fellow players you want and as our customers we want to give you that. But we also need some indication of reality in order to make this work.

At SOE we've been doing a whole lot of asking our players what you think of our ideas. This is no exception. If you have better ones, we are all ears.

Hope you dig this.


We're excited just thinking about raiding somebody's base and taking all their stuff. Plus, the economy of voting for a certain server is definitely unique to the genre, and the limit on votes you can cast per year should help dramatically filter Player Servers down to the very best of the bunch. The Player Server system is something I personally support, and I openly congratulate SOE for an imaginative solution to long-term player participation.

Every time H1Z1 makes headlines, the PS4 MMO seems even more ambitious. What do you think? Will H1Z1 be your go-to PS4 multiplayer game, or is SOE not doing enough to carve out a unique space in the genre?