Early Access impressions of H1Z1, the zombie survival MMO

Sony Online Entertainment’s H1Z1 was certainly a hot topic in gaming news this past week, and not for all the right reasons. Despite overloaded servers and the “pay to win” controversy, the game’s early access launch has certainly caught the attention of the gaming world. If it can keep its name out of forum rants, it looks to be a big contender this year. While the game is very similar to DayZ at its very base, SOE has created enough original content that will distinguish H1Z1 from the competition.

Right from the jump I had to wait two hours to log into a server. Once I was able to jump online it wasn’t long before I was beaten to death by four random strangers. Nice to see that things haven’t really changed since DayZ. From the moment your feet touch the map, you are equipped with little to nothing other than some bandages and clothes. Much like DayZ, your survival instincts will attribute to how long you live in the game.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve begun to get some traction in the game only to be taken out a few moments later by some dick who just wanted to kill me. Your best bet is to play with friends. You can of course find people to play along with, but as I’ve seen from first-hand experiences, it doesn’t always end well. In one instance I stumbled upon three guys just hanging out by the trees. One of them was teaching two friends how to make a weapon. It wasn’t before long that the teacher turned on his students and killed them for no reason. A good rule of thumb is to TRUST NO ONE.

2015-01-16_00026Your obvious priority is to find a weapon, which can of course be tricky with other players walking around and hordes of zombies infesting the major cities. What H1z1 does to make this transition a lot easier is that you can now make your own weapons, thanks to the game’s crafting system. It took me a little while before I figured out that I could rip my shirt and grab some sticks to put together a bow and arrow. Nothing Oliver Queen would be proud of, but at least it’s something I could defend myself with if I needed to.

I also discovered that it was best to collect as much Blackberries as possible. They are the fruit that naturally grows all over the map and are a good source of food when you are desperate. I am not ashamed to say that I would scarf down 30 berries at a time to regain my energy and satisfy my hunger. When I progressed later into the game, I was able to hunt my own food. (STAY AWAY FROM THE BEARS!)

Once you start getting more and more into crafting, you can start making some pretty interesting items. I was pretty stunned when I found a dew catcher and immediately went online to find out how to make one of my own. Once you start getting into building structures, it’s recommended to wait until you have a group, because they can be broken into and will bring attention to whatever is inside your little hut.


I didn’t really get a chance to dabble into the air drops, but I did get to watch a fight between 6 or 7 players over one. From a safe distance I could see the entire battle unfold, and in the end only one was left standing. I can understand the controversy over the feature, but to be fair it seems like it is really a role of the dice who ends up with the goods from the air drop.

All in all I really enjoyed playing H1Z1. The crafting feature gives players a unique option that will set the game apart from other zombie survival games, and being free-to-play is a price you just can’t beat. I look forward to the full release.

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Mike Villarreal
Mike Villarreal 1360 posts

Mike once killed a man with a plastic butter knife. True story. #ViolentGentlemen