Saturday, 24 January 2015

H1Z1 The continued diary of a survivor part 2

Having settled on a server I like - low population, PVE, EU server, I've started to find things from scavenging. SOE have worked on loot tables and it seems to be helping, on this server at least, where there's not tons of people vying for the same salvage.

Today I had a breakthrough, in the form of an axe and a knife. Both make excellent weapons, but the knife allows me to skin animals for meat and cut cloth from zombies. The axe can be use to obtain logs from cutting down trees itself hazardous as it attracts for of the Dead. The wood has multiple uses but most importantly it has given me the opportunity to make a bow drill, a tool to light fires. I've found a little house house with a barbecue out back and using a little charcoal I picked up, I got a fire going and not only cooked the wolf and deer meat I've managed to hunt, with my improvised bow, but I've been able to purify river water and make blackberry juice with all those lovely blackberries that seem to be taking over the world. I now have adequate drinks and food for some time along with weapons to defend myself, so things are looking up. I've also found a turbo for an off-road vehicle, not that I've seen any lying around, and I've manufactured biofuel from animal fat. It would be nice to get some adequate way to communicate with other survivors to set up trades. Right now, the game has audio chat so you can shout at someone within distance, but I don't currently have a mic set up and when I see the audio notice next to someone's name, I can't hear them. Otherwise there's is no text chat so I feel frustrated, unable to communicate.

My next task is to find a crowbar. This elusive item, it appears, is the key to getting scrap metal from old cars and the metal can be used for many things, most importantly nails to start forming a defensive base in which to hole up.

Overall, H1Z1 is shaping up to be excellent. SOE are making almost daily updates to fix bugs and add things and the dev tracker clearly shows how transparent they are being in the development of the game.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

H1Z1 First Impressions

For the first time I've decided to get involved with an early access game, a few days in to the much talked about Steam Early Access Alpha of Sony's Zombie Survival game, H1Z1.

I heard about this game some time ago and being a fan of The Zed Genre in general and played to bits Left for Dead 1 and 2, it really piqued my interest. When news of the release of forerunner, Day Z came out with it's horrific PVP making it a griefers holiday, I was excited that not only would H1Z1 focus more on crafting and building but would have PVE servers. Being the Care Bear I am, I was sold and when the opportunity to get in early in the game's development appeared, I jumped in, having watched a few Twitch streams first (and reading about Belghast's experience, over on Tales of the Aggronaut)

Being early access, I was ready for a battle to just get in the game, and it was that. A couple of hours fiddling various settings but eventually I got in. Finding a medium populated PVE server, I was thrown in to field of blackberries with nothing but my wits.

I won't lie, there was a definite feeling of excitement entering, something I've not felt from a game in some time. I had no clue where I was or what to do, but I set about picking blackberries, knowing food would be scarce, and found a nice solid branch for a weapon. After filling my pockets, I spotted a deer, so started stalking it. I couldn't get close enough so set about sprinting, trying to smack it down. I failed miserably. Hunger was setting in and the blackberries weren't cutting it. I stumbled across a road  full of deserted wrecked cars. Searching about twenty, I found nothing. It's hard to know if that's as intended, they'd be ransacked already or it's just bugged. Either way, it was disappointing. Soon enough I found a town, a deserted church offered nothing until I spotted a police station. I figured there must be an armoury of some kind, if not a gun in a desk somewhere, so I moved in, dodging the odd zombie on the way.

I searched every desk and drawer and went to the basement where I found the armoury. Nothing. Again, cleared out or bugged, but very frustrating. Hunger had almost killed me, so I headed upstairs, noticing wooden spikes on the stairs. I must have stepped on one, as I collapsed onto them and died.

Not a great start to my career, but it was fun if frustrating. I had to log out and have been unable to get back in following a patch, something a number of players have reported.

Overall, I'm enjoying H1Z1. My main complaint, aside from the lack of loot, are the zombies. Graphically they are not great, Left 4 Dead did a better job, but I'm assuming that will improve as the game develops. They are also not especially active. One stood stock still, arms out, staring at me then vanished as I got close. The patch today has apparently dealt with loot issues, though not much use to me if I can't log in. Hopefully will get to try again tomorrow.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

2015 in LOTRO and what's coming!


The new Producer's letter has just been released with some very exciting news for PVMP players.

Major 2015 Initiatives:

Legendary Items: With the Osgiliath update, you will be able to Imbue Level 100 Legendary Items. An Imbued item continues to gain experience and will no longer need to be deconstructed to advance. These items are already in internal testing! There are many details still to work out, but you should expect a developer diary on the topic early this year.

Osgiliath is one area I've been excited to see from day one, and I always felt it would make an awesome PVP zone...

New Fellowship Challenges: As we push into the heart of the War of the Ring, this is the perfect time for us to renew our focus on group content and instances. Expect new instances in Osgiliath, along with additional Roving Threats and group content on the landscape.

Much of the playerbase will welcome new instances. I'm not much of a raider myself but I'd love to get involved for this area.

Quality of Life: We have been working to identify your most persistent bugs. You can expect a renewed focus on resolving issues that may be small but troublesome, to improve overall gameplay experience.


Episodic Content: We are currently in development on a new type of quest content that will roll out like an episodic TV show, a little at a time, as you follow a new friend across Middle-earth seeing familiar places in a new light.

This sounds very interesting. Perhaps Turbine are taking notes from Guild War's Living Story and Star Trek Online's episodic model.

Server Populations: Based on your feedback, we’re taking measures to get everyone onto the more populous servers, so that finding parties is easier and festivals and live events are more fun. We are working on both improved server transfer tools and upgrades to our environments to improve playability. Also we will be moving our European servers back to the EU! More details on this coming soon!

Key for me is that they drop the price, or do away with charging altogether.  Making it easier is all very well, but if I wanted to transfer all nine toons from Windfola to Landroval, we're talking $200+, plus the charge for extra slots to accommodate the characters.

PvMP: The team is also seriously investigating a new PvMP map in Osgiliath. This landscape would tell the story of the Battle of Osgiliath, and the layout of the city (split by the Anduin) is perfect for smaller and more tightly focused conflicts than the Ettenmoors. This would make the perfect platform for gradual improvements to the PvMP experience, overall. We’ll provide additional updates on this initiative as we get deeper into 2015.

I Called this back in 2009. Awesome idea and I really hope it pans out. Turbine have made promises about PVMP before and not fulfilled those promises.