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H1Z1: Now free to play

H1z1 is a battle royal style shooter that lets players choose their location on a large map, scavenge for weapons and fight to be the last people standing. Recent titles such as Fortnite and Playerunknown: Battlegrounds have recently taken the internet by storm, though one of the earlier (arguably less successful) renditions of the battle royal formula came from H1Z1. The game was originally released as an Early Access title in 2015, with a full release of the game arriving three years later. It drops 150 players into the game, with teams of up to five or just solo, all fighting for map control and drops that give them better weapons and armour.

One of H1Z1’s more popular game modes revolves around fast paced vehicle combat. Auto royal picks up thirty teams of four, with one driver and three door gunners. They first pick a military jeep or a nippy sedan before shooting down crates and fight over (you guessed it) plane drops to arm up and obliterate every other vehicle zipping about the tight corners of pleasant valley or bounding over the mountains of Veeshans peak. Players can also use special items such as smoke screen or vehicle jumps to get them out of tight situations.

With the player base dropping, servers had become to a grinding halt with the players getting to know the regulars on a first name basis. This meant the tightly knit community could only progress to a certain point, never getting any better than their friends with no one else to practice on. Matches wouldn’t hit the 150 player mark and it could make the initial drop really boring with no one to fight over the loot with. Reddit had been calling for H1Z1 to go free to play for months, arguing that the fully priced title was being shadowed by it’s younger brother, Fortnite, which is also free to download. Finally caving in, Daybreak game company has given it the go ahead, injecting thousands of new players into the game, encouraging people to join in with their friends who were already playing H1Z1.

The negatives of having the platform remove it’s pay wall (over than the obvious loss of initial game sales) is having the community becoming potentially much more casual and more appealing to hackers. If anyone can download the game, it means they don’t necessarily have much invested into it in the first place, meaning they have less of a chance of being a hardcore battle royal fan. It also means potential hackers have no problem making a free account on steam, downloading the game, getting banned and starting the process all over again.

Existing players who payed full price for the title have received some in game items and currency to spend on cosmetic items, as well as the option to refund their  purchase if they had recently bought the game without knowing it was going free.

Daybreak studios have announced that they want to focus their efforts on the H1Z1 competitive scene, creating leagues for teams to compete in, in attempt to prove the battle royal as a viable Esports platform.

Was H1Z1’s swift change to becoming a free game worth it? Tell us what you think on Twitter