Despite some negative press, zombie survival sim The War Z has launched on Steam and gone straight to the top of the bestsellers charts.
So it’s curious timing that, just as the game was hitting those lofty heights, developers Hammerpoint Interactive quietly released a patch, which introduced a new “feature”.
Previously, a dead character (you can have up to five) would have to wait 60 minutes before they could respawn. Tough, but it’s a tough game. Now, since the patch, your respawn time is four hours.
Sounds insane, and it is, but to get around it, Hammerpoint also brought in a glowing green button that lets you respawn instantly. Provided you pay. Real money.
The War Z isn’t a free-to-play title, or a cheap iPhone game, it’s a retail product that people have already paid at least $US15 for (there are more expensive bundles available that come with in-game currency). Now, on the very day it hits some unexpected sales success, a patch brings in a fundamental form of microtransaction?
A cynical man would say the two might just be related.
Some fans are saying it’s not that big a deal, pointing out that since you have five character slots you can cycle through them. The counter to that, of course, is that it introduces a “pay to win” element to the game, where those coughing up for instant respawns can improve their characters at a faster rate, something you shouldn’t have to contend with in a retail product, especially one that’s already so full of griefers as The War Z is (my first two deaths in the game, like the one above, were from human snipers).