Sorry We Lied: H1Z1 Developer Explains Microtransaction Airdrop Mess

H1Z1 had a rough debut on Steam Early Access. SOE's sandbox zombie survival game is currently sitting on a 6/10, according to Steam's user review system, with 47 per cent of reports citing a negative experience with the game. To add to the publisher's troubles, the undisclosed ability for players to purchase gear "airdrops" was met with some unhappiness and forced a detailed apology from the title's senior designer.

A post by SOE's Adam Clegg on Reddit attempts to explain the source of the misunderstanding as well as outline upcoming changes to the controversial "airdrop" system. According to Clegg, his statement about microtransactions was "said without completely thinking" and that he had "disregarded the possibility of airdrops" when questioned on the topic.

Despite his mistake, Clegg understands how "what [he] said was at the time lying":

But please understand that's not what I was trying to do. For those of you that don't know me or understand me, know that I'm not trying to be this monster that is conniving and lying in hopes that you get tricked into buying the game. I am very passionate about making video games and I want more than anything in the world for people to love the games that I am a part of making.

It's silly to think anyone was being evil here (in Clegg's position, I wouldn't have paid much attention to anyone suggesting otherwise) and from the sounds of it, is a simple case of Hanlon's razor. It remains a major oversight by SOE however to not be clear about how microtransactions worked, given the ruthless audience most post-apocalyptic zombie games cater to.

The issue has sparked some changes to the system, which Clegg detailed in the post:

We are going to be tuning them throughout early access until we can get them to work that way, here are the first pass initial changes.

1) Make the plane move slowly (53% of current) This increases the ability for other players to react to the plane coming in. 2) Make the drop fall more slowly (80% of current) This increases the ability for other players to react to the plane coming in. 3) Less accurate maximum drop radius (was 250m now 700m, so with these settings it would drop up to 700m from the calling player) 4) New minimum distance of 250m for airdrops to appear from a player. This is a little less than ½ the player density of 700m distance with 120 players on a server. Therefore more players are likely to be near the airdrop when deployed. 5) Increase the minimum number of required players to 120 (a little higher after more discussion about player density being important to keeping airdrops contested)

It remains to be seen if H1Z1 will recover from this initial spurt of bitterness; heck, who knows what bad publicity does for games these days?

Update about Airdrops and my personal apology [Reddit, via IncGamers]


    Hardly an issue to be honest. Day one of early access and all these nerds are absolutely foaming at the mouth with rage over something that's already been fixed. Even if someone does pay for an airdrop they could potentially be paying for someone else to snag their gear when the plane arrives.

    12 hours into H1Z1 so far and I'm having a good time. The crafting system is very cool and there's already vehicles and hunting. Found my first gun last night and some ammo and have been working on expanding my recipe tab. Your character will remember crafting discoveries even after death.

    I've put over 600 hours into DayZ standalone and this is a nice change for now. The engine and combat is fluid and doesnt suffer from desync bullshit.

    Excited to see where both this and DayZ will go.

    Last edited 18/01/15 1:20 pm

      Up voted to counter the Kotaku dick squad...

        Upvoted because of your great comment :)

        The Kotaku dick squad - lol. Funny thing you never know which cause they are going to go rabbid over from one day to the next

      I'm in the same boat. I only played briefly over the weekend because I was mostly busy, or encountered massive server queues - but I'm not going to go on a ragefroth rampage over it. What I did play seems pretty good. Solid, but different enough to pique my interest.

      Dumped somewhere in the vicinity over 500+ hours into Arma 2 DayZ/Epoch, and 300+ into Breaking Point, and have been craving my next decent zombie survival game. Hoping this is what I'm looking for. Happy to throw $20 at it to participate and facilitate.

      Last edited 19/01/15 9:35 am

      Ok so here's the thing the airdrops are not p2w IMO but it is a pay wall on the only thing this game had going for it if this system remains in place there is zero reason to play this game. they did however lie in the fact that it was explicitly stated that you can't buy gear, well buying gear spawns is essentially the same thing and you know it.

    I'm having an absolute blast with the game. Playing on PvE servers it's like Day Z without the douchebags! It's glorious :)

    And this is just alpha. It's only going to get better and better from here.

    My only gripe so far is the dehydration/energy system. You lose both far too quickly and with food scarce it becomes a matter of finding, picking and eating blackberries just to survive that little bit longer. No doubt this will get tweaked as the game progresses, though.

      My only gripe so far is the dehydration/energy system. You lose both far too quickly and with food scarce it becomes a matter of finding, picking and eating blackberries just to survive that little bit longer. No doubt this will get tweaked as the game progresses, though.

      That is getting fixed right now, the game is down for a patch.

        Yeah, just after I posted my message I saw the patch notes :) I did say it would get tweaked! ;)

          Quick! What's tonight's lottery numbers?

            1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 - If you win I get half

            (Well, it's as likely as any other combination.)

    I am just hoping it'll turn out to be good. More so just because it's coming to PS4 which lacks a Zombie survival MMO like this. Sure Dayz is supposedly going to hit PS4, but I dare say that will be a 'very' long way away.

    Wouldn't trust SOE. They'd probably discontinue servers/support when sales drop in several years. Just like they did with many other MMOs.

    Shrug. Storm in a teacup.

    Personally I can't see the point behind paying for everyone else to get a whack at your loot pinata. It seems like a neat mechanic, just probably one that shouldn't be hooked up to a credit card. "Hey, guys! This bit of entertaining content is on me!" is great... but I anticipate, "Soooo, anyone gonna buy a crate for me to ninja? Anyone? C'mon, stop being tightasses, losers."

    This article is a complete LIE. The devs said their wording was taken out of context and misunderstood, they never said that they lied.

    They had videos showing what airdrops did and explained that they had weapons in them many times before launch.

    "We will NOT be selling Guns, Ammo, Food, Water… i.e. That’s kind of the whole game and it would suck in our opinion if we did that.”

    I didn't know there were PvE servers in this game. This moreso convinces me to play as 'DayZ Douchbags' are the worst and I would much rather my 'PAID' airdrops benefit a whole group than have them stolen by said douchebags.

    Might play this when its a full release. I'm done with pre releases

    Sounds cool. You could team up with others and stake out the perimeter of the drop zone and then share the loot.

      It's becoming a bit of an issue in PvE where some players are stealing the airdrops from other players. Heard one of the thieves yell out "That's what you get for supporting pay to win" as he and his fellow lowlifes scurried away after stealing some poor guy's airdrop.

      Here's hoping they change it so that on a PvE server only the person that called in the airdrop can open it.

    Why not just take all guns and ammo out of the drops and make them cosmetic items only? Would that solve the lying and p2w issue?

    Admittedly, I was going to purchase this day of release - but after seeing nothing but terrible reviews from the get-go I decided not to. Sure, I still might... but not just yet.

    It would be interesting to see how much this has affected their launch.

    I honestly wish all the best for the developers of H1Z1

      I don't even know why they soft-launched like this. They gave advance warning that it was very, very, very Early Access. That's not what people expect, though.

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