Sony Online Entertainment's H1Z1 recently launched on Steam's Early Access platform with a whole lot of fanfare. Usually fanfare is good, but when the fanfare is filled with a lot of murmuring and calls for pitchforks and torches, there's a bit of a problem. SOE president John Smedley is addressing the problem by allowing no-questions-asked refunds.
Things got heated over the recent release of H1Z1 when the game had premium airdrops. The airdrops enable players to call in crates that contain items and supplies. Originally it was mentioned that these supply drops would only contain cosmetic items to help players out, but when the game launched it was discovered that airdrops also contain weapons and survival gear. Players with better gear have a better chance at survival. Essentially, it added a pay-to-win element to the game since most people who get obsessive about not losing will pay for airdrops to get an advantage over the competition.
The pay-to-win aspect caused a huge backlash that had a lot of gamers angry. As it stands, out of the near 5,000 reviews on the Steam page for H1Z1 nearly half of them are negative due to the perceived pay-to-win aspect.
Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley made a post on Reddit explaining that refunds would be available, writing...
“If you feel like the airdrops are an issue for you, you may immediately request a refund to [email protected] - this offer applies till Monday and it applies only to people that have purchased the game as of 10:30am Pacific today 1/16/2015 -”
Some users in the thread noted that the refunds actually aren't going through SOE but are going through Steam. Reddit user Llyod notes that you have to log into Steam, go to your account details, go to 'Store Transactions' and find your purchase of H1Z1. Proceed to click on the 'Request a Refund' link to initiate the refund.
The comment section in that thread is quite inflamed... to say the least.
Funnily enough I've yet to spare some time to find out if the game is buggy or non-working or any of that kind of stuff. Most of the issues so far have stemmed from the payment setup.
Bohemia Interactive dealt with the opposite problem: bugs, crashes and glitches. Then again, DayZ's standalone has a fixed priced with no microtransactions, so you can't pay to win... you have to play to win.
Given all the push-back from the community about the airdrops and the way the game's monetary system is setup, I do wonder if SOE will switch over to a fixed price module for H1Z1 or will they continue to stick with the free-to-play method when the game finally launches? It's funny because I certainly don't remember these problems popping up when they launched Planetside 2.
Hopefully they can iron the problems, find a balanced monetary system for H1Z1 and offer gamers something worthwhile with little else to complain about other than being ganked by a group of bandits.