Sony Online Entertainment’s new zombie survival MMO, H1Z1, has gotten off to a bit of a rough start. Releasing on Steam Early Access for $20 this week, H1Z1 has seen numerous server issues — rather visible to twitch viewers last night, myself included — but that in and of itself isn’t typically enough to cause a publisher to offer refunds. Especially in an early access title. No, what buyers seem most upset over is the announcement of air drops, which ask players to spend money on air dropped crates filled with supplies. Some of the game’s players perceive the mechanism as pay-to-win.
The air drop system calls in a plane that drops crates of supplies near the players who made the call but the supplies themselves can be picked up by other players. Supplies include guns and ammunition amongst other things, calling in one of these airdrops requires at least 50 players on a server and alerts all players on the server of its impending arrival. According to SOE the idea is to force confrontation between players in competition over these item drops. Needless to say, some players disagree with the concept or at least the execution.
Players aired their grievances with the game in a lot of different places but in a thread on the H1Z1 sub-reddit, where players were criticizing the air drop mechanic, SOE President John Smedley joined the discussion and announced plans to offer refunds to disappointed buyers. For those of whom are disappointed in the air drops but decide to stick it out with H1Z1, all is not lost; Smedley stated that SOE will be looking at making changes to the air drop system in response to the criticism from players.
Should you decide on a refund, know that the refunds are not through Steam, though SOE is working with Valve to allow self-refunds over the weekend. If you want to begin the refund process now you must send your request for a refund directly to SOE. If you wish to request a refund on H1Z1 and you made your purchase before 1/16 at 10:30AM PST then you need to send your request to this email or otherwise wait for the self-refunds to become available.