Zombie-based MMO H1Z1 launched in alpha on Friday, but things haven't started well for the Sony Online Entertainment title.
Besides issues typically associated with an online game launch, including server issues affecting user logins, a much more controversial 'pay-to-win' mechanic has been discovered.
Airdrops that supply guns and ammo to players via micro-transactions have been labelled by some players as a pay-to-win mechanism, not only disrupting the game but going against comments made by Sony Online Entertainment's John Smedley.
Some of the game's backers are so angry by the discovery that SOE has begun offering limited time refunds.
"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 -" wrote Smedley on Reddit.
"Please note that this is going through us, not Steam. Which means it's a little more work so please be patient with the actual refund (it may take a day or two)."
Smedley also used Twitter to address complaints against Airdrops.
"I'm going to weigh in here on this subject. We've been showing it clearly in all of the streams we have been doing. I made a point of personally doing it during last Friday's streams. We want them to be server events... so we make sure the whole server knows they're coming and I've personally been killed many times after I paid for them myself," he explained. "So I fundamentally disagree with the argument.
"In terms of us not being honest about it - untrue to an extreme. Quoting an 8 month old reddit post after numerous streams and interviews where we've been quite public AND putting it front and centre in our "What to expect document" which was right on the purchase page just makes this blatantly unfair IMO. (here's the link - https://www.h1z1.com/dev-updates/h1z1-what-you-can-expect-in-early-access) or you can just go back to the steam page.
"So if you think it's P2W don't buy it. Don't play it. But I have to say wait until you've personally tried them before making the call. We included airdrops in both the $20 and the $40 versions just so you could see for yourselves."
He continued: "But to clear up the misconceptions - 1) You cannot call in airdrops until the servers are 1/4 full. 2) You can't call in airdrops without generating a ton of zombie heat. 3) the airdrops are random in what they deliver. 4) you are not guaranteed to get a single thing out of the airdrop you called in. You could die trying and you're out the money. 5) We fly the plane in very slowly and loudly.. we also stream green smoke from it you can see from very far away.
"This is all I'm going to say on the subject. We've been straight about it. We've called attention to it publicly and it's something we've decided we want in the game. It makes it more fun. It can shake things up. Please don't judge based on knee jerk reactions. Try it. Or watch more streams with people doing it."
However, Smedley says that some "big changes" are coming to airdrops.
"1) Dramatically widening the radius they come in - it's too small from what we're observing. 2) Making sure the chance for guns is a much lower chance so they are much more rare. 3) Upping the minimum number of people on a server to even allow air drops. It's set at 50 right now and we're going to at least double it. We are serious about these being server events and contested. 4) Making the plane fly even slower."
The game's backers have already disagreed with Smedley's comments, pointing to a Reddit post he made 11 days ago.
"We're landing in a place I think makes all of us happy," wrote Smedley. "There will be crates with cosmetic only stuff in them. Anything that matters to your survival will be done as recipes so you have to go out and get the stuff for it rather than us handing it to you. We feel the same way you guys do about this stuff. It makes it interesting - I don't think I've ever seen a game do it this way. We're all used to buying something and getting it.. not getting the recipe for it."
Do weapons and ammo sound like cosmetic items to you?