H1Z1 will eventually be free-to-play. However, gamers who want early access will have to throw down roughly $20 USD on Steam. Considering SOE’s title is undoubtedly a work in progress, why on earth would you pay? Here is why we think it’s worth the money.
An Experience Like No Other
Since comparisons between H1Z1 and DayZ are inevitable, let's start there. Sure, they're both zombie apocalypse titles, but DayZ currently maxes out at 40 players per server, while H1Z1 will feature player counts into the thousands, all-existing in the same persistent world. Not only that, but H1Z1 will allow players to create their own bases and homes, fortifying and perfecting them until they feel as safe as one might in Woodbury (You should get that reference). While there's no way to be certain these features won't eventually make their way to DayZ, as of right now, it looks like H1Z1 is off to a nice start.
Build Your Own World
We briefly eluded to this above, but H1Z1 will not only allow you to build a place to rest your head when the sun goes down, it will also let you lead the life you choose. Maybe, like Rick in The Walking Dead, you want to teach your son how to be a farmer. While we're reasonably sure you can't have kids in H1Z1, we know that you can grow crops, changing your focus from finding food each day to sustaining a long term plan. Perhaps you aren't the tomato growing peaceful type. That's fine, you're more than welcome to spend your time hunting and killing anything that moves.
The point is, most games put you in the moment. You log on, spend some time immersing yourself in the fantasy you created and log out. With H1Z1, it's not so much a moment as a virtual lifetime. While it might be difficult just to survive the day, the goal is to give players a chance to look beyond each gaming session and let them try and plan weeks, if not months ahead. It's about deciding what virtual reality will suit your play style, then working to achieve it. While all games have consequences, most will only last a short period of time. with H1Z1, your choices can undo countless hours of work. Tread lightly.
Become Part of the Design Process
There's something special about being a part of any design process. Being able to say, "I helped make that" is a satisfying experience. With H1Z1, Sony Online Entertainment intends to use its PlanetSide 2 Roadmap System. This will not only allow developers to clearly and effectively pass along updates, it also opens the door for Player Studio creations. Even if you aren't that dedicated to the development of the game, that's fine, you can still turn it on and play. Your mere presence on a sever helps provide a large amount of data, whether you're aware of it or not. Plus, as much as being a part of the creation of something is cool, so is telling people, "I played that game before it released."
Deal, or No Deal?
Consider yourself armed with some additional information you may not have had before. Still, the question about whether you should pay for early access has to pass through some boring checkpoints. Do you have the disposable income? Is this your type of game? Keep in mind that you don't need all of the answers on the first day. If you're not sure, wait a few days and see what other players think. Watch some footage on YouTube. The latter you can actually do right now. In fact, we embedded some at the end of this article to make life easier.
Of course, if you ask us, this might be a good risk when you consider the potential reward. For only $20, you're sure to get an experience like no other. Sure, there might be a few bugs along the road, but that's something that plagues even final releases. At least with a game in early access, you can enjoy a discount. On that note, we’ll have plenty more on H1Z1 in the weeks ahead.