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H1Z1 Battle Royale Brings Back Classic Outbreak Map

The H1Z1 Test Servers offered up something shiny and new, while also being classic and familiar – The Outbreak Map! That’s right, H1Z1 is bringing back their most familiar map to the H1Z1 Battle Royale, and I took a spin around it over the weekend, then had a chat with Terrence Yee, Producer for H1Z1 at Daybreak Games to learn a little more about it. My time with Outbreak was brief, not because of time spent, but because every single time I landed, I was almost immediately killed by someone more experienced who already had a gun. I think the closest I got to actually getting equipped was seeing a pair of boots on the ground. As I ran to them, I realized I was dead, and the match was over for me at a whopping 34 seconds. I like the map, what I saw of it, but it was not a familiar map since I wasn’t playing H1Z1’s “Outbreak”, which made them really famous.

The Veterans of H1Z1 declared they really missed the original Outbreak Map, which was originally made for Zombie Survival gameplay. This means it had to at least be retooled or repurposed in some manner. They kept the exact same map, so all the buildings and things you remember are there, but a lot of spaces were widened (in buildings, for example), so it’s less focused on narrow corridors for zombies and nice wide spaces for gunfights with other players. The outskirts of the map also received more vehicles, so even if you drop on the edge, you can still get back to the heat of the action reliably. It was also updated graphically and the terrain was cleaned up so driving off-road is considerably more viable. There were a lot of rocks or other things you might find in the wilderness that would slow down or halt your vehicle, and that just can’t happen. This will make the shooter experience far more enjoyable. So more doorways, windows, cover height: a lot of this was adjusted to fit the style of gameplay they need. This map essentially started the Battle Royale craze, they said, and it should be fun for Veterans who cut their teeth on this map, as it were, and new players will have lots to explore and see.

Outbreak is an 8k x 8k map, so it’s pretty huge. It’s also important to note that this map is going to replace the current map. This will also not have spawn-select as a feature. The community overwhelmingly demanded that spawn-select be turned off, so you now have to float down and find your way. One of the key reasons for removing spawn-select was nostalgia, as that is how the original game was played. Doing so also prevents players bunching up in a small area and just duking it out, which is probably a lot less fun than just playing the game as intended. One of the questions I asked is, “How will this affect the Pro League?”, because with a new map would shake up the meta quite a bit, especially mid-season. However, the map will not be changing for ranked play. Pro league has a locked version of the current map, and if they want it changed, they have to come to some kind of consensus between the teams, leagues, and players. They can then approach Daybreak and talk to them and see what they can support or change. I like that approach a bit more than balancing an online game around the pros and letting the casual players just deal with it.

Now, after this Season is over, if the consensus is that they want this “Outbreak” map to be the pro league map, then Daybreak said they would work with commnity on that. It would have to meet the league’s standards of an exciting, competitive shooter map, and of course, they’d want time to check it out, learn it, see if it’s what they would find more interesting and competitive. We’ll just have to see what happens on that front, but Outbreak will be the new map for the casual season (which is different from the H1PL Season). They’re hoping to get feedback from the audience as the casual season goes on, to improve and better this map. However, it does appear this map will be exclusive to the PC, at least for the time being. As the Playstation 4 version of H1Z1 just came out of Open Beta a few weeks ago, they’re concentrating on making the PS4 map better for the console/the game itself better for the console. There are no plans in place, but they’re sure at some point it will be looked at for the PlayStation by their team. I did get to see a few ways how the map was overall improved in buildings, how much more space there is, and it really does look like it’ll be exciting to play.

All told, I’m very excited for H1Z1 fans, because it’s always nice to take a trip back in time, enjoy some nostalgia, especially like this. The map looks clean and crisp, there is tons to see and do, and it will shake up player’s worlds. I was kind of hoping they would have multiple maps and keep the old one, but I can see the need to just have one map. It would be very trying to memorize drops on two maps and have varying strategies; god help you if there were even more than that! I like the idea of H1Z1, but I will probably never be good at it, thanks to their technology. Their localized audio tech is superb, but as someone who can only hear in one ear, I’m at a pretty serious disadvantage. So instead, I’ll just watch the people that are awesome at it keep being awesome. A lot of work and love went into this update, down to changing some of the animations to be more in line with what the Outbreak animations were. Some of the coin/gun mechanics were also changed to be more in line with what players would expect in Outbreak. Outbreak wasn’t changed, it was just made better and prettier. We also have a shiny trailer to show it off, which you can see above. It’s going down today, so grab your parachute, find a truck and a gun and get going!

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