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Dev Blog: Weapon Tuning, Horizontal Recoil & More

The One about Drop, Lead and Bullet Speed


What is up everyone! Today’s update touches all the guns in the game. We’ve brought back one of the most iconic game mechanics, fine-tuned the accuracy of the guns, and adjusted bullet drop and speed. There’s a lot to this update, but before we get into the details, we’d like to acknowledge and thank everyone from the Test Server and Focus Group who provided feedback to help us bring the best version of this update to life.

One of the most notable additions from today’s update is horizontal recoil on the AR-15. As one of H1Z1’s most iconic game mechanics, it should feel quite familiar to those who have been around a while. Horizontal recoil keeps the firing pattern kicking left and right when you stay within the reset time. If you start to shoot wildly it will add additional vertical recoil. We’re excited to give newer players the ability to experience one of the mechanics that made H1Z1 a truly unique Battle Royale experience.

H1Z1 is a competitive game and so we’ve gone back to our roots with this update and re-introduced some of the harder-to-master mechanics.

First, we’ve slowed down projectiles and added more drop. This requires players to aim higher and lead further to compensate for movement. While testing this update, we closely monitored speed to determine how slow we could go while still maintaining a responsive feel. We’re confident where we landed and all the details of the change are bulleted down below.

Second, we wanted to reduce the ability to spray with accuracy from medium to long distances. H1Z1 is about precision, not spamming and spraying. With this update we’ve increased mechanics like recoil growth over time in order to make spraying much more difficult. Now, a highly skilled player who takes the time to aim and tap in medium- to long-range fights will almost always win against someone who is spraying.

These are just some of the biggest changes from this update. Here are the specifics of the weapon tuning improvement:


  • Bullet Speed: Decreased to 500m/s down from 800m/s
  • Bullet Drop: Increased from Live
  • Recoil Model: The recoil model for the AR-15 has changed and will now rely on pure horizontal recoil when the player is tapping. If the player begins to spray, vertical recoil will kick in to combat it.
  • Body Damage: Remains at 22.5 damage per shot
  • Head-shot Damage: Added 35 damage pass through on helmet, this will bring a player who was at full health down to 65 if they had a helmet on. This makes the weapon a 4 shot kill instead of a 5 shot.


  • Bullet Speed: Decreased to 500m/s down from 700m/s
  • Bullet Drop: Increased from Live, now it's the same as the AR-15
  • Vertical Recoil: Increased dramatically post-2nd shot
  • Horizontal Recoil: Increased in general
  • Body Damage: Decreased to 23 damage, down from 26 bringing it up to a 5 shot kill from a 4 shot kill.
  • Head-shot Damage: Added 35 damage pass through on helmet, this will bring a player who was at full health down to 65 if they had a helmet on.
  • Rate of Fire: Increased back to original baseline (faster than live, back to Pre-Season 3 rate of fire)
  • Added single shot fire mode to allow consistent tapping
  • Added a HUD element that denotes the difference between fire modes.  Single bullet icon is Semi-auto, five bullets is full auto.
  • The AK defaults to Full Auto mode when first picked up.


  • Pellet spread has been decreased to give a tighter pattern and increased consistency on close range shots
  • Damage fall off has been increased to 25 meters from 10 meters to increase the forgiveness on range.
  • Recoil has been reduced to make combat smoother with the shotgun.
  • Pellet Speed: No change 
  • Pellet Drop: No change


  • Added damage fall off that begins at 25 meters and ends at 50 meters
  • The falloff includes a penalty to the headshot multiplier, taking it from 4x to 2x at maximum falloff range (50m)
  • Bullet Drop: No change 
  • Vertical Recoil: No change 
  • Refire Time: No change 
  • Horizontal Recoil: No change 
  • Head-shot Damage: No change (sans falloff)
  • Clip Size: Increased to 30 from 24


  • Car Damage: increase to 8 per shot (Pre-Season 3 value)
  • Increased the re-fire time to 450ms from 420ms (shoots slightly slower)
  • Bullet Speed: No change 
  • Bullet Drop: Slight reduction
  • Vertical Recoil: Slight increase
  • Horizontal Recoil: No change 
  • Head-shot Damage: No change 
  • Body Damage: No change  

Sniper Rifle

  • Bullet Speed: Reduced to 800m/s down from 1000m/s
  • Bullet Drop: Increased
  • Scope Mechanic Changes: Added the sway and hold breath mechanics back (default is the shift key), the 4x scope has returned, and going to scope is faster
  • Holding breath with the Sniper Rifle now has an appropriate sound effect.

General Hit Reg Improvements

  • Fixed an issue with the projectile simulation system
  • Fixed an issue with the remote player hitboxes

You can also read the complete list of patch notes that include these weapon changes but also a host of bug fixes and other improvements.

Future Updates

That’s about it for this update, but here’s a quick look at some features in the works that will be arriving on the Test server soon, including changes to animation, movement, throwables, and more.


We are currently going through the entire animation set to make ours less exaggerated, which will help characters feel more anchored and rooted to the world. This will also allow for better combat flow, creating more satisfying and predictable combat when engaging targets at longer ranges. We will also be removing passive stance, which will make players feel like they are in more control of their character.


We will be slowing things down a bit to help eliminate warping and teleporting. Much like the animation changes mentioned above, the movement changes will really help root combat. Running animations will also be adjusted to match the new movement speeds.


Our goal is to make sure H1Z1 maintains its fast paced feel, but not to an extent that is it exploitable and gets in the way of how satisfying combat. We’ve got a couple different solutions internally that will be testing out and like everything else, you’ll be able to try them for yourselves when we push them to the Test Server.


Throwing a grenade should be a choice in H1Z1, not a default action you do just because you have one. New mechanics will be going to Test quite soon to reinforce this idea, including the addition of outplay mechanics. We’ll also be increasing the skill required to use them by removing their spammability.

Outplay Mechanics:

We’re working on drop shots, jump shots, and seat swapping. Not a ton of details on those at this time, but we wanted to make sure you knew they are still coming.

Again, thank you all so much for assisting with this update and providing the necessary feedback needed to bring H1Z1 back to its roots. We’re excited to continue making this game with you all.

Tony "Carto" Morton – Lead Combat Designer