Sunday, December 23, 2012

War Z shambles towards your wallet, cont.

Originally, I had wanted to just make a single post about War Z, but I ended up typing away, until I reached a point I said to myself "Sssshhhhhheeeeeeiiiittt...I should probably make this two posts".

Or, you know...use a jump break, that would have been a good idea, too.

Anyway, last post I basically recounted my experience of the War Z fiasco, basically up to just before it went viral (hue hue hue), now, after the break, I'm going to move onto what I think of what happened after.

So the accusations of fraud regarding War Z were flying thick and fast, and then something not surprising, but in my eyes, shocking, happened...gaming journalism picked up the story, and they were...agreeing with the consumer complaints.

The War Z launches on Steam amid accusations of fraud.

You see, 2012 has been a year of controversy, and the thing about those controversies is, a great deal of it has been gamers, and gaming journalists, basically, attacking each other.

Then the journalists come out and start getting on Hammerpoints case too? no accusations of gamers being 'entitled crybabies' or anything like that?

Shit just got real.

Now, by stage, there was reams of information had put out there about how the game was not what it was promised to be, and now it was Hammerpoints move. This was the turning point, the stage at which Sergey Titov and Hammerpoint could have made an overture to regain some measure of public faith.

...and they took the opportunity, and shat on it.

If the developers had of just come clean, admitted they'd misrepresented the game, offered a sincere apology, offered refunds without fuss, hell, even made the hollow gesture of a sacrificial lamb firing, in the short term, their reputation would still have suffered, and they would still have lost sales.

But, in the long run, they'd have kept alot more customers, and given time, could have rebuilt their reputation, and attracted new ones.

Instead, they tried to cover their ass, silence dissent, and blame everyone else--all of it playing out for the entire internet to see.

Sergey Titov remarking that people 'misread' the store page is probably one of the biggest whammies they handed themselves...people don't like being lied to, but what they hate even more, is being lied to, and then being called morons who can't read.

All this also helped bring to light how Hammerpoint was running the community like a police state. If anyone said anything negative about the game, the moderators would go all Nineteen Eighty-four on them, removing the offending speech, or worse, ban the people outright (Who had still payed for the game, bare in mind), using accusations like "User is only here to spread hate and not contribute to the community." Like I said, police state.

But hey, there is a positive side to this. In responce to Kotaku, Titov said "Bottom line—our end goal is to have satisfied and not angry customers, so this is more important for us than everything else.".

Which is most certainly true! (finally, some honestly from these guys), I mean, if they keep banning all the angry customers, logically, they'll only be left with satisfied ones, right?


It's funny when you consider that in his post addressing the store page, Titov said "At the end of the day our goal is to serve our players as best as we can, and we love when you guys steer us into the right way of doing it !"

But even more damning, is the fact that they had the power to moderate and silence people on the Steam forums too.

Hammerpoint have no one but themselves to blame for this, but the sad fact is, they've dragged Valve into this as well.

Steam has gone ahead and offered full refunds to anyone who wants it, as well as pulled the game from their store, and begun their own investigation into it. But the fact remains, people are now questioning how such a game was allowed onto Steam for sale in the first, and highlighted that the game developers have the ability to moderate the separate forums Valve hosts for the games they sell.

And perhaps something else...people bought this game, because they trusted Steam. They trusted that Valve wouldn't have allowed such a game to be sold on Steam in the first place, that if it was on Steam, it was a-ok.

That's just how I feel about it, but if any number of other people feel the same way, well...this could potentially hurt everyone who does business via Steam.

But it's not entirely Steam's fault, I mean, the promotional art looked pretty good too. I know, that doesn't mean the game is good, but it at least indicates some level of care and professionalism from the people making. I figured it at first it might be bad, but Asian MMO know, great artwork, lacking in substance.



I guess they lied about and stole that, too.

But probably one of then, if not the final, nail in the coffin, was this interview...

A Shocking Interview With The War Z Developer On False Steam Store Claims

Admittedly I only read half of it, but I didn't really want to read the rest. What I had read already was enough to demonstrate that Sergey Titov was a weasel and scum.

And as an extra little kicker? Sergey Titov was also the producer and programmer of one of the worst games ever made...which goes by the name of Big Rigs.

It was one of those genuine "That explains alot" moments.

Extra extra little kicker? as of the time of writing, Big Rigs is rated higher on Metacritic than War Z. (Whoa, it's still going down? before it was 1.5, now it's 1.2...don't piss off the public).

Any curiosity I had to even touch War Z with a 10 foot pole has now completely evaporated.

Not only did the creators of War Z lie about the product they were selling, but that product itself was made by cannibalizing and stealing from other media.

And Sergey Titov and Hammerpoint have shown that they are unrepentant about any of it. They expected customers to simply fork over the cash, then to stay quiet. They not only do not give a shit about their customers, but they have actively abused them as well. And that, is the definition of a company you want to avoid like the zombie hordes.

Now, even though the War Z shitstorm is likely to carry on, I'd like to point people towards something better...the real McCoy.

Incase you've never heard, Day Z is a mod for ARMA II, headed up by Dean "Rocket" Hall, and the very thing that War Z was trying to cash in off to scam people of their money. Day Z is hugely popular, so much so that it basically driving most of ARMA IIs sales.

And Bohemia Interactive, the developer that makes the ARMA series, have been smart, and decided to help develop Day Z into a full standalone game, retaining Dean Hall as project lead.

Day Z isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and part of the reason why they want to develop it as a standalone release is to address a number of the mods problems, such as rampant hacking, zombie AI, UI. A list of their intended changes for the standalone over the mod can be found here.

And the game will release on Steam, with hopes of using Steams VAC system to combat hackers, so keep an eye out for that.

Be sure to look up the mod if you were in any way interested and then let down by War Z, they're the ones who really deserved your attention, and could use your support as they develop the standalone.

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