The hot topic this week is Steam in McMaster’s living room. And zombies on Steam. And then not on Steam. Also, we open our Christmas gifts early in case of the end of the world.
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The whole War Z thing leaves me nonplussed but I do understand why people who bought it were upset. The game is clearly a beta game and yet is being sold as a finished product. The game is not only a beta, it is a VERY rough beta. I just heard you say that it would not have mattered if they had labelled it a beta. I think it would have made all the difference in the world. People would still complain but the developers and Steam would be able to say “well, its a beta product, it is a work in progress”. It should have been labelled as a beta because it is nowhere, and I mean nowhere, near a finished and ready to play game. You should do a short feature on it Tom.
It is weird people were so surprised that the War Z turned out to be the transparent post-Day Z cash grab it always appeared to be.
And Tom, have you tried picking up your golfer by pinching the front and back touch surfaces at the same time?
I’m currently playing Lords of Midnight – I know what you mean about it, Tom. I think it’s mostly an issue with how it provides feedback to the player. It’s determined to render the game-world into purely in-character information, which is interesting, but hard going when you’re starting out.
But there’s definitely something here – I’m going to persevere. It doesn’t feel like any other game I could think of, and there’s some really interesting design going on.
The whole WarZ rant from Tom was painful to hear.Here is simple google image search about steam’s WarZ:
Aww Tom doesn’t like Dwarf Fortress. It is terrible and wonderful at the same time. I have burned more time in this game over the years more than any others. It is just such a complex idea I appreciate what the creators are trying to do. I highly recommend the community developed visual packs. They made the game less eye bleeding for me.
You’re a better man than me, Mr. Gardiner. I can imagine this must have been awesome back in 1984. But I’m afraid the tenets of game design have long since passed it by. :(
If the substance of the complaints were that War Z is a transparent post-DayZ cash grab, I could completely understand. Instead, there’s this weird fixation on the marketing copy, as posted in Ruskov’s comment.
No hardcore mode???? 50 players on a server instead of 100??? Valve Software, TEAR DOWN THIS GAME!
I haven’t tried pinching my golfer! I shall attempt it forthwith.
Yikes, I have no desire to spend any time with War Z. And, yeah, you’re right, Mr. Gaffer. Hammerpoint could have gotten away with a lot if they’d just stuck the word “beta” in the description. That basically gives folks carte blanche to push crappy games on willing victims.
Glad you posted that. It turns out the issue was nowhere near as bad as I thought it was. I count exactly three things in that copy that constitute missing features (skills, private servers, and hardcore mode), and I seriously doubt anyone cares whether those things are there. A bad game is still a bad game if its got skill points.
Everything else is a matter of Hammerpoint weaselwording their way through scaled down elements like player count and map size.
Again, if Valve is holding gamermakers to strict standards in terms of misleading text, they’ve got their work cut out for them. But if they’re taking down games that are bad, they’ve also got their work cut out for them. And if they’re only allowing certain business models, I hope they’ll carefully consider all those F2P and microtransaction based games currently available.
The whole issue is just a bunch of people dumb enough to get burned by a bad game and internet savvy enough to make a Reddit thread about it.
Never understood the attraction of games like Dayz/Warz and other zombie endo of the world simulators. The downtime present in the games are far too tedious for me to continue playing for a long time.
Well it is not “misleading” like most of the bad games in Steam.Marketing phrases like “best”,”most”,”ultra” is one thing ,but blatant lies and missing features are even illegal in some countries. Missing “only” three features out of FOUR listed about the game is ok with you?Also it seems things like skills, private servers, and hardcore mode are important to people enough to pressure Steam and remove it from their store.
And finally you said that they didn’t present it for MMO…yeah it looks like you need to research some topics better.Overall you sounded like you just read some comments on Kotaku and decided to rant about them. Why are you not happy that at least one shitty game is nuked by steam?!?!?!?!
Yeah, it’s totally okay with me! I love when advertising is misleading! I love when games are bad! I love micropayments coupled with up-front charges! I am totally 100% pro-War Z! You totally got me, man!
Way to miss the point. But I hope your War Z refund comes through soon, Ruskov.
You didn’t sound the same on the podcast…If that is the reason to bring WarZ rant I can’t completely agree with you.Most of the time what is bad game for you may be great for someone else.For you
“Guild Wars 2 defines the future of online roleplaying games with action-oriented combat, customized personal storylines, epic dynamic events, world-class PvP, and no subscription fees!” ,but for me is just a grindy,korean-style,pay to win game. But we are talking not about misleading advertising,but proven lies.Here is my disagreement with you. If I sound too rude it’s purely because of the language barrier.
Thanks for the congratulations vis a vis Ascension, Tom!
A couple of points I wanted to bring into the discussion on Steam and the content available on the service while listening to this podcast… apologies if this is not new information for you or has been covered previously Tom.
- Valve is a publisher. Steam is a content delivery program/device/system.The actual publisher of the game War Z is Arktos Entertainment according to IGN.
- There are costs associated with releasing games via the Steam service and these costs are paid for by the publisher, or in the case of independent games the developer (who is self-publishing). There are also some technical requirements from Valve for what the game can and cannot do in how it interacts with Steam. These requirements are not as in depth or restrictive as those required for other platforms (such as those released by Nintento, Sony, Microsoft, Apple, etc) and provide a low barrier of entry for small publishers and developers to get their game to a large market.
- When a game is to be released – the final build of a game is uploaded to Steam where it is packed up for a Steam install (versus a typical box copy of a game which would usually use Installshield or a custom installer for your PC or Mac) on Valve’s end. This version gets a quick check to make sure it installs properly but it is ultimately the responsibility of the publisher or developer (or both) to ensure the build is accurate and works. The publisher and developer is also responsible for any technical support that may be needed for game issues, Valve only handles issues related to how Steam interacts with hardware/software on your computer and things like billing/etc.
So in short… just like going to a store (and you make this point Tom) it is the responsibility of the end user to ensure they are buying software they want and that it runs on their hardware. Steam provides information provided by the publisher/developer on the game (and any associated media) but they do not vet all of the information (which may have come up here). If they did you would see a massive decrease in the amount of smaller publishers and developers releasing games on the Steam platform as the costs for doing so would have to be rolled into fees associated with the games release and subsequent maintenance on Steam.
As for why it was removed? It could have been at the request of the publisher due to a bad or wrong build being put up. It could have been because they wanted to do things in their game that violated the end agreement between Steam and the user. It could have been because they didn’t pay up what they needed to so the game was taken down until they do. It could have been a lot of things but in the end it doesn’t really matter. It’s Valve’s world to do what they want on the Steam platform just like Apple takes down apps in their store just like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft control what games can be released on their systems.
Good clarifications all around. I don’t recall if I was confusing the issue by talking about Valve “publishing” War Z, but I didn’t mean it in the sense of a conventional publisher (e.g. EA, Activision, etc.).
And you’re right that Valve can do whatever they want. I just get the impression they caved to a bunch of angry people who got suckered in by a bad game. I think it’s an odd precedent. Did any stores pull Mass Effect 3? What about Resident Evil 6?
By the way, Chris Hornbostel raises an interesting possibility on this week’s podcast. Basically, he wondered if Valve might have been tipped off to the legal troubles with War Z’s name.
It was a bit confusing re: the publisher which is why I wanted to clarify that situation and how Steam interacts with publishers.
I can see how it appears that Valve may have “caved” by pulling the game but I suspect it probably has more to do with something aside from it being a bad game with outdated features/sales text in the marketing box (possibly the threat of a law suit as Chris brings up).
I wonder if anyone has a list of games that have been removed from Steam aside from this one? Would be interesting to look through.
Right on spot, Tom: “players who are too dumb to read between the lines got burnt”. And as old as retail videogame selling. Back in 1994 one could feel having been misled by the graphics in the back of the box, the bombastic marketing lines captioning those and a glaring review in one of the few videogames magazines you could find at your neighbourhood newsagent. Now in 2013 and with 20 years of getting myself burnt more than once under my belt, I hardly can see any right of entitlement of unfortunate War-Z buyers to be ‘outraged’.
If anything, those forum posts weren’t other than just a rehearsal for the pitch they were about to do to Valve’s Customer Support to apply for a refund.