Let Off Some Steam

Let Off Some Steam is a new section where we let you guys get something off your chest – it can be a vitriol laced rant, a sappy love letter to whatever, or anything inbetween. Send your ranty words in this direction, and try and keep it under 600 words. This week Matthew Tomich asks – do we as gamers expect far too much?

Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie You know what I hate sometimes? Gamers. No, not all of you - I'm one myself - but there's a tendency for a surprisingly large contingent to think they're owed something.

I’m not talking about the complaints about bugs – I haven’t played Fallout: New Vegas but I can understand the widespread frustration and criticism fans have of a game that’s launched with enough bugs to cause four crashes a day. What I’m talking about is gamers who think they’re owed constant free content for game they got for $10 or an MMO that gives them over a hundred of hours of free play.

Runescape (yes, a mistress I’d rather forget) is an great example of this – though not exactly the most attractive MMO on the market, it offered a pretty well-rounded package that could keep most people satisfied for well over a hundred hours, and the free players even received a couple of sizeable updates that they had to pay nothing extra for – but still there were plenty who bitched and moaned on the forums demanding they receive more. It just didn’t make any sense.

The Left 4 Dead community, however, is a whole different beast. Many of you will remember the boycott campaign launched against Valve when fans of the game learnt that a sequel was slated to be released a year after the original in November 2008. I can understand fan’s frustration – it was reasonable enough to assume that the game might not receive support, but for the developers to fly the leaders of the boycott group to their own studios? In an industry where every other day we hear another story of how piracy is ruining the PC gaming industry, or how the used games market is destroying publishers’ bottom lines, or Bobby Kotick’s apparent systematic destruction of everything gamers hold dear, it’s pretty amazing for a studio to actually fly fans to their headquarters to assure them that their beloved franchise is in good hands.

And they delivered – Left 4 Dead 2 was a critical and commercial success, and Valve lived up to their promises, delivering free DLC to both the original game and its sequel; and it continues to be a growing community despite claims that both games are dead – when in fact they both regularly top Steam’s sale charts whenever they’re on special.

But plenty (not all) of L4D1 fans still decry Valve as liars, as cheats, as deceivers for not giving them new content every goddamn day. I’m not a Valve fanboy and I only really took notice of them in the last year, but it’s pretty disgusting to see such hatred directed towards a video game company for not meeting the deluded sense of entitlement that a certain contingent of gamers to have. To be honest, in a gaming industry flooded by dozens of new supposedly AAA titles every year, in the midst of a recession – for a company to be releasing free content is pretty damn impressive. I know I’m grateful. If I was a developer and saw that the forums for my game were often flooded with heinous accusations of promises undelivered and ad-hominem attacks against me, I’d be pretty disheartened and hardly endeared to my “fanbase”. I’ve seen people whine that Valve not instantly banning trolls on the L4D1 forum means they don’t care about the community – really? I’m just asking, can we at least be reasonable, appreciative, and grateful for what developers spend months, even years of their lives on?


Comments

    The only reason I'd hate Valve was cuz of the HL2:ep3 sudden disappearance but I don't bitch on about it every day, I'll just be making an arse of myself if I did. No need to point out that I'm mentioning it now therefore "bitching about it", only gonna do it once and you will barely hear it from me again :) Plus this is "let off some steam", appropriate for here and only here lol

    Hehe. Taking issue with the Steam community. Glorious. I look forward to your dissertion on the gamefaqs community next!

    Whiners used to bother me but I've learned to use it as a constant source of amusement. Nothing beats the steam community though.

    'Why wont this run max settings on my brand new dell PC with intel graphics?'

    Going to any game specific forum and seeing at the top threads like 'Do not buy this game, doesn't work etc' 'XYZ company sold out shame!'

    Something that always amuses is when whiners will proudly say 'I'll wait until its sale' like they are beating the system.

    Oh and the DRM hate threads! HAHAHA!

      Don't get me wrong, I don't take it as seriously as I used to and the forums make for great trollbait, but it's kind of hard to imagine our medium moving forward in the way I'd like it too when you have to wade through so much bullshit before you find a point of view worth paying attention to. I remember RPS linking to a blog post by a developer insisting that other developers never read their forums because of the kind of things I'm talking about, and while I'd hope most developers were fairly thick-skinned, it must be hard to remain positive about the audience of your product when the loudest voices accuse you of lying and deceiving them.

    My name is Michael Winters and I wholeheartedly endorse this statement

      but what do you think about the OP?

    I agree with most of this. However, there is some DLC that I despise. Stuff that should've been included for free, yet wasn't and was charged for stupid money grabbing reasons. Like the two DLC sequences for ACII: that seemed very annoying. Stuff where they remove it from the game, wait a month or two then release is what pisses me off the most.

    I think the general issue with mmo's these days tho is that so many of them launch unfinished in terms of the initial content and at the same time can't afford not to charge for te content that has been produced thus far

    This merged with everyone rushing through to. The max level and then complaining that theres no content because they just powered through it.

    And if they can't rush through to max in there free month they complain that it's too grindy

    They never can win your damned if you do and damned if you don't.

    Though I will always miss the days where nvidia or the like sponsored the Cod map updates, so everyone could play everything instead of segregating an already segregated community as haves and have nots.

    Plus I can't help but feel those maps are of a higher quality than the ones they fob off for 15 dollars now.

    But things always change, well war doesn't but everything else does :P

    L4D2 was a commercial success? Are we talking about Australia here? I thought the only people that bought that imported it overseas since they didn't want to play "My first zombie apocalypse".

      There are still plenty of people who play it here, and Australia is a miniscule part of the overall market.

    I can understand where you're coming from, a lot of "fans" are void of, what us normal people would call, "logic".

    Valve are, though I feel, very poor in the PR department. Sure, they crack jokes and have a pretty active and amusing Team Fortress 2 community because of it, but it really looks like they should take some marketting lessons more often than not.

    Despite making some of the most influential and successful games, even they might struggle to make ends meet if they stick to such endearing production qualities as "Valve Time" and a startling inability to make a release schedule to be proud of. So: developers = A+. Publishers = C is how I see Valve.

    C+ maybe, since they are definitely onto something with free content which keeps communities alive. Of course, the main reason to keep a community alive is to keep a franchise alive. Fans rarely buy the same game twice...

      @Andrew
      Have you seen Steam and how much sales that generates
      Not making ends meat my ass, they're rolling in cash

      As for marketing?
      Meet the Team videos are some of the best marketing videos I've ever seen, many people got in the game because of them

      Honestly what bad marketing decisions are you talking about?
      Announcing Left 4 Dead 2 a year later wasn't really the best move, but other than that they do fairly good marketing

        Really there the only company to have been yelled at for releasing a sequel a year later , I spose some thought it was beneath valve to do such a thing and others just want hl2 ep3.

    I will firstly say that I agree with everything you said, and I too feel the same annoyance at people from the "me me me" crowd who think they are owed everything here and now.

    I will comment however on my feelings towards the l4d situation, not in disagreement, but merely sharing some of my perspective.
    As a fan of the franchise since before its launch, one of the big things about l4d1 was that it was being sold in comparison to TF2, that it would be receiving the same level of support and continued post-release content. So I, as well as many other gamers, jumped into the franchise with this in mind, in particular the addition of new campaigns.
    At the point of l4d2 being announced, there had been half a campaign released thus far [crash course, only 2 chapters]. So it was a massive smack in the teeth to fans who found out that no, l4d1 had been put on hold and a whole new game was being developed.
    Yes, since then l4d1 has received another full campaign, but it was merely a port from the version made for l4d2.
    I still play l4d1 regularly and love every minute of it, and I prefer it over l4d2 which I felt lost a lot of the atmosphere of 1.

    I agree that a lot of the war cry's against valve in regards to l4d1 and 2 are un-called for. Damn, valve continue to make awesome games and provide probably the best support to their gamers. And ultimately they are running a business so all the best to them in that regard.

    Still wish there were more official l4d1 campaigns from valve though.....

      Yeah, I've heard a few people point this out in my discussion with them but I've never seen any evidence of it. Could you link me to a video or an interview where they said they were gonna treat it like TF2?

    I feel that Kingdom Hearts fans are owed KH3!

      Here here!!!

      +1
      Darn right! No more crappy spinoffs (Though I like 358/2 days since it's about Roxas, doesn't really get in the way of the original, sort of a "meanwhile" story, also fits with KH2 start too)

    This may not be related to the subject matter. but I cant get that song from fallout new vegas out of my head. "Johnny Guitar...My Johnny." I hate it and i cant stop singing it.

    If i hear it again i might just snap the disc

    anybody else???

      Haha that's so funny!

    I totally agree with the OP. And I also feel this is one of the reasons why publishers are moving to make games like Just Dance because the consumers just don't whine as much.

    Oh, Runescape. *nostalgic sigh*

    I agree with a lot of this, people tend to forget the ridiculous amounts of time, money and creativity that developers spend to give us something that we have no obligation to buy.

    Minecraft, anyone?

    I think that games are generally excellent value for money.

    Even a game with no online content tends to give you at least 20 hours of entertainment as a minimum, unless it was a genuinely awful game (and that is what reviews and blogs etc. are for, do yer homework before you buy, or if it is on a console, have a rent and find out).

    So even at a hundred dollars, that is about five bucks an hour. Cheaper than going to the movies or a theme park or just about anything other form of paid entertainment.

    Of course many games offer considerably more than 20hours of fun.

    DLC is a mixed bag, I loved being able to return to red dead redemption, and to Alan Wake and had no problem paying to do so.

    DLC that is already on the disc, I'm not so much a fan of, it does feel like it should have been a part of the game, and released as such.

    But seriously, games have never been cheaper (I paid $80 for defender in 1980 something for my Atari 800, which is what, $10,000 dollars of 2011 money??), or offered so much for the money.

      Agreed, Peter, well said.

      My gripe is with all the haters who rag on and on about multiplayer games - Call of Duty, Battlefield, Red Dead, GTA etc - and how much cash those supposed money-grubbing publishers and game development companies are making, how expensive map packs and DLC generally are etc..

      When you examine it closely, a lot of single player games with no decent MP component can be played through, finished and put away - there's your 80-100 bucks gone..

      I'd say the single player experience is somewhere between 6 to 8 hours play through on average, except for RPG's where it can take anywhere from 20 to 80 hours sometimes.. but let's take that average single player game as an example. Actaully, I'll use one game I play to illustrate my point for both SP and MP, being Call of Duty: Black Ops (BlOps)

      Say I buy BlOps for $90 only for the single player component. I personally finished the game twice, I'd say about 9 to 10 hours all up for both playthroughs. That's about $10 per hour of gamin. Not a bad price for the fun you receive, right?

      But me, I like to play online. So I'll add my 4.5 days (and growing) of online play-time to the equation.

      That's 4.5 days @ 24 hrs per day = 108 hours

      I'll chuck in my Zombies hours - Conservatively, I've done about 5 solid playthroughs on Kino, Ascension, Five, Dead Ops and the original map... say about 3hrs per play through (good strats!) = 15 hours.

      So total hours played so far, 108 + 15 + 6 = 129 hours (with more to come!!), I'll add the cost of the DLC map pack $15, that makes total price about $105.00...

      So..my value for money is about $1 per hour of game time with BlOps, and I'm getting more value every damn hour I stack on top . Dirt cheap, if you ask me - where are we getting ripped off??

      Sure, Activision/IW/Treyarch make a lot of money as a result of its popularity, but we as gamers/consumers get a whole lot of entertainment for a relatively cheap price. STOP WHINGEING PEOPLE!!!

        where are we getting ripped off

        easy the MP was nothing we haven't seen before, barely played it just ended up going back to Cod4

        the single player was slightly better than MW2 but annoyed me when it started trying to really hammer points which should have been obvious to a brain dead zombie by that point

        and playing through on veteran only lasted me 5-6hrs

        and i know i'll never play through it again.

        yet something like doom 3 ill play once a year. or the original C&C games.

        My issue with CoD's value for money isn't that there ripping us off. It's that every year they try to charge more than the last for the same thing. The Map packs annoys me more so because it segregates the community there were X amount of players now theres X Players But A of them are stuck on the old maps and B of them are only playing the new maps. and you have to choose between one or the other.

        why can't we just cycle through the maps and kick anyone who doesn't have the new map when it comes up in rotation.

        as for the whole Gun game thing(super inventive there just rip mods off and then act like there your own creation)

        Cod 4 was worth the money the last 2 haven't been.

        sure some games might last 6-8 but in my experience some last longer and have a higher replay value than Cod's singleplayer ever will and they don't depend on heavily scripted events

        @Jakob... thank you thank you thank you.
        I agree with everything that you have said.I'm at 2.5 days and growing (hard to play around and the gf).

        @Alinos I See what you're saying and i agree that it should cycle through and kick players that don't have the map (just like they did on world at war). But i suspect they may bring that option in later, once everyone has had time to buy the map pack. Although that would give the people that dont buy the map pack a chance to whinge about being kicked, and i have no pitty for people that whinge when they have the option avaible to solve that problem. I do not envy trying to make everyone happy as it will just never happen.

        So all in all i agree with both of you (Alinos to a certain point) and i am sending you both psychic high fives... yes thats right HIGH fives!

    You know, I think we can all agree that everybody has the right to be annoyed at the prolonged development time for Half-Life2: Episode 3.

    It's been what, 4 years?

    The main problem was that industries themselves built up this level of expectation for years. Games would constantly receive free patches and content updates. Look at WC3, i think that sucker is STILL Getting free patches.

    All of a sudden, around the time of this console generation, developers realised they could start charging for this content that up until then had always been delivered for free, and DLC was born.

    On top of that, we have the scourge that is 'Day 1 DLC'. Content that for all intents and purposes exists in a completely playable form on the disc, but we need to shell out $10 to 'unlock'. There is no defence of this.

    TL;DR - This annoying sense of 'entitlement' you are disgusted that gamers have? It was born from years of developers actually taking care of their games for no charge post-release, and then all of a sudden deciding to charge for it.

      I don't have a problem with complaints about DLC already on the disc - in fact, the main target for this article was the L4D1 community, a large portion of which still holds an undue amount of resent towards Valve.

      The Warcraft 3 patches you speak of are fixes and balancing issues - yes, in 2004 and 5 they released the second and third chapter of the Orc campaign for the Frozen Throne, as well as new heroes, and I understand how some people can feel frustrated that it'd be pretty rare to get that kind of thing for free these days - but for people to point the finger at Valve, probably the most benevolent developer around today, is pretty astonishing. I do agree that day 1 DLC is a jip especially when something is already on the disc, but being a PC gamer alleviates a lot of those grievances.

    My only gripe with Valve is the lack of promised updates to the 360 TF2.

    As for Left 4 Dead 2 - I think they reasonably explained that the features they brought to it couldn't just be 'added' to the first game.

    I really like L4D1 - I have not been keen to try number 2 due to the Australian Censorship debacle.

    do you think it is just gamers? it is more this generation hiding behind the internet. it isn't just gaming forums.

    Rabid fans are the biggest haters - it's true, it's amazing, and it's sickening.

    Nice rant.

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