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?