Fans Rage Over War Z’s Misleading Steam Description

Fans Rage Over War Z’s Misleading Steam Description

The pitchforks are out. Gamers are furious with the developers of The War Z, a game that seems to have made it to Steam without many of the features that developers have promised for it.

Right now, an item on the front page of Reddit that accuses The War Z‘s developers of “blatantly [lying] about included features” has accrued close to 2000 comments, most of them taking issue with the game. Other gamers have taken to message boards and Steam to complain about The War Z, which was released yesterday.

One Redditor captured the game’s Steam product page to point out which listed features are not actually in the game:


Many people in the Reddit thread have harsh words for The War Z. Redditor nadrewod writes (emphasis added):

Basically, WarZ is a reskin of War Inc. made to ride on the coattails of Day Z, but the dev team (Hammerpoint Interactive) has been charging people to even play the game (something DayZ doesn’t do [yet: it is releasing as a standalone game at some point in the future, but for now, it is just a free ARMA II mod]), and hasn’t updated much in the past few months. There have been some controversies (admins on the forums and subreddit changing/deleting posts and banning users for mentioning hot topics like the ex-moderator Devin), and the game doesn’t even look that good.

Meanwhile, DayZ, a free mod (which seems to only make money from merchandise, and possibly donations), has been updating the game fairly frequently, was the first one on the market, has been highly praised across the board by many critics for its various features, has had over 1,000,000 unique players, and has been praised by the makers of ARMA II (partially because it has been driving their sales, since DayZ currently requires a copy of ARMA II to play).

Redditor Johan3043 writes:

I bought it on release and i feel so robbed, this game REALLY sucks so hard compared to DayZ. Save yourselves 15 bucks and wait for DayZ Standalone.

The War Z Team Offers A Defense

I reached out to Hammerpoint Interactive, the folks behind The War Z, to get their side of the story. In an e-mail, Hammerpoint general manager Sergey Titov told me that he sees the complainers as a vocal minority. (We’ve cleaned up his e-mails for grammatical errors.)

“We’re constantly running surveys to ask our players what they think — how we’re doing,” Titov said. “As of right now over 93% of our customers like the game, with over 40% saying it’s perfect and around 50% saying it’s good, but they’d like to see more polishing and features. Yet, 4% don’t like the game and decided not to play it, and 3% hate the game… My point is that absolute majority of our players are supporting us, yet, yes, players who don’t like the game will be very vocal about it.”

Titov also responded to a few specific complaints from the Reddit image:

On the game not being listed as Alpha or Beta: “Because it’s not an Alpha or Beta. We’ve launched ‘Foundation Release’ for Steam on Monday (see attached press release).”

On the missing hardcore mode: “There’s a hardcore mode that you can select when you launch the game, yet most of the players are not using it. Single biggest difference between Normal and Hardcore is that once you die in Hardcore, your character won’t be revived and will be lost (permadeath).”

On the lack of promised private servers or skills: “We’re updating our Steam page to provide more information on this, but basically both features are coming soon.

“First thing players will get is private server rentals. They’ll be able to rent both public and private (password-protected) servers — both Gameworld (i.e. Colorado map) and Strongholds (smaller maps that basically allow them to use those servers as “home base”).

“Our plan was to launch server rentals around the end of December-early January and we’re still on track to do that.

“And we’re testing skills right now with small select group of players. As soon as everyone is satisfied with balance and design, we’ll push it public. I honestly can’t give a solid timeframe for this to happen, since it largely depends on how our player community reacts on our initial version of the skill tree.”

On Reddit’s claim that there’s only one map, and that it’s 72km: “The Colorado map, our first map to be released, is over 100 square kilometres.”

On the max server limit being 50 rather than the promised 100: “I don’t see ‘LIE’ in saying ‘up to 100 players per sever’ and having the current limit at 50 players. We’ve just lowered the number of players per map down from 70 based on requests and votes from our players. Ie – we’ve had 70 players per server – which was what we felt was the ‘comfort level’ for this map, but when we asked our players about it, the majority voted for 50 slots per server. So we did exactly what our community and our players asked us for.”


Gamers are never shy about voicing their opinions on what they’d like to see in a video game, but when a developer puts promises in writing that aren’t delivered upon, these situations can get ugly — particularly when people are asked to spend money on a game that doesn’t do what it says it will.

We’ll keep you updated on this story as time goes on.


    • The words ‘up to’ stop it from being a lie. They didn’t promise anything other than a 100 person server limit. They could have made servers with a 2 person limit and it still wouldnt have been a lie because 2 is under 100.

    • it’s not really a lie. They said “up to 100”, not “at least 100”

      Not that I like the game, or even play it. I’m not a big fan of zombie games.

      • I’m not sure what language you speak natively. But saying ‘up to 100’ and then not allowing people to put up to 100 people in a game is false.

        The article directly says it was capped at 70 players. That means ‘Up to 70 players’ not 100.

        • what I meant is the map is capped at 70, but the game itself can handle 100. So it’s not a lie. It’s similar to what Ben is saying, the words “up to” makes it not a lie.

          It’s somewhat misleading that they use 100 as the marketing number, but it’s not a lie (unless somebody can prove that the server cannot in fact handle 100 players).

  • Haven’t played since the wipe, don’t really care to do so again. There’s no penalty for being a KoS dickhead, and they don’t seem to care about instituting PvE servers. Hacking is rife, and basically unstoppable.

    If there’s significant changes made, or at least if they send out an email to link WarZ to Steam with our existing keys (like they said they will – but then again everything they say they’ll do needs to be taken with a grain of salt), then I might consider.

    There still isn’t even a friends feature like they’ve stated from the word go – currently you have to spawn wherever and potentially run for kilometers to meet up with your friends.

    The game is being sold as a full product, but right now it’s an absolute mess. Please everyone, just stay away until it’s updated to the point of usefulness. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had fun once I’ve met up with friends ingame and on Skype, but there’s too many things wrong at this point in time.

  • I grabbed this last night on steam as was greatly disappointed. Right now as it stands you may as well play the game in hardcore mode. When you die (and it WILL happen) you lose everything and have to wait for an hour before respawning. With no implementation of skills or the XP system there is absolutely no reason why you should bother to respawn that character.

    My other big disappointment with the game is that it was initially plugged as an MMO, but with only 50 players on a server, it’s no more an MMO than Battlefield 3 is. Leading up to the release, I was under the impression that there would be some more traditional elements of MMOs such an NPCs and missions. There are clearly plans for missions in the future, as there is a menu option for “Distress Calls”, but as such it hasn’t been implemented.

    As owe84n said, this is being sold as a full product and Steam should either alert players to the fact that this game is clearly still in beta, or pull it from the service. Basically I paid for what I thought was a Survival Zombie MMO, and instead I got a prettier version of DayZ. Sure, at the end of the day that’s my fault, but it doesn’t stop me being disappointed

  • I watched some streams of it before looking at buying…

    The game still looks soo in-complete..

    Im 100% waiting for Day-Z as I think they will at least release a less buggy/rushed game..

  • Ok, they said the game still has features missing. They have admitted to this and have said that they are still updating with the promised features as they go. Just because the game isn’t 100% complete now does not mean you’re being lied to about what the game will offer. The info says a player limit of up to 100 players but it’s been reduced by player demand, that’s not a lie it’s just old info. They’re still balance testing skills, and they’d get way more complaints about broken skills than they would for a delayed feature implementation so I say they made the right move there. Someone miscalculated the size of the map, probably mistaking miles for kilometers or something. Apparently there IS a hardcore mode already in, so some people are too lazy/stupid to find a feature that’s there but will complain about it anyway. So yeah, people really shouldn’t be complaining about this kind of thing. These days almost no game is finished at launch so why give these guys so much grief?

    • Because it does not say its in beta/alpha and claims to have many features already implemented that are “future features”, this is false advertising and is illegal in Australia/nz/uk. If valve or the publisher has bases in those countries or there is an international trade agreement which would extend jurisdiction, they would be liable to refund anyone demanding it at the very least.

  • Everyone who has mentioned this game has said bad things about it. That ‘survey’ where 40% of people said it was perfect is pretty suspect.

  • Lol i got a refund after a few hours of play from alpha (is it still that bad?). The engine just didn’t feel right for a 2010 – 2012 game, the atmosphere was just plain boring, the trees and mountains felt unnatural and the only city available then (at least i think it was a city) was VERY…poorly designed.

    2 year development?…nah. unless writing out a plan like “use war inc engine, add huge landscape, and zombies ASAP! don’t care if good or bad, just release once assumed finished” on the white board counts and taking a year off, sure.

    (psst, i have no idea about game development. 🙂 )

    I don’t know why there are so many ass kissers for WarZ, are they really that blind or are their standards for games really that low?

  • There’s been a few games that have been greenlit lately that are guilty of these same things and have been hit heavily with a lot of customer backlash.. not sure why the developers aren’t saying it’s in an alpha/beta state, that’s the number one complaint I hear about all these titles.. and too right.. it needs to be mentioned, clearly, in the description.

  • A growing problem for computer games is developers simply over promise and under deliver.

    Some how they exist in a vacuum where they ignore consumer law and no one enforces it. This is a widespread problem with AAA titles often being the worst offenders.

    I haven’t played this, but I am talking in general.

    Releasing an unfinished buggy game, is not fit for purpose. Especially if they are not patched ASAP.

    Selling on features which are not in the game is misleading and deceptive conduct.

    Everyone gives reasonably leeway with games, but of late this seems to be an issue getting worse. Both in how unfinished and buggy games are on launch, how long it takes to be fixed if at all. Or the way games are sold on what people want, not what they are getting.

    Just look at BF3, a great game, but it was sold as being something different than what it was to many PC players. Even Far Cry 3. “Lost expeditions, 40 minutes of extra game play.” It was 20 minutes. One of the two missions is even timed to be just 10 minutes.

    Some how that’s completely fine to mislead about.

  • I don’t have any intention of playing this game, but he makes a few decent points. On the Alpha/Beta thing… As he says the game isn’t in Alpha or Beta, they’re treating it like Team Fortress 2, and evolving process. The “base” game is out – not an alpha, not a beta – the “base game”. As their game and its content evolves and is explored it will be added. But the “base game” is not an alpha or a beta and adding new content won’t take it from any other stage of development other than taking it through a (somewhat) dynamic and evolving development process.

    As for population limits – again, Team Fortress 2 as an example; it is tested and markets as a 24 player (12v12) game. All the maps, weapons and items and other gameplay features are tested and balanced for that number of players, and yet the servers can do up to 32 players – it’s just with that number of players maps can become broken due to over crowding in certain areas, weapons can become incredibly over powered, SPAM becomes a MASSIVE problem which completly changes the dynamic of the game. I’ve seen maps be fairly balanced to completely and ridiculously cluster **** messes because the atacking team can stand outside a building and spam everything they have into tiny, cramped, last points. Obviously it’s different, but his point still stands – the game is capable of doing 100 players (assuming that’s true in the first place) and future maps will accomodate this, just as TF2 has in the past added much larger/open maps which makes 32 player more reasonable.

    I think a lot of the hate for this game – even if most of it is warranted – comes from DayZ fanboys. Anyone remember that RhinoCrunch (whatever his name is) guy? Every video would be “I’m not a DayZ fanboy, but here’s a rant on why WarZ is a terrible game and I’m going to prove it by talking non-stop about how great DayZ is,” even though he neglected to discuss how DayZ was a buggy hacker ****ed cluster **** of crap. Poor game design, poor mechanics, Arma engine is crappy, bugs persists from games they made 10 years ago (ladders and stuff).

    Ugh. I hate both of these games. I’d like to think that the DayZ standalone may fix a lot of these issues, but I just don’t think it will happen and I’ll end up complaining about how I wasted my money on DayZ just as all these people are complaining about WarZ.

    • I think a lot of the hate comes from consumers who were lied to. This is not about promises or etc the actual sale page straight out lies and decieves (more so before they changed bits this morning)

      • Lets not get into the bans that are happening for no reason, these have been caught on video too, not as if they’re without evidence.

        • I’m not denying that this game has some serious problems (I’ve already called it garbage several times) – I’m mostly discussing some common complaints from people. They are coming down hard on this game because of (what I believe to be) DayZ fanboyism. People WANT to hate this game because it’s copying their precious Arma mod. Moreover, I don’t think consumers have been lied to at all. Visit their forums. They’re pretty open with how they’re going about development. If the game itself is shitty, then fine, **** it, who cares about shitty games. But people are getting caught up on the Steam Store description and running off that entirely ignoring the fact that pretty much every other game leaves out important details in the copyright part of marketing. To even suggest that they’re being lied to because certain features haven’t been implemented yet is just silly. They’ve said as much that it’s all coming in time. If you don’t want to pay for the product that is right now, then pay for the product that it will be when it’s what they say it will be (what a dumb sentence, I’m sorry).

          • I disagree on that point. Personally I love DayZ, wouldn’t call myself a fanboy as I’m very vocal on its issues. Crap inventory system, crap animations, zombies need *major* work… however, since it coming out The WarZ has proven to be dishonest in its representation time and time again. From something as simple as the 50 v 100 players situation above, as claiming it had 2 years in Development whereas on the WarZ forums recently, it was revealed it had only 6 months as of november due to an email Sergei (or however his name is spelt) sent out (the creator of WarZ). While 90% of the stuff going around is conspiracy theory nutjob driven drivel, there is stuff that has credit to it. Like I said, videos showing bannings that happen out of nowhere for no reason, the steam situation, flat out lies, the dev time vs real time in dev? When lies upon lies begin being heaped on top of each other, eventually the pile of bullshit becomes a hill, eventually that hill becomes a mountain. Slowly The WarZ is getting caught up in its own hill of bullshit, its slowly at this point becoming a mountain that they’re not helping get rid of with all this crap customer service, bannings and other issues.

            I don’t remember if you or someone else said it fyi, with the features that are advertised but not implemented? You cannot advertise these as in the game and then announce they’re not there yet but will be eventually, it’s against the law. It’s considered ‘false advertising’.

      • Right, but several of the things people are complaining about I addressed, including features (or lack thereof) and player count. I don’t want to defend this game because it looks like garbage, but I see people complaining about being “lied to” about certain features without having an inkling on what’s going on in the development behind it.

        As I said, I haven’t played this game – and I don’t plan to because it looks like garbage – but even basic research will net you the results and information that you need: that all of these features will be rolled out in due time and that they may be modified or released in different forms as play testing and community feed back will influence this process. The Steam store page can hardly say “It’s the base game with nothing in it” because that would be selling the devlopment process short. If they had said from the start “planned features” or been more transparent on the Steam store page (the only place where any of these issues are being created) then it may have helped. As it stands, I just see a bunch of people complaining because they don’t know anything about the game – and many more who are fanboys of DayZ complaining about WarZ and its issues while completely ignoring the fact that DayZ has the exact same issues yet somehow people ignore them because “DayZ was just a mod”.

        In regards to simply “reusing assets from War Inc” well guess what: DayZ (standalone) is just going to be reusing Arma assests again for weapons, engine, zombies, skins, and the map. How many people will we see bitching that Rocket and Bohemia didn’t even create a new map for DayZ? I’m guessing zero because of the circle jerk that is the DayZ fanbase.

        • Youre a warz dev aintcha! Thats why youre suddenly so cut…

          Advice: learn the meaning of ‘lie’. I wont be replying any time soon. Off to watch the man with the iron fists! Ciao.

          • FYI: Rocket and Bohemia have created an improved map for DayZ: Chernarus+. It allows you to enter every single building which is now rendered completely instead of being a cardboard box like normal Chernarus. Scenery has been improved and locations added. Rocket never claimed to be making the worlds most original game etc, it was the WarZ guys who came out flying the ‘HEY WE WERE REALLY HERE FIRST’ flag…. which has been exposed as being pure BS fyi.

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