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.