My 8 Biggest Steam Pet Peeves

Art by Tara Jacoby.

Steam is perhaps the most monolithic gaming platform, the PC's biggest show in town by a long shot. It's also a multi-layered mess of systems and ideas, a Frankenstein UI (FrankenstUIn) assembled from limbs and tissue whose purposes are dimly remembered at best. It annoys the piss out of me sometimes, is what I'm saying.

Valve's one-stop PC gaming shop/community/home for wayward algorithms isn't outright broken, but many of its constituent elements have had ridiculous amounts of clunk in the trunk for years. It's like a long-term relationship: minor annoyances become magnified over time until they're like concentrated beams of sunlight burning holes in your goddamn skull. Here are my favourites!

When "remember my password" doesn't remember my password.

You have one job, tiny check box on the login screen. It's not even complicated.

When I have to click my way through a small labyrinth to see a full list of newly-released games.

Once upon a time, finding a full list of newly-released games on Steam was as simple as clicking a tab. Now it's a whole freaking process.

First you have to scroll down to the "new and trending" tab on the front page. Then you have to click the "see more new releases" button at the bottom of that. Instead of taking you to a list of new releases, as you would expect, it takes you to another page that is functionally very similar to the page you were just on.

Then you've gotta scroll down to another box and click the "new releases" (as opposed to "popular new releases") tab in that. Then you've gotta scroll to the bottom of that and finally the holy grail, an "all new releases" button, is within your grasp.

When I want to go to one of two entirely different Steam Workshop pages, but end up at the other one.

Steam has two landing pads for Workshop, its selection of user-made mods. The main one, which you access from the drop down "community" menu at the top of the screen, conveys basically no actual information about any mods.

It just shows you some icons for games that have mods and gives you news about updates to the Workshop on Valve's end. You're better off just searching for games' Workshop pages individually. The other main Workshop page can be found if you click the "community" button at the top of the screen instead of mousing over it, then click a different "Workshop" option on that page.

This gives you a list of popular and recent mods that's vaguely useful if you want to see what modders have been up to lately. It's also buried like the pet goldfish your parents accidentally killed and never, ever want you to know about.

When that green banner asking "is this still your current email address" pops up again and again and again.

Yes, it is. It has been for 13 fucking years. Please stop asking me.

When unreleased games show up in the "new releases" section for no apparent reason.

Oh dang, I had no idea this cool-looking game was out already! Oh wait, just kidding: it's not releasing until the year Mega Man X takes place.

When I tell Steam to download a game I want to play now, and it immediately shoves it to the bottom of a queue of ten other downloads that I do not give a single shit about.

If I'm trying to download a game now, the implication is that I want to play it as close to now as possible.

I don't want to feel my bones decaying and my skin sagging as a bunch of random updates move like a pack of terminally ill slugs, nor do I want to realise 40 minutes after the fact that the download I wanted hasn't even started yet.

When, once I manually shove a game to the top of the download queue, Steam has to "allocate disk space" for 12 minutes.

Why does this particular thing take so long? What's the deal? These are rhetorical questions! I'm not a tech wizard and don't actually care about the answers! I just want this process to take fewer than a million years!

When downloads hit 100 per cent, and then nothing happens, seemingly for no reason.

See previous entry.


Comments

    I also get the never remembering password. But I think it's more to do with my vpn and the ip addresses I'm allocated.

    As for the allocating disk space taking to long get a faster drive/pc.

    But all in all yeah it's a terrible layout. My peeve is when you add to cart, then hit continue shopping and instead of going back to where you were you're taken back to the main page.

    My only peeve is Pre-load never works, end up deleting and downloading again. All of the above dont notice or just making a fuss really.

    They're finally fixing my biggest pet peeve: regional pricing for Australia in USD.

      I can't wait to see the Aussie tax in our local currency! /s

      Which is to say regardless of the currency used I bet we still get screwed on price.

        It should actually stop Australia tax, cause local retail pricing (we still get some Australia tax there due to imports, even though its suppose to be a free-trade economy).
        Publishers can't hide behind the excuse of entering australia's "price" in the USD field and then ignoring comments.

        New Zealand has had NZD for a while and they don't get the tax to the degree we do. (they still get stiff on imports)

    The green banner thing happens to me, even days or weeks after i successfully confirm my details. You'd think email wouldn't be so important to them with them requiring my mobile to authenticate, but whatever.

    The only other complaint that I'd sign up to is finding games in your library: There are nearly 800 individual titles in my steam library and Steam doesn't do much to help me find things other than search or scroll.

    That said: This would be a criticism of my personal organizational skills, if I hadn't long ago sorted my games into categories with the category feature, using genre or franchise keywords: When I get a new game, it defaults to the "Games" category, which I otherwise keep empty. Makes it real easy to find anything (The categories are also collapsible, and appear on all my machines that run steam).

    That is - it WAS real easy to find anything, until all my categories disappeared from all of my games about 2 weeks ago and now everything is in one giant list.

    I don't get why Valve hasn't just used the tags they already have on games in their store to let you group by tag in your own library.

      You realize you can create your own categories correct? For instance, I have all of my Assassin's Creed games in the 'Assassin's Creed' category I created, all of my Bethesda games in the Bethesda category I created, etc.

      When that green banner asking "is this still your current email address" pops up again and again and again.

      Yes, it is. It has been for 13 fucking years. Please stop asking me.

      Yes this a thousand times yes.

      And amen to the Steam library. I didn't even realise it had to ability to be grouped into categories until you mentioned it. Something I'm gonna go do straight away. That's bad design if it's not immediately apparent to users.

      I'd add to the download complaints. I loathe the fact that I'm not allowed to play a game that has worked fine for the last 12 months because there was a patch last night and you... absolutely... must... download... and... install... it...

      It'd be one thing if that was mandatory for online only games, but when it's a single player game that does everything on your PC including savegames, then dammit, give me an "update only when I want to" option.

    My biggest peeve = The grotesque amount of revenue Steam generates Gabe 'n' Friends, when realistically they do next to nothing to improve / support / fix the platform.

    Scalable fonts please.

    Also, narrow down the number of different menus, navigation bars, weird font sizes and colours, and awkward navigation loops that currently make the storefront feel like a 12 year old's first web design project. On the front page alone there are three different drop down menus all of which have different front sizes and overlapping purposes; plus a weird wishlist box on the right that has no relationship to anything else; plus a menu on the left of the screen that does god knows what; plus various 'browse steam' menus; game categories; curator links and god knows what else that makes the entire shop front look like vomit.

      See, things like this are legit criticism, to my mind. Steam is far from perfect and the organisation of the front page is messy because it's trying to cater to a dozen different methods of finding things. "My download went to the end of the queue" or "I don't understand what 'allocating space' means" seem like trivial shit in comparison.

    I don't really have much issue with steam (other than the ridiculous prices when there's not a sale on) - i keep it in compact (classic) mode and make purchases via the website so I don't use any of the other tabs.

    Would love to be able to search my games library by Steam tags. Wanted to play an RPG the other night, knew I'd bought a few that looked interesting in bundles a long time ago, couldn't remember their names. Scrolling through 1,000 odd games clicking on every other one going "is this it?" got old pretty quick.

      This would be a good addition. Oddly, even the third party sites like SteamDB don't offer this feature.

    I actually avoid using Steam whenever I can, unless I'm forced to because a game I purchased a physical copy of requires it to run (yay DRM). Whenever I do need to use it, there's always something that pisses me off about it.

    One of the biggest headaches I had recently was when I was trying to install Dawn of War 3 (a physical copy, purchased from a store). I needed to install it through Steam, but for some reason, Steam thought my default install folder was where I had Doom installed. I have 3 hard drives in my PC (C:\, D:\ and E:\) and D:\ is where I install my games, but the install options gave me "Install under D:\Games\Doom, Create new Steam library on C:\, Create new Steam library on E:\". WTF Steam, I don't want to install in ANY of those locations! I don't want to install it in the same folder that Doom is in, and I don't want to install it on C:\ or E:\, I just want to install it in another subfolder under D:\Games - but apparently that was too hard.

    I thought, ok fine, I'll try making another temporary Steam library on another drive, make that the default, remove the Doom one (I was done playing it anyway), then make a new one on D:\ and install to that. Think that was possible? Nope, guess again. I made the new Steam library but there was no way to set the new one as the default and when I tried to remove the Doom one it didn't let me.

    I can't remember now how I eventually sorted it out but Steam is just a load of convoluted mess and needs a serious complete redesign. Give me how GoG does things any day, it's far superior.

      For future reference, you can manage your Steam library folders in settings. From the Steam menu in the top left, Settings > Downloads > Steam Library Folders. From there you can add, edit or remove folders and set which is default from the right-click menu.

        I tried doing that and it still didn't let me do what I wanted. I tried everything I could think of but whatever I tried, it did not want to let me install it to D:\Games\Dawn of War 3.

        I think eventually I needed to completely uninstall Steam, remove all settings, then reinstall it from scratch.

          Hmm. Not letting you remove the existing folder is strange, there's no design reason for that. It sounds like you ran into an actual bug, rather than a UX problem like a lot of the above. It sucks that it's coloured your experience, I've always held that Steam's core is solid even if the UX is clunky.

    my biggest peev is every game, its dog, and all the fleas and mites get shoved in face just because you know.... 99c games that I really want to play! not.

    The lack of a platform wide checkbox for "only update when I launch" is really irritating.

    Clicking 'not interested' on a game/genre you have zero interest in makes it more likely that similar games will be suggested to you in the future, because you 'clicked' on the game, even though that click was explicitly saying I don't want this game to come up...so dumb.

    Also 'not interested' tags don't always remain attached to games, so you end up seeing one game that you don't want over and over and over again....also very dumb.

    There's nothing in this post that violates community guidelines, please don't delete it without explanation. Addressing the tone of an article's writing is not a personal attack. Reposted:

    Was the goal to make this article sound as whiny as possible? If so, mission successful.

    Steam provides multiple ways of finding things because different people like different ways of finding things. Some use search, some use popular lists, some use curators. Half these complaints are basically "there's a better way to do this but I'm using the way I don't like so I can complain about it".

    First you have to scroll down to the "new and trending" tab on the front page. Then you have to click the "see more new releases" button at the bottom of that. Instead of taking you to a list of new releases, as you would expect, it takes you to another page that is functionally very similar to the page you were just on. Then you've gotta scroll down to another box and click the "new releases" (as opposed to "popular new releases") tab in that. Then you've gotta scroll to the bottom of that and finally the holy grail, an "all new releases" button, is within your grasp.

    Click the search button, change sort order to 'release date'. Done. Two whole clicks.

    The main one, which you access from the drop down "community" menu at the top of the screen, conveys basically no actual information about any mods.

    That's the overall landing page, you have to choose a game first before it can show you the mods for that game. If it just showed you random mods from every game, you'd complain about that instead. Oh wait, you did, in the next paragraph when you found the alternate page that does do that.

    When I tell Steam to download a game I want to play now, and it immediately shoves it to the bottom of a queue of ten other downloads that I do not give a single shit about. If I'm trying to download a game now, the implication is that I want to play it as close to now as possible.

    It's a download queue, not a download stack. By default it works 'first in, first out' just like how every other download queue works. New items go to the bottom so existing items don't suddenly stop downloading because you decided to add another one.

    When, once I manually shove a game to the top of the download queue, Steam has to "allocate disk space" for 12 minutes. Why does this particular thing take so long? What's the deal?

    Because 40GB of reservation space takes time to write (around 3-4 minutes on a 7200rpm HDD). If it's taking 12 minutes for you, there's something wrong with your hard drive.

      My guess is you didn't pass the 'no obnoxious corrections' test, but I can see how they might consider it a personal attack as well to be honest.

        I always try to be careful to criticise an action or argument, never the person who made it. I don't always succeed, but I think this one's pretty clean. I don't know that they're 'obnoxious corrections' either, there are actual solutions or reasons behind a lot of the complaints that I thought it was worth mentioning, if not for the US author then at least for anyone else reading.

        If I broke a rule, of course I'd like to correct it but that's hard when they don't tell you why your post mysteriously disappeared.

          Yeah fair enough. I think it's fine, just guessing as to why they might not have thought so. No idea why they didn't explain anything though, that's just weird. Surely it's in their interests to say something if it bothered them.

    Better ways to catagories and tag games in my personal library.
    Able to attach personal notes to games.

    Steam adding actual Quality Control and actually develop relationships with publishers and developers... Valve says its an open market, but they need to make sure their "publishers" are being fair to them and their customers, there are some shady people on the platform and Valve needs to cut ties to them and take responsibility of that.

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