Shank’s Spiel: “It’s Normal, Get Used To It”
It genuinely appalls me that today, in 2014, it is completely normal for a game to launch broken. These aren’t minor bugs and funny little glitches, mind you, rather “OMG the game crashes when I launch it” bugs, or “OMG I can’t get into a single server” bugs, or “OMG the game isn’t recognizing my input” bugs.
These things are completely, 100% inexcusable, and I find it downright insulting to me and the rest of you when certain gamers reply with statements like, “It’s okay, this is normal for an MMO.”
It’s not okay. Just because it happens all the time and you are so numb to it by now does not make it “okay.” In what reality is it “okay” for a game that I paid actual money for to be so broken upon release that it literally will not launch?
I find it positively maddening that today, in 2014, it is almost considered taboo when someone has the sheer cheek to expect a game to work at launch, as if expecting a game I paid actual money for to work the instant I bought it is completely insane. Really? I mean, really?!
Add to that this assumption that we gamers should somehow feel grateful when the broken game we paid actual money for is “fixed” by the developer, as if they’re doing us a favor by providing a solution to a problem that they themselves created, and you begin to understand my utter frustration with certain content creators and their sheep of consumers who buy into their BS.
Some recent examples of this are Dark Souls II’s PC release late last month, ESO’s disastrous Early Access earlier in April, Sim City from early 2013, and Battlefield 4 – which is still broken a staggering six months after launch!
Part of the issue seems to lie with certain publishers who are constantly pushing to release games earlier. In their mind, releasing first is an advantage. First to market equals first to cash-in. But even this isn’t my real issue, as utterly despicable as this practice may be.
With digital distribution quickly becoming the main vehicle for content delivery, it is now easier than ever for a developer to deliver fixes for their games. This is both good and bad. Never in my gaming experience have I witnessed the frequency of Day 1 patches more than today.
Let me be clear. I view Day 1 patches as a mixed bag. Obviously, some things may be missed by QA and are not detected until after the game has gone gold. Of course, as the developer, you’d want to implement a fix as soon as possible and Day 1 patches are a means to do so. In certain instances, such innocent and genuinely good-natured patches are welcome.
However, as is the case more often than not, Day 1 patches are used as a crutch, as a sorry excuse to ship a broken game because a fix can be delivered easily through the Internet. This is wrong and is a ruse designed to pull the shade over your eyes to mask the real truth: games are being rushed out the door and are being shipped broken. And you, the paying consumer, are meant to accept this as normal behavior and feel thankful when the product you paid actual money for works as it always should have.
Think about this for a moment. Imagine upon buying a car, you notice that two of the wheels are missing. Would you stand for it? Would you simply shrug it off and say, “It’s okay, this happens all the time. I’m used to it”?
No. You wouldn’t.
You would storm into the dealership and raise hell because the product you paid actual money for is unusable. Now imagine if the dealership told you that “they’re aware of the issue and are looking to resolve it as soon as possible.” Would you “hold tight” for a week, patiently twiddling your thumbs, before your dealership provides you with the additional tires needed to bring your car up to functionality?
No. You wouldn’t, because it’s a truly ludicrous scenario, one that you would not put up with. And yet, time and time again, we’re told this is “normal” for games, and that we should be patient and hold tight while the developers fix the broken product they charged us actual money for.
And this brings me neatly to MMO elitists. Now, I am fully aware that not every single MMO veteran is like this, nor am I generalizing and grouping all MMO players into this category. That being said, you should know exactly the select type of players I’m talking about.
These are the players who have played many an MMO and are so accustomed to those games being broken and so wrought with issues at launch that they take it upon themselves to remind other players (and some newbies) that they should get used to such issues, that it is completely “normal” for these games to have issues at launch, and that other players should just “get used to it.”
They legitimately expect everyone else to be “okay” with the fact that the product they paid actual money for doesn’t work on Day 1.
This is the type of attitude that quite frankly degrades our beloved pastime and one that I find outright disgraceful and insulting. It is not okay for the game that you helped beta test in order to root out issues and then proceed to buy with actual money to still be utterly broken and dysfunctional at launch.
Players should not “get used to it.” We should not accept this as “normal”, nor is it okay, by any sense of the word, for those players who do accept this perceived normalcy to impose their perceptions onto other players who have the gall to expect a game they paid actual money for to work on Day 1.
This is the real issue, one that is so entrenched and systemically passed on from developers, publishers, and gamers alike. In no scenario is this “okay.” In no logical and rational reality should it be “normal” for the game I paid actual money for to not work on Day 1. It is disgraceful and insulting for certain players to suggest that just because they are so numb to it by now, that this is normal and other players should just “get used to it.”
Because guess what? It’s not okay. It should not be normal. We should not put up with it. And you, me, and every single gamer out there is completely in the right to be mad as hell.