The War Z – The game rules, but this is a PR nightmare

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First off a little BG info on me, I love everything in the apocalypse genre.  Throw zombies in the mix and I’m a kid in the biggest candy store you have ever laid eyes upon.  Movies, books, video games, I search for them all and ingest every bit of survivalist fiction I can get.

I have been playing War Z with my girlfriend and LAN partner (MEW24) since it was available for early alpha on Oct. 15th.  I couldn’t wait until Halloween to play it.  I was / still am a huge fan of Day Z and this looked a little more my style.  Plus the flying into the sky and slamming to the ground after 3 hours of careful looting and getting run over by helicopters out of nowhere was kind of annoying and I was looking for a change.

I instantly fell in love with War Z.  Watching out for other players, the loot in the towns, everything about it was amazing to me.  Playing on a LAN also really helped as there is always someone watching my back.  I dealt with the trip and fall deaths on a 6 degree angle, seeing how the developers seemed to be involved in the community and really making a ton of changes for the better.

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I for one love the PVP aspect of the game.  Yes, getting killed really, REALLY sucks.  Especially after a long session of finding weapons only to be sniped halfway to the safe zone.  But this is actually what I really like about the game.  How intense the action is when it goes down, the panic that sets in knowing I could lose my life any minute from a bullet, and if I fire back I will be instantly engulfed by the nearby lurking undead.  I personally am a big fan of massive open world games, other than ARMA and Day Z I have spent tons of hours in Darkest Hour, a mod for Red Orchestra, as well as the amazing Battlefield 2 mod Project Reality.  Running for ten minutes, sipping my beer while constantly watching the horizon and then hitting the dirt when my squad starts taking fire is my favorite kind of multiplayer FPS game.

As the updates progressed, we started to get pretty good as a team, and met a few friendly players along the way.  We have taken on a friendly approach during the daylight hours, but at night it’s a shoot first, questions later bandit mentality.  The map started opening up, more epic loots were added, and more bugs were fixed.  Hackers started to get pretty annoying at times, but I have been lucky and not dealt with too many.  Often times when I would see people complaining about hackers in a server we would just leave.  I also think sometimes it’s just angry kids after a legit snipe however.

The day of the steam release, I was on the forums reading a thread about the Foundation Release and hacker issues and remember reading some funny survey statistics and other things that just seemed odd.  At one point the percentage added up to 105% I was instantly intrigued and started to read more of what other people had to say.  Until this point I have had pretty minimal involvement in the community, just giving my 2 cents on a few threads about feature suggestions.

WarZ-fps-screenshot

During a game session that evening, a buddy in my clan messaged me to check out Steam as War Z was featured as the best selling game.  I saw some of the features like 100 player servers, 4 different maps, a bunch of stuff that was not in the game.  I was very confused to say the least, and a little bit angry.

The four hour spawn update has to be one of the dumbest things I have ever seen in online gaming.  I have never yet played a game that had a “resurrection fee” with real world currency.  I don’t even know of MMOs that cost game currency to rez, other than armor and gear repairs after you are wiped.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  I feel like they were just sitting around a table getting drunk and trying to come up with ideas of how to monetize the game better, instead of seeking professional help.

Today the big news, Steam pulled the game down.  I am pretty sure this has never happened to another Steam game before.  Then, and interview at Gamespy with Sergey (the lead dev) and  he either has ZERO understanding of the English language and false advertising or is just a complete idiot.  Read the original interview here.

The interview pretty much speaks for itself.  Sergey goes on to blame the players for not understanding the game.  When something is described on a game’s box or the Steam sales page, I expect said features to be in the game.  They argue a bit about the 100 player slot issue.  The Steam page says 100 players maximum, but when you log into War Z, the server cap is 50.  One of my favorite quotes -

Sergey Titov: Let me ask you — what YOU think we should put there, since we do not know what number of slots will be on official servers tomorrow — 20,30, 50, 70 or 100?

I agree with what the interviewer said, put the real number of slots the game has.  Change it as the game updates, you can’t advertise the wrong thing!  It just makes sense.

In conclusion, I wish War Z wasn’t a fun game to play so I could hate it right now.  Part of me wants to just say screw it and never give these guys another cent.  I will watch how it plays out in the following days and make my decision, but for now I’ll be back in Colorado looking for instant oatmeal.  See you in Campos!

One of my older War Z game play videos below for your viewing pleasure:

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