I don’t usually do this but I’m going to plead with you, please do not buy The War Z. All of the terrible things you’ve heard are true.
I previewed the game a while back for Hooked Gamers when it was still in “alpha state.” I was pretty kind to it. You look at things differently when a game isn’t even in beta state. Since that time I’ve followed the game, participated in surveys, and posted on the beta forums. I am actually a little conflicted in sharing this conclusion because I like to assume the best about game development companies. I’d like to believe they will patch in and fix the issues people are raging about across the internet. Case and point, I have read through Massively’s recentarticles and the criticisms thrown out in the comments are almost spot-on factually accurate. When contentious stuff comes out, it’s not uncommon to see the rabble rise and some unfounded accusations pop up. Not here. Your game has to be pretty offensive to make so many random gamers factually accurate in their anger.
Well… now that the game has launched, let me make no bones about it: The War Z is the most shameless, amateurish cash grab I’ve ever played. There is simply no defending this game. I tried in my preview. I pointed out highlights, like owning a gun or the tension in approaching a town. My job in that article wasn’t to review so much as shed light on an in-development vision. I had no idea that what I was shedding light on was what they would eventually try to shill from the street corners as a competitor to Day Z — a game I’ve never played. I have no stakes in this fight other than I think it’s trash when a game company so blatantly rips off people who might be fans. It could be good, could be, but it won’t in any reasonable time frame. This game isno more than “hot fix” different from the preview build I played in October.
Let me give you some specific examples of Hammerpoint trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Or just embarrassing itself.
They only decided to make their Steam listing accurate after the Internet exploded. The original listing included player skills, a 400km map, and private servers. None of those things exist in the game.
They adamantly call it the “first zombie MMO” and that it’s the start of a “new generation of MMO”. It’s not an MMO. At all. There is no massively. There is no persistence. There is no progression beyond hording all the crap you find. Nothing. This is a “new generation of MMO” for back in the MUD days and even then we would have called them full of it.
You’re not allowed to criticize the game on their forums. Seriously. If you post at all about why you’re not playing the game anymore they will delete the thread as a breach of their ToS.
Oh yeah, they cribbed the ToS from League of Legends. They must not have lawyers over at Hammerpoint.
They say it was in development before Day Z. Nowhere like you see it today. It was intended to be a full blown, pre-fail MMO. And it couldn’t have been that far along in development. Most assets, including character and weapon models and audio bytes, are only very slight re-skins of their previous title, War Inc. They developed some new environmental art and made a few zombie models. The only thing even MMO-like is the character select and inventory screens. My suspicion is that “we were in development before Day Z” might actually mean “we just started on a new project and then jammed Day Z concepts into our shooter engine.”
The game hasn’t advanced beyond alpha state. The patches they’ve added have been small and largely based on unlocking things they didn’t want us to see experience before other players. Most patches they released were to fix some game breaking bug that somehow QA missed. Is there QA? Because for a long time zombies couldn’t even move. They would hardly ever react to you. It took them more than a week to even try to send out a fix. Beta was purely promotional as they lead up to “release foundation.”
There is literally no point to the game. The only useful items in the game are food, water, guns, and bandages. Your sole purpose in the game is to wander around. That’s it. And then they wonder why it becomes a hotbed of ganking and frustration. There are no skills to use, nothing to progress your character, no useful way to team up with up people, no way to hold or country territory (and no point to doing so). Most of the game is woods and woods are totally devoid of anything. You will spend your entire game existence sneaking up to a town, trying to find something good, and hoping you don’t die — not so much by a zombie as another player who has made torturing new players his sole reason for being. Your progression in the game will be: get to town, find lots of water, die and repeat, until about the fourth time when you find a gun and maybe become the hunter yourself. Like I said in my preview, that changes things, but it also makes you part of the problem-corner Hammerpoint has designed you into.
The game is incredibly unbalanced and there is no design to circumvent this. If you’re a new player, stay away from any kind of big town. What’s that? You need to go into town to get things? I sure hope the people with machine guns and sniper rifles and nothing at all better to do don’t create an incredible barrier to entry. Weapons are the endgame and you will quickly find that people with them make a merciless target out of people like you. That works in Day Z where there is more depth. That is The War Z in its entirety and has been since alpha.
Most “screenshots” are staged and won’t actually happen in-game. Have a look at these.
Doesn’t happen like this. Too many zombies.
The lead developer loves to spin and put the blame on the user.
“I’m sure there’ll be people who will look into small details and will say ‘no I was mislead’ where in fact they imagined something to themselves without checking details first.”
Translated: It’s your fault for reading the entirely false statements on our product page and trusting that they were true!
“There’s no such thing as ‘fully released’ for online game. As far as I’m concerned The War Z is in a stage when we’re ready to stop calling it Beta.”
I wonder where it crossed the point from being an under-developed mass of systems into ready for release.
YESTERDAY: “As you all know we launched the game on Steam yesterday. Okay—we’re number one top grossing game on Steam right now—thank you guys for your support.”
Sounds pretty sure of his release doesn’t he?
TODAY, after it was pulled from Steam: “We’re making sure that our Store page is 100% correct this is why. Bottom line – our end goal is to have satisfied and not angry customers, so this is more important for us than everything else.”
And here he makes it sound like it was Hammerpoint’s decision to pull things down. Unfortunately, Valve made it pretty clear to Kotaku (where these quotes are collected) that the game even being made live was a serious mistake that they, not Hammerpoint, corrected. Sergey Titov, after all, thinks the game is release ready. What does Valve know about release games?
And this doozy…
“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.”
For those paying attention, he just totally ignored that they promised 100 players and starts talking about how they dropped it from 70 to 50. That’s not a lie, when you never had 100 in the first place? That’s like me saying that I have a 300-person house because you can stack them on top of each other.
The game is 1/10th of its advertised size. They claim it’s 100 square kilometers. Only if you use game logic which also means our WoW characters run at 12MPH and whole continues are 60km. The game is actually 10 square km.
Their hacking prevention “program” is just placing tempting items where normal people can’t get them. Pick them up and you’re banned. It works but if you have more than three brain cells you can probably continue hacking. Did I mention the game is over run with hackers?
“19 ppl think game is shit, 3 think that game is good. Plese go and vote – tell us what do YOU think ! [--] Sergey Titov, Executive Producer, The War Z”
I do actually feel bad for not correcting his poor grammar. English is his second language after all, and I’m certainly not bi-lingual, but I tend to think that when you’re the face of a company you should probably not talk like you’re texting or in an MMO battleground.
Update: Found this on Reddit. Apparently the art team did some wholesale ripping from AMC’s The Walking Dead for their artwork.
The War Z is one of those games that has a lot of potential. I recall thinking that it could top Day Z just by virtue of the engine. Unfortunately, they have so bungled this, and proven themselves so deaf and immobile to player suggestions, that I don’t see it happening any time soon. Plus, Sergey Titov’s track record doesn’t sparkle with games like Big Rigs, one of the worst games ever released, is a bullet point. I truly wish them the best, but it’s time to start seeing serious changes in development and how they do business if they want support.
Please, for the sake of game development and our standards as gamers, don’t support The War Z in its current statement. It sends a message that we will pay for unfinished products, the prospect means more than delivery, and that, in general, we’ll buy first and question later. We deserve better.