Micro-transaction. A term that most gamer’s shudder over, and from the issues they create, rightly so. Micro-Transactions in Early Access is a mistake right from the start, and we’ve seen the consequences.
Often, games will have an open beta prior to release to allow player critique prior to a game’s completion. It is not a method of which to make money. Early Access is not a beta. Early Access is a platform which allows games to receive essential funding the game needs in order to progress its development past a certain point, while also providing a sufficient experience for the people supporting the game.
Games like Block and Load and Darkest Dungeon are the two best examples of perfectly utilizing Steam’s Early Access system the way it was intended.
Block and Load had a store page which led players to a website where they could register to join the open beta and test the game. No microtransactions, completely free to play, no harm no foul. In fact this open beta improved the game significantly prior to launch. The open beta let tons of people test the game and critique its balancing and report bugs.
Note: I feel it necessary to also include the fact that Block and Load does have micro-transactions, but only recently when the game went free-to-play which makes it okay. No pay to win stuff, its got the moba model: you buy classes and skins. The game adopts a free to play model without ruining the balance of the game.
Darkest Dungeon had a pre-alpha version ready to go years ago. They put their game up on Kickstarter, and managed to create a game which could have been considered complete. Instead, they decided there was a ton more they could do with the game and to this day have continued adding enormous updates to the game.
Now, these are two perfect examples of the difference between a beta and Early Access. These are perfectly innocent games which should be commended for the time and care which has gone into the game’s development.
The third kind of Early Access game is the kind that doesn’t want to be a game which will make players happy, it doesn’t want good reviews, it just wants to milk players of as much money as they can get, and when they are done, throw in another few hundred dollars of content to rake in some more money.
Now, I’m not talking about Free to Play games like TF2 which have micro-transactions because it is necessary for the game’s survival. I’m talking about Heroes and Generals.
Prefacing my explanation of the many wrongdoings of H&G, I’d like to show you all THE MOST BULLSHOT TRAILER OF ALL TIME:
Because having your screen tilt back and forth like you’re sitting in a baby carriage is realistic.
Heroes and Generals is a bad game with bad developers. I’m not saying this because I’m mean, I’m saying this as genuine fact supported by thousands of steam users who have scammed by this game.
Heroes and Generals advertises itself as a free-to-play early access game. Great! Its like an open beta right!? No. This game has been in Early Access for almost two years, meanwhile ignoring blatant issues with balancing, price model, bugs, and much, much more.
Sadly as I’m a student in high school I can only discuss one game in full which supports my argument. If you guys have any more examples of this I’d love to hear them.
I think the biggest issue with Heroes and Generals is its progression and free-to-play model.
The game is a pay-to-win game under the guise of free-to-play.
The best to make this point would be the steam review of the game which I wrote over a year ago:
I’ll remind you that this game allows you to have several different loadouts, but this requires you to buy (which costs money surprise surprise) a whole new character, which you have to level up from scratch, and re-buy every gun which you probably already had in your other loadout.
This means that if you wanted to get the best weapon in the game UNMODDED for all three factions in the game, you would have to play 1312.5 hours of this game while using the exact same weapon the entire time.
If you wanted to buy the best gun from each class, which will be 3 guns total, you have to spend 120 dollars.
On top of all this, close to zero effort has been made to improve the game balance and pay-model because the developers KNOW it is a serious problem. Six months into the game’s development, a third faction was introduced: The Soviets. The faction began the game’s enormous wave of negative steam reviews and for the most part has led to the game’s decline in playerbase.
The game has had horrible balancing issues that havent been changed in two years.
Players are thrown into matches with people at the max levels, meaning players who play the less popular American faction will very often be facing heavy tanks. The problem with this is that the anti-tank equipment is very much late game, so games are literally unwinnable without someone who payed the 30 dollars it would take to get the American’s Bazooka.
After all this money players have to spend, you’d think the developers would appreciate its player-base right?
Hell no. The developers are assholes.
They censor criticism, attack critics, and...
I can confirm this is an issue because it has happened to me and hundreds, maybe even thousands of people who have played the game.
Often, accounts will be randomly reset (because the game’s programmers have less experience coding than a “Social Media Expert”). This means any gold, equipment and characters the player has will be completely deleted. The developers infamously refuse to do anything.
Yes, they take peoples’ money, delete what they payed for, then feign responsibility. This is actually illegal.
Again, as a result of the game’s programmers incompetence, there is no functionality to retrieve your password if you lose it and contact support from the developer site, you receive this message:
“ If you no longer know your password, you can not retrieve it”
Looking at the game’s steam reviews you can notice similar issues reigning at the top. Hackers and griefers destroy the game, and when people complain, the developersDENY THE EXISTANCE OF HACKERS BECAUSE, AND I QUOTE,
“Most players have better things to do than use so called ‘alt’ accounts”
Alternate accounts being used to disturb games is a well known fact, especially among PC gamers. The assumption that the many hackers who are known to plague Heroes and Generals are in fact NOT using alternate accounts, but using their main accounts which they have put hundreds or even thousands of hours and dollars into. That’s some solid logic right there.
The game has been in development for 2 years, to no progress.
Valve actually make significantly less revenue from micro-transactions and Early Access, so why not combine the two and never have to make a smaller profit?
Heroes and Generals to Valve is like Scientology is to the United States government: They know its really fucked up and making money at the expense of innocent peoples’ lives, but they’re never gonna do anything about it.
Games like this highlight how NOT to make a good game, as well as highlight how exploitable Steam’s Early Access program is. It is a travesty the way the developers of H&G exploits a great system for financial gain.
Also the game is pretty shit.
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