Darkfail: Critic Response

The word “schadenfreude” referrs to the guilty pleasure of watching other people fail.   It’s like watching the Angry Video Game Nerd play Superman 64.

Today’s dose of schadenfreude comes from reading Eurogamer’s review of Darkfall.  Eurogamer isn’t known for being the harshest reviewers in the biz.  Dofus and and Conan both earned 8 out of 10 by their estimation.  Even Pirates of the Burning Sea, which they describe as “broken” and “disjointed”, can get by with six-thumbs-up out of 10.  So how did Darkfall Online fair?  It got just 2 out of 10.

Here’s some quotes from the review that had me laughing:

“Enemies’ AI boils down to running in circles, which is actually surprisingly effective, considering how slow and floaty the controls tend to be.”

“Not even old-school EverQuest – which was actually graphically superior- felt quite as stiflingly slow and ponderous in its levelling curve.”

“It doesn’t even have the basic features that make up even the most lackluster and dull cookie-cutter MMOs”

“Underneath the lack of originality, there’s a hole where the game should be: a loose, incongruous mess of bad controls, horrible user interface, and broken combat system.”

“Even if you were so inclined to take part in this painful experience, it’s rather difficult to actually buy it.”

“It’s the emperor’s new clothes of 2009: such a marvellous game that only an idiot wouldn’t realise the beauty of the gaping holes in its content, its wonky control system, and its seemingly decade-old engine”

Published by

Suzina

Suzina is a 27 year old who usally plays the same MMOs as her husband.
Games played: UO, EQ2, FFXI, SWG, LOTRO.

36 thoughts on “Darkfail: Critic Response”

  1. May I ask if you mean the reviewer is failing, or Darkfall itself? In the comments, there have been concerns and questions raised that cast the reviewer’s credibility into very uncertain light.

    For instance (recalling off the top of my head)
    -several large factual errors in the review about the control scheme, the mob placement and the combat

    -large misunderstandings of game mechanics

    -the reviewer has only commented in LoTRO threads in the past 8 months – hardly making him experienced with multiple PVP games

    oh, and

    -In his review of WoTLK for computerandvideogames.com, he made it clear that he thought WOTLK did not introduce anything new into the game, and simply rehashed old things. He also didn’t think much of Phasing, despite it being one of the more interesting new developments in the MMOverse.

  2. I have to agree with Syncaine here. Spending more than two hours on the character creation screen and less than 10 minutes at a time in game isn’t enough for a comprehensive review.

  3. I wonder when they’re going to reveal that this game is actually one huge high-concept joke put together by Mel Brookes or the Farrelley Brothers.

  4. “May I ask if you mean the reviewer is failing, or Darkfall itself?”

    Great question. It’s Darkfall itself which makes me laugh. The high expectations, the long development cycle, and then the utter disappointment.

    If it was just a budget title which was rushed through development, I wouldn’t find it very funny. But watching people’s high expectations be shattered is really funny.

    People can disagree with his review, which is fine, but he still hated the game enough to give it a rating that (according to their grading scale) is “about as entertaining as getting the flu.” … And that’s just funny.

  5. I have no love for Darkfall, its a game that I will probably never play but I do think that the accusation by Aventurine that the reviewer spent no more than a few minutes in game needs to be answered. Reading over the review myself I can actually believe that accusation because the review is strong on opinion and very light on facts.

    Aventurine’s rebuttal is here: http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?p=3344510#post3344510 They could be lying of course but it is a serious enough accusation that it needs to be answered.

  6. As a former reviewer (paid, no less) myself:

    I have not played Darkfall, and I won’t. I’ve read the review. The general point about “not playing enough” made by Adventurine is well made. But on the other hand, what is “playing enough” when it comes to MMOs?

    I can tell you right now (and if someone feels the need to launch missiles at me, please go right ahead) but I have played and reviewed many games over the years in which both good and bad things were so utterly glaring or unabashedly brilliant that, as a reviewer, you get the concept and critique down in all of five minutes.

    Again, I have not played Darkfall, so I cannot attest. But even assuming half of what that review has said is true: Does the reviewer need to put in 20 hours to have the “right” to point out the UI turns off by itself sometimes? Are 30 hours of review mindtime needed to be able to mark that the controls feel bad and floaty? 40 hours to have the certainty they graphics are not good? 50 hours of being ganked to say unequivocally that gankers abound? 100 hours to point out there are many grammar mistakes?

    Yes, of course we want reviewers to honestly review what they’re given, and that necessarily includes devoting the thing a fair amount of time. I’ve done so myself, back in the day. Not always, but many times I chose to devote some time “above and beyond” what was normally required for some reviews, just to get a clearer picture of a game, or to reach a point in time where hopefully things that did not previously ‘click’ in my head would do it and I could present a fair picture. But let’s not be more papists than the Pope himself: Sometimes it could very well be that games are -bad- overall, and no further time beyond what needs to solidify that impression needs to be put in.

    Sometimes it’s not the reviewer being unfair. Reviewers (and gamers in general) can form a complete impression of most games in an hour or two – and don’t tell me you’ve never been there. People with experience in games can easily and intuitively point out what’s good, what’s good and possibly will get better, what’s bad, what’s bad and probably get worse, and what’s utterly terrible and incomprehensible.

    I like what Eurogamer is doing with the second review by someone else. That’s the right way to go about these things, and that second review should be telling. Although I wish EG hadn’t been so fast to reveal the name of that second reviewer. Should’ve been done once published.

  7. After the first hour, with an IQ above room temperature, you would know that 90% of the ‘facts’ in that review are just false, which is why Tasos takes issue with it.

    It’s one thing to not enjoy a game like DF, it’s another to try and pass a review off without having actually played the game. The guy tried to make a quick buck by summarizing all of the common misconceptions about DF by people who have never played it. He got called out on it, and unfortunately his employer dug the hole deeper by supporting him blindly.

    It’s amazing the length people will go to try and justify lazy and dishonest people.

  8. “I wonder when they’re going to reveal that this game is actually one huge high-concept joke put together by Mel Brookes or the Farrelley Brothers.”

    Never played the game huh? I myself find it lacking in certain areas, and a bit unpolished, but when you use some perspective… That this game was made by 30 guys and does what no MMO has dared do outside of Vanguard, for the past 11 some years.

    Seamless world with no loading, twitch combat, aiming bows and spells, naval combat, capable of fielding 500 man sieges, every item craftable, advanced monster AI, beautiful environments hand crafted.

    They lose points for having a clunky UI, sure, but look what they accomplished.

  9. “I have not played Darkfall, and I won’t. I’ve read the review. The general point about “not playing enough” made by Adventurine is well made. But on the other hand, what is “playing enough” when it comes to MMOs?”

    It is NOT an issue of not playing enough (though spending all your time in the character creation menu surely doesn’t help you understand the game)

    It’s how many factual errors are in the review. They are all over the place, and each line is laced with hate and venom for no apparent reason. This guy surely had a vendetta.

  10. Why would he have a vendetta though, and if he only played as much as Tasos states, why score it poorly at all? He wouldn’t have time or need to hate, just turn out a 6/10 review like most sites do for the mid-tier games that they don’t cover much.

    The reviewer actually should be allowed to respond and defend the article as written, otherwise eurogamer should fess up and state he was in error if he can’t.

  11. I’ll buy the possibility that the guy is not a very good reviewer before buying that he has a vendetta. Having vendettas is a great short cut for a reviewer to stop getting assignments, and this is a double whammy if you’re a contributor instead of staff.

    It’s perfectly possible the guy is simply not a good reviewer. The review didn’t strike me as all that good in any case (talking about the review, not the game). What I wanted to point initially is that it’s a bit silly to say “He didn’t play 10 hours, he played 2”, if the points made are things that jump out in 10 minutes and reviewers are bred to look for those points.

  12. For the record: I think spent from the second week after launch until the very end of January playing WoW simply to review it for ars (since I had no intention of playing the game when it was given to me). That’s like almost 2 months. And I’m not gonna say I was reviewing it every waking moment because it’d be a lie, but the bulk of those 2 months were spent in review mindspace.

    I could tell what was wrong and what was great about it in the first hours. The rest was spent seeing how things panned out and if suspicions were true.

    Don’t sell me the having to play 50 hours to realize anything.

  13. “Don’t sell me the having to play 50 hours to realize anything.”

    But you didn’t make up blatant lies about the game, and you spent enough time to at least understand the mechanics and main features.

    And Suzina – come on – reprinting a review that has been shown to be full of such blatant falsehoods that its obvious the guy had no real hands on with the game…its one thing if you don’t like a Darkfall like game but at least have some integrity, if not for your sake, then KTR’s.

  14. “But you didn’t make up blatant lies about the game, and you spent enough time to at least understand the mechanics and main features.”

    Once again, I disclaim that I haven’t played it so I have very little frame of reference. But I know reviews. It’s pointless to me to ask for a list of these factual errors and blatant lies because I have no way of verifying them myself without the game.

    I have seen the little list of “all the points that are wrong in the review” that’s been posted here and there, and while I’m sure there are some errors, most of it strikes me as ambiguous or simply opinion. Examples:


    “o ‘do’ anything – talk to an NPC, bind yourself to a location, loot a corpse, and so on – you have to click the right mouse button to toggle between interaction or movement mode.

    -You simply have to hit F”

    Not an entirely factual error. If there’s a better method that escaped the reviewer doesn’t invalidate his suggestion of the whole system -he used- being clumsy in his view. Arguing that he should have used “F” instead of RMB is pretty pointless. He could have been far clearer, but he’s questioning the need of interaction and movement modes. Again, could have been far clearer, but this isn’t necessarily a factual error -unless- there’s no such thing as “interaction and movement modes”, which I don’t know.

    “like an FPS, except with little to no reference point.

    -You have a small crosshair on your screen”

    Ambiguous, but not a factual error. A crosshair is not the only reference point in FPSs, although many consider it to be the main one.

    “how slow and floaty the controls tend to be.

    -The controls react just like any other FPS (I have 170 ping)”

    Pure opinion, not a factual error or a lie. If the guy felt them slow and floaty, then he felt them slow and floaty. The fact that others feel them just fine is borderline irrelevant. The rebuttal is pure opinion as well.

    “The difference in feedback between a sword hitting or missing is negligible

    -Hearing the sound of the sword hitting, blood splattering and the grunt of whatever race or monster is not negligible compared to “whiff””

    Again, pure opinion and not a factual error. He thinks it’s negligible, other people do not. He didn’t say it didn’t exist, just that it was negligible. Bad choice of words. If I picture the game situation right, I would have used “underwhelming” instead of “negligible”. Still, both the point and the rebuttal are opinion.

    “lack of hit detection

    -If you hit, you hit, if you miss, you miss. Hit detection is spot on.”

    Ambiguous. Opinion. Can’t verify myself, but he’s probably guilty of hyperbole again. Should have said the hit detection wasn’t entirely convincing to him. The rebuttal would have been ridiculous if it wasn’t just opinion.

    “Judging the distance that one needs to be at to fight a foe is largely guesswork

    -I could see this on the first few swings, but each weapon has a set range and it is the same every time you swing it. There is no guesswork, you hit if you are in range.”

    Not a factual error because it seems to be half-admitted by the rebuttal itself. Pretty stupid rebuttal too, since the problem pointed was -judging- the distance, not -being- or -not being- in range. Not the same thing.

    “changing weapon (a ten-second operation – five if you’re particularly nimble)

    -If you use a hotbar (most people do) it takes as long as it takes you to click a key. In no way can you justify saying this, even if it’s hyperbole (I don’t think it is in this case with nothing on his hotbar)”

    Borderine ambiguous, but not a factual error. Using one system and not another is not a factual error, or a lie. It simply means there’s a better system that eluded the reviewer. That makes him dumb, not a liar.

    “EverQuest – which was actually graphically superior

    – This is opinion, sort of, but no way 99% of people would agree with this, EQ2 maybe.”

    Opinion as stated by the rebuttal itself, not a factual error. And it’s not “sort of”, it is opinion. Period.

    “no definition in areas except those where you spawn as a newbie

    – The entire world is hand crafted and looks amazing, no auto generation of terrain or anything.”

    Ambiguous, not a factual error. The reviewer could be talking about the art direction (not art quality), the flow or a number of other things. The rebuttal is silly.

    “It doesn’t even have [snip] some form of tutorial

    – there is a breif tutorial of controls and UI at sigon.”

    Without knowing just how “brief” that “brief tutorial” is, this could be an error or simple opinion. It wouldn’t be the first time, and unfortunately not the last, that a reviewer dismisses something very short or very lacking as non-existent, which is incorrect.

    “horrible user interface, and broken combat system.

    – the UI works fine, it’s FPS not MMO Combat is one of the best parts of the game and is far from broken”

    The combat system I don’t know. It’s vague and lazy to just throw the concept there and not elaborate. But the UI part is opinion again, not a factual error. The reviewer thinks it’s horrible, the rebuttal says “works fine”. It’s an answer to a point no one made.

    “You can’t turn off the UI – the game just occasionally forgets to load it.

    – There is a setting to turn off the UI that you can hotkey”

    This one is nice. The reviewer saying the UI can’t be turned off appears to be a factual error, but the rebuttal does not say anything about the other part, of the game not loading the UI sometimes. Which may or may not happen, I don’t know. I wish the rebuttal had said “there are no reported UI problems like what you said, you’re full of it”. Instead we get something about the way to turn it off, and not address the other claim.

    “At times you’ll be left waiting to die – for up to a minute.

    – after 15-20 seconds you can hit spacebar and “tapout” ”

    Ambiguous. What the reviewer said was poorly worded (and a bit pedantic at that) but not incorrect. I suppose if you don’t press Space and tapout, you -will- be there for up to a minute. Who would do that though? No idea, but not a factual error.

  15. This is a bit unfair since you have never played Julian, but some of your examples are off.

    You CAN’T RMB click to interact with NPCs or anything else he mentioned. The ‘F’ key is the ONLY way to do this, and is such a basic item it right away shows the reviewers never played for more than a few minutes. He lied and assumed DF would work like WoW in that you can right-click everything, it does not.

    “like an FPS, except with little to no reference point. – The crosshair is not ‘little’. It’s THE main item used by anyone who plays a FPS to aim, as it is used in DF. Other points includes visible arrows that arc, magic projectiles that travel, etc. Sorry, but anyone who has hit ANYTHING in DF has no doubt he made contact. Again, this is a ‘first 10 minutes’ type of thing.

    “how slow and floaty the controls tend to be. – Their not slow or floaty, point blank. Anyone who has played a poorly programmed FPS knows what slow and floaty controls feel like, and this is not the case here. The game allows you to turn up sensitivity as high up as you like, and even in default settings they are much ‘faster’ than a standard MMO. The guy had issues with the controls because they are not WoW-like, but that has nothing to do with their actual responsiveness. It’s a DIFFERENT control scheme compared to most MMOs, but the tech itself is spot on.

    “lack of hit detection – The game does not lack this. It has it. It’s not an opinion when you say something is not there when it is. You will NEVER question when you hit something in DarkFall, or when something hits you. It’s not an opinion that DF has accurate hit detection, it simply does.

    “The difference in feedback between a sword hitting or missing is negligible – As negligible as the difference between the color black and white. Sorry, it’s not an opinion or debate if those two colors are similar, just like it’s not a debate about hit/miss in DarkFall. It’s obnoxiously clear when you hit something, regardless of the weapon.

    “changing weapon (a ten-second operation – five if you’re particularly nimble) – Another example of ‘I think black is very close to white’. No one playing DF takes 10 seconds to switch a weapon, just like no one playing WoW used the spell book to cast spells. Would you consider the WoW interface broken because it requires flipping through pages and pages of spells just to fight in combat, especially when that book blocks the screen? That’s not an opinion, its simply playing wrong. Running into a wall and complaining movement is broken because you could not walk forward is not an opinion about the movement system, its just wrong.

    “EverQuest – which was actually graphically superior” – From a pure tech standpoint, this is wrong, the engine behind DF is superior to EQ1. Furthermore, when you look at his screenshots, it’s very clear he is playing on low setting at a VERY low resolution. Part of a review is having at least reasonable hardware to do so, and this is clearly not the case here (or the guy intentionally lowered everything, as even on weak machines the game looks better than his SS)

    “no definition in areas except those where you spawn as a newbie” – Every single area has definition, as it is hand crafted. No two spots are the same. That’s not opinion, its simply fact. UO used a random world generator, so in that world it was very common for two forests to look identical in certain spots. Simply not the case here.

    “It doesn’t even have [snip] some form of tutorial” – As pointed out, the game DOES have a tutorial (one that explains most of the basics this guy missed). That’s not an opinion, its again fact. Had he said ‘the tutorial was too brief’, that’s an opinion. When you state something is not there, when in fact it is, that’s a lie.

    “You can’t turn off the UI – the game just occasionally forgets to load it.” – As already mentioned, you can turn it off, so that part is a lie. As for the bug, it does not exist as far as I know, and it has never been mentioned on the forums or patch notes. Lets face it, the guy accidentally hit the UI key and turned it off, and assumed it was a bug because he logged out and got it back.

    “At times you’ll be left waiting to die – for up to a minute.” – This is wrong. You won’t be ‘waiting to die’ if you hit spacebar. You CAN wait if you think someone is going to rez you, but that’s a choice and a feature, not a bug or poor design. If you die with what you feel is no hope for a rez, you hit spacebar and release. The reviewer did not know this, and makes the false statement that you have to wait the full timer to release. The ‘poor wording’ on his part here results in a factual error. That would be like reviewing WoW and saying you have to log out every time you die to become a ghost and rez, because I ignored the ‘release’ button on my screen. Sorry, that’s beyond opinion and simply wrong.

    Again, it’s a bit unfair because you don’t play, but we need to stop trying to justify or explain the reviews lies and inaccuracies, it goes way beyond his negative opinions about the game.

  16. I’m not justifying the reviewer. I don’t even know the guy (if it was a reviewer I know and I was familiar with his work -maybe-). I didn’t know there was an Ed Zitron until this thing came up.

    And I already said I didn’t think much of the review itself.

    What I’m taking exception to is throwing the “factual errors” bit all willy nilly like I’ve seen some doing. Examples of (admittedly huge) factual errors would be saying “Unfortunately for those who like it, World of Warcraft does not include any sort of crafting whatsoever”, “EVE’s game world is huge and I don’t know what CCP was thinking by not including a map” or “Thankfully, for hard quests, you can form a party of up to 15 henchmen in Guild Wars”. Those are just errors plain and simple.

    Saying “The controls tend to be slow and floaty” is not a factual error under any point of view. It doesn’t matter one bit if you, or I, or anyone had no problems with the controls and we all felt them fast, tight and perfectly adequate. The reviewer felt they were not. Final period right there, because it -is- opinion.

    Saying “Looks worse than EQ” is probably undeserved hyperbole. We’ve already established it wasn’t a very good review, and he shouldn’t have put it that way. There are much better ways to say what he’s trying to say without resorting to naming names, because when you name names you’re making a point that’s way too precise for what is basically opinion. Shouldn’t have even mentioned EQ at all. Should have left it at “Visually, there are much, much better offerings out there”. Which, again, is opinion.

    Etc, etc.

    I’m sure there are many errors in that review, and I don’t think that guy is gonna review anymore (not for EG at least). The second review will be telling, depending on how the second reviewer goes at it. Not saying there aren’t errors, just saying that it -seems to me- that due to a combination of him writing a poor (under any standard) review and how rabidly volatile this playerbase seems to be, a few things got marked down as “factual errors” when they really might not be. They’re just bits of opinion he didn’t have the skill to present as such, or had no idea what to do with them.

  17. Well at least we agree that parts of the review were indeed factual error, while others can be considered opinion depending on how you read it. Given that it was a review on a major gaming site, and not a forum or blog, having ANY factual errors is an issue, and having as many (and as blatant) as this review had, it’s not surprising that the developer would go to the source and demand it taken down. The surprising (and stupid) part is that even with all the evidence, the website backs some freelancer and destroys its credibility by doing so, hence a newsworthy story IMO.

  18. “Given that it was a review on a major gaming site, and not a forum or blog, having ANY factual errors is an issue”

    No doubt whatsoever.

    “and having as many (and as blatant) as this review had, it’s not surprising that the developer would go to the source and demand it taken down.”

    This part I actually find a bit surprising. Had I been in Adventurine and had I been given the task of “do something about this bullshit review”, I would’ve gotten my scalpel and dissected the whole thing, refuting wrong point by wrong point with a lot of examples because I’m the dev and I’m (theoretically) the one in the best position in the world to do so.

    Yelling “take it out, it’s BS” and leaving it at that not only it’s a huge missed opportunity, but insidious and cynical people, like me, will rightfully ask “Lovely, but where’s the rebuttal? If you say you have the truth and you don’t deliver it, you’re a moron or an ass”

    And I don’t buy that Adventurine didn’t do it or is not doing it because “they don’t want to dignify that review or Eurogamer anymore by paying attention to it”. That’s just a load. Obviously they were paying enough attention to notice and were paying enough attention to demand it be taken off.

    So yeah, it surprised me to see the dev demanding a takedown because (a) theoretically they could correct it easily, if the review is so full of falsehoods and (b) usually in cases like these, what I’ve seen happen mostly is to ask for a second review outright, or for the original to be properly amended and noted. That’s it. A straight out takedown is very rare, and if I was Eurogamer I wouldn’t have taken it down either. I would have offered my cooperation to Adventurine in producing a rebuttal, allowed them space to offer it, offered a second review by someone else, etc. But I wouldn’t have taken it down.

  19. They explained, and I agree, why a second review with the original up would not work, short of the second review specifically pointing out each lie in the first one (and you know that would not be the case).

    As for breaking down the review itself, there is no need really. Even people who have never played the game and only casually followed it could pointed out errors. The provided the most damning evidence that only they have access to, the server logs showing the guy did not in fact play nearly as much as he claimed he did. That alone is enough to discredit whatever he wrote, yet EG, for whatever insane reason, decided to believe the documented liar over hard data. Once that’s established, why go any further with a company like that?

  20. “Once that’s established, why go any further with a company like that?”

    Because the alternative is worse. For Darkfall fans, and for people who automatically hate it for whatever reason, it doesn’t matter. Their opinions won’t be swayed, and that’s fine. But I’m going to guess the majority of EG’s readership -and- the majority of Adventurine’s potential customers are in the middle, and if the review was controversial (to say the least) they deserve a second review, or at the very least an amended version of the original done by EG’s editors.

    It does look like EG made a mistake (if nothing else with their choice of reviewer. Not talking about the review itself) and they’re offering to amend it. That’s the right way to go about it, and it happens every now and then. I remember something similar happening with some console game last year, but I can’t remember which one. The controversial review, I believe, was amended. It happens from time to time.

    Now, you’re going to disagree with this, Syn, and that’s fine. No worries. But twice now I’ve seen Adventurine having a chance to fix things, and refusing. First, as I said above, by offering a proper rebuttal with the facts they are so adamant are missing. They didn’t, they demanded for the whole thing to be taken down, which EG (or any other website/publication) will not do. Second, now, they were offered a second review and they refuse, playing hard to get and taking what they identify is the high road.

    It’s their prerogative, and that’s fine, but by not wanting a second review all those people in the middle end up with an inadequate review and the original is still out there. That’s why I said EG should re-review it anyway. For themselves. If the review is controversial, then Adventurine, the players or whoever else are irrelevant. EG needs to correct their own mistake(s) for the sake of their own reputation and the quality of their content.

    To an unaffected observer, this is how it looks like:

    Adv: “What you printed is completely false and misleading. Also, your reviewer did not play as much as he claims. Here are the logs.”
    EG: “Okay. Noted. For the moment we’re going by what he’s saying. Would you care to present a factual rebuttal of the review?”
    Adv: “No”
    EG: “Okay, we’re willing to help put things right. How about a second review?”
    Adv: “Fuck you”

    Come on now.

  21. But like Tasos explained, a second review would not change the metacritic score with the first review still up. Along with that, unless the second review goes point-for-point with the first, it won’t be seen as a complete/fair review. The first review is more or less a collection of angry troll posts that landed on a gaming website; what credible writer would want to use that as the base for their own piece? And IMO, Aventurine has done enough to discredit the review by showing that the reviewer’s in-game time was closer to 15 minutes than the 9 hours he claimed. Why break down the details when that alone shows the source of all the lies?

    Like Tasos said, if they take this review down, they are more than willing to have EG do a proper review. When a news source makes a mistake, they RETRACT the story and write an apology/correction (remember that story about the New England Patriots supposedly videotaping practice? The newspaper that printed the story did not just ‘re-review’ what they got wrong, they retracted it and issued a front-page apology). The writer and EG got caught doing sloppy, slanderous work, and instead of manning up and admitting it they continue to play the denial card. Give that, why would Aventurine (or anyone else) accept anything from a company with that kind of moral code?

  22. “But like Tasos explained, a second review would not change the metacritic score with the first review still up.”

    But screw Metacritic. I’m not gonna say it’s not a valid meter that some people use, but it’s not the final and absolute arbiter of anything. If the review was controversial and erroneous it should be amended or re-reviewed because that’s in the best interests of both EG and Adventurine. Metacritic doesn’t enter the picture. Can’t have erroneous content up there, but can’t take it out and leave a hole without something else to replace it.

    Most people would have jumped at the chance of, first, having a controversial piece done on your thing, accidentally or not, and second having a second review done that has no possible option but to improve on things because the first one was terrible. If there are two things that Darfkall needs right now they are eyeballs and numbers. But Tasos in his reply pulls a move that’s borderline out of the CCP PR handbook and prefers to look tough in front of his own players than making a choice that would benefit the game in the long run.

    As far as why the thing is not taken down, there are a few reasons I can think of: First and foremost, numbers. That thing is bringing in the hits. Second, they are not going to kill that hit generator without having something to replace it with.

    Third, and we’re entering into opinion here, so we might disagree: EG’s editors don’t believe server logs (or at least -those- server logs) are incontrovertible proof of anything. I don’t know myself. It’s hazy either way. So they won’t take it down on the basis of that evidence alone, that’s their choice. I haven’t seen the logs myself. Maybe they’re bogus and EG decided not to mention this to avoid adding more fuel to the fire, or maybe they’re genuine but EG decided to back their writer anyway until further evidence came along. I don’t know. I haven’t seen the logs and I don’t know anyone inside EG to ask.

    Fourth: I think EG is re-reviewing it anyway no matter what Tasos says because at this point what he says is almost inconsequential. EG can run as many reviews of Darfall back to back as they want and Tasos doesn’t enter the picture. But EG knows (or should know, summoning that rare ghost known as integrity) that you can’t keep a bad piece up. EG needs the re-review as much as Adventurine, even if Tasos gets cranky about it.

    Fifth: Stranger things have happened, but I’d be willing to bet the second review is being made right now and EG is already seeing that, yes, the first one was bad, full of hyperbole (deserved or not) and had errors in it, but the spirit of it may be in the right place. Maybe the second reviewer is already telling them that – “I can sure give you a better review, but as far as the score I can tell you right now, it ain’t going up more than a point. Two tops.”

    So you’re an EG editor in charge of this thing. What do you do? You have a bad review, bombastic, trollish at times, with some errors, but essentially (as almost confirmed by the second review in progress), right. You do what most editors who value their content would do: You do -not- take the first one out until the second one is ready, you publish the second, and you amend/apologize where needed. You talk about mistakes, standards, procedures, trust, and move on because the whole thing is not the death of anyone.

    You do not retract or take content out without incontrovertible proof, and right or wrong, EG didn’t feel the logs they got from Adventurine were solid proof of anything. Without that, they’re in the middle of a he said, she said between Ed Zitron and Tasos. The only sensible course of action at that point is to re-review, whether the parties like it or not. I mean both parties, because I’m sure Zitron is none too pleased about having his piece redone since it’d do wonders for his future assignments (read: people will think three times before assigning him anything, and rightly so).

    Tasos needs to drop the CCP method of PR. I’m sure it’s all the rage in Europe, but it’s not productive.

  23. “Tasos needs to drop the CCP method of PR. I’m sure it’s all the rage in Europe, but it’s not productive.”

    300k subs for a niche title unproductive? Come on now, you are arguing against yourself :)

    You can’t say ‘screw metacritic’ and at the same admit SOME people might be influenced by it. Even if only one person decides not to try DF because of it, the slander piece has caused Aventurine harm. DarkFall already has enough players trying to get in to flood the shop anytime its up. They don’t need ‘buzz’ now to generate some quick sales. They are trying to establish a solid niche title (like EVE), and part of that is having positive player experiences within the game, ones that will naturally draw people to the game. If an potential player is on the fence, or simply giving the game some time (as many are doing), this type of slander might hurt that interest.

    As for proof, it goes beyond the logs, check my site today for a breakdown. The point of the logs is its a clear-cut example of dishonesty by the writer, and something only Aventurine had access to. Any fan (like myself) can point out the actual errors in the review itself.

    Finally, while I agree with you that EG would hurt itself financially if it took down the slander piece, that does not justify it being an unethical move. Furthermore, a re-review would not replace the slander piece, just supplement it, which is not good enough in this case. When you have the power to fix a mistake, offering to sugar coat it is not going to help.

    (I’m enjoying the debate btw, and I hope everyone here at KTR takes it as just that, and not some personal attack on anyone here.)

  24. “DarkFall already has enough players trying to get in to flood the shop anytime its up.”

    Sounds like there is no reason to care about the review then. Because even if you want to play – you can’t. It’s not for sale EVERY time I have checked. If anyone could be blamed for killing Darkfall’s popularity, it is Aventurine itself. This review has done nothing but generate MORE interest in the game, so who is the loser here? People that want to play Darkfall but can’t because IT’S NOT FOR SALE MOST OF THE TIME, that’s who.

    Allowing everyone that wants to pay them money to do so should be their number one priority. All hands on deck!

    P.S. Posts at KTR before the “review”: 1. Posts after: 6. ‘Nuff said.

  25. “300k subs for a niche title unproductive? Come on now, you are arguing against yourself :)”

    I argue against myself all the time!

    What I mean by not productive is exactly that. Not productive. I say this because I start from the (relatively safe, I think) assumption that Tasos and Adventurine want more players and not less players. I don’t care about the Darkfall fans or the Darkfall haters. They’re already set and done. But again, there are a lot of people in the middle, lots of potential Darkfall players and lot of EG readers, that would surely benefit from a better review. Saying “Bah, humbug, fuck off” is not productive. It does not allow for the record to be set straight, it does not allow for a second review, it does not allow to correct any mistakes.

    If I were someone that’s looking for info on Darkfall and so far had remained oblivious to this mess, I dig around and I find two things: That EG published a very lacking review of it (that’s being nice) and that Adventurine is refusing to have a second review. Doesn’t speak well of either party, so I’d lean to not play Darkfall and not read EG a little more. How’s that productive? That’s me. Other people might find Tasos’ valiant stand in the face of something or other to be noble and/or EG’s mistake to be a small one.

    “You can’t say ’screw metacritic’ and at the same admit SOME people might be influenced by it.”

    I say screw metacritic in the sense that it doesn’t have any incidence on whether there should be a second review or not. There should be one because the first one was lacking in everything, not because it shows up on metacritic. I’m arguing from the point of a publication and how it should treat its content, nothing more. Besides it pisses me off as a former reviewer to see a bad piece still up there.

    “DarkFall already has enough players trying to get in to flood the shop anytime its up. They don’t need ‘buzz’ now to generate some quick sales.”

    Are you saying that if I go over to Adventurine, today, and tell them “I am the owner of the such and such social network. I brainwash my users and they do my bidding. In one month I can come back and drop a bag on your table with a million Darkfall players in it. All you gotta do is scramble to get enough servers up to hold them”…

    … they wouldn’t do it?

    I don’t buy that they don’t want ‘buzz’ or that they’re dead set on keeping things ‘niche’. Design-wise, maybe. But they’re not going to turn a massive influx of players away. Nobody will. Nobody should.

    “If an potential player is on the fence, or simply giving the game some time (as many are doing), this type of slander might hurt that interest.”

    Exactly why a second review is needed. To correct this.

    “(I’m enjoying the debate btw, and I hope everyone here at KTR takes it as just that, and not some personal attack on anyone here.)”

    For sure! I’m enjoying it too :)

  26. Unless your bag of players is going to stick around for 6 months+, then honestly no, they don’t want them. They would come, flood the new server(s), mix with those that actually enjoy DF, leave in a month, and screw over everyone left playing on a barren server, causing those players to leave as well. WAR is a great example of this, and DarkFall is far more population-dependent than WAR.

    In this case, the flood would likely be 100-200k or so, and in the long run the damage they would do would be greater than the initial cash boost. Obviously if it was 1 million, Aventurine would likely take that money, shut DF down when the majority of the million leaves (they would, regardless of how good DF is/was since it’s not WoW), and call it a day.

    (I can’t say why, but trust me when I say that’s EXACTLY their rational behind what they are doing with the shop. They might be fools for this, but they honestly believe in DarkFall so much that they are willing to give up some gains right now to ensure its solid for the ones playing right now)

    About metacritic: A second review would be added to the current 2/10 score, which is part of the reason Tasos wanted the first one retracted.

  27. (btw, I really need to stop typing “Adventurine”. It’s Aventurine, get it straight J.)

    “(I can’t say why, but trust me when I say that’s EXACTLY their rational behind what they are doing with the shop. They might be fools for this, but they honestly believe in DarkFall so much that they are willing to give up some gains right now to ensure its solid for the ones playing right now)”

    Oh, I don’t doubt you. That’s what they’re trying to do. I just completely fail to see how, if the game (design/mechanics-wise) “works” today at 300k, and will work in 6 months at 600k, it won’t work today at 600k.

    Keeping the tourists out may or may not be a good move. Don’t know. Don’t have an opinion on that one way or another right now. But the problem is that they have no damn clue out of that potential big ball of customers who’s a tourist and who will stay. The problem is not that they’re keeping tourists out. The problem is that they’re keeping -people- out.

    The whole thing leans on the counterproductive side because -people-, both potential tourists and faithful alike, will see they’re having problems just getting the game to begin with, and they will lose interest.

    Besides, and correct me if I’m wrong since I haven’t played it, if the game is critically dependent on a mass of players at any given time, it stands to reason that you want that mass to be bigger, not smaller. Doesn’t matter if it’s now, in six months or in a year. For that type of mechanics, more players is always better. It doesn’t make a lick of sense to keep that mass of players artificially smaller than it could be unless they’re sabotaging themselves.

    Also, if people screw the game by leaving (which is correct), then they screw it whether they leave it now, in six months or in a year. They might be trying to ride out the massive and natural influx of tourists at launch, which is an original idea, but ends up not making much sense either.

    “300k tourists leaving would be really bad, because that’d leave us with only 300k faithful”
    “But you already have only 300k faithful. Right now.”
    “*crickets*”

    “In this case, the flood would likely be 100-200k or so, and in the long run the damage they would do would be greater than the initial cash boost.”

    See, this is the part I’m not getting. Where is the damage in 100-200k people getting the game, playing it for a while, and leaving? Still leaves you where you were before they joined, there’s always the chance a few of them will stay, and you make some extra money. What’s the damage? That they don’t like the game, they leave and then they badmouth it? Well, they’re already badmouthing it -now- because they can’t get in. Damage in the sense that 200k people leaving breaks the critical mass of players that the game needs to “work”? That implies the game doesn’t work -now- because those 200k players are not there. 300k now = (500k – 200k) in (x) months because you might patch it up, but the game remains the same.

    “About metacritic: A second review would be added to the current 2/10 score, which is part of the reason Tasos wanted the first one retracted.”

    A silly short-term reason, because more reviews will definitely start coming in and Metacritic being an aggregator of everything, if this offending 2/10 review is taken off, chances are next month another 2/10 review will take its place rendering the whole thing moot. What’s Tasos going to do, chase after every bad review that shows up in Metacritic like Don Quixote? No, of course not. The point is that this review was bad and misleading in its own right, so it had to be re-reviewed in its own right, Metacritic be damned. If what bothers Tasos is Metacritic, then he should whine about every bad review that will hit it, not just this one regardless of how sleazy it is.

    I swear I’m beginning to think they’re schizophrenic.

    “Take that review down, because it impacts people’s opinions now and they influence their decision to buy the game.”
    “Can they buy the game anyway?”
    “Probably not. We’re not letting many people buy it, really.”
    “I’ll call the men in white coats now.”
    “Fair enough.”

  28. Just to wrap my part up (post is off the front page), if the server cluster can only handle 30k users, letting in more than 30k creates an issue (queues), which disrupt everyone playing, possibly to the point that an otherwise happy customer will quit. If you open a second server, but that one only gets 15k people, you now have 15k potential fans playing a sub-par game because of population, and again you might lose people who would otherwise have stayed.

    Obviously either way (shop open all the time vs limited release) you are going to upset someone, but at least with the shop being down, you upset someone who has never tried the game, and IMO they are more likely to still come back and give the game another chance. Much harder to bring someone back once they have been burned.

  29. Games that FAILED so far: Darkfall, Champions Online, Fallen Earth, Aion, Star trek Online, Global Agenda? What am I missing? Oh, Crimecraft. Hopefully APB will be good…I’m really waiting for TOR, should be the best mmorpg of all time.

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