Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by Lord of Riva » March 4th, 2017, 5:32 am

Deldaran wrote:Steam should have a separate scoring/review side for the developer and the publisher.
i fundamentally disagree with that. This here is InXiles game they have their name on it and advertise it as part of their portfolio. Why would we want that?

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by Jernaugh » March 4th, 2017, 5:39 am

Serrin wrote:
kilobug wrote:Seems very like the Siege of Dragonspear thing to me... didn't play TTON yet (I'm currently in Ecuador for holidays and my laptop isn't powerful enough), but most press review are very positive (and a few mixed, but none truly bad), people overall seem to enjoy the game (ie, 75% positive ratings), but a vehement minority (connected or not to the "gamergate" thing, I've no idea) is trying to harm the game and inXile by manipulating reviews, for really stupid reasons (it was a transgender character in Dragonspear, it seems to be the console port for TTON even if no single cent of backer money went to console port). This whole review system seems very broken to me, it gives a tiny minority of angry haters way too much power :(
"vehement minority" nice one, are they worse than the "vocal minority"?
.
But if 70% agree to a review, they are the majority.
The 75% positive raters DID NOT downvote the review, why? How can the "vehement minority" get more votes than the not-so-vehement majority?
Already the most helpful reviews focus on the weak points of the game. That is exactly what they are there for.
If a lot of people disagree with this, they could vote them all down as not helpful, but so far the majority finds these reviews helpful.

So until the not-so-vocal majority gets of their lazy butts or the game is improved, they will have to live with negative reviews.

There is nothing wrong with the review system, it just shows things you don't like.
Of course you do like it that there are 75% positive reviews in this very broken system that gives a tiny minority of happy players way too much power...
Weeeeelll... I wouldn't quite agree. Consider the motivations behind reviews both positive and negative. In both categories, you have people who have an opinion that they have formed and wish to communicate, but you also have people who just want to push the game or damage its reputation due to reasons that have little to do with what is relevant for somebody who is considering whether to buy it. You might call these people shills or haters.

In the current climate of gamer culture, it seems to me at least that "hating" - be it under the guise of consumer protection advocacy, nostalgic criticism of current gaming trends, platform rivalry or whatever else - is more popular and accepted than shilling, notable exceptions like CD Projekt Red aside. It is easier to motivate people to do so, as skepticism and mistrust of corporate entities is on the rise.

So shills are working against systemic resistance, while haters are not. It becomes easier to damage a game's reputation.

Another factor is that due to the lack of a useful positive feedback culture in gaming, negative or mixed reviews tend to be objectively more informative than positive ones. People are good at describing what they didn't like in an easily graspable fashion, but much worse at making clear what the good parts were, and a review saying "this was great, I love this game" offers less information than "the pacing was crap, the dialogue was full of unnecessary adjectives and combat was imbalanced and clunky". So of course, negative reviews will be upvoted more. This is a bit of a systemic problem with digital "recommended/not recommended" reviews. Add to this that it's easy to upvoted bad stuff because of hating and you have a system that is biased in favour of negative criticism.

I have seen many games, some of which I liked, some I disliked, getting roasted online for issues that really didn't seem to justify the amount of hate. I think this is a contributing factor.

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by Sarakash » March 4th, 2017, 5:43 am

Deldaran wrote: What are we who are fans of the game supposed to do? We can brigade to upvote positive reviews on Steam and downvote the negative ones. What does that make us? Possibly mindless shills. What if we honestly vote based upon the actual content of the reviews? We end up hurting the game by upvoting negative reviews, while our reasons for doing so will have little to do with the actual game.
Sorry, but I have to ask: Why do you think fans should be compeled to do anything ? If a review holds it´s ground because of an well put argument (good or bad) you shouldn´t vote in the opposite direction because of an emotional investment. This goes both ways.

If you downvote a negativ review which is unjustified or extremly biased, of course, be me guest. Same is true for a positive one. If it is unjustified or biased, in an ideal world, it should get downvoted.

Best course of action, im my humble opinion: Write your own review. Be fair and as objectiv as humanly possible. Most likly more reviews will be written over the next few days. As I am writing this 376 reviews got published. This is, statistically speaking, insignificant and not representativ by any stretch of the imagination.

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by SagaDC » March 4th, 2017, 6:39 am

Drool wrote:...even if so, does it matter?
It doesn't, no. Ironically, that was kind of my point in the first place. I originally mentioned my suspicions about review manipulation in another thread, where a different poster was expressing excessive concern about the negative reviews on the front page.

My response essentially boiled down to stating that individual steam reviews don't matter. My continued position is that, regardless of what may or may not be small-scale manipulation of the review system, it still isn't going to matter in the long run. Most people will indeed just look at the total aggregate review score, or just ignore the reviews entirely.

The discussion kind of spiraled off from there when Serjo made this dramatically named spin-off thread.
Sarakash wrote:What I am trying to say with this is that this steam review debacle has its own dynamic. A certain amount of people will upvote the "ps4 cut content controversy reviews" not out of spite, but out of confirmation bias. It reinforces them telling the "thruth", thus them beeing "the good person".
That's an interesting thought, and I do think there's some merit to it. Infinitron suggested something similar in another thread, attributing the surge in upvotes to self-proclaimed "consumer advocacy" groups.
Lord of Riva wrote:
Deldaran wrote:Steam should have a separate scoring/review side for the developer and the publisher.
i fundamentally disagree with that. This here is InXiles game they have their name on it and advertise it as part of their portfolio. Why would we want that?
That gets into a very gray area, and even Steam's moderators seem uncertain on exactly where they should draw the line. I believe there have been some issues in the past, when reviews have gotten particularly personal to the point of calling out specific people on development teams with their more vocal criticisms. Especially when those criticisms spiral away from the actual game, and focus more on tangentially related things (such as twitter posts, or blog entries, or personal lifestyle choices).
Jernaugh wrote:Weeeeelll... I wouldn't quite agree. Consider the motivations behind reviews both positive and negative. In both categories, you have people who have an opinion that they have formed and wish to communicate, but you also have people who just want to push the game or damage its reputation due to reasons that have little to do with what is relevant for somebody who is considering whether to buy it. You might call these people shills or haters.
I'm not going to quote his entire review, for the sake of brevity, but Jernaugh's post here basically echoes my general opinion of aggregate review systems - Steam and Metacritic included.
Deldaran wrote:What are we who are fans of the game supposed to do? We can brigade to upvote positive reviews on Steam and downvote the negative ones.
No, absolutely not. Both upvoting and downvoting campaigns are inherently objectionable behavior, and both undermine the entire point of the Steam review system.

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by Deldaran » March 4th, 2017, 6:39 am

Sarakash wrote:Sorry, but I have to ask: Why do you think fans should be compeled to do anything ? If a review holds it´s ground because of an well put argument (good or bad) you shouldn´t vote in the opposite direction because of an emotional investment. This goes both ways.

If you downvote a negativ review which is unjustified or extremly biased, of course, be me guest. Same is true for a positive one. If it is unjustified or biased, in an ideal world, it should get downvoted.

Best course of action, im my humble opinion: Write your own review. Be fair and as objectiv as humanly possible. Most likly more reviews will be written over the next few days. As I am writing this 376 reviews got published. This is, statistically speaking, insignificant and not representativ by any stretch of the imagination.
I was simply lamenting the fact that reasonable approaches lack the punch of unreasonable approaches in the flawed system. I was asking what fans are supposed to do, if they feel compelled to right this wrong that I perceive. It's of course pretty much all rhetorical on my part, wailing into the void, as you said, statistically insignificant.

To be clear, my point was and is, negative reviews for Torment not because of the game itself, but because of "cut content" etc. The sort of criticism that might very well be called for, but shouldn't be directed at the released game itself - but that's how it ends up directed, because Steam offers no way to be more accurate, to target it at the publisher or the developer.

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by Deldaran » March 4th, 2017, 6:45 am

SagaDC wrote:
Deldaran wrote:What are we who are fans of the game supposed to do? We can brigade to upvote positive reviews on Steam and downvote the negative ones.
No, absolutely not. Both upvoting and downvoting campaigns are inherently objectionable behavior, and both undermine the entire point of the Steam review system.
Exactly, which was my point. We have no reasonable way to right the wrong of the flawed system. Mayhaps a scoring system like what reddit employs for its posts/comments would fix all the problems I perceive with Steam reviews.

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by Lord of Riva » March 4th, 2017, 8:05 am

That gets into a very gray area, and even Steam's moderators seem uncertain on exactly where they should draw the line. I believe there have been some issues in the past, when reviews have gotten particularly personal to the point of calling out specific people on development teams with their more vocal criticisms. Especially when those criticisms spiral away from the actual game, and focus more on tangentially related things (such as twitter posts, or blog entries, or personal lifestyle choices).
in the end it does not really matter if i agree with what other people think are good reasons against something.

As you have said as well these reviews exist (as much as the opposite which are as problematic) but dont make or break a game.
im still not seeing a problem and i have not seen steam taking any action against that.

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by migelpig » March 4th, 2017, 8:09 am

Cabrill wrote:...
Doesn't happen often but I agree nearly 100% with this post.

Enjoying the game but conflicted about some things. I still have to finish the game though, just entered the Bloom.
It delivered on its main promise though, intresting story. And although Morte, Dak'kon, Fall-From-Grace, ignus and Annah* made lasting impressions the cast of (no pun intended) tides is starting to grow on me.

But what does 1 opinion matter?

* Only discovered in my 3rd or 4th playthrough you could unlock Vhailor, that's why he's not in the list.
** Would love it if there ever was a game about Annah's upbringing with mechanics from Thief, Witcher and Assasin's Creed.

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by Sarakash » March 4th, 2017, 11:04 am

Deldaran wrote: I was simply lamenting the fact that reasonable approaches lack the punch of unreasonable approaches in the flawed system. I was asking what fans are supposed to do, if they feel compelled to right this wrong that I perceive. It's of course pretty much all rhetorical on my part, wailing into the void, as you said, statistically insignificant.

To be clear, my point was and is, negative reviews for Torment not because of the game itself, but because of "cut content" etc. The sort of criticism that might very well be called for, but shouldn't be directed at the released game itself - but that's how it ends up directed, because Steam offers no way to be more accurate, to target it at the publisher or the developer.
I see. I may have misunderstood your intention then, probably lost in translation as english isn´t my first language. :(

I guess the steam review system is a symptom of a much bigger problem. As someone suggested allready, people love to induldge themselfs in controversies, especially if nothing is on the line (i.e. "first world problems"). It seems more like an arms race to reach the moral high ground then actually discusing the matter at hand. And it is relativly easy to reach said moral high ground.

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by IHaveHugeNick » March 4th, 2017, 1:01 pm

So, I've made a mistake of venturing to the Steam comments and there's some white supremacists complaining that they have to play a black protagonist. I shit you not.

I'm starting to suspect that Colin and Gavin constantly rambling about Trump on Twitter might have attracted some interesting audience to the Torment.
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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by Lord of Riva » March 4th, 2017, 11:48 pm

IHaveHugeNick wrote:So, I've made a mistake of venturing to the Steam comments and there's some white supremacists complaining that they have to play a black protagonist. I shit you not.

I'm starting to suspect that Colin and Gavin constantly rambling about Trump on Twitter might have attracted some interesting audience to the Torment.
or those people, sadly, exist everywhere.

in the end i still see no reason why the protagonist has to be fixed like in PST and why we have to have such a terrible haircut (and no barber (or no helmets)).

i still think the character design is quite boring, but just because we could have played a six-armed pink-coloured mutant because this setting supports it. Instead we get a character with the only prominent feature being a Tattoo that leads to her/him having only half the hairs. Just why?


That said i as a Role player absolutely do not mind playing playing a mixed race Woman as a male. This is also part of the setting mind you. Erritis is the odd one out actually with his fair skin.

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by eNTi » March 5th, 2017, 10:09 am

Serjo wrote:A quote from the sales numbers thread caught my attention:
...
Is it possible that Torment's poor Steam performance has been caused by a few thousand Kickstarter backers who are trying to destroy the company through review menipulation? If anyone has gathered evidence to prove or disprove this allegation, I would be happy to hear about it.
Of course and I am one of them. Of course people will vote up reviews that reflect their opinion. Of course people are mad for various reasons. It's totally legitimate do vote (with your wallet) if something turns out to be not the way you expected. Every review positive or negative will influence and thus "MANIPULATE" other people. You make it sound as if this was a bad thing. That's called CONSEQUENCES. Just because you apologize for your bullshit doesn't mean there won't be consequences for your actions (or lack there of).

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by juginst » March 5th, 2017, 11:04 am

I just want to add my 5 cents here. I also think that recent response from reviewers on Steam is strange. I have read a lot of reviews on different games and I can say that this time the response are... inconsistent. Some of them do not make much sense to me. I have never thought that reviews on Steam can be manipulated somehow, but this time I have got a feeling that this is the case.
Yeah, I know, I do no have any direct prooves. But some complains like "bad graphics" or "too much text" do not make any sense. Pillars of Eternity have terrible graphics and much more (overabundant and boring) text but for some reasons people do not complain on Steam about this. Well.. this may be subjective, but I do not understand what is wrong with people. I mean games of much lower quality in general have higher ratings. It just does not make sense.
P.S. I have just found another negative review. The reason is "no DLC outfits". Are you serious?
Last edited by juginst on March 5th, 2017, 11:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by prodigydancer » March 5th, 2017, 11:06 am

So when somebody isn't jumping on your fanboi bandwagon, it's labeled "manipulating" now? LOL. Talk about blind denial...

Face it, TToN is a meh game at best which is why the reviews are so lukewarm. Don't shoot the messenger, as they say.

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by jeska » March 5th, 2017, 11:24 am

The game isn't that great objectivly.. lore is great and dialogs well writen but
- its short
- best and longest part is at begining
- doesn't feel alive
- quest are short and easy
- combat system is bad
- content cut
- 3d models are ugly
- many bugs
- traduction issues
...
can feel that at some point in the developement they allowed it less and less resources

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by Mygaffer » March 5th, 2017, 3:41 pm

Unfortunately inXile did a very poor job in scoping this project. Probably because it was the second project they crowdfunded. Hopefully it doesn't turn off too many of their fans from backing their projects in the future, they are good developers.

The reviews and review bombing are a consequence of that poor job controlling the scope and also of communicating it to the backers in a timely fashion. They treated it as the old paradigm of development, where you try and hide, hide, until people have bought the game. Of course in the modern era of long tails and crowdfunding the trust relationship with your core audience is so much more important than your day one or first week sales.

So the reviews and votes are just an expression of how people feel.

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by felipepepe » March 5th, 2017, 10:07 pm

A big problem is that Positive/Negative is an even worst system than review scores.

I haven't written anything on Steam precisely because of that. I applaud the game's creativity and courage to try different things like the crises and Rhin, and there are surely good ideas in here, but I think the execution was just bad. The game front-loads insane amounts of exposition, two boring companions and kills any sense of mystery right at the start. Then goes "here's a quest, go explore", leaving players in a theme park full of short stories that are creative but add nothing to the plot.

Then you add bugs, lack of polish, bad combat, ugly (or missing) character art, InXile's recent dramas, etc...

Am I'm glad it was made? Yes. Is it a good RPG I would recommend, especially at $45? No.
There's no "wait for sale" or "I liked the concept" rating, so it's not surprising that it's getting many negative ratings.
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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by the_tormented » March 5th, 2017, 10:23 pm

Personally, I'm really enjoying the game, aside from the horrific technical issues, namely the horrendous frame rate and random crashes. Other than that, I'm loving the world, the lore, the dialogue and even the combat.

However, there are quite a few issues present in TTON that I believe some are not willing to acknowledge objectively. One that really irks me was the design decision behind the effort system. IMO, RPGs that are stat-heavy should rely on a behind the scenes dice roll that takes the player stats into account and nothing else. I can't begin to express how annoying it is to use effort in a conversation or interaction and then having to use either use an item or spend money to sleep just to recharge the pools. Very poor design decision, IMO.

As for the Steam reviews and the "conspiracy", sure, there were probably a few backers that felt betrayed enough to type up a nasty review. But that doesn't mean their criticisms aren't without merit.

I'm going to go ahead and predict that the console sales for TTON will be pretty much non-existent, and I doubt the PC sales will be astronomical. I'm sure the PC sales will eventually enable inXile to recoup their development costs, if they haven't already. Hopefully, inXile will use that revenue to begin working on much needed patches for all versions of the game.

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by Deldaran » March 5th, 2017, 10:43 pm

felipepepe wrote:A big problem is that Positive/Negative is an even worst system than review scores.

I haven't written anything on Steam precisely because of that. I applaud the game's creativity and courage to try different things like the crises and Rhin, and there are surely good ideas in here, but I think the execution was just bad. The game front-loads insane amounts of exposition, two boring companions and kills any sense of mystery right at the start. Then goes "here's a quest, go explore", leaving players in a theme park full of short stories that are creative but add nothing to the plot.

Then you add bugs, lack of polish, bad combat, ugly (or missing) character art, InXile's recent dramas, etc...

Am I'm glad it was made? Yes. Is it a good RPG I would recommend, especially at $45? No.
There's no "wait for sale" or "I liked the concept" rating, so it's not surprising that it's getting many negative ratings.
Yes, this is much like what I was trying to say earlier, maybe my mention of "separate scores for publisher/developer" was off the mark, but I did mention "more accuracy", as there's no neutral option. Even if you explain yourself exhaustively in the review you post, you're still forced to paint your review positive or negative with that black/white thumb choice.

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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by Deldaran » March 5th, 2017, 10:53 pm

the_tormented wrote:As for the Steam reviews and the "conspiracy", sure, there were probably a few backers that felt betrayed enough to type up a nasty review. But that doesn't mean their criticisms aren't without merit.
I've seen a bunch of reviews that are by people who feel betrayed by the devs or the publisher, due to the things that went down in the last month before release or stuff that went down right at release with technical issues and whatnot with release platforms, and yet these people like the game. Their negative feedback is not without merit, but they probably feel forced to hit that thumbs down, which directs their criticism at the game, not at the things around it that they meant it for.

This has happened with a lot of games, it's a Steam problem, not a Torment problem. Plenty of games that had mixed reviews, turned out to be these cases, where a good portion of the negative reviews had little to do with the gameplay experience of the released game, when it came to their reason for hitting that thumbs down.

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