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 Atsuico » March 10th, 2017, 9:47 am

daedalusAI wrote: Are you saddened that:
  • yet another games developer took money without providing what they promised?
  • they promised a spiritual successor to PS:T when in reality it's mostly just a sad copy not worth the price of an AAA title and already somewhat out-dated?
  • they cut content which backers pledged money for with the excuse of "doesn't fit anymore" while using their time for polishing the game - but the translations among other things are abysmal?
  • that yet another games developer seemingly doesn't have a proper QA - and if he did those people should be exiled?
  • that they promised communication but I've not seen much so far concerning all the issues the game has?
I am, this game had a budget similar to that of BG2, yet without the overhead and corporate management breathing down their neck, yet they couldn't deliver anything close to the same level 15 years later. I've been playing for a bit but don't feel that engrossed, everything feels forced. The best thing I've noticed so far is the music, I think the composer did a fantastic job.

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

Post by Takkik » March 10th, 2017, 9:51 am

It's important they heard baker voices and take it into account to learn from their errors. Torment to me is a kickstarter 'failure'. They got lot of money, far more than asked, they got to ambitious with stretch goals etc... The cuts are important and since they didn't delivered what was promising can't say it's a success. It's same with Wasteland 2. The fact they needed to launch a director cut version is proof the base game was lacking (And they aren't alone, first divinity game needed too a director cut version).

What afraid me is that they still have done 2 more kickstarted rpg, only based on design docs & tech demos. I'm afraid they don't learn from their errors. At one point people will be fed up with kickstarter, I don't thing it will work on the long term. We will see how they will communicate, but personally I stopped using kickstarter.

But even if you don't take into account the cuts, the game is far from perfect. The rules are badly implemented (foci *cough*), bad balance etc... The second part of the game is rushed. You can feel the difficult development. But perhaps the biggest mistake is to have called it Torment and made it a spiritual successor to planescape Torment. The ancestor cast it's shadow over the new game.

I want Inxile to continue to make RPG, but I don't want another one that follow the same fate than Torment with major cuts etc... For me, Obsidian & Inxile are doing the same error : Not having a good & robust ruleset. What Obsidian haven't used pillars rules in Tyranny instead of using a half baked badly balanced ruleset? Why reinventing the wheel each time you do a rpg?
The 2nd edition Ad&d rules aren't the best rpg system but it was often used, well know and so easier to implement. It was supporting huge campaign across multiple games etc... You just can't write a new RPG system each time you do a new game. Inxile, if you want do a new Numenera game, really take the time to implement well the system before beginning to write on the game, buy the numenera/Cypher system and use it on all your games.

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

Post by AlexSledge » March 10th, 2017, 10:04 am

While I can't speak for others, for what it's worth, I have zero complaints.

I backed at the $20 level back in 2013. I was delivered a game that's selling for $45 on Steam, GoG, and elsewhere. I've already spent over 30 hours in the game, and am enjoying it, even though it has a few flaws, and I've encountered a minor bug or two. So all in all, great work inXile!

I know others have backed at higher tiers, and invested in the "special" editions (while I appreciate the artistic effort involved in creating art books, sound tracks, etc., I value them somewhere between $0 and "you'll have to pay me to look at/listen to that crap" - I'm ONLY here for the game (any game)), and those higher tier backers may be a bit disgruntled, to which I can only shrug.

From what I see inXile intends to continue to add to and develop Torment, thus that should I feel the need to revisit it in a year or so it will be a fresh experience again.

All that being said, as one obviously satisfied with my expenditure, I will also say this. I've never gone out of my way to digitally promote or give kudos for a product that delivered an entertainment value equal to or above what I spent on it. To me, that's just doing your job, and you do not get praise for just doing you job. However, I have been motivated by disappointment to anger, and ensuring others do not encounter the negative experiences I've had when a product failed to deliver value equal to or above my expenditure. This is common, as a long time participant in the enterprise support industry, I know full well that you hear from more squeaky wheels than you do satisfied customers, by orders of magnitude. That's just the reality of the environment, and I am sure the folks at inXile weigh that in their decision making as well.

Is there a point to all this? Not really, beyond feeling that inXile has more than delivered on the investment I made, and if others don't have the same sense of satisfaction then perhaps they need to review and adjust their expecations.

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

Post by Deldaran » March 10th, 2017, 11:14 am

daedalusAI wrote:Are you saddened that:
  • yet another games developer took money without providing what they promised?
  • they promised a spiritual successor to PS:T when in reality it's mostly just a sad copy not worth the price of an AAA title and already somewhat out-dated?
  • they cut content which backers pledged money for with the excuse of "doesn't fit anymore" while using their time for polishing the game - but the translations among other things are abysmal?
  • that yet another games developer seemingly doesn't have a proper QA - and if he did those people should be exiled?
  • that they promised communication but I've not seen much so far concerning all the issues the game has?
Not much, I acknowledge those points, but they don't affect my feelings much. I understand the reasons pretty well, on why things happened, the devs have also communicated a lot of these things.

I am saddened more by the fact that, we can't provide accurate feedback through Steam.

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

Post by IHaveHugeNick » March 10th, 2017, 3:50 pm

Romanfiend wrote: This is Shakespeare-level writing!
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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by Ningauble » March 10th, 2017, 4:04 pm

anonymous6059 wrote:The actual world building is very good. I think people would be able to appreciate the game a whole lot more if they read those novellas. It turns some of that random fluff into interesting details that piece together the world. So while I agree with you, TToN isn't hopeless. They could still salvage this and pull a solid 7.0 rating if they really tried. This game will never be PST though. No matter how much we want it to be. It will always be its own game and not a direct sequel.
Yea. I'm also sort of surprised they didn't include more ... setting in their setting. They've got the setting provided in those novels and it's really much more fascinating in those portrayals than in the game.

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

Post by kanisatha » March 10th, 2017, 4:11 pm

I think the actual lesson for inXile here is that shifting from publishers to crowdfunding backers for funding is no improvement. As a developer they're still stuck with unreasonably demanding and entitled partners, and if anything backers are worse because at least with a publisher it is just one actor instead of several hundred of them. This is why both inXile and Obsidian moving to Fig is great, because investors are the answer. Investors understand the concepts of "silent partner" and "risk," and are not demanding or entitled. They hope for a profit on their investment, but understand that they may end up with a loss. Game developers should drop backers and shift entirely to investors in the future.

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

Post by Serjo » March 11th, 2017, 6:35 am

kanisatha wrote:I think the actual lesson for inXile here is that shifting from publishers to crowdfunding backers for funding is no improvement. As a developer they're still stuck with unreasonably demanding and entitled partners, and if anything backers are worse because at least with a publisher it is just one actor instead of several hundred of them. This is why both inXile and Obsidian moving to Fig is great, because investors are the answer. Investors understand the concepts of "silent partner" and "risk," and are not demanding or entitled. They hope for a profit on their investment, but understand that they may end up with a loss. Game developers should drop backers and shift entirely to investors in the future.
Fig describes itself as a publisher who takes public investments in exchange for a share of its profits. Being a silent partner in a development company is very different from what Fig is offering.

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

Post by Takkik » March 11th, 2017, 7:26 am

An investor care about getting is money back, different goal than a backer than is in fact just an early customer. But even as an investor I would care how the game is received by people. Bad com mean less sell, less profit, less return on investment. If I was an investor I would not care the game isn't what they pitched if it still sell well. I invest money on a project that can potentially make money and don't really care of the final product. But even an investor would care about bad com around the cut content and the feeling of the community.

The project was poorly managed, something gone wrong on how they used the money or how they build the game. In a game about reactivity/dialogues etc... stuff like the rules, the foci/abilities/skills in general should have been made before writing the text. How can you write interesting choices based on your character when you don't know the skills, abilities etc... to take into account?
I just want to know what gone wrong in the dev, and them taking it into account so they never do the same mistake again.

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

Post by kilobug » March 11th, 2017, 4:58 pm

Takkik wrote:An investor care about getting is money back, different goal than a backer than is in fact just an early customer.
No, and it's probably the most important thing about all those angry backers (which aren't that much AFAIK, but very vocal and harmful). Kickstarter isn't a shop. Backers aren't customers. Backers are art patrons. They give money to allow a team to follow a creative vision - and as always with art and creativity, it's a risky endeavor, and you never really know what you'll get, especially when the project is highly ambitious.

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

Post by acm » March 12th, 2017, 12:49 am

kilobug wrote:No, and it's probably the most important thing about all those angry backers (which aren't that much AFAIK, but very vocal and harmful). Kickstarter isn't a shop. Backers aren't customers. Backers are art patrons. They give money to allow a team to follow a creative vision - and as always with art and creativity, it's a risky endeavor, and you never really know what you'll get, especially when the project is highly ambitious.
If the developer would give away their "art" for free afterwards I would be inclined to agree, but this is a for-profit business here. Investors can see a profit when the game is successful, backers can get a nice game that would not have been made otherwise. So from a business perspective it is a horrible deal for the backers anyway. No leverage on the development process other than whining after the fact. If the project succeeds then they play the game and marvel at the shiny new Ferraris in the inXile parking lot.

When I backed I perfectly knew that the money can be fully lost (development abandoned or game sucks). That's why I give an amount to buy the game, no more (the shop model, but buying some unknown item). But I (and probably big amount backers more so) trusted them that they treat this their main focus to deliver their promises to backers, and not as one source of income that you can marginalize later to maximize profits.

So doing a console version of this game? Maybe nice for your profits if it fans out but ... that's not in the backers interest. Cutting most of the promised features past the bone because the development didn't pan out as planned, or there were some more projects that somehow got more priority? Sure, but be open about it. Reinterpreting features just to tick them off the list? As GW Bush would say: fool me once, shame on ... you. Fool me ... you can't get fooled again.

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

Post by Varana » March 12th, 2017, 3:39 am

Yep.
Having content cut from the game - okay, can happen, esp. if you promise stuff that early in the design process and then overdo it with the stretch goals. That's one of the risks of Kickstarter, and people should acknowledge that.
But then, for god's sake, tell people about that when it happens. And not admit it three days after players found out about it anyway. In crowdfunded games, you lose some publisher oversight. You trade it for extended communication during development. If you don't communicate, people expect to get what you told them they'd get, and if you don't deliver, they're pissed.
It certainly doesn't help that TTON has quite a lot of rough edges at the surface - UX is ... not good, areas and features are visibly cut (and not just changed because they didn't work out as intended), and things like that. PoE got similar amounts of money but looked a lot more polished, even with its flaws, and they had to develop the engine in the first place. So you wonder where all that money went. There may be perfectly acceptable reasons why it is as it is, but then tell people about it. If you can't or don't want to, the backlash is predictable.
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Re: Are disgruntled Kickstarter backers manipulating Steam reviews to make Torment fail?

Post by Takkik » March 12th, 2017, 3:48 am

kilobug wrote:
Takkik wrote:An investor care about getting is money back, different goal than a backer than is in fact just an early customer.
No, and it's probably the most important thing about all those angry backers (which aren't that much AFAIK, but very vocal and harmful). Kickstarter isn't a shop. Backers aren't customers. Backers are art patrons. They give money to allow a team to follow a creative vision - and as always with art and creativity, it's a risky endeavor, and you never really know what you'll get, especially when the project is highly ambitious.
No, and that why kickstarter is bad in my opinion. As a backer you're a customer, investor & patron and at same time neither of them. You buy a product that don't exist, invest money in a project that will never win you money and support an art production that is actually a consumer good. And actually you don't need kickstarter for any of these things. You can buy the final product as a customer (and that support the company if the game is good), you can buy company shares and try to make profit, you can give money without asking any reward/product, just as support.

And even as patron you can be angry. We gave them money for realizing a vision of a game, if the final product don't meet the expectation you can be angry, ask how the money was spent... Whatever the backer status, they made one of the most successful kickstarter campaign and they couldn't make the full game they advertised. Hard to call the game a success, even if the game by itself can be good, when you make a kickstarter campaign you add far more pressure on your shoulders.

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

Post by kilobug » March 12th, 2017, 5:24 am

acm wrote:So doing a console version of this game? Maybe nice for your profits if it fans out but ... that's not in the backers interest.
Except as it was told several times, not a single cent of backer money went to the console port. It was funded 100% by Techland, in exchange for a cut in profits. In anything backers benefited from it, due to extra testing done before releasing the console version (patches being harder to push on consoles). And Techland wouldn't have financed "extra content" for PC only. So that's a false argument.

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

Post by kilobug » March 12th, 2017, 5:34 am

Takkik wrote:No, and that why kickstarter is bad in my opinion.
Then don't use it. But using it and then complaining and trying to make the game fail... that's not fair.

To me it's a very good option, it allows games to be made that wouldn't be made otherwise, due to lack of interest from publishers. I backed like 50 games on Kickstarter in total, and while some where disappointments, some failed and I never got anything for my money, some others were great and wouldn't have existed else, making the whole "gamble" overall a positive thing.
Takkik wrote:As a backer you're a customer, investor & patron and at same time neither of them. You buy a product that don't exist, invest money in a project that will never win you money and support an art production that is actually a consumer good. And actually you don't need kickstarter for any of these things. You can buy the final product as a customer (and that support the company if the game is good), you can buy company shares and try to make profit, you can give money without asking any reward/product, just as support.
Except that doesn't work. Buy the final product is only possible if it exists, which wouldn't be the case without Kickstarter. Buying shares is not something easy to do, especially on foreign markets, with small amounts of money. And just giving money without even getting the game once it's done, there is no way people will give enough that way to allow the game to be made. So none are actual solutions to the problem of financing the development of games that publishers don't want to support, but that enough fans are ready to patron.
Takkik wrote:Whatever the backer status, they made one of the most successful kickstarter campaign and they couldn't make the full game they advertised. Hard to call the game a success, even if the game by itself can be good, when you make a kickstarter campaign you add far more pressure on your shoulders.
Because the planning fallacy doesn't exists, right. People _always_ underestimate the complexity (and therefore cost/planning) of tasks, that's a sad but unvoidable fact. And the more ambitious you are, the more likely you are to fall for it. Unless you've real evidence that inXile didn't seriously try to do their best, that they wasted money on non-game related things, that they didn't try to follow the vision, you can't blame them - risk of part of the Kickstarter deal. And while I didn't yet play TTON (in holidays in Ecuador and my laptop is not powerful enough) all the reviews and comments I've seen are that it's faithful t the core vision, and a great experience of many, so yes I would call it a success.

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

Post by acm » March 12th, 2017, 5:57 am

kilobug wrote:Except as it was told several times, not a single cent of backer money went to the console port. It was funded 100% by Techland, in exchange for a cut in profits. In anything backers benefited from it, due to extra testing done before releasing the console version (patches being harder to push on consoles). And Techland wouldn't have financed "extra content" for PC only. So that's a false argument.
I wasn't talking about the money here, it's the design. The crisis design practically screams "console requirements" to me. They needed a simple, round-based combat system with very limited options, it's just not feasible without mouse and keyboard. That definitely hurt my interest in having an enjoyable combat experience.

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

Post by Dork Mage » March 12th, 2017, 6:19 am

Techland funding the port isn't the same as 'doing' the port. InXile had to manage the contractor(?) who was brought in(?) to do the port. That means all developers were made aware of console issues. Which means all UI decisions were made with consoles in mind.

The options screen is a prime example. On a (now typical) PC screen of 1920 x 1080, the options screen is in-your-face proportions with plenty of wasted space that requires scrolling even though on a PC all the options would fit comfortably on one screen. The first thing I thought when viewing the options screen is "console port." What other decisions were made in the 'PC version' due to the console port?

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

Post by Serjo » March 12th, 2017, 6:56 am

Dork Mage wrote:Techland funding the port isn't the same as 'doing' the port. InXile had to manage the contractor(?) who was brought in(?) to do the port. That means all developers were made aware of console issues. Which means all UI decisions were made with consoles in mind.
The console ports were developed entirely by inXile. You can see that in the credits.

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

Post by Dork Mage » March 12th, 2017, 8:07 am

Does the console port use "all available resources" (don't know how a player could find this out)?

Cut content might be due to not fitting into the console port.

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

Post by Takkik » March 12th, 2017, 8:31 am

kilobug wrote: Then don't use it. But using it and then complaining and trying to make the game fail... that's not fair.
I used kickstarter like many people, thought Inxile could be trusted. But don't worry I stopped used it. And I don't try to make the game fail. I haven't wrote any review. And I don't see why giving your opinion of a game is unfair. Because you like/supported this game it should not get bad review? The game have problems even outside of the kickstarter.
kilobug wrote: Because the planning fallacy doesn't exists, right. People _always_ underestimate the complexity (and therefore cost/planning) of tasks, that's a sad but unvoidable fact. And the more ambitious you are, the more likely you are to fall for it. Unless you've real evidence that inXile didn't seriously try to do their best, that they wasted money on non-game related things, that they didn't try to follow the vision, you can't blame them - risk of part of the Kickstarter deal. And while I didn't yet play TTON (in holidays in Ecuador and my laptop is not powerful enough) all the reviews and comments I've seen are that it's faithful t the core vision, and a great experience of many, so yes I would call it a success.
Inxile are normally professionals, they should know how to handle a project, isn't their first game. But the most important problem is how they ignored the community, how they tried to hide the cut, and even now they still don't talk from some core features cuts. It's a huge problem because they got so many money because THE STRETCH GOALS! Will the campaign be so much successful without any stretch goals? Any investor/patron that would put 5m on the table would ask for answer and get them. It's a total lack of respect. When you accept money from people you're bound to some obligations.

At some point, even if the game is in a better shape, it feel like some early access game (Df9 from double fine or clockwork empire) that get developed until lack of fund and released in unfinished state.


And the console port is another problem. Even if they used money from Techland, they put time & effort in the port that wasn't into finishing the game. Before adding more work, they should have tried to finish the game for PC. Feel like they were out of cash and asked a publisher to help them.

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