Disclosure #1- Darktide was at “mixed” when I started the comic, and “mostly positive” by the time I finished it.
Disclosure #2- I am having a blast with Darktide, despite the server problems.
So. Darktide launches on November 30th, but they let people who preordered start early to help do some final testing/stressing of the servers. Pretty straightforward.
And, sure enough, there have been some issues. Disconnects, trouble joining, getting kicked from games, etc. It immediately started getting slammed with negative reviews from people struggling to play, which in turn ignited a rather interesting conversation that I can see both sides of. Should the game get review bombed for struggling during a beta test or is that entirely what beta tests are for? Since you’re paying for access to the beta period, are you entitled to expect a flawless experience? Or by knowing it was a beta when you pre-ordered, did you enter into an unspoken agreement to be a tester for an unstable product, and your money is only for the finished launch product?
On the one hand, if a product is unfinished, it does feel unfair to pass judgement on it, especially when so often reviews are “final” (ie, people rarely go back and edit them with new information/impressions).
I, certainly, would hate to have a comic I’m working on judged while it is still in the early sketch phase. And if, for instance, I showed it to someone to get feedback in the process, and they turned around and wrote a review that said “tomorrow’s comic sucks” based on an incomplete product, that would be pretty frustrating.
On the flip side, I believe consumers have a right to as much information as possible regarding a potential purchase. So in that regard, someone contemplating pre-ordering Darktide should know the pre-order beta is currently working through some server/optimization stuff.
But where is the line (is there one)? Should a game have its perception/review ratio affected due to problems in a testing period that is specifically there to catch and fix said problems? When is it too early to review a game?
Forced to choose, I would err on the side of transparency for the consumer. But I’m curious to hear your thoughts on what stage a game needs to be at for it to be “reviewable”? Especially when these days people often use negative reviews as a weapon to vent their frustrations.
Let me hear your thoughts.
Thanksgiving this week in the US, so I’ll be doing family stuff Wed/Thurs. No comic on Friday, see you on Monday!