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Day One Glitches/Bugs/Etc.


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So yesterday, I along with many other PS3 users were excited by the news that "omfg Soul Calibur Lost Swords is a free-to-play thing that's finally available and you can download it now!" So, I download and install the game only to discover, like everyone else, that the game is unplayable. You see, one requires an internet connection to play this single-player game. Upon pressing start, the game informs me that it will return to the title screen due to error 1098. Some people have reported slightly different error codes. Now, connection shouldn't be a problem - my internet and every other person experiencing this problem has a completely functional internet connection. Rather, Namco has confirmed this is an issue on their end, but refuses to say exactly what the problem is. To make matters worse, this confirmation only comes from the Soul Calibur facebook page, but a precise reason or "official" posting has not been provided. 24 hours later, we still have no fix.

I'm fully aware that games are complicated things to design and that devs can run into Snafus they had no foresight of. However, this game has been in development for a long freakin' time now. Honestly, I just don't see how you can have a bug, glitch or whatever that renders the game completely unplayable for most, if not all users on the first damn day. From a company and series of this stature, this kind of thing is unacceptable.

Where I'm going with this, is that it seems like more and more games have less and less quality control. From graphics and other bugs found in XCOM to this connection problem in Lost Swords, it seems like companies don't even bother to test for blatantly obvious issues in single-player games. It's like they just expect the consumer to be the free QA team and to patch issues only as players complain about them.

What are your thoughts on patching single-player games, paid or free-to-play when the issues could have undoubtedly been fixed prior to release?

Edited by AngelCityOutlaw
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I feel like this kind of stuff happens with PS3 games more than any other type of system. I.E. Skryim and that dumb Silent Hill HD collection disc.

I'm not sure how this stuff gets by exactly. Maybe stuff really does work before release, and then on release day things just go haywire and stuff glitches the heck out. Or maybe those testers are the ones that got the few copies that actually work while 90% of everyone else doesn't.

It's silly. And it especially sucks for people who don't have Wi-Fi access all the time.

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It's a free to play game that nobody bought, so they have a little more wiggle room to have a rough launch than say if it was Diablo 3 and everyone pre-ordered it for $60. Of course they aren't going to put the level of attention into it that they would with a game they're charging retail for. Usually the point of free to play (and fighting games in general) is to just toss something together quickly and get it out to the world so people can start spending money on it. Think of FF14 for example, they charge a subscription for that -- if it had been free to play, the first version of FF14 probably would have been passable. But it wasn't free to play, so they ended up completely revising FF14 into the current release, which I hear is actually worth paying for if you're into that kind of thing.

Soo pretty much... you didn't buy it... can't really complain. It'll work when it works.

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It's a free to play game that nobody bought, so they have a little more wiggle room to have a rough launch than say if it was Diablo 3 and everyone pre-ordered it for $60. Of course they aren't going to put the level of attention into it that they would with a game they're charging retail for. Usually the point of free to play (and fighting games in general) is to just toss something together quickly and get it out to the world so people can start spending money on it. Think of FF14 for example, they charge a subscription for that -- if it had been free to play, the first version of FF14 probably would have been passable. But it wasn't free to play, so they ended up completely revising FF14 into the current release, which I hear is actually worth paying for if you're into that kind of thing.

Soo pretty much... you didn't buy it... can't really complain. It'll work when it works.

Just because you release something for free doesn't validate sacrificing professional integrity. It's kind of like how OCR's albums are free, but on average they're still high quality and the downloads usually work.

Therefore, I fail to see how you have more "wiggle room" to have a completely unplayable launch to a game you've been working on for at least a year when you're supposedly a world-class, state-of-the-art studio. Like, if you can't make a free product work properly, what incentive is that for people to spend money on your products that cost money?

Edited by AngelCityOutlaw
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Think of FF14 for example, they charge a subscription for that -- if it had been free to play, the first version of FF14 probably would have been passable.

Three things:

A) You're wrong

B) Final Fantasy 14 1.0 was pretty much free, because it was so bad that they kept extending the trial period of it because it was just hemorrhaging people. The game was Sonic '06 levels of unfinished, buggy, and just, just awful. They used the worldbuilding tools from Final Fantasy 13 to build the world. An MMO pieced together with nothing but corridors. Chocobos were called "horsebirds" because they farmed half the game out to low-budget chinese programmers and never even bothered to double-check or give them guidance. Even if it was F2P, FF14 1.0 was just completely, awfully bad.

C) Just because something is "free" doesn't mean you can just "throw any crap out there" and "not complain because it's free." You're on a site, filled with people who hand out music for free, who bust their ass making sure it's an aural experience. You YOURSELF do that. Because it's free do you feel you can just shit out anything and call it good?

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OCR is fan arrangements, and they're free. There are fan remakes of games which are free and also good, sometimes even getting backed by the developer who owns the IPs. It's just not the same thing at all. OCR isn't part of the gaming industry. Early access is a thing now. Any problems can be fixed with patches. That's how it is now, so if you're upset that your free game is broken, all you can do is wait and there's really no reason behind complaining.

OCR will probably never release a remix or album that is half finished, with the second half being placeholder midi sounds

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When a game ships with bugs, you can bet that the developers know about the majority of them. People look at a buggy game and ask, "Didn't anyone test this?" But that isn't the issue. The issues are actually development time, schedule, and money needed to fix those bugs. Developers have to constantly make choices: do we spend time to fix this obscure rendering error, or do we work on adding new features? Do we get this problem fixed 75%, or spend an extra week and get it fixed 100%?

Almost no companies have the luxury of being able to develop a game indefinitely (see: Valve). The vast majority of other devs, from indies to AAAs, need to stick to a timetable. At some point, they need to release the game and start earning revenue from it. There's a cost-benefit to spending extra days, weeks, or months on fixing bugs. The benefit is obvious (fewer bugs), but the costs are numerous. Not only is the game not being improved in the sense of additional features, levels, etc., but the studio is also actively losing money (salaries of devs) *and* it's time spent that could be spent on other projects. So it's an ongoing balancing act.

The decision to release a "buggy" game on day one may be a product of necessity. Some live bugs that we've seen with games like SimCity may also simply be due to factors that were impossible to test in production.

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