Critical Hit – The War Z – The Facts

During an interview with Sergey Titov, revealed that the games “Foundation Release” would begin today. Shortly after that interview was posted The War Z was introduced to Steam, which resulted in one hell of a response from the player base. There are already hundreds of forum posts on both the official website and the Steam Discussions area, with some even making a petition to get the game removed from Steam. Does The War Z deserve the negative attention or is this a case of pure haters? We take a look at some of the facts.

Let’s start at the beginning. Shortly after the game became available to play it was discovered that the development team had made a direct copy of the Terms of Service from League of Legends. Not really something I personally cared about in terms of contents but it did make me slightly concerned over the lack of professionalism involved in such an action. Reinforcing my worries of improper behavior from the developers were confirmed reports of in-game developers spawning items and weapons before passing them on to other players. I wouldn’t say this is game breaking, especially in early testing, but there are still rumors that they continue to do this today.

The game then enjoyed a very brief period of quiet time and the forums consisted of more than just pure rage threads, that was until someone started discussing screenshots. The screenshots released before release depicted a large number of events and features that are not possible in the current build, resulting in many players arguing over the legitimacy of the content. An interview with Johnny Truant, the Community Manager, then exposed more information as he officially stated that the screenshots were in actual fact artwork, not to be confused with exact in-game footage. However the official website, plus the PR emails sent, actually labelled these images as proper in-game screenshots.

A short while later and the developers announced the highly anticipated Clan feature. Many of the players complained that it was very difficult to play alongside friends due to friendly fire and lack of on-screen notifications. The Clan feature implemented on-screen icons that showed nearby clan members but that was about it, there wasn’t really much else involved. But to the shock of many, the developers originally planned for players to pay for this feature after recruiting 20 different members, despite the fact each individual player can make 5 characters each. They have since increased the member count but the costs still stand, prompting many players to ask the question “Half the features of a regular guild in your typical MMO for an actual price?

More recently one of the volunteer moderators, DevinH, had his official forum account compromised after visiting a website with a malicious JavaScript. The hacker then accessed the official forums and deleted practically all of the posts before placing up several warning messages along the lines of “The developers are closing the game after 6 months”. The official forums were eventually restored although there hadn’t been any recent backups so a lot of forum users lost all of their hard work.

Devin then proceeded to post his opinions on the game after being removed from the moderator team. He posted on a number of websites that the game was a scam, the developers are constantly lying to players and that it would be closed after 6 months. A short time after he posted two videos on his personal Youtube channel retracting his comments and apologizing to the developers and the players. Conspiracy theorists turned up in droves with their ideas of the apology, with many stating that it was only due to legal pressure.

Finally, a recent banning wave from the developers saw 3,000 player accounts permanently banned from the game. Hundreds flooded to the official forums stating that the developers had made a mistake and many banned accounts did not hack. Obviously there’s no way of clarifying that information but the developers themselves said that 1 offense, even from hacking, would not result in a permanent ban.

So what do you guys think? I’ve read my fair share of negative press in my time but I can’t recall a game that has been hammered as much as The War Z. Knowing what you know, would you purchase the game? Recommend it to friends? Even as someone that enjoys the game I cannot defend the endless list of negativity that has surrounded development.

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