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Darkfall Review Controversy

The Darkfall Forums have a reaction from Aventurine to a review of their new MMORPG published yesterday in Eurogamer that awarded the game a 2 out of 10 score, the lowest score the site can give a game that isn't actually broken. The response from Aventurine includes information from their server logs indicating the reviewer played the game for less than two hours spread over 13 sessions. Eurogamer's response to the complaints includes the reviewer's insistence he played for at least nine hours and the server logs are inaccurate. Another bone of contention from the review is the complaint from Aventurine that the article is not accurate, and the Eurogamer forums have posts from players pointing out what they claim are factual errors in the article. Eurogamer defends the original review, and has refused demands it be pulled, but they also say they've "learned some lessons from this episode," and are assigning a second writer to review the game and see how the outcome jibes with their original write-up. Thanks Gamer's Hell.

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38. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 13, 2009, 13:20 dryden555
 
depends on the game. I want paid reviewers to finish a crpg for example before they review -- and those games typically fall in the 40 hour range.

Again, part of the reason the editorial quality of game reviews is so low is because game websites know they can publish quickly-written drivel reviews and most gamers dont seem to mind.
 
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37. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 7, 2009, 13:23 Endo
 
I spent about 2-3 hours per day for 3 weeks playing WOTLK beta to gather enough information to write a preview. Then another 3 weeks, at about 3-4 hours per day, playing the game after it went live to gather enough information to write a review. This was for a expansion and on a character that was level 70 Warlock going in and level 55 Death Knight. Based on experience nine hours is barely enough time to review an expansion let alone a brand-new MMO.

Sure. But then, WotLK actually has content to play through. Darkfall has about the same content as a particularly bland online-only FPS that includes Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch as game types. And if you can get a whole lot of people playing it, you can also have big wars with hundreds of players and have towns and stuff! Of course, first you have to have the players.
 
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36. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 7, 2009, 11:38 Verno
 
I don't expect a person to play 42 hours to determine whether or not they like a game. Likewise I don't see how a reviewer would need to spend 42 hours playing the game to give a review. A review doesn't need to showcase everything possible in the game with regards to MMO's, it's ludicrous to expect it even.  
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Playing: Dragon Age Inquisition, Far Cry 4, This War of Mine
Watching: The Fall, The Walking Dead, Leon
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35. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 7, 2009, 11:12 Kxmode
 
You don't really say why you disagree, just that you think it isn't enough time. 9 hours is a long time to sit around playing a single game. Do you really think it's not enough time for someone to give a reasonably accurate summation of the intended gameplay experience? If not, why not?

I spent about 2-3 hours per day for 3 weeks playing WOTLK beta to gather enough information to write a preview. Then another 3 weeks, at about 3-4 hours per day, playing the game after it went live to gather enough information to write a review. This was for a expansion and on a character that was level 70 Warlock going in and level 55 Death Knight. Based on experience nine hours is barely enough time to review an expansion let alone a brand-new MMO.

To media outlets: when you assign reviewer(s) to an MMO you should give them a minimum of 3 weeks at about 2 hours per day (42 hours total). On average that's how much time they would need to play and get a good sense of the game.

To MMO publishers/developers: when a media outlet requests accounts for reviewing purposes, and you grant them, at least have the ability to add mid-level and level-capped characters so that reviewers can access content available to those levels. If you want reviewers to do a thorough job of reviewing your product at least give them the tools they need to do this in a timely fashion.

This comment was edited on May 7, 2009, 11:15.
 
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34. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 7, 2009, 09:38 Verno
 
I'm glad some of you think 9 hours of gametime is enough to review in MMO! I amiably gotta disagree

You don't really say why you disagree, just that you think it isn't enough time. 9 hours is a long time to sit around playing a single game. Do you really think it's not enough time for someone to give a reasonably accurate summation of the intended gameplay experience? If not, why not?
 
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Playing: Dragon Age Inquisition, Far Cry 4, This War of Mine
Watching: The Fall, The Walking Dead, Leon
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33. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 7, 2009, 07:47 dryden555
 
Unfortunately EG's reviews waver greatly in quality and they are spamming out quickly written reviews by non-staffers to fill up their pages. The quality continues downward and EG is paying for it now with some bad PR.

I'm glad some of you think 9 hours of gametime is enough to review in MMO! I amiably gotta disagree. There are gamesite review editors who are happy that game consumers think that way.
 
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32. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 7, 2009, 03:25 Kxmode
 
Has anyone seen a film called Shattered Glass? This Darkfall versus Eurogamer reminds me of that. The movie is full of a great dialog, however I think the following succinctly applies to this story.

Caitlin: What are you going to do, Chuck, pick us off, one by one? Everybody that was loyal to Mike, so you have a staff that belongs to you? Is that the kind of magazine you want to run?

Chuck: Caitlin, When this thing blows, there isn't going to be a magazine anymore. If you want to make this about Mike, make it about Mike. I don't give a shit. You can resent me, you can hate me, but come Monday morning, we're all going to have to answer for what we let happen here. We're all going to have an apology to make! Jesus Christ! Don't you have any idea how much shit we're about to eat? Every competitor we ever took a shot at, they're going to pounce. And they should. Because we blew it, Caitlin. [Stephen] handed us fiction after fiction and we printed them all as fact. Just because... we found him "entertaining." It's indefensible. Don't you know that?
 
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31. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 7, 2009, 03:00 Creston
 
However, doubt the second reviewer is going to give it a much better score.

No, but he (Kieron Gillen) WILL turn it into some tale about a fucking parrot, from which you have to attempt to glean some information about the game.

"Award winning game reviewer" my ass. Award winning cockwallet would be more like it.

Creston
 
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30. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 7, 2009, 02:43 Kxmode
 
This issue is moot. A real MMO gamer wouldn't visit a site like Eurogamer for MMO reviews. The other, if slightly related, issue is the rampant unprofessionalism he injects into his review. You need look no further than the first sentence: There are many games out there that I'd go ahead and call "special". In my humble opinion this is drek of the lowest kind.

PS I haven’t played Darkfall and know very little about it. My comment is purely based on the article itself.

One the flip side I absolutely LOL'd when I read this part of Darkfall's response:

This is a niche game we explained and perhaps the reviewer’s play-style was completely different and he was maybe the wrong kind of person to review the game. Darkfall isn’t for everyone after all, and having someone who can’t handle this kind of game write the review would be unfair both to the game and to Eurogamer readers. You can’t use the same tool for every job.

In a professional subtle way they called the reviewer a tool.

This comment was edited on May 7, 2009, 02:58.
 
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29. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 7, 2009, 00:57 Innocent
 
someone who started with quake likely graduated through all the great PC FPS shooters. i don't know about you guys, but i find console FPS games unplayable. plug me in a mouse and a keyboard, otherwise i'll just watch you play.
 
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28. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 7, 2009, 00:42 Jerykk
 
In fact I'd say I see more of the opposite, reviewers dinging games just to be edgy and make people think they're unforgiving as it's proven to make gamers think the reviewer will be more trustworthy - Yahtzee is a good example of this.

Yahtzee doesn't present himself as a fair and balanced journalist. His show is very obviously designed to entertain, not provide a fair and reliable opinion.

Most people who review Halo 3 probably score it high because it's genuinely a fun experience for it's target market which they are probably a part of. *I* don't like Halo but that doesn't mean Halo is a bad game.

The target audience is people who like shooters. It's not really a matter of target audience but rather, the gaming experience of the reviewer. The more experience he/she has, the higher his/her standards. I'm pretty sure that nobody who gave Halo 3 a 10/10 has been playing shooters since Wolfenstein 3D. Someone who's played Quake, Tribes, UT, OFP, BF, R6, DX, SS2, etc, is going to be much harder to impress than someone whose first shooter was Goldeneye.
 
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27. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 6, 2009, 21:29 Bludd
 
Yahtzee is the gaming equivalent of Jeremy Clarkson.  
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26. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 6, 2009, 20:30 Prez
 
I agree mostly Dades, though I would point out that Halo 3 received more perfect scores than any other game I can remember. One reviewer stated in his review that the game was good but didn't do anything revolutionary. Then he slapped it with a 10/10! Halo 3's greatness is debatable, but it can be largely agreed now that the ridiculous hype for it has long since faded that it probably wasn't a 10 out of 10. Conversely, I am having a hard time believing that Darkfall was really deserving of a 2 out of 10, which is the lowest score they will give out to a working game, making it effectively a 1 out of 10.

This comment was edited on May 6, 2009, 20:31.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
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25. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 6, 2009, 19:56 Dades
 
It always seems that big games (Halo 3) HAVE to score big for the site to remain "credible"

I don't really see this happen often to be honest. In fact I'd say I see more of the opposite, reviewers dinging games just to be edgy and make people think they're unforgiving as it's proven to make gamers think the reviewer will be more trustworthy - Yahtzee is a good example of this. Most people who review Halo 3 probably score it high because it's genuinely a fun experience for it's target market which they are probably a part of. *I* don't like Halo but that doesn't mean Halo is a bad game. I don't like Guitar Hero either but that doesn't mean it deserves a low score, I would just hand it off to be reviewed by people who are closer to the target market for that product.

And yeah, it's kind of common sense that if someone has a personal distaste for a company or product that they don't review that particular title in question. Even most basic gaming sites which are little more than blogs usually have 2 reviewers if they are the least bit credible.

This comment was edited on May 6, 2009, 19:57.
 
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24. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 6, 2009, 19:32 Nate
 
I actually read this review yesterday. You could tell the reviewer didn't like the game early in the review. They were expecting something other that it was, more WOW-ish.

However, doubt the second reviewer is going to give it a much better score.

 
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23. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 6, 2009, 19:15 Innocent
 
9 hours is long enough to give a very good review of game mechanics, advancement, world immersion, art, advancement speed, customizability of avatar, realism, difficulty, and (most importantly) addictiveness when speaking of mmorpg's, IMO.
9 hours is also long enough to bullshit in global chat enough to hear what the later game sounds like.

does anybody actually read these reviews and seriously make purchase decisions on them though? i'd read a single blogger's take on a game, mabey, but never a super review site. i'm an addictive game player, and blues is the only gaming site i read.

adventurine's response reminds me of muslims and funny cartoons about allah.
 
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22. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 6, 2009, 19:13 Bludd
 
Having to do context switches between UI mode and game mode is a big no-no. Remember the mouse-look key in old school games? There's a reason it went away and it's not just going from 2D/2.5D to 3D.

SWG made the same mistake with it's UI interaction.

Also, I am pretty sure this game is shit. Yeah, that's right, I'm not even giving it a chance.
 
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21. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 6, 2009, 18:31 Prez
 
I don't believe this, I just think that different people have different tolerance levels when it comes to certain types of games. You can have two people review a game at the same company and their scores will often vary quite a bit depending on each individual experience with the game. Most professional game reviewers are just regular gamers who happen to have a journalism related background.

I don't know; it's just an impression I often get. It always seems that big games (Halo 3) HAVE to score big for the site to remain "credible", and to balance it out there are lesser games from smaller developers who can't afford expensive ads on your site that are safe for bashing. Regardless, you are certainly right that everyone's tastes are different. The problem is that a site's review score is presented in such a way that it is perceived to represent that site's impression overall.

As an example, at PC Gamer, there are 4 people who love Diablo and one who thinks it's hugely over-rated. I doubt that they would allow the lone hater to review Diablo 3, because it wouldn't be representative of the magazine's overall impression. The now-defunct Computer Games Online had a review policy that I liked; on some titles (Civ 4 is the standout in my mind) they would have co-reviewers so that the final score would be representative of more than one person's opinion.
 
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20. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 6, 2009, 18:27 Endo
 
Nine hours is plenty of play time to do a cursory review of an MMORPG, like the one in question. The goal here was to get enough information about the game to give other people an idea of whether or not they might like the game enough to try it. And that review delivers. If you don't like an MMO after 9 hours, there's absolutely no reason to continue playing it - even if it really DOES get "a lot better" later on. Why? Because an MMO is an online video game world. It's not a game that you must play through to completion to give a proper review. In fact, you can't play it through to completion because it's never really done. An MMO is not really a "video game" in the traditional sense. It's a virtual world where you have fun spending your free time. And for that, the first impression is everything. If the first impression fails to deliver, then the game developer has failed to deliver, and the customer will not (and should not!) stick around to find out if it gets better.

A lot of that hits on precisely why WoW has built up a subscriber base that is over 11 million.
 
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19. Re: Darkfall Review Controversy May 6, 2009, 18:19 Fion
 
If after 9 hours I find a game to be shit, even an MMOG, I don't play it. It's not like MMOGs get a free pass here. If the game is boring and plays like shit after 9 hours, it isn't going to get better.

Admit it Adventurine, beyond the ravenous fanbois that you built up over your near-decade of development, everyone else thinks your game blows.

This comment was edited on May 6, 2009, 18:21.
 
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