More Steam Review Thoughts - Alaloth's News Item

Zloth

Community Contributor
RPGWatch.com pointed out this interesting news bit from Alaloth's devs that got me thinking a lot.
  1. "Devs said it was inspired by Baldur's Gate but it's not Baldur's Gate": actually, they say that Baldur's Gate and Dark Souls had a baby. REALLY REALLY not the same thing, IMHO. In the discussion for the news article, one of the devs says that they mean it's part old school and part modern. Hopefully, this is just a case of bad communication in the game's description.
  2. Further on that point, though - should somebody leaving a Steam review slam them for that? It IS misleading but, on the other hand, it doesn't take a whole lot of research before buying to see that it's not a "hard Baldur's Gate" or some such.
  3. What's supposed to happen when reviews are flat-out wrong? Should those reviews be removed? Or maybe hidden while the author is contacted? Who decides that they are wrong?
  4. "A good average on Steam is crucial at this stage and if you enjoyed the game or just recognized value in it, even if it's not a thing for you, please consider helping us with a thumb up instead
    and check the game later on to see how much love and effort we've put in it! " Uhhh, what?? No.
  5. What's the place of an early access review?? These games are (hopefully) changing rapidly. Reviews from even three months earlier are out of date. I think Steam forgets them a week or less after release, but would games in EA for years get weighed down by reviews from the early days? That's going to really hurt devs/publishers trying to use EA sales to keep the lights on while they finish the game.
  6. The desperation behind the news bit points to another huge problem - customers giving far too much weight to review scores.
 
Speaking generally as I dont know much about the specifics of this dev/game its very easy to scan a game on Steam and discount or think slightly negatively on it based on user reviews, I think its human nature.

I can see how, in this time when its very hard to separate a game from the crowd, a gamer scanning through the maybe hundreds of games released weekly would move on to the next possibility based only off of a perceived negative from mixed or bad user reviews. Unless the game actually gets exposure from press or streamers that might go more in depth in an article or video its likely that a game may lose out on success based mainly on average negative reviews from users.

So I can see why the devs are begging for the likes, but I'm not personally going to leave a positive review based on nothing.

I also dont know what a cross between Dark Souls and Baldurs Gate even look likes like though. That's not even two approaches than can be mixed as far as I can see, sounds like something someone said as a throwaway comment, maybe shouldnt give it too much weight as you say @Zloth .

I dont see the point in leaving a negative review based on the fact a person thought the game was something else before they even saw it in action. Moderating reviews is a complicated one though. My instinct is to say that they shouldnt be moderated beyond abuse etc. But at the same time I could possibly support some moderation of negative review bombing based on factors outside of the game, such as scandals or politics, perceived or actual. But then again who decides that and how can they be impartial 100% of the time. Its difficult.

What's the place of an early access review?? These games are (hopefully) changing rapidly. Reviews from even three months earlier are out of date. I think Steam forgets them a week or less after release, but would games in EA for years get weighed down by reviews from the early days? That's going to really hurt devs/publishers trying to use EA sales to keep the lights on while they finish the game.
I'm a little confused here, does Steam forget EA reviews after release or not? It would seem sensible to me to either remove them or have a filter for reviews from the latest patch or update only.
 
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Zloth

Community Contributor
I'm a little confused here, does Steam forget EA reviews after release or not? It would seem sensible to me to either remove them or have a filter for reviews from the latest patch or update only.
I believe they do for the score. They keep it at 'no score' for the first few reviews, too, until they get a statistically significant number of reviews in. (If a game is only getting one or two reviews a day, the first few reviews could have a terribly outsized influence.)

The reviews themselves, though... all I know is that they seem to be gone from the review listing a week after a few days. There's already a system giving highly "helpful" reviews a higher likelihood of showing up - I'm guessing Steam gives reviews that are post-release more weight than the ones with the 'early access' tag on them.
 
I believe they do for the score. They keep it at 'no score' for the first few reviews, too, until they get a statistically significant number of reviews in. (If a game is only getting one or two reviews a day, the first few reviews could have a terribly outsized influence.)

The reviews themselves, though... all I know is that they seem to be gone from the review listing a week after a few days. There's already a system giving highly "helpful" reviews a higher likelihood of showing up - I'm guessing Steam gives reviews that are post-release more weight than the ones with the 'early access' tag on them.
I would hope they do give more weight to reviews of the actual game rather than the EA ones.

When you say that customers give far too much weight to review scores, do you mean only the user reviews, or Metacritic and journalist reviews in general?
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
In general. It blows my mind that people won't spend ten minutes to figure out the basics of what a game is about, given that the game will take dozens of hours to play. Then they pour acid on my little brain bits by leaving itty bitty, poorly-thought-out reviews. If you're leaving pathetic reviews yourself, why would you trust review/rating scores so much!?
 
Does seem dumb in this case to buy a full priced EA game based off of some marketing blurb and then leave a review complaining about it when its not what you thought, yep.

Reviews in general though are very useful IMO. And as far as metacritic or user reviews go there are usually very good reasons a game is universally panned.
 
I can say with some level of confidence that none of my game purchases in recent memory have been influenced by a review, especially ones on steam. When i was younger? Yes, reviews had a much bigger role in that aspect, but nowadays my decisions are made from watching actual gameplay of the game on yt, twitch, steam etc. and probably the franchise itself, ie Ill always get destiny games because its destiny regardless if its reviews are unfavorable.
 
For me, written reviews are one of the main ways I find out new games exist. Along with podcasts, word of mouth from forums and friends.

I really mistrust any form of marketing and I take anything a sales person tells me about a product with a grain of salt, so anything a dev says about a game themselves would be included in that.
 
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none of my game purchases in recent memory have been influenced by a review, especially ones on steam … nowadays my decisions are made from watching actual gameplay
Funny how people differ—most of my game purchases depend on player reviews, especially ones on Steam :D
Few people play games the way I do, so gameplay video is of limited value, only for showing art style, characters, world, best weapons, etc.

I really mistrust any form of marketing
Hey hang on, I did/do various forms of—

*looks in mirror*

Oh ok, I see what you mean…
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
WRITTEN Steam reviews help me a lot. The score, not so much.

Major media sources are excellent, too. Without them, smaller games can get torpedoed by a competitor/hater group that posts false reviews and up-votes them to make them one of the 'most useful' reviews. (And I am at their mercy if a game is so small that it gets no reviews/previews.)
 
"Devs said it was inspired by Baldur's Gate but it's not Baldur's Gate": actually, they say that Baldur's Gate and Dark Souls had a baby. REALLY REALLY not the same thing, IMHO. In the discussion for the news article, one of the devs says that they mean it's part old school and part modern. Hopefully, this is just a case of bad communication in the game's description.
Seems to me they tried to hype up the game using legendary titles. Not the smartest way to go about it.

2. Further on that point, though - should somebody leaving a Steam review slam them for that? It IS misleading but, on the other hand, it doesn't take a whole lot of research before buying to see that it's not a "hard Baldur's Gate" or some such.
Review slamming is a bit harsh, but I would not see any problem in at least mentioning it as being misleading.

What's supposed to happen when reviews are flat-out wrong? Should those reviews be removed? Or maybe hidden while the author is contacted? Who decides that they are wrong?
Not sure, but perhaps removing the ability to write one-word reviews would be a way to at least combat some of the shaitposts without the need of doing any moderation.

"A good average on Steam is crucial at this stage and if you enjoyed the game or just recognized value in it, even if it's not a thing for you, please consider helping us with a thumb up instead
and check the game later on to see how much love and effort we've put in it! " Uhhh, what?? No.
They can stick that thumb up.....

What's the place of an early access review?? These games are (hopefully) changing rapidly. Reviews from even three months earlier are out of date. I think Steam forgets them a week or less after release, but would games in EA for years get weighed down by reviews from the early days? That's going to really hurt devs/publishers trying to use EA sales to keep the lights on while they finish the game.
If an Indie game with a small player base, then it could be a problem. An AAA game would not have the problem since the more positive reviews would overshadow the older ones. Just look at No Many Sky for example. That game had negative reviews, but now it is the opposite after they repaired the game.

[Mod edit: fixed missing quote bracket.]
 
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