The Boycott Joe’s L4D Map Campaign

By John Walker on September 11th, 2009 at 8:49 am.

The Boycott Left 4 Dead 2 campaign has taken some very strange turns in the last few days. You may well have heard the remarkable story of Valve flying two of the campaign’s figureheads to visit their Seattle HQ last week. Walking_Target and Agent of Chaos were flown to the developers and shown the game running, as well as given behind-the-scenes access to the continuing development of the original L4D. And it seems to have made a difference. You can read their reaction to the trip here (and of course the furious reaction of others). Then the story gets more strange.

So these two vociferous boycotters wrote after their trip,

“We can definitely say that support for L4D is NOT being dropped by Valve and that they are actively pursuing bug fixes for Left 4 Dead. We’re going to continue to talk to Valve and ask questions as needed, however if the frantic pace which we had seen people working at is any indication, we’re not going to be left in the dust. The staff seemed to honestly love the original 4 Survivors and many said that ‘we’re not done with them yet’.”

It’s a magical story. These ‘Left 4 Dead 2 Boycott Staff’ also reported that the sequel is not the rush job they’d been campaigning against.

“As for L4D2, things seemed balanced and ‘tight’ and did not feel like a rushed job. While we were visiting their offices we personally witnessed what can only be called a small army of artists, coders, mappers hard at work, which explains the rapid transformations in artwork that we’ve all seen. What we can say with confidence is that the quality of gameplay in Left 4 Dead 2 is not in question; and it will only get better (from what we understand, almost daily testing of game builds by most of the staff at Valve).”

Now clearly this isn’t going to appease everyone, and of course many others in the group now feel betrayed by this apparent about-face. But this isn’t a post about them, or what happened there. It’s about what happened next.

Australian L4D modder Joe decided this was decidedly unfair. He’s been making Valve game-based mods for a while, but has never once been flown to visit Valve. He wrote to Gabe Newell to demand that this be changed in light of his currently in development L4D1 map.

And received this reply:

This took Joe by surprise. He realised the tables had been turned, and wrote back:

It seems he does. And not just Gabe. Erik Johnson too.

So rather brilliantly, Joe has now begun a fund-raising scheme to raise the money needed to fly Gabe and Erik out to Brisbane, Australia. Hopefully if they play his mod they’ll change their minds and call off their boycott.

He’s at $400 so far, which isn’t really close to the amount needed to fly Mr Newell in the aerial accommodation to which he’s likely accustomed, let alone Mr Johnson too. Come on everyone, let’s donate! Let’s make this happen! Paypal donations can be made on Joe’s site, and he promises to return the money if Gabe and Erik change their minds.

Will Gabe be creating a Steam group and printing his own t-shirts? So far this information has not come to light, but it can only be a matter of time. Thanks to Nicholas for the tip.

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147 Comments »

  1. Captain Haplo says:

    I live in Brisbane! The idea of Gabe Newell being closer than Seattle warms my heart.

  2. Blast Hardcheese says:

    I would totally buy that T-shirt.

    Y’know, the theoretical one that you said at the very end, since the boycott thing never mattered to me.

  3. Idle Threats and Bad Poetry says:

    See, this is why I love Valve. They may make a decision that causes a whine storm once and a while (oops, did I say that?), but they’ve got personality and they do a lot for the community.

  4. Rinox says:

    Awesome stuff!! If I had a Paypal account I’d donate a buck.

  5. Vinraith says:

    It’s hard to stay mad at a company once it’s no longer a faceless organization and instead is a (very friendly) set of faces that is kind enough to fly you in to look around. This is the first savvy PR thing Valve’s done in this mess, but I don’t think it’ll get them quite the mileage they expect. The fundamental issue (L4D is too short on content) doesn’t sound like it’s being addressed at all.

    I’m not sure following that up by mocking the boycott is all that bright, but it’s certainly consistent with their handling of the situation.

    I wish Joe luck, certainly the mod community is doing a lot more for L4D these days than Valve is (or is ever likely to).

  6. subediii says:

    The hilarious thing about those two boycott leaders is that they’re now being tagged as “sell outs” by members of their own group.

    I’m actually pretty amazed that LaCabra’s raised $400 in just a day though (two days?). Guess Gabe’s going to Brisbane whether he likes it or not.

  7. sigma83 says:

    People will often be silly for absolutely no reason at all. I blame the lack of critical thinking.

  8. Lack_26 says:

    What ever happened to the days where developers could some bug-fixes and provide a good SDK and they would be praised in their work to support their game?

  9. Schmung says:

    This is brilliant. I bet the amount of rage on the steam forums is pretty impressive.

    cuh, now everyone will be trying to get Valve to fly out and have a look at their mods. Time to put a paypal on the front page I guess..

  10. Jayt says:

    I live in Brisbane… DO IT

  11. Liatach says:

    @captainhaplo
    As do I, sentiment Seconded.

  12. Lukasz says:

    Man. I love the internet.

  13. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    Let’s fly them around the globe…Europe, anyone? Well, the only flaw might be that it may delay Ep. 3/HL3 (…) by another ten years…But who would in conscious mind cared about that? >.>

  14. Catastrophe says:

    It sounds to me like they’ve got some lackies to grab the 2 peeps, threw em into a van, drove to airport, flew them to HQ, tied them to a seat and tortured them into submission.

    Or L4D2 is actually good.

  15. Mr Pink says:

    This is so awesome. Although the amount of anger from the rest of the boycott group is slightly scary.

  16. espy says:

    Nearly fell over laughing :D

  17. nine says:

    This could be brilliant.

  18. Scalene says:

    By the way: Here’s Joe’s L4D campaign, since silly Mr. Walker didn’t link to the campaign, which is absolutely mind-blowing:

    http://joesmoddingmenagerie.blogspot.com/

  19. pepper says:

    Hehe, they have humour.

  20. gulag says:

    Watching the Internet Angry Men (L4D2 Makes Me Angry Chapter) tear into each other on the forums is a real treat.

  21. Fede says:

    He’s posting all the donations on the comments. Look at this:


    This is Robin Walker, from Valve. The rest of us at Valve would sure appreciate a couple of days without Erik around, so thanks for organising this!

    Quick question though: if I donated more, would you buy a one-way ticket for him?

    Robin.

  22. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    But.. eh.. what have Valve really shown the L4D crowd? You know, just askin’.

  23. JuJuCam says:

    I feel I’ve basically missed the boat on L4D and am probably going to jump on board L4D2 because everything about it intrigues me.

  24. Lukasz says:

    I just donated 10 bucks. the whole situation is worth two beers!

  25. frags says:

    New steam group created ‘Boycott Valve Boycotting Joe’s Custom Campaign’

  26. vasagi says:

    Valve=funny fuckers

  27. phil says:

    By god, Valve are my favourite corporate developers by a country mile, EA/Sony/Ubisoft’s fan engagement seems to consist of marketing fluff and legal threats, Valve seem… human.

  28. gobion says:

    I’ve donated $10 this whole thing amuses me and Valve’s reaction gives me a pleasant warm feeling :)

  29. Lukasz says:

    lol. Gobion is your real name?

    Hope they will reach the target and valve will fly to Australia!

  30. Ian says:

    I love the smell of boycott AIMs in the morning.

  31. Dominic White says:

    Hats off to Valve. They’ve taken possibly one of the most incompehensibly angry things in internet history, and turned it into whimsical comedy through a mix of clever PR and just being nice/daft.

    It also makes anyone still furious about L4D2 look rather silly. Well, more silly than before. Which was very.

  32. Christian says:

    So…just that I understand:

    There is a bunch of people complaining that L4D will be dropped in favor of all new-and-shiny L4D2.
    So Valve listens to those people, invites the two organizers over and shows them around and also shows them that L4D still is strong and will continue to get support.
    So basically what these people have wanted, what this whole thing is about, right?
    So, instead of saying “Hooray, we truly have achieved something today!” they are complaining and whining and are angry.

    What the f**k do these people want? Is it just about being angry? Seems so, because the original topic has been dealt with..

    Sometimes, the internet scares me a bit..but I still can point my finger at them and have a nice laugh :)

    Or am I missing something here?

  33. Rinox says:

    Hey, this interesting piece of info in the (former) boycotter’s post hasn’t been highlighted here yet:

    The good news: 4v4 matchmaking is supposed to drop before the release of Left 4 Dead 2.

    W00t!

  34. Dzamir says:

    I donated 2$. :-)

  35. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    I donated 2 dollars as well :)

  36. The Hammer says:

    Ahahahahaha.

    This is hilarious news. I totally didn’t expect that.

  37. itsallcrap says:

    So, they got to see the inner workings of Valve by organising a boycott against them?

    Who wants to start a ‘Boycott Mila Kunis’ campaign with me?

  38. Biorbio says:

    What the f**k do these people want? Is it just about being angry? Seems so, because the original topic has been dealt with..

    Seems like it’s part angry brainless mob, part having a sense of community and belonging. They probably also feel they would lose face if they admitted there was no cause for the uproar to begin with.

  39. The_B says:

    I think we should ignore the petty fools clinging on to their original boycott and concentrate solely on the crazy-loveliness of this story.

  40. PHeMoX says:

    “See, this is why I love Valve. They may make a decision that causes a whine storm once and a while (oops, did I say that?), but they’ve got personality and they do a lot for the community.”

    That’s nuts. They don’t do a lot for the community at all, they do as they please basically. I’m sure Left 4 Dead is basically just something to keep us busy anyways.

    Are they still working on HL2: Episode 3? Who knows? Who cares?

    I hope they stop their madness and start working on HL3.

  41. TotalBiscuit says:

    Well played you magnificent bastards. It’s the perfect crime, it decapitates the boycott movement by turning it against itself, shows it to be the angry, unruly, brainless mob of manchildren that we always knew they were and makes Valve look funny, down-to-earth and magnanimous at the same time.

    As we all suspected, the boycott movement has no interest in campaigning for the resolution of issues, the vast majority of them simply want to be angry at something. Reminds me of the healthcare bigots over in the States right now. At least nobody’s going to die as a result of this.

  42. Mark says:

    I’m finding it hard to imagine a bigger bunch of ungrateful whiney nerds.

    Valve made an awesome game that sold and people played heavily and all they get is crap for wanting to make a sequel to their awesome game. So what if you -want- or even expected more content – I bet half the boycotters have got dozens or hundreds of hundreds of hours of play out of the game. It’s no like the game is unplayable and desperate for a patch.

    Valve give gamers more than 99% of the other developers out there and in the process they’ve attracted a vocal bunch of ungrateful twats.

  43. Diji says:

    I got to be the first Daniel, and got Kieron’s name right above mine. This is indeed a great victory for me.

  44. vasagi says:

    Keiron gillen now officaly better than john walker it would appear.

  45. jalf says:

    @Mark: Ah yes, the wonderful old strawman argument which has absolutely nothing to do with why people are upset. Well done. You’re almost as good as Valve at this.
    If I were to buy a new car, the company delivered me a bike, and I got hundreds of hours of use out of it, does that mean I wouldn’t have a case for complaining? The problem is not whether L4D was a good game, or even whether L4D2 will be a good game. The problem is that many people bought the game because of promises made by Valve which have still not been fulfilled. They said the product was something it was not.

    Anyway, like TotalBiscuit said, well played, Valve. They knew the people in the boycott group are apparently total morons, and used that to their advantage. And suddenly they’ve decapitated the group.

    Just sucks for the rest of us who aren’t dumb enough to jump on the boycott wagon, but still think Valve screwed their customers.

  46. Shadow says:

    “itsallcrap says:
    [...]
    Who wants to start a ‘Boycott Mila Kunis’ campaign with me?”

    I will :D, one question though, who gets to test out her “gameplay” first?

  47. Vivian says:

    Reading peoples inappropriate rage on this issue is like putting on special glasses that let me see what I’m like about bioshock. Shit.

  48. Dominic White says:

    @Jalf – so, when the heads of the hilariously angry boycott group say that Valve are still hard at work supporting L4D1, you think they’re lying? If not, then how are Valve screwing anyone?

  49. Malagate says:

    @Shadow, I’d be worried about such a boycott, especially as itsallcrap kind of intimates you’d be doing it to see the “inner workings” of Milk Kunis. Celebrity evisceration is not my cup of tea (usually).

  50. cyrenic says:

    I demand a flight out to Seattle, and a kiss from Gabe when I get there.