Retro: The L4D2 Boycott

By Kieron Gillen on November 23rd, 2009 at 11:33 am.

Yeah, doing a jokey caption here wouldn't be a good idea.

Here’s a capstone for one of the year’s biggest stories. Kyle Orland at Crispy Gamer looks at the turbulent history of the L4D2 boycott. “Did Valve change its plans to gain the approval of the masses, or did it effectively pacify the Internet throngs with nothing more than a couple of plane tickets and a hotel reservation? In other words, was the boycott successful? Well, it depends on what you mean by “successful.”" Well, obv. Luckily Kyle follows on to do the heavy lifting with a well-balanced piece. It’s a little revisionist about their early days – not touching on the initial frenzied nature of the group which lead to the initial press being so negative, rather picking up at the slightly-more-reasonable manifesto stage (Though the “L4D424FREE” point remains – to be polite – somewhat naive). I suspect what the boycott achieved will remain a controversial point. Personally, there was only one question which was never answered satisfactorily. Whole new campaigns was never realistic, ever (As in a standard MP level is a hugely different thing from a Co-op level in terms of resources). Why did Valve, even in an interview setting, imply it was.

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192 Comments »

  1. Lilliput King says:

    “Whole new campaigns was never realistic, ever (As in a standard MP level is a hugely different thing from a Co-op level in terms of resources). Why did Valve, even in an interview setting, imply it was.”

    Why indeed. Similarly, why suggest the SDK was to be released with the game, and take >6 months to release it? That kind of thing really makes a community feel used. Perhaps if Valve hadn’t made such extravagant promises the backlash wouldn’t have been so severe.

    It’s the lies that hurt really, Valve. We aren’t angry, just disappointed.

    • Rinox says:

      I feel the biggest problem with the boycott group(s) is that a large part of their members doesn’t even really understand what the word means. And it’s kinda hard to look legit or reasonable when you’re standing in a crowd of peeps frothing at the mouth.

      L4D2 is amazing. But then, any game that allows you to knock zombie heads off with a cricket bat is bound to be above-average, at the very least.

    • Rinox says:

      Whoops wasn’t meant as a reply to you LK, just general comment

    • Alexander Norris says:

      It’s also worth noting that the SDK isn’t really an SDK, either. You can only do very limited things with it (essentially, make new levels and reskin some things) rather than being able to mod the L4D engine like you can using the Source SDK.

      But yes, I agree with LK. Valve dropped the ball when they promised content they couldn’t deliver, and then they dropped the ball again when they never bothered to explain exactly why they couldn’t deliver that content.

      That’s what is so disappointing. If they’d just told people from the get-go exactly why L4D2 had to be a separate game (they claimed a technical reason for not simply updating the L4D engine), I’m sure people wouldn’t have felt nearly as disappointed or betrayed as they did.

    • Shalrath says:

      “Why indeed. Similarly, why suggest the SDK was to be released with the game, and take >6 months to release it?”

      Because tech is never exact? I’m sure they were sitting there, cackling maniacally as they delayed it month by month…

    • Lilliput King says:

      “Because tech is never exact? I’m sure they were sitting there, cackling maniacally as they delayed it month by month…”

      Heh, maybe, but that wasn’t what I suggested.

      A lie and a failed promise are functionally identical, for me, the consumer. If there was a good possibility of them not being able to deliver on a promise, they really shouldn’t have made it.

  2. Markoff Chaney says:

    “So we’ll do the same thing with Left 4 Dead where we’ll have the initial release and then we’ll release more movies, more characters, more weapons, unlockables, achievements, because that’s the way you continue to grow a community over time.”

    Color me as disappointed at being lied to as well, and I don’t consider that prior quote an implication, but an outright statement of intent and a promise that went unfulfilled. I used to look forward to Valve for their excellent games that came out when they were ready and had long standing support. “Entertainment as a service” and all that. Now they just shill products, even if they tell us they plan on doing otherwise.

  3. Dominic White says:

    I’d just like to throw in a minor reminder that, until the final stretch of development, Left 4 Dead was a relatively independent project by Turtle Rock. It only became a Valve project near the end of development.

    L4D2 is pretty much what would have happened if Valve had developed the entire thing in-house, and it shows. Getting mad at Valve because the first game – developed largely by another company – wasn’t up to Valve standards is a bit on the crazy side.

    • jalf says:

      No one ever talked about boycotting because L4D “wasn’t up to Valve standards”.

      It was “boycotted”, if it even makes sense to call it a boycott, because of Valve did with it **after** they took it over — that is, released it, and then left it to rot without any of the post-release updates they said they’d deliver.

    • Dominic White says:

      I’ve seen a whole lto of people try to justify boycotting L4D2 because they felt ripped off by L4D1 being short, not up to standard Valve levels of polish, not having enough playmodes, etc etc, and thus built up a sense of entitlement that whatever Valve produced next should be given to them at a large discount, or perhaps even free.

      This entire boycott clusterfuck seems to have built on a seed of rational complaint and grown into a full-blown crazytree, just laden with incoherent nuts.

      And for the record, I have not bought L4D2. I will also probably not buy it until I can get it at budget price. This is because the original game left me kinda cold. I am not boycotting Valve, and I think they’ve handled this situation like absolute champs, and that the boycotters have made astounding fools of themselves in the process. In fact, I almost bought the game just to spite them – that’s how mindcrushingly retarded this whole business has been.

      Perhaps I’m being too sane for the internet, though.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      My own experience of things is probably colouring this interpretation, but I was under the impression that the majority of people going “there’s no enough content!” were actually going “we paid $50 for what we felt was less than $50′s worth of content on the basis that Valve made a reasonably-believable promise to provide us with the rest of the content we feel we paid for at a later date, promise which they then reneged on.”

      Which is entirely reasonable and not really related to how much/how little Turtle Rock did or didn’t do before Valve took over and more to do with the post-release support.

      Which is what I think jalf’s point is, independently of whether we agree with it or not.

    • Gorgeras says:

      If Valve had never been involved, I wonder how much Turtle Rock would have charged for it. Right up until that point I was always under the impression that it was an A-class indie game that would be at an indie price.

      In fact, the full-game price didn’t just surprise me. No one expected it.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      “Nobody expects the Full Price Inquisition!”

      What? Where are you pulling these imaginary facts from? We’re claiming L4D looked like ‘a nice indie game’ now? What next from the minds that brought us Unsuccessful Boycott #37?

  4. CMaster says:

    I’ve always felt that the idea of a boycott on a single product bought once doesn’t really make sense.
    You can’t “Boycott” Left 4 Dead 2, you can merely make a consumer choice not to buy it. You could boycott Valve as a company, refusing to buy any of their games until they behave better. You could boycott Kellog’s Cornflakes (although it wouldn’t really have much impact if you just ate Rice Krispies instead) until they changed back to however you wanted them. But I don’t really see how people “boycotting” L4D2 is any different to choosing not to buy it, if you understand what I mean.

    Also, I was never angry with Valve, I never felt entitled. I never joined any boycott (partly because I don’t think it made sense, see above). I was however quite dissapointed in Valve over L4D2. Precisely because I did like L4D1 and because I did think very highly of them as a company. So to see them abandon one of their MP games, effectivley declaring it “too broken” to fix, and roll out an improved game was somewhat saddening. It made me question my previous idea of “it doesn’t hurt to buy Valve games even if you aren’t sure, as they make them bigger and better”. In future I’ll be much more cautious about buying stuff by Valve – make the judgement much more on what is put in front of me.

    • RogB says:

      agree

      I was never an angry vocal boycotter, but i’ve not bought l4d2.
      My biggest disappointment is that L4d1 is now ‘dead’ after such a short time. It was never the cost that I was annoyed about, I just wanted it to be an expansion (maybe even same price) so that it was part of the same ‘platform’.
      1 never even got much of a modding scene, anything ‘in progress’ will now be switched to 2.
      Its had a very short shelf life, and i’d be wary of picking up 2 for the same reason now.

    • hoff says:

      The difference between “”boycotting” and “not buying”?

      Simple: Boycotting is nicer. You boycot not because you don’t give a damn, but because you care.

      It’s essentially the same, but if you “boycot” something, you’re actually giving a reason why you don’t buy it. You tell whoever creates the product what they could do to get you back as a customer. Which is the kind of information most companies spend a lot of money on market research to get.

      You know, I don’t really care about the newest Madden game. Because I don’t care about sports games. But I should care about L4D2. I’m sitting pretty much in the middle of the target group range. And I’m kinda disappointed with Valve. I still care about them as a company. That’s why I can get so enthusiastic about this discussion. I don’t want whatever seed was causing this awful chapter to gain control of Valve.

    • Vinraith says:

      Well put. The use of the word “boycott” in this context never sat well with me, and I think you’ve put your finger on why.

      I think you’ve also done a good job of articulating my own feelings on Valve in the wake of all this. In the wake of TF2 they really did have a golden reputation in my eyes, like you I figured anything I bought from them would get better with time. I particularly thought that in the case of L4D, which from my perspective as someone primarily playing campaign co-op with a couple of friends (and having no use for versus) was surprisingly light on content. “It’s ok, it’s Valve,” was basically the comment from everyone I knew that played it, and now here we are.

      In a lot of ways I wish I’d skipped L4D entirely. L4D2 is a materially superior product in every respect (except the characters, particularly Ellis, who needs to die horribly). If I’d bought and played it first, I might not have burned out so quickly, and I certainly wouldn’t have ended up feeling ripped off by the whole thing. As it stands, though, it’s as much the fact that I’m just tired of the shared gameplay of these two titles as any kind of holing to principle that keeps me from making the purchase, which is just one more reason “boycott” would be the wrong term.

  5. Saul says:

    In a video interview posted on October 29, 2009, Gabe Newell stated, “for people who joined the Boycott Group on Steam, we can look at their pre-orders, and they’re actually pre-ordering the product at a higher rate than Left 4 Dead 1 owners who weren’t in the Boycott”

    http://au.gamespot.com/pc/action/left4dead2/video/6238431/gabe-newell-behind-left-4-dead-2-and-beyond-interview

    • abhishek says:

      That’s just hilarious, and shows the true colors of this ‘boycott’ group :)

    • Gorgeras says:

      Gabe Newell still has not released those figures.

    • Shalrath says:

      Isn’t he legally not able to do that? That would be saying who bought what, and if they have private accounts, that would be problematic if Valve made that info public.

    • Gorgeras says:

      Valve can release whatever statistical data they want. It has little to do with any individual customer’s private details. If Gabe Newell is able to say that Boycotters on average are more likely to pre-order, then he can go the whole hog and show the data for it.

  6. Clovis says:

    Will the boycott surge back to life when Valve announces paid DLC (for the PC to maybe) in the next month or so? So that it is clear that it was pretty much ready to be included in L4D2 itself, but they waited just to make it DLC. You know, like pretty much every other game company in the world does.

    I really wouldn’t be surprised. If I was a Valve shareholder/stakeholder, I would be really pissed off if they didn’t go the paid DLC route. They would be pretty much throwing away money.

    Oh, BTW, I never supported the boycott. I’ve always thought it was a bit crazy, and that after the demo was released it took a special kind of crazy to still be pissed off. I could understand getting mad about paid DLC though.

    • CMaster says:

      Valve are privatley owned, so they don’t have to answer to short-term-gain desperate shareholders. Of course, the fact that they wanted to charge for Crash Course on the Xbox suggests that they have perhaps decided that it’s not worth fighting with MS to make DLC free. What this means for PC is another matter.

      I think paying for additional L4D2 campaigns wouldn’t be entirley unreasonable. It would be nice to see continuing free support and expansions too – the two things are not mutually exclusive. Certainly with Steam Valve have a good distribution system.

      As a complete aside, does anybody else think it would have been a pretty slick move of Valve to link the L4D1 and 2 content together, so that people who own both just run the one game, and can join matches from either game from one place? Would certainly help those who have friends with only one game or ther other, but own both themselves, and would do something to offset those worried that L4D2 will kill off the L4D community. Of course, that would probably have had to be a PC-only feature.

    • Rinox says:

      As a complete aside, does anybody else think it would have been a pretty slick move of Valve to link the L4D1 and 2 content together, so that people who own both just run the one game, and can join matches from either game from one place? Would certainly help those who have friends with only one game or ther other, but own both themselves, and would do something to offset those worried that L4D2 will kill off the L4D community. Of course, that would probably have had to be a PC-only feature.

      Survivor 4 vs 4 death match?

      “BILL HERE!” “GOT A COACH!” “I hate Southerners” etc

    • neems says:

      Is it even possible to fight with MS about free DLC? I imagine MS just say ‘No’ and that’s it. They control the platform in it’s entirety.

    • Clovis says:

      They are a private corporation, so they probably have “stakeholders” of some sort. I’m not sure, maybe it is completely owned by the employees without any outside investors. Still, it seems odd to me to claim that Valve is only charging for DLC because of mean Mr. Microsoft. That was sort of true in the past, but I don’t think Microsoft is now twisting Valve’s arm to make (Valve) more money.

      I think is pretty clear that Valve does not think the L4D series will do as well using the TF2 model. You can’t apply that approach to every game.

    • Shalrath says:

      “That was sort of true in the past, but I don’t think Microsoft is now twisting Valve’s arm to make (Valve) more money. ”

      They would because: A) it will make MICROSOFT more money (they get a share,) and B) Microsoft has certain rules, and those rules state you can only have ‘x’ amount of free content (it’s close to 0), and ‘y’ amount of paid content (a higher number).

      I think what actually happened is that Valve fought with Microsoft so much over TF2 on the 360, that they basically did fewer things for L4D (new mode, new level, new campaign), and then went clean-slate with L4D2. I expect this one to last longer, as they’ll be more set up to do different tool-sets and content for two platforms. Last game they didn’t have this option at all, so now they can divide their teams up and have 1 part doing PC DLC, and the other doing 360 DLC.

    • Vinraith says:

      “does anybody else think it would have been a pretty slick move of Valve to link the L4D1 and 2 content together”

      Some form of integration was discussed back during the initial post-announcement L4D2 shitstorm, actually, as a way of assuaging concerns about L4D1 being made completely obsolete by L4D2. That nothing came of it is one reason I’d be amazed if any further support (beyond a patch or two) was ever forthcoming for L4D. L4D2 is a fundamentally superior game, there’s no reason for the community NOT to abandon the first game as it stands.

  7. MadMatty says:

    I juz wanted to say, that it´s a testament to Left 4 Dead 1´s incompleteness, that it lacks an AK47 Assault Rifle. When you just gotta kill every motherf*cker in the room.
    Had a blast playing 1´ last night tho- still relatively fresh, about 3000 zombies down, and my headshot% with m4, has sadly dropped from 20 to 17 :/

  8. Psychopomp says:

    So when does the yelling start?

  9. Ingenu says:

    Either L4D2 looks like an improved L4D (not by too much though), or L4D looks like the Wii version and L4D2 the HD version.
    In either case, there’s something that doesn’t go well to me.
    I’ll prolly get it when it drops to around 20€, it would be worth that price, I’m still disappointed Valve didn’t lower the price for existing L4D owners, it would have been fair.

  10. DJ Phantoon says:

    Here’s the synopsis of what people always forget (which was previously mentioned in this very thread!):

    1: Left4Dead was developed by Turtle Rock Studios and was bought by Valve near the end of the development cycle.

    2: Valve is privately owned. They have to fight Microsoft every time they want to put the DLC out for free. Valve probably prefers having this content for free as it drives new units and brings players that stopped playing back.

    3: You aren’t boycotting it if you own it. I’m looking at you, Modern Warfare people.

    • compuguy1088 says:

      Personally I have stuck to the boycott, and will not be buying Modern Warfare 2. I did buy L4D2, and I am very satisfied with my purchase.

  11. Theo says:

    I have to say i didnt buy it, and it amazes me how popular it is. i enjoyed left 4 dead for about 2 weeks, after that it became amazingly boring (zerg to the finish). I played the demo with a open mind, decided it was just the same stuff that segrigates the community in to having 2 products.

    i might have bought it if it was a add on that let me use the new special mobs in the old campaigns, but really tbh, it sickens me people are supporting valve.

  12. Lobotomist says:

    Well i didnt buy L4D2. I will probably not buy any new Valve game in near future. I managed to convince all my gamer friends not to buy L4D2.

    So yes for me boycott was success.

    As for global success ?

    Well its hard to convince sheep not to be a sheep.
    People do far worse things because they are plainly easy to manipulate.

    What the boycott did achieve. Its not to hurt sales of L4D2 (although i am sure it did – dont worry Valve would never admit) – But it hurt Valve integrity as “The good company”

    Even for people that think all the boycott stuff was nonsense. But Valve name got dragged trough the mud over and over again. And i am sure that nobody will believe Valve will bring free content past release – thing that was previously considered Valves trademark (nor did game journalists even tried to hype L4D2 in this way).

    So on the end boycotters got message trough. And that is what counts.

    • Psychopomp says:

      “Well its hard to convince sheep not to be a sheep.”

      Vinraith, this is what I meant last time.

    • Rinox says:

      I, for one, was outraged to see Valve besmear its good name by inviting the boycott leaders to their offices. What a blatant disrespect for the community.

      /sarcasm

    • Alexander Norris says:

      You can’t do that and then not quote or link to the previous discussion, Psychopomp. :(

    • neems says:

      I’ve always loved the idea that the definition of sheep is ‘People who do not agree with me’.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Hah, yes, I’d really like to see any proof that this boycott was anything more than a disastrous failure. Valve came out smelling of roses, particularly with the Offices stunt and the flying to Australia thing. They did a good job of playing divide and conquer on the boycotters, exposing the vocal ones for what they truly were, angry internet men with no agenda other than to make noise. The leaders of the boycott were discredited after the trip to Valve HQ, which could only have ended badly anyway as angry internet men screamed ‘sellouts! shills!’ and slammed their keyboards on the desk in impotent frustration.

      What the boycott achieved was to dispel the preposterous delusion that Valve were a charity and Gabe was Jolly Old Saint Nick here to deliver free content ’til the end of time. Good, now maybe we can get back to reality and see Valve for what they are, a company that constantly releases top quality titles and runs a pretty solid digital distribution store to boot.

    • Rinox says:

      @ Totalbiscuit:

      Love the image of the AIM pounding his keyboard out of impotent rage. I’ll imagine their cheeks flushing and foreheadvein throbbing in addition to that.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Then here is something to go with that image – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xU-rJNgoWU

    • Lobotomist says:

      “What the boycott achieved was to dispel the preposterous delusion that Valve were a charity and Gabe was Jolly Old Saint Nick here to deliver free content ’til the end of time.”

      You see. Even you agree on that

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Sure, I agree on that point. Just as I agree that curing a bruised finger by amputating the entire arm can be considered a success.

    • dog says:

      i’ve got to admit i always feel incensed when some arsehole calls everyone who doesn’t like what he likes ‘sheep’… its just so arrogant an patronising… i bought l4d1 the day it came out and so did 3 of my mates… we must have played well, probably 10-15 all-nighter sessions on the campaigns… never even touched versus…

      so l4d2 came out and we all pre-ordered and we had another all-nighter session last week playing a few of the new campaigns… we all loved it.. had a great co-op zombie holocaust experience… in fact i can happily say the 2 l4d games have been amongst the most fun i’ve had ever in multiplayer gaming (this and turboraketti on the amiga)….

      but apparently none of this is actually true… i’m just some corporate whore happy to be spoon fed whatever i’m told to… baaah…. baaah….. i’m a sheep….

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      TotalBiscuit – Bringing appropriate stick figure art to every occassion – http://xkcd.com/610/

    • Fumarole says:

      “Well its hard to convince sheep not to be a sheep.”

      That sound? It’s your credibility flying out the window.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Psychopomp

      That would explain why I hadn’t seen it, I never actually read Lobotomist’s posts.

    • gick says:

      Well i didnt buy L4D2. I will probably not buy any new Valve game in near future. I managed to convince all my gamer friends not to buy L4D2.
      .
      .
      .
      Well its hard to convince sheep not to be a sheep.

      Indeed your friends seem have followed you into boycotting in a very sheep like manner…..

  13. Joinn says:

    I’m totally Girlcotting this game.

    YOU HEAR ME VALVE?!?!?!?!?

    Oh, almost forgot:
    string Girlcotting = “buying this when the price hits $25 \r\n”;

    • Daedren says:

      Have my babies!

    • Clovis says:

      Huh, I apparently girlcott all games…

    • DarkNoghri says:

      It’s going to be 30$ at Gamestop on Black Friday.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      $30 is not $25, Noghri (and Black Friday doesn’t occur outside the US).

      When are we having another WiC game, by the way?

    • DarkNoghri says:

      Yes, but it’s ALMOST down to 25$.

      Err, I dunno. I’ve got finals and such coming up, and then I’m planning to move to Windows 7. Thus would my WiC probably get wiped out.

  14. Little-Kev says:

    I was really pleased when L4D came out as it was able to run on my computer and there were going to be new levels and weapons to look forward to from both Valve and modders! Sadly that never happened.

    I tried L4D2 and it runs too slow to play. As I’m recently unemployed I have no money for a new PC and now most the servers are L4D2 only. Hope you’re happy with your millions Valve. You’ve conned a poor man.

    ;(

  15. Radiant says:

    This being their first game aimed squarely at MS Xbox 360 and their first game partnered with EA I’m sure there were a lot of behind the scenes issues and contract shenanigans that went into the messy situation that they got themselves in with L4D1-2.

    It’s’ really just an issue with managing expectations.
    L4D2 should really have been presented as an update.
    There really isn’t much difference between L4D1 and L4D2 as there was between say TF1 [or classic] and TF2 or for sequel comparatives’ sake GTA3 and GTA4.

    I mean in terms of updates look at Capcom and SF4 and the upcoming SSF4 they know that what they have done is an update so they are saying [so far] that they are pricing it as such.

    But yeah there really should have been some kind of connection between L4D1 and L4D2 so 2 players can play with 1 players.

    • Radiant says:

      it’s's’s's’s's’s etc.

    • Clovis says:

      You can’t compare L4D/L4D2 to GTA3/GTA4. You need to compare it to GTA3/Vice City AND San Andreas. Those two sequals were both at full retail. There was very little that was new in terms of graphical complexity and gameplay in those sequals. It was a new map, new missions, weapons, etc, just like L4D2. Comparing L4D/L4D2 to most big game sequals makes L4D2 look like a normal sequal. Not a normal Valve sequal, but normal for most big games. COD4/MW2 are also pretty much the same game.

    • Radiant says:

      The gulf between GTA3 Vice City and San Andreas is huge!

      I do see your point with MW1 and MW2 though although arguably.

      But then again if we are talking about a yardstick Valve themselves have set my original point still stands it was a mismanagement of expectations.
      Look at TF1 and TF2, Half Life 1 and Half Life 2 and to jump companies the price points for SF4 and SSF4.

    • Catastrophe says:

      The issue is L4D is an online game living off an online community for that game. Valve gave all these promises indicating they will continue to support L4D with updates (free or not – it doesn’t really matter) to keep the L4D community thriving.

      A few months later, after very little updates, they announce L4D2, splitting the community down the middle and destroying the promises of keeping the L4D community thriving.

      L4D without a community is a very hollow and pointless game.

  16. jalf says:

    Whole new campaigns was never realistic, ever (As in a standard MP level is a hugely different thing from a Co-op level in terms of resources).

    Wasn’t it?

    I’m not sure I agree with that. First, keep in mind that a lot of the heavy lifting is done by the AI director. A lot of the tweaking that’d go into a TF2 map isn’t necessary, because game itself takes care of placing a lot of the details. And unlike a TF2 map, there’s no requirement that the map has to be symmetric enough that neither team is at a disadvantage. A L4D map is much simpler to balance, because in a VS match, you effectively switch sides, so it just has to be fair enough that neither side infected or survivors get *completely* wiped out, but it doesn’t have to be perfect 50/50 odds that you need in TF2.

    And second, the most obvious point: Valve has knocked up 5 new campaigns for L4D2 in a single year. Have they ever produced maps at that speed in TF2 or another game? This shows pretty clearly that producing new maps is not such a vast and epic undertaking after all.

    • Metalfish says:

      Not vast and epic when you have the financial leverage to muster most of your staff to the game -something that generally comes with sequels and not free content.

  17. C4Cypher says:

    The gamer outcries over Left4Dead 2 and Modern Warfare 2 have the same emotional roots … but while Left 4 Dead 2 was just momma Valve starting to gather a fondness for kitchen wine … MW2 was your uncle Bobby beating you for spare change in a drunken rage. Ohe of these things is severely worse than the other, but the core of the outrage is the same … momma Valve still loves us though … Uncle Bobby Kotic still wants more money to buy booze. We pray momma Valve never gets bought by the likes of our Uncle Bobby.

    • Rinox says:

      While I found your comparison hilarious (in a good way, not being sarcastic), for me there’s a difference between the two. One is marketing/PR, the other is effectively destroying PC gaming.

    • Daedren says:

      Great metaphors!

      What makes it bad is that Uncle Bobby used to be a nice enough guy – used to take us to the Circus and stuff, and only slapped us around when he got a bit too pissed. It wasn’t that bad and the trip to the circus was worth it.

      Nowadays he just puts a home movie of the circus trip on and wails on us without a pretense.

      Ok, I think the analogy went a bit too far.

  18. jalf says:

    The gamer outcries over Left4Dead 2 and Modern Warfare 2 have the same emotional roots … but while Left 4 Dead 2 was just momma Valve starting to gather a fondness for kitchen wine … MW2 was your uncle Bobby beating you for spare change in a drunken rage. Ohe of these things is severely worse than the other, but the core of the outrage is the same … momma Valve still loves us though … Uncle Bobby Kotic still wants more money to buy booze. We pray momma Valve never gets bought by the likes of our Uncle Bobby.

    I disagree. The problem with L4D was that Valve lied. They said they’d deliver something if you bough their game, and then decided “nah, screw that”.

    MW2 is just a plain money grab mixed with some questionable design decisions. But they deliver exactly what it says on the box. They never *promised* to deliver dedicated servers or any of the other things people are upset about. If you want dedicated servers, then you already knew at launch that you shouldn’t buy this.

    Whereas with L4D, people who bought the game at launch had been told by Valve that they’d get a number of extras, that never materialized.

    If you want to talk about “which is worse”, I’d say being a scam is worse than a bad product.

    And honestly, get over your fanboyism. Valve doesn’t “love us”. They’re a company, they “love” to be profitable. No more, no less.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      This is nonsense, they did get what was promised, it just wasn’t enough for them. There were no specifics like ‘we promise 3 new full length campaigns, 8 new weapons, 3 new modes!’ etc, delusional gamers just like to pretend that they did.

      All in all this debacle probably helped L4D2′s sales rather than hindered them and was a blow to gamer activism everywhere. Way to blow your load over the wrong enemy guys.

    • DK says:

      “This is nonsense, they did get what was promised, it just wasn’t enough for them. There were no specifics like ‘we promise 3 new full length campaigns, 8 new weapons, 3 new modes!’ etc, delusional gamers just like to pretend that they did.”
      THAT is nonsense. They promised L4D would get the same level of support that TF2 (still) gets. That was an outright lie.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      There were specifics like “we promise new campaigns and new characters and new weapons and more!”

      They delivered half a new campaign, a new game mode (fair enough) and the Versus versions of the two other campaign maps which hadn’t shipped with the game for some unknown reason. They didn’t deliver new characters or new weapons, and someone could probably argue that they didn’t deliver “new campaigns.”

    • Lilliput King says:

      As others have said TB, the funny thing is they /did/ actually promise specifics.

      They weren’t legally bound to them, and they’re a company in a competitive environment, and all of the other associated guff that I have to write because if I don’t, someone will bring it up as if it pardons Valve for, well, lying to us. They did fine. L4D is good, L4D2 is better, but they showed their true colours, and showed us we should treat them like any other company, rather than our bestest of friends.

      We probably should’ve learned that before it came back and bit us in the privates, though.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Point taken, however I personally don’t view what was inadvisably said in a single interview to be a binding promise that the company must live up to at all costs. If we boycotted every developer on that basis we’d never play anything, there are always ‘promises’ that aren’t kept.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Granted, certainly. The boycott was a disproportionate response.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      That we don’t boycott every developer that fails to uphold their promises or that if we did we wouldn’t be playing any games doesn’t mean developers shouldn’t be held accountable for breaking their promises, though.

    • Buemba says:

      They never *promised* to deliver dedicated servers or any of the other things people are upset about.

      Didn’t someone at Infinity Ward say that the PC multiplayer in MW2 would work exactly like it did in COD4 a week before announcing the lack of dedicated servers?

    • Premium User Badge

      oceanclub says:

      “[Infinity Ward] never *promised* to deliver [CODMW2] dedicated servers or any of the other things people are upset about.”

      Not explicitly, but didn’t their PR guy state a mere few weeks before release that PC online play was exactly the same as COD4?

      P.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      The MW2 debacle had nothing to do with promises made or broken, it was an entirely more concrete affair. It was an attempt to protest against the deliberate, malicious development practices that MW2 espoused. You need only look at the fact that the dedicated server code is in the game, but was deliberately disabled, to see that Activision has an anti-consumer agenda and is mercilessly carrying it out.

    • jalf says:

      > Point taken, however I personally don’t view what was inadvisably said in a single interview to be a binding promise that the company must live up to at all costs.

      Again, you’re wrong. It wasn’t a single interview. It was **three** interivews, with three different Valve employees.

      Gabe Newell, Chet Faliszek and Doug Lombardi *each* went out and said the same *very specific* thing: “We will deliver new campaigns, new weapons and new infected types, and we will do so at least as fast as we deliver TF2 updates”.

      If it had been this week’s intern in the PR department who’d said this, I’d agree with you, but these three are pretty damn influential in the company, and supposedly know what’s going on.

      Of course, you’re ultimately right. It is not a “binding promise that the company must live up to at all costs”

      However, they lose a hell of a lot of credibility if they don’t.

      And that summarizes my feelings on the subject. I enjoyed L4D, but I can no longer trust Valve to deliver anything past what I get in the retail box. They can talk as much as they like about “games as a service”, but they’ve proven very clearly that to them it is **not** a service.

      I never joined the boycott group because it seemed so amazingly silly. And I don’t “hate” Valve. I just don’t trust them any more. If they deliver a game that’s good, and fun to play at launch, then I’ll buy it at launch. If they deliver a game that sucks, and patch it up to be good fun, then I’ll buy it when it’s been patched up.

      And if they deliver a game and talk about how much extra you’ll be getting down the line if you buy it, I laugh and ignore them.

  19. TotalBiscuit says:

    I need to make it absolutely clear that I have an irrational dislike of any site called WhackyunrelatedadjectiveGamer.com

    In fact I think I’ll register that at once.

  20. hoff says:

    The thing about L4D2 is that it is exactly in-between what would qualify a full new game and a very, very good add-on/mission-pack/DLC. There are a million arguments for one or the other, especially if you look at the quick play-through time of the original L4D, the variety that different game modes are supposed to add and the comparison of MP, SP and COOP gameplay.

    The most striking argument among these, IMO, is one that directly attacks the “Whole new campaigns was never realistic, ever!!!” statement.

    I know a thing or two about level design. Singleplayer, multiplayer and yes, even coop. What a lot of people seem to do is simply put L4D mapping into either the MP or SP category. Which is futile. Because:

    a) A single multiplayer map has to be tested and tested again for 3+ months up to an absurd level of polish to provide any balance and fun (and mostly is still tweaked after release). The results can vary, but there are de_dust or 2fort 24/7 servers… which says a lot about MP replayability standards for individual maps. Simply having up to 16 human team mates and opponents opens up near infinite variety and most MP maps are designed in an open way that does not focus on any specific path or single set of events.
    b) Singleplayer maps have a suspense curve, tell a story. Good SP games (like everything Valve does) offer a great variety of playing certain parts as well. But there is always a beginning, a middle part and an end. They’re linear. Dialog has to be written, a background story has to be thought up, scripted sequences can be a lot of work…
    c) Coop-maps are different. They’re not SP, they’re not MP. Most importantly, though, they are not multiplayer! The admittedly original idea of having an “AI” director doesn’t create any kind of variety that wouldn’t have already been expored with human opponents. It’s a “fix” for the linearity problem of SP. Same is true for the “ever-changing” level layout (which mostly consists of pathways being blocked and sometimes not…). It’s still a linear level and you can play through it in 5-10 minutes. Which brings us to one of the key words here: Campaign!

    You cannot possibly compare a single MP map with a single COOP map. You need a full campaign to get comparable variety and replayability of one proper MP map. 4 or at least 3 maps. It’s not unrealistic, it might admittedly be a little more work than a single map… but for gameplay, it is very comparable to the amount of additional maps Valve traditionally released for each of their previous MP titles.

    Because a COOP “campaign” is different from a MP map, I guess nobody would have minded if Valve, instead of releasing a ton of tiny updates, mini game-modes and tweaks, went for one (1) great, four-map, additional campaign for L4D. Just one. 6 months late, it wouldn’t have mattered. That’s what you expect from a Valve-branded title and it’s not unreasonable. Instead, after half a year Valve barely released an SDK for gamers to make their own levels, considering the success of CS, TF2 and Co, quite an odd move for Valve and their community relation. TF2 was one of three games in the Orange Box, never a full-priced title. Yet it had years of development and continued support with dozens of updates, new maps and weapons added over the years. L4D is a full-priced title. And didn’t get a fraction of the attention.

    It’s as if Valve… changed. I mean, they still have incredibly talented people, but I do not really feel that trust and passion for their work anymore, which is a shame. They’re just “a company making profit” as so many seem to see the purpose of game studios nowadays…

    You know, some say that we are just “afraid of change”. That might be true. But it hasn’t always been that way. During the 90ies, I was excited about change. Because games got better. Today, each and every change seems to be for the worse.

    Oh, and I hope you’re not confused if I tell you that L4D2 is an excellent game. Because if you are, you’re not really getting my point.

  21. Thiefsie says:

    Pity all you people aren’t playing it.. as the sequel is many, many times better than the original.

    I was going to boycott it then realised that fucking valve is stupid… they are the best developers in the biz, at least top 3… they deserve my money and I will continue to buy everyone of their games that remotely interests me. I’ve had more fun and support is faster in L4D1/2 than in Battlefield 2/2124 for example (and of course less major bugs).

    My biggest gripe though is the lack of inbuilt server browsing without the console… at least they let that one still be doable tho… fucktards at IW are making me not even pirate that game.

    Orange Box is still the greatest value gaming product of all time. Bring on HL3 now… and of course Black Mesa Source…

  22. Blob-stuff says:

    Moving away from L4D a moment, it may have already been mentioned, but anyone seen today’s BBC News article RPS got to comment on:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8373794.stm

    What a random study and complete waste of time. So what if games don’t follow the Geneva convention, not many governments in reality do!

    One of the test games is FarCry 2. If anything, I don’t think the game reflects enough of the real human rights abuses seen in African conflict zones.

    • Lilliput King says:

      I’m glad they were there to comment. I tire of this kind of statment, from the report itself:

      “Thus the line between the virtual and real experience becomes blurred and the game becomes a simulation of real life situations on the battlefield.”

      It’s peculiar that such a notion is just accepted, as if it’s self evident.

    • Jay says:

      I saw this too and thought the research and report was both a waste of time as it all hinged on the above insanity:

      “Thus the line between the virtual and real experience becomes blurred and the game becomes a simulation of real life situations on the battlefield.”

      What they seem to miss, but hint at, is that the game is fantasy. It is not real. Therefore as it is fantasy they are no hard and fast rules. Therefore items “constituting war crimes” aren’t really because because they are not real.

      Nobody has done research into seeing if playing Tetris makes you want to hurl bricks into building sites. Why? Because it would be insane.
      Nobody has done research into seeing if playing Mass Effect makes you want to leave your world leaders to die in a tight spot. Why? Because it would be insane – and in ME your actions do have consequences.

      What is amusing is that when researching/reporting items such as this it’s generally the researchers/reporters who have the over-simplified, lack of grip on reality and not the gamers that they are supposedly reporting on.

  23. jRides says:

    I’ve read that a lot – that Valve reneged on their promise – can you link me to this promise so I can see for myself? The specifics vary wildly from telling to telling, so I am genuinely curious.

    • jRides says:

      Thanks Lilliput King!

      “So we’ll do the same thing with Left 4 Dead where we’ll have the initial release and then we’ll release more movies, more characters, more weapons, unlockables, achievements, because that’s the way you continue to grow a community over time.”

      Somewhat silly to say this, in hindsight.

    • Catastrophe says:

      “… and before any of this becomes a reality we’ll announce L4D2, destroying a community and ripping it in half in one fell swoop… actually edit that line out of the interview please, if people knew this they wouldn’t buy either game.”

  24. Darthey says:

    I remember talking to one of the Valve writers at the PCG Showdown (Chet perhaps?) and he was saying the same things as in interviews; L4D would be supported in the same way to TF2, it would get extra movies like TF2 to explore character backstory, new maps, weapons, zombies etc.

    Clearly Valve slowly learnt that a lot of these promises were unrealistic. The problem was they never tried to explain it to the community, rather they dropped the L4D2 bombshell at E3 and hoped for the best.

    Don’t get me wrong; I love L4D2. But the fans complaints over it are just as much down to broken promises as they are a sense of entitlement.

    • hoff says:

      The promises weren’t unrealistic. In the months after L4D’s release, Valve was apparently able to produce an “entire new game”, new setting, new infected, new survivors and 5 new campaigns. One L4D campaign dwarfs in comparison. It is so obvious that Valve shifted focus from supporting L4D to producing L4D2 on day one of L4D’s release that I sometimes wonder why there is even a discussion about this fact?

      They did it. Is it bad? Up to you to decide, but they sure as hell dropped support for L4D in favor of a (commercially more tempting) full-priced sequel. And it’s easy to produce sequels if the content standard for full games has become that of what would previoulsy had been considered an “add-on” (or episode, DLC, younameit).

  25. Jay says:

    As someone invovled in software development lifecycles I can plausibly imagine a meeting at Valve’s Dev HQ where they looked at L4D (having bought it) and a discussion containing:

    “We have L4D which is almost a releasable product. Let’s work on content, missions, etc etc”

    So they finished the game and released it, but as they looked into producing more maps, modes, missions, weapons (etc) a new conversation started…

    “We can carry on flogging it in it’s current state and this will cost ‘x’, or we can take the code, overhaul the graphics etc and make L4D2. It will be bigger, slicker, look smarter, better director, new zombies, new weapons, engine etc etc…all the things that will make it a Valve gem”

    There are hosts of reasons for doing it the way they did (aside from the cynical ones that people brandish about) that have resulted in a superior game in the shape of L4D2. Granted it also means more coin in their cash drawer, but that’s life – particularly in business and at the end of the day their making money is what means that we get games to play, servers to play them on etc.

    In all the end result is we have a good, playable game in the shape of L4D and a great (IMHO) 2nd version in L4D2.
    People can boycott/girlcott if they like, but at the end of the day I doubt that it will have much impact at the end of the day – however it has raised a number of interesting discussion points and has highlighted that perhaps gamers aren’t all the mindless “bigger, shinier, faster, must-have” consumers that the media/the industry sometimes portray them to be.

    At the heart of the (occasionally passionate) discussion is the thread of ‘value for money’, I feel I have got that given the hours I spend online slaying zombies with friends. I for one don’t like to put a price on laughter and good times and those are two things that both games bring me.

  26. AsubstanceD says:

    Yes all great opinions! But suggesting to boycott Valve the best PC centric company, with countless amazing games and a proper community spirit, whether they got it wrong here or not, is really stupid. Obviously even the boycotters thought it was stupid as they also pre ordered the game.

    Also Left5Dead is amazing.

  27. bill says:

    What I didn’t understand was why valve didn’t chuck a couple of new weapons or something into L4D. They had loads of extra stuff for L4D2, wouldn’t it have made sense to filter one or two off to L4D?

    Adding new campaigns and maps takes a lot of resources… but a new weapon, that’s not such a big deal. is it?

    • CMaster says:

      How does a new weapon fit into the existing content? Especially when weapons are placed individually. Do you make it so that the M4 could occasionally appear as an AK instead? What does that really add to the experience?

    • DK says:

      “Do you make it so that the M4 could occasionally appear as an AK instead? What does that really add to the experience?”

      But that’s exactly what L4D2 does.

    • Drexer says:

      No, in L4D there is a single entity for each object. So, if you want to have a table with a molotov and a pipebomb and the AI director to choose between one or the other, you’ll need to create both entities on the table.

      On L4D2(from what I understood in the Developer commentary, and it makes sense), items and weapons have one general entity for each kind, and several parameters, so the AI director chooses if you need a pipebomb or a molotov or a bile bomb in place x, while still being able to only spawn bile bombs in place y. This works out the same with weapons, there are locations where it’s pretty randomized, and other static locations.

      Besides, there are more differences between weapons that just graphics, such as ammo clips, accuracy, recoil, etc…

  28. abhishek says:

    I know what the L4D2 boycott accomplished.

    Absolutely nothing. At all.

    Well, except for an all expenses paid trip to Valve HQ for the ‘leaders’. Oh, and I don’t think they really know the meaning of the word boycott, because they bought L4D2 as well.

    http://steamcommunity.com/id/amalik &
    http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197984519218

    So I guess another achievement of theirs was that they managed to make themselves look like complete idiots.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Well those two are complete asshats that just happened to be the first to create L4D2 boycott group

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Yes. How dare they buy the game after proceeding to declare that they felt Valve had answered the points listed in their manifesto and having subsequently called the boycott off.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      RAWRRRRRR HOW DARE THEY NOT STICK TO THEIR GUNS AND CONTINUE TO MAKE UNREASONABLE DEMANDS RAWRRRRRRR ANGER

  29. JimmyJames says:

    I waited until the reviews came in and am glad I’ve picked up L4D2 – it’s a superior game, but I really would like to see the maps from L4D1 get merged in. I’d love to see the L4D series continue to build up on what was mostly great content that, unfortunately, some of you are saying is getting absolutely no play anymore.

    Maybe they could do it in such a way that you have to own both games in order for it to work. It might make the bundle pack more appealing and they could get more sales out of something that is likely to sell very few copies now.

  30. Gorgeras says:

    “It’s a little revisionist about their early days – not touching on the initial frenzied nature of the group which lead to the initial press being so negative”

    Is this why RPS and Future Publishing mags has such lousy one-sided coverage of the Boycott? Because you took what random people posted on forums and attributed it to the group?

    I don’t recall the Boycott ever having a ‘frenzied’ stage. Hammer Legion journalists just made it up because they were embarrassed about joining in Valve’s deception over L4D updates.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      I don’t recall the group ever NOT having a frenzied stage. It was a loose, nebulous association of people that accomplished nothing and were heard almost entirely via the white-noise produced from angry forum posts and online shouting. How can you possibly take that seriously, or in fact a group seriously that claims that L4D2 should all be given away for free and does so with a straight face, believing that this is an entirely reasonable thing to do?

      Face it, the thing was purile from the start.

    • Gorgeras says:

      I certainly never asked for L4D2 to be free and neither did the Boycott. I said that we’d already paid for it and agreed with the Boycott position that there should be a much smaller charge for it for owners of the original.

      Can’t have for free what by all rights you own anyway. Left4Dead 2 was built with man-hours that were taken away from developing Left4Dead.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      “I certainly never asked for L4D2 for free and neither did the Boycott”.

      Verbatim from the boycott’s mission statement :-

      “that “Left 4 Dead 2 not be released as a stand-alone, full-priced sequel but as either a free update to Left 4 Dead or an expansion with full compatibility with basic Left 4 Dead owners,”

      Is that some backpeddling I see? Trying to distance yourself from the embarrassment that was the ‘movement’ in the first place? Perhaps you genuinely didn’t know that this is what they initially asked for, that was their official stance, but I guess all that shows it that you didn’t fully grasp the cause and group you were getting involved in.

      “Can’t have for free what by all rights you own anyway. Left4Dead 2 was built with man-hours that were taken away from developing Left4Dead.”

      This is hilarious and sums up the entitlement complex’s demonstrated by the boycotters perfectly.

    • Rinox says:

      “all rights” except actual, you know, real world laws.

    • Gorgeras says:

      “Is that some backpeddling I see? Trying to distance yourself from the embarrassment that was the ‘movement’ in the first place?”

      No, it’s not back-peddling. It helps to know what I actually agree and disagree with the Boycott on, but you’ve never troubled yourself with nuanced details. In fact the second quote explains the first, it helps if you don’t copy-butcher-paste text to change it’s tone.

      Ronix, rights are assumed, not given. The law has nothing to do with rights except to restrict executive powers.

    • abhishek says:

      “Can’t have for free what by all rights you own anyway. Left4Dead 2 was built with man-hours that were taken away from developing Left4Dead.”

      This is hilarious and sums up the entitlement complex’s demonstrated by the boycotters perfectly.

      Precisely. It amazes me that people actually believe that they are entitled to the content of a full and vastly improved sequel for free.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      That quote is verbatim, it’s from the article, read it and weep.

    • Gorgeras says:

      Now the question needs to be asked: what is wrong with entitlement? That seems to be as far as you are able to take the accusation. What you’ve utterly failed to do is provide any reason why we are not entitled even as we’ve piled up mountains of evidence for why we are.

      Valve’s stated intent was to keep L4D alive, to nurture it’s community and improve it. Does Left4Dead 2 serve this purpose or has it had the opposite effect? Yes or no.

    • Gorgeras says:

      “That quote is verbatim, it’s from the article, read it and weep”

      There’s that nuance-blindness again. It doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference.

    • Rinox says:

      @ Gorgeras

      But isn’t the point of (real) rights that one can turn to the law to enforce them? Because if not, a right is just an empty concept that can – and will – easily be painted over. E.g. right of free speech

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Let’s apply Occum’s razor shall we? Am I missing the subtle nuances of the L4D2 Boycott Mission Statement, a masterful piece of literature comparable to the classics, truly comprehended by the internet’s intellectual elite and none other, or am I in fact reading ‘we want L4D2 to be released as a free update’ because that’s what it actually says? Which is more likely? Which is the simplest explanation? Well gee, that’s a tough one.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “E.g. right of free speech”

      Constitutionally protected in America IIRC, which is an excellent system, and I think we’re more vulnerable due to the lack of it on these crescent isles. Erm, anyway.

      Point being, a manifesto that requires subtle nuance comprehension is somewhat missing the point, no?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Goregeas: The manifesto arrived after a week. There was stuff on the boycott stage when it started which was frenzied. That’s what I’m talking about, not forum comments.

      KG

    • Gorgeras says:

      Sorry Kieron if I don’t take your word for it, but it’s not like I can check for myself either. Now let’s just assume for the sake of argument that it is true: in that case the games media has taken a week’s worth of events out of the month or so it took for them to start coverage and decided the rest didn’t matter. Does that seem fair and balanced to you?

      TotalBiscuit, that isn’t Occam’s Razor: that’s tunnel-vision. The clue is in the bit where I said ‘helps to know what I agree and disagree with the Boycott on’ right before I said ‘but you’ve never bothered with nuance’.

      On the off-topic of the law and rights: I can think of *no* law that gives people the right to free speech. The US first amendment protects speech, it categorically does not give it as a right. The difference is that a law asserting a right gives you a right and then if the law is repealed you no longer have the right, but the first amendment assumes people have the right by default and it restricts the power of law-makers to infringe on the right. The amendments of the constitution assume that even if they didn’t exist; people would still have those rights. All the codified writ does is provide a hurdle to policy makers trying to attack rights. The rights themselves are de facto, not de jure and it’s people themselves that must assert them. You will notice that in Britain or the US, a police officer only has to inform you of(some of) your rights; they do not have to protect them which is why many charges brought rely often depend on an officer getting someone to unwittingly waiver their rights.

      Because of our history, Britain does things slightly different and people get the impression that laws and rights are related. Supermarkets for example get people to unknowingly waive their right to return goods within 28 days of purchase by citing ‘policy’ and whilst the right of return isn’t a de facto right, it’s a statutory right that exists only because of the law. The problem with this is it makes it a lot easier for shops with get away with not accepting returns or tricking someone out of a refund(by offering a replacement or store credit instead) because so many people in Britain think the law automatically guarantees their rights.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Gorgeras: I wouldn’t expect you to, and I haven’t time to dig it out. But it’s what got to people.

      Equally, as others have noted, the fact that the “We should get it for free” was always in the manifesto, always meant that the boycott group was inherently viewed as a bit silly. If you were in the boycott, it meant you supported that. Theres no way around that. I actually have a lot of sympathy with people being aggrieved over L4D2 – but you can’t treat an organisation making demands like that as anything other than people being foot-stompy.

      In a real way, the Boycott did a lot of harm to the idea of people complaining about when a developer does something wrong due to doing things like that. When people started getting angry over the MW2 PC version – something which is many times worse in terms of attacking the PC-status-quo than not getting some more free DLC – people had to battle uphill against those prejudices that it was somehow entitlement-fueled whining.

      Of course the irony is, for me, that if I didn’t actually get it for free as a journalist, I doubt I’d have bought L4D2. As in, I don’t care for incrementally improved sequels.

      KG

    • Gorgeras says:

      Kieron, I agree with the Boycott *position* that Left4Dead 2 should have been of no charge to Left4Dead owners. I do not agree with the Boycott *statement* that Left4Dead 2 should have been *free* to Left4Dead owners. Their version implies that Left4Dead 2 was not simply the missing Left4Dead content that I believe it is and I think they do too as implied by the very common view that “this should be a DLC”.

      Regarding the harm the Boycott is supposed to have done to the PC community, I agree except that you are being far too harsh on the Boycott and far too generous with anti-Boycotters and media outlets which outright refused to represent the Boycott accurately and respectfully. I was aghast that nearly every reviewer that mentioned the lack of content in L4D and then disregarded this on the basis of what Valve had said seemed to have a goldfish memory about it. If Valve, the best company in the Everything, can dismiss a Boycott of forty-thousand with the sycophantic consent(I’ve said this before) of the games media and Hammer Legions, then what does Activsion and Infinity Ward have to worry about when an even smaller *proportion*(which is important, not the flat number) of their player-base kicks up a fuss? Who really killed the Modern Warfare 2 protests before they even began?

      I’m not worried about PC gamers getting a bad reputation: those that do are wedded to short-termism. It doesn’t matter what someone thinks about you in the long-term if what they think is *wrong*. PC gamers pay less for games, not because licenses are not needed to release on PC; lower prices don’t just happen because a publisher looks at this fact and decides it would be wrong to charge the same, but because that publisher knows that the players will know. The players themselves have always asserted they should not pay the same. For what short-term name-calling we got for our ‘whining’, we were right and they were *wrong*. Publishers and devs have become real assholes over the PC now and have been on a mission to marginalise it further and of course they will use boycotts and petitions as an excuse, but they are *wrong*. Remember they’ve been doing the same damn thing with piracy: where they project the problems they themselves introduced to releasing on PC onto the pirate bogeyman. They were wrong then and are being wrong again.

    • Catastrophe says:

      @TB

      Reading the line you quoted from the mission statement, it does not demand L4D2 to be released as free, it SUGGESTS L4D2 be released for free to people who currently own L4D and/or make it expansion (which are usually paid for) that is compatible with L4D.

      “that “Left 4 Dead 2 not be released as a stand-alone, full-priced sequel but as either a free update to Left 4 Dead or an expansion with full compatibility with basic Left 4 Dead owners,”

  31. Kamos says:

    It only means a lot of people have bought the game and don’t even care enough about it to join a boycott.

  32. Steve the Imperial Guardsmen says:

    The boycott was a failure from start to finish, it was an un-organized, angry, and delusional venture that embarrassed PC gaming as a whole, and gave more ammo to publishers and developers to say the platform was going down the drain.

    Regardless, it’s over, the boycott is no long relevant, nor is it worthy of remembrance, and in a bigger sense “video game activism” is DOA, that’s why the more legitimate petition against MW2 went under the radar, and was simply brushed away as “Oh there they go again”.

    The entire affair is a blemish on an already damaged PC platform that suffers from a serious perception problem. Now the platform of “rampant piracy” is also the platform of pointless boycotts and unfocused nerd rage.

    • Gorgeras says:

      You can blame the way devs and publishers have treated the PC these last few years for that. Don’t blame the dog because it’s hungry.

      The Boycott suffered from Richard Dawkins Syndrome. A condition where a polite, restrained and respectful person or entity is blamed for the wrong-doing of an evil identical twin that never seems to demonstrably exist, but must do because so many people complain about how intolerant, rabid and strident they are.

      It helped to read what the Boycott actually said and what W_T and AoC actually wrote, rather than rely on second-hand information from forum posters and journalists that proved themselves incapable of being fair and honest.

    • abhishek says:

      The boycott was a failure from start to finish, it was an un-organized, angry, and delusional venture that embarrassed PC gaming as a whole, and gave more ammo to publishers and developers to say the platform was going down the drain.

      This is completely true. I find it a little strange how no one mentions the negative impact of these pointless petitions and boycotts on the reputation of the PC gaming community. The PC gaming ‘elite’ who pride themselves on being more ‘mature’ than the ‘kiddies who play dumbed down console games’ behaved like entitled, spoiled brats whining and throwing tantrums at every given opportunity. In essence, they were no better than the ‘consoletards’ they mock.

      The Boycott suffered from Richard Dawkins Syndrome. A condition where a polite, restrained and respectful person or entity is blamed for the wrong-doing of an evil identical twin that never seems to demonstrably exist

      Never seemed to exist? Are you kidding? Did you not see how every blog post on RPS about L4D2 was poisoned by this? And it was prevalent everywhere on the net… Gaming forums, blogs, gaming news sites… One has to be delusional to think that it was a polite, restrained and respectful campaign.

      And were you around when the ‘boycott’ actually started? I mean, the first few days when they were getting 3000 people to join the group daily? Ironically, that was when this ‘movement’ resembled a boycott the most… when they got together to say that they would not buy the product. Of course, this sentiment mysteriously vanished by the time it ended when they declared that they ‘never intended to drive away sales of the game’ (which, by the way, is the very definition of a boycott). Coming back to the point… this manifesto you keep pointing to… are you aware that it has been heavily modified from what it originally was? I’ll paraphrase what it was in the first few weeks… “Fuck you Valve, give us L4D2 for free”. This was also the time when the mature leaders of the boycott accused Valve of stealing their ideas for the new game. It was also the same mature leader who demanded that he should be given an early, preview demo of the game so that he could decide whether it was a worthy sequel. Him, being the arbiter and judge of all that is right and wrong… he actually thought that Valve should have to answer to him. Level headed and mature are just not the adjectives I’d use to describe these people.

      In the end, I feel that these boycotts (L4D2 and MW2) are huge black marks against the PC community this year. The L4D2 one for it’s sheer stupidity. And the MW2 one, which actually had some valid points, was also exponentially more ugly than the L4D2 one. At some point, publishers are going to decide that it’s just not worth putting up with this sort of bullshit.

    • Gorgeras says:

      “Never seemed to exist? Are you kidding? Did you not see how every blog post on RPS about L4D2 was poisoned by this? And it was prevalent everywhere on the net… Gaming forums, blogs, gaming news sites… One has to be delusional to think that it was a polite, restrained and respectful campaign.”

      I refer you to all my previous posts pointing out the clear unfairness and dishonesty in citing random forum posters to characterise the Boycott group.

    • JoeDuck says:

      “…a polite, restrained and respectful person or entity…”

      Yes, like for example persons in this forum who have written for six months in EVERY SINGLE STORY that was L4D or L4D2:
      L4D2 cricket bat? “Meh, I will boycott, first game was shit and Valve are liars”
      L4D2 boycott is over? “Meh, I will boycott, first game was shit and Valve are liars”
      8bit version of L4D? “Meh, I will boycott, first game was shit and Valve are liars”
      etc..

      And now, after the fact, after everyone has already decided and bought or not, after release day is gone and the point is moot because we all voted with our dollars already, these people still push their point:
      - They trusted Gabe, he lied and they felt cheated.
      - They only bought the game because of that sentence. Nothing else.
      - The best game of last year and best coop experience ever was shit to their completely objective standards.
      - The people who liked the first or will buy the second are sheep.
      - The people who refuse their arguments are Valve fanboys.
      - All the media are paid by Valve to attack the boycotters.
      - They will never buy a Valve game, ever. No HL2:ep3, no Portal2, no TF3. Nothing, ever.

      Six months of permanent noise, thousands of lines of boring circular ramblings. Every single post in RPS related even remotely with L4D or L4D2 has seen the comments section hijacked to talk exclusively about this subject unitl our eyes bleed.

      Politeness, restraint and respect, indeed.

    • Gorgeras says:

      I refer the Duck to the post he didn’t read; which could just about mean everything he didn’t parse and filter for a quote-mine so he could attack a strawman.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Basically, what Joe is saying, is THE HORSE IS FUCKING DEAD ALREADY.

    • JoeDuck says:

      No strawman for me, where I come from, we charge into windmills instead.
      I am not gifted for words, so I’ll simplify…
      You already won/lost all there was to win/lose.
      It’s over, move on.

  33. TotalBiscuit says:

    Guys, I’m starting a new movement. Boycott L4D1. You see, L4D1 took away valuable man hours and development time that should have been spent on L4D2!

  34. Gang Green says:

    Did it ever occur to anyone that valve just doesn’t love L4D like they do TF2 or HL? I always saw it as the unpolished bastard stepchild of valve games. I have fun when I play, but it lacks the charm that keeps me coming back for more. Mix all that up with a whiny, sniveling, self righteous fan base and I can see how valve decided that was their soulless cash cow.

  35. Tei says:

    I like L4D. It has been really fun, even with all the awesome bugs like the ability to rescue survivior from the infected side, the ability to “drop” people from the elevator with grenades, or the ability to spawn infinite hunters.

    Man, theres has ben a game breaking bug everyweek. Playing L4D1 has been a infuriating, and awesome experience. The shit we know as Bioshop presented you with lame moral options. L4D1 presented you with real and awesome moral options: Help your team closetcamp? or self-kill yourself? help your team bash the door, or kill yourself?. Is not a trivial answer, since killing yourself you ruin other people fun, but If you help, you are contributing to exploiting.

    We have lived this awesome game, L4D, with (years?) weeks withouth half the game enabled for versus. We have played such mach in versus in custom servers. These maps where ready from the start, but disabled for some reason.

    L4D was the best game of the past year, but was a half-assed game, with lots of bugs, and half of it locked. We paid full price for half a game, but we where happy, because that half of a game has ben superior to all other games that year.

    L4D2, different thing. I don’t like how it feel. The weapons take more than half the screen. TH0SE DAMN THINGS1 ARE T11E ENORMOGORDO!!!. I am not going to buy it again. Call it boycott If you wish. I boycott lack of quality, the unability to deliver.

    • Rinox says:

      Call it boycott If you wish. I boycott lack of quality, the unability to deliver.

      But…L4D2 is better than L4D1. It’s your cash and opinion, obviously, but if ‘lack of quality’ is your only reason not to buy L4D2 you’re pretty much shooting yourself in the foot.

      But yes, the weapons are ginormous. Not a fan of that either. :-(

    • Tei says:

      L4D2 is Coca Cola tryiing sell me “Cola New” with more sugar. It just feel wrong. And It don’t feel to me like a step forward. Matchmarking is still there, and is a amazing source of irritation with more miss than hits.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      It is a tangible, quantifiable step forward and believing otherwise is believing wrong. Also you can have dedicated servers, so the whole matchmaking thing is overblown.

    • ShineDog says:

      Almost all your criticism you have levelled is a personal opinion of a some deliberate choices that work well. Thats fine, you are absolutely entitled to not like the fact that the guns look big on screen, but its not something thats objectively wrong. A fault you could issue would be if the gun blocked a significant area of your vision, but it doesnt. Its still outside the area that you are sighting around, low enough to not obstruct any infected at the periphery of the screen.

      So whats lacking in quality? You might not like the new feel of the game, thats fine, but its not a lack of quality. Its not an “unability” to deliver.

      The game is far more balanced now. Is that a regression? You can’t rely on backing into a corner in a neat formation any more. The campaigns are far more varied and interesting, with excellent pacing. You personally might not like the new stuff, but in terms of the quality of what they have produced its hard to say this game isn’t far more professionally made than the original.

      Matchmaking is fantastic system when its working, but I’ll agree its got some problems at the moment and I’m getting put into terrible servers far more than the first game which was 90% of the time perfect. Looking at the servers in general it looks like most are suffering though, so perhaps theres some larger issue here.

    • Tei says:

      Yep. I was just tryiing to communicate my feelings. Nothing that other people can use to base his buying decisions. I just think that L4D2 suck, nad feels wrong. YMMV and probably other people are fall in love with it. Good!

    • Psychopomp says:

      “L4D2 is Coca Cola tryiing sell me “Cola New” with more sugar.”
      If you think L4D2 isn’t a vast improvement over Left 4 Corner Camping And Spamming Melee <i> you are certifiably insane</i>

  36. Torgen says:

    This is what’s wrong with society today. It’s composed of selfish, self-entitled whiners that throw a never-ending fit if the whole world isn’t given to them for free, on a silver platter with a Mt Dew and an order of Cheetos on the side. It would’ve done you good if your parents had said “no” to you lot once in a while.

    • Nick says:

      Utter rubbish.

      I don’t like Mt. Dew.

    • Lilliput King says:

      I’m just gonna go out on a limb and say [I've got a really big crush on Lion-O from Thundercats].

    • Vinraith says:

      Not only should people not care about feeling mislead, but anyone that does care about feeling mislead should be derided as a “selfish, self-entitled whiner” etc etc etc.
      *
      I mean, really? Someone criticizes a game you like, your response is to go straight to the ad hominem attacks, and they’re the ones whose parents didn’t do a good job? As low as the standard of “debate” over this issue has become, it’s most certainly both sides of it that have gotten us there.

    • Torgen says:

      Vinraith, I don’t own L4D2 and most likely won’t buy it. The first game was plenty enough for me.

      I’m not defending *any* game- I’m deriding whiny boys who think they should get everything for free, and have to still throw tantrums for attention even after the abject failure of their hissy fit.

      I’m registering my disgust at such behavior. If they have a “right” to scream til their faces turn blue over not getting a game for free, I have a “right” to note their spoiled behavior. They remind me of the Scandinavian commercial for condoms that shows the little boy throwing a screaming tantrum in the grocery store because his father won’t buy him candy.

    • Vinraith says:

      Except, of course, that virtually no one is talking about getting a game for free. You have a “right” to distort the opposition opinion, insult those that disagree with you, and generally behave like a spoiled child. You even have a right to call your opponents spoiled children while you do so. I’m just letting you know that your conduct is no better than theirs, and both of you are responsible for the absolute sewer that this discussion has turned into.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “I’m just gonna go out on a limb and say [I've got a really big crush on Lion-O from Thundercats].”

      Gosh, but I do.

  37. DMJ says:

    Egads, I opened the shelter too early. I heard the sound of MW2 going overhead and thought it was safe to come out.

    I only came out to pick up new supplies of custard creams. Mr Brush (my cat) loves them so.

  38. Azradesh says:

    I just don’t care about L4D.

    HL2E:3 please!

    PS Half-Life 3 would be nice as well, stop with the sodding multiplayer only stuff!

  39. JonFitt says:

    I’m not boycotting L4D2 and never was. I didn’t have a problem with L4D2 as a concept, it has just come too quickly after L4D1, which was left as a first draft to be replaced quickly by something bigger and better.

    However, I’m not buying L4D2 at full price. I don’t doubt it is worth the full $50, but very soon after buying the first one on day one for the full $50 I felt as if it was quite short and the full value would shine after it was expanded upon. Which never happened.

    So therefore I’m going to wait for L4D2 to hit the price I feel now I should have waited for L4D to hit, so that overall I have paid the right amount for both games. For me that’s going to be ~$25.

    Roll on the 50% sale, L4D2 looks rather good.

  40. Vinraith says:

    “Whole new campaigns was never realistic”

    What an interesting statement. Doesn’t some of what’s been done with the SDK pretty strongly contradict that?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Vin: What single player shooter has given away 25% as much content for free afterwards in terms of actually scripted levels? They’ve supported HL2 pretty well, but they haven’t given you another 25% of HL2 in terms of levels for free. That’s what a single campaign would mean in terms of resources. There’s simply *more work* to make it even work, let alone work well. A multiplayer level – despite what people say upthread – is easier to make work in an acceptable way.

      (Not a great way, of course… but fuck knows if MP communities has taught us anything is that the very best levels are deeply unpredictable, and really based around mass dynamics of people playing the fuckers as much as anything the actual developers have control over)

      Co-op levels, frankly, have to overcome problems that face SP *and* MP levels.

      KG

    • Vinraith says:

      Kieron: Am I correctly understanding you that the work and resources necessary to create 8 more hours of HL2 (a ~30 hour game) is equivalent to the work necessary to create one L4D1 campaign?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Vinraith: Proportionally for team size and budgets? You’ll have to presume so. As otherwise L4D1 would have had 30 hours of levels.

      (Actually, I’m calling bull on that. HL2 reached the low teens for me, tops.)

      Half-life 2, of course, is a pretty big FPS. Most are less than 10. Hell, a lot of FPS clock in at 6 hours now – Modern Warfare 2 certainly did.

      KG

    • Gorgeras says:

      To highlight Vin’s point, doesn’t the fact that an additional full campaign representing 25% of Left4Dead’s original content simply draw attention to the sheer lack of original content?

      Also, Valve had little trouble trotting out five full campaigns for the leech-sequel, along with new fully-realised game modes, whilst providing Left4Dead with the pitiful scraps it got. I don’t think it really was too much to ask: just simply move some of the man-hours and resources spent making L4D2 towards making the content that was supposed to come for L4D.

      It was one of the sadder points when ever an anti-boycotter used to talk about what was so great about L4D2 and how hard Valve have worked on L4D2: the other side of that coin is that it also represents a lot of good stuff that could have happened for L4D but didn’t for reasons that still have not been made clear. Which brings me to the next point: if games journalists had been half as shit-slinging towards Valve as they had been towards the Boycott, there would have been some answers.

    • Vinraith says:

      Kieron: Interesting. An L4D1 campaign takes at most 2 hours for me, personally, to play through. Half Life 2 took at least 25 hours for me to play through, personally. What suggestion would indicate, then, is that 8/25 or approximately 1/3 of the time, resources, and effort that went into L4D1 were actually directed at the non-Versus aspect of the game, which is the only one I care about. That, in turn, would suggest I should have bought L4D at a much steeper discount than I actually did.

      Fun math experiment, that also suggests that the amount of effort that went into a single HL2 Episode (~6 hours) is the same as the effort that went into a single L4D campaign. This, to me, implies that the whole exercise has been a terrible diversion of Valve’s resources.

      And yes, I’m well aware that there’s a discrepancy between my personal play times for things and reviewer play times for things. I’ve always found it fascinating, actually. By and large I can double the listed play time in the review to get a reasonable estimate of how long it’ll take me. You guys really do seem to rush through things, I suppose it’s because you’ve got a lot of titles to get through in a limited time.

      And yes, most FPS’s are less than 10 hours in SP these days (even for me), which is why most modern FPS’s are bargain bin titles in my opinion. If all the effort is going to go into MP, let the MP players foot the bill. I try to make it a point to pick up the pleasant exceptions (like Bioshock) at a good price.

    • Psychopomp says:

      “Half Life 2 took at least 25 hours for me to play through, personally. ”

      Excuse me, what?

    • Vinraith says:

      @Psychopomp

      I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve been through Hl2 twice, both play throughs were between 25 and 30 hours of in-game time. I know this for a fact since Steam conveniently tracks time spent playing, so it’s not a case of me estimating badly.

      Again, take the play-time estimate from almost any review for any action game ever (FPS, TPS, platformer, whatever) and you can pretty much double it to get my play time. I always figured reviewers, being “professional” gamers, were just blowing through these things at breakneck speed. Maybe it’s actually that I’m terribly, terribly slow with these sort of games. I couldn’t tell you, I’ve got no point of comparison.

    • Psychopomp says:

      It’s just disbelief that it could take that long to beat HL2. I’m terrible at shooters, at it took me all over 9 hours.

      Wasn’t meant to be a personal slight or anything

    • Vinraith says:

      9? How the hell?

      I mean, that’s… 2/3 the length of one of the episodes. Or did you beat those in 1 somehow? I can’t imagine how you’d get through the game in 9 hours even if you never reloaded, there’s too much content.

      And I don’t take it at all as a personal slight, it’s just something I really can’t fathom. I’m not great at shooters, but on average I’m not playing a given set piece more than once or, at worst, twice. I can’t figure out what the source of the discrepancy is.

    • Vinraith says:

      Oops, math malfunction. 9 hours is, for me, 3/2 of the play time of one of the eps (which clock in at around 6 hours), not 2/3.

  41. Premium User Badge

    Wisq says:

    “Did Valve change its plans to gain the approval of the masses, or did it effectively pacify the Internet throngs with nothing more than a couple of plane tickets and a hotel reservation?”

    This misses option C — that their plans already should and would have been approved by the masses, and all they had to do was make them fully known (perhaps in a way that only a personal visit can).

    That statement assumes that the only possible outcomes for a “boycott” are for the producer to alter their ways, or for them to sneakily pacify the movement. Which in turn assumes that the “boycotters” already know the complete picture, and that the producer really has done something wrong.

    These kinds of loaded statements are akin to asking “have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

  42. Vinraith says:

    No, drat, I failed to account for the team size and budget variables. Of course, team size and budget aside, the asking price for L4D and HL2 were the same, so from the consumer side, on a dollar basis rather than a resources basis, that math stands.

    • Vinraith says:

      This is supposed to be a reply in my conversation with Kieron above.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Vin: Of course, by that basis, you should only pay pennies for indie games. Which is an interesting thread of logic to follow.

      There’s more to say on this point, but it goes into other areas – not least, budgeting for a minor game and surprise success, what the audience turned out to be and where it was. I suspect I’ll write something about it at Christmas.

      The time thing’s an odd one. I generally get the feeling the number journos come up with is higher than what most people say it is – but that could just be because the people who do it in less are so bloody loud about it.

      KG

    • Vinraith says:

      Kieron: A sound point about indies, which just proves that this particular line of logic doesn’t pan out solidly. Fair enough. Anyway, your original point is taken, if Turtlerock only had the resources to knock out four campaigns during the development cycle for the game it was ludicrous for them to have suggested almost any of the add-on content that was brought up in that interview. As an end-user I still can’t shake the impression that L4D was woefully short on content, but as I’ve brought up elsewhere I think that’s a “single player perspective” versus “multiplayer perspective” problem.

      At the end of the day, personally, I find the closest value/money map I can generate is utilizing time played to correlate to value. Not, mind you, length of game, but time I personally spent playing it. A good, short game that I replayed many times is then of more value than a long game I didn’t get very far in to. Still, it’s one of those persistent problems of being a gamer: how to figure out what a given game is really worth to you, especially without having played it yourself first.

      The time thing is, indeed, odd. I’ll grant that I’m a bit of a tourist in action games, tending to want to explore every nook and cranny and take the time to enjoy the view, but it still doesn’t seem like a factor of 2 is a reasonable discrepancy. I’m sure people doing speed runs can beat both, but playing like that’s never held any appeal for me.

    • Gorgeras says:

      As a competitive versus-minded player, I’ll admit that I would have actually have been fine with the amount and length of campaigns if Valve had not been treating Versus the same way Blizzard treats PvP in WoW: an after-thought.

      There were some balance changes that no one wanted, Valve didn’t put any input into the debates on the forums so we had no idea how they justified some of the changes which seemed to contradict their previous statements on it, such as Survivor not meant to reach the safe room most of the time and then they went and significantly nerfed the ability of the Infected to win by attrition. They don’t appear to have cared because they were sticking the fixes in the sequel, whilst adding brand new Survival-enhancing gimmicks that will soon become the cookie cutter behaviour that ruins Versus.

      Along with Demerits and a full SDK toolset for modding, I personally would have been quite fulfilled.

    • abhishek says:

      Vinraith: It’s really unfair to judge the content of a multiplayer game simply by the number of maps it has. What really matters is how much play time one gets out of it. For example, I’m not sure how many maps Counter Strike has, but I can tell you that I have spent hundreds of hours playing the 5 popular ones almost exclusively. It wouldn’t matter whether the game had shipped with just those 5, or whether there are 500 more. TF2 shipped with just 6 maps, and I already had more than 100 hours played before the first class pack was deployed. Even now I prefer PL/PLR maps more than anything. I can certainly understand that having more variety is preferable to players as others will like other maps, but it’s certainly not right to judge a multiplayer game simply by how many maps it has. And in the case of L4D, you have counted a single playthrough of a campaign as the limit of replayability… If I were to say that counter-strike has 15 maps with 3 minute rounds, does that mean the game has 45 minutes worth of content? I can understand if L4D versus does not appeal to you, that’s fine (I actually prefer co-op myself)… but saying that the game is limited in content because it offers a gamer one playthrough of the campaigns is not the right way to look at it.

  43. SwiftRanger says:

    Most ‘professional’ reviewers of L4D1 totally believed new campaigns were coming and they were even giving higher points than usual to the game because of what Valve once said. With all due respect but I find it a bit funny certain journalists forgot about those mistakes.

    Of course, we got some nice stuff (Survival, even if it got old after a while) and some mediocre stuff (Crash Course just doesn’t cut it as something “new” imo) and I thank Valve for that but the biggest shame here is clearly how the old classic campaigns are being left to rot, in both Versus and Coop. I am seeing all kinds of improvements (guns, Special Infected, AI Director tweaks) in L4D2 to stop the ridiculous camping powergaming mindset but yet Valve doesn’t fix those wrongs in the original game which had much more likeable characters than the sequel.

    You know they promised to try and combine both games as well? They better make work of that asap, because the first campaigns are being left for dead for real now… what a waste.

  44. Gorgeras says:

    Can I also just mention that I was strongly critical of Blizzard over them charging for The Burning Crusade when it was announced. My reasoning was very similar: the subscription was supposed to pay for constant updates to WoW, but patches were getting further and further apart. Even simple bug fixes took ages because Blizzard decided against the undeniable wisdom of ‘release early, release often’ as a means to identifying bugs in new patches and instead amassed all intended changes and fixes into giant mega-patches. Beyond access to WoW as it was, we were getting very little for our money and I saw that it was being spent on developing an expansion. We shouldn’t have to pay for the expansion seeing as we already had.

    I was more stroppy than usual during the TBC period. Bitterness over the way Blizzard was using the subscription meant I was even more angry about the constant neglect of PvP and the Shaman class. I joined in the ‘dot-shock’ and got a permanent forum ban.

    Now I’ve changed my mind and playing WoW again. The reason being that Blizzard has not increased the sub price once in five whole years; effectively cutting the price when inflation is taken into account. It’s a mathematical certainty that keeping the subscription static has over time earned players back the price of both expansions. Now if only Valve could do something as impressive.

    • Senethro says:

      Is this guy for real…?

    • Rinox says:

      Let’s make a quick calculation here…

      Taking the cheapest European subscription fee (a 6-month subscription is 11 € per month), one pays 132 € every year of WoW in subscription fees alone. In 5 years time, that comes to a paltry 660 €. Added to that are the prices of the original WoW (50 €) and its two expansions (2 x 40 €), which comes down to a grand total of around* 790 € if one has played, or paid, for 5 years on the cheapest paying schedule and bought the game and its expansions on release.

      Suddenly, buying L4D and L4D2 at a grand total of 60€ on release seems awfully cheap (that’s using pre-order and 4-pack discount and such). I think both games are too different to compare, but praising Blizzard for not being out for your cash is, well, a little bizarre.

      Blizzard, the company whose next two big projects are, for all means and purposes, relatively unchanged updates of Starcaft and Diablo II. Which is fine, if they play well (as I suspect they will). The only difference between SCII, D3 and L4D2 is the amount of time that has passed between them and their predecessor.

      *you could substract a few months from the subscription scheme with the 2-3 that come for free with the game (iirc)

    • Psychopomp says:

      You know those patches in WoW that add dungeons?

      Yeah, those were 30$ expansion packs in Everquest.

    • Rinox says:

      But who playes Everquest anyway, eh? ;-)

    • Nick says:

      Not really, the expansions in EQ were almost all much larger than that and included level cap increases or new spells as well.

    • Gorgeras says:

      Rinnox, I see what you did there and it didn’t work. You either didn’t read what I said or you’re relying on your audience overlooking the money players saved by the sub price not going up.

      Instead your point relies on asserting that ‘MMOs are very expensive’, something which I have not made any claims to the contrary about. You’re arguing with something I’ve never said.

  45. jsutcliffe says:

    What I think about the L4D2 boycott: It’s bullshit, isn’t it? ;)

    The trouble is that I don’t really have strong feelings about L4D2, though I liked L4D just fine. I think the boycott attempt was silly and doomed, but I just can’t muster the willpower necessary to elaborate on that.

    • Vinraith says:

      Framing it as a boycott was a bad idea from the outset. It’s negative, it’s wildly open to interpretation, and since the manifesto changed several times and was all over the place it never felt like anything more than an expression of “nerd rage” over L4D being hung out to dry.

      What would have been considerably smarter would have been a “Save L4D” campaign. Based on the (entirely sound, I think) premise that L4D2 would kill L4D, they should have built a public campaign around pushing for integration of L4D and L4D2 (an idea that’s clearly fallen by the wayside) and a commitment to keep playing L4D instead of L4D2 if that didn’t happen. It’s not so different from what was in the manifesto as it was, but if the focus of the campaign were on SAVING L4D rather than KILLING L4D2, I think it would have gone over considerably better.

    • Gorgeras says:

      Vin, as far as I’m aware the Manifesto only changed once: when the Boycott group closed. It had never been altered before then, but I could be wrong.

    • Gorgeras says:

      Er, I don’t see the Manifesto there Psychopomp? Just because that is the space where the Manifesto was going to be put, doesn’t mean anything that was printed there before was a Manifesto. The Manifesto came later and as far as I’m aware didn’t change at all until the Boycott group closed.

  46. Elman says:

    I’m still not buying it. Not because of the boycott, but mostly because from what I heard it hasn’t changed too much: I want a good L4D sequel with more randomized maps, which make the experience different enough each time to avoid ending up with people who are just “gaming” like it was Counter-Strike, rather than enjoying the ride.

    That’s the whole reason why L4D used to be great, but I can’t get into it now…

    The lack of L4D1 DLC (The new campaign has 2 episodes?) just adds to that, making me not even bother to try L4D2′s demo…

  47. Urahara says:

    I heard a rumour that L4D1 will cost the same per month as it did when I first brought it. Plus we do get with Valve patches that are released quickly and early (which for a server admin can be annoying at times).

  48. Nickosha says:

    Beware of Dell’s deal. I ordered and the estimated delivery date is 12/15. I don’t really mind, but I didn’t expect 3 weeks.

  49. TacoSupreme says:

    It is $30 at dell right now. $50 was too much for me, but I can spend $30 for it.

  50. R3D says:

    i am an australian, pitty me as i have to boycot it on principal not becaus of valve, but because of our clasification boards inability to be consistent or affective. im not buying the edit even if i can hack it back to full.