Valve Offer L4D2 DLC Early If Players… Uh Oh

By John Walker on July 7th, 2011 at 9:52 am.

Valve fans, excited by the news.

You know what always goes well? When Valve offers to release something early if only customers do something for them. That’s something with a solid history. Leaping onto this unwaveringly endorsed theme once more, Valve have announced plans on the Left 4 Dead blog to release Dead Air from community-co-created Cold Stream DLC pack early if enough people bug test the new campaign for them.

This next DLC is a big one. Along with the campaign created by community member Matthew Lourdelet, they also plan to release the three remaining campaigns from the original L4D so they work in L4D2.

So if more than 20,000 people gain the “Stream Crosser” achievement, awarded for completing the beta of the new campaign, by this Sunday, they’ll release L4D1 campaign Dead Air early. On 22nd July. Nothing can go wrong!

This is all only good for the PC version, which is available today (for another 8 hours) at 75% off. Which is £3.74. Which is a very tiny amount of money.

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83 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    P7uen says:

    This sort of thing is fine.

    Anyone who complains is a horrible man or woman.

    • Tuco says:

      Yeah, nothing wrong with it.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      There’s nothing wrong with it because it’s “do X of Y and Z happens” where all three are quantifiable, rather than “do what we have arbitrarily determined to be enough of something and maybe some of some other thing will happen.”

    • steviesteveo says:

      The thing they’ve done right here is set a simple bar value — if 20,000 people get an achievement then something happens. The Potato ARG nonsense was a bar that you were playing to make speed up and then people were frustrated that they couldn’t see that their gameplay was having any impact (although, complaining that you played video games and nothing tangible happened as a result seems incredibly meta to me).

    • Meat Circus says:

      Anyone who gets upset at this sort of thing is worse than Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks (nee Wade).

    • LionsPhil says:

      Also it theoretically has a fairly direct effect, assuming somewhat optimistically that they’ll actually take note of bug reports from the period to improve the map.

      …although when I played it last night partly for Summer Camp purposes I noticed some missing textures, so I guess all the testing it’s had so far has only been so helpful. And L4D2 is not the kind of game where I could just take a moment to start filing a bug report where I stood.

    • SaVi says:

      I want to complain. About the horrible Censorship this game went through over here.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      I want to complain. About the horrible Censorship this game went through over here.

      Thanks for sharing but I expect complaining to the politicians responsible for your censorship laws requiring said censorship in the first place may be slightly more productive.

  2. Tuco says:

    “Nothing can go wrong”.

    Oh God, we are doomed.

  3. Ian says:

    This is exactly the same as genocide or stabbing babies, that’s what I say.

    • Baboonanza says:

      No it’s worse than that. It’s like pushing a cat into a bin!

    • Premium User Badge

      P7uen says:

      No it’s worse than that. It’s like sternly wagging your finger at a naughty hedgehog!

    • McDan says:

      Far worse than even that! It’s as bad as (whisper it) looking sternly at a cat for a few seconds then turning away.

    • Wozzle says:

      Far more heinous than that, it’s like making a toddler watch the scene in Harry Potter 7 part 1 where Dobby dies.

    • Vague-rant says:

      Even more abominable than that. Its like pissing on a snowman.

    • RF says:

      Even worse than that, it’s spoiling that Harry Potter movie for a toddler and then taking it’s eyes out so it CAN NEVER WATCH THE MOVIE.

    • Donjonson says:

      It’s worse than throwing a rabbit into the Liffey. WORSE THAN THAT.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      Worse than that sir, it’s like throwing hot tea into the queens face. Worse than that

    • Eukatheude says:

      And that’s why i read RPS.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Rinox says:

    20.000? I’d imagine that’s a breeze for a game like L4D2.

    • Snesso says:

      Well that’s actually quite a lot imo, but since its the same achievement for the summer ticket, I’m sure 20k will be reached

    • steviesteveo says:

      I’m quite looking forward to having a concrete value to work out the number of people who have the achievements (eg. 79% of players have the Acid Reflux achievement and what does that mean in old money?)

    • Synesthesia says:

      it should hit the mark in no time, because of the achievment. I did it, just because of it, i only just now learn about the early dlc. Glad i chipped in.

  5. Heliosicle says:

    It would be fine if it was possible to find a server to play on.

  6. Tei says:

    If a exclusive is wen you sell a limited amount of X ( exclusive item, only 100 units ). This is like the reverse of a exclusive, a evisulcex (read as: evil-suck-exc), because is only available if people ‘buy’ more than 100 units.

    Seems fair to me. Meta-game. And the like.

  7. CMaster says:

    If the campaign is available to beta-test anyway, then it’s hardly a big deal, as anyone who wants their hands on it now already has it.

    • dragonhunter21 says:

      I think the deal here is that if the 20k people play through Cold Stream, then they release the DLC ahead of time. The DLC contains Cold Stream, plus the remaining original L4D maps converted for use in L4D2.

  8. thegooseking says:

    It makes a sort of sense. More beta testers means the testing process should go faster, so it can be released earlier. But “completing the campaign” doesn’t necessarily involve actually testing it in any useful way, so you’re likely to just get a lot of people pretending to test. Which makes it a bit rubbish.

    • Premium User Badge

      wengart says:

      That’s what I thought too. The solution I made for it was that Valve is using Steam to track player actions within the campaign and they plan to reveal bugs by weight of bodies.

    • Gnoupi says:

      At this point it’s more of a volume testing. There were probably lots of rounds of internal, careful beta testing, with people actually checking things around.

      So this kind of careful testing was done, but some little things can go past that. So a volley of 20000 players going through the campaign is a good idea, since you will have in the mass some going in ways not intended to.

    • steviesteveo says:

      I’m not sure what pretending to test really looks like. If 20,000 people complete a level in slightly different ways and they get to the end and finish the level as expected, doesn’t that just mean the level works?
      The achievement should tend to make people playing Cold Stream and have it bug out complain to Valve more: “I tried to mêlée a charger on a ramp halfway through and my screen went green, give me my achievement goddamnit”.

    • thegooseking says:

      Well, I’d say one aspect of pretending to test is seeing a bug and ignoring it, because they just want to get to the end for that achievement and don’t want to take the time to properly report it. Another aspect would be playing ‘normally’ and not looking for the edge cases where bugs are most likely to be extant, again because they just want to finish it for the achievement.

  9. Teddy Leach says:

    Don’t they remember the ARG? Don’t they think Sunday might not be long enough?

  10. Kolchak says:

    Anyone else disappointed with Left 4 Dead 2? It seems like I’m the only one who feels this way but I think Left 4 Dead 1 had better pacing. Left 4 Dead 2’s director loves to throw the “Uncommon Infected” enemies all the time and it makes those enemies not seem as special. I also feel like L4D2 throws more hordes of Zombies at one time which makes the game slower.

    I just feel like Left 4 Dead 1 was a faster and tighter game. There were more periods of silence and idle zombies standing around which made the full attacks more memorable to me.

    • Gormongous says:

      I agree, although I think that melee weapons and adrenaline are just as big culprits. I remember taking time to set up near a crashed plane in “Dead Air” and feeling like a real fire team. That focused, meditative feel is much rarer in L4D2, though I play it as much or more.

    • skinlo says:

      They do play slightly differently, L4D1 has better maps, but overall I enjoy L4D2 more than 1, as the new special infected balance out the game a bit, especially stopping closet camping. Non special infected aren’t meant to be special really.

    • Nick says:

      Yup. That and I hated the (now apparently fixed, but that does me no good) weapon viewmodels being at ear height and the lack of legs. I think I only played through it twice at most in MP, compared to countless times for L4D1.

    • Tei says:

      I played L4D1 for Zoey, and the great game around the girl. Also the weapons. Most people liked the L4D2 weapons, but I like the first ones much more.

    • KenTWOu says:

      L4D2 “The Sacrifice” is much better and a lot faster than L4D1 “The Sacrifice”. And I feel the same about whole game.

    • Fumarole says:

      For versus the second game is better hands-down simply because of the new special infected.. Even more so once all of the original campaigns are available.

  11. bonjovi says:

    It’s just open beta test, but cleverly marketed. well done valve.

  12. Anguy says:

    So If they are going to release the old Left 4 Dead 1 campaigns for L4D2 anyway (which I already own) there is no need to buy the cheap version of L4D1 today or am I wrong?

  13. Theodoric says:

    Things like this are why I love RPS and all you guys

  14. Greg Wild says:

    This is absurd, and might destroy the whole game as we know it. Personally, I think that everyone who pre-ordered L4D2 should have a Valve employee act as a footstool. It’s the least they can do for breaching my human rights.

  15. Similar says:

    Interesting timing; the bug I found in Cold Stream yesterday made it impossible to finish the campaign (couldn’t get out of a safe house after a new section had loaded). That bug wasn’t there when I played it some weeks ago.

    • MaXimillion says:

      If it was on the last map, you have to use the radio, then wait a while and use the radio again. Nothing actually happens the first time you use it, I think some sound files aren’t playing properly.

    • Similar says:

      yeah, I got through today. The radio does seem pretty wonky; seemed like I had to approach it from a certain angle to be able to turn it on. Cold Stream seems to have a good number of iffy collision meshes, but I don’t know if that was the problem.

  16. RagingLion says:

    There is nothing remotely contentious here. Just giving players more agency in the meta-game (i.e. being able to have a say in the outside of game calls). They did it with the whole Portal 2 releasing thing and that was fine.

  17. airtekh says:

    Yay Dead Air!

    Been waiting for the rest of the original campaigns to surface. Might do my part to speed up the process later on.

  18. Chorltonwheelie says:

    £3.74!
    I’m in.

  19. zeroskill says:

    VALVe again with their tastless community integration! First Mod-Tools for every game, free DLC and now those basterds let us test play WIP stuff? HOW dare they? I guess next is they throw their below average games at our faces for free! OUCH! Something hit my face just now. Lets have a look what it is. OH look its a copy of Team Fortress 2! Darn you VALVe! DARN YOU! We want 15 euro map packs! Pitchforks and torches everybody!

  20. GHudston says:

    At least they’ve specified what they mean by “early” this time, because the Portal 2 early release felt like one of GLaDOS’s “surprises”.

  21. Unaco says:

    Way to go Valve… pissing on Professional Game Testers. Can you guys do nothing right?

    P.S. This was a joke.

    I haven’t got L4D1 or 2 yet, but for cheap like that, I could be tempted. Are they up on Direct2Drive, GamersGate, or GetGamesGo? I have accounts with them… don’t want to make a new login/password/account for this Steam thing.

    • Kaira- says:

      I don’t think any Valve game is available on any other DD service. Plus you need Steam to play them. Shitty thing, but not much you can do if you want to play them.

  22. Vinraith says:

    I can’t fathom why they think the “early release” promise is even a necessary motivator being as there’s a “summer camp ticket” attached to the Stream Crosser achievement. I’d think tht would be more than sufficient to drive people to play through it, probably far more so than the promise of releasing a campaign everyone’s already played a few days early.

  23. Robin_G says:

    This kind of thing is stupid, but fairly harmless. I’m not going to bother though, last time I loaded up cold stream it made my framerate fall through the floor. Completely unplayable.

  24. Elmar Bijlsma says:

    This is fine and dandy. But the wait is on for the first company that offers unlocks in return for the overthrow of government.

  25. juliainleuven says:

    I tried to get the Stream Crosser achievement but at the last minute I got swamped by zombies while my boyfriend heroically ran for the chopper. Guess who’s not invited to the zombie apocalypse.

  26. Jahkaivah says:

    I wonder how the first rooftop heavy part of Dead Air is handled with regard to Chargers.

  27. The Innocent says:

    Well, I got the achievement last night with a pair of mates and a random filling out our team. The finale seemed more tricky than the standard L4D2 endings. So I’ve done my part. I’m curious to see if 20,000 people will really accomplish this in such a short span of time.

  28. ChampionHyena says:

    Seventy comments, but not a one on how awful Cold Stream actually is?

    • Kaira- says:

      Thinking of the same. It was really hard to navigate and well, quite bland. Yes yes, it’s beta, but still. Did not like.

    • skinlo says:

      Its not awful. Might not be as good as some of them, but that doesn’t make it awful.

    • alice says:

      Disagree. The climax of the second map with the long tunnel and stairwell was to me the most challenging thing I have seen in a campaign and a lot of fun. Would be grand to play through it with unlimited ammo m60s or in versus mode.

  29. Daniel Klein says:

    Holding content hostage is the new black.

  30. deadpan says:

    I can’t wait to smoke people off rooftops in Dead Air again but I feel sorry for all the new players who are now wandering through the barely playable mess that is Cold Stream.

  31. DrSlek says:

    The latest ATI drivers have been having a conflict with the source engine on my PC. The driver crashes every now and then. It recovers and the game keeps playing, but I lose about 10 seconds of play time….10 valuable seconds were lost last night on the finale of Cold Stream as I was running to the chopper. When the driver recovered, a single survivor had made it into the chopper, I was on the ground and a tank was having its way with me.

    I’ll try for the ticket again tonight.

  32. jacobvandy says:

    Considering that achievement also gets you a Summer Camp ticket, there will be no issue reaching double that figure by this weekend.

  33. MultiVaC says:

    You know, after reading the headline I thought for a second that they were going to make us “like” the game on Facebook to make the DLC come out earlier as is popular with publishers these days. I was all ready to to be disappointed in Valve. This is actually not so bad at all, in fact it almost makes sense that a large number of people being able to complete the campaign without major issues is a bit of a benchmark for it being ready.