Natural Selection 2 Needs Cash, Asks The Crowd

By Craig Pearson on August 30th, 2013 at 3:00 pm.


I started writing this story just to point out that Natural Selection 2 is going to have a free weekend over the next few days, and that if you hadn’t yet bought it then you should take a look. It’s a really good indie multiplayer shooter that managed to overshadow Aliens: Colonial Marines in every possible way, and they’ve just updated it with loads of new content. There’s new weapons, female player models, better tutorials, and more. There’s a trailer for that below. But there’s also a trailer for a new crowd-funding scheme as well. Unknown Worlds has released free updates for the game since it’s been launched, but as the game’s returns diminish they need cash to continue working on it full-time. The latest free update cost them $550,000. Their hope? That a tiered donation and reward system will recoup some of that expenditure.

UPDATE: Unknown Worlds have responded to some of my concerns. They’re at PAX and recorded a video. I’ve embedded it below.


What they’re asking for is donations in return for things like badges, soundtrack, skins, decals, and some of it is quite expensive for what you get. What I don’t fully understand is why this route is preferable to going free-to-play plus transactions? The argument seems like a company cultural decision rather than a pragmatic choice. When you’re selling things like taunts to players via a rewards system, you already have a system in place to deliver paid-for content to accounts. Isn’t it it easier and potentially more lucrative to just start making hats?

I’m not saying they shouldn’t do it this way, because who knows it might actually work and prove something about fans and communities. And I do hope that they have a community large enough to support this endeavor given how much they’ve done for free, but this sort of reverse Kickstarter just seems like an odd route to take when your future depends on it.

Here’s UW’s Hugh Jeremy responding to a few of my points. It’s a bit rough and ready and was initially only meant for me, but I think there’s no better way to present it than in his own voice.

And here’s the trailer for the new content that should totally make you want to download the game for free. You really should try it if you’ve ever been on the fence. You can grab it for cheap over the weekend and that, to me is, the best way to give money to the developers.

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87 Comments »

  1. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    Breaking story: Indie developer demonstrates why companies charge for DLC! More at 11.

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      Of course, when a game gets split into like 8 different games worth of people who can’t play with each other because they don’t all own the same DLC, and the number of friends I can play with gets whittled down every time they start playing on servers with DLC I don’t have, I realize why I wish mainstream games didn’t charge for DLC and instead did what NS2 does. NS2 is doing the right thing for the players, and it’s asking us to step up and support that.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        Yeah that kind of bullshit is why I can’t ever play a CoD (I buy every fourth or so when Treyarch does it makes it somewhat better than the previous one) or Battlefield for more than a month. As soon as I take a break there’s 30 bucks worth of DLC out and I can’t play anymore because the “hardcore” that stuck with the game for more than a month bought the DLC. Leaving all the newcomers to either pay the double the price the game cost on release or get fucked.
        Free DLC with optional visual upgrades for pay is perfect.

        • latina168 says:

          my co-worker’s step-sister makes $60 an hour on the laptop. She has been out of a job for seven months but last month her pay was $16395 just working on the laptop for a few hours. site ………………http://goo.gl/Q7yvka

      • Bishop says:

        That being said, if it was DLC I could opt out and play the build before they radically changed everything (imo for the worse). Free updates are nice but I kinda bought the old NS2 because I liked that game, it no longer exists.

        • pupsikaso says:

          I don’t think I follow you. Yes, they have made significant changes, but all those changes were very much needed and have drastically improved the game. What is it exactly you do not like?

          • Svardskampe says:

            OP aliens. They balanced resources so marine upgrades were a tad too expensive and aliens too cheap. Plus tunnels. Those months, win-lose ratio’s where 80-20%. Made me stop playing the game, while I did fanatically before (when the rates where 54-46%). Heard it was because they hired a new guy for the job who fucked it all up.

            Their loss, I’ll maybe see if things has brightened up by now.

          • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

            Good news! Ever since this new patch that you’ve decided not to like, Khammanders have been complaining that everything is waaaaaay too expensive for them, which means it’s probably about right.

            See, the nice thing about continuous balance changes is that it helps the game become better balanced- when problems happen, they get corrected. While I agree that it was nice when the winrates had finally come close to even, the gameplay that caused that balance was static and uninteresting- aliens only really had one viable tech tree if they wanted to win without a cheesy 30-second base rush or something of the like. Most of the (fairly interesting) marine tech was also useless, and never seen on the battlefield.

            What build 250 did was make every single tech tree viable for both sides. What the Reinforced patch is doing is balancing out the game now that it has more strategic depth.

    • mishkapatri says:

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  2. KwisatzHaderach says:

    Don’ forget: RPSkulks are still up (on the ceiling) and running:
    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?25-Natural-Selection-2

    Feel free to join our sundayly and thursdayly manbites/mutateddogshoots!

    The game is awesome, get it! Be aware though that due to the last patch the game suffers from a number of technical issues: stuttering, mouse lag, low fps. Not for everybody, but for quite a few people apparently.
    This is because the renderer was rewritten and they released the game for DX11 and OpenGL. Before the patch the game was demanding but ran pretty smooth on most setups. I’m positive that UWE will fix this in the coming days (or weeks). They’ve been pretty quick with their hotfixing in the past. So don’t let that be reason for you not to instantly buy this brilliant piece of software!

    On the article: I was wondering the same thing tbh. As soon as I saw the new Skulk skin a few days ago, I was pretty certain they were going for F2P. This is a rather odd decision that has slim chances of succeeding. 550k is a lot to ask for such a small player basis. And afaik UWE never said they anything against F2P specifically, just against paid DLC. Anyway, it’s an incredibly ambitous and fun game, that is actually pretty well polished too.

    • Heavenfall says:

      Devs need cash -> dump a beta patch on all players, shitting all over some old customers just to sell a couple of new Linux and Steam free weekend copies. If this isn’t a huge red flag I don’t know what is.

      You absolutely should NOT buy a game that gives you subpar performance, suggesting otherwise is ludicrous. NS2 has a long history of bad performance, and there is absolutely no guarantee that these *new issues* introduced the last week are what causes problems for new players.

      • Heavenfall says:

        Subpar based on your own subjective opinion, obviously. If you have great performance then poor performance is obviously not going to stop you from buying the game. But if you DO have poor performance you should not buy the title just to hope it gets improved.

        I’ve got 1100 hours played and backed NS2 from the start (black armor) so I am not sure if you are talking to someone else or replying to me. But none of that matters, because it really is basic logic that you should never ever buy a game that plays poorly on your computer.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        If the Steam forums are any indicator, Heavenfall certainly isn’t making any false allegations about NS2′s poor performance record. Hell, the number of complaints about shitty performance and gameplay issues have kept me from buying NS2.

        If the devs can’t bother to get their shit together, why should the rest of us bother to give them money?

        • Arona Daal says:

          I have a old Rig and had pretty bad Performance about a Year ago.
          With the new Builds i get a decent playable Framerate.You should simply try it.Its a free Weekend.

          I´m more a Fan of NS 1 than NS 2.
          I´m personally not to happy with the new Shotguns,Jetpacks,fixed CC Locations, the Artwork etc.
          But i was pleasantly surprised with lots of smaller Details other ,bigger Studios never bother to polish.
          Imho UWE is a quite dedicated Developer.

        • Apocalypse says:

          If the forums are any indicator than witcher 2 has horrible performance as well, actually even worse I guess than NS2, while the witcher 2 engine has its issues, performance is non of them really. People assume that if their machine can handle one game at “max details” this equals all games.

          But not all games are the same and while NS2 is very CPU hungry, most likely even more so than it would be if they used c instead of lua for some of their code, it is still reasonable playable on any modern gaming PC.
          Still it is a pc game, and not some PS3 port that needs to run on hardware that has been outdated on release already. And just to celebrate modern PC hardware, I will install this game now on a laptop with integrated graphics only, I bet even on this piece of garbage the game will run with at least 20 FPS. (Star Citizen does at at least ;-), so we could talk about bad performance if Natural Selection does not)

          Hmm, besides a few odd frame drops on my desktop, which give me drops from 60 fps down to 8 the game did indeed run fine.

          On that A8-4500m notebook it even managed to get 30 FPS mostly, with a few drops down to still playable 24 FPS. (no noticeable input lag). That is a freaking weak and cheap notebook with just integrated graphics, sure the resolution was just 1360×768 and everything was on minimal, but it is still a decent improvement, considering that on after the gorgeous update even my iMac with a i7 2.8ghz and a hd4850 did not managed much more resolution without getting unplayable in ns2.

          And the game does indeed look a lot better than on release, or even the gorgeous update.

        • Kitsunin says:

          Huh, for me, Witcher 2 is SO feffing bad. I guess because I have an AMD card I just don’t deserve to play it…it’s literally the only game I’ve ever bought and installed that would not run at anything even approximating playable. I mean, I know my graphics card is so-so but it seems odd to be able to play most games on whatever setting I like but that one just giving no damns.

          NS2 on the other hand, has never been a problem, to keep this on topic. Maybe because my processor is actually quite good.

      • starclaws says:

        Ya all the memory leaks and such just made it not worth it. I supported them at the first announcement of ns2 but it seems they should be moving on to a new game now or something looking to the future because ns2 just isnt what made ns1 great. once i saw how large the skulks were and how much slower the combat pace felt. it just wasn’t the same. it went from quake speed to … well… something much slower.

      • mouton says:

        @Heavenfall

        While I understand your disappointment – I have quite old machine too – writing things like “shitting over old customers” makes you sound like someone much less intelligent and respectable than you probably are.

    • Stochastic says:

      I think the issue here is that UWE locked in this free weekend with Valve weeks ago, so they were committed to releasing by August 30th. Given their troubled history meeting deadlines and Hofstadter’s law, I think they should have aimed for a late September release. You can’t expect to rewrite your renderer and make your game Linux compatible without there being lots and lots of bugs to sort through. I love UWE and NS2, but they keep shooting themselves in the feet with some of their decision making. Hopefully they can get all the new bugs and performance issues sorted out soon.

  3. airtekh says:

    It’s worth noting that the 25 copies of the limited edition ‘Onos’ tier at $333 each have already sold out in under 24 hours. NS2 sure has a dedicated fanbase.

    I will certainly be supporting UWE in this endeavour. I had a lot of fun with NS1 – for free – back in the day, and my 22 euro purchase of NS2 has provided me with over 300 hours of entertainment thus far.

  4. michaelfeb16 says:

    Maybe this makes me an ass or the “problem”, but this has caused me to uninstall the game.

    I don’t mind paying for real DLC – stuff like what is released regularly for NS2. Real, significant content. I do mind paying for fake DLC, like PIs sprites and such.

    This comes off as nothing more than an attempt to charge for DLC while claiming some nonexistant moral high ground about not charging for DLC. It seems like they are out of touch with reality, and I can’t see that working out well for the game.

    • KwisatzHaderach says:

      It makes you both an ass AND the problem.

    • Premium User Badge

      Craig Pearson says:

      I’m currently reinstalling it.

    • Aaarrrggghhh says:

      So why not just pay for the DLC you received until now for free? Which you would, by your own words, be total cool with? The “fake DLC” is just an added bonus. All you do is an optional payment for the content you got for free. Or is it that you just need someone forcing you to pay? I think we can find one or two thugs taking care of that.

    • Hahaha says:

      Why would you want to split an already small player base (3,997 current) or make it P2W?

      “The latest free update cost them $550,000.”
      That’s a lot of cash to be spending with no return.

      • Moraven says:

        Agree. They make $4.4 a copy during the sale before taxes and after the Steam cut. Thats 125,000+ more copies they will have to sell.

        Either they need to slim down on their costs or go as much as -50% off.

    • Moraven says:

      Then don’t pay for the sprites? Seeing how its optional.

      Giving everyone new content prevents fragmentation of the already light playerbase. Even games as big as BF3 saw noticeable fragmentation between DLC maps.

      Craig makes the good point. They already push their sales (75% off) during most big content updates. Why not make the leap to F2P and then you always have a source of revenue.

      • Hahaha says:

        I have no idea how they are structured or what they are working on but I would guess that has a big impact on whether a game goes F2P.

        I do think the amount of this one is a little off due to the nature of the patch, doubt it’s normally that much.

      • Aaarrrggghhh says:

        I don’t know how well it would work to make a game which is fully customizable/modable free to play.

    • Benny says:

      The core issue with the type of DLC you’re describing is it will segregate the community into Haves and Havenots. That is exactly NOT what a small indie dev wants to do. Splintering their player base would be the worst decision they could make.

      • derbefrier says:

        I haven’t played the game much but the community seems mature enough not to be so silly as to get butt hurt over a few cosmetics. Path of Exile uses practically the same approach to its micro transactions(minus stash tabs and character slots everything is cosmetic only) and its never been an issue. Its a great way for a developer to bring in extra revenue without splitting the player base. Its really idiotic to see this as anything but great for the devs and community. Looking at is as a haves and have nots thing is extremely childish.

    • Milky1985 says:

      This sounds good to me, the hardcore fans will happily play, tell there mates, who only need the base game to join them in the fun, rather than the current COD/BF way of needing the same expansion level to join in all the maps.

    • Ansob says:

      It’s a donation programme. I don’t know how you find this hard to understand.

      They had something similar with the Constellation programme for NS1, which their newspost even explicitly points out. They’re not selling DLC skins, they’re literally letting you give them money to support them and offering token benefits (like a new skin and forum icon) to show, much like you got an ingame icon in NS1 (or Dystopia on Source, which basically copied its Supporter programme straight from Constellation).

    • Apocalypse says:

      You are not paying for those little gratitude gifts, you are donating for further development of all those free major updates. It is a pay what you want model with little benefits for those who like to have them. You do not even have to get them, there is still to option to just donate whatever amount you want and get no extras at all. Basically it is a post launch kickstarter to reinforce the post launch development.

  5. HexagonalBolts says:

    Seems like some slightly dodgy business decisions here – I doubt the original release made multiple millions, in which case what are they doing making free updates worth half a million? Surely a better way around it – paid for DLC, microtransactions that don’t affect gameplay, or just fixing bugs and putting in community-made maps as official?

    • airtekh says:

      I’m sure there will be many, many people who disagree with you.

      I admire what UWE are trying to do; they could quite easily go the microtransaction + F2P route, but they don’t want to. They trust their community to support them, which is almost unheard of. It may well come back to hurt them, and I really hope it doesn’t because I have so much respect for their philosophy.

      It’s worth noting that NS1 had the ‘Constellation’ program, which was similar to Reinforced, and funded development of NS1 for a couple of years.

      Time will tell if they made the right decision or not.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Don’t get me wrong, I love the game and that they are being so generous – but it seems like they got the numbers really wrong somewhere unless they made, say, 10 to 20 million from game sales already.

      • Moraven says:

        They made $14.5-$19.23 after Steam cut for 300,000 copies for their first 3-4 months. (not sure when the first sale was, sure there was one in there).

        So before taxes lets say they made $4 million in 4 months from release. Not sure if they includes the $1.1m from pre-orders or not.

        Number of Developers: 7 in-house, 11 contractors

        Length of Development: 6 years

        Budget: $2.9M ($1.1M pre-orders, $1.8M investment)

        • HexagonalBolts says:

          yeah, basically, I don’t think it makes sense at that point to do what they have done, but I guess maybe the costs spiraled out of control midway or something

    • Jack Mack says:

      In the video in the post you just read, he said NS2 made over $8 million.

  6. Kollega says:

    “Free-to-play” is too tempting to be exploited, to be turned into “pay-to-win” or “pay-to-enjoy”. So in my opinion, the less multiplayer games use it, the better.

  7. Echo Black says:

    “It’s a really good indie multiplayer shooter that managed to overshadow Aliens: Colonial Marines in every possible way”

    Well, doesn’t take much, really

    • Premium User Badge

      DrScuttles says:

      Most people have likely passed solids that, were you to rate them on a 1/10 scale in terms of satisfaction, aesthetics, challenge factor, entertainment value and socio-political themes, would far surpass Aliens: Colonial Marines.

      • Echo Black says:

        Colon > Colonial, basically

      • Stochastic says:

        Are you familiar with the Bristol stool scale?

        • Premium User Badge

          DrScuttles says:

          Having spent a great portion of my teenage years living near Bristol, I am ashamed to say that I am not.

          However, after a quick google, my evening has been brightened considerably. Colon Marines should probably be a type 7 (watery, no solid pieces), but I’d classify it as a type 6 solely because then I can type fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool, proving how little I’ve grown up. Oh, and there’s probably blood.

          • Nick says:

            My stools always keep their promises and, thankfully, never show stuff that isn’t in the final product.

          • Muzman says:

            Great, now you’ve all got me comprehending what a highly misleading ‘vertical slice’ of stool might be.

          • smb says:

            Let’s just say the texture quality is not up to par.

  8. Arithon says:

    I know this is a bit radical, but… release 33% of the game for free with an offer price to buy the other 66%. If your game is any good, people will throw money at you and you’ll have the cash to develop and ship the other two thirds. We’ll call it “ShareWare”…

    ..party like it’s 1994 !!

    • Snargelfargen says:

      It’s a multiplayer-only game,so that would split the playerbase.

      A great game by the way, and absolutely incredible fun if you can get some friends together over lan or skype.

      • Grey Poupon says:

        That wouldn’t split the playerbase the same way a DLC would actually, since the players playing the free version are people who wouldn’t be playing at all otherwise.

        • Aaarrrggghhh says:

          Then why don’t they just buy the game at 75% and get 100% of the game instead? Sounds like a better deal to me…

  9. Moraven says:

    They need to start to working on community based maps as part of the official map rotation. Do a contest , Top 2-3 become official after being touched up .

    Wonder how much the Linux version cost them to make.

  10. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    One of the greatest things about Unknown Worlds is they seem to be against these F2P gimmicks. I bought the game, that’s it. Expansions, sure, but the old-school-ness of NS2 is one of its biggest draws. No gimmicks, released server, moddable, free updates. It’s pretty awesome. Unfortunate that they are struggling financially, but I’m glad they aren’t abandoning principles and doing that F2P thing.

  11. Bine says:

    So glad it’s payday. I might not play this game a ton but I LOVE the way they operate. So going to throw them the money for the shadow skulk skin.

    • squareking says:

      This. Their model (and the sale, tbh) are pushing me over the line. They seem like awesome gentlepeople and I loved my hours in Tremulous…never played NS1, though.

  12. peter says:

    Did he really say February 31st? Or did I just mishear that?

  13. subedii says:

    One thing I just want to add in on the side, is that NS2 actually has one of the more welcoming online communities by far.

    I suspect you’re not going to see that in effect during the free trial, but just in general, if you’re new and have questions to ask, then ask them. Most of the people in the game want to build a strong community, and help out new players to that effect. They style of the game (emphasis on strategy and teamwork well beyond most FPS’s that make that claim) probably helps contribute to that.

    Also, if you’re interested in some general NS2 shoutcasts to see what the game is generally about and looks like to play, this is generally a good place to get you started:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/NaturalSelection2HD

    They should be uploading tournament videos soon.

    • Zephyrbal says:

      As an example of how welcoming the community usually is, I was playing a number of games earlier and, due to the free weekend and sale, there are a ton of rookies. We got a rookie commander and frankly he was going to lose us the game. We were helping him out, but there’s only so much you can do. One person initiated a commander eject vote, but instead of jumping on board everything told that guy to cut it out, because everyone has to learn some time, and the sooner the better.

      I’ve seen variations of the same scenario, with someone being given shit for their play and being defended instead of ganged up upon dozens of times all the way back to the beta. I don’t think it’s because we who play NS2 are particularly nicer people, it’s just that you have to play as a team to win, and the game encourages that so heavily that we’re all given the incentive to foster that kind of behavior.

      Today’s noob is tomorrow’s elite commando/alienbugdog

      • Apocalypse says:

        To be fair this attitude change drastically and rightfully once you hit the severs that are not marked as rookie friendly. Still as long as you warn everyone, people are not angry with bad commanders, but non the less they may kick you and switch to someone who knows what he is doing if its getting to bad.

        Still, rookie friendly servers are indeed rookie friendly and this is a good thing.

        • Svardskampe says:

          And pleaae let it stay that way. Rookie servers are rookie servers, and there are so many of them it’s actually hard to get into a nonrookie one. If a commander there then does not know how upgrades work….>.>

  14. Premium User Badge

    Colonel J says:

    “You really should try it if you’ve ever been on the fence.”

    Hello yes that’s me fence-sitting through the last many times it’s been on sale and thinking I’d probably really like this but I don’t have time for another MP game at the moment. Oh all right then, you got me this time.

    What previously tipped me from maybe to the ok-no-thanks side of the fence was going to the Steam game page and each time seeing the review quote that says ‘it’s a genius mash of Starcraft and Counterstrike (Kokatu)” Please god no. Obviously fuck what Kokatu thinks about anything, but talk about how to turn off an impulse buyer.

    • subedii says:

      What about that specifically concerns you? I mean I can see where the comparison makes sense, at least compared to most games. It’s a sci-fi FPS with a strategic meta-game reminiscent of an RTS.

      Basically 2 teams, each team has a commander which gives general orders to the rest of the team, sets up build order requests, deploys certain abilities, things along those lines. Gameplay is very teamwork oriented, and both in and out of the commander seat you’re thinking of the general meta-game. Capturing and hold resources points to giove you the means to build and upgrade, and tech points (basically alternate base locations) to give you access to higher tiers of technology. And try to deny the enemy their resources and bases whilst you’re doing this.

      Gameplay changes pace over the course of a match as the two sides set up in entrenched positions on the map, with team mates working together to try and take down bases and create their own footholds. And in between there’s general communication, scouting, and attempting to harass and divert attention from key areas (in a match where there’s 8 players a side, a lone scout that manages to divert a few crucial units can make all the difference to an assault).

      In all though I can describe it, but you’re really better off just giving it a try yourself this free weekend.

    • mouton says:

      lol, such a quotation would have turned me away too, had I took notice

      At least they didn’t write “it’s a mix of Call of Duty and Halo Wars”

  15. Cytrom says:

    I think they should just jump into the humble indie bundle madness… they might be surprized how much money they make and how much bigger their community grows.

    • Brute says:

      You realize that they teamed up with Wolfire in 2010 to sell the “Organic Indie Preorder Pack”, which later evolved into the Humble Bundles? So they were basically the ones starting it. Also this whole donation thing is handled by the Humble store, so I am confident that they know about it.

  16. Frank says:

    Props to dude for ad-hoc video response.

  17. Grover says:

    One of the easiest games to be utterly destroyed in if you face a super serious pro (which you will due to the small community). Lots of pub bashing in this game. And team stacking. If you can get over that the base game is good minus the elite of the community.

    • mouton says:

      Decent servers have random teams voting, so.

      • subedii says:

        Yeah I played a game with lots of new players last night. First thing the more experienced players did was initiate a randomise vote so that everyone would be on more even footing.

  18. mouton says:

    In recent years I have played two “hardcore” FPSes – Tribes: Ascend (F2P model) and Natural Selection 2. F2P crippled and unbalanced Tribes: Ascend time and again, as they had to make more and more broken/unbalanced/unnecessary items in order to sell them to the players. NS2 is one complete game with no “premium” parts that get more attention, thus resulting in a much better design and balance.

    Basing on these experiences, while NS2 model might not be financially viable in the long term, it is vastly superior from the perspective of how the game actually plays.

  19. ArmouredGRIFFON says:

    Just going to mention that the real reason I and my friends didn’t buy this game is that it doesn’t at all cater to a competitive community. The match-ups force you to play as the aliens each game. I don’t want to play as an alien race and I believe the game would have benefited hugely from some marine v. marine and alien v. alien match-ups. Like in the Starcraft system, but when I posted the concept on the forums I was assured that this game wasn’t at all designed for competitive play. Which means I could ‘beat’ the game in what, a week? That is how they lost my purchase. There was so much potential for this game but it got thrown folly to the trash.

    • mouton says:

      “beat” the game? What are you talking about? How does team asymmetry make it possible to “beat” a team multiplayer game?

      • subedii says:

        Presumably he means that he only ever wants to play marines, with the belief (I’m guessing) that truly hardcore competitive play only knows one side to be fully expert in, because it’s so dedicated, which is where I presume the Starcraft comparison is meant to be coming from.

        Which I guess he’s entitled to his opinion. I just think it’s rubbish. You don’t “beat” a game just because it’s asymmetric, any more than one beats Company of Heroes or Left 4 Dead. You play the people opposite you, and their expertise with the tools available to them (which extends to both sides of play in NS2).

        Heck, even DOTA forces asymmetric teams in that no character can be present twice in a match (which is also why counter-picks and bans are so important). And the high tier players (well, all players really) certainly have their “mains”. But they play a variety of characters and roles as necessary in a team game depending on who they’re playing against and their overall strategic plan, and that all contributes to the meta-game.

        In general I don’t get that whole “beat” the game comment. The only real thing I can make from that comment is he means either “master” the game or “get bored with”, neither of which really makes sense to me. Any more than chess is supposed to because your opponent is the same pieces.

        I could continue, but I suspect if I continue down this line more I’m going to raise the ire of angry Starcraft fans.

    • Nethlem says:

      You can’t beat this game and on whatever forums have have been, it certainly haven’t been UWE’s NS forums. There are even several sub-forum dedicated to competitive gaming.

      Not to mention that i seriously doubt that anybody on that forum, ever, even uttered the sentence “this game wasn’t at all designed for competitive play”. Even implying anything like this, would trigger an harsh reaction by the, very vocal, parts of that communities competitive part.

      This goes even as far that they claim their “competitive balance” is the most important goal for the game.
      They don’t care that the game looks like a unplayable mess to any new player, they don’t care about learning curves, they don’t care about “public play” and as such they do not care about an mainstream audience.

      In every case where a decision boiled down between “make the game more fun/easier to learn” and “keep some subjective competitive balance” the latter won out. The result is a game that could be described as the “EVE Online” of the MP FPS games..

  20. MayhemMike says:

    what an awesome response by the dev, I love those guys

  21. Zorthos says:

    I really do think this guy is great. I met and spoke to him at Eurogamer about Natural selection 2, he’s at nearly every event. They hate the idea of having Booth babes who have no idea about the game and the rest of the guys there were fans and Volunteers. They’ve got a great presence at every event they go to and I hope it pays off.

  22. iamgenestarwind says:

    i dont like NS2 and i dont think you should buy it i bought it because it was on sale how ever that was a mistake it is a plain boring game with lots of problems first alot of the time there is no commander but that is a small problem the biggest is that it is boring

    the marines get a small axe a hand gun and a machine gun the aliens get well nothing really they have fangs and claws no ranged weapons some how you build a thing you can get or build buildings that unlock classes how i dont know and no one on my team did

    the marines base has AI machine gun turrets AI rocket launchers and a machine that makes mini tanks that go to alien base and attack the main builds

    the alien base has giant tentacles which smack ppl if they get close enough

    later on the marines team got mini mechs with guns rocket launchers and they could kill you with their bare hands

    the alien i was had fangs to bite i did find a building that made it so i could bite much faster :P
    how you get to be a different alien i dont know other players said hit the b key on the keyboard i did but the other alien classes where all locked or unavailable

    the game was pretty silly how so my team of 3 ppl, later on 5, run to the marines base and smashed the main power node so their stuff, the AI turrets didnt have any power 5-20 mins later two of the marines got mechs and so with 1 marine with a machine and 2 mechs killed all 5 of us very easly some of us respawn only to be killed again later on i did get a better alien but again he had no ranged attack

    the marines are so overpowered i makes me mad another player i talked to said o you see playing the aliens is harder and so more interesting things being so one sided isnt interesting at all

    if you have not bought this PLEASE do not do so there are many better games out there everquest II is free and it is more interesting Hawken is a much better first person shooter and it is free too
    dont pay for poorly made, plain boring games

    i can play the Quake 3 arena demo with other ppl for free and its still better more interesting with more options the graphics are only some what worst and i can do many more things in it and oh did i tell you that its free :) yeah i did

    there isnt any point in paying for poor games when you can get better for free or better at lower prices
    i would not mind paying more for a game but that game would need to be very good or great this game isnt even good

  23. Nethlem says:

    Forget the free to play part, the game does not even need to go free to play, that would be overkill and involve way too many design changes.
    But the community has been asking for Microtransactions to buy visual fluff for like.. ages.
    They would pay for anything from skins, to UI’s, sounds, badges, colored laserpointers or even a giant flashing arrow over their model.

    Yet UWE keeps on insisting that Microtransactions are not an option, due to the lack of account structure and similar complications, essentially they don’t want to lay the groundwork for all this.

    Now they are trying it with Macrotransactions, because they can’t be bothered to figure out any long term financing model for their game. Depending on sales alone, for an niche multiplayer-online game, that’s screaming failure so it’s no surprise they are now trying this.
    But this will fail, it won’t grow the community and even the NS community at some point will be bleed dry from this.

    They could have gotten into contact with Valve, to figure something out about how to handle accounting, laid the groundwork for a Microtransaction system, sell recolored skins for cheap “impulse buy prices” below $5, have a market where they can constantly throw in new “stuff” when they need some money.

    Instead they are now basically selling:
    An decal = $20
    An Marine skin + decal = $40
    3 Skins + decal = $75

    Seriously wtf? Nobody, except the most rabbit parts of the fanbase, gonna buy into these prices.
    And once all the super-fans got their share, as seen by the $333 option selling out instantly, the moneyflow will dry up once again.

    Most people would have no problem logging into some kind of account, if they at least can buy some visual fluff for small money. But $20 these days, that can essentially be 2 very good other indie games, that’s a lot to ask for.

    This whole concept has no sustainability at all. It once again just depends on the goodwill of the community of basically “donating”, while offering a horrible price-performance ratio to the average customer, who does not want to simply “give his money away”.