So I’ve inserted the email below as proof, editing my email address out. I realise I still have the forum badges indicating I’m a backer, I couldn’t see any way to remove them.
The reason I’ve refunded my pledge is that I’m still finding significant bugs in Pillars of Eternity 1 over two and half years after its release in a version of the game which was marketed as the “definitive edition”, and that has fundamentally undermined my confidence that Deadfire will be any different.
Pillars of Eternity itself was marketed as a difficult game with complex mechanical systems, and while modes like Story Time and the ability to re-spec characters were added after launch, I think it’s fair to say Pillars was designed in part to cater for not-so-casual players expecting a high level of challenge and granular difficulty. Any bug that therefore offers an unfair advantage or disadvantage that was unintended by you as developers compromises that selling point of a difficult RPG that personally piqued my interest in the first place.
The most recent bug I encountered was that Salty Mast prostitutes who you employ at Caed Nua (through a speech check requiring high Con and Dex) no longer offer grant their boon upon sleeping with them. Playing a build with high Dex, I was making frequent use of these Boons because they were free – and now because I can no longer access Lyrinia’s Boon I can no longer access the maximal Might and high Con I was hoping for (more or less a playing with a permanent stat penalty, like a permanent injury almost), which may very well compromise the ability of the build to complete the game as it was a solo Rogue and hungry for Con to stay alive. All my saves were after the bug occurred, as there was no reason at all this should have been a problem.
Even if I can still solo the game, as a player expecting a tough challenge I expect to be able to answer that challenge in the most effective way possible for that particular build, as designing and intricate build and watching it come to fruition is really why I play these games. This has now been fundamentally soured due to an unanticipated bug, with my only options being to wait for a new patch (which I don’t think you want to do given your Deadfire focus, but even if you did I now need to sit on my hands for a few weeks) or restart and play another 27 hours to get my build back to the state it was before encountering the bug, neither of which I’m willing to do.
As an isolated incident you may say this is a bit of an overreaction. However, here’s four other personal instances (for five total with the above bug) where I’ve given up on playthroughs, totalling a loss of more than 100 hours of my free time:
One separate instance of an annoying bug is forgivable, but five separate instances? Not so much. This is all the while ignoring other smaller bugs, such as paralysed figurine creatures appearing on every map when they die – ruining immersion in an otherwise tonally serious game, or enemies starting to attack you when they should be stunned or prone, or the pirate uniforms not looking right on male models still even though many people requested they be sorted before the latest hotfix, or tooltips for abilities being all over the place such that their directly misleading (Rogue abilities saying they’ll boost “damage” and actually boosting base damage), or a whole bunch of other bugs that I’m not in the mood to recount…
While I appreciate nearly all RPGs contain some bugs due to their large scope, and Obsidian isn’t the largest of games companies in the first place and therefore lacks AAA resources, Obsidian is also far from being an indie developer and with the game itself being crowd-funded in the first I expect the company to hold itself to a high standard. While some effort was made to sort these issues out slowly but surely, there really shouldn’t have been this many bugs present in the game on release, and no fan should be telling you they’ve lost 100 hours on bad playthroughs. Even if the current bug were to be fixed, I have no confidence now that I wouldn’t just blindly stumble into another one – and have this same problem all over again.
With all this in mind, I really wasn’t left with much of an alternative but to ask for a refund for Pillars’ sequel, Deadfire. As the kind of fan that did weird stuff like making a build which soloed the game on Expert PotD using only guns as weapons, I would have thought I would be the exact kind of fan you wouldn’t want to lose from the community. I hope this will push you to produce less buggy games in the future, but for the time being at least I’m not interested in buying any of your products.
I find it highly unlikely this post would get deleted by mods, however I will say that social media and games journalism doesn’t look kindly on censorship of criticism, so that’s something you should consider if you were thinking of taking that route.
A disappointed former fan