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Refunded my Deadfire pledge, here's why...


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#1
Jojobobo

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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.

 

Email.png

 

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:

 

The DR stacking bug from Battle Forged offering permanent DR, granting an unfair advantage.

 

The Confident Aim Fighter bug, where they were doing way more damage than intended, granting an unfair advantage.

 

Bash proccing multiple times through Carnage, offering an unfair advantage to anyone wanting to play a Bash shield Barbarian, which I was doing.

 

Stun on crit duration weapons offering ridiculously long durations, causing me to give up at the time on a Stun-locking Rogue.

 

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.

 

Sincerely,

 

A disappointed former fan

 


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#2
SonicMage117

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Prepare to get flamed! People don't like my posts which are generally very positive, I expect them to hate yours and either tell you that you're wrong (even with proof), or that there is no need to post this as it may discourage future fans and that this could be a private matter.

I should mention that I haven't really noticed any bugs myself so perhaps Obsidian bugged your specific copy. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Anyways, glad to hear your experience as your choice is your choice and we as the community have to like it and read it either way but it looks like you may miss out on a buggy sequel .. but a penomonal buggy sequel nonetheless so. Yeah, take that!!!!

Edited by SonicMage117, 19 January 2018 - 02:37 AM.

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#3
Pidesco

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You certainly won't get censored for that post.


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#4
Jojobobo

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You certainly won't get censored for that post.

Thank you, good to know. As I mentioned, I highly doubt that would be your position as moderators or Obsidian's position as a company, but it never hurts to cover yourself so to speak.


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#5
Qumi

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Bugs are part of game development. I haven't spotted that many in Pillars of Eternity I. The more advanced and complex games become, the more bugs. You see it in many other AAA games. Obsidian does a pretty good job at managing and fixing bugs, though. I don't quite understand your hard stance on this. Show me one game released with no bugs. 


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#6
IndiraLightfoot

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Bugs are part of game development. I haven't spotted that many in Pillars of Eternity I. The more advanced and complex games become, the more bugs. You see it in many other AAA games. Obsidian does a pretty good job at managing and fixing bugs, though. I don't quite understand your hard stance on this. Show me one game released with no bugs. 

This^ It's almost a rule that there are bugs of this kind in all kinds of titles. Even worse, I have experienced game-stopping bugs so bad I had to use scripting to get pass them. Examples of games I can think of right off the bat: Skyrim, Might & Magic X, Wasteland 2 and Grimrock 1.

 

But I respect you for sticking to your guns.

 

EDIT: Come to think of it, I have no idea how you can restrain yourselves from not having this sure-to-be super-sweet CRPG in your hands on day 1, since the beta so far, just based on graphics, area design, story/history/culture, music, sound effects, story, dialogue and reactivity, hits the ball out of the park. They just have to nail the combat systems and character building and the game difficulty, and you'll most likely see a classic CRPG in the making. And Obsidian always hammer out bugs for months and even years to come. I suspect that you secretly will buy it, but you wanted to make a stance on this here. ;)


Edited by IndiraLightfoot, 19 January 2018 - 04:13 AM.

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#7
Jojobobo

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Bugs are part of game development. I haven't spotted that many in Pillars of Eternity I. The more advanced and complex games become, the more bugs. You see it in many other AAA games. Obsidian does a pretty good job at managing and fixing bugs, though. I don't quite understand your hard stance on this. Show me one game released with no bugs. 

I think it's more of a case of that I can play other RPGs and not experience bugs in 100 hour playthroughs, whereas I play Pillars and there's some sort of bug - big or small - in every single playthrough I've had.

 

It's also a little based on what one of the main selling points of the game was supposed to be. With Path of the Damned, Trial of Iron and Expert modes the game was marketed at least in part on the basis of offering a challenging experience (which not all RPGs do market themselves as, I would say) - which was its principal appeal to me. As the game has consistently presented bugs, however big or small, that move the game away from the devs' intended difficulty (either making the game unintentionally harder or easier), the game itself for me has stopped being the game that was advertised and promised.

 

And I know that these bugs are avoidable - but they're only avoidable if you know about them in advance, and personally I never did, and its wasted a massive amount of my time. And even if they are avoidable, my choices as a player shouldn't be based around, "Well I can't take that ability because it's bugged, I need to wait on a patch in four weeks time." It should be based around playing the game in a way that I find to be fun and not having arbitrary limitations imposed on me (by having to avoid bugged overpowered features that I was interested in until I realised they were bugged) in order to play a game based around the difficulty levels that the devs intended.

 

The fact that someone can still stumble into a bug like this two and half years down the line (after stumbling into bugs consistently while playing the game previously) has become very frustrating for me, and I would hope Obsidian finds it a little embarrassing. Whether or not people see this as a proportionate response is a matter of debate, but in its simplest form I am no longer having fun with their games for reasons of their own making, and therefore the sensible choice is to walk away.


Edited by Jojobobo, 19 January 2018 - 04:36 AM.

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#8
theBalthazar

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I understand the point of view.

 

Me too, personnally, I have the impression that each new patch added back pedaling, sometimes.

 

But this is not a triple A. If Obsidian knows how to organize, they will learn from their mistakes since POE1. Better organize for bug fixes, and to prevent old bugs from re-appearing. It's about the success of the game, partly.

 

An RPG like this brings a lot of problems for 2 reasons:
- Dialogue quests, with multiple branches.
- Numerals and still conditional numerical values. Which promotes the appearance of bugs.
 
With multiclass the problem is even worse.
But you have to trust Obsidian, they are supposed to better control their tools now.
 
And Pillars is the only heir to serious DnD games. Original Sin is somthing else. (Turn by turn)

Edited by theBalthazar, 19 January 2018 - 04:12 AM.


#9
Jojobobo

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I suspect that you secretly will buy it, but you wanted to make a stance on this here. ;)

Just saw your edit. As I said, "for the time being at least" I'm not happy to buy their products, if they get their act together I'd consider buying it further down the line (though, probably not). I just don't have any confidence in backing it now based on their current performance, and all these kinds of bugs I've experience have really poured cold water on the interest I did have in the game.

 

Another point you raise is that, "Obsidian always hammer out bugs for months and even years to come." I don't see that as a plus, as a game shouldn't be riddled with significant bugs in the first place - like Pillars of Eternity or like Fallout: New Vegas - or if they are they should get most of them in one or two rounds of patching, which wasn't the case in PoE. If there's many unpleasant bugs in the game, for me they tend to outweigh its other positive features.

 

It's like making yourself a really nice sandwich, and then eating half of it only to notice the bread is mouldy. While you might have enjoyed the bits of the sandwich you ate at the time, you're never going to remember the experience in a positive light.


Edited by Jojobobo, 19 January 2018 - 04:51 AM.


#10
Pidesco

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Bugs are part of game development. I haven't spotted that many in Pillars of Eternity I. The more advanced and complex games become, the more bugs. You see it in many other AAA games. Obsidian does a pretty good job at managing and fixing bugs, though. I don't quite understand your hard stance on this. Show me one game released with no bugs. 

I think it's more of a case of that I can play other RPGs and not experience bugs in 100 hour playthroughs, whereas I play Pillars and there's some sort of bug - big or small - in every single playthrough I've had.


 

 

Which RPGs are those if you don't mind me asking?


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#11
Achilles

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I’m assuming you’ve also washed your hands of Bethesda as well then? Their games are horrifically buggy, however they have AAA budgets (and labor pools) at their disposal and don’t even pretend to take narrative seriously.
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#12
Jojobobo

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I would say Skyrim for one. I know you're going to jump all over me, because has been know Skyrim as a buggy game, but I would say in it's current iteration (Special Editions, what have you) you can play for hundreds of hours without experiencing a single mechanistic bug - at least in an unmodded game.

 

While Skyrim has had a much longer development cycle than Pillars and more years to iron out its bugs, it's now from my experience as a player mostly bug free. I'm sure you can still bring a wiki list of all its bugs, and go, "Look Jojobobo, look at all the bugs, you moron!" But that doesn't change the fact that in playing Pillars and playing Skyrim for comparable amounts of time, I've experienced a disproportionate amount of mechanistic bugs in Pillars over Skyrim.

 

I'd say it's also bad that the latest version of Pillars was branded as the "definitive version" (which to me sounds like it should be as bugfree as a Special Edition), and yet there's still a bug in it where a significant and powerful advantage got barred from a character I was playing. Further Skyrim I don't think was marketed as an intricately difficult game like Pillars was, so even if there was a bug that offered a mechanistic advantage/disadvantage (of which I can remember remarkably few in Skyrim) I purchased the games looking for different things in their offered experiences. I didn't expect complex difficulty in Skyrim, but I did in Pillars and that was how it was advertised to a degree, so mechanistic bugs are more galling in Pillars for me than they are in Skyrim (and as I said, there are far fewer mechanistic bugs to be found in the first place).

 

Lastly, I payed less money for Skyrim than Pillars at release (somewhere in the UK was offering at the low price of £25 on initial Xbox 360 console release, for whatever reason), and I also didn't crowd fund Skyrim. When a developer needs a game to be crowd funded even to get it off the ground, fans who backed in natural expect the company to be more beholden to them than their regular fanbase - and companies that choose to crowd fund should definitely anticipate this.

 

While Skyrim is a bit more of a contentious example, take something like BioShock Infinite with RPG elements and there's zero bugs at all. It's certainly much more simplistic than Pillars, and I'm certainly not going to be able to approach the level of customisable depth like you get in something like Pillars, however it's also never going to disappoint me due to bugginess.

 

Complaints are by their very nature idiosyncratic, and what annoys someone can seem like nothing to other people. Every time I design a character build in Pillars, I usually spend 3 or so hours preliminarily testing it out through use of the console and getting every detail I want pinned down, and then I'll jump in and play the game - so it's particularly annoying for me to have that thoroughly planned foresight ruined 27 hours in (and it's not an isolated incident, happening four times previously too). I've never played Skyrim and felt like my character has been mechanistically compromised through a bug (and I'm not saying that they're not there, but they're certainly more buried, more specific examples below). That, to me, is the difference.

 

I’m assuming you’ve also washed your hands of Bethesda as well then? Their games are horrifically buggy, however they have AAA budgets (and labor pools) at their disposal and don’t even pretend to take narrative seriously.

 

I only played Fallout 4 for 30 hours or so because I found it boring, so I doubt I'll be getting their future titles either. Skyrim is still some fun and most of the bugs in the gameplay require you to go looking for them and by doing unintuitive things (taking a Restoration potion before enchanting, or attempting to wear two different specific helmets at once, for example). These bugs are also revocable without even needing to reload a save. In Pillars I did a normal - albeit rare - thing, and I got irrevocably punished for it as all my saves were after the fact. While rarity of a bug is certainly a factor for forgiving a dev, when you layer it on all the not so rare bugs it for me that came before whcih also had this damaging potential this has become the straw that broke the camel's back.


Edited by Jojobobo, 19 January 2018 - 05:51 AM.

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#13
JerekKruger

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I understand where you're coming from with this decision. I wouldn't make it myself but then I guess I am less bothered by bugs and/or don't noticed them. In any case you'll definitely be missed on the character builds subforum for PoE as one of the most active and imaginative posters there. I hope you find another game you can enjoy that's less buggy.
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#14
Achilles

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So no then? Obsidian gets one standard and Bethesda gets another (even though the former is a mid-size indie studio and the latter executes projects with budgets two orders of magnitude larger)? I just want to make sure I’m correctly understanding your commitment rational thinking.
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#15
Jojobobo

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So no then? Obsidian gets one standard and Bethesda gets another (even though the former is a mid-size indie studio and the latter executes projects with budgets two orders of magnitude larger)? I just want to make sure I’m correctly understanding your commitment rational thinking.

As I said, at least all the Skyrim bugs that I can think of are revocable without even needing to reload (Fortify Restoration bug, equipping double helmets, Fortify Marksman potions affecting all weapon types) - just sell the items you made that were crazy strong, even though they sell for a lot money is not of a concern in both Pillars and Skyrim. The only irrevocable bug I can think of is the application of Ancient Knowledge, which rather stupidly offers a bonus to armor rating to all pieces of equipment except Dwarven armor which is was supposed to effect. However, in practical terms many characters hit the armor cap even without this perk - so it's mechanistic impact is minimal if there at all (and it is also very niche it the first place, being a quest perk, etc.).

 

Pillars has introduced an irrevocable mechanistic bug into my character save in the "definitive" version of the game, as it has done on four other separate occasions. If Skyrim had burned me 5 times likes this, I wouldn't be playing Skyrim either. Therefore, no double standard, one standard applied to all companies regardless of size. I'm not going to give Obsidian a free pass just because they're a smaller company, particularly when I gave them some of my money to make the game in the first place. It's obviously a shame, as Skyrim is a more boring game than Pillars and likely Deadfire, but Skyrim never repeatably and severely irritated me either in all the time I've been playing it.


Edited by Jojobobo, 19 January 2018 - 07:06 AM.

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#16
Achilles

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It felt like a “yes or no” question. The mental gymnastics are fun to watch though. Thanks for the show.
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#17
Jojobobo

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No problem pal, I aim to please.



#18
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His money, his decision. Pledging is a sign of trust and confidence and if such exists one is smart to wait till release and make his decision then. 
 


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#19
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As a backer I think it's completely permissible for you to withdraw your support. I however, don't think the expectations you formed at backing were properly formed nor tempered with respect to software development. Obsidian is gracious to allow someone like you to withdraw support, had the investment been a larger non-critical sum of capital, I would not consider your reasons valid to seek reclamation on your investment. Personally I find your reasoning irrational, and had your investment been non-critical I would consider your action to be considered vindicative, and likely in breach of contract as those investments would be further guarded against an eleventh hour turn-tail. So you really should be thankful that Obsidian is gracious with their backing model.


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#20
Jojobobo

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As a backer I think it's completely permissible for you to withdraw your support. I however, don't think the expectations you formed at backing were properly formed nor tempered with respect to software development. Obsidian is gracious to allow someone like you to withdraw support, had the investment been a larger non-critical sum of capital, I would not consider your reasons valid to seek reclamation on your investment. Personally I find your reasoning irrational, and had your investment been non-critical I would consider your action to be considered vindicative, and likely in breach of contract as those investments would be further guarded against an eleventh hour turn-tail. So you really should be thankful that Obsidian is gracious with their backing model.

Thanks for the well voiced criticism.

 

I wouldn't call it gracious of Obsidian to allow for a refund, it's the business model they chose to use, so if they and other people are operating within the confines of what is agreed I think it's my decision and them facilitating my decision is fairly neutral. Crowd funding is weird in that in some ways your making an investment, and in others you're buying a product - and if you weren't happy with a particular product then typically you're allowed to return it regardless of your country of origin. If we do consider it a product, which I do, then I'm not doing anything untoward.

 

In regards to irrationality, I don't agree with you (shockingly) but I can see how this would come across like that. However, I think there is a distinction between bugs that permanently alter the mechanistic state of play (unless you keep like back-up saves for the entire game, and I do keep back-up saves and I still got caught out) and bugs that you can undo trivially. And believe me, I probably spent about two hours trying to rectify this bug (trying to see if there was any way I could reverse the bug and carry on with play as before) but there just wasn't. Possibly there is an option to open up the console, type in 20 lines of code, and resolve this somehow - but that's very immersion shattering and not something I am at all into. Two and a half years down the line, I just don't think this should be happening, particularly when it's happened so much before.


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