Mock the Gamer

See what I did with the title there? I called this “Mock the Gamer”, like “Mock the Week”, but I changed one of the words because I’m imaginative and hilarious. I’m angry at gamers at the moment, but I decided to turn that frown upsidedown, open it up a bit and go “ha ha ha” instead.

Stronghold 3 was released on the 28th of October, and I played it just a day later. Suffice to say, this game was on the day I played, and at the time of writing, very broken indeed. It crashed, wolves could besiege your defenses, a town made almost entirely of food production buildings still never has enough food, both unit and building selection is extremely inaccurate, units often get stuck or sometimes don’t respond at all, farmers and woodcutters sometimes finish one cycle of production then get stuck in a building somewhere… let’s just say there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Firefly Studios have not tiptoed around the issues. In a very clear statement, “We are listening and we are working”, the studio declare they will be releasing regular patches until they can fix the issues players are having.

“You may not think it, but we at Firefly pay attention to almost every word you say. Whether it’s a Facebook comment, forum post, tweet or rant on your blog, if it’s about Stronghold chances are that someone at Firefly will have read it. The series has long had a devout following of fans, many of whom have been with us from the very start and we value all your comments…”

It was after reading several pages of dribbling nonsense from gamers and so-called “devout fans” that I genuinely started to feel sorry for the studio. I get a sense that if they just kept delaying the game until everything was fixed and working at its best, they’d be on the receiving end of the same amount of venom regardless. I’m not making excuses for them – I hate games that don’t work and it does make me angry. But Firefly have said they’re roughly aiming to release weekly patches until they can fix these problems. Can I wait a few weeks to play the game? Yes. Is that going to hurt me in any way? No. I am a gamer. I have hundreds of games to play for a few weeks, I have work to do, I have an almost infinite list of possibilities to occupy myself with while Firefly fix Stronghold. But it appears not everyone has what I would call a normal level of patience.

It really does end in “i DEMAN…”, which leads me to believe obelokix actually imploded while trying to string this angry sentence together.

“Demoted to indy developers”, really, this is incredibly redundant. Now more than ever, we have so many talented, experienced developers calling it a day with big studios and going independent. Independent or not is no metric to determine the quality of a game in any respect. “Indy” doesn’t mean a small group of guys working on small-scale games. Three examples: Relentless developed Buzz, that’s a big game. Jagex is an independent developer that employs over 450 staff. And Introversion are so fantastic, that their business cards are made of metal.

“Sub-iPad” is quite interesting as well. Stronghold 3 is so bad, it’s worse than owning an iPad. Christ.

I apologise if it looks like I’m picking on obelokix, but this also made me laugh. I have no idea what the caps lock is for, or what the problem is.


HurricaneBiteMe is so right. Game Developers sit on their arses, throw a keyboard around a room for a few years, call it a game, put a price on it and then go an eat LARGE burger with the money they stole from you. This happened to me once at Assyria, and the burger I ate was so large, I had to have a time out on the sofa in the office while I digested it (true story).

Another thing that irks me is the assumption that no-one tested Stronghold 3, and that is why it’s bad. Even terrible games that seem broken in the most basic ways still get tested by the developers, but there isn’t always time to fix the problems you can see. I believe there’s a high standard to try and get in the games industry (on a paid level). It’s highly competitive, “talentless tools” (as a comment from ‘Dr. D’ calls the team at Firefly) don’t have a way in today, at least not that I can see. Prospective employers often want years of previous experience, a good track record, a stunning portfolio, someone with an excellent attitude, a real talent and passion for their area of work, and in the case of games recruitment agencies, a 2:1 or higher and straight As at A-Level. Talentless tools indeed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve raged at games that are broken, it’s infuriating when things don’t work and I’ve often mused “what the hell were they thinking?”, but with Stronghold 3, I have become abruptly aware of how readily some people assume that when a bad game is released, it means that no-one tried, no-one cared, and everyone involved was stupid.

I have my fingers crossed for Firefly Studios, as do a fair number of other supportive gamers. Keep up the hard work and where needed, the energy drinks, and Stronghold 3 will be able to become the game it was supposed to be!





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