[Community] Wild West Online, Another Bad Weekend, and Humble Pie On Refunds

Wild West Online might be the worst game of 2017, and its alpha weekend rollout might be the worst pitch to buy a game that I have seen since The WarZ did it years ago, but I have to give some kudos to the team. Let’s talk.

This weekend marked the second alpha test weekend for Wild West Online, a game that I have not shown much mercy to. The first weekend was written off as a technical test, an idea that I fully rejected at the time and will continue to do so. Once again, it doesn’t matter what WWO Partners calls the weekend. From the perspective of a customer, I don’t really care that all you were hoping to do was test server capacity and various other bugs. WWO offered two weekends to test the game before the guaranteed refund period passed, after which you’re out of luck and stuck with whatever the game gives you.

This is, regardless of what you or the community call the weekend, a trial period for the product, where you’re trying to convince people that the game will be worth their money. To present the offer of two whole alpha tests to figure out of the game is worth keeping your pre-order, and then to turn around and showcase that with much of the game’s content turned off, is at the very least mildly insulting. It’s like a restaurant offering free samples on its soup, but the sample itself is an uncooked piece of an onion that was part of the recipe. It’s a poor indicator of the full product and you start to wonder who in the kitchen decided to use this to gauge consumer interest.

The second alpha weekend did some polishing on the first, but didn’t really add anything new. As a result, I once again have to conclude that there isn’t enough in the game to warrant buying it at this stage, and that the preview weekend wasn’t enough to convince me that the game can’t go entirely south before launch.

I will give kudos to the team for holding up their end of the bargain this time. After seeing how little progress had been made with the second weekend, I submitted an email to Xsolla’s support with a simple message with my receipt code and game key and asked for a refund. I received it, barely a half hour later. I’ve offered my doubts on Xsolla and Wild West Online, especially after how the refund policy for WarZ was botched, but I will give credit where credit is due: They held up their end of the bargain and gave me my refund with no questions asked. Looking at the forums, it appears that other users also aren’t having an issue getting refunds as well and most are receiving responses within a half hour as well.

So kudos for that, Xsolla.

[Community] Wild West Online, Everquest Next, and Guaranteed Refunds

I refuse to advocate or advertise Wild West Online’s preorder scheme, but I am going to tell you why I don’t trust buying into it and how it all comes back to Everquest Next, zombies, and Sergey Titov.

As one of the most incompetent and shady developers in this industry, MMO Fallout takes great caution when covering any game that even smells lightly of Titov’s touch. The rumors that he was involved in Wild West Online’s development, in fact just the idea that the game is using the engine that his company made, is enough to warrant intense scrutiny. If you’ve been following the game’s impending alpha launch, then you’re probably aware of the next “too good to be true” marketing trap: The guaranteed refund.

Let’s look at Wild West Online’s guaranteed refund policy, shall we?

So, up until the second phase of Alpha testing, we’ll let you refund your early bird purchase with no questions asked. This gives you a chance to play the Alpha yourself, and opt-out if you think the game won’t develop into the game you wanted. There are no restrictions on amount of time you have played, and there are no limits on how long you owned the game — so long as you decide before September 27, 2017 you will be granted a full refund.

Sounds great, right? No questions asked refunds for the first alpha wave, what could possibly go wrong? Well, let’s go back to Titov’s The War Z, which also had a no questions refund policy going into its alpha. The thing about getting rid of that policy so early in development is that developers tend to promise features that are coming if players just hold on a little longer, until after the refund window has passed. War Z waited until beta and launch day to implement some of its more egregious cash shop items, including the four hour respawn timer, making unpopular changes and refusing to implement features that it promised would be available for launch if players just held off on hitting that refund button.

Even more, let’s take a look at Daybreak Game Company and Everquest Next: Landmark, a game sold entirely on the premise that if you wanted a refund during alpha, you could have it with no questions asked. Of course, it wasn’t until after the refund window passed that Daybreak would announce the cancellation of Everquest Next, Landmark’s sole reason for existing, and basically doom the game to an early death while simultaneously telling players “hey, we offered you a refund window and you didn’t accept it. Tough luck.”

Steam has a refund window of two hours of gameplay, fourteen days after purchase, with exceptions in the case of developer malfeasance. Rather than buy into, and vicariously promote, players supporting a system that will present them with a completely unfinished game, one that has historically used a disguise of customer friendliness to hide a system that can be easily abused and then defended under the premise that the customer should have known that the product was incomplete, I’m going to go with this website’s running policy: Don’t preorder on a system that looks too good to be true.

And to wrap up, I don’t trust a refund system by Xsolla as far as I can throw the company (and if you haven’t figured out, I can’t throw things far). Once again, let’s go back to a name that finds itself on some of the industry’s sleaziest con jobs, and talk about the War Z’s guaranteed refunds. Back in 2012, War Z had a guaranteed refund policy which Xsolla promptly rendered moot by denying refunds. They pulled every excuse out of the book, from losing orders, not being able to find accounts, transitioning companies, and even quoting the terms of service saying that all sales are final.

The one that Hammerpoint copied from League of Legends.

So with Sergey Titov’s engine and Xsolla “all sales are final” handling the refunds, I’m going to do all I can and simply recommend that players don’t get caught up in the “guaranteed refunds” system like it is a safety net. It isn’t, and until you have the much more reliable safety of Valve overseeing the transaction, I recommend sitting it out on Wild West Online.

Alpha Matter: Project Gorgon


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“In this particular dungeon, there is a boss that can turn you into a cow.” All I need to hear, game of the year every year! My first moment of experience with booting up the Project Gorgon early alpha was reading a note warning me that bosses in the game can inflict curses upon death, curses which are incredibly difficult to remove especially for new players. The boss in the tutorial dungeon has the ability to turn players into cows, and not in the sense of casting a spell that temporarily disables your attacks and serves as a boss mechanic. Judging by the comment that, as a cow, you will have your own cow adventures with cow abilities and find cow equipment, you’re going to be in this for a long haul. Tough break, right?

The warning screen for your intuition is hilarious, by the way, and made me chuckle like an idiot in my computer seat. In my romp through the relatively safe tutorial cave, I couldn’t help but notice quite a few features that you just don’t see anymore in MMOs. As I fought off skeletons and collected random mushrooms and items off of the ground, my character would add to his list of skills, and there seems to be skills for everything. Not only does everything from picking mushrooms and eating food to even dying add experience to its appropriate skill, each skill has a tangible effect on your character. The “death” skill, as it is called, raises your maximum health every ten levels, while gourmand (an appreciation of food) increases the benefits of eating further food. Not only is there an expansive list of skills to acquire, you have to actually acquire them before they show up on your skills tab. Exploration, how quaint.

Upon entering the first town I saw outside of the tutorial dungeon, I traveled around talking to merchants to sell the trash I’d found and buy some new equipment. I couldn’t afford anything. Then I came across the tavern and found that there is a place where players can dump their armor and weapons for others to buy for a small chunk of change and use. You know, I’m starting to feel at home in this old-school world. My newly revived adventurer gets into town dirt poor and inexperienced, and now I’m getting my clothing at Ye Olde Goodewill.

Every NPC has a favor level toward the player, raised by performing quests and giving gifts. You have to give items that the person likes, which you can figure out with a little small talk. Oh they’ll still accept an item that they don’t particularly like, as I found out the hard way, you just won’t gain any favor with them. You can also really piss off NPCs by killing their livestock, which may make buying seeds from Farmer John a little tougher when he wants to murder you for killing his chickens.

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Oh, and I have lice, I probably should have sanitized the hat I donated. In fact, I probably got the lice from the helmet I bought second hand. According to the game, this disease is permanent until I get it fixed, and in my years of Dungeons & Dragons I have yet to come across anyone selling that special shampoo and comb. Not as bad as being turned into a cow or spider, I suppose, but now I can’t get the guards to take selfies.

My favorite part of Project Gorgon so far is the fact that the game continues to surprise me, constantly. At first I thought all there was to combat was killing and looting creatures, but finding a skinning knife introduced me to the art of gutting corpses for meat. And that’s not all, later on I found an NPC who sold shovels which I could use to bury the corpses of the dead, not only ensuring that they would spawn faster but also granting compassion experience which raises my other stats. Just looking at the stat requirements for items I’ve come across shows a whole world of features I’ve yet to discover: Animal handling, necromancy, psychology, notoriety, cow, spider, dye making, battle alchemy, and even more that I haven’t come across.

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What I’m trying to say is that I am enjoying Project Gorgon immensely, and you should too. Head on over to the Project Gorgon page and download the very early access client, and maybe donate to the game’s Kickstarter once you’re done being blown away. Seriously, this game needs all of the publicity it can get.

Why Does ArcheAge Have Sixteen Thousand Spammers?


ArcheAge is currently in alpha stage getting ready for its launch under Trion Worlds. Players are in-game thanks to a $150 package, where they are bug testing, balance testing, and apparently gold farming and spamming in massive quantities. How massive? Trion Worlds banned sixteen thousand accounts for spamming chat and botting gold. In an alpha.

We’re pleased to report that over 16,000 nasty, evil, foul, and most importantly misbehaving accounts have been reactively and proactively removed from Alpha. These accounts were purchased using ill-gotten funds and have been used to farm gold with bots and to spam chat channels, neither of which is allowed in ArcheAge.

Patch 1.2 arrives next week and gives Trion more power to rid the game of evil spammers and farmers.

(Source: ArcheAge)

Everquest Landmark Drops 32-bit OS Support

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Gamers looking forward to seeing Everquest Next Landmark on 32-bit operating systems can officially put their dreams to rest. Dave Georgeson posted on Twitter today to announce that there will be no 32-bit version of the game.

Another News Flash: Landmark is going to have to be a 64-bit OS game *only*. We are going to be unable to support 32-bit OS as we had hoped.

Unfortunate indeed, but unavoidable due to unforeseen technical issues. For those who already purchased Landmark, SOE is offering refunds with no questions asked.

(Source: Twitter)

Everquest Landmark NDA Lifted


The Everquest Next Landmark alpha has been up for less than 24 hours, and John Smedley has taken to Twitter to announce that the nondisclosure agreement has officially been lifted. Players are allowed to talk about what they want, stream what they want, and post screenshots as they want.

The NDA is officially lifted for EQNL. Have fun. It will be Monday before we can yank it from the game

As far as people getting the wrong impression from the state of the alpha, “that’s life,” says Smedley.

(Source: Twitter)

SOE Promises Refunds For Unsatisfied Alpha Testers.


Sony Online Entertainment is set to launch the alpha for Everquest Next Landmark later today. Given the increasing reliance on early access purchases and your average gamer’s habit of buying an alpha stage game and then being stricken with buyer’s remorse because it isn’t a finished product, SOE is offering a full refund for anyone not satisfied with the alpha. As John Smedley stated on Twitter:

We will offer a full refund to anyone not satisfied with the Alpha. It’s not confidence. It’s being honest about the fact that Alpha’s aren’t for everyone. Plus we don’t know the kind of problems we expect to see. Things like running it out of North America now. I don’t want any EU players feeling like they got screwed if the streaming has hiccups at first. We just don’t know what we don’t know yet.

It’s actually nice to see a company respond to early buyers with something other than “you should have known what you’re getting into.” Hopefully this quality guarantee will be adopted by other companies, but that is unlikely.

(Source: Twitter)

MMOrning Shots: Greed Monger Tri


Today’s MMOrning Shot comes to us from Greed Monger, showing off some of the game’s beautiful looking scenery. Yes, the photo is cropped to remove the relatively ugly looking player models, but what do you expect? This is pre-alpha.

Side Quest Returns In Open Alpha


Oh Side Quest, how long have I pined for your loving embrace? Quite a while, according to my schedule. Last year, Side Quest became something of a love interest here at MMO Fallout, we were instantly taken by the game’s charm, wit, and oddly engaging gameplay for a concept so simple. Side Quest is an upcoming game in which you take control of a group of three adventurers and make your way from the left side of the screen to the right. Your characters move by themselves and auto-attack, while you as the player manage special skills and potions.

We had a lot of fun with it before the game was taken down for some heavy plastic surgery, and our waiting has paid off as the servers are now back online. Side Quest is still in alpha, and understandably has a lot of bugs and balance issues to work out. What’s more, the folks at Fractal Entertainment have once again opened the doors to anyone who wishes to play:

The goal of this phase of testing is to focus on balance, bugs and overall gameplay, so please, if you have any comments or suggestions add them to the forums! We’re interested in trying to make SideQuest the best game it can be.

You can check out Side Quest at the link below.

(Source: SideQuest)

Side Quest Coming Back This Month


Side Quest is one of MMO Fallout’s favorite indie MMOs, and you can check out our quick look of the early alpha build from last year if you want more information on how the game plays. While we love the game, Fractal Entertainment several months ago decided to take the alpha build down in order to work on updates that would result in the client being mostly broken for a while. Since then, the team has been hard at work, managing to find the time to release dev diaries related to the main quest, dungeons, and itemization. The bad news is that the game is still not up and running.

The good news is that the Fractal team has announced that the alpha is finally returning!

We plan on releasing an alpha version of the game by the end of this month. The alpha will include all the features, but only the first chapter of content. We will release the rest of the content within a month or so of releasing the alpha!

Check out the Side Quest website for more information.

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