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    Thursday, May 07, 2009

    Darkfall: The Truth

    You may or may not have heard about the minor scandal that’s befallen Eurogamer over their Darkfall Online review. Having our noses firmly rammed into the crotch of corruption, we were asked to look into it, and now we have done. We’ve got slightly more to say than 140 characters will accommodate, so we’re using the blog as a TwitteRR overflow box. You may be surprised at our conclusions.


    The Facts

    Ex-PC Zone lad Ed Zitron wrote a review of indy developed MMORPG Darkfall Online for Eurogamer, which went live on Tuesday. He gave it 2/10, which upset the game’s fanboys. The real shit started to fly when a guy called Tasos from Aventurine, the company that developed the game, claimed that the server logs showed that the review account Zitron had access to was only accessed for two hours (which he later changed to three).

    EG’s editor, Tom Bramwell, posted an editorial on EG which claimed that Zitron had played it for at least nine hours. He also offered to have the game re-reviewed by Gillen.

    Full Disclosure

    Obviously we don’t operate in a vacuum so, in the interests of full disclosure (a dirty concept in this industry), here’s the extent of our relationships with those involved.

    We like Zitron, and we like his writing to the extent that we helped him get nominated for a GMA. But keep in mind that this didn’t stop us from exclusively breaking the PC Zone story (which GI.biz and RPS misattributed later).

    We also like Bramwell, and have a cordial relationship with him as RR, but we’ve both criticised and supported the unreliable EG in the past.

    Finally, we’ve got no prior relationship with Aventurine. If you want to derive bias from any of that, then go for it.


    The Truth

    After speaking to several well placed and extremely reliable Anonymous Knights, we can confirm that the nine hour figure given in Bramwell’s editorial was a conservative estimate. We’ve got no way of checking if Bramwell’s doubts about the accuracy of the server logs are true, as Aventurine don’t want us to see them. We trust our Anonymous Knights more than some logs which aren’t open to examination, so we believe that Zitron played the game for at least nine hours.

    As for whether Zitron fucked up the review, EG have offered a re-review by an “independent” journo. Gillen technically isn’t independent in that sense, as he’s freelanced for EG for years. However, he’s, shall we say, “confident enough in his own abilities” to consider his opinion of a game as being more important than anything else in known existence. Whether or not you agree with Gillen’s reviews, you can guarantee that it would be based purely on his opinion of the game. Aventurine claim they agree with this, but are refusing a re-review by falling back on the slightly baffling excuse that other people will think he’s a shill unless he does it for someone else (he’s told us he won’t).

    We’re not in a position to comment personally on Zitron’s accuracy in the review, as we’ve got no intention of playing Darkfall without getting well paid for it. The consensus on Aventurine’s forums shows a split between those who agree (which includes established forumites, judging by their profiles) and those who don’t. Several other Anonymous Knights tell us that Darkfall Online is shit boring, and a few others said they couldn’t bring themselves to play for long without needing to answer the call that something more pressing needs attending to.

    Now here’s the point for everyone who’s claimed that nine hours isn’t long enough to get the measure of review code: A game can give you the most exhilarating, exciting, rewarding experience possible short of inducing a hand to thrust out of your monitor ready to rub your cock, but if it does so after making you sit through nine dull, broken hours, then guess what? That still makes it a shit game.

    That’s elementary games reviewing.

    Elementary common sense would dictate that, generally, if a reviewer doesn’t like a game that you like, it might be taking things just a little too far when you start making threats to break their arms and publishing their phone number on a forum. It might also make you look like a raging, sagging, fish-flecked, loose-lipped cunt if you run the official forum, but allow contact details to stay up for over eight hours despite being told about them.

    You know what? Zitron was probably too harsh on the game, and definitely got carried away with giving it a good old fashioned Campbellisation. But when a fellow reviewer gets rounded on by an official forum with threats and the publication of his contact details inviting abusive emails and MySpace messages, which he’s received, and Aventurine sit around for hours whilst this goes on, it leaves a nasty taste in our mouths.

    The moral of the story? We should go back to the good old days when mags routinely included a second opinion as part of the everyday reviews process. It worked.

    Also, Aventurine really need to learn the right way to complain about stuff without coming across as demented cockbats.

    30 comments:

    1. Well, at least the reactions have been fun :o)

      ReplyDelete
    2. "A game can give you the most exhilarating, exciting, rewarding experience possible short of inducing a hand to thrust out of your monitor ready to rub your cock, but if it does so after making you sit through nine dull, broken hours, then guess what? That still makes it a shit game.
      "

      This deserves saying twice.

      ReplyDelete
    3. Anonymous10:43 pm

      A fair summary of the situation from an outside point of view. I'm done trying to show people how bad the review is, there's too much other noise.

      It's a shame that such cunts have become the face of the community of one of the few games that's trying to break away from the absolute cesspit that is the MMORPG genre, meaning that it can't defend itself from crummy reviews like this.

      It's pretty frustrating when you happen to play Darkfall, happen not to be a socipathic ForumFall cunt, and realise how much of a shitty piece of work that review really is (which has nothing to do with it being negative, and everything to do with it being full of errors, laziness and vitriol). The probability that he played it for hardly any time is the least of its problems.

      I've never read anything by Ed before so I'll pass it off as a very unprofessional misguided blip.

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    4. Anonymous11:05 pm

      Go back to WoW, noob.

      ReplyDelete
    5. Anonymous11:34 pm

      "Now here’s the point for everyone who’s claimed that nine hours isn’t long enough to get the measure of review code: A game can give you the most exhilarating, exciting, rewarding experience possible short of inducing a hand to thrust out of your monitor ready to rub your cock, but if it does so after making you sit through nine dull, broken hours, then guess what? That still makes it a shit game.

      That’s elementary games reviewing."

      No, no its not. Thats just your opinion.

      To apply that reasoning to another entertainment genre, see literature.

      Some of the greatest literature ever written begins with lengthy and tedious build up that culminate in incredible tension, conflict and resolution.

      The same can be true for games, also the opposite can be true. In Age of Conan the game started out amazingly, far above the standard set by previous MMOs. However, once the first twenty levels were over it quickly degenerated to a level where very few people felt it was worth playing.

      This was evidenced by their enormous initial sales and the following plummet-to-extinction in subscriptions.

      Basically all you've said here is that you too know dick-all about Darkfall but you know a guy who reviewed it and if he says it sucks you're willing to give that a +1. Get bent, this entry is worthless.

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    6. QQ more please. The issue isn't the bad review. It is the complete inaccuracy of the review. It is obvious to anyone that has played the game more than 10 minutes that Zitron either did not play it at all, or tried but completely failed to figure out the incredibly basic controls or read the tutorial in the 'supposed' 9 hours he was in game.

      I beta-tested Darkfall and then I bought Darkfall. My account is still active, but I'm thinking of taking a break until some issues get fixed with the game before resubbing again (none of the issues I have with the game were mentioned in the review, btw).

      This review is like a restaurant critic making reservations and deciding the food sucks because the hostess was rude to him and never even tasting a thing. Its like a movie critic watching the previews before a film and storming out in disgust.

      You're obviously a friend of this guy. I don't care how many good, decent reviews he may have written in the past. This time he slacked off and didn't do the job he got paid for. Plain and simple.

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    7. Anonymous1:59 am

      Amen.

      ReplyDelete
    8. Anonymous2:23 am

      Darkfall definately is not perfect and definately not complete.

      Indie sandbox game that's been developed by a small team for a long time, had to capitalize on the "beta" stage to get the resources to develope the game.
      Then a guy like Ed comes and bashes them with actual factual errors in his review and lots of them, it kind of makes you wonder what the hell was the motive if it wasn't just incompetence and lack of integrity.

      I am playing DF and I am thinking of taking a break again just like the other guy for whole different reasons than were in Zitrons review.

      To be honest there is lots to gripe about DF at the moment, but also lot of things are fixed, just takes time unfortunately.
      Interestingly enough Ed passed loads of opportunities to gripe, just by not playing.

      I guarantee there is fun and exitement to be had in Darkfall if the game is down your alley at all and had the review been factually correct and thorough, I would have gladly just brushed it off as an understandable personal opinion about the game.

      And I apologize in behalf of the DF community for the bad behavior that has been going on, but be gentle with us. With Darkfalls history of blatant attacks on the community and the game itself from DoS attacks to your everyday trolls and reviewers it's really hard to contain oneself these days.


      "The guy who's sick of the games industry, and the world in general."

      With lines like these you might want to really do some research before you jump the gun. Lies or not taking the pop way out has never been cool.

      Peace.

      ReplyDelete
    9. Anonymous3:15 am

      Does it really matter?

      MO has announced their beta plans and by Thanksgiving Darkfall will be just a bad memory for most.

      http://www.mortalonline.com/news/may-08-05-09

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    10. Anonymous4:35 pm

      Well actually, Aventurine have offered to fly a eurogamer exec over to check the logs all expenses paid... but they refused. So kind of makes the rest of your thoughts moot.

      But to address them anyway - any 'reviewer' who says on global chat 'help, how do I get my spells to work' after 3 hours of play shouldnt really be allowed near an mmog. This kind of demonstrates why its important to pick the right person for the review. I have no doubt zitron must be at least average at what he does - I wont hold his PC Zone career against him - but you wouldnt send an FPS shooter guy to review the Sims Part XXI.

      Within the world of mmogs that variation is even deeper. Whilst i dont like Darkfall, were I an anal PK'ing 'Dreaming of UO' clan happy PvP nutjob this would be my dream game. When a 'professional' gaming site reviews these games they should choose someone who likes the genre, or at least understands it. Zitron wasnt that person and he's done himself no end of harm because he didnt flag that up to his editor right away.

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    11. Anonymous5:21 pm

      go have some more sex with lotr, wowo and ed.
      carebear

      ReplyDelete
    12. Anonymous6:31 pm

      any chance of a review RR? id never heard of this game before today.

      ReplyDelete
    13. O'Man1:59 pm

      But... isn't RamRaider Ed Zitron? I thought that had been forensically proven via Future Publishing logs.

      ReplyDelete
    14. "Some of the greatest literature ever written begins with lengthy and tedious build up that culminate in incredible tension, conflict and resolution."

      Yes indeed. But it is still written in a language you can read, the book doesn't keep closing itself for no reason and you don't have to share it with muggy cunts like your sel'.

      Also to further moot your point as other mooting has been rampant here is that there is also a lot of shit literature.

      ReplyDelete
    15. Anonymous8:24 pm

      "We should go back to the good old days when mags routinely included a second opinion as part of the everyday reviews process." written by somebody who hadn't played the game any where near the same amount of time as the main reviewer, if at all. For a second opinion how about looking at a different reviews website. Ah, the good now days... Being asked to write a second opinion sucked balls.

      ReplyDelete
    16. Anonymous9:12 pm

      'Well actually, Aventurine have offered to fly a eurogamer exec over to check the logs all expenses paid... but they refused. So kind of makes the rest of your thoughts moot.'

      I'm sure EG execs have better things to do with their time than humour a development team with glass egos. Its unfortunate that Adventurine have nothing better to do (like say, build a better game) with the money they fronted like that.

      'Some of the greatest literature ever written begins with lengthy and tedious build up that culminate in incredible tension, conflict and resolution.'

      What shit do you read?

      ReplyDelete
    17. Anonymous6:11 pm

      So just when will these Dorkfail goons finally stop harassing Ed?

      ReplyDelete
    18. Anonymous6:43 pm

      Hi Ed / Ram Raider.

      ReplyDelete
    19. I've been checking up on this game regularly from I first came across it in january 2002 (at a time when it had already been in the makings for five years or so by a group of enthusiasts in a basement in Oslo, Norway, calling themselves razorwax), and I've bought into their promises of a game with ultimate freedom and a revolutionary different direction in MMO games. I havent played it yet, so I cant comment on the actual game, but I am still appalled by the review by Ed Zitron, effectively ripping appart a game that it has taken these people around 14 years to put together. And how much time of his life did he spend in order to cast his judgement on their work? According to him, around nine hours, so if we include writing the review itself, around two working days or so.

      It is not the fact that the game gets a bad grade that I am reacting to. Of course, this is a contributing factor, because I'm sure neither me or the rest of the community (nor Aventurine) would react with the same passion if the game had goten a 5 or more, even though the review still very well might have been horrible journalistic work. No, I think the main issue here lays a little bit deeper than just Darkfall and Ed Zitron. I think we have to go all the way back to the basics of what a computer game is. Games have not always been the action fiest computer games are today. Traditionally there were two concepts: emmidiate thrill and excitement, and a combination of strategy and competition causing a more long term and varied experience. These are not in themselves superior or secondary to each other, but are interdependent. A bad combination can lead to failure, which is why people are abandoning AoC after a year while still playing games like chess that has been around in its current form since the 15th century. The public today however demands more and more emmidiate attention to their needs, and it is in this tradition Zitron has chosen to review darkfall. He is playing chess without knowing the rules, reviews it after 10 hours of being beaten, and then claiming that it has none of the thrills of arcade gaming. (Keep in mind that he still havent figured out that the knight can jump over the other pieces.)

      I am not saying that darfall succeeded in making the great game they set out to make. I have nothing to support that. But I would never trust Zitrons review to guide me in the matter of trying it out or not, especially after reading here about people leaving the game because it is bad in its current form, and still disagrees with everything in his review.

      In the end I think time will show if they succeeded or not. I also believe that after 3 years, even if the game has a player base of several hundred thousand people, Zitron would still give it 2/10.

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    20. Anonymous1:50 pm

      "No, no its not. Thats just your opinion." I hope you're not a games reviewer, because I'd hate to sit through 9 hours of shit just because you thought something 36 hours in was fun.

      Nine hours is more than enough to realise something is shit.

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    21. Anonymous7:22 pm

      @Andy: I definitely partially agree. While it is no doubt that Darkfall is shit, especially compared to its peers in the genre, the fact that reviewers have a responsibility to developers must be called into question. Personally I feel that a game should be judged on its merits alone. Blockbuster titles can be critically slammed, and independent games can become acclaimed.

      Admittedly Adventurine have put their heart and soul into making this game, but then should we go out and make downright biased reviews simply because they opted to pile huge amounts of time and effort into the game? Maybe. But reviewers have a far GREATER responsibility to their audiences, who would ultimately fork out money to play a shit game. You say that even after three years Zitron will have still given it a 2, but isn't that the point? RuneScape has demonstrated that a game can be severely shit and people will still play it given enough encouragement. A piece of shit is still a piece of shit, no matter how much time passes.

      Your chess metaphor was as confusing as the game.

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    22. Anonymous2:45 pm

      Darkfall doesn't deserve a 2. Ed gave it that score obviously on purpose.
      There's no possible way DF would get a 2 with an objective review. But I guess mr. Zitron doesn't bother with concepts like journalism integrity.
      Also seeing the tone of the review, kind of feels like he was nerdraging, which probably means he got pk'ed right after leaving the newbie town and bashed the game for revenge.

      ReplyDelete
    23. Anonymous7:41 pm

      It's simple Ed had no idea the patients it takes and didn't have the adventurous charater to play an MMORPG. Maybe he played WOW or something, but he's never played a deep involving game like EVE or UO. WOW was made for even the dumbest to play out the box (not directed at ed), while others are more challenging and they have a learning curve. It took a long time to truely "get" UO, but doing that prepared me for other MMO's. Wrong man for the job all there is to it. Hope it's a good game i'll be reading reviews. As for Ed's review, its a wash. I think both sides rather move on than play anymore games.

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    24. Anonymous7:52 pm

      An intresting fact. On of the top MMO of all time, Ultima Online, first review was horrid. Arguably for the same reason ED's was bad

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    25. Anonymous3:24 pm

      It was obvious from the chat logs that Ed had no idea how to play the game. His review was basically equivalent to a mentally retarded person reviewing a slow-paced movie with a deep, metaphorical storyline (like 2001: Space Odyssey).

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    26. Anonymous12:57 am

      who wants to pork my hot fucking ass with a chicken drumstick

      ReplyDelete
    27. Anonymous2:26 am

      Everything i read was unprofessional, childish support to someone you say you like. So all you can do is you go f*ck yourself you and your ironic pictures, it's very easy for you to bury a game, but nowhere in that shitty "article" of yours do you say about the effort put to this completely independent project. For a low-budget project from an independent company i say it's a miracle, and i will start playing it!

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    28. Anonymous8:33 am

      you make a lot of assumptions for a dumbass pretentious twerp.

      also you appear to be an instant gratification kid who isn't used to mmorpg where working towards something actually means something.

      ReplyDelete
    29. Anonymous8:36 am

      what a childish piece of shit this reviewer is, blindly sticking with some idiot that made a mistake.

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    30. Anonymous3:31 pm

      Darkfall is the most delayed release, over rated, over hyped, most gigantic piece of shit ive ever seen, and that includes Duke Nukem Forever. Thats how bad this piece of shit is. The community is even worse than the game, as can be referenced by the dipshits posting here. Take your money and go buy Duke Nukem Forever. At least that's over quickly. Dont buy this steaming pile of dogshit. Seriously, dont.

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