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War Z: A Storm is Brewing

Posted on the 19 December 2012 by Findthebluekey @FindTheBlueKey
War Z: A Storm is BrewingWar Z - a post-apocalyptic multiplayer zombie survival-fest from Hammerpoint Interactive - was recently released on Steam to great consumer success, becoming the current Steam best seller in very short order. It's easy to see why, a nice combination of polished graphics, multiplayer survival and persistent worlds is more than enough to attract any gamer. Then you add zombies, the most potent gaming aphrodisiac in the industry, and you have a formula that is ready to strike gold. And by the look of the launch numbers, they may have done just that.
So how has fan reaction been since the games launch? In short, not great.
It seems as though Hammerpoint didn't quite live up to their end of the bargain, with the released version of the game missing many promised and expected features. Worse still was the fact that these missing features were listed straight on the Steam listing, using them as a selling point in order to convince users to pull the trigger on their title. This, as many users on Reddit are (rightly) claiming constitutes false advertising on the part of Hammerpoint.
So, how has Hammerpoint reacted to this claims? Well, not great either.
In a recent forum post, a producer within Hammerpoint came on to thank users for their support of War Z and helping it reach the top of the Steam charts, as well as apologize to users who "misread infromation about game features".
Come again? Misread? To me that strikes me as a backhanded apology, shifting the blame off of themselves for allowing unimplemented or incomplete features to appear in the game description(and perhaps increase sales), and instead blaming consumers for misreading them. From the situation, I can only gather that misreading means taking Hammerpoint at their word.
That itself is bad enough, but its by no means the end.
Hammerpoint has recently released a new patch for their fast-selling title, forcing users to commit to a 'no-refund' policy if they wish to continue playing. Though refunds on digital distribution titles are rare at best, the fact that Hammerpoint feels the need to front such an agreement strikes as both patronizing and a little suspicious.
But wait, there's more!
At launch, War Z had a mechanic where a dead character would have to wait 60 minutes before being able to respawn. A tough mechanic, but somehow fitting in a survival game, where the stakes of death being high help to increase the drama. But the recent patch now increases this time to four hours. But Hammerpoint, kind souls that they are, will allow you to respawn instantly...for a cost. And now their true colours are shown.
Now don't get me wrong, I have no issues with a microtransaction system, often its a viable way of financing a game, and decreasing the cost-for-entry. I like the idea of the initial cost being lower, but costing more the more you wish to play. What I don't like is the clearly planned bait-and-switch that Hammerpoint is pulling, selling the initial title without this mechanic, and then pulling the rug out from under their paying customers(with a nice little no-refunds cherry on top!). This is a deliberate exploitation of  consumers, and I find it more than a little repulsive.
However, Hammerpoint has played their hand. All we can do is spread the word, and try and cut this off before more publishers think stunts like this will simply blow over.

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