Do you believe early access ruins the game?

Stg

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I guess I'm the type of person who loves to figure everything out for myself. I don't like having portions of my game spoiled which is why I avoid all message boards and trailers for games I'm planning on buying. However, every once in a while, I'll see a game that looks or sounds amazing, only to find it's still in development but a pre-access open alpha/beta is being offered. I'll never begrudge anyone to alpha/beta test a game (I've tested my fair share in the past during closed betas), but when a game offers pre-access in hopes of getting feedback and changing the game to suit the community, I just lose all interest - even if I've helped kickstart the game.

Lets take two games for examples: Starbound and Grim Dawn.

Starbound I've actually played during the closed alpha and it was a blast, but it seemed only a fraction of the game was finished. I got a small taste and I was hooked, but that was the problem. I was hooked on a game I couldn't hope to finish because the game wasn't even a quarter of the way developed. So I uninstalled it and periodically check the development process only to find snippets of content they are working on with no real end in sight. Basically just a list of spoilers without giving us a release date.

Grim Dawn I have not played, but I bought it solely off the fact it's being hailed as the spiritual successor to Titan Quest - a game I absolutely love and still play. Every few months I'll check the website for a progress report only to find the same list of spoilers about the game with the same release date of *it's finished when it's finished* still staring back at me.

Now, I don't expect a developer to give us a release date for a game still in development because that only causes grief down the line from the entitled kiddies who will scream boycott or just piss and moan about being lied to and expect refunds. Still, it irks me that in order to find any information regarding a release date, I must sift through all this content that is being released - content that is just spoiling the game for me. When I first played Diablo 2, I had no idea what type of monsters I would be facing in the next Act and it was a blast learning them for the first time. Watching the little Stygian Dolls run up to me then explode upon death was a harsh lesson I had to learn on my own. Now with this stream of new content being listed day by day, I would never be surprised about an enemy's attacks, weaknesses, strengths, etc. because they are all listed right there on the game's main page.

Does anyone else agree that developers are ruining the mystery and allure of upcoming games by telling us absolutely everything about the game right on the front page? Also, how do you feel about developers like Chucklefish constantly changing their game to suit the open beta player-base?
 

small

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Yes and no.

take something like space engineers and kerbal space program, early access definitely doesnt ruin the experience and in a way helps as there is less to initially learn.

BUT games with a story like grim dawn, etc i feel will be ruined by early access and is why i havent installed it even though i own it, on top of everything you also have player burnout with beta release, as frankly its hard to keep up the same level of enthusiasm for months if not years
 

endtherapture

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No. I don't agree with it.

It's weird, things should be finished as a finished project. It takes away of how special something is, it's like if you were watching a play at the theater, but instead of watching the finished play, you have to sit through the auditions, the rehearsals, the building of the set, the mistakes, the backstage drama, and the costumes being made. It's simply not the same kind of experience. I like going into a game with no knowledge of the game and being surprised, not sitting through the creation of the game and its development.
 

KarmaTheAlligator

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I do. First of all, with early access, you get to "play" a buggy mess of an unfinished product, and that's never fun. Then there's the fact that what you can do that actually works is limited, so the fun can only last so long, and in the end that puts off a lot of people who would have enjoyed the finished product. And finally, there's the fact you have to pay to basically do the devs' work for them by finding bugs and all that.
 

babinro

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Nope.

I think the buyer has a relatively clear understanding of what they are getting themselves into when playing an early access game. If a buggy unfinished experience is going to ruin the game for them then it's entirely their own fault.
 

seris

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i bought rust when it was still in the now "legacy" version, it was quite fun until updates slowed to a halt and hackers started swarming every popular server. i stopped playing because of the hacking, and ive tried the new version which has less hackers but it seemed feature incomplete, considering you could not eat any meat from animals you killed, so you would starve. ive heard its a lot better now and even better than the original rust but i still havent gotten back into it. Early Access games can ruin a game if its bad enough.
 

SuperSuperSuperGuy

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Not necessarily. Early access is bad when it's used as an excuse to push out a crap game and then never make it good. However, those games are not ruined by early access; those games were ruined in the first place. Being early access is only tangentially related to the quality of the game. Likewise, there are good early access games; Minecraft was early access, for example, and it was good even when it was in beta.
 

Prince of Ales

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Some people like the early access experience, other people don't. My advice is that the people who don't like it should opt to wait for release. You're never forced to buy into early access. What you're really saying is, because you don't like it, the rest of us should be denied that experience too.
 

Mezahmay

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I'm going to give the cop out answer and say "it depends". I'm sure there are really good early access games, but I haven't really played any since Mighty Quest for Epic Loot was in beta. That game has still changed a lot since release to fix some of the unbalanced traps so I don't know what fucking good early access ultimately did it.
 

Atmos Duality

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That all comes down to the developer; not the system.

Which is why Early Access is such a risky system for the consumer, since the developer isn't technically required to deliver on what they promised, as long as they deliver RESEMBLING it.

So while we occasionally see great stuff with real ambition like Kerbal Space Program, most of it is half-baked garbage like Garrys Incident and StarForge.
 

Username Redacted

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No. Shitty and/or shady developers ruin early access. Even for really big publishers I wish that pretty much every competitive multi-player game went early access to some degree as there's a lot of headaches that could be avoided by letting a portion of the playerbase go at prototypes of FPS, MOBA and fighting games with the idea of breaking the game. Skullgirls, for example, has benefited a lot from its "Endless Beta" on Steam.
 

koichi

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Not necessarily. Lousy devs who use it as an excuse to get money for an unfinished product do. Devs who take community feedback as gospel do. Devs who lose their motivation before properly finishing the game do.

tl;dr: If a game is bad it is the fault of the devs, not the format. A otherwise good dev might make poor decisions while using certain formats.
 

zumbledum

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its another is this tool bad thread, and as always it depends if its the right tool for the job and if its handled well. ive been in a few early access's and it was fine, seen some i wouldnt touch.
 

Pink Gregory

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babinro said:
Nope.

I think the buyer has a relatively clear understanding of what they are getting themselves into when playing an early access game. If a buggy unfinished experience is going to ruin the game for them then it's entirely their own fault.
Yeah...people seem to act like Early Access is the only way because they can't wait.

Personally, I like being there during the development process, seeing what changes helps me learn the systems, but I have played exactly 2 early access games - Prison Architect and Don't Starve, which...well...they were pretty code-complete for early access games.
 

Cryselle

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Going to join the group that says "It all depends on the developer". Early access can be an amazing tool to both fund, and allow feedback to guide, a game to a really good place. It can be. It can also be abused by an unscrupulous individual looking to make a quick buck and run.

And even with a decent developer, a lot of it depends on when exactly they start allowing early access. Starbound is a perfect example of this for me. The devs are working on the game, that's for sure. It's a quality enough game. But I think they started the early access too far ahead of the actual release, and people are getting bored and forgetting about it before it's launch date is even being announced. If your game has been available for early access for years, it can be very hard to recapture the hype and magic of a true launch even if the game is worthy of it.
 

small

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it can be bad for the developer as well you have consumers getting an incomplete view of your product who might tell there friends "its horrible" when the finished product might be fine, there is also the problem of consumer burn out with your product before its ever released where people play up to a point are satisfied and never play it after release not to mention there is no real excitement or hyper when the game is finally released
 

Smooth Operator

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It primarily spoils the appetite more then the dish, you jump in when half cooked and by the time it's properly done you are completely sick of it and never even had the best part.

But it also introduced some nasty habits on the other end:
- getting people to pay for beta testing
- bullshitting users how it's a privilege to do the devs job
- frequently charging twice the regular price for said "privilege"
- never determining a final package, just keep selling dreams of what might be
- or worse yet going back on features you already sold
- and worst of all abandoning a half done game because the dev got tired just the same, or saw better payout in sequels

Isn't all bad but there are very thin lines to walk between early access and scam, no one should be discouraged from pointing out problems if they arise.
 

MHR

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I'm not dumb enough like some people to buy an early access game and expect a full experience, but early access ruins all the hype of a game for me.

Chances are that when a game actually releases, I won't see the announcement on the news section on steam for some stupid arbitrary closed-door-decided reason, and if I did, I'm not sure the same hype would be there.

That and I'm convinced that having a game in early-access makes developers lazy and in no rush to work on the game in a timely manner in order to get their money faster.
 

StriderShinryu

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Ear;y Access is a prickly subject that I can't help but personally feel is largely negative at the end of the day. I can absolutely appreciate that it opens a new door for subsidizing development costs for developers as well as providing instant access to player feedback on a larger scale. From the player's side, however, it just means we're paying for partial games that may never be completed or that may simply be open to play way before they are ready. Players, in turn, end up with negative impressions of games they may otherwise like or, in positive cases, may end up just burning themselves out on games before they even go gold. Also, Early Access titles receive far too much promotion on services like Steam, which ends up pushing out games that are actually complete and ready for sale.
 

Dalisclock

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With the exception of Kerbal Space Program and Don't Starve, I've pretty much avoided anything that says "Early Access" because of the reasons a lot of people have mentioned. I want to see a complete game and I want to pay for a complete game. Not "Well, it'll be done in a few years.....maybe....if we feel like it...". KSP and DS were working pretty well in the EA stage I bought it in and they've added more to it since I first played.

Even if I was willing to believe everyone making an Early Access game has the ambition to see it through to the end and there are no Scammers on EA(which I don't), There's still the fact the completed game might be crap. While it's not exactly the same thing, I believe Chris Roberts really wants to make Star Citizen the best Space/Shooter game combo ever. I'm just not convinced it's not gonna be a buggy mess when it's done. If it turns out otherwise, I'll gladly throw money down to play it. I'm just not doing it in the state it's in now.