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 Post subject: A disappointed customer
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 9:54 am 
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Reading these forums has been a bit of an educational experience. I don't mean to be overly critical, but I feel like Wargaming.net's staff are in over their heads.

I purchased Massive Assault (the Mac version) directly from Virtual Programming's website. I enjoyed the single player content, which was only slightly marred by a reproducible fatal crash (After finishing Step 7 of the Phantom League campaign, the game always crashes and quits to the desktop. This bug, BTW, was identified on the Freeverse boards a year ago and forwarded to VP, but never solved). In the end, I moved into online play.

On my second game of online play, I encountered a situation in which my opponent, who was losing, suddenly got an illegitimate amount of additional $ and bought a brand new army. I uploaded the replay of the game to these forums (in "replays"), and another person took a look at it, confirming my suspicion. I messaged Innas, who was generally dismissive, but promised to look into it. That was the last I heard about it (about two weeks ago). I sent another message, to which I never received a reply. Perhaps it is silly of me, but this experience, and the virtual non-response I received regarding it, killed my desire to play online.

I gather from many posts that other customers have experienced Wargaming.net's casual attitude toward the stability of products and broken promises.

I wouldn't call myself an angry customer, because I'm not upset - I think I received adequate entertainment for my money - but I would say I'm disappointed in Wargaming.net. Other small and niche producers such as Slitherine (makers of Spartan, also ported by VP, and fully stable) manage to create a great product, iron out bugs and offer excellent customer support even while working on new things, so I don't buy the argument that I'm asking for too much. I also think that some of the responses to customers bordering on contempt are really unprofessional. I would understand this from other fans, but from the developers? Who do they think pays their salary?

So now I learn that they'll be releasing, in the near future, a Mac version of Domination, and I'm ambivalent. Right now, I don't think I'll buy it, but we'll see. There is no question the game design is good, but does Wargaming.net have the expertise/interest in supporting their products? Will their staff be professional when the bug reports start coming in, or will they suggest that customers upset with bugs try to make a stable game themselves?

I'm putting this message up as honest feedback from a customer who was initially very pleased with you, but has gradually become disappointed. I may not buy Domination when it first its the stores, but I will follow and see if you've learned something.

Z


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 7:20 pm 
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P.L. Marshal
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so you wrote such a mile-long post to say that they not answered you yet?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 9:06 pm 
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Well, Mrakobes, to be fair, I think ZZ's post was aimed at providing frank, constructive criticism of how wargaming.net supports their products in general, not merely complaining that in one isolated case they haven't responded.

I'm a big wargaming.net fan, but honestly I share many of ZZs concerns. From what I understand, the devs are currently working on the "next thing" in the MA series (a network version of Domination) while leaving several problems in the regular Domination unattended, not to mention the handful of problems that are *still* remaining in the original MA and MAN. Why should we buy future products if known bugs in old products are never adequately addressed? It's a fair question.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 9:59 am 
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Hello ZZ,

Virtual Programming does porting of our games on Mac as we only develop PC games. So I suppose the question shall go directly to VP.

I'm quite sure they will test and deliver good and stable version of Domination and will manage to come up with patches as we release them (or a bit later once done with porting and QA).

As for PC, we've already released several patches for Domination and continue working on new one. The latest available is patch to 148 Russian version, released in August. For English, German, French and Italian version the work is still in progress.

Best Regards,
Nick.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:17 am 
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Nick, are there any plans to fix the few remaining bugs in MA and MAN?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:54 am 
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Hello Placid,

As for PC-version of MA and MAN - we have tested them and they're pretty stable. Some bugs that were possbile to fix were already fixed with patches. The harder to fix bugs caused by game design we treated only in Domination. Overall, both MA and MAN are stable games on PC and usually following instructions in electronic manual let players to fight problems with game performance in case they face them.

Best Regards,
Nick.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2005 10:40 am 
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Sea Wolf
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Hi Nick,

I agree that MA and MAN are overall stable games, and I really do appreciate all the work that has already gone into fixing problems in these games. Many patches have been released, much progress has been made. Great tournaments have been hosted. Support has listened to player suggestions for future games. No one can say that wargaming.net doesn't care about support at all, it's clearly not true!

Still, a game can have overall stability and yet lack adequate product support. There are some well-documented bugs that remain in MA/MAN. The "bomber bug" is a clear example, since *everyone* encounters this glitch (and most of us encounter it often!). It is annoying to redo long turns because of pressing the "undo" button at the wrong time. Why not fix bugs like this? What you say gives the impression that you think this is not a big enough deal to be worth the effort. Is this too casual an attitude toward product support? From reading the zillion previous forum comments on this bug, I suspect most folks think so. And you see the logic: we have no reason to believe that similar bugs won't be left in future games as "acceptable flaws."

There are other issues in MA/MAN that I'm guessing most people consider inadequately addressed based on previous forum comments, e.g., so many broken games, lack of new MAN maps for many months, etc. Furthermore, for those of us still paying a monthly fee for play, it makes it all the more reasonable that we should expect excellent product support, not just "overall stability." On the other hand, if wargaming.net is no longer significantly supporting MAN, and moving on to other projects, maybe the monthly fee should be eliminated at this point. And a really impressive move would be to attempt to give back in some way to those who paid the fee all along while MAN was not supported as well as promised.

Thanks for listening and your continued efforts at making the Massive Assault series great!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 9:20 am 
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Hello Placid,

We're going to upgrade MAN to MAN2 pretty soon and that shall resolve bug-caused problems for MAN players. MAN2 will be based on Domination engine and code with quite improved online part (details yet to be revealed). MAN players will get an opportunity to download the version and pay no extra money for upgrade - all they will have to do is to restore old profile in MAN2.

As for MAC, we hope VP will come out with very stable build as it has been in porting for quite a long time.

Kind Regards,
Nick.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2005 4:33 pm 
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There is, IMO, a real lack of QA for these games. Far too many online games break, every game has had CTD situations at one point or another in their campaigns... it really is unacceptable, and MA is still waiting on a patch which allows you to finish all the scenarios!

This is the reason I didn't buy Domination. I wouldn't play online as I don't think it's worth the subscription, but I like the little tactical puzzles that the scenarios pose, but I'm just not confident that I'd ever be able to play through them all, and that I wouldn't be left with a buggy, non-working game.

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