This seems to be such a dead horse issue around these parts, but after buying the game 6 months ago, I have finally become irritated enough to actually go to the trouble of signing up for a forum account just to offer my thoughts on what poor quality the state of the game has been in up to the first year of release. (and yes, I know a patch has been release, and yes, it does a lot to fix the problems)
I'll admit the post is a bit rant-y, but I absolutely detest it when companies release partially complete products, back-pedal, and generally give their customers the run-around while they scramble to release fixes like chickens with their heads cut off. It's sloppy.
So, you've been warned, don't read further if you don't want to read what a lot of people have been thinking but don't want to spend the energy saying:
I've met a very large number of people who ate the cost of the game, and almost every one of them has experienced some of the many irritating or crippling bugs that can be found in the game. The point here of course is that these bugs don't appear to be transient, but very commonplace.
I just wanted to know what kind of drugs the QA department was smoking when they gave final approval to release this marginally functional product to market? Was the release approval tacit, or were these problems well documented and simply swept under the proverbial rug? It sure looks like jumpy management pushed to get this steaming pile out the door.
I think anyone here with their head screwed on even half-straight can agree that this was an enormous premature-ejac....er....premature-release that wasn't really ready for the market.
Speculation of causes aside (and yes, I recognize it's by and large speculation, but with 2Ks very consistent media relations practice of totally dodging the tough questions at the expense of their reputation, what can people be expected to do?)
And yes, yes by and large the developers are in fact in the trenches every day pounding out code - hard at work...huzzah for them! Being a CS major myself, I appreciate the intricacies of the work. I know there are bad development leads, bad technical leads, and so on, but I also know that a "good", "reliable" and "stable" code base is fairly straightforward to achieve with the right balance of planning, thoughtful coding, and intelligent testing, all while tactfully circumventing the do-gooder programmers who couldn't write a for-loop to get out of a paper bag that inevitably infest just about every development-focused company that exists.
So what gives? Why did it take until December to end up with a working product that many people shelled out cash for nearly a year ago?
Fanboys need not reply. I get the fact that there are by no means absolutes in the game industry - fixes take time, patience is often richly rewarded, and things rarely go according to plan. Release a game into the horde, and things break. Not every studio can throw 500 bajillion developers at a problem and fix things overnight. But at the end of the day, studios need to also humbly recognize that they are producing a product which people PAY FOR, and there needs to be a certain standard of quality achieved before release. I don't buy the classic crock of "well, sometimes these problems don't crop up until the public breaks it!" - what sort of QA practices are you employing that qualifies you for such a convenient excuse?
For anyone affiliated with 2k to tell the countless droves of people who have been waiting for 6-12 months for the product to function "as advertised" that they (2k) didn't even anticipate these problems is either totally ignorant of what was really going on, or is indeed completely full of the brown stuff.
Yet again 2k has been caught with their pants down. How much longer do you suppose they can ride on the coat-tails of the bioshock series before people stop falling for the company line?
It's too bad really, because I'm a big fan of the Civilization series (Civ.net anyone?), of the old X-com games, and of Bioshock. Hopefully they've learned a valuable lesson with this product. The market will only tolerate so much mistreatment.