FreeRealms: Gay Simulator, 2/10 score after 20+ hours played.

I want to write a bit more about the whole Eurogamer ‘review’ of DarkFall, because I feel some people are missing exactly why this is not just ‘someone not liking your game’, but actually a much more damaging two pages of lies. It’s one thing to give a bad review of a game based on design decisions and your opinion of them, no issues with that. It’s another to lie about both the game itself and your time spent playing it. That is not okay for a variety of reasons.

First let’s start with the facts. It’s very clear that the reviewer never got beyond the most basic aspects of DarkFall. He figured out how to move around, how to swing a weapon, and how to ask for help in public chat (check the screenshots). All of that takes a few seconds when you first log in. After a few minutes, you figure out how to manage your inventory/hotbars, how combat works on the most basic levels, and you start to get a feel for what is going on in DarkFall in terms of the world and it’s PvE/PvP balance. The reviewer never reached the second stage, yet claimed he played for nine hours. Either it takes him nine hours to figure out the same thing it takes most people a few minutes, or he is lying. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume the latter.

The major difference here however is his trash got published on a major website, and not some troll posting on a forum or commenting on a blog. His lies are picked up by sites like:

Warcry, who add about as much to the story as the reviewer added to DarkFall, good effort and explains why you are so relevant today.
Massively, who try to stay neutral, which in part gives some credibility to the initial piece due to a lack of research.
MMOCrunch, who admit to their in-game time, and at least give solid reasons for disliking the game.
Keen and Graev, who’s personal review style can be described with a simple: “1st month? Best game ever. Second month+: worst game ever, but this upcoming title is Awesomesauce guys!” trend each month or new release.
And finally Kill Ten Rats (I site I love, which is why I’m disappointed most by their post), who unfortunately quote some of the lies in the piece and take joy in its final 2/10 score, again a major failure in basic research.

Metacritic also considers the Eurogamer review in its overall ranking, and we know some studios (not Aventurine) base pay bonuses on a games final metacritic score (not to mention stock prices are also affected if a major game gets panned or praised). If someone reviewing your work blatantly made up lies, and this affected your paycheck, would you not react?

This is not whether DarkFall should have scored a 5/10, a 10/10, or a 1/10. It’s not a debate on how long someone has to play a game before they can pass judgment. It’s about a major news site publishing lies, and then standing behind them when called out. If I wrote that FreeRealms is just a gay life simulator because I read you can play a fairy (but in my review I say I’ve played it for weeks and it is indeed just that), and CNN or BBC quotes me on that, do you think SOE is not going to react? If enough news sites misquote the story and eventually “FreeRealsm: Gay simulator” is the headline, you think Sony as a whole is going to sit back and just lulz about it while portfolio managers adjust earning expectations and buy/sell rating based on the size of the gay simulator market? If you see the headline that FR is a gay simulator, are you as an average customer looking for a kids game going to rush out and find out more, or pass on it and never look back?

Eurogamer made a mistake in paying this guy for the review. They made another mistake in never checking his work. They made the biggest mistake when they backed him up after being provided countless examples of his lies and factual errors. Get it right: fire the writer, take down the review, and issue an apology to both Aventurine and the gaming community.

(Side note: In case someone wants to read a review by someone who has actually played the game beyond character creation, check out this 60 day write-up by Paragus Rants (from Inq, my DF guild), and the beta impressions linked within, which at least offer factual information along with real player opinions)

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Darkfall Online, FreeRealms, Mass Media, MMO design, Rant. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to FreeRealms: Gay Simulator, 2/10 score after 20+ hours played.

  1. N says:

    Ahhh, the sweet taste of fanboy tears.

    And why should Eurogamer give a fuck about the wailing of a developer that will be out of business six months from now anyway?

  2. Kash says:

    I LOL’d pretty hard at the K&G comment. BEST GAME EVAR WORST GAME EVAR. Its so true!

  3. Werit says:

    I wonder what kind of google traffic you’ll get from this article :)

  4. UFTimmy says:

    Concur with syncaine about K&G. It’s gone down hill, for sure.

  5. Bfred says:

    Um, what’s with the spamish “possibly related post” about a mobile phone competition. You sold out already? :)

    More seriously if they would just grow some balls and let anybody play who want to instead of hiding behind a very limited slow increase to new players then maybe there would be more publicity. I REALLY want to play the game but can’t, which gets them a -5 on my review off the bat. The rubbish about managing server numbers just hurts them and makes them look scared of letting real MMO numbers into their game. What are they afraid of? Converting WoW tourists to something better?

  6. Loire says:

    @Bfred:
    They are having a trickle release for two reasons:

    A) It allows them to provide a superior product for their true customers (WoW tourists for the most part don’t have a clue on where to purchase the game, especially since most of us who have followed the games progress had no clue).

    B) They don’t have the hardware to support the “real MMO numbers”. Take that as you will but AV.

    You may give them a -5 but I give them a +5 for the trickle release. I’ve been part of two releases now that suffered from your “real MMO numbers” (a mass influx and subsequent outflux of tourists), most notably WAR.

    Put some effort into acquiring the game if you really want it that bad. I’m a normal human being just like you who took the time to refresh the shop until release and fight for a copy.

  7. Hirvox says:

    It seems that Massively and Warcry are hedging their bets by resorting to the “Is Earth round? Experts disagree” style of reporting just the opinions without even trying to determine who is right.

  8. Kyff says:

    I think this incident is not worth four posts on this website.

    Bad journalism is nothing new.

    Reviews based on advertising revenues are nothing new.

    Two years ago the entire game-testing industry made a fool of itself with the Vanguard reviews. http://www.olnigg.de/jahr2007/olg136.htm

    For those of you who don`t speak German: The author dissects three unfavourable game reviews on Vanguard and compares them to quite favourable reviews on other games (Burning Crusade had just been released). Those reviews of Vanguard were not only obviously biased but also blatantly incorrect. (Costs for mounts where wrong. Minimum level for mounts was wrong. World layout and Monsters were described wrong. The Graphics – one of the obvious strengths of Vanguard – were described as poor, ugly, bad etc.)

    In my opinion this is really just a storm in a coffee cup. I don’t know anyone who bases his decisions to buy or not to buy games on Eurogamer articles.

    A liar has been disproved and that’s about it.

  9. winter says:

    lol fanboy much? Your tears of QQ are sweet indeed.

  10. SmakenDahed says:

    Any press is good press.

  11. Paragus says:

    The reviewer from Eurogamer has a history of botching reviews, do some research. Now they have painted themselves into a corner. If they give it a good review it will appear as if they caved, and a bad review will only be perceived as covering up the mistake of Zitron.

    I find it laughable that he only played the game for 9 hours because it is an MMO. I bet they would play a new Zelda or Mario game for the full 20 hours before reviewing it. He writes from 9 hours of experience, I write from 9 weeks, and there are still aspects of the game I have yet to get to. It is a sad day when the blogging community and forum posters have surpassed the quality and credibility of big name publications.

  12. Jouse says:

    I’m just curious, as I haven’t played Darkfall, but have read both the Eurogamer article and blog response, as well as both of Tasos responses.

    I keep hearing about the lies that the reviewer put in the article, and Tasos never really stated anything static that was a lie, just pointed out lack of play-time. What exactly, did the reviewer lie about? I want to know, because everyone says the article is full of lies, but never says what’s specifically wrong! (Please don’t take this as an attack, I know it sounds snotty, but I’m just curious and in no way attempting to attack your article)

  13. shadowwar says:

    So, Willie did correct some factual inaccuracies, but most of them still seem to be opinion based commentary.

    I’m not saying that the reviewer did a good job, and I think to review an MMO more than nine hours needs to be spent on it (and most definitely more than two to three). Close to 15 hours would probably be a good amount to give a good first impression, overall feel of the game. By that amount of game play, anyone should be able to get a feel for the overall theme that is presented.

    So, in the end, we have a reviewer who took the cheap way out on this assignment, and a company that gets all butt-hurt because someone slammed their game. Chances are, the guy would have given the same review no matter how long he played.

  14. Thoms says:

    Darkfall… so hardcore that even the reviewscores will scare the masses away.

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  16. Bonedead says:

    LOL THAT COMPANY IS GONNA BE DEAD IN 6 MONTHS DURRR.

  17. Einherjer says:

    “Gay Generator”

    You are such a homophobe and a horrible, horrible person.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Mmmm, Darkfall gets a shit review from Eurogamer so lets call Free Realms, a Sony game and nothing to do with the review, a Gay Simulator, possibly insulting anyone at Sony who worked on it, anyone who reads your blog the plays it, or anyone that reads you blog that is gay.

    Good call.

  19. Cliff says:

    Anonymous and Einherjer

    I suspect the Free Realms references were an analogy. It is a literary practice where a writer will pick an issue, and then write an (often outrageous) example to illustrate why they feel the way they do about that given issue.

    In this case:

    The review on Darkfall is like writing a review stating that Free Realms makes people gay.

    He is arguing that the two seemingly unrelated events are analogous.

    Note, this particular use of the art form is crude (intentionally so) because it points out the absurdity inherent in drawing the conclusions between homosexuality and fairy folk in a wholesome online game. He is suggesting that the review on Darkfall was equally absurd and drew equally ridiculous conclusions.

    The real question isn’t to point out that the analogy is crude and inflammatory (that is the point). The real question is whether the analogy is accurate or not.

    I can’t believe I even have to explain this. Does anyone retain anything they learn in school anymore?

    Don’t argue sarcasm as an excuse for not understanding the point of this post either. Sarcasm, like any other literary device, actually has to have a point in order to be effective but it is easy enough to fake sarcastic intentions when you get called out on something. It’s just like tripping someone and then, when they dust themselves off and get ready to punch you, you say, “I was only kidding.”

    See, another analogy. It’s fun, make your own!

  20. shadowwar says:

    It’s more telling that these two people immediately got their haunches up in offense over something that was obviously an absurd example to make a point. The fact that he was calling it gay to exemplify the ridiculous nature of the comparison shows that he most likely believes the opposite. Some people are so ready to be offended that they get angry before actually realizing what it is they’re getting riled up about.

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