Madfish Jan 3, 2013 @ 12:10pm
Game opinion (not necessarily unbiased but at least trying to be honest)
My opinion on the game

Some facts (so far):
  • 194 recommendations by friends on steam
  • Metascore of 61 (based on 4 critics and half of them from Czech sites)
  • Metacritic Userscore of 4.2 (out of 10 based on 26 ratings and getting zeroes even from early funders during pre-alpha)

Now here is where the "fun" starts. There is a total of 3 franchise games so far already! (Although the main game is barely a beta version full of bugs and optimization issues).
The games:
  • Minerwars 2081 (main game)
  • Minerwars Arena and
  • Minerwars 2.5D.
Supported Platforms in total: PC, Xbox 360 and iOS
Ironically Minerwars Arena gets higher user ratings than the main game and e.g. LEVEL (one of the Czech review sites) gives it a lower score than Minerwars 2081.


Most people blame the DRM but that is NOT really what the frustration is about I believe. Most die-hard fans (probably the 126 people who recommended it on steam) defend it based on that logic mostly and fail to see the bigger picture: Where are the great reviews? Where are the fans on steam? Is everyone wrong by just having a negative opinion even and especially if that appears to be the majority of players? Why is it being ignored that most of these people even bought the game?

I have bought the game during pre-alpha. I'm a sci-fi fan and I like space games and sims. I bought Freespace 2 like 4 times for example. Defending this game by just trying to put out the DRM fire alone won't save it either. There are MANY games out there with crazy DRM and yet the sell. Why?
Well there are many reasons but here is why I believe MinerWars is receiving a lot of negative feedback:


1. Communication

The developers way of communication is shady. It had seen better days but they are now over. Even on this forum. There is a pinned "review" from a person called Miss Athena! Playtime? 1,2 hours... Now my playtime on steam is lower than that - but I played the non-steam version already and Miss Athena said she bought it on steam! Something smells fishy here - and overall this reflects the attitude of the devs nicely.
Instead of improving the game the developers have a very strict set of goals. Now this can be a good thing is you have a brilliant idea and a great plan of execution - but that wasn't the case. All voices that saw bigger potential than just a plane and aged descent were quickly squelched. If issues like the DRM came up it they were ignored and people just blamed and even lied to.


2. No development focus on the main game

When they announced side projects like minerwars 2.5D my trust was broken. There were issues before but at this point I knew the game would fail. And it did. Marek promised it wouldn't sidetrack the efforts. But the results clearly show how wrong he was. Gamers rate the side project higher than the main title which has buggy code, weak design and questionable storytelling. Even the mechanics are questionable and the 6DOF doesn't really play out well. Bots still hover in front of you like ducklings and move very rail-ish. It feels unfinished to me.


3. Weak gameplay and campaign content

The main campaign to me has almost no value. Descent is simply outdated and even stardock failed at producing a 6DOF space game (Shattered Horizon) which frightingly featured many of the same elements: shooter gameplay, suit shutdown, simply generic weapons etc.).
The campaign is not athmospheric at all (at least to me). Cheesy factions were made up like the fourth reich, China and of course Russia. Aside from that there are smaller side factions like neo japan etc. The voice acting is somewhere between okay and good but not nearly as convincing as it would have to be for me to be really engaged. There are no "wow" moments. They tried to put some in the game (like when you start out and see the big chinese ships attack the base) but they are not emotional or memorable at all. Maybe that's just me but I couldn't even bring myself to play through the campaign at all. Maybe I never will but I still hope that the game will be fixed.


4. Co-Op / Sandbox mode potential completely wasted

When I played the pre-alpha I was just pulled in by the sandbox potential. Drilling into asteroids, collecting rescources and possibly use them and build with them. All that the most interesting part for me. Not realized at all in the final game. Why? Did the devs really believe that Descent is still something that players crave for? All the games that tried to resurrect descent failed. Most games even ended up with simplyfied dimensions (flat space). The co-op is now hard to fully use. Flying through a finished and edited map is not nearly as engaging as building it together with friends in a living and breathing space with pirates attacking you and eventually even having to trade or visit foreing systems to gather materials.
Keep in mind that most viral games had great sandbox / co-op modes. It doesn't even have to be amazing graphics (Minecraft anyone?)


5. Not absorbing player suggestions and models from players

During development they declined many player submissions and said it was due to quality issues. But what's left now is not better at all. The ship designs look generic, almost familiar (homeworld), models and engine seem to be suffering from optimization flaws.
Even problems like the weak cockpit designs could've been solved. I even remember trying to point out why smaller ships should be "remote controlled" as it'd be more realistic and would avoid having to design a cockpit for each ship. In the end I would've applauded if they would've overcome the issue and provided us with amazing ship designs and cockpits. But none of that happened.


Final notes

Other projects, like Star Citizen, proof that the developers of MinerWars were just wrong. StarCitizen will have a semi heavy DRM for the official multiplayer server but will still provide modding tools, single player, has a great playerbase developing fantastic ship models and even got more than 7 million just from donations alone without anything else than screenshots and videos. MinerWars could've done that - but didn't. There are a lot of space game fans out there but the end product is mediocre and unfinished. The development until then was questionable. Maybe focusing all efforts on one single game would've been enough? Maybe putting some emotion into the campaign instead of trying to revive a zombie game of the 90's with simple duck-hunting shooter mechanics would've also gotten more fans. I'm not sure what it is that made this game such a bad experience to me - especially since I enjoyed the sandbox mechanics during pre-alpha so much. But one thing is very clear to me: only talking about DRM is just being blind about the real issues that make players, or at least me, feel very unsatisfied when playing the game.



I assume this thread will not end up stickied like the "unbiased" view of a player with 1.2 hours playtime on record. Maybe it'll even end up getting deleted.
I just hope it'll remind the devs that I dislike the game for reasons that were already pointed out by myself and many others during development. To pretend that all the negativity comes just from the DRM and trying to fix it by talk alone is just wrong.

Devs: If you have any love for the community at all then get back to the drawing table and fix this game. And maybe try doing that without creating even more games that you won't support fully. It's not just about DRM alone. Be creative, be professional. But deliver and don't just talk and censor. If you'd do that for starters then I'd be happy already.
I am still hoping that the co-op mode will be improved. And by that I'm talking about Minerwars 2081.

Final note: this is MY opinion. Feel free to comment but keep in mind that my take on the whole issue is subjective and NOT unbiased - just honest. Thank you.
Last edited by Madfish; Jan 3, 2013 @ 12:15pm
Showing 1-11 of 11 comments
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Holy Athena Jan 8, 2013 @ 9:29am 
Good thread, I'd sticky it if I could. As for my two hours in the game? There are just better games atm, I explained it as well in a comment, I like games like X3, Medieval Total War, and others that are more in depth, etc. EVE, and many other games including my love for modding games, is also taking up my time.

My thread though is still 100% true, and you hit it, the real problem is not entirely the DRM, I still hold true to that most ppl QQIng over that, is not really the main reason they should. who doesnt have a few $ to dish out anyway?

I was not, and still am not dissatisfied with buying the game. Its lack luster, sure, but not bad for any of the reasons that most are complaining about. I think if the devs really want, they can turn the game around. They said they had plans for it anyway, perhaps them being so quiet, is them hopefully, working very hard to fix the game.
ThreeSon (Banned) Jan 8, 2013 @ 10:36am 
As for DRM not being one of the primary problems with the game - I just want to say that for me it most definitely is. People who aren't bothered by DRM often criticize those who do by claiming that we're worrying about nothing, that "everyone has good internet now so stop complaining," etc.

Games with DRM (particularly always-on DRM as in Miner Wars) are only playable temporarily. At some point in the future, whether it's a month from now or 10 years from now, the servers that are required to play the game will be shutdown (either intentionally by the publisher or inadvertantly as a result of bankruptcy), and everyone who paid cash for the game will never be able to play it again.

To those who believe that games have long-term artistic and/or historical value, as well as those who believe that when they buy a game they should own it forever (just as it always has been for games until recently) this is an unacceptable limitation. Games will never earn the respect they deserve for their cultural value if they expire after a short period of existence. Certainly games like Grim Fandango would not be as fondly remebered today if we could no longer play them due to DRM (as certainly would be the case with GF, since it sold poorly on release and thus would've had its DRM servers shut down long ago).
Last edited by ThreeSon; Jan 8, 2013 @ 3:54pm
Nn9 - Project Mioav Jan 8, 2013 @ 3:45pm 
I have two major problems with Miner Wars.
1. The areas itself, for a 6dof shooter, the game feels remarkably corridor crawler, I'm not saying its bad, I'm saying you have 95% destructible environments, give me a reason to blow it all to hell, stop sending me down corridors, I did that in Doom3 which leads me nicely onto problem two.

2. Weapons, or lack of them, The weaponry just feels like major cookie cutter weapons, machine gun? Check, Shotgun? Check, miscellaneous rubbish? Check, its a 6dof shooter, go crazy for crying out loud, Space sims like X managed some non cookie cutter weapons, Galaxy on Fire 2 had, and yet Miner War's arsenal is just a tick sheet, seriously upsetting.
ooktar (Banned) Jan 8, 2013 @ 4:04pm 
Just wanted to say that this is the best most well layed-out opinion I've read so far. It explains all the problems of the game perfectly without over-focusing on one. This deserves to be stickied more than the other two that were. Or at least it deserves to be stickied alongside the other ones to provide an honest opposite opinion that people can reference as oppposed to stickying the only ones that praise the game. It just seems rather immature of the developers to praise anyone that has a good opinion and shun anyone else.

And btw, Eurogamer reviewed the game today (3/10) lowering the Metascore to 52.
Mog (Banned) Jan 8, 2013 @ 5:08pm 
This has to be the most well-thought out post I've read in any forum, any where, and I was using the internet in the days where that's all it was - newsletters and forums. (Yeah, I'm an old fart.) If this does, for some reason, get removed, expect to see it reappear. If you don't write reviews (or write at all) for a living, consider it. Seriously. +10.

I really wanted to enjoy this game, and I didn't. The devs even copped an attitude with me. I'll be the first one to call me a jerk, and I've heard every name in the book, but don't be a ♥♥♥♥ to your supporters. That's just bad business. My one-time purchase is not enough to sustain a business, you need to give me a reason to stick around. Irate/rude/aggressive/annoying/<fill in trait here> customers can be your most loyal if you're clever enough to deliver what they want and get them on your side. You probably figured this out already, but sarcasm and passive-aggression isn't the way to do it. Sometimes it's funny, but mostly it will backfire.

*Plays "Taps" for Keen*

Originally posted by Mistress Athena:
As for my two hours in the game? There are just better games atm, I explained it as well in a comment, I like games like X3, Medieval Total War, and others that are more in depth, etc. EVE, and many other games including my love for modding games, is also taking up my time.

I have plenty of games I like better than others, but when they're really good, time is made for them. I'm not saying you can't like the game, but you go to great lengths to defend your point of view in your thread, even though you say you don't dedicate much time to it. I would argue that your passion comes from wanting to defend yourself, and your view, and not from a passionate gamer standpoint, defending a gaming love of theirs. You admit you've played only a few hours, and can quickly list games and projects that you say are better or more fun. So, I would also argue that you agree with most of us so-called "cryers" who WANT to like the game, who bought and even pre-ordered the game, but it's just not fun. There are just better games out there, and I can't agree with you more on that.
Holy Athena Jan 8, 2013 @ 7:42pm 
Originally posted by changefor5bucks:
Just wanted to say that this is the best most well layed-out opinion I've read so far. It explains all the problems of the game perfectly without over-focusing on one. This deserves to be stickied more than the other two that were. Or at least it deserves to be stickied alongside the other ones to provide an honest opposite opinion that people can reference as oppposed to stickying the only ones that praise the game. It just seems rather immature of the developers to praise anyone that has a good opinion and shun anyone else.

And btw, Eurogamer reviewed the game today (3/10) lowering the Metascore to 52.

I agree, it would go nicely along side mine, actually, combing both would be gem.
Holy Athena Jan 8, 2013 @ 7:47pm 
Originally posted by Mog:

Originally posted by Mistress Athena:
As for my two hours in the game? There are just better games atm, I explained it as well in a comment, I like games like X3, Medieval Total War, and others that are more in depth, etc. EVE, and many other games including my love for modding games, is also taking up my time.

I have plenty of games I like better than others, but when they're really good, time is made for them. I'm not saying you can't like the game, but you go to great lengths to defend your point of view in your thread, even though you say you don't dedicate much time to it. I would argue that your passion comes from wanting to defend yourself, and your view, and not from a passionate gamer standpoint, defending a gaming love of theirs. You admit you've played only a few hours, and can quickly list games and projects that you say are better or more fun. So, I would also argue that you agree with most of us so-called "cryers" who WANT to like the game, who bought and even pre-ordered the game, but it's just not fun. There are just better games out there, and I can't agree with you more on that.

Please understand, my original post was not "this game is effing amazing!!" It was "this game is not THAT terrible" I still stand by what I said completely. It was the "first" post of its kind, that actually looked at what the game had to offer, and how it played.

Yes, I do defend myself, and yes it is from more of an annoyance towards those who'd flame, troll, and insult me. Most in my thread have done so, and unfortunately some other people have gotten in the cross fire a bit, that for which I'm sorry for.

For people who just want the game to be better? Yes, I do agree that it has alot of work to be done, that they can make it alot better than it is. I've never not said that. The ones who I am truly trying to defend myself from, are those who think I'm saying the game is amazing, and all cryers are worth nothing, which is not what I'm saying.

Point is, I'm with alot of people on how the game actually is, its the ones who go to great lengths with threads like "Zongm this has DRM!!1!!1!1! Dont buy it!!!!!" then go on to cry in the thread all about DRM, are the ones who I'm against.
Ghostte Jan 8, 2013 @ 11:13pm 
Great Post

They really need to take Sandbox out of the steam description. Very misleading. I will not be buying anything from this company again.
Last edited by Ghostte; Jan 8, 2013 @ 11:13pm
Mog (Banned) Jan 12, 2013 @ 9:07am 
These devs are just terrible at business...and making anything fun...
Madfish Jan 21, 2013 @ 8:06am 
It's interesting to see that they fixed the DRM issue. I made this thread to actually point out that, at least to me, the games most disturbing flaws are not the DRM.

However, fixing the DRM was a first step and a huge commitment to the community. I hope it marks an era of updates to fix the remaining issues.

Great work so far team.
Ljosapaldr[Rain] Jan 30, 2013 @ 11:29pm 
This is how I feel.
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