To save you some trouble, though you should read the whole article, I am going to list these important ones.
1 You expect the same rules that apply to others shouldn’t apply to you.
4 You disregard rules that are intended for everyone’s comfort.
7 You think it’s ok to upset or offend other people.
We as developers - especially here on Steam forums - have come to expect all manner of anti-social behavior by those who feel that they are entitled to something when they are not.
Posting irrelevant, inaccurate, mean and spiteful reviews in retaliation is and always will be a fool's errand. In fact, it is rather funny to watch and it is the #1 reason why, despite this sort of behavior, games still prosper on Steam and simply because those who have every intention of buying your game are more sensible in their decisions than to listen to and take advice from a bunch of people whose favorite online hobby is to troll, disrupt, harass and insult others just because they can.
It is the garden variety schoolyard mob bully mentality. Magnified in a medium where accountability is non-existent.
It ranks up there with sticking worms to the sidewalk with super glue and watching birds get hernias, pulling wings off butterflies etc. CNN recently posted a research study[edition.cnn.com] about how this behavior manifests itself in the patterns of those who do it. Jeff Vogel, another dev, also posted a missive[jeff-vogel.blogspot.com] about exactly this sort of thing.
The forum mob mentality is the bane of internet forums and is the primary reason why, across the internet various content providers are taking steps to curb (you can't prevent haters from hating or people from behaving badly) this behavior as best they can. So much so that many a lawsuit has been filed against some people who went too far.
And it is the primary reason why the Steam forums - as big as they are - have probably the worse reputation for online forums. If you were thinking that distinction goes to NeoGaf, then you're very wrong because, believe it or not, most everyone on NeoGaf seemingly grew up when we weren't looking. And somewhere along the way, they also grew a sense of humor. Either that or, unable to compete with the wit and culture of the average all growed up NeoGaffer (!), the churned weak simply left.
A sampling of data clearly indicates that in any collective pool, especially one where gamers are involved, there will always be those who are left to their own devices to disrupt and complete destroy the ecosystem making it difficult for anything meaningful to come out of it.
The result is that the sensible ones end up leaving. What's left is your garden variety mob who talk among themselves and, like a virus or fungus, dominate the ecosystem driving and sucking the living air out of it.
When you are in a room of ten people and they're all yelling, screaming, throwing poo all over the place, your only hope of survival is to duck out the door. When you do that, go outside and look into the room from a window. That's what you just escaped.
Which is why, no gamer in their right mind is going to come to the Steam forums looking for any sort of meaningful discussion. It is and always will be, good for a laugh.
While this needs no explanation, here is the chronology of events and which any admin here can see for themselves in our Steam group forum.
The game went live on Steam.
The people (we know all of them because, well, we banned every single one of them - on cue) you see here, were up in arms because, due to their false sense of entitlement, decided that the game, at $18 (!) was over-priced when compared to its mobile counterparts at $4.99. For, according to them, a port of a mobile game.
We disagreed and in several posts, tried to explain why. If you know anything about the internet forums, then you already know that this was a pointless exercise and one fraught with futility. But we tried nonetheless because it was the right thing to do.
So we pointed this out. It fell on deaf ears as expected. So we started deleting posts.
This escalated to the point where we had no choice but to start banning people.
As expected, that further escalated to the point where the banned, started creating new profiles (three of the people here, including the creator of this review, did just that and they really thought that we - as admins - didn't know how to root that out) in order to continue the behavior pattern
Undeterred, we continued taking action. And in doing so, once in a while, some innocent people got caught up in the dragnet. e.g. if you delete a post that someone innocently excerpted you have to edit and delete the excerpt or else. In some cases, we had no choice but to remove entire threads because deleting posts ended up with disjointed conversion flow.
Then, in the "What on Earth were they thinking!?" dept, we discovered that Valve had started allowing people to tag games. You can pretty much guess what happened next to the games by myself and other devs who simply don't put up with this crap. That's right, the tags (Diva Dev etc) went up, shots got taken, posted on imgur and elsewhere and in our forum threads. We deleted them.
During all of this, in an attempt to collate my thoughts into a single post so that we didn't have to keep repeating it, I penned a rather lengthy explanation of why the game was priced the way it was, why the PC version is not a port of a mobile game etc. You can read it here in my Tales From The Dev Side article.
That solved nothing. At least not to those who were hell bent on disrupting the forums and perpetrating this behavior.
At this point, we knew that we were at war.
Sadly, the years have taken their toll and at 50, I don't have the same vigor and drive that I used to. So, rather than engaging in any intelligence draining discourse, I simply did what Steam allows us to do. Delete posts and threads, ban people.
And here I am, writing up this stuff in a review made by an otherwise anonymous person who, after perpetrating unsanctioned behavior against us and our game to which we had no choice but to take action, gets to do this - without any sort of accountability. Because he can and he has a mob.
The funny thing is that I have a lot of experience with stuff like this and for over twenty years in making many games, my resolve has never been tested to the point where I just upped and quit, thereby letting people I wouldn't otherwise stand next to in a crowded room, harass, abuse, insult and put me under siege.
Succumbing to bullies is exactly how it starts. And if you think that just because it is happening online, that it has no real world consequences, then you clearly have not been paying attention to all the instances and reports of how our online lives tend to collide with our real ones. And sometimes with deadly results.
Never succumb to bullies. It is never okay.
Never allow someone put you down just because they can. It is never okay.
The person who said it was okay to turn the other cheek, never got slapped hard enough.
The game is free on mobile devices in that you can play the first three missions in the sixteen mission campaign. While the PC version is far more graphically improved than on the mobile version, the gameplay is the same. Which is why I didn't bother with a PC demo because I felt that everyone who owns a PC or Mac, already has an iOS or Android device.
NONE of the hateful, spiteful reviews of this game you see here, are true. None of it. The game - even if I say so - is great, plays well, runs well and is worth every penny.
In fact, in a direct counter to this nonsense, here is what I am prepared to do in order to stand by my game as well as completely dispel this nonsense. This is, in a sense, my full-on gear for a war that can have no winners but is worth fighting nonetheless.
Between today, Thurs, Feb 13th to next Thurs, Feb 20th....
If you - who aren't involved in this farce - bought this game either before trying the free mobile versions or because you feel that your experience is better on the PC so you bought it first and you find that a single one of these hateful and inaccurate reviews is true, I will refund your money - and you still get to keep the game in your Steam account
In return, I have only these conditions:
Your Steam a/c must be an established one that is at least twelve months or older and must have more than FOUR games in it. Not some new dummy account. Yeah, we know how that game is played.
You must write an objective and honest review of the game and your experience, here in the game's Steam store page where you are reading this.
I have created this thread where you can alert us to your desire to have a refund and I will make it happen after reviewing the aforementioned conditions. No questions asked.