Category Archives: RPGs

Review-Bombing on Steam

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is out today and has already received some considerably negative reviews on Steam. While the game seems to have some optimization issues right now, the primary reason for the review bombing is that Capcom, most likely on the publisher’s side, added micro-transactions to the game which allow players to purchase optional items (like fast travel) which make the often harsh gameplay more trivial.

While I am no fan of micro transactions myself, much less in a premium single-player RPG, much of the current review bombing on Steam is based on misinformation and not entirely fair. As veterans of the older title have pointed out, optional items were always a thing in Dragon’s Dogma and more importantly, the ingame world also offers opportunities to receive the much coveted items, albeit on more difficult terms. If you want to play DD2 the way its director of development, Hideaki Itsuno intended it, you will ignore the optional items and enjoy this RPG world for what it is. If you prefer shortcuts, you have to pay extra.

Much of this initial outrage seems fabricated or at least very knee-jerk to me and I feel a little sorry for the development team who likely had no say in the matter. I also wonder what some of the hot critics who are unfamiliar with the franchise will say once they discover all the other warts of this new title. Dragon’s Dogma has always been rough around the edges and decidedly less mainstream than Skyrim, for example. Newcomers should probably watch videos like this one by Gameranx first which very accurately describes what you’re in for, should you decide to give DD2 a go. I still look forward to playing it this coming weekend, anyway.

Getting the 2023 GOTY refunded on Steam

A recent humorous post over at Redbeard’s blog about “thirsty RPG memes” reminded me of my brief intermezzo with the much lauded Baldur’s Gate 3 last fall. I should have known that BG3 wasn’t going to be my cup of coffee but sometimes the glowing reviews by friends outreason all better judgement. It’s not even that I disliked the thirsty romance aspects of the game, which I absolutely would have tried to ignore as much as possible, I never actually got that far into BG3 for it to become a potential issue. I couldn’t stand the combat and controls of the game, not that I was oblivious upfront but I’ve never played any Baldur’s Gate titles and underestimated how much I would hate the RNG dice rolling of the round based combat, the constant clicking of things and general movement style and camera. I’m sure that BG3 has great world building and storytelling and whatnot once you get out of the intro stages of the game, it just isn’t for me personally.

Having spent 70$ on this misadventure, I was eager to get a refund. I was also still below the 2hr mark of playtime that’s part of Steam’s refund policy. Or so I thought because much to my surprise the title had logged over 10hrs of playtime in the Steam profile; this is due to me letting the startup launcher run during the longer install time and then forgetting about it in the background, as I was busy doing other things elsewhere that day. So while the ingame BG3 save file clearly indicated that I hadn’t played for more than 2hrs, the Steam log showed a difference of over 8hrs – just great. I opened a ticket anyway and took a screenshot of the ingame save time.

Baldur's Gate 3

The first support ticket was squashed rather quickly by a Steam support agent telling me that I had played the game for much too long and so their refund policy didn’t apply. Every support ticket on Steam ends with the question of whether you’re happy with that and want to close the ticket which I promptly declined of course. I started pleading my case about the launcher’s runtime having been added to my effective playtime which was actually below the 2hr mark. The next support person (they change every time) completely ignored my argument and denied the request again. I remained persistent however, because why wouldn’t I – it’s not like I had anything to lose. At least two more times did I restate my issue, adding a bit more information every time as to why I wanted a refund and why the game, including its control scheme, was unplayable for me and therefore a complete loss.

Lo and behold, between the fourth or fifth attempt (I should have screenshotted this whole conversation) I was told they were going to make a “one-time exception” due to special circumstances. My 70$ were refunded and I was very happy with myself. So happy in fact, I spent the 70 bucks on Starfield right away which I haven’t played past the first few hours since.

The moral of this story: persistence is key whatever a policy states and you can always waste your money on the next big thing! It’s slightly comical when the official GOTY of the 2023 game awards is the only game you refunded that year but I still call this a win in my book.

DD2 Character Craze

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is only 5 days away and I mentioned briefly last week that the character creator has already hit Steam. Having spent a few hours on it myself over the weekend, I second that the customization options are pretty impressive. It still has its limitations in some departments though (height, hair, eyes, colors…) which is a deliberate choice to fit the overall world building and lore, I believe. To start off, the game lets you choose from 3 different races which are the humans, elves and beastren. You then get to create your main character, aka the Arisen, as well as your main companion, aka your Pawn. The game lets you have up to three of these AI companions which are essential to group combat in Dragons Dogma. The other two pawns will come through accessing the game’s online network called Riftstones and they will have been made by other players of Dragon’s Dogma 2 which is a really cool feature.

Booting up the client on Saturday, I meant to only have a quick look and erm, riiiight….you know how these things go! In the end I created an Arisen for myself and two more character models. The game lets you export these pre-made characters to official release, so at least it’s not like you’re wasting your time completely – and a lot of time it is! I spent around two hours learning different sliders and submenus for my Arisen after which I decided I was going to model my main pawn after the better half. This was a good laugh and I dare say he approved of the final result!

Raistlin from Dragonlance

Having browsed the Steam community page which is naturally overflowing with doppelgangers of famous actors and fictional characters, I also decided to give Raistlin from Dragonlance a go for a mage pawn. I got lucky that the customization options mostly agreed with me and other than lacking a wavier hairstyle as well as the option for golden skin and hourglass eyes, I dare say he turned out pretty alright. However, this now puts me in the difficult position of having to decide between the better half and Raistlin Majere, Master of the Past and Present, for my future main pawn – a real quandary I tell you!