Larian Banner
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Joined: Apr 2013
member
OP Offline
member
Joined: Apr 2013
A few hours ago Swen tweeted:

Quote
I wonder about the argument pro cracking a game under development - probably too complex for me


I assumed this to mean that the Divinity: Original Sin alpha had been pirated and distributed to the wider Internet, but I don't know for certain. I do know, however, that the Wasteland 2 beta was cracked. And while I agree that this is certainly a complicated subject, I do think it warrants some conversation.

So here we are.

What do you think of games in development--in testing stages, alpha or beta or what have you--being cracked, pirated, and/or freely dispersed to the more unsavory corners of the Internet? Is it a net positive or negative? Does it have an immediate risk or benefit, and/or a long-term risk or benefit?

I think we're all familiar with the myriad arguments for and against game piracy in general, but those are applied to games that are, well, finished. Alphas and betas present a very different dynamic, I think.

Joined: Apr 2013
member
OP Offline
member
Joined: Apr 2013
I'm posting my own opinion here, in a separate post, because, well, to be honest I'm still not entirely certain what my thoughts ARE.

I'm certainly sympathetic to the cause of "piracy" in certain instances--old games that are not available via digital distribution services like Steam or GOG being the only "reason" I can fully support--but, as I said earlier, the dynamic is different with pre-release, in-development software.

And this has happened plenty of times in the past, most (in)famously with the Half Life 2 source code and Diablo 3 beta.

But what does it mean? I think it can be partly read as a positive--if people are pirating an alpha or beta version of a game, it indicates a very clear demand for the product. After all, no one is going to go out of their way to pirate a beta version of "Cabella's Big Game Hunter 2015," or the latest Train Simulator.

But at the same time, I worry that this kind of piracy may work to a long-term detriment. An alpha or beta version of a game is very much unfinished, plagued with bugs and missing features that would be utterly unacceptable in a finished game. Can pirates be trusted to understand that the game they're stealing is unfinished? That they should not judge it as a final product? Because one pirate seldom means one potential sale lost--gamers are social animals. We all love to share our opinions with one another and hear others' opinions before we delve into games on our own. One pirate with a positive opinion of a game can potentially stimulate dozens or hundreds of sales--but the reverse is also true.

For example, around 13 months ago Beamdog released "Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition." (They've since released Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition, and I highly recommend you pick up both titles ASAP if you haven't already). When the game released it was, well, let's just say it was in a state not dissimilar from the Divinity: Original Sin alpha right now. Basically, just as much worked as didn't.

Now, Beamdog did manage to fix up their game and get it relatively stable within a few weeks, and virtually bug-free within a few months, but it was too late. Too many gamers had played the game too soon after launch, and their perception of it as a bug-ridden unplayable mess persists to this day. I still see these people in various forums denouncing BGEE, and urging gamers who ask not to buy it--all because the version they played 13 months ago was in sorry shape.

And I fear the same thing may happen with the big crowdfunded RPGs of 2014. These are not titles like Diablo III, or Half Life 2, where the games are destined to sell enormously well regardless of quality. I fear I'll be browsing through GameFAQs one day in 2014 the week Original Sin or Wasteland 2 is released, and someone will ask if either game is worth buying, and someone will say, "Hell no: I played it back in December and it was a terrible, buggy, unplayable mess. Go by X or Y instead."

Joined: Aug 2012
addict
Offline
addict
Joined: Aug 2012
hmmmmmmmm from a personnal point of view, I did not crack the game but I went through the files 'coz I really like one of the song played while you are in the menu (the one played with piano only) I know this is considere as "raw musical stuff" but I really like it, and I think that it would not be the same if they change/add instrument/remix it. Anyway I will buy (soon or later) the musics of the game but this song is just awesome the way it is so I wanted it laugh


"-Oh that's fullmoon, cuttie cuttie sheep
-baaaaaaOOOOORGH"
***Sprotch***

Weresheeps will rule the world (At least one night every 29 days)
Joined: Apr 2013
enthusiast
Offline
enthusiast
Joined: Apr 2013
Well, I've never researched video game piracy so I don't know much about it, beyond what I've picked up here and there. Piracy in general does seem to be a very complex issue, with a lack of hard data and many unknowns regarding its motivations and effects. It's a topic that elicits a lot of speculation, that's for sure.

What are the demographics of pirates who like RPGs? How many pirated copies of D:OS will be played anyway and how many of these will translate into purchases? Will these pirates criticise or praise the game more?

I really have no idea.

You make an interesting point Arsene, though I'd suggest that this concern is an extension of the concern regarding gamers' nous of development in general, rather than piracy specifically. I'm not sure that pirates will be less capable of understanding the process of development than kickstarter backers, and it should be pretty hard to miss that you're playing an alpha. Granted, within the set of backers there will be a subset of the most engaged fans (who are following development closely/are the most knowledgeable from a laypersons' perspective). Yet it seems to me that you get a fair amount of griping, misinterpretation and so forth anyway if you release an alpa/beta to a broad audience (if the response to Wasteland2 or various early access games on Steam is anything to go by), amidst all the understanding and valuable feedback. And Larian has released it to ALL their backers...

So I think one might as well ask whether backers can be trusted to appreciate the nature and nuances of an unfinished game. I'd guess that something along these lines was crossing Swen's mind when he paused during that disclaimer update and said, 'I am really not sure this is a good idea.'

That said, the piracy concern is definitely a legitimate further reason not to release alpha/betas outside of select test-groups. However I'd argue that by far the primary concern is the reception amongst backers/buyers. I doubt that there will be huge numbers of pirates stealing the alpha, not appreciating that it is an alpha and disliking it enough to rubbish it around the net. And in any case, the problem remains that indie studios (especially those that use kickstarter and so need pledge rewards) need backer feedback as a cost-effective alternative to publisher-funded in-house testing. It would appear that the solution to this problem isn't to combat piracy, which has proven mostly futile anyway, but to polish the alpha/beta as much as possible and effectively communicate with your backers about the development process. Larian has done both of these things pretty well imo, and I'm getting the impression that D:OS's alpha is being received well accordingly, though I should mention I haven't played it myself.

So, I suppose my opinion is that if you are prepared to release your alpha/beta to tens of thousands of kickstarter backers and/or press, piracy shouldn't really be much of an additional worry. The die has already been cast at that point... or rolled if you prefer.


"Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that" - Leunig
Joined: Oct 2004
old hand
Offline
old hand
Joined: Oct 2004
The gaming industry (big publishers) like to claim billions lost due to piracy (after all management is perfect and the only reason their strategy is failing is due to piracy ). The titan quest folks claim the reason their game did so poorly is their anti-piracy code cause the game to crash if it was 'stolen' and so people started writing reviews that the game constantly crashed (legit purchases did not crash).
-
I have no clue what the truth is with regards to piracy. At the end of the day piracy only hurts if it results in lost sales (but lets not ignore the damage done by some of these 'drm' systems.
-
I personally don't pirate but I known people who think it is 'neat' to 'beat' drm system.
-
With regards to D:OS I think it is a potential dis-service to 'pirate' an alpha or early beta because the game is clearly not polished and it might create a false impression of the final product.

Joined: Aug 2012
addict
Offline
addict
Joined: Aug 2012
yeah piracy is far too often overvalued. A fancy talk about that ^^
http://www.ted.com/talks/rob_reid_the_8_billion_ipod.html


"-Oh that's fullmoon, cuttie cuttie sheep
-baaaaaaOOOOORGH"
***Sprotch***

Weresheeps will rule the world (At least one night every 29 days)
Joined: Apr 2013
journeyman
Offline
journeyman
Joined: Apr 2013
I have no idea why anyone would want to pirate an alpha version, but I don't see how they could miss the 'THIS IS AN UNFINISHED ALPHA' messages plastered everywhere or the numerous disabled features, so I find it unlikely that anyone would mistake it for the full version. I doubt Larian are losing much sleep over this, to be honest.

The morality of it is an interesting question - after all, unlike a release version, there's no way anyone is even theoretically losing money from this. My main concern would be that the pirates, who obviously didn't back the Kickstarter, will misunderstand what Larian is trying to do and start complaining about the isometric view and turn-based combat. But let's face it, that will probably happen with the final game as well.

Joined: Dec 2013
G
apprentice
Offline
apprentice
G
Joined: Dec 2013
Originally Posted by Arsene Lupin

For example, around 13 months ago Beamdog released "Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition." (They've since released Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition, and I highly recommend you pick up both titles ASAP if you haven't already).


I'm sorry but I couldn't disagree more. I played BG1 at the time of its release and didnt like it. I recently tried BG2 and found it awful. So I have no shame in admitting it was a pirate version, because all I wanted to do was check if the games were really as good as everyone say they are (they're definitely not).

Actually, I'd advise anyone who never tried a Baldur gate game to stay away from them and play Fallout/Arcanum/DivineDivinity instead.
Seriously, bioware and bethesda are already in a oligopoly position on the rpg market despite their products being awfully insipid compared to what other, less advertised companies can offer.
I can't count how many times people told me Baldur Gates was the best rpg ever and when I asked them why they couldnt come with any answer. They were basically just repeating what everyone seems to repeat everywhere. It's like you have to claime BG is the bestest game to belong to some clique of "people who know what is good", it's quite ridiculous.

So yeah, BG1 & 2 can go rot in the "hell of overhyped and overappreciated old games that got too much renown at the expense of better games".

Joined: Dec 2013
M
stranger
Offline
stranger
M
Joined: Dec 2013
BG1 & BG2 are awesome games, everyone has their own opinions though.

Joined: Sep 2011
enthusiast
Offline
enthusiast
Joined: Sep 2011
Swen was a pirate turned merchant.


"There is no such thing as absolute freedom because we are still prisoners of society"
Joined: Apr 2013
member
OP Offline
member
Joined: Apr 2013
Originally Posted by marqmaff
BG1 & BG2 are awesome games, everyone has their own opinions though.


True. But that does not mean all opinions are equally valid. While it's perfectly fine to not enjoy a Baldur's Gate game, anyone who calls either game "bad" is clearly so far divorced from reality as to invalidate their opinions entirely.

Joined: Dec 2013
G
apprentice
Offline
apprentice
G
Joined: Dec 2013
Originally Posted by Arsene Lupin
Originally Posted by marqmaff
BG1 & BG2 are awesome games, everyone has their own opinions though.


True. But that does not mean all opinions are equally valid. While it's perfectly fine to not enjoy a Baldur's Gate game, anyone who calls either game "bad" is clearly so far divorced from reality as to invalidate their opinions entirely.


Sorry I didn't want to hurt your feelings, but I had no idea you were identifying with BG.
As you say I am divorced from reality while your opinion is a landmark of truth, a beacon of right.
All hail Arsene "we're all equal but I'm more equal than you" Lupin, please forgive me I'll be good.

Joined: Apr 2013
member
OP Offline
member
Joined: Apr 2013
I'm not saying any of those things. You should try not to read emotion into blank text, as more often than not you'll see things that aren't there. This is because you're usually projecting.
You are clearly emotionally invested in this idea of the BG games as being bad games. I don't know why, but I suggest you get over it. The BG games, BG2 in particularly, are objectively good games, whether you personally like them or not.

Oh, and that second sentence was written with the second-person plural, if you didn't notice.

Last edited by Arsene Lupin; 27/12/13 07:27 AM.
Joined: Apr 2013
enthusiast
Offline
enthusiast
Joined: Apr 2013
The distinction between personal preference and quality is truly important, yet surprisingly so often overlooked. There is a world of difference between "game x is shit* and *I didn't like game x for these reasons...'

Grokalibre if you are going to advise me to stay away from the Baldur's Gate games it would be helpful if you provided some reasons why, to inform my decision-making process (which is based upon all the various feedback one gathers from reviews, opinions, videos etc). What you posted so far tells me nothing beyond the fact you didn't like it. While I wouldn't go so far as to say this invalidates all of your opinions utterly ;-) as it stands it is not very helpful advice.

FWIW I have played BG2 and while I don't consider it the best RPG ever (such lists can never be definitive anyway), I really enjoyed it and rate it very highly. It's certainly not without its flaws and weaknesses, and while I can certainly appreciate that it's not everyone's cup of tea, frankly it surprises me that in your experience no one has offered a satisfying explanation for why they like the BG series so much. Perhaps if it seems that people are simply repeating what others are saying it is because those are indeed the common reasons people like the games? Even if people are parroting to a degree (for whatever), it doesn't necessarily mean that the reasons they give aren't valid.




"Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that" - Leunig

Link Copied to Clipboard
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5