Borderlands 3 - Mask of Mayhem

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Tafdolphin
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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by Tafdolphin » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:25 pm

Green Gecko wrote:Yeah taf but normal people are pretty thick and so vote with social proof like upvotes and reviews and gooseberry fool, they're not going to start a blog about it because people don't have inclination to do that. They'll do the easiest thing to express dissent which is a comment in whatever place they think will cause the most harm. Steam are doing the right thing by mitigating it algorithmically. This is something special to the Internet, it's probably what would happen if you could "rate your MP" on the internet, it would be 90% bad comments and almost no-one actually writing to MPs or other political advocacy. Social media makes it super easy to express casual dissent towards anything making it appear like the intellectually or politically apathetic care too much about little things but really they're just doing that en mass because it's easy to do so and it affects nothing of importance (besides potentially some employee wellbeing).


I think this cuts to the heart of it. To click a dislike button or to leave a shitty review is to give off the impression of engagement without actually having to engage. You're absolutely right in that it's the easy way to express discontent and that it will continue to happen. Hence my reaction that the best way to protest is to do the opposite, to engage in the systems that led to the problem and go from there.

I mean, it's never going to happen, but it's my answer to the question I was asked.

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by jawafour » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:28 pm

I've been away from the PC gaming scene for many years now. I have a Steam account on my Mac but I barely use it.

So, as an "outsider" in terms of recent knoweldge of the scene, I don't quite get the uproar about Epic starting a game distribution service. If I am correct, I believe that some folk don't like the fact that some games are exclusive (for a time period) to Epic. I guess games were generally exclusive to Steam before? It seems that there are many other distribution platforms too (EA, Blizzard, Ubisoft) and I wonder if these platforms also have exclusives? Are Epic doing something "bad" that these other platforms aren't?

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by Tafdolphin » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:32 pm

jawafour wrote:I've been away from the PC gaming scene for many years now. I have a Steam account on my Mac but I barely use it.

So, as an "outsider" in terms of recent knoweldge of the scene, I don't quite get the uproar about Epic starting a game distribution service. If I am correct, I believe that some folk don't like the fact that some games are exclusive (for a time period) to Epic. I guess games were generally exclusive to Steam before? It seems that there are many other distribution platforms too (EA, Blizzard, Ubisoft) and I wonder if these platforms also have exclusives? Are Epic doing something "bad" that these other platforms aren't?


You can only download EA games on the EA launcher, same with Blizzard games on their launcher. The difference is that all those games are first party EA or Blizzard games whereas Epic are throwing money at third party devs to secure exclusivity.

Epic is using this method to assert itself as the first real competition to Steam. There have been a few shitty occurrences, Metro Exodus was up for pre order on Steam until about a week before release before going Epic exclusive, but generally the outcome is the same. Epic's store is also terrible, lacking in many features, and even excludes some regions (meaning Epic store exclusives will be unavailable in certain regions).

It also means that Epic sets the price for that game, rather than the Steam system which allows multiple resellers to vie for the cheapest price. Again, this is no different to other launchers, except on a bigger scale.

So it's not an ideal system. But it also provides the first competition for Steam since it launched, meaning Valve might have to change their equally shitty business practices/actually moderate their platform which still contains race hate groups and games.

Last edited by Tafdolphin on Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:39 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by Seven » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:33 pm

Honestly the only issue I have with Epic was that some Devs promising the game will be on Steam (at launch) only to take that back and have timed exclusive on Epic.

However Borderlands 3 never done that from my knowledge so got no issue with it.

That's it really for me.

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by Seven » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:34 pm

*quick post to say most of games are via Kickstarter, and this is from only what I've heard, and I'd argue it's one of good reason why people might be miffed with Epic.

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by Green Gecko » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:40 pm

I also think it's a bit like a milder version of platform exclusivity new to PC gamers. Instead of getting shitty about a game being an exclusive to a specific console system you've got exclusivity to a third party marketplace. That means you lose infrastructure to things you like that are comparable to, at the time, better chat and friend list features on Xbox Live. Really it's just introducing another layer to disrupt platform preferences and apathy. Nobody likes change.

I always found it a bit ironic that after physical PC games with serial keys pretty much died, everyone moved over to Steam instead sometime post Half-Life 2. By tie-ing into a platform/launcher PC gamers have just cornered themselves into an aspect of console gaming that they love to hate.

I don't really give a gooseberry fool although the "whoops" spyware aspect of getting friends lists from Steam was poor form on Epic's part.

One thing I definitely don't miss is downloading patches from sites like File Factory, often multiple times in a row, like with Battlefield 2. That was painful. I don't really care about having separate launchers provided the software is lean and just does it's thing and then strawberry floats off when I'm done playing the game, something that Steam.. er.. doesn't do.

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by jawafour » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:44 pm

Tafdolphin wrote:(Useful background details)

Thanks for the info, Taf. I may be missing something but, generally, it feels like a good thing that Epic is providing some competition for Steam. Steam appears to have dominated the market for many years. In the case of Metro Exodus, I believe that anyone who pre-ordered it on Steam (whilst it was available) will still receive a copy at launch for play on Steam? I do get the concerns about Epic's Store features, though; it appears that they're not currently that good compared to Valve's Steam Store.

It seems that some publishers are choosing to switch from Steam to Epic on the basis of the improved payments split (88% for the publisher, I believe?). I wonder if Valve were to improve their payment terms then publishers would stay (or return) to Steam?

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by Seven » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:47 pm

Honestly even though I'd prefer Steam, Steam DOES need competition. So if Epic did give them some of that, making them want to improve their output (and get back to making single player games or at least co-op :shifty: ) I wouldn't complain at all.

Yeah there's gamers who are... Uh, something else but I do think some people do have genuine reason not wanting to use Epic Store.

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by PsychicSykes » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:52 pm

Tafdolphin wrote:Firstly, I don't think any strawberry floating protest is warranted. At all. This is not some company taking your freedom, or curtailing your consumer rights...this is free market capitalism. This is one company steamrolling in with its buckets of cash and gaming the system. This is late stage capitalism as designed. If this development upsets you, you haven't been paying attention for the past 10 years. There are far worse examples of this to get angry at, and for much better reasons and this is why this whole thing makes me so apoplectic.

Secondly, review bombing isn't a form of protest it's a form of vandalism, the equivalent of scrawling on Marx's grave because you dislike the current political discourse. Gearbox made a business decision to launch exclusive to Epic. Perhaps the guaranteed funds from the exclusivity deal allowed them to take a punt at BL3 in the first place? Perhaps it gave them the freedom to experiment and make it a better game? All this disappears in the crucible of Gamer Culture where to deny habit is to trespass on the sacred. To deface previous games' Steam pages is an unthinking refusal to engage in nuance or discussion.

This is not a situation that requires protest. It's a situation that requires that people actually strawberry floating engage with the concepts of the systems behind the business of games and the market in general. It's a situation that requires understanding and comprehension of the greater causes behind the disruption Epic are making. Those who want to protest can do so by educating themselves rather than reacting with violent acts. Like I say, this sort of hair-trigger outpouring of rage is what led to GamerGate and the legacy that still continues to plague the culture of gaming today.

BL3 being exclusive doesn't upset anger me, I expected it. It's mildly annoying but I'm quite capable of waiting. Please don't try and paint my argument of one based on emotion without logic. The game is a worse proposition for being exclusive due to Epic Stores lack of features compared to other launchers and is more expensive too.

That's quite the reach on the political link, especially considering the relative lack of importance videogames have compared to something like that memorial, but whatever works for you. The reviewbombing is less of an issue due to the tools Steam provides to see long term and recent reviews, allowing the user to actually see if negative scores are the result of reviewbombings and take that into account, so it's doubtful it'll have any long term repurcussions for the game sales. We're only talking a tiny percentage of people who own the game regardless.

Gearbox did not make the decision for exclusivity. Like Metro, like The Outer Worlds, these were publisher decisions taken which the social media accounts were at great pains to point out they had nothing to do with. Borderlands 3 has been confirmed to be in development for at least two years, maybe three so suggesting it wouldn't exist without it is incorrect. BL2 sold over 13m (As of 2015 and before taking into account the amount of DLC they moved) so there was zero chance this game wouldn't exist anyway. I presume based on your other stances you're not a fan of the idea of trickle down economics so what makes you think the developers are going to see any of this money 2K are getting anyway?

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by PsychicSykes » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:08 pm

jawafour wrote:
Tafdolphin wrote:(Useful background details)

Thanks for the info, Taf. I may be missing something but, generally, it feels like a good thing that Epic is providing some competition for Steam. Steam appears to have dominated the market for many years. In the case of Metro Exodus, I believe that anyone who pre-ordered it on Steam (whilst it was available) will still receive a copy at launch for play on Steam? I do get the concerns about Epic's Store features, though; it appears that they're not currently that good compared to Valve's Steam Store.

It seems that some publishers are choosing to switch from Steam to Epic on the basis of the improved payments split (88% for the publisher, I believe?). I wonder if Valve were to improve their payment terms then publishers would stay (or return) to Steam?

Valve have improved their payments somewhat in recent months, though it's more on a sliding scale based on how many copies a title sells, rather than a straight split like Epic. I have my doubts that the 88/12 split is viable long term tbh, especially considering payment processing charges are getting passed on to customers in some regions.

(FWIW, Taf's also missed out the fact that a lot of places have to pay more expensive prices on Epic and some places like China flat out can't access it)

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by Moggy » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:14 pm

I never realised how seriously people take game launchers. :lol:

PC Gamers :dread:

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by PsychicSykes » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:32 pm

Moggy wrote:I never realised how seriously people take game launchers. :lol:

PC Gamers :dread:

Everything's bigger when it comes to PC Gaming.

Resolution, the price of games on Epic Store and especially the word count of mine and Taf's posts.

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by Moggy » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:43 pm

PsychicSykes wrote:
Moggy wrote:I never realised how seriously people take game launchers. :lol:

PC Gamers :dread:

Everything's bigger when it comes to PC Gaming.

Resolution, the price of games on Epic Store and especially the word count of mine and Taf's posts.


I am just going to mark down my review scores of your posts until you learn to be nice to Taf.

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by PsychicSykes » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:46 pm

Moggy wrote:
PsychicSykes wrote:
Moggy wrote:I never realised how seriously people take game launchers. :lol:

PC Gamers :dread:

Everything's bigger when it comes to PC Gaming.

Resolution, the price of games on Epic Store and especially the word count of mine and Taf's posts.


I am just going to mark down my review scores of your posts until you learn to be nice to Taf.

Oh alright. But only when my six month of exclusivity of being nice to people on the internet is over on twitter.

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by Moggy » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:47 pm

PsychicSykes wrote:
Moggy wrote:
PsychicSykes wrote:
Moggy wrote:I never realised how seriously people take game launchers. :lol:

PC Gamers :dread:

Everything's bigger when it comes to PC Gaming.

Resolution, the price of games on Epic Store and especially the word count of mine and Taf's posts.


I am just going to mark down my review scores of your posts until you learn to be nice to Taf.

Oh alright. But only when my six month of exclusivity of being nice to people on the internet is over on twitter.


You’re nice to people on Twitter?

You don’t understand it at all do you?

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by Tafdolphin » Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:05 pm

PsychicSykes wrote:(FWIW, Taf's also missed out the fact that a lot of places have to pay more expensive prices on Epic and some places like China flat out can't access it)


Walking home so I'll post a longer response when I get there but I did point out the region unavailability.

EDIT: Oky doke

PsychicSykes wrote:BL3 being exclusive doesn't upset anger me, I expected it. It's mildly annoying but I'm quite capable of waiting. Please don't try and paint my argument of one based on emotion without logic. The game is a worse proposition for being exclusive due to Epic Stores lack of features compared to other launchers and is more expensive too.

That's quite the reach on the political link, especially considering the relative lack of importance videogames have compared to something like that memorial, but whatever works for you. The reviewbombing is less of an issue due to the tools Steam provides to see long term and recent reviews, allowing the user to actually see if negative scores are the result of reviewbombings and take that into account, so it's doubtful it'll have any long term repurcussions for the game sales. We're only talking a tiny percentage of people who own the game regardless.

Gearbox did not make the decision for exclusivity. Like Metro, like The Outer Worlds, these were publisher decisions taken which the social media accounts were at great pains to point out they had nothing to do with. Borderlands 3 has been confirmed to be in development for at least two years, maybe three so suggesting it wouldn't exist without it is incorrect. BL2 sold over 13m (As of 2015 and before taking into account the amount of DLC they moved) so there was zero chance this game wouldn't exist anyway. I presume based on your other stances you're not a fan of the idea of trickle down economics so what makes you think the developers are going to see any of this money 2K are getting anyway?


I didn't mean to present you personally as a reactionary but it's hard to see the review bombing as anything but, for reasons stated. The example was purely one of another meaningless reactionary impulse. I know for a fact* that developers do get a portion of the money from Epic exclusives (insofar as I don't know of any developers who haven't) and that it's rarely a publisher exclusive decision.

*Through (humblebrag) numerous game dev friends.

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by Zellery » Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:57 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Steam do the exact same thing in the beginning that Epic are doing with exclusives now?

I don't really understand the problem with using separate launchers. It's not the same barrier to entry than say a console exclusive - whereby you'd have to invest in another console to play the game. It's just a different button that you click on your desktop.

Plus cloud support is coming in the next major update I believe - which is the biggest requested feature that they currently do not have.

I also like the idea of the game developers getting more money on Epic's store, rather than the platform holders.

And on a slightly different note, I have so many free games through the Twitch Launcher now that it's almost as big as my Steam library. I have close to a 50/50 split between the two so it feels a lot less like Steam is my 'main library' now anyway.

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by PsychicSykes » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:43 pm

Tafdolphin wrote:I didn't mean to present you personally as a reactionary but it's hard to see the review bombing as anything but, for reasons stated. The example was purely one of another meaningless reactionary impulse. I know for a fact* that developers do get a portion of the money from Epic exclusives (insofar as I don't know of any developers who haven't) and that it's rarely a publisher exclusive decision.

*Through (humblebrag) numerous game dev friends.

Firstly, apologies for completely missing you mentioning the region thing. Did not mean to misrepresent you, sorry.

I don't reviewbomb myself, but it's something that has worked before (Not with exclusives specifically) so I understand it's value, even if in this case it's minor and probably not going to lead to anything. That's really interesting info about the revenue getting to devs though, I don't think I've seen anyone else mention it so thank you for sharing. Understand if you can't elaborate further but are we talking AAA titles here or the indie stuff they've been giving away? I'm just wondering if that's something that's only for a specific size studio, even if it may be impossible to figure out.

My overall problem with Epic remains the fact while they may be technically "competing" with Steam, I feel they could be doing so many other things that would actually make it a more attractive proposition to use their launcher. I was using it for the free games (Bit hit and miss, though Slime Rancher seemed really fun) until the concerns broke about them copying Steam data, but there was still no real pull for me to spend money there. Even ignoring that I was still regularly getting unauthorised attempts to access my account weekly prior and as detailed, the store is just not up to scratch by the standards of 2019.

Plus, the actual library they're cultivating is just a bit, meh. There's no indication that they want to offer a home to new and interesting titles, a fact shown for the most part by what games they've picked up as exclusives. If they were partially funding more interesting games like Hades instead of the current route, I think they'd be regarded a lot more positively. Unfortunately there's nothing that suggests they want to support smaller titles in this way, as their idea of helping games becomes discoverable is basically "Give it to an influencer." For instance, I can't see a future where something like the game you've worked on and linked in your signature gets on the Epic Store.

They could have done other things with the cash, like guaranteeing everyone who bought Borderlands 3 via their store is able to buy the season pass at half the price it is elsewhere, etc. In the PC gaming space, I feel customers will go where the best deals are most the time, hence the thriving market for Steam keys. Personally I've had about £45 in Steam credit sitting in my account for over a year, because anything I want to purchase has inevitably been cheaper elsewhere.

The other thing that I wonder about is what people actually want the "competition from epic" to end up with. Steam isn't perfect by any means, (You've covered their moderation and curation issues) but there's a reason they're currently the top dog. They continue to improve on the storefront and launcher and I can't remember a year in recent memory where they haven't added something significant. They've improved the cut in terms of what dev/pubs get, which is something positive from Epic Store existing but I'm not sure what the end game is. Is it Steam paying for exclusives of their own? Is it offering an 88/12 split of revenue? I'm not sure that's sustainable long-term for either.

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by Tafdolphin » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:18 am

So, actually having taken my own advice and done some reading I think my stance is beginning to soften somewhat, and by soften I mean harden on Epic's tactics. I think this thread gives a good summary of the whole thing...



tl;dr Review bombings are playing into Epic's hands, making Steam a less attractive place to launch a game. Boycotts don't work as the only people who suffer are the devs. Epic's exclusivities aren't there to make them money, they're there so Steam can't (similar to Uber running at a loss to destabilise the traditional cab industry).

Unfortunately, Gamers don't really get any of this and are reacting to the headline stuff only, rather than the baseline horror of Epic's business practices. The rage is coming not from the blatant gaming of the free market by a company with more money than God, but from change and denied privilege.

What's now interesting to me is the split amongst the gaming community's left. Guys like Rami Ismael are similar to me in that the exclusivities are a means to an unintended end, that end being the improvement of Steam as a platform, and guys like Casey above who are more concerned with the intended ends, Epic becoming a new monopoly and a worse one than Steam ever was.

I still believe the review bombing achieves nothing, and that the majority of people reacting to this are doing so for surface level, reactionary reasons but there's definitely more sinister overtones to Epic's practices than I initially thought.

EDIT; I will say though that, unlike the Uber example, Valve aren't some old world remnant being swept away by the march of technology. Their sedentary attitude towards the management of their store has, in many respects, given Epic the room to move in like this. Yes this didn't directly cause the exclusivity practice but it did open up the opportunity for real competition.

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PostRe: Borderlands - Mask of Mayhem
by Monkey Man » Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:01 am


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