From: Vermont, USA
First, I already supported 2by3 Games when I paid $90 US for the download, hard-copy, and manual.
That manual was out-dated when it shipped, and no one has ever suggested compensating the players who paid an additional $10 for a glossy coaster. If Matrix wanted to show appreciation to ME for paying almost 100% more than ANY OTHER COMPUTER GAME RELEASED IN THE LAST 3 YEARS (collectors/deluxe editions excepted), the scenario pack would be gratis.
So you'll have to forgive me if I feel I've already gone above and beyond the call of duty where "Support" for a developer and a product are concerned. I paid the premium, now you get to hear my opinion. And they day that Matrix decides it doesn't want to hear my opinion any more, I fully welcome them to ban me and see how the publicity of that shakes out...
The price is the price. It doesn't entitle you to anything except the product you purchased. With that said, neither does it make us all right. It's set where it is to cover costs and allow for future development. We try to maximize our profits, but in this niche that does not mean that we are driving expensive cars or living in big houses. It just means that development on future games gets to continue. The number of developers and designers that can make a game like this is extremely limited, as is the number of publishers who understand this niche and would be willing to publish it and work with the developer to cater to the niche rather than turning it into something else.
With that said, we always listen to our customers and we appreciate your feedback. The main thing we ask is that feedback be constructive and civil.
War in the East is a simulation, not a game. And I want future customers to hear the negatives about their products so they don't end up where I have.
War in the East is definitely a game, not a simulation. It is a very realistic game, but I think you may misunderstand what a simulation of the entire Eastern Front would actually look like if it were ever to be developed. That would likely be a fifty year development task...
War in the East asked an excessively high price point in December 2010 upon release, and it is clear in the 15 months since then, that the game was in a mid-term Beta-testing state (see the 1942 experience drop when German TOEs changed in early 42 as one concrete example).
The game had close to two years of very active beta testing before release and we held the release until we felt it was finished. It was certainly not released unfinished, but as with any computer game of this complexity ever released, further fixes, tweaks and changes were required once more feedback was received. Each player has his own playstyle and it's true that developers and veteran testers will play a game differently from new customers. Once we had a better sense of the full range of playstyles and experiences and more information and feedback, we actively supported the community and made adjustments and released multiple updates to continue improving the game.
The problem with that is that the vast majority of bug-fixes/code-changes/feature-improvements have coincided with the simulation aspect of the game, with the result that the game is more lop-sided against Germany now than it was at release. It also means the developers have a particular bias to ignore important facts (like Soviet 1941 doctrine being offense first) or a-historically rationalize abstract concepts back to their perspective on what the product simulates (which is the Soviet rise to power following entry into World War 2). Another concrete example is the operational flexibility advantage given to the Soviet Union through the Admin Point concept (Soviet divisions cost 350% less, on average, to transfer among HQs versus German, which is conceptually anathema to the doctrinal capabilities of the respective armies).
I played the game in the two years before release and I find it easier to play Germany now and do well into the late war than in the pre-release and release builds. I find that the game has improved substantially, even though at the time of release I felt it was fantastic. It has benefited from continued developer attention and great community feedback. I do not see that we've taken a step back.
There are definitely some changes that have changed the balance against Germany and others against the Soviets. Changes are driven by feedback and analysis, not by agenda and they have to be viewed in the context of the whole. The overall complexity of the game is such that when any individual change is taken in context and played through rather than analyzed in theory, it often proves to be less significant.
The goal of the game is to model the historical reality to a greater degree than in any previous game, but it is not a simulation, was not designed to be a simulation and is definitely sold as a game. We continue to put realism as one of our highest goals, but there are many compromises that can easily be seen in this and any other computer game where gameplay and user experience are chosen over pure simulation.
So if you buy a 2by3 game with a different expectation of what could have happened in their simulation concept, you're not really one of the customers they've designed the product for, and the best you can hope for is pedantic attempts to re-educate you by a community that worships Glanz the way some nomadic tribes worship the sun.
I think your civility broke down a bit here.
What you will get is the most realistic game of the Eastern Front ever made, in my opinion. That's what we promised and that's what we delivered. You will not get perfection as that is not humanly possible and has never been achieved in any computer game, but if you enjoy Eastern Front monster games, this is the best one yet.
In context you're being asked to pay a price premium for entry for the original product, and it is compounded by the fact that 2by3 is now asking you to pay for a scenario pack when they already had you paying almost twice what comparable products cost.
Every gamer can make a decision about whether the price is right for them. War in the East was also recently part of our holiday sale and will be again. The expansion is again a decision each person can make, whether the additional content and the improvements to the base game and editor that the work on the expansion drove (and which are being provided to all War in the East owners for free) are worth the price.
I'm a disappointed customer warning people to check their own expectations for the game before they buy it, because if you expect that you can improve upon Germany's historical performance in a significant way (at least against a human Soviet opponent) you are in for major disappointment and frustration.
I consider that a service to both game players and to Matrix:
Here is a very detailed view of one customer's opinion of your product. And as mentioned in this thread, I am not alone among the vocal disaffected crowd.
Now for anyone curious about this post, or preferably sympathetic to it, watch how the community berates me and invites me to quit playing. This is the "support" given by the WitE community.
Caveat emptor - War in the East is a simulation, not a game.
I'm sorry you are disappointed. I think this post is actually somewhat misleading to customers who have not played the game, as while there is certainly passion and friction and some frustration with each update and balance change, the vast majority see a game that was great at release and is improving. Financial incentives aside, I would kick myself as a wargamer if I let you talk me out of playing this game without trying it myself.
With that said, we do take criticism seriously and we always discuss and consider feedback from all community members when analyzing our decisions and planning the way forward.
We are hip-deep in War in the West at this point, and many of the suggestions that have not made it into War in the East will be included in War in the West. I hope you will be less disappointed in the future regarding War in the East, but I hope you'll at the least take another look at War in the West.