My last interest for WIA died when the possibility to play it PBEM with GShock was killed by AGEOD decision to disregard reported oddities and bugs: they classified all that as WAD!
I have no will to keep myself involved in useless discussions, most of time leading to insults exchange with some ageod paid volunteers. My opinions are known, although most of times distorted and abused to discredit me.
I’ll definitely leave WIA board, not before thanking Matrix, and taking a last chance to clarify some aspects that leaded me to get involved with ageod.
I noticed ageod games a year ago searching the net for Napoleons Age strategy titles: NCP boxed ed. was on the way being released. Reviews were already available: they were not completely positive pointing out issues and charging the game for excessive micromanagement. Anyway, I decided to give it a chance.
The game of the box was suffering from many issues: bugs, CTDs, many event notifications were missing.
It was in next couple of months NCP reached a minimum stability level, with the fixing of CTDs.
In April 2008 I registered myself at the Ageod board.
I was positively impressed by ageod formal courtesy: PhilThib, Pocus, Rafiki were very responsive and active on the board welcoming newcomers, encouraging posting, quickly answering to questions, stating suggestions should be consider at the time next improvements to games will be worked.
Involved in the enthusiastic environment I enlarged my perspective: but NCP being my first choice title, I also bought BoA and AACW.
I was a Napoleonic wargamer (miniature battles and boardgamer) far beyond trying NCP; than, I have a historical knowledge of the time. I was experienced with PC games modding and 3rd party editing. I have competence in PC programming too.
All that leaded me to get in depth with ageod games core so to pursuit the challenge of modding and the design of new inedited scenarios.
My efforts were encouraged at ageod boards by forumities and appreciated by ageod men too.
Moving from the gamer to the "modder" perspective the opinion over NCP status changed.
All scenarios were, and mostly are nowadays, affected by issues destroying the pretentious statement NCP was an historical accurate and detailed game:
- Duplicate "unique units" were present in all scenarios.
- OOB for campaigns had been edited using wrong unit models: French OOB for 1813 campaign is till using the wrong 1812 unit models. It's absurd in so far the 1812 French army had a high standard level, nothing to see with the poor 1813 ones when the army was quickly recruited with young conscripts to replenish the ranks after the disaster of the Russian campaign.
- The longest campaign, 1808-1814 Spanish Ulcer, was affected with so many bugs, underlined by reports from many worried customers, often unable to play it to conclusion.
- The map was then a complex coil of mistakes and oddities: many users reported the wrong names of regions and mistaken positioning of cities, towns, fortresses and rivers. But the cosmetic effects, these issues influence also scenario balancing, their accuracy and the game experience.
At the start of summer 2008, I got involved in first modding efforts.
At mid June I posted my first mod to 1815 scenario: it was very simple and poor but it was the only NCP modding idea to become true; It was positively welcomed by ageod mates.
In August, I was introduced the NCP Beta Development Team: that opened me the doors of some board pages restricted to most ageod forumities.
At mid August, ageod reorganized the NCP beta development team with a volunteer, Gray Lensman taking the lead to replace Pocus and other professional developers that in turn had to move after next generation of commercial products: WiA, WW1, VGN:
Notice, at that time the support and development granted to NCP was definitely insufficient to elevate the game from an advanced beta level to a mature state!
I left on vacancies, then 3 weeks later, at early September I re-enjoined the NCP beta dev. team. Out of my enthusiasm, I discovered nothing happened yet: the patch we were waiting for had been postponed.
In the few next days, I went in troubles with Gray Lensman. GL was not very cooperative and only marginally involved in NCP duties. He demonstrated very few competences: he was mostly unaware of European and Napoleonic Age history and warfare; then he had not ever played NCP at all. Some of his suggestions and remarks were foolish in so far they were assuming NCP was supporting those same complex features supported in AACW. That's not!
The thing over-boarded out of a polite discussion into a harsh quarrel: GL charged me for the failure of his NCP beta dev. team coordinatorship. I was very disappointed to notice many ageod senior volunteers and then PhilThib, Rafiki, Pocus were taking the side of Gray Lensman against me.
While the incident was going managed within the shelter of the NCP beta dev. team restricted area I decided to break that silence and make the thing public:
I decided to give up with any ageod public title, (I was "NCP Beta Dev Team" member and "Serial Modder") while keeping running ageod boards.
Notice, failure of Gray Lensman's coordinatorships leaded to NCP Beta Dev. Team dismissing and any hope of future Patches and NCP improvements were postponed and subordinated to WIA publication. That was a decision damaging all customers who bought NCP.
I decided to keep NCP modding alive, while keeping myself away from ageod troublesome official teams: it was that way I formed the NCP Modder Times Team.
When my attitude to NCP modding improved, I moved working over some original project: a Spring 1813 inedited scenario and a 1813 Large Campaign.
The value of my efforts gained me some public citation from ageod and mostly important Pocus started offering his support and assistance.
Later Pocus looked to my activities as a way to resume NCP improvement by patches release: I enjoyed the challenge enthusiastically and I got kind words of appreciation in return:
Unfortunately, old tensions with GrayLensman were burning unnoticed and flames could burn out at any points. I was very disappointed that although I was spending time and efforts to improve NCP, (an ageod games sold by the company) ageod peoples were boycotting by efforts and taking any chance to discredit and damage my reputation.
Last time GL provoked me my reply was censured: my full post was removed from the board, twice! Things over-boarded and I decided to resign from any public modding activity.
In the meanwhile, I had added WIA and WW1 to my ageod titles collection.
I never had a great opinion of WIA. The game is missing all features introduced with AACW and NCP, graphically is poor, main scenarios are common to its ancestor: BoA.
I made public my opinion that “to think bad, it seems like WIA was just a remake of BOA, published to rise some cash.”
Then, I also pointed out my criticism to ageod marketing strategy: the producer was selling games at twice-higher price than retail sellers.
Having to deal with WW1, I could not pass over the unfinished (alpha-level state), bugged, manual unsupported, unstable state of the program at the time it was released.
As censure and insulting reactions to my posts made clear my time at ageod board was ending, I moved elsewhere… indeed everywhere a customer, disappointed with something he bought out of his money, could freely speak about.
In all my reviews, I judged games for that they are worth. I reported and documented troubles: most of them are known issues already reported at ageod boards.
Is that damaging ageod reputation?
But that came after ageod damaged so many customers with publication of beta or alpha level games: reviews are just a mirror who casts an image.
Even after all that I kept gaming ageod titles and kept reporting troubles with hope seeing them fixed.
GShock did a great work pointing out this aspect. No need to add something to his words:
Ageod volunteers move after a routine: they negate troubles, then accuse and defame the customers that entering beta-testers’ shoes took charge to report troubles for free.
They seek to destroy posters reputation as best way to clean out the troubles.
Here we have a great example:
it seem like VGN will soon be available: based on past experience, AGEod customers can expect VGN will be buggy as hell on release and the AI will be dumb as a bag of hammers, so customers would not bother with it at all!
Blueprint, (aka Clovis at ageod board) missed no chance to quote the sentence I used some time ago:
I have to agree, it’s not politically correct to cast prevision over games before we have chance to try it.
Then, should I had built my reviews over such a practice they should be considered just as spam looking to damage ageod out of reason.
As I said: the sentence was used by me but it’s not mine. I caught it at ageod board, where it was addressed to Empire Total War! That was weeks before Empire publication.
I simply took and paraphrased it to be casted over VGN.
It was a provocation that greatly worked to point out the real face of our ageod friends.
Here is the hot spot:
Based on past experience, Empire will be buggy as hell on release and the AI will be dumb as a bag of hammers, so I would not bother with it for a year or two after release, then pick up the Gold Pack, or whatever.
Do not search for it at ageod board!
They removed it lately.
Fortunately, a copy was saved with the links at ETW site:
Then I loved Pocus, that had to quote me out of topic:
Looking at Pocus post it seems like all the affair was a product of my vindictive mind.
Indeed, he had to excuse with ETW developers and publishers for the slandering posts hosted at ageod board, weeks before ETW publication:
“”More importantly, the comments made on ETW are done by players (including volunteers and testers here), but are not done by any AGEOD official or developers””
Notice slandering comments were hosted at ageod board for more a week without any censure.
It was only after the case gained public visibility at ETW board it was deleted.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE
They are ready to slander and defame other companies’ achievements and to hurt their reputation out of suppositions in the same way they consider defamation any critic supported by documented evidences over the failure of their products.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE
They sold their unplayable games without any notification of all known troubles and unfinished state on the box cover, while on ageod site products are deceivingly presented as masterships.
Looking to the disaster of WW1 publication any serious company should had decide to close the distribution of the download version of the title and to postpone the marketing of the boxed edition.
They didn’t. Then, they accused their first customers posting their rightful regrets.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE
Ageod paid volunteers are mostly involved in denigration of the company customers.
Down here last example signed by Gray_Lensman:
I'll add one more comment. I personally would not recommend either GShock or JastaV to ever be betas for any other software development company. Their constant attempts to denigrate/disparage a software company just because they think that their concerns are paramount to all other gamers' concerns will be a liability for any software company that doesn't specifically place their particular input ahead of all others. Any software development group should bear this in mind before considering either of these two individuals for their beta teams.
Then, I saw it happening here with GShock charged with piracy: that was the official reason behind his banning from the ageod beta-tester team.
Indeed, ageod is no so piracy sensitive when using any sort of copyrighted material at its own advantage.
What to say as regard the tons of portraits that Nikel “edited” and that Ageod officialized and included in last NCP patch, as in the downloadable edition of NCP?
Are such artworks out of Nikel’s talent?
Nikel downloaded tons of pictures from any site on the net. Then he abstracted the portraits, resized them and generated the ageod figurines out of a copy-paste operation.
Most of such artworks came out of sites like WWW.1812.ru.
here is a good example, Konovnitsin Petr petrovich (ÊÎÍÎÂÍÈÖÛÍ Ïåòð Ïåòðîâè÷):
And here is the matching “artwork” ageod included in NCP:
Such images are copyrighted material; they are reproductions of paints owned by the Russian Government posted on WWW.1812.ru. to document and enrich a great historical Russian site.
They were not posted to be pirated and used by ageod for lucrative reasons.
Along past year I could deal with Ageod in many ways…..
As a customer: I bought BoA, WiA, NCP, WW1, AACW
As a volunteer beta tester: reporting bugs and troubles in detail.
As a volunteer beta team developer: editing files that helped fixing by patches ageod games.
As a modder: editing inedited scenarios and improving default ones, keeping hot customers’ interest for ageod NCP.
As a customer, I was disappointed by any sort of issue that prevented me to play to completion scenarios in solo as PBEM: WIA, NCP, WW1.
As a volunteer beta-tester I was insulted and charged for WAD signaling.
When I was a volunteer beta-developer I was boycotted and charged for troubles generation beyond my responsibilities.
As a modder, I saw my works denigrated to the point I decided to remove download links; then without consideration for intellectual property, my mods are now posted for downloading at ageod board out of my permission:
Now, here is AGEOD!
They built a measure to reject and deny own faults.
Then, a second measure is handed to remark few, own achievements.
Unfortunately, ageod forgot that in a free market, customers are the ones deciding the most import thing: the measure of success or failure.