I used to love Valve Corporation, but as time passed they started to reveal how out of touch they are, and how they’re not interested in simply making games.
I became a Valve Corporation fan because of Half-Life 2. Yeah it has a slow start like any movie-game, but otherwise it’s a big, meaty action game with tons of content. It really feels like a more perfect sequel of the original Half-Life, which I can barely stand to play now because it feels so broken and unpolished.
They’ve done other stuff since then, but anything they haven’t farmed out to someone else has been detrimental to me.
Counter-Strike Source: just a port of the original CS which was originally done by two modders.
Day of Defeat Source: mostly just a port of the original DoD, but DoD Source sucks and nobody plays it anymore.
CS Source Dynamic Weapon Pricing: So one day Valve Corporation rammed a science experiment down our throats by using a backend server to dynamically alter weapon pricing based on “demand” (ie how many times they were purchased). Nobody wanted this, especially the huge competitive scene who didn’t want delicate game balance haphazardly thrown around, but Valve pushed it out anyway… it took an outcry from CS league players to get them to add a server option to disable the feature before release. Thankfully, this feature died a sudden and quiet death as servers circumvented the whole thing by giving players infinite money (which lots of servers already did before). This obsession with economies in games that aren’t appropriate for them would continue with TF2.
Half-Life 2 episodes: I think these games are okay, but they feel rushed and the pacing is all off (especially in episode 1… so much fucking dialog). Valve Corporation wanted to make game development less painful by releasing smaller games, but they were unable to release on a reasonable schedule, and players want escapist entertainment to be longer, not shorter. Thankfully they’re done with this experiment now.
Team Fortress 2: this makes me sad. On release, TF2 was a nearly perfect sequel to the original Team Fortress/Team Fortress Classic. I would be playing it more had they not turned the entire game into an MMO. I wanted a game that embraced the values of oldschool online FPS’s, but with modern gameplay polish. They had that… then they shit all over those values by updating it with weapon unlocks and horrible looking customization items. Oldschool FPS’s were about player skill and nothing else, but Valve Corporation decided that MMO values were more interesting than oldschool online FPS values.
Portal: Made by indie developers.
Left 4 Dead: Made by Turtle Rock.
Left 4 Dead 2: Made because Turtle Rock wanted to make another one. Valve Corporation was somehow surprised at the backlash from the game’s release date: one year after the original.
Portal 2: Made by more indie devs than the first one. This project was actually a complete disaster as they eventually figured out players wanted more puzzles involving the Portal gun (???). The co-op puzzles are actually really good though, even though the single player game had weird pacing and more restrictive puzzles compared to the original.
Counter-Strike Global Offensive: yet another remake of Counter-Strike (isn’t it time for a more perfect sequel to this archaic game?), this time to profit off the existing esports scene… which exists despite Valve Corporation’s previous disregard for serious competition in their games.
Dota2: another game they didn’t make that they should be making a more perfect sequel for, but instead are re-releasing to profit from the esports scene that already exists.
The thing I hate most about Valve Corporation is their stance on esports games. They think esports games are built around esports players (hence not making true sequels to CS and Dota), but that’s not true. Esports games are built around new players AND are built to be fun no matter how skilled those players become. I’ve seen many esports games fizzle and die because only the super skilled players had any fun playing them. TF2 is fun for players of ALL skill levels, and has a serious demand for esports play (evident in how the highlander format is exploding in popularity). TF2 could already be a huge esports game, but Valve Corporation thinks MMO values are more interesting than oldschool multiplayer FPS values, which keeps it from being taken seriously as an esport.
Also, Gabe Newell’s beard makes him look a hundred years old. What’s up with the fanboys who think he looks awesome???
The Valve Corporation’s emphasis on ‘MMO values’ seems more like an emphasis on a ‘payment treadmill’. To a gamer, ‘MMO values’ means ‘you can never fully pay for this game’.
You’re not the first person to email me upset about how the Valve Corporation handled TFT 2. Does anyone know what Valve Corporation’s feedback is to people’s complaints on this? Or their interaction wtih the community in general?