Pre-ordering video games these days has become a hot topic. Many gamers have been burnt by developers too many times in the past few years that the whole “pre-order for exclusive content” has even failed to get gamers on board.
It is a shame really as not all games lie to us as much as No Man’s Sky did. If anything I blame Hello Games for basically single handily destroying the pre-order system. But that is water under the bridge for now.
There are, however, many other games which we all regret pre-ordering, be it due to the fact that it was incomplete, hid all its content in a Season Pass, or simply failed to live up to its expectations.
Warner Bros. releases
Let us be real for a minute here, we all love Warner. Bros Games’ titles but after you realize that they release two of the same games a year apart you will also think twice about pre-ordering the game. Look back at the history of their titles. Ever since I can remember they always a make a plan to re-release the same game again a year later thanks to the fact that they won a GOTY award, or even if they didn’t they will call it an “Ultimate Edition” and package all the DLC in the game.
The fact of the matter is if you want the full experience at half the cost then you best wait a year for them to release their game again and you can benefit from the entire experience rather than just playing the game, buying the DLC separately and in the end spending double on it. Think twice before you pre-order because next year you could be doing the same again for the exact same game.
Star Wars: Battlefront
There is no doubt that EA’s 2015 Star Wars release was not what we expected. There is getting a game and playing it with its content, and then there is getting a game and having no content. Star Wars: Battlefront was, unfortunately, the second case. EA and DICE started advertising their Season Pass before the game even launched which already spark warning signals that the game’s content might be lacking at launch.
We then got a half-baked Star Wars experience with very little maps, heroes, and weapons. Wait, there is more. If you truly wanted to experience the game as it should have been made with all the content, you would have to splurge on an R600 Season Pass which would unlock content on a regular basis.
Well, it seems that the game did well regardless, but still, it hurt the gamers who truly wanted a Battlefield-like Star Wars experience so much that they will think twice about the latest release hitting platforms in November. Again this is just another example of how gamers are taken for a ride at every opportunity.
Original Elder Scrolls Online
The Elder Scrolls Online is one of my favourite MMOs ever made and there is a reason for that. Its massive open world, quests system, and let us not forget the fantastic Tamriel One levelling system that lets you play with whoever you want regardless of level and alliance. But things were not always like this as it has taken Bethesda a few years to get the game to the standard it is today.
When we first got the game it was firstly a subscription-based game which meant that you had to pay around R200 a month to play it. But that was not the only issue. The game lacked a real MMO experience with grinding being torture, bugs plagued the experience and the PvP-based content was a hot mess being unbalanced and full of server issues.
Luckily a year later when the game released on console as the “Tamriel Unlimited” experience, Bethesda dropped the paid model for a free-to-play game with an option to pay for a special ESO Plus service that grants players extra DLC. It took a long time, but I do still regret pre-ordering it at launch and then yet again paying for it every month.
PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight
Batman: Arkham Knight is probably one of the greatest games I have ever played, but for some, it might not be the same. When Rocksteady was working on the PC version of the game, they outsourced it to a private studio to work on. Well, right before launch this studio along with Nvidia showed off some awesome videos showcasing the game’s “PC master race” features, or whatever you want to call it. Fancy lighting, water physics, and even gorgeous physics-based smoke which came out of the Batmobile.
Well, hate to say it but that was probably something the PC gamers would not experience ever, as when Arkham Knight released on PC it was a hot mess. Bug, visuals issues, and crashing left right and centre. It was a disaster of a release that really hurt Warner Bros. Games so much that they had to pull the game off Steam and other online retailers to avoid it selling anymore.
Later on, it came out that the team working on the PC version was no more than 20 people. It took them months after release to patch the game and fix it. Sure, it is beautiful now, but it goes to prove that PC gamers have to worry even more about pre-ordering shoddy console ports that are not up to scratch. How this slipped by both Warner Bros. Games, ad Rocksteady is still beyond me.
If you tell gamers nowadays that their game they are waiting for is online only it matters not, but a few years the “online DRM” issue was pretty intense as Ubisoft and EA both came under fire due to the fact that their games needed a constant online connection to be played. Hey, even Microsoft tried this in 2013 with the Xbox One and, well, we all know how that went.
Enter SimCity, EA 2013 adoption reboot of the famous city building simulation. When it launched in 2013 it was a R700 mess that was simply unplayable due to the fact that you had to be online to play it, and secondly, when you were online, it never worked at all. These days gamers would ignore things like that but it got worse. When you were online the servers were not working at all. You see when you launch an online game, you need your servers to be able to handle all the crazed SimCity fans.
It took around a week before EA actually got the game up and running correctly, and even then they had to disable a bunch of features like trading to get it there. A few weeks later EA released a patch which would let the player play offline and finally admitted that both Maxis and EA were just not ready for this sort of situation. Those of pre-ordered the game basically got to play it a few weeks after release after gigs of updates and hundreds of offline hours due to server issues.