The launch of a survival-based zombie MMO should be a joyous occasion, with children singing songs of gratitude and greatness. With The War Z's arrival on Steam, however, the only songs being sung are those of deceit and betrayal.
According to users (and the many tips we received!), The War Z defrauds customers by lying about key features and promising things that aren't even in the game. The game's store page makes many claims, most of which are said to be untrue.
"Hammerpoint is very deceptive with the information about the game, verse what is actually being provided and sold to us gamers," writes a very stern user review. "They want you to believe the game is something it's not. An example is the fabricated screenshots on the Official War Z Steam page. Those are all in fact not of actual in-game footage. Instead, those were staged which is confirmed by the developers themselves in a past interview.
"It's made to look like there are massive hordes of Zombies that you're trying to stay alive against. The truth is, turn those zombies into other survivors attempting to kill you and it would lean more towards the truth."
Although the game suggests you'll be staying alive against zombies, the undead are apparently of no threat whatsoever, while other players provide the actual challenge.
Reddit breaks down some of the other alleged falsehoods, including claims of a "huge and persistent world" when there's only one map measuring 72 square km. Private servers are boasted of, but don't exist. It's claimed you can spend experience points on skills, but there's currently no skill system. Customers are told the servers support up to 100 players, but they only support 50. The game's apparently in a beta phase at best, but that's not mentioned at all on the storefront.
These all seem to be features the developer intends to put in at some point, but with the game still in development beyond the point of sale, it's not exactly fair to present them as already being in the product. Generally, games with upcoming features list them as, y'know, upcoming features, rather than let the paying user believe they're available right at launch.
Another criticism is the fact that it's set up like a free-to-play game, with credits that must be purchased, despite charging users an initial $14.99. Developer Hammerpoint has also been accused of getting users to buy the game directly from its site rather than Steam, by claiming it'd be raising the Steam price. However, after it launched on Steam, Hammerpoint went and lowered the price. As you might expect, folk aren't too happy about that little stunt.
As you might expect, the Steam forums are alight with criticism and outrage, with such topics as, "I feel like a sucker," "Report this game to Steam as a Scam/fraud and request it be removed," and, "This game literally gave me cancer." Some users are reporting having their posts removed and abilities to post banned after lodging complaints.
Naturally, there are users defending The War Z from complaints. One player says it is the critics who are lying, claiming they're little more than "raging" Day Z fanboys. However, even the defender admits the title is in beta. Others have also claimed that, while Hammerpoint made a 50-player deathmatch game rather than the promised zombie survival MMO, it's still pretty fun.
Whether it's still fun or not, it seems many paying customers feel cheated and lied to, and that's not exactly a healthy message accompanying the launch of the game. Even those sticking up for it seem hard pressed to demonstrate that what Hammerpoint promises in its sales pitch is the actual product folk are buying, so the only thing you can do at the moment is be careful before you consider forking over any cash.
Of course, seeing as it's currently Steam's top seller ... that warning might be coming a little late.