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The most downvoted comment in Reddit's history (reddit.com)
237 points by edem 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 198 comments

I'm continually fascinated by the gaming community's relationship with EA.

It's like, "Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me 37 times. . . ahh, what the hey, let's throw another 60 quid in this hole. I'm sure this time it'll be different."

I can't think of any way out honestly. You can say anything you want about EA but I'm sure they act very rationally. If despite the heavy backlash over the years they keep doing what they're doing then it must be working for them.

That's the problem with these lootboxes, given how fast they spread to every AAA games these days (including single player games where they hardly make sense in the first place) it's obvious that the maths work out for them. The amount of principled gamers ending up not buying the game is probably more than compensated by the dividends of microtransactions. There are not enough gamers who care enough about the issue to stop buying the game. The marketing and network effect is simply too strong. A mob downvoting a comment on reddit won't change anything, it's nothing but slacktivism. Might as well sign an e-petition at this point.

It's not the first time it's like this. "We don't want always online DRM! We won't buy your game!", "We want to be able to host our own dedicated servers for multiplayer! We won't buy your game!". And now it's the new normal, hardly anybody expects these things from new releases or even mentions them. Lootboxes and microtransactions are headed down the same path IMO.

Here's my prediction: five years from now every big release will contain microtransactions one way or an other and nobody will find it surprising or inappropriate.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was released on Nov 10, 2009. Here's a famous image from Nov 12, 2009: https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--uJYUJ7W...

As for your prediction, I think you're sadly spot-on. There will always be enough whales to make it worthwhile to pander to them, and milking them will be essential for any company that cares more about making money than about making a good game.

Probably ended up on EA PM's presentation justifying current practices.

Hate all you want, "pay to win" model works for extracting as much value as you can from each user. Same concept as Tesla artificially reducing mile range. I heard from someone working in a game studio about a "whale" user spending $1M dollars on microtransactions for a mobile game.

I think that prediction is a coin toss at this time. There's a chance it would play out as you say, but I think there's also a chance that as these games become more predatory, a new category of gambling rating will be defined. Sure the payout isn't cash, but it's still throwing money at a chance of gaining something of value.

Not to mention that the money made doesn't exactly make up for some of the workers' lives ruined by that company. Already had posts on here recently describing the white collar sweatshop that games labor is.

Micro transactions have ruined gaming for a casual gamer like me. Everything is such an obvious funnel to making a payment now. There’s no fun in it.

How annoying UX affects the bottom line was one of the most important lessons I learned working on apps.

Take for example removing the Cancel button from the sign up screen, 5-10% bump in sign ups, etc. (Eventually Apple made us 'fix' this)

Generally, the only time a minorly annoying UX affects you negatively is when the platform penalizes it, like the notifications prompt on iOS, if they don't agree the first time you ask, you have to make the user to into settings to enable it. So generally you put your own prompt in before the system prompt, else users might deny the request.

I hope you're proud of yourself for actively making software user hostile.

The users speak with their actions... If they do the thing you want them to do more with a 'bad' UX than with a good one logic dictates they prefer the bad one.

It would be morally presumptuous on my part to say that what I find to be annoying is not what they prefer.

It's like clickbait listicles, they get written because they work.

This is utter tosh. If they do the thing you want them to do, than logic dictates nothing about their preferences at all.

If changing the UX results in a significant change in behavior, that actually suggests--I mean, "logic dictates" you've taken away an option that a significant number of people preferred so much they used it when it was available.

Think about it this way: Given the choice of watching channel A or channel B or turning off the TV, I choose turning off the TV. If you take away that choice, I'll choose the lesser of the two remaining evils. That does not mean I prefer not having the choice to turn off the TV.

Post-facto rationalization is just that. Users are not expressing a preference for dark patterns.

People don't have the option to not click on listicles? They don't have the option to use another app? They don't have the option to close the app?

They have the option, but you're using psychology to trick them into thinking they don't.

You're using a medical science to manipulate people so you can make money. You're disgusting.

I'm going to give you the choice of being stabbed or punched. It would be morally presumptuous on my part to assume you don't actually enjoy the choice you have made, given you took that choice logically.

I'd take being punched, easy choice.

Removing a cancel button or publishing a listicle is hardly a false dichotomy, you can close the app, you can not click on it.

Users love anti-patterns which is why they frequent businesses that engage in them, rather than choose another business that doesn't. I had your inclinations too when I started making them, I protested that this would lead to various bad outcomes which didn't happen. None, zero, nada. Sign ups went up, traffic went up, etc.

"Users love anti-patterns which is why they frequent businesses that engage in them, rather than choose another business that doesn't. "

Dude have you ever considered the plethora of other reasons users may choose a platform/service with 'dark pattern' over others, such as that platform/service being more feature rich or having a greater utility to that user? You are deluding yourself thinking your anti-patterns make a difference in the end. Sure signups may go up, but user engagement will surely drop off if the experience is crap or hostile after onboarding. Your sign up flow is just one small portion of a user's journey in your platform/app.

People don't necessarily do things because they like them or want to. Addiction is a thing.

I cannot wait until the tech bubble bursts and people like you are living on the streets.

So there's a market for these kinds of games. I don't like microtransactions and what they do for gameplay, either. But I don't see the point in getting worked up about it like this. It's so much easier to just not buy those games, and spend my money on the kinds of games I do enjoy, instead.

It leaves me thinking that maybe melodramatic wailing on Reddit is secretly a big part of the fun.

That's part of the problem, though. For a lot of these games, the player does enjoy them - just not the loot boxes and how they have affected how quickly "free" players can unlock things.

I guess I still don't see the problem, then.

Is the problem that EA has some sort of moral obligation to introduce only the kinds of game mechanics that a specific set of people enjoys, and anyone who responds to (and, apparently, is willing to pay a whole lot of money for) different game mechanics can go jump in a lake?

Getting your credit card out is only a "game mechanic" in dodgy casinos. There's a reason gambling is regulated.

Yup. And I wouldn't be surprised to find out that members gambling and video game industries even exchange notes on how to attract and coax money out of whales.

Gambling isn't really my cup of tea, either. But I suppose I also shouldn't be surprised if I were to go to one and discover that some portion of the people there are loudly complaining about what a rip off everything is, but not actually leaving the casino to go find something else to do.

Exactly the same with me. I never buy games at launch and I tend to stay away from F2P games entirely. There's way too many games coming out compared to the free time I have available to play them, so I've accepted that I'm never going to play the vast majority of releases. Others need to come to that same realization -- it's perfectly fine to skip a game if the company's practices suck.

As for what I have been playing, I'm really putting a lot of time into Factorio at the moment. It's an indie game that costs $20 for the entire experience and is an amazing value (I'm at hour 70 with no sign of slowing down yet).

On Factorio and those kinda game:

To me, Factorio is very basically just simplified Eagle with monsters (Eagle is PCB designer software). You have underground belts (vias), smelters (ICs), inserters (Caps, resistors, 2 lead parts). Then you throw some monsters in there to give some random fuzz on the designs and make things a bit more 'spicy'.

Mincraft is much the same, it's a very basic Solidworks. You can extrude and loft with the voxels, put in some basic digital electronics (redstone), some basic fluids (water/lava), and make simple machines (look at mob-grinders). Throw in some randomness with the creepers and other mobs to make things spicy.

Kerbal is also the same. It's a basic flight simulator. You can mess with staging, centers of mass, and centers of thrust. You can do simple ballistic and orbital mechanics. Then you throw in the wonkiness of the physics simulator and the fan-named 'Kraken' and you have the randomness of monsters (I think they could have done better in this regard)

A lot of these 'indie' sleeper hits seems to be like that: Take some industrial design software, make it so basic a 7 year old can use it, throw in monsters to mess up the designs and to shoot/stab.

Other software that could be used for this process is Z-max (optics design software), some kinda Wall-Street software that's not just excel, maybe some urban planning but better/more random than SimCity/CitiesSkylines, other stuff.

Any ideas?

EDIT: Here is a wiki page of possible avenues: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Computer-aided_engine...

So I've played all the ones that you've mentioned and loved them (especially Kerbal Space Program), but I'd like to point out that they're fun to play because they're games, whereas similar industrial software applications are not games. This is a very meaningful distinction because the addition of game mechanics makes them fun to play around with.

I also don't think the connections are quite so close as you make them out to be. Factorio is at its heart a survival game -- you can't just dismiss the enemies as added "spice", as they are an integral part of the challenge. The advanced factory automation becomes necessary to build up your tech level high enough to take on the higher level monsters that come at you later in the game.

I mean, I really like messing about with SW in my free time; the X-Wing is coming along, but I don't really have the ram.

I get that they are games at the end of the day, but many of the elements/mechanics seem to be from 'real' software (in this category of game). It's not a criticism, it's just an observation.

For more on how to go into video game theory, PennyArcade's XtraCredits series is pretty binge-able: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCODtTcd5M1JavPCOr_Uydg

I beg your pardon. Photoshop has always been the best computer game ever!

Railroad Tycoon 2 had a better market simulation component than Offworld Trading Company, which in my opinion never really came to completion. OTC just doesn't have any depth to the gameplay, or for that matter the game mechanics.


How is OpenTTD in comparison? http://www.openttd.org/en/

Do you have any other examples of games which simulate markets well?

I haven't played a game in the longest, mostly because I find it hard to justify the time ... I've been reading lots about economics and finance and if I can get some "experience" to solidify the concepts while still having fun at the same time then what the hell, I wanna do it!!

M.U.L.E. is a old-school classic in this regard.

Looks cool but a bit too old for me :/

I've played that - Offworld Trader Co is seriously a day trader simulation, but with commodities on Mars.

Astroneer is like Minecraft without the 90 degree angles.


The EVE-Online marketplace should satisfy the "kinda Wall-Street software" requirement.

(No I'm not making the spreadsheets in space joke.)

True! The exploding bridge with dynamite about 10 years ago, and Workd of Goo: blob-bridges and structures, more recently.

Edit: Pipe Dreams(?) about 20 years ago, and more recently Where’s my water.

You just gave me an idea.

Awesome! Glad to have helped.

410 hours deep in Factorio here - with no end in sight. I slowed down for a while but then discovered the Warehousing and Loader mods which allowed me to build entirely new types of factories. I haven't been this addicted to a game since Transport Tycoon Deluxe.

I don't really play games at all, but I've had Factorio bookmarked for a while, thinking I wanted to try it. Think you've just convinced me.

Just one word of advice: be careful :) It's highly addictive.

It also gave me a good case of insectophobia from the enemies you face.

But is it Skinner Box addictive?

No, more like ‘nerd sniping’ addictive.

"This game is like crack for programmers." -kentonv


It totally is. I had to remove it from my computer after too many 2am nights.

Well worth it. Active developers, huge modding community, and gameplay that appeals to engineering minds.

I wish I could make people play Factorio as some kind of training.

My son (9), who showed me the game, spent the longest time building parts manually. I kept showing him how to automate, but it didn't really "click" until I was pumping out solid lines of green potions in front of him, then he understood the magic of automation.

It felt oddly similar to interactions with various business departments.

"Look, we're never gonna leave the planet -- I mean, make a profit unless we automate. Otherwise the aliens -- 'er, our competitors are going to rip us to shreds."

I mean, expecting a 9-year-old to grasp a production process completely, then conceive of automating it seems a bit optimistic.

It's not that hard - 9 year olds aren't stupid. You just have to show them the change in pain a couple of times for them to "grok" it.

The pain, in Factorio terms, is having to sit there not doing anything. Boring. Once you set up an assembler to do it for you, suddenly you can fill that time with whatever you want to. The simple problem/solution/reward loop Factorio presents around automation works remarkably well.

Optimization, however, is harder to teach.

It's probably more along the lines of incentives, trade-offs, and pragmatism. If you can survive and have fun while making everything manually, why bother to automate? If suddenly, the proverbial bear is gaining on you such that you realize that the status quo won't cut it down the line, then the cost of automation becomes worth it.

If anything, it probably means that the nine year old is faster at making a known factory manually than the parent.

And in this case, the "bear" is biter evolution. The biters (enemies in the game) get stronger over time. At the beginning they're trivial to kill with your basic weapons or turrets, but as they get stronger you'll need walls, AP ammunition, and then finally laser turrets (in increasing numbers) to fend them off. If you aren't automating construction of this stuff then you'll fall behind and get killed.

I discovered this in my first play-through because I was prioritizing high tech research over military research, and thus didn't get laser turrets until well after I needed them to take on the stronger biters. I had to roll back an hour and change my research priorities to get them in time to prevent getting stomped.


There are great YouTube series if you want see before you buy.

Katherine of Sky is particularly good


There is also a demo version of you want to actually try it

I have the same feelings to Dwarf Fortress.

What blows my mind about Factorio, besides the excellent game design and execution, is how fucking rock solid and silky smooth it runs, in spite of its extreme complexity and vast number of moving parts.

I've logged many many hours of game play, and leave it running for days at a time, and it's never crashed, stuttered or even bogged down on me once! (Maybe I'm just not making big enough factories, though.)

While we're on topic of Factorio (and similar games like SpaceChem), here's a new indie game that should appeal to HN users about digital logic and CPU design: http://pleasingfungus.com/Silicon%20Zeroes/ (not my project, I ain't no shill, though I have met the dev on IRC).

I had to stop playing Factorio after about 2 hours. I'd probably end up spending months on it ... ... such an addicting game!

Absolutely fun, though.

Gamers aren't known for their resolve. I remember when Modern Warfare 2 came out (eight years ago) without the option to run private servers, which resulted in this rather famous image:


That being said, 40 hours doesn't seem like an awful amount of time to sink into a game to unlock a character. Heck, I'm ashamed to talk about how many hours I've put into CS:GO, and it's only triple digits.

> That being said, 40 hours doesn't seem like an awful amount of time to sink into a game to unlock a character. Heck, I'm ashamed to talk about how many hours I've put into CS:GO, and it's only triple digits.

Its not the 40 hours. Its the fact that its 40 hours or $10 In previous iterations of the series these types of characters were only available for free, and to every player with in a couple of hours.

> Its not the 40 hours.

Perhaps, but the ridiculous and disproportionate controversy over Cuphead makes me think otherwise.

There's a fine line between "achievements" and "play to win", and I'm sure this is testing this boundary. I just think the response is ridiculous. We're talking about entertainment, not health care.

There's not really a thing as "gamers"

I don't think my 48 y.o. self who's been playing PC games since before VGA would share many opinions or habits as an 18 y.o. Call of Duty player.

> which resulted in this rather famous image

What am I looking at?

60% of the "boycott Modern Warfare 2" Steam group plays Modern Warfare 2 when the screenshot was taken.

Everything is like this, just earlier today there was a "Air Travelers Resisting the ‘Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat’" thread[1] here where if the comments are to be believed a huge number of people simply don't travel anymore because the seats are so horrible. Surely nobody would want to fly anymore!

Meanwhile the airline industry has been growing consistently for decades.

Similarly, surely nobody would ever pay $80 for some in-game feature in an EA game. If you aren't selling EA stock now in anticipation of their inevitable demise you're a fool!

Stated preferences are very different from revealed preferences.

1. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15684552

> Stated preferences are very different from revealed preferences.

Maybe better worded as "Stated preferences are very often different from actual behavior."

On the other hand, it is worth noting that I am sure _at least some people_ probably really would boycott the game. Or in the case of the shrinking seat, surely _some people_ will stop flying. But this is just an example of some segment of potential customers opting to forego a good or service while simultatneously a new customer segment actually doesn't mind it (or they'll say they mind it but then like paying $100 for a roundtrip air ticket instead of $129 more than they like a slightly bigger seat).

"It's all relative" is probably applicable here. Bottom line: Just because thousands of people don't like the $80 in-game feature, enough other people, including some that don't like $80 in-game features, continue to play and/or buy the game anyways.

Yes, of course some people will hate it so much that they'll boycott the service, whether it's games with DLC or airlines.

But my point is that a much larger segment of the population just likes to complain, and if you listen to what they're saying you'll get an inaccurate picture of reality.

For example, people who complain about the state of seats on airplanes while choosing not to book "economy plus" or "economy comfort" or whatever it's called, which often isn't more expensive than the equivalent of one sit-down meal and a beer at a cheap restaurant.

But those people won't say "listen, all other things being equal I'd prefer a bit more room, but honestly I'd rather save $40 to put up with a bit of discomfort to eat at a better restaurant once I land".

Even though that's the description that best matches reality given the data at hand. Instead they'll go on some tirade about how really they fly so much less than they used to, meanwhile air travel is increasing all over the world and we'd have to assume market researchers for all these airlines are idiots because there's some huge market segment for the taking if they'd only increase leg room a bit.

Which they'll try, but they'll quickly find out that while people complain they're really not prepared to pay an extra $40 for it. So here we are.

In the case of the seat, the revealed preference is "I still need to get from A to B, so you can abuse me all you like".

Like airline food, there's no effective way to reveal that you might prefer to pay a little more for something a little better, and your choice is usually limited to paying a lot more.

There are a number of airlines that have made their name on being more pleasant than others. Virgin was one. Largely the financial results seem to have borne out the status quo.

I suppose so. It's difficult to see this stuff on any comparison website, and most airlines try to sell themselves on comfort. So you end up relying on experience or word of mouth.

FWIW I try to stick to airlines I know I'll have at least a half-decent experience with. So far that's Singapore, British, Virgin, QANTAS and a few others.

These things are relative. I 'don't fly' specifically because airlines are so terrible.

But, that just means I will drive instead of take short flights, and avoid vacations that require flying. There are not a lot of options to get to say Hawaii in some reasonable time frame for work.

It's understandable, at least to me. EA makes good games in franchises people want to play. The problem comes in how the games are changed (often forcefully) to include additional monetization opportunities.

People want to play good games, and by all accounts, Battlefront is a good game; it has solid core mechanics and lots of Star Wars fanservice. EA just mucked it up with the shoehorning of the gambling, pardon, loot crates into the progression system.

So, what's a player to do? If they boycott the game, they are depriving only themselves of an experience they would probably enjoy for 40-60 hours. Add to that the fact that EA is looking at the huge profits they get out of lootboxes from a few "whales", and the loss of even half of their playerbase would barely touch their bottom line.

Voting with your wallet only works when someone else isn't voting with their orders of magnitude deeper wallet (for example, one player put $15,000 into Mass Effect 3 multiplayer cards). And in the end, how can you really fault those big spenders? They're just out to have fun too, and $15,000 could easily qualify as someone's 10% entertainment budget?

15k is more than my whole entertainment budget of the last decade including all the hardware and electricity and transportation.

Many of those "whales" have certainly a gambling problem. Of course there may be a few rich enough people, but they also probably have some problems. It's sad that their weakness is exploited this way.

Well, when you consider that gambling (or opening loot boxes) hits some very primitive reward centers of our brain... is it any surprise?

Video games are simply abstracted skinner boxes to begin with; loot boxes with their carefully tuned Vegas-esque lights, sounds, and reward percentages just amp up the "push a button, maybe get a reward" to the Nth degree.

And yeah, it is sad. It's probably even worse than sad.

>Video games are simply abstracted skinner boxes to begin with; loot boxes with their carefully tuned Vegas-esque lights, sounds, and reward percentages just amp up the "push a button, maybe get a reward" to the Nth degree.

My dad, who was a gamer in his youth, always described gaming as getting addicted to "flashing light boxes".

It was only once I was old enough to go to a bookie's and watch someone feed £20 after £20 into a fruit machine that I saw what he meant.

The gaming community get new fools to pay for this kind of things every day.

Fool me once shame on me. Fool my neighbor's teenager then.

The "new fools" theory sounds plausible but then I see that EA releases new games far faster than the replacement birthrate for gullible teens. E.g. I count 13 games from 2016: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Electronic_Arts_games

Therefore, there has to be a significant quantity of repeat buyers who were already burned by EA. (E.g. EA can't wait ~20 years to fool the Millenials after milking the GenX buyers.)

> I count 13 games from 2016

Well, there are a lot of market segments to exploit, and some might not overlap that much. Also, there's 6 games listed for 2017, but each is targeted at multiple platforms so shows up 2-6 times. Finally, with the sports titles, in some cases if you want to play with a roster of real players you don't have a choice but to go with EA.

It annoys me when people complain about something and then keep doing it (like buying EA games). The solution is really simple: stop buying/playing their games. It's not like they are a monopoly you are forced to give money to.

There’s a ton of indie games out there willing to give players what the AAA’s aren’t, but the discoverability problem is such that most can’t be bothered to sift through the pile to find the gems, so they just go with whatever games everyone else is playing, which is usually whatever has the biggest advertising budget. It’s a frustrating problem.

It's not just the discovery problem; for a multiplayer game like Battlefront, there's value in the concentration of players. You want to have full servers, friends that also play it, etc.

As a W:ET fan that still occasionally fires up the game, I can tell you that it's no fun seeing a desolate server list, filled only with bots.

For better or worse, EA owns a lot of the big studios and brands. They have an exclusive agreement with Disney on producing the realistic Star Wars games, so it's not as if diehard SW fans have a choice.

Though looking at their Wikipedia page [0], I think I overestimated how much of gaming they own. Personally, I don't play any of their franchises (some of that due to being a Mac user, and how few of EA's games are ported over to Mac). As a PS4 owner, Sony and Sony's affiliates (such as Naughty Dog), and the other big publishers (Activision, Take Two) give me enough choice to not have to play any of EA's games apparently.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_Arts

There are some examples of parent publishers with less-than-exemplary reputations simply letting successful child studios/publishers do their thing. Activision, for example, owns Blizzard, but plays fairly hands-off with managing them. My understanding is that Ubisoft (based in France) gives a similar amount of independence to its subsidiary Montreal studio.

On the flipside, I'm not sure about how EA manages all its subsidiaries. There was a apparently a lot of political pressure on Bioware to adopt EA's Frostbite engine leading to all sorts of headache in the development of Mass Effect Andromeda. And after all that dust settled, now there is no more Mass Effect for the time being.

You can read more here: https://kotaku.com/the-story-behind-mass-effect-andromedas-t...

> ... so it's not as if diehard SW fans have a choice.

Why not boycott? I mean it would suck for the diehards for sure, but how long would they realistically have to wait? If EA misses 1 quarter's revenue goal, they'll be singing another tune.

I mean they don't have a choice in publisher unless they want to wait 2-3 years for a new deal by Disney to be signed. People do have a choice to wait to buy the game, of course -- I bought the first BattleFront when it went for sale for ~$10, which is about what it's worth. The risk of that is that multiplayer games have a certain shelf life -- generally you want to buy it when there's peak population, or at least when all of your friends are playing it. Waiting for a discount/out of protest results in greater risk of playing with a fractured player base.

For non-multiplayer games from EA, the games community is learning a bit, which is part of the reason why Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst and Mass Effect: Andromeda sold poorly (neither were bad games, just average)

The risk-adverse solution publishers are now finding is to just double-down on multiplayer and/or microtransactions.

I just bought a AAA title - Destiny 2. Humble Bundle seemed like a decent store, right? I made so many purchases with them in the past. 60 dollars later I had a key that Blizzard wouldn't accept. My Battle.Net account (years old, ooooold) was created in Germany. I lived in different countries since then and currently live in SG, the key that I purchased was locked to the US/Asia Pacific region.

Now .. I certainly can change my account's region, right? I'm in good standing with Blizzard, I just moved.

Well.. Prepare to hand over a government issued ID including your address or - if that ID doesn't include an address - said ID and a utility bill.

For an effing game. For a gaming network that knows me by a handle#randomNumber and an email address.

Oh - you can create a brand spanking new account from here. No ID required of course and now I have an account in the EU (my .. 'real' aka 'old' Blizzard account) and an account here (for Destiny 2, because eff you Blizzard: You don't need my ID). It makes no sense.

My point being: EA is bad, EA is crap, but even companies like Blizzard - often considered good and exemplary - are insane sometimes.

We tend to forget that EA produced great games and focus on the negative parts. For others (Valve, Blizzard) we tend to focus on the positive parts. I think it's rather easy to overreact in one way or another.

Except blizzard has a huge pobpem with stolen accounts. This is one way in which they fight that. Yes it's annoying, but people sink thousands of hours into their games and are generally ok with the inconvenience if it means their account is more secure.

For someone like you it may not make sense, but you're not the user they instituted these policies for.

And blizzard gets crap _constantly_ from their user base, you just don't see it because you're not on those forums.

I am on those forums.

How does this protect me (or more likely: them)? I disable 2FA (..), give you my credentials or you brute force them: You own my account. How's that related with "I moved"?

And why would you ever. ever. ever give a random company your government ID? Facebook to unblock your account? Hell no! Google Plus for the same reason? Certainly not and never. Blizzard because you changed the place you live outside of their digital universe? Of course not!

They can ask me questions about games I played, purchase dates of the games I own, can send me verification mails, can use the 2FA they support, can look at my login history (hey, how funny: I logged into my Blizzard account from a SG IP, even before I made the purchase).

No, they should NEVER ask for my address or my government ID. The former would be okay if they want to send me swag and should still be optional.

Blizzard's insane here, defending them is kinda weird. Would you send your ID to Google, Facebook or .... EA? If you nod reading all of this, fine. We're just not able to agree here. If you shake your head but think that it's different for the people that allow you to explode sheep by repeatedly clicking them..: Can you make sure that you're not biased?

Your government issued ID is no secret and it doesn't contain any information I couldn't easily get elsewhere if I really wanted to. You hand it over to people all of the time for trivial things.

If your account is locked due to suspicious activity (as it was in your case) then Blizzard's only options are to A) just allow it (your account is gone) or B) make you verify that you are who you say you are. I don't think B is unreasonable.

And you didn't just 'move'; you moved _countries_. I didn't get locked out when I moved from CA to TX, but moving countries isn't all that common and they only have so much contextual information with which to make a decision.

>I am on those forums

Then you should already know Blizzard takes grief for this and many other things all of the time.


> For others (Valve, Blizzard) we tend to focus on the positive parts.

Well, people have been focusing on the poor policies of blizzard, especially with respect to battle.net, for decades now.[1]

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bnetd

I remember shortly after WoW was released, there was this huge hubub over Cosmos and other add-ons, which led to one of the funniest WoW posts ever.[1]

1: http://www.lordaeron.org/WoB/

Speak for yourself.

I had my EA account stolen once. You know what they did? Nothing. I was able to trace the culprit's real name, his e-mail address, country of origin, and ISP via an IP address (which was not provided by EA, by the way ;-)). I did not even get a response from EA's customer service, except some drone sending me a password reset, which I did not need by then.

At least Blizzard puts some effort into it. And I can, without much trouble, get a human on the phone if I call Blizzard's customer service department.

No, they don't put any effort into this.

I can hand you my (EU) account data and you can steal my games. Play Overwatch for free, in my name. Play the SC2 extensions I bought. YAY!

Now, I as the rightful owner of that account cannot add a purchase to that account, because "regions". I cannot switch regions, because that requires that I hand in the most personal information I have (address, ID) unless we're talking nudes. It feels like nudes.

You can steal my account and use it for a lot of nonsense and enjoy the paid content. You cannot move my account into a different region. Cool. Neither can I...

It's not clever, it's not "putting effort into it", it is blatantly speaking just stupid.

I had my Blizzard/Battle.net account broken into - there was nothing to steal at the moment (I had played some multiplayer something a decade ago with one of the free multiplayer-only installations).

When I wanted to create a Hearthstone account, I found that out. The Blizzard CS reps were pretty decent, and they eventually fixed the issue (I still ended up creating a brand new account with better security since I was paying money this time).

I had the opposite happen to me with my EA account.

It was stolen and I was getting emails in Russian (I think) but I didn't care (mostly because of things they do like this post) until last year when I wanted to play BF2:BC so I contacted EA's customer service thinking there's no way I could get the account back, especially after 4-5 years. They asked a couple of questions and got my account back in about 15 minutes.

I was able to get it back without their help. But I couldn't change the security question back to my own.

I had my EA account stolen last year, and getting it back was really straightforward and pretty frictionless. You just need to pick up the phone and call them (or you can also put your phone number in a form and they will call you, so there's no waiting on hold).

Tried the form, did not receive a call. I was able to get my account back without their help. But I couldn't change the security question back to my own.

For all the people that defend this crazy practice: What is a government ID going to solve here?

A new account can be created without an ID (obviously...). They never saw mine. They probably never saw my name (right, anyone can figure out my name. And I am not 100% sure that I never paid by CC instead of Paypal or prepaid or whatnot).

What is this ID going to solve? They don't know how I look like. They _might_ no my Real ID™ (remember that joke, from Blizzard as well?) aka name. If my name is common and I provide a government ID, can I steal all the accounts with the same name that .. never showed a government ID in the first place?

That approach seems so deeply flawed that I don't even understand how someone signed it off in the first place. I certainly couldn't defend this idea - it would need a lot of drinks to be creative (aka stupid) enough to come up with reasons why this might Totally Work™.

I think I would rather this happen, than have someone in another country steal my account and easily be able to transfer regions.

with the current system, if someone steals my account, its basically useless.

If they steal your account they can play all games, under your name. Most of their games (all?) allow you to set the region in which you play independent of the account region.

Say, my account is in DE/EU, but I could play SC2 in the US/ The 'region' dropdown is literally above the play button.

If I steal your account, I can play the games you own. I can play as you in your region (using your progress) or play as you in other regions (progress is usually not taken over).

It is FAR from useless.

I mean.. The person that stole your account just cannot throw money at Blizzard to buy a game (in his region) and register it to your account (if different region). That's verrrryyyyy helpful indeed.

I recently attended a marketing conf, and Electric Arts employees were so pround of ripping of so called whales and their gamification and gambling features in their new Triple-A games. They guys I spoke with had no clue about games, they were not gamers. They said it's all about statistics, KPIs and marketing.

Remembering the 1980s and 1990s era of awesome Electronic Arts games (their games were really arts), it's so tragic.

I held hope based on the studio acquisitions that would allow them work independently and simply pocket the profits. Shuttering Visceral was the nail in the coffin for me.

$80 or whatever it was was well worth the entertainment I received from Battlefront. Meh, a lot of gamers are loud cheapskates.

A sufficient number of people seem to enjoy the games in the end. I guess mission successful for EA?

There is no market in a post internet age.

The average person is not technologically informed enough to even be a market participant and that is why gaming is such a disaster.

The human mind did not evolve to make rational decisions regarding technology and hence the free market is a myth for those who don't grasp evolution did not make our minds to live in a high tech capitalist society.

And that's why I stopped playing any EA games this summer.

Wow that's some incredible brigading. One of the most upvoted comments (it might be the most upvoted one, don't know) is at a mere 98.6K: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/5h7gq8/i_was_goofy_at...

The most upvoted post is 283K: https://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/5gn8ru/guardians_of_...

Considering how upvoted-items get more and more visible, and thus more and more upvotes, it's a huge achievement for a downvoted comment to have that much engagement.

edit: via r/subredditdrama, the most downvoted comments noted so far:



> Wow that's some incredible brigading.

Is it really brigading? The entire gaming community hates those practices. Nobody is manipulating people to downvote this comment. It's genuine hate and digust. Paying the price of a game to unlock one single character is a joke.

EA's reply is also very bad. "The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes."

I fail to see how paying $80 gives players a sense of pride and accomplishment.

I mean "brigading" in the technical sense of people passing around the link and getting more people to pile on than would organically occur, not necessarily the astroturf connotation. Because for most users, comments under a certain threshold (-50) are hidden (but can be revealed manually). The entire r/Battlefront userbase is just 91K users.

I believe the comment received reddit gold specifically to keep it visible.

It's not a perfect measure, but there are about 90k subscribers for the subreddit and about 4x that number of downvotes.

Reddit encourages cross-posting. This thread for example https://www.reddit.com/r/NintendoSwitch/comments/7cm3o8/the_...

There's also the fact that the main thread has 62.9k votes and is probably on the front-page. This make it so that every reddit users will go through it, see the horrible corporate answer and downvote it.

I myself am not subscribed to that subreddit and still downvoted that comment.

Edit: And there are probably people looking at https://www.reddit.com/user/EACommunityTeam directly.

Edit2: And it blew up on Twitter so that's a lot of the downvotes.

But this activity is considered to be a form of "brigading":



Brigading is not "illegal" on Reddit, but some subreddit's explicitly forbid cross-posting because of the brigading effect. Such subreddits require the use of the np.reddit.com domain, which points to a mirror of a Reddit thread while disabling vote functionality.

Looking at the Totes comment, I can see why: https://www.reddit.com/r/StarWarsBattlefront/comments/7cff0b...

That's a lot of linked subreddits, plus you've got people from HN and probably other places going to check out "the most downvoted comment in Reddit's history".

I would bet a lot of HN users that might not play Battlefront, or possibly not that many games at all anymore, still remember past EA shenanigans, and the EA wives stuff, so are willing to believe the accusations and vote accordingly. I count myself in the group somewhat (I'm playing games again recently, but not EA so much).

I did my part by upvoting the post and downvoting the game. EA is one he of a moneygrubber. Would even make the guys who buy games pirate it.

It's weird, the Cluetrain Manifesto is old enough to drive now but companies still don't talk like human beings. I'm not sure what EA's social media group is trying to accomplish by engaging in such a clumsy way.


I had completely forgotten about this. It makes me sad to read, because it seems like the culture of the tech industry has gone whole-hog on "sterile happytalk that insults the intelligence of markets". Machine learning on the blockchain, anyone?

Even though I hate the business model, this is going crazy with people sending death threats to employees. They never hid their intent, the business model for the game has been discussed for a long time.

If people hate EA so much, why do they keep buying their games? It's not like Time Warner, with a monopoly you can't avoid.

Every copyright is a monopoly on a very specific niche. People arent looking for just some game, they want "that experience they loved from the first game, set in their favorite science fantasy universe" or whatever. They can't get it elsewhere, and thus the publisher can do some pretty abusive things to extract money from the fans. In this case, trying to push people gambling addictions they can exploit for profit.

Its sounding like youre trying to start opening a line of debate of:

"If content is part of the national identity or popular outside its initial entertainment function, there should be limitations on the governmental exclusivity(copyright) so that others may use."

This is why copyright used to be for a reasonably limited term.

In a way, it is - who else is making a Star Wars game like this?

If you want to play a sim sports game (not a sports management sim though there's tons of those) or a Star Wars game EA is pretty much the only option because they have the licenses.

And they end up buying the indie studios and such. Really hard to avoid them.

Because some of their games are actually good. I hate their business practices, but I still want to play Battlefront 2.

And they ARE a monopoly. They own the rights to a lot of my favorite franchises. If I want a Star Wars game (which I definitely do), it's EA or nothing.

If it genuinely is a monopoly, then that is terrible, and hopefully something can happen to change the situation. I guess it's hard for me to picture because it's not my bag.

It's not a real monopoly, but it acts like one. They obviously aren't the only gaming company out there, but they own the rights to several beloved franchises. Like, as I mentioned, Star Wars. Also most popular sports.

They don't. It only seems that way due to a self-selection bias that occurs in internet forums. Negative opinions get overwhelmingly upvoted. Typically a user that just got disappointed by a game will upvote any submission or comment that also criticizes said game.

> It's not like Time Warner, with a monopoly you can't avoid.

What monopoly? Time Warner has many different businesses and products, so you need to be specific.

They happen to make good games.

Disney has exclusive right on SW stuff. Every copyright is a monopoly.

Nothing is going to change in the gaming community unless people stop buying these kinds of games. I am on my way to sell COD:WWII as I type this comment as the multiplayer maps are so monotonous and yet they expect me to pay the price of the game again to unlock all the other maps in the next few months (season pass). I’ll probably never buy another COD game after this.

Selling your copy of the game isn’t doing anything to stop people from buying these types of games.

Not are they monotonous, the game is constantly broken. And they seems to have learnt from that South Park episode about micropayments by putting rewards and sound effects when you get the rewards to trigger the addiction part of your brain.

So, nothing will change then? "Vote with your wallet" doesn't work, and never has.

It could work, but it's a lopsided feedback system: EA can't count the number of people who didn't buy their game, they can only count the number of actual purchases. So, voting with your wallet leads to underperforming sales numbers, which they'll rationalize to be based on anything but the insulting ways they try to extract additional money from their players, or the myriad of ways they treat their fan base like idiots.

They learn the wrong lessons, assuming the franchise must be at fault, not the mechanics that make the game loathsome.

Why would it not work? It's just that you need enough people to vote :)

I do believe in this case it's not going to work - I don't imagine among gamers there will be a nearly enough boycotters.

Only 19 hours old, too.

One thing to keep in mind is that Reddit used to normalize votes until about a year ago or so, such that it was exceedingly rare for a post to get beyond triple digits (both positive and negative). I wonder how many older unpopular comments would have made it into the negative six figures if vote totals had been uncapped sooner.

According to the admins, the scores on older posts were recalculated after the scoring was changed.

I'm not sure, but let's try and just talk about Rampart ok?

Can anyone explain what this is about, for non-gamers like myself? Am I understanding it right, in that he paid $80 for a game in which he needs to pay even more to get access to the Darth Vader character?

Is there a price list somewhere for what it costs to purchase various in-game things?

That has too much jargon to be a good summary to a non-gamer IMO. To wit-

"While some games might offer loot boxes for cosmetic options, Battlefront II is using loot crates as their primary form of progression through the multiplayer content, via Star Cards."

Most game now have "micro transactions". I have not followed closely but I guess that your start the game without all the characters unlocked, so you need to play X hours of time to unlock that character, or buy it in addition to the base game to unlock it immediately. Which might be a bit steep after you've just spent $80.

edit: so after reading minimaxir links it seems you can not pay to unlock a new character, but since you have to effectively chose spending your credits (i.e time spent playing) either on improvement like weapons or new characters, it greatly incentivizes you buy in-game currency.

I think people have an issue with the fact that you can skip the lootbox grind if you pay money.

Else it would also be 'unfair' for a game to make you beat levels 1-99 before you can play that sweet level 100 boss battle. "I paid $40 for this game, I want to play level 100 without the grind" would be fairly weak criticism.

This issue is just a stone's throw from reeking of the hot air of entitlement. Mixed in with the anger that people can pay money to skip the grind are lamer abstract arguments like "a Star Wars game should let me play with the main characters on day one!"

Of all the things in humanity to show outrage about, even limiting oneself to considering outrageous topics that made it to reddit posts, this seems very small. I would figure the most downvoted comment in history would show something grotesque.

Unbridled greed is pretty grotesque.

Of all things you can do to a person, I think mis-pricing something in a video game and a subsequent PR blunder is very small potatoes. Even if we restrict to your phrase "unbridled greed" and exclude more serious topics like physical harm and abuse, there is a lot more of that going on that is worse than this.

Looks like everything they are posting is getting down-voted.


And yet they still have positive karma.

    Most upvoted comment: +318 
    Most downvoted comment: -377k
Somehow this results in 7,438 comment karma for the user. What the hell reddit?

edit: and no, the sum of the rest of their comments does not add up anywhere near 377k.

Reddit limits how much a single comment can effect your overall karma score. This was done to slow down negative karma trolls.

This is why I've stopped buying new games. At 31 years old, I've realized that learning new things is more important than paying to entertain myself.

Wait, which is it? When you say "this is why" it implies you stopped because of unbounded greed on the part of large gaming publishers. However, then you explain it as growing out of gaming and a shift in your interests to learning.

Also, in my opinion, learning and entertainment don't have to be mutually exclusive. You sound like an I-don't-watch-TV snob right now, to be honest.

Agree. As much as I love HN, I think it suffers from too much snobbery at times...

Which is why I've decided recently (since turning 27 and a half) to transition away from online forums and focus on building pen-pal relationships with fellow hackers through physical mail. Really makes me feel like I'm improving myself

Maybe it's both?

I'm only going for indie games these days.

I don't understand the rage here. EA is a busyness, kindly explaining the reasoning behind their product decisions in the open. We should be thankful, not angry.

The beatings will continue until morale improves

Well, now you know why PR ie so notoriously tight lipped and why so few companies offer to explain unpopular things. As long as they don't speak, the explanations are all just hypotheticals.

EA has 3 choices:

1) The Truth: "We are greedy, and you are willing to pay for it"

2) Lie: "The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes."

3) Say nothing

Personally I think 3 was the best option, and 2 was the worst option. But they went with 2 anyway.

The "me" beating goal is to turn me against EA? I'm way past that point, so the effort is wasted:) I just don't understand how people expect EA to do anything other than maximizing the profits.

If a scorpion stings me, I can still be upset about it, despite the scorpion's nature.

They failed.

I left this comment in the previous edition of this post, reproducing here for some context around the "why":

There was another post on Reddit which “did the math” a few days ago: unlocking a hero would take around 40 hours of play, modulo a few challenges and other purchases. There was concern about loot boxes and micro transactions affecting gameplay; I feel it’s safe to say those concerns were justified.

... at which point a person can calculate their 40 hours of play * what the time is worth to them, and decide if $80 to just buy the thing is worth it.

It's 40 hours after you buy the game ($80).

Indeed. Plus, that's 40 hours per hero, not including improvements and gear for the base classes.

I wonder if EA will need to get a new user account.

The amount of karma you can lose from a single comment is limited to a quite small number


It's part of the anti-spam/anti-cheat system so the exact details are kept secret, but you can find a few places where people have done some experiments such as [0]. The exact behavior is not completely clear though, it might be a hard cutoff or it might be diminishing returns, possibly a combination, but at least people don't seem to lose even 100 karma even after 10Ks of downvotes.

[0] https://www.reddit.com/r/TheoryOfReddit/comments/18r63h/does...

I think comments get diminishing returns. If you check the user profile it is still in positive.

I don't know what reddit gold does but could they have given themselves those 12 to counteract the downvotes?

EA just posted the most downvoted comment in history of the universe, by orders of magnitude.


People are actually "hate guilding": paying real money for reddit gold in order to send "fuck you" messages to EA that they can't ignore or mute in a locked thread.

We may be witnessing the birth of a new business model.

EACommunityTeam -652k points 1 day ago [gold star] x67

The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.

As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, we're looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we'll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay.

We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on Reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets.

Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can.

No, its just some flair given to your post (and you) by someone donating money to reddit. In this context I imagine its meant as a small bit of snark.

They can give themselves gold if they want. I'm not sure how it affects the downvotes, or if it does.

Of course it would be an informative comment that pepole don't like.

It's only informative if you take what they said at face value.

Ahah, not surprised. That game felt like a beta when it was released, I could not comprehend how they could release something like this. I only started getting back into gaming recently, and to my surprise, the issue of launching broken games seems to be industry practice. Battlefield 1 had so many issues, the new CoD:WW2 has so many issues. I stopped gaming a few years ago (last game was CoD:2), and I am shocked that the community endures this... but what is the alternative? Stop gaming?

I've already got hundreds of games in my Steam back-catalog. Unless I go on funemployment and turn into the troll from Make Love, not Warcraft, I can't even begin to get through those. Especially when there are Total War and Paradox games in that stack.

Battlefront 2 (the new one) isn't released until the 17.

I thought they had changed Battlefront 1.

Apparently the huge response had some impact as EA is now dropping the price of some of these characters.


Wow, modern gaming is serious business. I wish we devoted this much energy into more, ahem, important things. I'm not sure even movies, books, TV series or other kinds of entertainment would produce such a reaction from people.


Was already posted, dunno why double the news!

Rumor has it that The Sims 5 will come with only pay toilets, and require an in-app purchase to kill a character.

now I downvoted too

The most brigaded comment in Reddit’s history


I really want [thing] but cannot afford [thing] at the current price point. Rage! Kick! Scream!

Doesn't this sentiment have to be nearly as old as markets themselves? What makes you more angry, the fact that you cannot get the thing you want? Or the harsh realization that there is a class of people who can afford it, and you are not in that class?

Pricing is science, with a little art thrown in. EA is a publicly traded company whose stock has climbed from $12 to $120 in the last five years. Their imperative is to maximize shareholder value, not appease gamers.

The grown up thing to do is to focus on the things that you enjoy + can afford.

People, perhaps, get upset about this sort of thing because game content isn't "real," in the sense that an employee could spend mere seconds (assuming a script was already cooked for them to do it) to give this art asset to players for free. The $80 pricepoint (or 40 hours of game interaction) seems a very artificial thing. It doesn't take $80 worth of work to produce and distribute the Vader art asset, so why should one be compelled to pay $80 for it?

... but this is a misunderstanding of the nature of digital content and monopoly. The old rules of supply and demand still apply---even if satisfying demand is relatively trivial after the archetype has been created---when one party has a monopoly on supply, as EA does here. And when the archetype still takes several dozens or hundreds of person-hours to fabricate, there is still cost to EA to be offset. But even if there weren't cost to EA to offset: they have a monopoly on the product, they can charge what they will, the amount of markup they can generate is immaterial.

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