The War Z MMO accused of fraud, pulled

Last updated 10:40 21/12/2012
The War Z

WHOOPS, APOCALYPSE: Was Hammerpoint Interactive's The War Z rushed to market too soon?

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Game studio Valve has removed online zombie horror The War Z from its Steam store following widespread criticism and claims of misleading advertising from players.

The open world post-apocalypic survival game's Steam page is still up, but it cannot be purchased from the service. The option to buy has also been removed from the game's official website.

In a statement, Valve called the sale of The War Z "premature", and offered unhappy customers a refund.

"We apologise for this and have temporary removed the sale offering of the title until we have time to work with the developer and have confidence in a new build," it said.

The game attracted a blizzard of criticism almost immediately following its release on Tuesday, after it was discovered that many features promised by developer Hammerpoint Interactive were absent.

A Reddit thread collected the common complaints, including claims that the in-game world was substantially smaller than advertised, that server sizes had been exaggerated, and that advertised in-game skills and private servers were nowhere to be seen.

Another thread presented evidence that those attempting to post criticism of the game were being banned from its Steam forum.

Adding fuel to the fire, a patch for the game reportedly upped players' respawn times from 60 minutes to four hours, and offered a microtransaction that allowed an instant return to the game.

Before the game was pulled from Steam, War Z boss Sergey Titov addressed some of the complaints in an interview with Kotaku.

He claimed that contrary to online feedback, most players were happy with the game.

"We're constantly running surveys to ask our players what they think - how we're doing," he said.

"As of right now over 93 per cent of our customers like the game, with over 40 per cent saying it's perfect and around 50 per cent saying it's good, but they'd like to see more polishing and features."

"Yet, 4 per cent don't like the game and decided not to play it, and 3 per cent hate the game. My point is that absolute majority of our players are supporting us, yet, yes, players who don't like the game will be very vocal about it."

Regarding server size, he claimed that allowing 50 players on a server was the same thing as "up to 100".

"I don't see 'LIE' in saying 'up to 100 players per server' and having the current limit at 50 players," he said.

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"We've just lowered the number of players per map down from 70 based on requests and votes from our players. Ie - we've had 70 players per server - which was what we felt was the 'comfort level' for this map, but when we asked our players about it, the majority voted for 50 slots per server. So we did exactly what our community and our players asked us for."

The game currently has a user rating of 1.1 on Metacritic.



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