Is this game EVER going to work reliably?

Hard to believe

By on May 28, 2009 2:09:57 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

RegnorVex

Join Date 04/2009
+12

Title asks the key question. I don't know about most of you, but my multiplayer experience has deteriorated steadily since launch. I've tried all the "workarounds" and have a high-end rig with a great connect (both UL and DL), a compatible router with working port forwarding, and yet I cannot remember the last time I played a match that didn't have horrible issues. Ordinarily I would just stfu and patiently wait for the hard-working dev team to do their job, but in the midst of all this I'm reading posts from management giving their team the weekend off and kudos to their devs for extensive new AI code ... unbelievable.

So I'm wondering. Is there any reason to expect that things are going to improve eventually, or is this it? Are we there yet?

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May 29, 2009 12:05:09 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting RegnorVex,
Yeah, I knew the post would draw some heat, I'll live.

As for the software management angle, I've never had to make my team work overtime to fix a problem like this. What usually happens is that team itself feels sufficiently committed to fixing the problem that they themselves volunteer to do what's necessary to get it working. Someone from Stardock posted in this thread that they've been working 14 hour days and that just signals a red flag to me. I would never have programmers working 14 hour days, you can't be productive like that and it kills morale. The last time my team had an emergency situation like this they set up a rotating schedule. We divided the group into three teams that would work around the clock in 8 hours shifts so that no team worked more than 8 hours a day but we had people on the project around the clock. It was actually fun and it felt great to see that kind of spontaneous dedication emerge without anyone having to crack a whip. I didn't have to overwork anyone and a significant problem got fixed in just under a week. Getting the job done and making a customer happy was reward enough for those guys, but we gave them a helluva lot more than that *after* the customers were taken care of. 

I suppose you think the variables you had to deal with were exactly the same as those that the Stardock devs were dealing with right now? I would call it a stretch to say that Stardock bosses are "cracking their whip" too. Sure, it worked well for you, I cannot argue with your believe in what you've accomplished, but isn't it naive to think that your management methods will work as well for the problems Stardock's facing as those that you were facing?

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May 29, 2009 12:16:19 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I am in agreement with the OP.

 

I absolutely love this game, when I am able to connect successfully in multiplayer.  I am fairly experienced with networking so all of the suggested steps were relatively simple to enable for me, but have all had a fairly limited success rate.

 

I have attempted to join over 30 games this morning, and successfully connected to one of them. With any online game you expect a certain amount of difficulties, but I would say at least 75% of my attempts to join a game result in one of a few things.

 

1) Myself being unable to connect to someone else.

 

2) The entire game dropping for unknown reasons (I assume this is typically because the host gets bored of "attempting to connect."

 

3)  We all connect to each other, only to discover that it is a 2v1 of some kind when the game actually starts.

 

I understand that a lot of difficulties were caused by the Gamestop issue, and I also strongly encourage you guys not to destroy yourselves working on the game, but in my experiences there are some serious problems with just connecting to multiplayer (I will ignore all the other mp issues such as Pantheon, stat tracking, etc etc.)

 

My long term worry is that the steps needed to have a good match in this game are just too complex for this game to be anything other then a ridiculously small niche.  If you need to completely relax NAT, disable UpNP, port forward, etc etc, in my opinion it is entirely too many steps.  Combine this with the fact that it often take 10-20 minutes to even get into your first match, and you have a game that is not easy to quickly sit down and play.

 

I have a few friends who have purchased this game, but have basically stopped playing because they aren't willing to extensively modify their router settings when a variety of other enjoyable multiplayer games will work with minimal, if any changes, and don't require so much effort to get into a game.

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May 29, 2009 9:20:57 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Sydeamon,

No, you're right, of course the variables are different, I know that and I'm sure there are plenty of other complexities that I'm not aware of. Look, it's not my intention to beat down the dev team any more than they are feeling already. My comments are aimed at management, not the devs. I just think that when you have this much trouble with a product, it doesn't make a lot of sense to post messages to your customers telling them that you're taking time off, and touting new features that no one is asking for. That's classic "what were they thinking" stuff.

I'm not wearing my management hat at the moment. I'm a gamer like everyone else here and I'm wearing my customer hat. And although I can sure put up with a lot of abuse (I have to, I'm a gamer lol), there is a limit. Judging by other comments in this thread, I'm obviously not alone feeling as I do.

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May 30, 2009 12:36:31 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums


Quoting UhelligGudn,

Quoting Alpha492, reply 6Believe me I'm starting law school this fall
Yeah, the fact you are going to attend law school makes you any more credible to listen to than anyone else because it makes you a legal genious.
Meanwhile, I've watched all of Boston Legal a few trillion times, time for me to get some clients with my encyclopedic knowledge of the law! Who needs the Bar exam!


No, it does mean that my high school classes however were dominated by law and wrighting classes.  Also I neglected to mention (because of a lack of need) that both my mother and brother are graduated law students, and that my mother is now a proffessor at a university.   (ITT Tech) and has her doctorate...
So does the fact that I come from a family of lawyers help?

I'd suppose not in a forum...

I'm sure if you find the need, I could find references for all of these claims

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May 30, 2009 12:46:26 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting ass128,
lawyers are all scum anyway wouldn't take their word for shit.

 

"contribute" to the judges relection and you win more cases its an amazing coincidence.

 

I'm sure there are at least 2 decent lawyers but a majoirity of them are greedy dicks that bend the law to line their pockets.  No morals just greed the exact opposite of what they should be. 

 

"All it takes is a bright attorney to figure out what to charge them with.  Soon other people and other attorneys hear about it and how much another person ->stands<-(I used that word for a reason)to make and hop on the band wagon."

above quote proves my point. 

 


By the moral standards of individuals who dont understand why our legal system is the way it is, it would definatly seem like that.

When our legal system was designed (not to say it still isn't today) the prejudices of the people who would be driving it was taken into careful consideration.  So it was desided that we would be better off with a loose claws hazy principled legal system rather then one that would satisfy the moral needs of the majority with strict guidelines.

And it has worked for the most part.  Think about the major moral decisions in history that were ruled against the favor of the majority.  Like Segragation dealing with eqaulity and pornography dealing with free speech.  In both these cases one at the time could have claimed that our law system was corrupt and driven by opportunist lawyers
but here in the present we remember the fact that these were even debates at the time travesties

One of the first things you learn in law school is that our morals must be flexible, because what is contreversial now might be seen as a travesty in the future.

Besides its cliche and retarded to just say all lawyers are scum anyway, welcome to the 20th-21st century loser
this is how it works and there is a reason for it

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May 30, 2009 1:09:52 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting RegnorVex,
Sydeamon,

No, you're right, of course the variables are different, I know that and I'm sure there are plenty of other complexities that I'm not aware of. Look, it's not my intention to beat down the dev team any more than they are feeling already. My comments are aimed at management, not the devs. I just think that when you have this much trouble with a product, it doesn't make a lot of sense to post messages to your customers telling them that you're taking time off, and touting new features that no one is asking for. That's classic "what were they thinking" stuff.

I'm not wearing my management hat at the moment. I'm a gamer like everyone else here and I'm wearing my customer hat. And although I can sure put up with a lot of abuse (I have to, I'm a gamer lol), there is a limit. Judging by other comments in this thread, I'm obviously not alone feeling as I do.

I see. From a PR perspective, I agree with you.  

This might be a case where it's too transparent. By mentioning their time off, they probably hoped to have the community appreciate it as a reminder that they're still human and need the break. At the same time, it might also serve to foster additional trust in that they're showing just how much they're willing to tell us about what's going on.

In this case, it can and probably did give the impression that their endeavours to fix the issues is taking a break too.

For me, I kind of give them the benefit of the doubt. They've certainly earned my trust.

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May 30, 2009 12:17:51 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Where is this mention of time off I keep hearing about?

The only time off people have had has been one weekend and Memorial day.  

Tracking my own hours, I have worked 78 hours in the first week after Demigod (which included Easter Sunday), 83 hours, 77 hours, 108 hours, and 71 hours.

I would be sincerely interested how anyone could possibly think that people have been relaxing.

It should also be pointed out that these hours are being spent by people at the publisher.  As others have pointed out, as the publisher, the normal course of action would be to take problem reports and submit them back to the developers in question (whether that be GPG, Raknet, Fmod, whatever) and wait for an update.

I don't think some people here realize how offensive it is that because we took the lead in resolving problems quickly that somehow everything becomes retroactively our code.  

I guess the question some of you should ask yourselves is, do you know of other publishers who would have done what Stardock has done and if so, can you name them specifically so that we can learn from them.

I can assure you that no one from Stardock or GPG (I can't speak for other developers involved on the project since I don't work directly with them) has had any "vacation".  

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May 30, 2009 12:20:57 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Meph777,
I mailed Stardock today and i hoped they give me my Money back without intruducing my Lawyer.

 

Idle threats like this always crack me up.  Thanks for the morning laugh.

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May 30, 2009 1:17:26 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
Where is this mention of time off I keep hearing about?

This wasn't about "time off", it was about a post telling us that the team was taking the Memorial Day weekend off while the house was on fire. Nobody denies that developers need time off, you can't and shouldn't work them to death. Tracking your own hours isn't the point, it's obvious you've been working very hard and I'm sorry if you think this message was about my wanting an accounting of your hours, it sure wasn't.

Look, I've already alienated myself from you and your team beyond the point of redemption, which I regret because you and I have had some great discussions over the many years that we've known each other and posted, going back to the usenet strategic.games forums. I've been watching and admiring your progress over the years and enjoying your games (all of us in my family bought and played GalCiv, Sins, and now Demigod). But you know I've never shied away from saying what was on my mind, and in my opinion this has been a PR disaster for you and your company.

This game represents the high point in epitomizing the frustration of PC gaming and is one of the reasons my family and I have moved mostly over to console gaming. But the reason that this game is so frustrating for us (and I know for you) is because it is so damned good. No, it's great, it could have been one of the classics, a genre-creating classic. Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, your launch tanked and from *my* perspective (which is all I can see), it's getting worse with no sign of it getting any better. Night after night we tried to get games going and found it impossible and just too painful to bear. With any other game we would have just shrugged it off and walked away from another wannabee game. But this isn't just any other game, and so the hopes continued.

In the midst of this frustration, I've watched as a succession of messages came out routinely overstating the benefits of your discoveries and generating new waves of frustration as problems continued. It became painfully obvious over a period of time that we could not rely on your estimations of the fixes. No one doubts your good faith, but I can't help being left with the feeling that you guys don't know what the problem is or how to solve it. And it is precisely because of how much I *want* this game to work that I lost it and posted out of the palpable frustration (of a different sort than yours, to be sure, but every bit as real) of a user denied the benefits of the product he purchased (3 copies, btw).

Quoting Frogboy,
I don't think some people here realize how offensive it is that because we took the lead in resolving problems quickly that somehow everything becomes retroactively our code.  
Brad, you know better than that. I've been a successful software developer/publisher too and I know the rules of engagement just like you do. When you put your name on the box, you own everything about that box. Call it unfair or "offensive" but it was you who made the decision to use outsourced code for the most fundamental internal subsystem of your game (your p2p networking modules), and then put your name on the box. It's not "offensive", it's business and everyone plays by those rules. When GM recalls a car because of a faulty module, no one hears about the parts manufacturer and you don't hear the CEO of GM posting how "offensive" it is that he is blamed for taking the lead in recalling the cars.

Look, I really regret starting this thread and I'm happpy to let it die now. But I'm not going to sugar coat a stinker when I see it. I like you guys, I like your products and I love this game. I sure as hell hope that it gets fixed someday and when it does I'll be back and playing it. For now, we are all playing Sacred II on the XBox and checking in with Demigod from time to time to see if things improve. Good luck, and hope we can meet again under better circumstances. I've posted a couple of other (much more positive) messages to you elsewhere on the forums, it's a shame this was the only one that got us talking again.

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May 30, 2009 1:17:41 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting KenoLFD,

Idle threats like this always crack me up.  Thanks for the morning laugh.

Buut-b--but... But he is probably going to go to law school some day.

That makes him correct.

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May 30, 2009 3:52:10 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

i can't think off any other publisher that  does as much work on the game as SD most just  check it near release and send it out 

SD i think they each had 3 days off to relax  and not work  then to come back and have more work to do more on the game

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May 30, 2009 4:58:08 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

 

I want to thank RegnorVex and Frogboy for there dedication to this game as a player and as a producer.   Yes, most of the people on here are whiney little brats who want a perfect game no problems on anyone’s end and a free "happy ending" thrown in for good measure.  And I know the feeling of working so damn hard only to hear complaint after complaint.  It's heartbreaking, soul sucking and depressing all rolled up in a cluster fuck of bad emotions. But regardless of how much you have or will work on this, the point being: it's not working properly. And even if you work 27 hours a day, 9 days a week for 12 years it won't matter if this game never becomes what so many people know and hope it can be.  The public is a fickle immature selfish demanding child with a good memory of when things go bad. 


I wish you luck in the months ahead and hope this all works out.....for everyone.

 

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May 30, 2009 5:20:36 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Brad, you know better than that. I've been a successful software developer/publisher too and I know the rules of engagement just like you do. When you put your name on the box, you own everything about that box. Call it unfair or "offensive" but it was you who made the decision to use outsourced code for the most fundamental internal subsystem of your game (your p2p networking modules), and then put your name on the box. It's not "offensive", it's business and everyone plays by those rules. When GM recalls a car because of a faulty module, no one hears about the parts manufacturer and you don't hear the CEO of GM posting how "offensive" it is that he is blamed for taking the lead in recalling the cars.

You misunderstand.  

 

I obviously agree with the premise that because our company's name is on the box no one cares who did what.

 

I mention that explicitly in this video:

http://forums.demigodthegame.com/353895

 

That said, there is a lot of misunderstanding about who did what.  People think of networking as a monolithic thing.  In reality, there are many many pieces. Certainly, the #1 problem Demigod had at launch was that the third party NAT fasciliator that Stardock chose to use was not able to scale. 

Our response was not to wait for that fascilator to get "fixed" but to assign our own team to develop a new system ourselves.

In addition, when GM has to recall a car because there are catastrophic problems with one of the parts that was supplied by a third party, GM doesn't suddenly re-engineer a new part from scratch and replace what has been made. Instead, GM would send the part back to the supplier and have them fix it even if it took months.

What you and some others don't recognize is the difference between a privately held company and a publicly held company.  We threw our guys at this problem out of principle - not because it was the most profitable course to take.

The most profitable course of action would have been to have moderators hide posts and have the game patched 8 weeks later.  That is the normal way of doing business in our industry.  Stardock, being privately held, can take actions based on principle versus profitablity. It mattered to us that Demigod's launch problems be fixed quickly and that users have access to the people who are working on it.

My problem with your posts Reg is that you are playing politics with a matter of principle. You make a post that clearly implies you can't play the game despite having played online more than I've gotten to.  You choose to ignore the ridiculous amount of hours we've put in and focused on the fact that yes, people got Memorial day off -- that's because connectivity works well for the vast majority of users and the team had been basically living at the office fixing problems that they had nothing to do with in the first place.

 

You refer to how "people" don't know who did what but that you, being savvy, do.  Well then, why can't you make that distinction and let "the people" decide for themselves?

 

And finally, let's talk about what's fair and unfair for a second.  We don't have to hang out on these forums. We don't have to be communicating with users.  Demigod is one of literally dozens of projects going on at Stardock. We're here out of principle. Demigod's success or failure is not going have a significant impact on Stardock's bottom line.  We're here because we care about the game, the community, and you.

 

If the forums ever became a bastion of nastiness, we'd probably just get rid of them.  After all, there's a huge demand for Elemental and people who remotely know anything about Stardock do indeed make the distinction between games Stardock publishes versus games Stardock devleops (And thus has total control of).

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May 30, 2009 5:28:25 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

man frog that was a long post

but i have to agree  most people dont know the difference  and i respect that you are  keeping the forum and putting alot off time into the game too even if u dont have too

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May 30, 2009 7:50:20 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Frogboy,


And finally, let's talk about what's fair and unfair for a second.  We don't have to hang out on these forums. We don't have to be communicating with users.  Demigod is one of literally dozens of projects going on at Stardock. We're here out of principle. Demigod's success or failure is not going have a significant impact on Stardock's bottom line.  We're here because we care about the game, the community, and you.

I have worked those hours and I understand the pain behind them but I can not understand a comment like this.

How can this NOT IMPACT THE BOTTOM LINE?  It directly effects the bottom line, you are not doing this for free.  Yes, you're private, but you're not a non-profit company.  You might not need to answer to shareholders, but you do need to maintain a reputation of solid and respectable products to continue selling games with your name on them and pay your employees and reinvest into the company for future projects.  Fixing this game is profitable, it keeps respect on the name brand.  You may not develop it and have direct control over it, but you do have profit from its success or failure.

With that said, there is progress in connecting, there just isn't enough progress with in-game aspects, which is NOT your department so I do not place blame on your end.  I know GPG is working hard, lets hope we see some progress from them beyond the nosound fix.

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May 30, 2009 8:03:44 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

It's a fine line isn't it? It's as if the moment you start drawing a profit from any service, the line between good will and intention for profit becomes a blur.

Frogboy is right about how they've already gone beyond what many other publishers will care to do for their users. While I think the intention for profit has to be there (it's still a business, not a charity; they have families to feed just like everyone else), I think many would agree that Stardock has actively provided more than what their customers have compensated them for in terms of post sales support.

What we can do now is to retun that good will and show our support by being patient.

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May 30, 2009 8:25:16 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I agree with that sentiment but if you are one of X amount of players hampered by connectivity issues/bugs the motivation for good will declines dramatically.  As has been mentioned previously, players who are frustrated they can't play the game in its designed format (multiplayer) will be angry (some moreso then others). 

 

This is inevitable. 

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May 30, 2009 9:07:31 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting BigAbboTT,

Quoting KenoLFD, reply 8
Idle threats like this always crack me up.  Thanks for the morning laugh.
Buut-b--but... But he is probably going to go to law school some day.

That makes him correct.

I wasn't the one making the original threat

Only making the point that it could be done

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May 30, 2009 9:26:10 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting CKorth,



How can this NOT IMPACT THE BOTTOM LINE?  It directly effects the bottom line, you are not doing this for free.  Yes, you're private, but you're not a non-profit company.

i believe frog is thinking of the future  if SD makes a great impresion on the community showing that they are dedicated to making there game work then more people willl come back to SD in the future to get games

they arn't thinking off makeing a quick buck as it is said there thinging about keeping the people who buy and play the game happy  so there more likely to comeback

which is proberly the smarter of the 2 routes they could have taken

1 being  leaving it all to gpg and raknet leaving them to do all the work  then get the patch to fix it at a later date  and keep the forum clear off all the bad things

2 being work on it with raknet and gpg too make the game  better quicker  while raising there reputation as a good game publishing group for the people

there profit from this might go lower  then from  if they did nothing in the here and now but all the people who think they did a great job and comeback again and again in the future will make up more then enough for it

 

 

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May 30, 2009 11:56:57 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

How can this NOT IMPACT THE BOTTOM LINE?  It directly effects the bottom line, you are not doing this for free.  Yes, you're private, but you're not a non-profit company.  You might not need to answer to shareholders, but you do need to maintain a reputation of solid and respectable products to continue selling games with your name on them and pay your employees and reinvest into the company for future projects.  Fixing this game is profitable, it keeps respect on the name brand.  You may not develop it and have direct control over it, but you do have profit from its success or failure.

Tell that to EA or THQ. 

I'm still waiting for a patch for Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance.  

What FB seems to be saying is, look around you. Stardock is behaving as we WISH the games industry worked. But Ubi Soft, EA, THQ and the other "big guys" have never paid any real price for walking away from games.

 

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May 30, 2009 11:58:13 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I wasn't the one making the original threat


Only making the point that it could be done

Oh please. I'm not a lawyer but I know enough about the law that you have to show damage. Given that they provide refunds and that it's $40 it's a ridiculous, petty argument.

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May 31, 2009 12:03:38 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

1 being  leaving it all to gpg and raknet leaving them to do all the work  then get the patch to fix it at a later date  and keep the forum clear off all the bad things

2 being work on it with raknet and gpg too make the game  better quicker  while raising there reputation as a good game publishing group for the people

there profit from this might go lower  then from  if they did nothing in the here and now but all the people who think they did a great job and comeback again and again in the future will make up more then enough for it

Hear hear. 

What people don't see or maybe choose not to see is the ugly truth. Stardock could have walked away. It's not THEIR game. It's Gas Powered Games' game.  If Stardock hadn't intervened on the forums, it would have been Gas Powered Games that got creamed. They're a lot more famous than Stardock is and given the state of GPG's last games namely Space Siege and SupCom: FA I think most people would have just attacked GPG and ignored Stardock.

It wouldn't have been fair to Gas Powered Games but we're not talking about what's fair.

Instead, Stardock took people off their other projects and put them on this to fix things. I know I'm not the only person eagerly waiting for Elemental who doesn't have problems playing Demigod MP that's a little pissed off knowing that Elemental is being pushed off so that a bunch of whiney, ungrateful users who expect the game publisher to hop up and work around their shitty routers or ISPs and don't know the difference between an FPS and an RTS.

In another thread, Stardock got compared to Flagship Studios with Hellgate London even though it was Namco, not Flaghship that published Hellgate.  Nobody remembers the publisher. They remember the big name developer.

GPG should be thanking their lucky stars that they got Stardock as their publisher. It's not like GPG has been on here to defend the in game problems people have and it sure as hell ain't Stardock's problem.

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May 31, 2009 12:47:53 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

knowing that Elemental is being pushed off so that a bunch of whiney, ungrateful users who expect the game publisher to hop up and work around their shitty routers or ISPs and don't know the difference between an FPS and an RTS.

 

No, just no.  This is so far off base and inaccurate in completely invalidates anything you had to say in the rest of your post.

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May 31, 2009 1:01:50 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Demigod had at launch was that the third party NAT fasciliator that Stardock chose to use was not able to scale. 

You guys chose soemthing that didn't work. Sometimes a bit better planning saves a lot of labor in the end.  Just becuase you work 100+ hour weeks doesn't mean that everything is going to be ok and everyone is going to be cool with you.  

Now you're getting stuck with a game that can't matchmake, doesn't work for a good portion of people, and can't be played reliably beyond 2v2 almost 2 months after the release. 

Personally, I think this lack of planning and stragety raises large questions about the ability to build, distribute, or service strategy games.

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May 31, 2009 1:05:14 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

All I have to say is fix your game or refund all purchases. Connectivity is not good. Rarely do you get a smooth 4v4 and noone even tries to play 5v5 games. I am really annoyed by the modern mmo and rpg games that have a massive budget easily accessible but there is no real gameplay or fun factor. But now here is a game like demigod. Amazing game, very fun anyone can play log in and bam you have action, but noone can really play it. Whats worse haha.

 

I hope they do fix it because I know a lot of people that would buy the game if they fixed the problems and also if they lowered the price to 20-25 dollars.

 

AKA Fix the game please!

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