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Bethesda Criticized Over Buggy Releases 397

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-don't-kill-off-patrick-stewart-at-the-beginning dept.
SSDNINJA writes "This editorial discusses the habit of Bethesda Softworks to release broken and buggy games with plans to just fix the problems later. Following a trend of similar issues coming up in their games, the author begs gamers to stop supporting buggy games and to spread the idea that games should be finished and quality controlled before release – not weeks after."
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Bethesda Criticized Over Buggy Releases

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  • Black Ops (Score:2, Informative)

    by devbox (1919724)
    It's not only Bethesda, the today-released Black Ops game is unplayable on multiplayer. Huge lag for every player and there's no point playing it until patch.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Don't buy games before 1 or 2 patches have been released. Buying shortly after release means, you're asking for it.

      • Re:Black Ops (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @09:28AM (#34172582)

        The problem therein is that all the publishers really give a crap about is first-month sales. Chances are, if everyone is waiting for the game to be patched, then the patch will never see the light of day because they will assume the game failed and that's the end of it.

        There was a time that the main rallying cry of the console gamers who didn't want to play on PC was "it just works" when they put the disc into the console. But now, with the advent of online-enabled consoles, so much for that. Xbox and PS3 gamers are forced to sit through the old "ship now, patch later" setup, and woe to someone who has an offline console and simply has to suffer through the bugs - since none of the companies are interested in putting their fucking game patches in a USB-storage compatible file for offline updating.

        I'd say that the Wii doesn't have so much of this, but then there was the game-breaking Metroid: Other M bug, as well as the 5-6 other bugged doors that wouldn't "break" the game but would prevent 100% completion. And of course, most of the 3rd-parties writing for the Wii these days aren't doing quality control since they're simply shovelware houses putting out crappy knockoffs.

        • by Moryath (553296)

          Before I forget... the other culprit in this is the major gaming stores.

          "Release day" parties (Call of Doody last night dumping another buggy load of shit on gamers to be "patched" in a month and then again a month after that, oh joy). "Preorder incentives", like the various MMO's that give you a vanity item, or the pseudo-MMO-FPS titles where they give you an "upgraded gun", or the various preorder packs for Fallout: New Vegas that were based on which store you preordered from (Amazon, Worst Buy, Gamestop

        • Re:Black Ops (Score:4, Insightful)

          by The Moof (859402) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @01:21PM (#34175570)

          There was a time that the main rallying cry of the console gamers who didn't want to play on PC was "it just works" when they put the disc into the console.

          It's funny how the roles have reversed. I chat with my friends who purchased Fallout: New Vegas for their consoles, and we trade stories about bugs. The "release now, patch later" mentality has resulted in bugs getting fixed quicker for the PC since there's no certification process. Combine that with the bugs can be fixed via entering console commands on the PC, and the PC version of the game ends up being more playable than the console counterparts.

      • by Elbereth (58257)

        But, if everyone does that, nobody will buy the game, and the patch will never come out. That only works if a certain number of consumers are suckers, and we sacrifice them, so that the rest of us can have a game that works.

        Instead of preordering games, gamers should invest in game companies, such as Bioware or Bethesda. That will give them cash to hire better skilled programmers (and more of them, too). Hopefully. Of course, it could end up just going into the pockets of upper management, but that's th

  • Obsidian (Score:2, Informative)

    by Eudial (590661)

    It's funny because Obsidian is the developer of New Vegas, and not Bethesda (who are the publishers).

    • Re:Obsidian (Score:5, Insightful)

      by devbox (1919724) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @07:57AM (#34172010)
      And what does that have to do with anything? It's usually the publisher that releases the game, and often also tries to hurry up the developer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Legion303 (97901)

      It's funny because Obsidian is the developer of New Vegas

      ,,,using Bethesda's engine. Nice try, though.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        So by that logic, the bugs in any of the dozens of games that use the Unreal engine are Epic's fault? Obsidian is the developer, they took the contract for the game and agreed to timeline, it's their responsibility to get the game out.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by am 2k (217885)

          It's the publisher's task to check the game for bugs before releasing it, though.

        • Re:Obsidian (Score:4, Insightful)

          by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@gma ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @11:01AM (#34173808) Homepage
          So by that logic, the bugs in any of the dozens of games that use the Unreal engine are Epic's fault? Obsidian is the developer, they took the contract for the game and agreed to timeline, it's their responsibility to get the game out.

          If the bugs are in the engine itself as designed by Epic, discovered years ago, and still never corrected, as was the case for the Fallout engine? Yes, it would be their fault. How can you argue otherwise?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pojut (1027544)

        So how do you explain New Vegas being FAR more buggy than Fallout 3? In theory, New Vegas should be LESS buggy, since the Gamebryo engine [wikipedia.org] has been given time to be perfected.

        • by Moryath (553296)

          Answer: Obsidian tried to do a hell of a lot more inside the engine than Bethesda ever dreamed.

          The landscape's more ambitious than the engine seems to be able to handle. Result? Constant clipping errors. Nothing is quite as annoying as having to go off to get a sandwich because my traveling companion has decided that a local radscorpion... who is stuck inside of a big rock thanks to a clipping error... must die and my companion isn't going to move until some lucky shot manages to clip the one tiny pixel tha

        • by malakai (136531)

          I didn't find many ( any? ) bugs with the game engine in New Vegas. Where I found tons of bugs was in the "user code" ( or plot/quest scripting code ). Yeah sure there were places where path-finding would freak out, but the real bugs was when you couldn't complete a quest or couldn't talk to someone because the game scripted events had painted you into a corner or just failed to register that you had completed some leg of the quest.

          I never had a graphics bug, and the three times the game crashed on me each

    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      But... This isn't the first bethesda game has been released that was very buggy.

      Ever play ANY of the Elder Scrolls games?

  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @07:48AM (#34171944) Journal

    While the article summary doesn't mention Fallout: New Vegas, it's clear from both the context and TFA itself that this is really a New Vegas issue.

    I stuck some of my early (and mostly positive) thoughts on New Vegas's PC version in my journal a few days ago. Being in Europe, I only got the game after the first PC patch had been released, so I never got to see the PC version at its worst. Having now finished a 35 hour playthrough of the game, I can offer a slightly more comprehensive run-down of the bugs I did hit. Obviously, this is just my experience; your mileage may vary depending on your hardware and luck-stat.

    The most common of the bugs is the Nvidia slowdown issue. This is annoying, particularly because my PC is massively ahead of the recommended specs, and because it often seems to occur at random, rather than just at "busy" times (though a few particular busy scenes will consistently cause slowdown). However, it's not going to stop you from completing the game and only had a minor impact on my enjoyment.

    I had a few crashes to desktop - maybe a dozen over the course of the 35 hour playthrough. These almost always seem to happen in specific areas. The killer area for me was the "outer" section of Freeside, particularly near the door to the Old Mormon Fort. At least half of my crashes happened while walking towards the Fort. After a while, I just got used to tapping quicksave before walking through that area. It was an irritation, but not a massive one.

    Quest bugs are potentially extremely serious. There are plenty of reports of quests being rendered uncompletable. In some cases, this can apply to main-plot quests, which is potentially game-breaking. I had three quests glitch on me over the course of the game. In two cases, it was a case of an NPC getting stuck in the middle of a scripted sequence and loading a quicksave fixed the problem without losing me more than 60 seconds or so of progress. The third case was more serious; several NPCs involved in a major sidequest refused to acknowledge my existence. This one cost me 45 minutes, as I had to go back to a proper save from before I started the quest (plus factor in additional time for trying to fix things before reverting to an old save).

    I had a fourth quest incident that may have been a bug or may have been sloppy script work. I pushed a quest towards a very specific resolution, but when I handed it in, the quest-giver seemed to be assuming that I'd engineered a slightly different set of outcomes. As I say, this might not be a bug, it might just be a (rare) incidence of bad writing.

    Beyond that, I didn't hit any of the other big bugs that have been reported. My followers worked as advertised (and are much improved from those in Fallout 3) and, most importantly, I had no problems with loading savegames. I think that the initial PC patch fixed those issues. There were a few small problems; monsters that sunk half way into the ground and stuff, but I don't tend to sweat that too much so long as it's only rare occurences.

    In short, the bugs are an irritation, but the game is very, very good. If even small bugs irritate you, then the game is probably best avoided for now. Otherwise, I would say that the PC version is playable enough right now to be worth your money and time. One of the advantages of the PC as a platform is that patches can be pushed much faster; if I was still waiting for the PS3 or 360 version patch, I'd probably be rather irritated by now.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @07:56AM (#34172000)

      And so the game publishers have convinced you that bugs are not an issue. I hate to break it to you, but there are bugs reported on almost every quest (checkout the quests on fallout.wikia.com and see). Performance issues with a major video card manufacturer are also not a minor issue. The worst is that every Bethesda game (Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3) has had issues like this which shouldn't have made it past quality control. This isn't a one time thing. I've played all of these games, they are great games, but I will not buy Bethedsa games anymore until they release the Gamne of the Year edition which has the final patch (and usually a community patch to fix what Bethesda hasn't)

      • by ultranova (717540) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @11:01AM (#34173810)

        The worst is that every Bethesda game (Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3) has had issues like this which shouldn't have made it past quality control.

        To be fair, these are all massive sandbox games, which is likely the gametype most prone to bugs due to the possibility of sequence breaking and the sheer number of scripts you need to write. Add to this a complex, massive 3D world and the requirements of realtime, and it should come as no surprise that the end result is very fragile.

        Bethesda's problem is having too much ambition and thus always biting more than they can chew. Which, I suppose, is preferable to the sad lack of ambition a typical game shows...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by wildstoo (835450)

      Check the Bethsoft forums for a fix for the slowdown issue [bethsoft.com]. It involves dumping a DirectX9 dll in your game directory.

      I was skeptical about the fix, and about running a random dll from the internet, but it really works.

      In busy areas I went from 30fps in Medium settings to 60fps in Ultra settings.

      The only side-effect I found was in alt-tabbing out of the game, the audio no longer continues playing, but rather it loops as if the game has stalled. I have no idea what happens if you alt-tab out for an extended

    • by ledow (319597) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:29AM (#34172180) Homepage

      Personally, I think you're exactly the kind of person that lets them get away with that crap. Hell, you've put me off the game for life in a few short paragraphs. I've played PC games for decades - I've seen my share of weird bugs and had to manually debug / patch quite a few myself. I also program myself so I know the avenues that things can take and know it's not really possible to have a "bug-free" game. But what you describe is *disgusting* for a retail product. I can't remember the last time I had any of the 200+ games on my Steam account crash - possibly a weird issue with Zombie Driver not likely a "fake" joystick driver I installed that I had to debug with the programmers because they hadn't seen it before.

      How you can then sum it up into a "mostly positive" review, I have no idea. To me, it reads:

      - The game has issues with the majority manufacturer of PC gaming graphics cards. This causes even way over-specced machines to run the game noticeably slow to the user.
      - The game crashes - a lot. Over 12 crashes in 35 hours is a crash every 2-3 hours. I don't accept that from buggy shell script glue, let alone a professional game. That stops any potential purchase for me dead in the water. Hell, I get annoyed if a game crashes 12 times in its LIFE on my machine that I can't attribute to something I did wrong (I can't name a single time that Half-life (any version) or the Doom series or the Quake series or the Unreal series has ever crashed on me and they all pushed the boundaries at the time - I can name some isolated incidents of crashes in L4D2 (when I run out of swap space and kept-Alt-Tabbing to try to fix it before something went wrong) and GTA3 (when it crashed twice on me and nearly got uninstalled for doing so).
      - The game has obvious, easily worked around bugs in poorly scripted cut sequences that render the game unplayable unless you happen to have an earlier save. It takes a second to write check-scripts for uncompletable quests and "somehow" fix them (by respawing the items in question, or just letting the user continue). You experienced three quests which glitched to the point the game was unplayable in the single run through of the game. God knows how many a testing team should have caught on random hardware.
      - You had display issues with sinking monsters that could easily make it possible for you to be attacked by invisible beings that the game is drawing in the wrong place.
      - There are other reports besides yours that almost every aspect of the game has bugs - from display to AI to sound to loading games to just plain crashing at random.

      And that's AFTER it's received a post-release patch! That's so bad that if I worked at the company, I'd be cringing and disassociating myself from it. When Frontier:Elite II was released, it had a reputation for being a very buggy game and that was nothing in comparison to what you describe.

      "In short, the bugs are an irritation, but the game is very, very good."

      The *gameplay* may be good, when it's not crashing, making you reload or just displaying everything in the wrong place. The game, however, sounds like shit. And those sorts of bugs are NOT an irritation - if I have to restart a program more than twice, I stop trusting it and start doing things like checking my hardware. I don't tolerate it from the operating system, I don't tolerate it for my firewall, or my office suite, why should I tolerate it from the one thing that I pick up and expect to work without me having to debug the damn machine? A crash a day is too much, for any single program. Hell, I get concerned about my machine if I get a crash each month and I run an XP image that's been following me around for the last 5 years without reinstallation on three different sets of hardware.

      Stop buying and tolerating this buggy crap. If a game crashes, that means that it nearly wrote over memory it shouldn't have and could corrupt your data, your operating system, even your hardware. You were "saved" by things like DEP and similar but that doesn't mean it's acceptable.

      • by allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @09:33AM (#34172644)

        I have to agree with both parents. ledow is right in thinking that a finished product should not contain this many bugs, but being a fan of Bethesda games myself, I understand the point that RogeyWon is trying to make. Morrowind, Oblivion and Fallout are very good, and especially, huge games. After all the patches, Oblivion and Fallout 3 still crash randomly on me about every 3 hours on average, but I find the games so enjoyable, that I have learned to live with and forgive this nuisance, using the quicksave feature judiciously. While this may seem outrageous to some, I think it is unfair to compare an Oblivion/Fallout type game to Doom, Quake or Half-Life.

        A Bethesda game is much more complex and much bigger than a first-person shooter such as Doom or Half-Life. A shooter has the core game mechanic of running around and shooting, with a few scripted sequences scattered about. In an Oblivion/Fallout type game you have shooting, close combat, inventory management, movable objects in the world, an RPG system, NPCs with scripts and dialog, a persistent world, followers, quest lines, complex world interactions and scripts controlling everything from the behavior of items and locations to quests and NPCs. And not only are Bethesda-RPGs much more complicated than an average shooter (or any other game), they are huge as well. I am sure that I have invested at least 150 hours playing Oblivion, and I still have not seen or completed some of the mayor side quests that are available (such as Arena and Fighters Guild).

        So yes, buggy games are a nuisance. But I am willing to be more lenient towards Bethesdas RPGs because I know that they are much more complex than your average game and that I am getting a game package that will keep me occupied for years.

      • by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @09:47AM (#34172778)

        Totally agreed. Try applying those low standards to any other product.

        • Would you accept a television that switched itself off 12 times in 35 hours?
        • Would you accept a CD player that switched itself off 12 times in 35 hours?
        • Would you accept a car that has an engine that cuts out 12 times in 35 hours?
        • Would you accept a light fitting that switched the light off 12 times in 35 hours?

        Any other product category, you'd consider the product to be broken and return it.

        • by ledow (319597)

          Worse than that - how about a lightbulb that, when it blows every 2-3 hours, takes out the house fuses with it? The damage a crashing program can do to a PC (especially if running code on the GPU and / or running as admin) can be quite devastating. Even "deleting all your personal files" or "causing filesystem damage through a hard crash" can be done by a low-permission program that's badly programmed.

      • by RichiH (749257)

        > Hell, I get concerned about my machine if I get a crash each month.

        I get a hang-up every three to six months and it's annoying me to no end. Debian Sid turned stable turned Sid that followed me for years.

        So yah, GP seems to be a tad delusional/masochistic in his review.

      • Well, I consider it more of a question of being able to think in more than one dimension. It's not like the bugs are the only things to consider about a game.

        Yes, the game is buggy.

        On the other hand, even with the crashes and slowdowns, it's _still_ more fun to play than <insert brainless shooter du jour> or <insert brainless RTS where you just need to click X times on 'build zerg' and rush> (presumably named that way because there is no actual strategy involved, and the troops can't even follow

      • by khchung (462899)

        - The game has issues with the majority manufacturer of PC gaming graphics cards. This causes even way over-specced machines to run the game noticeably slow to the user.
        - The game crashes - a lot. Over 12 crashes in 35 hours is a crash every 2-3 hours.

        It is bad enough for this to happen on the PC, where you numerous combination of hardware/drivers/Windows version/etc. Worse is this happened on the PS3 as well (for me on Fallout 3, not New Vegas), where you can probably count all the hardware version on one hand, and practically everyone has to upgrade to the latest OS version if they play any online games at all.

        FO3 is the game that locked up the most in the ~15 boxed games, the 2nd is Battlefield-BC2 (but to be fair, I already played ~200-300 hours in

      • by mattbee (17533)

        Bloody hell, I totally agree. That sounds like a car crash, and I'll avoid it for a few more months - it sounds not at all fun. I played Fallout 3 about 12 months after release, and it maybe crashed to desktop twice. I was a twitchy quick-saver, so it didn't knock my enthusiasm for it. But quest bugs, "reload from a much earlier save, and don't do X?" That's a deal breaker.

      • by DrXym (126579)
        When Frontier:Elite II was released, it had a reputation for being a very buggy game and that was nothing in comparison to what you describe.

        Oh I don't know about that. Fronter: Elite II was virtually unplayable on the Amiga. As in, it would quite happily crash almost as soon as the game started, and if not then, soon after.

    • In short, the bugs are an irritation, but the game is very, very good.

      A dozen crashes in 35 hours and you call that an irritation? I'd call it really effing annoying. I loved Morrowind, I loved Fallout 3, I loved Oblivion.. but they are all really, really damn buggy. I mean, there's bugs all over the damn place, ranging from simple glitches to complete crashers, and I've even had corrupted savegames in all 3 games after such a crash and had to start all over again. I've come to associate Bethesda with great

    • he most common of the bugs is the Nvidia slowdown issue. This is annoying, particularly because my PC is massively ahead of the recommended specs, and because it often seems to occur at random, rather than just at "busy" times (though a few particular busy scenes will consistently cause slowdown). However, it's not going to stop you from completing the game and only had a minor impact on my enjoyment.

      Except if you look at the complaints, ATI cards are hit too and hit worse. In fact the unofficial dx9 patch

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        That's how I felt about hex editing Myth [wikipedia.org] back in the day

        • by Moraelin (679338)

          Heh. Well, modding Fallout 3 at first WAS about hex editing. Bethesda only released the GECK (modding kit) after what seemed like half an eternity, so, yeah, even applying a different texture on a rifle involved a hex editor. Granted, it got better after NifSkope was changed to deal with the Fallout 3 meshes, because then you could set the textures there and do a much simpler hex-hack to get around the first-person textures.

          Ahh, those were the days ;)

  • by mcvos (645701) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @07:50AM (#34171966)

    I thought most major game developers nowadays released beta versions, only to patch it after release (if you're lucky).

    • by AdmiralXyz (1378985) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @09:03AM (#34172410)
      "Nowadays"? Penny Arcade was mocking this back in 1998 [penny-arcade.com]. Hell, anyone remember Pac-Man for the Atari 2600? Game developers have been putting out buggy releases since time immaterial, I'm a little surprised that everyone angry at Bethesda thinks this is some emergent phenomenon.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        While bugs have been around as long as software. Bethesda gets the ire because they bring it to new levels of crap. I mean 4 of their latest (and largest) releases have been essentially unplayable at launch.

        Oblivion after a dozen patches and years still has hundreds (not an exaggeration) in the latest version.

        So all software has bugs however you have some companies like Blizzard which at least make a token effort to release quality software and on the other extreme you have Bethesda who must have a sign h

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gman003 (1693318)
      Bethesda is exceptionally bad about it. See Oblivion, where the user-made patch to fix things has a changelist several dozen pages long, and that's just what can be fixed with the public SDK. There's an entire wiki full of workarounds for the other bugs. Some of the bugs are minor - subtitles not matching the dialog, objects out of place - but some are game-breaking - there's dozens of ways to make the game "unwinnable" - and some are just program-breaking - there's a long-standing bug that makes interior c
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Kalroth (696782)

      When game developers can see that people are willing to pay for beta access to games, what is their incentive to ship a polished game? Most consoles have online connectivity as well, so patching up later is usually not a problem either. I don't see this changing anytime soon, with quarterly budgets being more important than quality.

      As for Fallout: New Vegas; the bugs were totally expected from anyone that played Fallout 3, which was also full of bugs. And it is not just gameplay bugs, the entire engine is e

  • Specifically, Daggerfall had a bunch of notorious bugs, including instadeaths for no obvious reason, and "falling into the void", where there was a hole in the walls that would drop your character into the spaces between the walls with no way out.

  • Tip: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:05AM (#34172048) Homepage

    Never, ever buy a game without the chance to test it first. I've lost count of the number of game demos that I've installed only for them to not work, be incredibly slow, to have fatal bugs, to be so dull as to be unplayable, or just be annoying/crap in their execution. I don't go on to buy the games and save myself a lot of money.

    Download demos first. Play your friend's copy. Don't be the guinea pig, because in a few weeks everyone will KNOW if there are problems with the game anyway. It's really not that important or practical to have the game for the first week - the servers will be overloaded, the software will need to be patched, and other gamers won't get an "advantage" over you in the space of a week or two. Plus, the price will come down and you'll be able to get second-hand copies (if the activation system even allow you to do that).

    Stop pre-ordering. Stop buying games that you can't try out first. Stop buying games from companies that screw you over. Stop listening to the hype and paid reviewers. Start being an intelligent consumer who actually makes informed purchases. It's very simple. When something is in the "under £10" category, then it can be worth a punt even if you can't find any reviews, but a full-price game? I want a demo, or at least play on a friend's machine.

    Such techniques mean that I've avoided many of the big-name flops and saved myself an awful lot of wasted money. The last big disappointment for me was Black & White and then I learned not to waste money on things without waiting for others to find the problems. Now I buy my games a year or two after they come out - the initial period of zero games is hard (but with the current indie scene, that's made much easier, and a recession helped) but after that you get the best games, on hardware capable of getting their full value, avoiding all the known flops, fully patched, with still-active servers (if the servers empty within the first year, it's hard to call a game a big success) and you don't have to pay full-price.

    Stop pissing your money away on crap.

    • I do a mix of both. With games like Gran Turismo 5 and LittleBigPlanet 2 I know they're going to be high quality and enjoyable. Even if any bugs are found they should be patched up quickly, so I'm happy to pre-order.

      I don't bother to look at gaming magazines and websites these days, so I'm generally unaware of all the new titles coming out. I hear about the really good ones through word of mouth from friends or here on Slashdot for example. Occasionally I browse the PS Store and try out some demos. I would

      • by Pharmboy (216950)

        Metacritic is worth looking at for opinions on games, if you don't mind filtering the garbage out. At least it is a blend of all the reviews plus user comments, so it isn't that hard to filter out the 10% haters and 10% fanbouys.

    • by Cwix (1671282)

      I have to agree.. I never buy just released games. Ill take a year old game that I can get for 10 or 20 dollars over the 50 or 60 dollar new game. I enjoyed the GOTY Fallout 3 that I paid 20 for. Im sure Ill probably enjoy the Las Vegas version sometime next year. Not only does it save some cash, but by the time I purchase the game most of the bugs have been worked out. (Not all, Fallout 3 seems to have a weird freeze the PS3 bug in it.)

    • Man I hear you on B&W. I bought B&W1 near the end of its life cycle, and loved it. The final patch was released about a month after I got it. I had heard the bugs were horrible at first, but dismissed that as hyperbole. After playing B&W2 I believed every word of it. The game was for the most part only half finished. They didn't even put in an enemy AI. They just spawn waves of soldiers, and send them at you. When instead of fixing it they started trying to sell an expansion pack, I vowed never

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by omglolbah (731566)

      1. Download pirated version.
      2. Test pirated version.
      3. If good? Buy. Alternatively: if shite, delete.

      This serves me well as it makes me look at my game library with fondness and not vile hatred ;)

  • by MSojka (83577) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:09AM (#34172068)

    So, they are improving from their old practice of releasing broken and buggy games with no plans at all to fix any but the most glaring problems later?

    See the glitches list [uesp.net] for Oblivion on the UESP wiki for a start; continue to the Unofficial Oblivion Patch [tesnexus.com] where the modding community fixed over a thousand bugs left by Bethesda to rot; and that's not even including still unpatched bugs in the engine, for which you need some additional software made by modders ...

  • Bethesda fixes bugs? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Per Wigren (5315) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:22AM (#34172148) Homepage
    What is this nonsense? Bethesda fixes bugs? As far as I know, they never released a single update for neither Oblivion nor Fallout 3 for PS3 ever, only a few expensive DLCs.

    Some pretty damn serious bugs too. Oblivion: Game of the year edition is almost incompletable on the PS3 when using English unless you have the EU release. To cure vampirism, at one point you have to save your game, exit, change the OS language settings to German or French, start the game again, fumble through the buggy (now working) dialog, save again, exit, change back to English and restart the game again. If you have the US release you are out of luck. They never released a patch for this...
    • by gman003 (1693318)
      The PS3 version of Oblivion WAS the patched version. The PC/XBox ones were even worse, until they patched it.
  • Pre-ordered. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:26AM (#34172170)

    I pre-ordered New Vegas because I knew it would be an amazing game in spite of the bugs. It uses the same engine as Fallout 3 and Oblivion, and they were riddled with bugs, too. And a lot of the bugs in New Vegas existed in those 2, also. I don't blame Obsidian for those bugs.

    However, the new bugs... I totally blame Obsidian for those. I experienced a lot of bugs relating to quests and story line, and that's all on Obsidian.

    I definitely think I got my money's worth. Most $60 games aren't nearly this good, even if they have fewer bugs.

    So how can Bethesda/Obsidian prevent these bugs in the future? It seems obvious that their internal testing didn't catch them, as the bugs are just too serious. Maybe they should sell pre-release 'beta' copies and let players test it. Anyone that doesn't want a beta-quality game can wait until the proper release, and everyone that buys the beta can just deal with the bugs. And help fix them.

    One of my favorite MMOs did this like 15 years ago. Sierra's The Realm had an alpha that was free, then sold the beta client and charged monthly. When it was ready, they released the full version, and the beta testers didn't have to buy another copy, since they had already paid for one.

    A lot of people won't like that, but the don't -have- to buy the beta. They can just wait for the release.

    • Re:Pre-ordered. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:49AM (#34172316) Homepage Journal

      So how can Bethesda/Obsidian prevent these bugs in the future?

      You can help prevent it, by not buying buggy games. You are voting for bugs.

    • Re:Pre-ordered. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by anUnhandledException (1900222) <davis...gerald@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @09:51AM (#34172826)

      Why would they?

      You (and million others) just proved yet again they don't have to. Hell they don't need to EVER fix the bugs.
      You likely will buy the new fallout title prerelease and it will be bug ridden as well.

      Companies don't write good software to get karma points. They write software to get paid. If you are willing to pay for bug ridden software why should they take extra time/resources/money to produce better code.

      I mean if I told you that I would pay you $10,000 in advance to build an addition on my home and you could do a good job for $5,000 in material and 2 weeks of labor or a half ass job for $2,000 in material and 4 days in labor which would you do?

      What if I sweetened the pot by:
      a) giving up right to sue for faulty product
      b) promise to keep using your services no matter how bad it is.
      c) tell you and other people it is routine to accepts bugs in large construction. I mean there are thousands of nails, hundreds of feet of wiring, and all that lumber which needs to be cut exactly right. It is simply impossible to have a bug free wall on the first try.

      You would be a fool to take twice as long for less profit under those conditions. Those are the EXACT conditions you are giving game developers. They would be idiots to spend more time, offer beta copies, offer discounted tester copies, etc. You will pay 100% full price on launch day for bug ridden code.

      Why should they provide you anything more than what you want at the price you want it?

  • by Burnhard (1031106) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:30AM (#34172198)
    You don't know its buggy until you've bought and played it.
    • by risinganger (586395) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:37AM (#34172236)
      Which is why the author of the linked article also asked people to "Stop giving quality reviews to broken games".
      • by Burnhard (1031106)
        Oh fair enough. But then quite often it's really buggy on one configuration and perfectly fine on another. I'm talking PC games here of course.
    • by khchung (462899)

      You don't know its buggy until you've bought and played it.

      Simple, DON'T buy games when they are just released, don't pre-order games. Always wait for a month or two and check the forums, download and play the demo if available. This approach never failed me.

    • by Nimey (114278)

      Confession time: a friend pirated Fallout 3 and gave me a copy to play. I put my moral qualms aside, enjoyed the hell out of the first five hours of the game, then bought it ($50) and each individual DLC ($10 each for the five).

      It'd have been better if there'd been a demo, but many publishers don't release demos these days.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by omglolbah (731566)

      Which is why testing the pirated version first is unfortunately the only way to go these days.

      I wish there was a better way, but there isnt.

  • The entire Fallout series has been plagued by serious game breaking bugs. Even back in the days of Interplay and the first Fallout games, there was everything from constant crashes, to quest destroying glitches. To complete the mutant base in Fallout 1 took me something like 50 game loads, and probably only 5 or so of those were from actual gameplay related choices. The thing would crash if you dared to even move your character. And then there is the buggy as hell final boss encounter from Fallout 2, wh

  • When 75% of your sales come in the first week,and most of that comes from moron fanboys who pre-order and buy it on day 1, why would the company change?

    People keep buying the same buggy crap over and over again. Hell, people KNOW it's going to be buggy and go buy it anyway. Internet complaints mean exactly nothing. It's money that talks.

    This is an entirely market driven behavior. Gamers are a lot like crack addicted morons: they complain a lot, but they do it while forking money over to get their latest fix

  • by Tei (520358) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:54AM (#34172358) Journal

    Obsidian make buggy or uncomplete games, but is about the only company that write decent characters and story. The people that know anything about gaming know this, so wen you buy a obsidian game, you know you will see a lot of bugs, but also a excellent game. "Ugly, but the sex is fantastic".

    I have played New Vegas for about 45 hours, and I have loved it. It works any cents I have invested in it.

  • Internet connected devices and faster internet speeds have made developers extremely lazy. In the days of the SNES for example, if you released a game with game breaking bugs and glitches, there was no way to patch them out and fix the game. You had to release games without game breaking bugs and glitches in them no matter what...unless you wanted a major recall on your hands. Games were tested overly and thoroughly to ensure that every single problem possible was discovered and dealt with before the game s

  • The easier it is to update the game the more missing stuff there is.

  • Booking space for DVD printing is scarce, and when the game isn't ready to ship at this point, then boom, lots of bugs in the shipped product, b/c the booking slot had to be used. Happens to many game publishers.
  • by X3J11 (791922) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @09:38AM (#34172706) Journal

    And yet Bethesda never completely fixes their games. Ever.

    Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3 and now New Vegas (not to mention their old DOS TES games). They receive a handful of patches that mostly fix issues with scripts, leaving the game engine seemingly untouched. I remember being disappointed with FO3 when one of the patches was released where, according to the patch notes, all they did was add a few achievements!

    They are great story tellers, and quite adept at crafting expansive and interesting worlds that draw you in, but their programmers certainly leave much to be desired.

    I wonder how much blame can be placed upon the engine they license. I also wish that someone like Carmack offered some sort of consultation service to whip cappy code, and coders, into shape.

  • Bethesda has a long and storied history of releasing games that are very ambitious, and very unstable. The original release of Daggerfall would crash hourly.

    Now that the majority of games are for consoles, how about letting us return defective products? If a companies initial release was awful, they would lose a lot of day one sales in returns if we had that simple bit of consumer protection.

  • But resources are finite, and QA testing can be expensive. It's easy to say "OMG there are bugs in this game, there shouldn't be bugs. Let's boycott until they take the bugs out!!" but in the real world there are tradeoffs.

    Bug testing in a game like this probably has an exponential profile—twice as much QA time might only get rid of half the existing bugs (4x the time, 75% of the bugs, etc.). If they got rid of most of the bugs, perhaps the game would cost twice as much, or there would only be half

  • by Clovis42 (1229086) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:05AM (#34173028)

    I've been playing the Sims 3, which has been out for quite awhile now. There are several expansion packs for it. It is an extremely popular PC franchise with a large rabid community. Despite all that, the game is still buggy.

    My first playthrough featured a loss of two hours when I hit "Error Code 16". Basically you can't save your game. Game save bugs are amongst the worst types of bugs.

    I have a pet fireman. One of my Sims wanted to "be in a fire". So I had him start grilling some hot dogs and then sit down nearby to play some chess. Cue fire and ridiculous Sims jumping around. The Fireman shows up in a little red firepickuptruck and puts out the fire. Then he stands there. You can't interact with him. I thought he was stuck on the grill that burned, but I moved that out of the way. Even once in awhile he will stumble and look sheepish.

    One day while a Sim was watching TV I randomly clicked on the fireman. "Join: Watch TV" was there! I clicked and the fireman moved! Hooray! Problem solved. Except now he is permanently on my couch. That was worse, so I used the same technique to move him back out to the lawn. You can't talk to him, but he will join you in activities.

    Having a pet fireman is fine. There's always a chess opponent nearby. He never seems to get hungry/dirty. However, his truck is a problem. First, the garish light is always on. Luckily, no sounds. The big problem is that it blocks the street. Any time a car comes to pick someone up they park really far away.

    Anyway, you'd think they'd fix this stuff after several expansions. Actually, the Word Adventures expansion apparently created the "Error Code 16" problem, even for players who didn't buy the expansion.

  • wait a year (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hohlraum (135212)

    and you'll have two options:

    1. buy the original game new for 1/3rd the price and a years worth of patches.
    2. buy the deluxe version of the game new with all the DLC included and a years worth of patches.

    only negative to this strategy is that online play may be diminished.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ledow (319597)

      If online play diminishes after only a year, can't have been that good a game to play online in the first place.

      The original CS is over 10 years old and (unless there's a huge release of a new game) tends to sit atop the "Player minutes / month" stats on Steam most of the time, and is always in the top 10.

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