Alaloth - Read before buying!

HiddenX

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The devs of Alaloth want to clarify a few things:

Read before buying!

"It looks like a blend of early Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook art, Baldur's Gate, and Dark Souls" [PCGamesN]

Hello Champions!

We decided to open this new update with one of our fav quote ever for a reason. Autumn Sale started yesterday on Steam, and we were thinking it was a good moment to clarify a few things, as we already did talking about localization recently. It's nearly 5 months since we've released Alaloth in Early Access and we are super happy with the work done, with our amazing community, with the feed we've got day by day here and on Discord. Despite this, we had to deal with a few issues on the way, in regards of what Alaloth is and how we push it to the players. You know we've decided to adopt a very clear and straight forward approach to communication and PR. We always answer to people asking, we can easily say we can be considered one of the most active dev around and this time there is no exception. Since when we've got back our game publishing rights, we've tried to explain our vision, our approach to development, our long term plans. We've told everyone what to expect, what Alaloth is and what Alaloth is not [and will not ever be]. We've posted FAQ following AMA, we've gone through every single post here, answered almost every good and bad review and so on. Apparently, this is not enough. We thought a lot about posting an update like this, but here we are. Being a super small indie team, self publishing its game, putting personal money in, means that we have to carefully weight everything, including the way we handle PR but this doesn't mean that we follow the common habit of passively accepting criticism coming from people saying wrong things, just because "players are always right". We think this is not always true. Sometimes players happen to be not 100% right and if for big guns this means nothing, for a small studio getting bad reviews without a proper reason it's a huge problem instead, impacting sales, available resources and the team itself. Just to be clear: this doesn't mean that bad reviews are not accepted or bad feed are not correct. Everyone has the right to say whatever he/she wants about the game, destroying it the way he/she prefers but we've set just one rule internally, about this. Getting a very bad feed, insults or whatever is fine somehow, but all of this has to reflect reality and not to be just random words dropped through a keyboard. In these cases, we've always [politely] answered, trying to explain things at our best.

So, just to recap a few things, we would like to tell you once again what the game is, what you should expect from the game and how things work in Alaloth, trying to avoid wrong feed based on the fact that devs have not been clear enough [even if we've been], as any kind of disappointment in players that decide to support us. We thought to quote a few sentences from reviews, refund notes, Discord posts and board topics:

"Devs said it was inspired by Baldur's Gate but it's not Baldur's Gate"

So true. This is not Baldur's Gate. This is Alaloth and it is in between old school classics and modern action RPG. This is how we've pitched the game and this is what comes out of a ton of reviews, good and bad. Point is that bad reviews focus on the sentence above because BG has been taken as an inspiration. Yes it is. The game is inspired by Baldur's Gate as it is inspired by The Lord of The Rings, Willow, Dragonlance, Shannara, Game of Thrones, The Wheel of Time, other games like Diablo, Mount & Blade, Dragon's Dogma, Ultima Online, Pillars of Eternity etc. Books, movies, games, TTRPG. Inspiration means exactly what it means. Inspired by Baldur's Gate does not mean it is Baldur's Gate. Inspiration is not doing the same thing 1:1. So, again: Alaloth is not a CRPG and is not Baldur's Gate as it is not a book, a TTRPG or a movie. Alaloth it's a unique game inspired by these experiences. And yes it is even inspired by Baldur's Gate and Infinity Engine games. That's why we use an iso camera, for example.

[...]
Thanks Henriquejr!

More information.
 
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connus

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This went from "I'll get it when it's finished and the interface is right"

to "zero chance I'll ever buy anything from these whiny, self-conscious developers".
 
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Zloth

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@connus, so when people mislead others in their reviews, the devs should do nothing??

Now here's an interesting bit from the article:

"I wish you the best, i know you are great, the game is amazing but is not my cup of tea so i'm leaving a thumb down"

We know that a lot of people is leaving feed in good faith to help us improving the game. We could say that we are way more happy of bad reviews with constructive feed than anything else. But something like this does not really help us. A good average on Steam is crucial at this stage and if you enjoyed the game or just recognized value in it, even if it's not a thing for you, please consider helping us with a thumb up instead and check the game later on to see how much love and effort we've put in it!
(emphasis theirs)

Wow. Leave a review saying the game I didn't enjoy is recommended?? That's not going to happen.

If somebody gets a game and doesn't enjoy it, they should think about why before reviewing. If it's because they couldn't be bothered to pay attention to what the game's page said the game was, that's their own fault. Lots of other issues could be their fault, too, like having played too many games of that type before or if they knew they didn't tend to like that kind of game but "took a chance" on this one for whatever reason. In those cases, the player really isn't qualified to give a review.

The thing is, the marketing for this game starts with "Baldur's Gate and Dark Souls had a baby!" People are going to think it shares a lot in common with BG because of that. Nothing in the blurb below really counters that, though the videos give some indication and the links to the previews certainly will. If the description is bad, they're going to get some nasty reviews for it.

I looked into the topic behind the news item on Steam, and they seem to be thinking that it means "old school and modern had a baby." It might just be a case of bad communication. I hope so - they can update a Steam description (at least in languages they know) pretty quick.
 
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Stingray

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Hilariously pathetic. If they're going to publicly complain that people are reviewing their game badly because it's absolutely nothing like BG, then they shouldn't have "Baldur's Gate" as the very first two words in their game's description on Steam.
 
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Couchpotato

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I said it before don't buy or play this game. The developer is actually a lesson to other indie developers on how not to develop your game. Not surprised there publisher ditched them.
 
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Couchpotato

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Here was my opinion when it launched on Early Access.

No it wasn't crowdsourced but it was announced back in 2018. First it was supposed to release in 2019 per updates, but was pushed back to 2020 for more development time.

Moving on to 2020 they went silent for a while with a few updates. Rumors and leaks started surfacing that game development was stalled due to a few critical bugs.

The developer claimed it wasn't true shared a few updates and moved the release date to 2021. We all know that didn't happen and had a few more months of silence.

Moving on to 2022 they announced they bought back the game from their publisher, but cant share any details why. Now we get a new release date but for Early Access.

Only three years late and this update claims the game is a mess but completed. So you see I have valid concerns why I shouldn't care about their excuses and reasons.
 
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SveNitoR

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Hilariously pathetic. If they're going to publicly complain that people are reviewing their game badly because it's absolutely nothing like BG, then they shouldn't have "Baldur's Gate" as the very first two words in their game's description on Steam.
They say in a comment that the isometric camera and pause function is what they've used from BG. Not what I expected when reading a little about the game, so their communication is definitely not very good.
 
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HiddenX

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It is always a big risk to put comparisons with all time classics in your game description - like BG2; like Fallout; like Planescape Torment etc. If you do this people WILL compare your game with the referenced ones.
 
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Couchpotato

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Good for you. Just a little tip the game was never supposed to launch on Early Access. The developer ruined their relationship with the publisher, and were forced to do so.

Let that sink in. Also the game itself was completed as admitted by the developer but a mess as well. So the drama on-line is well deserved this time. You probably don't care.

Well as they say buyer beware. ^^
 
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Redglyph

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There's nothing wrong in clarifying the situation when a dev realizes that people get the wrong idea, but they should have used an FAQ format instead of a long post that may be considered too defensive.

They should definitely work on their Steam page too, when I see "Baldur's Gate" and "Dark Souls" in the same first sentence, they've already lost me.
 
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Couchpotato

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Sorry can't cool if off I have beef with this developer. :biggrin:

Hmm...beef reminds me of the old where's the beef commercial.:drool:

 
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Morrandir

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They should definitely work on their Steam page too, when I see "Baldur's Gate" and "Dark Souls" in the same first sentence, they've already lost me.
Hm, I don't find it too bad. I mean when both of these games are mentioned it's obvious that the game is neither like the one game nor like the other.
 
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Drithius

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In all honesty, Steam needs a Neutral rating. But, regardless, to release a game in Early Access and not expect consumers to come down harshly on things they feel are undercooked or misrepresented is either foolhardy or outright arrogant.

Developers need to stop treating Steam Early Access as their personal Q/A department. I feel this is even more important for smaller studios such as this. Why would you risk the good will of a customer venturing to take a chance on you with a product that isn't yet ready for critiquing? If you're desperate for that short-term money, be prepared for its cost.
 
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TheSHEEEP

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Sometimes, I see developers like this and I wonder what planet they live on.
All of their criticism about people being fools is valid, but the main thing is:

People are idiots.
They will not read your texts, not read all of your descriptions, not do any research, go in with absurd expectations and then be disappointed and of course blame you.
That's just how it is, it will never change, and as a dev you have to adjust accordingly - as others pointed out, that might mean maybe don't write "Baldur's Gate" as the first words of your description.

Hm, I don't find it too bad. I mean when both of these games are mentioned it's obvious that the game is neither like the one game nor like the other.
That's not obvious at all. Not from that blurb alone, anyway.
It could be a mostly-BG-like game with some DS influence, or the other way around, or anything in-between.
It could also be nothing like DS at all, considering how many games have gotten the "like Dark Souls" moniker without having any resemblance whatsoever besides using stamina, or being difficult...
With a description like that, people will go in with wildly different expectations.

Honestly, just don't name-drop like that in the main description paragraph... it's a terrible idea unless your game really is a clone.
 
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JFarrell71

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It is always a big risk to put comparisons with all time classics in your game description - like BG2; like Fallout; like Planescape Torment etc. If you do this people WILL compare your game with the referenced ones.
They put those names there to draft off their wake. Then they get exasperated with people making comparisons to the games they themselves mentioned.

Can't have it both ways.
 
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