First of all, this is not a rant thread. If any of the mods see this as one they should feel free to close the topic, but I do feel that there is strong discussion potential here. To that end, I would like to ask people in this topic to not Relic-bash because all that will achieve is getting the topic shut down sooner than you can say "STFU N00b". I would rather have a civilised discussion about - well, about how Relic is giving off an impression of an immature developer collapsing under its own weight recently.
It is my observation (and I stand by it) that Relic is completely and utterly incapable of doing things properly when patching this game.
Here are just a few things that happened with previous Relic's CoH patches:
- glaring bugs you'd have to be blind to miss (jeeps crushing tank traps, invulnerable M3 halftrack)
- huge and uncalled for balance patches that completely screw up the game (1.5)
- patch downloaded but does not change anything (this happened a lot in OF Beta, but since it's a beta we can let that one slip, I suppose)
- inexplicable server-side problem with stats recording immediately after new patch was applied.
- suddenly, patch completely changes game behavior compared to the game we purchased (vanilla users who were forced to switch to the new anti-piracy system, despite the servers frequently being down, if they wanted to ever play online again).
- and now this. Anyone who patched the game will have to reinstall the game and repatch it.
I have never, let me repeat that, never seen such abhorrent patching attempts. I've seen games that were not supported at all, but of all the games that were supported post-release, this one is by far the worst that I know of.
Now I know you'll say Relic is not obligated to support their games. And I will say that is correct. However, they do choose support their games, and the shabby, half-baked mannerin which they do it is definitely a disgrace for any serious game developing company. If you are playing with the big boys (Microsoft, Vivendi, etc.), do it properly or don't do it at all. If I did volunteer work at a clinic and killed 90% of my patients through incompetence, would I still have the right to say "well, I do not have to try to help people, so appreciate what I am trying to do"?
Amusing and faulty comparisons aside, I fear this may cost Relic a lot of customers. Less customers = less sales, less sales = no more budget = no more premium games from Relic. Something is very, very wrong with the way they manage their Q&A, and patching of the games in general. I would love to hear some negative publicity on the net, because negative publicity would mean a few heads would probably roll and it stands to reason the replacements would try twice as hard to keep their heads on their shoulders.
What is happening to Relic? It is my favourite game developer, and the shabby support process gives off an impression that they are some small group of enthusiasts in Canada who can code premium 3d engines but can't even come up with a functional patch no matter how hard they try.
Oh, and a small sidenote on game balance:
I realize balance is highly subjective. However, the majority of the players agree that Opposing Fronts brought us many changes that completely turned the CoH gameplay upside down. You'll probably say that change is expected of an expansion, and I would normally agree; however, the gameplay changes Opposing Fronts brought were almost all negative. They took the premium tactical concerns that are supposed to be trademarks of Company of Heroes franchise (not just a fleeting vanilla CoH fancy), such as cover advantages and flanking, and threw them down the bin (Group Zeal or Heroic Charge anyone?). Tank frontal armor now makes absolutely zero difference - Fireflies and Marders will rip them up all the same.
Take a look at the game, there are four factions currently being played: Infantry Company, Luftwaffe, Commandoes, and Wehrmacht.
While it may not be a thing concerning with technical know-how, balance is yet another aspect that you can get right or wrong, and by all indications, Relic gets it wrong pretty often.