"We feel Used" – The Developer's Pulled A Bait And Switch Tactic With Skyforge's PS4 Release


After checking through all of the complaints leveled at My.com and  Allods Team's Skyforge this weekend, I decided to get into contact with a few members of the #lieforge community of disgruntled Skyforge players. Youtubers Tennek127 (TN) and Vayne Ceasar (VC) were kind enough to sit down with me and chat over twitter DMs about the troubles they ran into with Skyforge. Both had purchased in to the early access of the PS4 release and had purchased Premium subscriptions to make the game less of a tedious grind. They'd been involved in the game's discord community prior to launch and had looked at the game with excitement. Things seemed stable, and then Allods team rolled out the full release of the PS4 version and a new update, patch 1.03. That update brought with it many changes to the game that hadn't existed during the early access period, and that's when the early complaints started.

For some background on that, you might like to head on over and check out my initial reporting of the situation here, or read your way through the #lieforge feed over on Twitter.

MR: Alright, I'm good when you both are.

TN: I'm ready.

MR: Cool, just waiting on Vayne then.

Tennek then sent over a screenshot of a conversation between himself and Vayne making that agreement.

MR: Okay. So, we'll get started then.

TN: Our opinions are fairly similar so I guess I can lol.

MR: Gotcha. Why don't you walk me through your first impressions of the game- before playing it. What got you interested, what did you hope it'd be like? That kind of thing.

TN:Well that started roughly two years ago. I had first saw the game announced for PC and I was extremely excited, however I was a console gamer so a bit disappointed at the time it was PC only. However during one of they're developer diaries they had mentioned the game had controller functionality and was built inspired off console titles. So despite what a lot of PC players said to me at the time, I decided to hang on to that hope. And sure enough here we are two years later and after seeing and studying the game up and down to show my viewers I had became overwhelmed with excitement so much, I reached out to my.com wanting to show off their game.

TN: my.com and Allods team that is.

MR: Right. So then they finally released it for PS4 and you got to play it. How did the first few hours go?
TN:My first hours of the game were honestly great. It was so new, fresh, so much to learn and so much to do. Even though the early stages of the game were very repetitive I still enjoyed myself.
MR: Yeah, that opening quest sequence can be a bit of a grind once you actually pass the intro. At what point did you start to lose the enthusiasm for Skyforge?
TN:It's funny that you ask that question. It was actually a lot sooner than most of my viewers believe. It started right after the end of the early access stage when they released patch 1.03 which revamped the leveling system that all of us new players worked hard to study. I made a video teaching others how to level with the new system, and despite my concerns I defended them anyway for that change in my video. But in all honesty at that moment I started t fear they were following down the exact same route they went on PC, which I found very confusing since the way they have done business on PS4 "seemed" like they wanted a fresh start to do things right.
TN: From there it seemed the game was heading into a downward spiral for me. And not only for me but people I had influenced to play this game, people I influenced to buy early access. Shortly after that patch my girlfriends premium had just vanished from her account, she had a total of nearly 30-40 days worth of premium built up from purchases and earned in game rewards, as soon as this issue came I had her inquire with Allods and my.com about the issue immediately. I personally even reached out to the Community Manager of my.com with this issue. To this day she has yet to get any type of compensation for her lost premium in game. Within a few days after, I myself lost my premium as well, I nearly had three months saved up, yet I have received no acknowledgment from the developers or publishers about this issue to this very day.
MR: Interesting. And that premium package is definitely not the kind of thing you want to lose in an F2P title.
MR: But you kept on with it after that, I assume?
TN: Certainly, premium actually sends the game to its borderline "pay to win" state. Premium makes the grind for all things in game (including leveling and other class unlocks) a lot less tedious, it can give you a tremendous advantage over players not using premium.
TN: And yes, even after these issues I proceeded to press on playing the game. I even had made one video trying to soothe the complaints I was receiving about the game and come to the defense of Skyforge PS4 yet again.
MR: And Vayne, feel free to jump in whenever.
VC: I was wanting to say he's pretty much right about it all and better at explaining it.
VC: Just my personal opinion.
MR: So what was the point of no return with Skyforge? Was it an accumulation of small problems, one large issue, or the lack of response to player feedback?

MR: Thats an entirely valid way to feel. They sold you a game based on false promises, even delivered on it for a bit, and then pulled the rug out from under you.

TN: Exactly how I feel.

MR: And as content creators, you feel responsible for pitching the game to your viewers. Have you received any kind of messages to that effect from your communities?
MR: Or is there more a sense of you all being in it together?

VC: I didn't really pitch on YouTube but Twitter and PSN I did hard and I think that was the cm and eg players plan, get us to help hype.

VC: I feel I fell into the over hyped group and feel responsible somewhat for helping over hype some.
VC: And lying in there.

MR: Its just that the game you were told about was not the game that they gave you.

TN: Well me personally I'm the type of content creator that always interacts with my viewers/subscribers/fans. I try to answer every comment on every video even the negative ones and my whole subscriber base can vouch for that. I'm always honest with them, and speak fully about every choice I make on my channel, whether it's sponsored content, partnerships, paid content, representing a game etc. I always find it important to give my viewers honesty because misinforming them will be terrible for me and the developers of the game/product I represent. My audience is feeling the issues of Skyforge PS4 along with me, there are a few diehard fans who are upset with me over my distaste for the game at the moment, and theere are some who are just giving a casual "I told you so". I honestly feel disappointed, and I feel the overall player base (that's aware of what's going on) feel the same. I can confidently say a majority of my community stands with me during this dilemma.
VC: Yes, that's why some was joking about telling ea people to sue for false advertising…
VC: In the discord.

TN: Yes I can confidently say they did lie about they're game. The product we received is far off from the product we were promised, especially after being told several times "The PS4 version would be on par with PC at launch" a lot of employees and veteran players made this claim in the community pre launch.

TN: And one easy example you can use to prove how different Skyforge PS4 is compared to Skyforge PC, the cost of classes, on PC you earn new classes by reaching they're temple in game, on PS4 you have to pay an obscene amount of in game currency to unlock more classes, I even suggested to the developers to give the three missing classes instant access to compensate the wait, but no response was ever given.

VC: I think that's one reason they have went silent, only few new eg people speak for the company and all they said it's being worked on or, its gonna appear, soon, no eta, ect.

VC: Eg is nothing but like Mr happy for FFXIV, they can't really speak for them.
MR: Right. Just popular and sometimes sponsored streamers and content creators. They're not PR reps, or in this case, customer service.
MR: I know a lot of players lost premium and submitted tickets, have any of them gotten even a generic "we'll look into it" kind of response?
MR: A visual bug? Implying that they hadn't lost premium status, even though they lost the premium benefits? That is not good.
VC: Even if you bought some extra, I tacked on 14 extra days and lost 3 weeks.
VC:Plus the earned premium vouchers in game.
MR: Yeah. That is deeply concerning. And not something a lot of developers would let stand.
MR: Money, especially in an F2P freemium model, is what usually sways interest.
MR: Granted, thats true of pretty much everything.
TN: Yes, and not owning up to the responsibility since it was a bug showing the premium time longer than what it should have been, however I personally and have witnessed several people lose they're premium flat out that was purchased.
VC: Neverwinter devs, FFXIV devs, Tera devs ik from previous PC play in 2012-13, WoW never screwed me. Even D&D back when I was 12-14. My step dad played and no issues.
VC: I feel they fixed some but not all because Jay mad got 14 days have to him apparently but not everyone because I still do see complaining.
MR: And you've had your own Premium disappear on you, yeah?
MR: Whether or not they meant to give you a smaller timeframe for the paid subscription, most devs would honor that mistake, at least for the subs already bought.
TN: Yes and I have not received any type of acknowledgment or compensation.
TN: Exactly, and every dev I've ever seen make a mistake like that has done so.
MR: Is there any one thing you'd pick as the most problematic practice? Or does it all blend together?
TN: It's the games overall lack of communication, not only the developers but the game in general. The community in game is so distorted thanks to the lack of text chat, and the developers just seem to have this habit of making moves to grab as much cash as possible then perfecting the game later. They need to focus more on they're community than money, the community are they're customers, they will spend money on a good game, if they feel abused this game will die, mark my words.
VC: Community and communication yep.
VC: A example of someone spending elsewhere is me return to FFXIV and Tera but on console. And as a ex-PC Tera player I trust Enmass 100× more than my.com.

MR: Is there any kind of fix in particular that you're hoping for? Other than the premium subscription days?

MR: The only proper fix I would like for this game is a text chat system, so that way the community can actually communicate without third party applications.
MR: That would definitely be helpful. MMOs really do need some kind of in-game communication tools.
MR: And Skyforge is sorely in need of them.
VC: Ty for listening to us, this should help put a boot in their tail end
TN: Yes I definitely appreciate this
MR: Oh no problem at all. Thanks for talking with me.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this interview should be easy to spot, regardless of your personal feelings on wether or not players of Skyforge shouldn't have expected so much from a freemium game, what my.com and Allods Team have done with Skyforge on PS4 is a repeat of what they'd done to PC players at the launch of the game. That players complaints haven't been addressed well or quickly is evidence of mismanagement. The lack of response on players having monetary complaints is a major red flag. The players of Skyforge who saw the mismanagement and coined the term #lieforge don't even want much. They want their paid for premium time, or at least an answer as to why they've lost it, and they want to be able to chat in game.
That's, not a whole lot. And that no one on the Skyforge team has responded is incredibly discouraging.
In any free game, the players who pay for premium packages, or card packs, or items have the most leverage. Because that's how the development company and publisher make back the money they put into the game and also turn a profit. It's micro-transactions. Simple enough to understand. What is baffling to me is that players who are paying for a premium service are not only losing that service, but their complaints about it aren't being addressed. It's almost as if Allods Team and my.com are trying to take the money and run – that was a classic bait and switch move they used – but it's 2017. There aren't many places to go where player complaints can't find you.
And now that Skyforge is on PS4, well, there's also Sony to answer to, isn't there?

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About Madeline Ricchiuto

Madeline Ricchiuto is a gamer, comics enthusiast, bad horror movie connoisseur, writer and generally sarcastic human. She also really likes cats and is now Head Games Writer at Bleeding Cool.
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