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News video games 25 May 2023, 16:41

author: Sonia Selerska

Steam Hid 80,000 Negative War Thunder Reviews; Gamers Plan Big Protest

War Thunder developers taking heavy flak. The community's ourrage was fueled by a cover-up of negative reviews on Steam. Meanwhile, fans of the game are recruiting players for a massive boycott.

Network games at their core are radically different from other productions - one update is often enough for devoted fans to turn against the developers. The resolution of such crises depends only on the response of the studio, and in the case of Gaijin Entertainment we got a spectacular demonstration of what annoys players the most.

Changes in War Thunder

War Thunder is a military simulation MMO that has continued to attract new and returning players since its release in 2013.

  • This month the title received an update introducing major changes to the game's economy, which did not please most fans.
  • The developers reacted relatively quickly to the community's dissatisfaction in an attempt to clarify the whole situation. In a statement, for example, they included a promise to make changes as soon as possible.
  • For players, who had already expressed their concerns when the new system was first announced, the promise of improvement, a request for understanding and a link to a survey were not enough..

Thousands of negative reviews on Steam

Since the last update, the F2P game has begun to gain thousands of new reviews on Steam, the overwhelming majority of which were negative.

At one point, the monthly counter of new reviews showed about 99.8 thousand entries. All this changed, however, when the majority (as many as 80 thousand) of these comments was hidden.

We can assume that Valve's systems considered the wave of criticism to be review bombing. Accepting this explanation, Steam hid all comments published at similar times, deeming them unhelpful or unrelated.

Steam Hid 80,000 Negative War Thunder Reviews; Gamers Plan Big Protest - picture #1
Source: Reddit

The incident enraged the community even further.

Revolution in the making

Ignored initial complaints and hidden comments on Steam are among the factors that eventually drove the War Thunder community to take more radical steps.

Players, primarily focused around the subreddit dedicated to War Thunder, have decided to unite and have planned a massive boycott of the game. The action will take place on May 26.

The response was huge - the info reached many corners of the Internet and led to the creation of hundreds of revolutionary graphics or videos, encouraging people to stop playing.

Steam Hid 80,000 Negative War Thunder Reviews; Gamers Plan Big Protest - picture #2
"Revolutionary" graphics were also meant to hang in the real world. Source: Reddit

At this stage, the action took on much more significance than simple opposition to the update. User Ic3b3rgS explains it in his post:

"This year is crucial for the game. This has been a growing year for war thunder. Since 2022, there has been a steady increase in the player base, and all a company can see in these moments is future profit. Even after years of making the game more grindy, the player base is growing. Surely this means everyone is happy? [...] It's up to the playerbase to show that, take it too far, and all that growth can be easily lost.

[...] There has been countless players already against this protest. They think we have done enough. That we somehow already won.

Nothing has changed and likely will not change in the near future. The snail [reference to Gaijin's logo - ed. note] can eat and make its cash, but it must be shown where the limit is. Whatever happens the next few weeks will define the game we will be playing in 2, 3, 5 years from now on. Predatory monetization doesnt stop easily. And it will affect everyone, from f2p players, to the whales that have sunk 5 digits into the game. Everyone will suffer if the economy stays or gets even worse.

Stay vocal. If you can, dont play this game on the 26th. Log in for the day if you dont want to break streak. But do not play any game. Leave it asap. Even if its a 5% dent, it is a dent nonetheless. It shows we can show our discontent and wont "keep it in the foruns" as they would like. Dont remove the negative reviews at the first cute message from the snail. That is what they expect us to do, what we always done. And look where it has brought us."

War Thunder as a free-to-play game has for years relied on specific monetization models that have always caused some dissatisfaction. In this case, however, the devs apparently went too far.

Dev reaction and hiding of Steam version on game's website

Members of Gaijin Entertainment have not addressed these specific allegations, but 2 days ago they issued an additional apology on the game's official website.

From the accompanying information, we can learn that fixing the economy system is currently a priority for the developers, and they plan to release a detailed plan of their actions before June 14.

Internet users, however, noted that at a similar time War Thunder's official website featured a suspicious, easy-to-miss change. The graphic visible immediately after entering the website - showing the platforms on which the game is available - lost the logo of Steam.

Steam Hid 80,000 Negative War Thunder Reviews; Gamers Plan Big Protest - picture #3
Source: Reddit

The game itself, however, is still available on Valve's platform. It can be assumed that the developers decided to take this step in the face of unfavorable reviews. However, this would be another form of responsibility avoidance, which the disgruntled users were unwilling to ignore.

This minor detail also received its own thread on Reddit, where players found this behavior embarrassing.

The conclusion of the matter is still a long way off - after the boycott is over and the developers' attempts to patch the system have begun. However, this is one of the most spectacular examples of players uniting to fight for the future of a beloved game.

  1. War Thunder on Steam
  2. War Thunder - official website
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