‘Augmentgate’ rocks the Skyforge community

Calling it an “unbelievable story,” the team at Pretty Good Gaming pulled back the curtain on a massive SNAFU regarding a particular Skyforge item.

A recent Skyforge PS4 event had, among its rewards, an augment seal that would boost a player’s damage by a factor of 42. This unbelievable increase made the item a must-get, and for nine days the community scrambled to obtain it before the event ended, some even spending money on boosts to finish on time. However, after nine days of the event the studio got around to nerfing the item into the ground, claiming that the actual bonus should have been much lower (a 1.25 multiplier instead of 42).

With effort applied and in some cases money spent to obtain the seal, players reacted strongly to the decision, saying that it was a bait-and-switch to wait that long to fix the item. Skyforge’s team came back with an apology letter, strengthened the item somewhat, and offered compensation that included the option to refund the item for “pure energy.” Money spent during the event would not be returned.

“We would like to encourage everyone to remember that if something seems too good to be true, it most likely is,” the game’s producer concluded, teaching the community a valuable lesson in the most tone-deaf way possible.

Source: YouTube, Facebook. Thanks DugFromTheEarth!
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42 Comments on "‘Augmentgate’ rocks the Skyforge community"

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Mewmew
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Mewmew

“after nine days of the event the studio got around to nerfing the item into the ground”

That’s far too many days, they obviously saw it was wrong and left it up there purposely because of people spending and scrambling to get it.

““We would like to encourage everyone to remember that if something seems too good to be true, it most likely is,””

Leaving it up there for 9 days is showing that the item is the way it’s supposed to be, not something that’s too good to be true. Who knows what power items are given away in events? I’m not playing Skyforge now (and haven’t since some major changes) so I have no clue just how overpowered the item is, but when you advertise something that ends up different from what people get and spend real money on, you need to either give their money back or give the promised item. Not a “Sorry that wasn’t really what we were selling, but we’ll keep the money you spent anyway. Good life lesson for you though!” Right… Skyforge *was* going to be back in my game rotation after a while, I think maybe I’ll skip ever returning to it now.

Some of the most popular MOBA’s purposely release overpowered heroes to get people to spend real money to buy them, with the intention of nerfing them later. The overpowered characters and the nerfing intention are both purposely there from the very start. It’s a trick many companies use, usually secretly, but at least one company admits to doing it (I forget which one but it’s one of the two biggest MOBA’s).

Warframe does stuff like this too, despite me really liking the game a lot I spent a lot of real money to get a certain weapon that was left overpowered for months on end and it was nerfed just after I got it. It took hundreds of hours of play to get and lots of us spent a bunch of real money specifically to get it in the process and they decided one day it was too popular and that they’d nerf it (and a couple of other super popular weapons) to get people to use other weapons more. The compensation was an item worth about $1. Yeah, $1.

MrEllis
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MrEllis

“Money spent during the event would not be returned.”

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Rolan Storm

*chuckles* NGE-level mistake confirmed.

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Tiresias

Well, if the designers of Skyforge were looking for a way to encourage me to never return to that game… mission accomplished.

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Paul

I’m sorry but anyone who actually believed an item with a 42 damage multiplier would be left un-nerfed…… (ok console gamers, granted, but still :-P )

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neil shelton

The most overlooked point is that an item like this should never exist in a cash shop anyways.

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Moolarurka .

You have to laugh though . :)

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Ashfyn Ninegold

If I had spent real money to obtain something that was then nerfed into irrelevance, yeah, I’d be angry.

The problem is that errors like this that create exploits of all kinds are common. Players shamelessly take advantage of every exploit and then cry when gains are rolled back. Unfortunately, they are encouraged by developers who don’t respond timely to such things.

The recent D3 exploit is another example. And Blizzard’s limp response is precisely why gamers feel free to use exploits without fear of the consequences. While the Skyforge players get whacked with nine wasted days and lost money, D3’s exploiters will have no substantial penalty and be able to keep their significant gains. (Gems rolled back to some made up level, but not paragon points, so a substantial net gain for exploiters.)

Clearly, Blizzard doesn’t want to spend the time or money to truly correct an exploit that has completely lopsided the game and are taking the easiest way out, reinforcing the growing belief that there will be no meaningful action from Blizzard against exploiters. This does nothing but undermine Blizzard’s reputation and their games.

Skyforge players, on the other hand, however angry and resentful, aren’t likely to soon forget how Allods handled this exploit. And the next time someone on Discord says, hey, know what we can do? it will likely be met with a “not this time, you fool.”

The Skyforge incident sucks. But if Allods wanted to make a point, they did. The D3 exploit sucks, too. And Blizzard also made a point, one that opens the door for their players to feel no qualms about using exploits to the fullest.

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A Dad Supreme

“With effort applied and in some cases money spent to obtain the seal, players reacted strongly to the decision, saying that it was a bait-and-switch to wait that long to fix the item. ”
“Money spent during the event would not be returned.”

========
“Effort” shouldn’t be compensated since the item itself is the compensation.

That’s called ‘grind’ which is already an accepted cost of playing any MMO. People HAVE to grind, you know you’re going to grind so there shouldn’t be any complaints that people grinded for a particular item that later became devalued or worthless. That happens almost monthly whenever a company introduces another new item so no big deal imo.

I’m not sure how I feel about money not being refunded since I’m assuming people bought XP buffs or something similar in order to do that grind faster. It’s kind of a gray area because the people are spending money in order to get something faster, not necessarily to get the item.

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Dug From The Earth

Nah, it was only available for a limited time. They were spending money to insure they COULD get it within the time limit. The reason they felt it was worth spending money to make sure they could get it, was due to the huge bonus (42x) it provided.

The reason its a bait and switch is that the money they were spending to get the item, goes to the company who is giving out the item.

It 100% benefited the company to allow players to spend money to get the item by not telling them that it really wasnt going to be a 42x buff.

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Tanek

The questions for me would be:

Did the setup of the event encourage players to spend money to get the item?
Would the players who spent money not have done so without the overpowered augment?
Were reports about this item really sent in early and then the dev said nothing for over a week?

If all of the answers are yes, then it could be posited that the developer let the issue slide while it was making money for them. I doubt this is the exact scenario, but it is still not a great look. Refunds of the money (I don’t know what would be reasonable here to determine what was spent JUST to get the item) would have gone a long way to reassuring players this was not the case, though.

Basically, it looks like the developers profited from their own error and they needed to own up to that.

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A Dad Supreme

Agree with a few of those points.

Generally, we know that money spent in a cash shop is about as likely to get refunded as a pitbull giving you back that T-bone steak that fell off the floor. It’s the lifeblood for many of these “free” games.

I think that someone realizing that it was a ‘must have’ item and then spent real money to obtain it (faster) basically backed the concept of “Pay to Win” so I really don’t have much sympathy for them. It’s clear they were spending money to try and get it.

Let’s take it a step futher: Let’s say they spent money, got the item and My.Com didn’t nerf the item until next month. Are the same arguments for ‘refund’ valid? (You nerfed it after I spent money). I don’t think that would be so in that case, I’m not sure I agree with a refund either.

A nerf during the event, immediately after the event, or six months down the line all ends in the same result regardless of money spent.

Karma_Mule
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Karma_Mule

The difference between an item being nerfed immediately vs being nerfed down the line is that you will at least actually have had some benefit with the original stats for that time between purchase and nerfing.

What is a reasonable period of time between purchase and nerf is of course up for debate, but in this case when there was only a few days before purchase and nerf I’d say it’s questionable timing at best.

EDIT: just saw Tanek essentially said the same thing, so, yeah, I agree with that. :)

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Tanek

The “I really don’t have much sympathy for them” does not fly as an argument for me because that is basically an argument against the game’s model. Once you are in that model, however, you play by its rules no matter how repugnant you may find them. In this case, if “pay to win” is allowed, then it can’t be a reason to forgive bad moves by the developer.

As for the refund and when the item is nerfed, look at it from a different perspective. A game offers an expansion or DLC that comes with new items. You look at those items and decide you really want them because of a special stat or even a unique cosmetic aspect, so you buy it. Then on release of the expansion or DLC, that stat or cosmetic has been drastically changed and the developer says, “whoops, here’s a virtual cookie, sorry for the trouble, but you should have known the deal looked too good to be true”. I think that would be a problem.

By that same token, if stats on an item are changed months down the line because of balance, I don’t think it would be as much of an issue. (Might still be depending on the exact situation, but not as likely.)

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Utakata

They nerfed the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything? o.O

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Rolan Storm

*clap*clap*clap* Bravo.

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Moolarurka .

DON’T PANIC :)

elveone
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elveone

I’m really having a blast that a company is lambasted for nerfing an overpowered pay-to-win item. Not that Skyforge devs and mostly publishers do not deserve all the critic in the world for ruining a perfectly good game with atrocious management and moronic systems introduced to oversimplify the game and milk people for money but the duplicity of both the media and the players is just hilarious.

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Tanek

The problem is not that they nerfed it. Sounds like that was the right thing to do if it affected gameplay so much.

The problem is how it was handled. Especially if people were encouraged to spend money in order to get it. The perception could be that the developer let the matter slide while they profited from the error.

elveone
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elveone

So how should it have been handled? The options are “nerf it” or “don’t nerf it”. This item is far from the only reward for spending money in those events and as the rewards are random no one can effectively distinguish what was received for the money and roll it back so no one can effectively make a full refund of the monetary purchase as people received stuff for it. The players have been offered the choice to refund the item for in-game currency if they chose to. On the whole – this is actually a pretty good handling of the situation.

Where was that outrage that we see now when they ran multiple promotions of in-game currency and item packs last year before the major overhaul of the game for which they purposely misinformed the public as to what it would feature? Where were the reports of unethical sale practices when people were told they could not receive refunds because them completely ruining the game did not constitute a proper reason? Why were the MMO sites collectively gushing over the oversimplification of a good game when all the playerbase was outraged and left in a massive exodus?

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Schlag Sweetleaf
gotcha.gif
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A Dad Supreme

Bravo!

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Melissa McDonald

“no refunds” is the policy of a company barely making payroll.

Siphaed
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Siphaed

Actually “no refunds” is the policy of a company that is in the business of being a business. In this day and age of consumers run amuck, there’s too much use-and-abuse out there for a company to not make a hard stance on things.

I recall seeing a funny British sketch on FB about a customer trying to return a broken toaster to a store, without a receipt, without a tag, and didn’t even purchase it at that store (end was the return counter lady telling her to sod off).

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Armsbend

That is what you get for supporting a developer who chose the worst possible name anyone could ever come up with. My.com. what idiot chose that name? Type it in the address box and you go to a community college. Did they not think of that. Everyone should be fired immediately and be forced to dig ditches in Siberia forever.

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Bruno Brito

“… be forced to dig ditches in Siberia forever”

What the fuck…

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Alex Malone

Can we not call this a gate? There is only one gate – watergate – everything else is just crap and lack of imagination.

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Armsbend

Augmentwater.

After the Clinton Whitewater scandal.
;_;

I’ll show myself out.

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Melissa McDonald

Amen

miol
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miol

;P

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ailyara
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ailyara

Could this be the answer to life, the universe, and everything?

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Neurotic

When I see an obvious mistake like that in a game that I’m playing, I steer well clear of it. You don’t always know how the publisher is going to react — whether they’ll classify your use of that item as an exploit and punish you for it, or whether they’ll say ‘mea culpa’, nerf, compensate, and move on. Too much of a risk in my book.

miol
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miol

The publisher?
You mean the studio, Allods Team, right?

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Neurotic

No, I’m speaking generally, not specifically about this case. :)

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Stropp

Yeah, it’s pretty obvious a 42x (4200%) multiplier is the result of an error somewhere along the line. Has any item like this in the history of MMORPGs *not* been nerfed?

Scrambling to get an item like this, especially by spending money, is asking for trouble.

PS. Actually, I think in Asheron’s Call there were some high powered items, the Mattekar coat comes to mind, but they weren’t nerfed. Just discontinued. Which made them valuable and highly sought after.

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Neurotic

Exactamundo!

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I think the problem in this case was that players started reporting it immediately and My.com apparently waited so long to respond or react to it that people thought it was legit. Serious communication issues there. :/

My.com needed to have patched it out and refunded all the money.

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Veldan

I think you mean a 1.25 multiplier, because a 0.25 multiplier would mean equipping it reduces your damage to a quarter of what it was.

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Tanek

I’m not sure how stats in the game actually work, but the word used in the dev post is modifier, not multiplier.

tooltips themselves still display the wrong bonus modifier (+42)

So maybe it is just a straight up addition of 0.25 to…erm…whatever it is. :)

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TheDonDude

Semantics, but arguably the word “bonus” implies that it’s .25 “more than whatever it was before”.

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Nick Smith

This was only a PS4 event? Serves them right for playing on a PS4!! Muhahahahaaaaa. :)

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Tanek

“If it seems like we are going to scam you…we most likely are.”

wpDiscuz