Uninstalled. Permanently.

September 4, 2014

Let me say that Ghost Recon: Phantoms is one of the best concepts in FPS that I’ve hit on in a while. I love the slide into cover; I adore the weapons and the class balance; the maps are endlessly frustrating in usually good ways (if often a bit linear).

But I’m uninstalling and forgetting this game forever. The fact I can’t purge it entirely from my Steam account will be a sad gravestone on top of a failed experiment.

And the game, I am sad to say, was murdered.

Because allowing people to buy and use weapons FAR above their rank entirely imbalances the game. And it’s just not good enough for me to buy and buy and buy. I’d have gladly paid thirty for this game with no complaint, if the buy-in on weapons were restricted to rank or a slight rank advantage. I’d be fine with the mystery boxes being exceptions. Camo and aesthetics are of course always welcome free-to-play purchasables.

But you’ve ruined the balance. You could have just kept games matched by weapon power. You could have limited how much above your rank you could equip. You could have just had small power bonuses.

But free-to-play, pay-to-win is not an acceptable strategy, and it hurts a game long run. Because eventually people who want to play without all the mini-transactions, without buying gun after gun, will leave. And then the number of players dips badly. New people dry up, and the game, instead of having the long run that, say, Starcraft had or Everquest or WoW, you’ve got a flash in the pan that could have been something absolutely fantastic – that honestly is fantastic, but gets cut down before it can shine.

Because, UbiSoft, you wanted a fast buck. You played the short game, not the long one. The most common complaint in your forums is based on this imbalance. I scroll and I see suggestion after suggestion about how to fix this, but the high paying players, or “whales”, get treated to a game that utilizes the unsaying or low-paying players as cannon fodder. No wonder the turn over for the game is so high. They claim a huge player base, but it seems that is based entirely on the number of people who’ve downloaded, played, and left the game out of frustration.

I really really enjoyed this game. It was solid. The mechanics deserve, frankly, better.

I won’t be recommending this game. I recommend people who aren’t willing to fork over too much money for too little avoid this game entirely. Game devs: Play this. Play this game. It’s a fantastic set of mechanics. The balance, when right, is amazing. The weapon concepts and classes are brilliant. This game had all I could have wanted,  but burned it.

UbiSoft, you never got a cent from me through this game, and now you never will. If this is how you plan to do Free To Play, I’ll be avoiding this dev team in the future. I wish you better ideas and ethos in the future.

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