Early Access games – Think twice before buying

On Steam it is possible to buy games that is in Early Access, which means that the game-developers is releasing a game that is far from finished.

This is somehow strange that it is allowed because who would buy an unfinished game?

Well I did. And a lot of other people did too. It has probably something to do with curiosity, especially if you have seen a youtuber play it first.
Most EA games are playable, but there are some games where they just release an environment, and no content. That is sometimes fine, if only the updates comes with a bareable speed, but if the game-developers are too slow, then people starts to feel cheated and gives the game bad reviews.

Tamed Raptor

Other games are updated constantly, like Ark: Survival evolved, and gets updated for several years, before the game is considered a ready and finished game.

People do like that games get updated regulary, but only to a certain extent. If we for example look at Ark then it has changed from a simple survival game with little but fun content, to a huge survival/breeding/building game with way too much content that both slows the performance and also confuses people because the behavior of content, like animals and weapons, is changed too often.

The bugs from all these changes is also a nuisance, which makes the updates even more frequent because of bugfixes. It is like the game-developers are experimenting with their possibilities to show off in a “See what we can do” way. In this case I wish I had waited with buying the game, not that I didnt enjoy playing it at the state it was, but its a totally different game now than when I bought it and I do not enjoy playing it anymore, even that I took a break from it to play 7 days to Die instead.

Another thing is that you do get burned out if you play a lot. Normally it would be because of doing the same thing again and again, but the opposite can also be true, if you constantly have to adapt to new functionality and new content. If I knew this a year ago or more, then I would have waited with buying the game, and probably never would have bought it, because it doesnt interest me now. It has simply become a whole different game.

 

The developers of 7 Days to Die has a different approach than Ark. They have been very very slow with their updates and are only releasing a little change from release to release, which makes it 4 years or so that the game has been under development.

They started with an Alpha 1 release and are now on Alpha 15, with Alpha 16 to get out as an experimental build very soon. Alpha 17 and 18 is already being planned too, so there will be several years before this game is finished. I first started with Alpha 15, that has been updated 2 times with small changes that you hardly noticed, and thats fine with me, because then I can play my games as I like and is used to.

The new update Alpha 16 is a larger update with new environment, content and also new functionality, that makes the game harder to play. It has been a huge annoyance for some players that they felt the game was too easy, so they will probably be more happy now to play. I am OK with it for now, but I hope that they wont do the same as Ark with putting way too much content in so the game is almost unplayable unless you are a hardcore FPS gamer.

Then there is all the bugs. In an EA game it should be expected though, because it is an unfinished game, but when update after update comes out and no bugs is fixed then people get pissed. I wonder how games like ARK can live with all their bugs and still release tons of new stuff that is also filled with bugs. Some people defend this strategy with that it is better to get the content out first and THEN fix the bugs, but for me that is a strategy based on bad code that isnt well structured, and means that the developers probably have lost the overview a long time ago.

If you want to build in a iterative way then you have to be extremly structured to make sure that you can keep an overview at any time. The developers had probably started wrongly and programmed with their creative emotions and enthusiasm and forgot all about thinking of the end-result.

 

Anyway, it CAN be fun to play with an EA game if you dont mind small or huge changes to your game, and if you dont mind bugs here and there, but it is very buyer-beware (buy at your own risk), if you choose to.