Frontier created an epic mess!

So there is a company called Frontier. This company is a video game creator and publisher. This company has just made the most horrendous error I have ever seen a game creator make.

So some back story.

Frontier makes video games. I personally had never heard of them and I've been buying games for 40 years.

Then one day I open the ol' Googley News and see an article about a guy who's been playing a game for over a month to go rescue another player! Go read the article, it's amazing!

The game in question is Elite:Dangerous. A 1 to 1 scale replica of the Milky Way galaxy. Although it actually classed as a "simulation" instead of "game". The distinction is out of scope here.

Anyway, you can fly space ships, go to other stars, land on planets, drive around them in your very own space buggy! See black holes, listen to gas giants, investigate aliens and the list goes on and on.

When I saw this game, I bought it immediately. This is the game I have been waiting my entire life to play! I stopped playing everything else. I had over 3K hours in "7 Days To Die" and stopped playing. Over 5K hours in Minecraft and stopped playing.

Elite:Dangerous - Horizons DLC was it! It's how I wanted to spend my time gaming.

Within a year I had 1500 hours of game play and had purchased a second account. When one account was on one side of the galaxy, the other was available for "group activities".

A truly beautiful game. I cannot state how beautiful. It has to be seen to believe. And the sounds.....the sounds in game are amazing also. You are overloaded with sight, sound, all that's needed is a rectal vibrating joystick and I'd never leave the damn house!

Then...a year and a half after I buy the game, they announce Odyssey. A new DLC for the game. This would give player the ability to land on a planets, then get out on foot and walk around. There are many other "on-foot" activities I'll get to in a minute.

So it was announced. "Coming late 2020". Came and went, no DLC. The reason was "it's not ready". Fair enough. As a software developer myself, I fully understand that.

The date got pushed a month. Then covid happened, so they missed that one. Understandable.

Finally they announced Alpha testing for people that purchased the game early.

I learned very very early on, never ever ever purchase software without seeing it! Never goes well!

Well it didn't. Features launched in parts, constant game crashes, server errors. A list of problems, bugs and errors as long as my arm.'s an Alpha! It's not intended to be "fully functional" or "feature complete".

So the testing continued. A month roles by and Frontier say "we got everything we need to finish up!"

A month later they publish the Odyssey DLC as a feature complete extension to Elite:Dangerous.

And all hell broke lose.

Even with the entire community saying Odyssey had problem, 2 weeks after launch I purchased it. I though I would have a better experience. My PC is custom built, very powerful. With some things, brute force sometimes fixes everything.

Not in this case. The game would only run for 2 or 3 minutes on my own private super computer before crashing. Sometimes, taking Windows with it! Game play so jittery it was like watching a movie while holding your eyes closed for a half second, every second! Menu's completely broken. Menu's missing data previously displayed. Core game mechanics that didn't work at all.

Odyssey was intended to appeal to First Person Shooter players. Like Call of Duty or Player Unknown. Now I don't like FPS games, so this didn't appeal to me. The people I watched play it, just had to stop. There were so many errors and bugs you couldn't complete these mini-games.

So I to stopped playing Odyssey. Went back to Horizons. The CEO of Frontier issued a public apology for the problems and promised to address them.

A month goes by, 5 updates to fix things broken. Finally I can play it without crashing every 2 minutes. But, there's still a ton of problems.

Now, with all that said, here is what pisses me off the most.

#1 Released to appease investors.

If this is true, if they released this 19 May 2021 to align with their financial year and meet investor expectation, Frontier made a conscious decision to put investor concerns over paying customers. As a result, Frontier have been completely inundated with hate mail, news articles, social media posts, almost non-stop since Odyssey hit Steam. So much so, their own community manager had to post a message to try and stop it. "Please stop smacking us, we messed up, we get it!". You might, but your boss sure doesn't! If Microsoft published a version of Windows that was broken, no one would buy it. Oh wait, they did! Ever hear of Vista! Same problem, published to address investor expectation. Never in my life have I published a piece of software that wasn't ready. Never! Did it have a bug or two, sure, but unstable? Never. There is no way the developers and QA staff gave Odyseey the thumbs up for release. None. To be clear, I do not blame the Dev team or QA team. I'm certain this came from "on high", for money.

#2 Customers test our product

This erks me something fierce. Every company I have worked at had at leas one dedicated tester. In most cases, an entire team. These are highly trained people who specialize in verifying the state of software. To force your customer base to test a product? How cheap can you get. To be fair, Frontier are not alone on this one. In the software industry, only the gaming sector does this. It's cheaper, easier and you can still sell your product even if it's broken. "We'll patch that later. Just log it".

And their bug recording process. Not only do they make customers report bugs, the bug must be "confirmed" by other customers before it gets "approved". So only the approved entries get addressed, maybe. Anything else, purged in the monthly data backup. So not only did I buy a broken product, my reports of errors went un-addressed. I did not spend my hard earned to test your shit!

And the final one...

#3 Listening to staff

Again, I cannot believe that the Dev team signed off on this fiasco. Not a single one. Your developers know when it's ready, listen to them!

Will I continue to play Odyssey? No. There's a big update coming in November 2021. The port to console. If they don't want the same thing to happen with console players, they best get their act together!

Will I still play Horizons? You damn right I will. It is still the most amazing, beautiful game out there. Odyssey may join it in the sun light. Not at the moment.

Do I feel sorry for the treatment Frontier is getting. No, not even a little.

Do i feel sorry for the Dev Team? You bet I do. I'm a coder myself. Coders do what their told. They didn't need the backlash, the messages, the stress. Their bosses created this scenario, those idiots should deal with it.

Would I ever buy another Frontier product. Nope! I might download it when it's free on Epic!