For once, on December 3rd, Valve was somewhat on time. They actually announced the winners of the Tomb Raider promo item contest within a week of the end date that they promised. But that was just once. They’ve been constantly late and really, it’s getting silly now. Alright, we get it, Valve time and all that, but we can’t have Valve time forever, can we?
Valve time is a very common thing, but recently I feel it’s being way more oppressive than always. The biggest upset as of late was with the TF Comics series, which was incredibly late and after which the blog writers joked about it being on time, since they’re changing the schedule to be yearly. Was that a joke? We don’t know, but frankly, we wouldn’t put it past them to make us wait for a year for each of the last two issues of the comic. Yes, it’s free content and we’re happy to wait and we’re certain it’ll be good, but a year per issue seems a little bit silly. We’ll put up with that though, if they actually deliver.
Another place where we expect slightly faster response times is in customer service. Valve’s Steam Support isn’t that good. Occasionally, they’ll really shine, if you get the right person, but if it’s not money related, you’ll be waiting a long time for a response. I do understand that the people who work for Steam Support must be inundated daily with stupid questions and people who have been hacked. That’s fine. You need to sieve through all that crap. But I’m not sure why it takes over a month to say “sorry, we can’t help you!” I’ve experienced this myself. I’ve heard half my friends complain about it. They can be good if there’s money involved, for example, you’ve been hacked or money hasn’t appeared in your Steam wallet, but if you’re having an issue related to a game, you’re better off searching for an answer online and exhausting everything before turning to Steam Support.
Somewhat related to Steam Support is how quickly the TF2 team fixes bugs. There’s a joke where fixing one bug seems to cause more bugs, but it’s 99% true with TF2. One update rendered blocking the final cap on Attack/Defend maps impossible, allowing for easy victories on Gravel Pit. It was an improvement on Junction but Gravel Pit and Degroot Keep, both popular maps, this was a negative thing, especially since the last control point captures quickly once you get on it. This is just one example, that took a week to fix. Problems like the item unequipping bug or the Medi Gun flickering bug took a lot longer to fix. Again, we understand that these things take time to fix, but perhaps it’d be good to give us a heads up, telling us that you’re working on X and Y bugs and they’ll be fixed soon? Approximate time to fix them is optional.
Update wise, although we’ve been getting our small patches, actual content has been very slow. The promo item for the Binding of Isaac: Rebirth was hinted at for ages. Once the game was released, people gave up on the idea of getting a promotional set of horns. Three weeks after The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth was released, we finally got Brimstone, but by then no one had cared and people had already managed to get all 16 endings. It seemed pointless getting a promotional item, which is incentive to pre-purchase a game, so long after the game is released. As for the quality of the horns, that’s a different subject.
Finally, we’ve got the End of the Line. Now, the End of the Line isn’t entirely Valve’s fault, but they’re certainly not blame-free either. The teaser trailer for the End of the Line appeared last year, promising a cool fan-made movie by McVee. Over time, we all got excited, as he hinted that there’d be a new map and maybe weapons and that it wouldn’t all be cosmetics and all they needed was Valve’s blessing. Thing is, everyone got too excited on both sides. Players got overexcited about the contents of the update and when it’d arrive. The developer side got overconfident on when they could release everything. It all ended up over-hyped and delayed. Then the crates came out and people thought it was finally here. Then nothing else happened. People now barely care any more, which is a pity, considering how much effort has probably been put into this.
Being a bit late is one thing, but when you’re consistently and always late, you just look unprofessional. But because we’re all idiots, we just put up with it.