Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Pipebomb! My experience with THQ, CAWS.ws and WWE 12.
Sorry if this gets a bit long. Its quite the long saga. I could write a book. Please bear with me though.
Its not sour grapes (though there are a lot to be had in the mess), but I just hate the fact companies and their employees are allowed to treat their customers the way they do. I mean, they almost make EA Sports look saintly. They're almost as bad as Activision. They're on the same level as the caws.ws forums and it's mods. That's a tough act to follow. I'd love to think that when THQ meets it's inevitable, fast approaching end, things will get better, but no, we still have EA and Activision to screw it up so badly, it can't be revived.
It all started November 22nd, 2011. The release day of THQ's much hyped, much anticipated, return to form installment of their licensed WWE franchise, WWE '12. I, having followed it being a member of and contributing community member of the caws.ws forums since November 2006 as Stinger_tap10, and previously as Spinal_tap06 (I changed my user name due to wanting it to be more wrestling related, but similar to my old one), and being a life long WWE and wrestling game fan, rushed to buy it on release day due to interaction on the forum with the seemingly very helpful THQ employed Community Managers. I assumed that, being THQ employees being directly and very involved with getting community feedback, their word was trustworthy and frequently defended them from haters. Boy did I ever turn out to be wrong in doing that!lol So, I buy it against my better judgement, having had previous problems with the games from THQ in the past being buggy and glitch filled messes, but because I'm a wrestling/game fan, I gave it a chance.
I get it home, create a wrestler, download the day 1 DLC and go to use the online portion of the disc. Not working correctly. Seeing as how the rest of the game seemed to be great, I gave it the benefit of the doubt, and figured I'd check and see if others were having problems with it as well on caws.ws (where I had/have alot of good friends, both local and long distance). There were. However to my own comfort, THQ was quick to acknowledge the problem, state they knew about it, and that they were working to get it fixed (Connection problems to the online servers) ASAP. This turned into days, and soon into weeks. During this time, I befriend (Atleast I thought I did), THQ Community Manager (Now ex), Marcus Stephenson. Through many Twitter Dm's, we decide that, due to my knowledge of the game industry, video games, and computers, that I'd help people to report problems with the game to him, along with any server down time and outages to the online portion of the game. In February, THQ, after 2 full months of complete inaction on fixing anything wrong with the game (Bugs, glitches, forgotten Superstar commentary audio files, all of the online mode), announced they'd be issuing a major patch to fix the above stated problems. Little known to us users, they blanked out Community to appear like all creations had been wiped from the servers. I'm not the only person who thought so. So, enraged at everything that's transpired so far, and the then current lack of any communication with Marcus, I take to caws.ws to air my feelings, along with many others, which prompted Marcus to ask if we still wanted him to post there, threatening to leave and never gather feedback again. I said no, again along with many others. However, only I was harshly reprimanded by forum mod Ernez, and was "warned" after fighting with him about the punishment for saying what I did, which was true.
Now I'm on fire mad, that A: THQ is treating us customers like we don't matter, B: that caws.ws is trying to censor its users from speaking out about THQ, just because people who work at THQ are signed up there, and that with everything I'm helping to fix, I seem to be getting the short end of the stick. Again, after many back and forth DMing sessions, Marcus and I make peace and again I set forward trying to help. I let bygones be bygones. At this point, I'm still speaking out about THQ and create a petition to take the WWE Franchise away from THQ for their mistreatment of the consumer base, and the seemingly purposeful "knee capping" of the game. Minutes after creating it, I post a topic on caws.ws to spread the word, and within what I'd say was 5 minutes, and with not one reply, the topic was locked and closed by a mod there named Joel, who was very rude and condescending to me. This prompted me to put a link to it in my forums signature, and (Forgive the term) "whore" it out when I could in the "Post Patch Issues" and "WWE 12 Server Problems" threads at caws. I was again pretty much yelled at for this, and again, "warned". At this point people began to discover that not only had the patch not helped the servers, but that it also caused several more issues with the game aswell, even as far as corrupting whole game saves. At this time, and pretty much most of the time going forward, Marcus (And all the other WWE THQ community personnel) hid, and barely ever said word one about it, and never even mentioned the game again. Marcus eventually left THQ (To much speculation) to join the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets in an office position. He at one point recommended me for a "job" writing for a new blog at Virtual Squared Circle for friends of his looking to create the "polar opposite" of caws. That didn't last long, as again, I was treated unfairly, and poorly by Charles Shane (Ex employee at caws).
So after defriending Marcus, Charles, and apparently making enemies at caws.ws for helping people, Marcus causing twitter fights between me and others on twitter and speaking out against THQ, caws decided to ban me from the site, without any notice of any wrong doing (Which there never was), any excuse for the ban or any chance to retrieve any info from my message inbox before my account was deactivated, and now completely un-viewable to anyone but a mod. I'm not the only one. They've banned a member named Nemphosis, who was a long time member and outspoken about his dislike of Marcus and all things THQ. They stopped allowing long time member Dynomite from posting caws at the site, until he decided to just stop posting there and create his own site with Petchy, which prompted them to re-allow it. They were censoring long time, respected member Petchy through his comments and caw posting. They disallow any talk of hacking the game on the 360, yet promote said hacked caws on their site, and even hand out awards to the best caws/makers (Who always just happen to be the ones who hack the game). So during one night of twitter convos, relaxing after giving guitar lessons, I encounter a convo between my friends brienj and Petchy about lead forum mod ThreeG, who they stated to be hitting on and flirting with a 16 year old girl with the twitter handle @JustLikeJill. He's 25, she's 16. You do the math. I, in trying to understand the convo (I came in on the middle of it), jokingly asked "So ThreeG is a pedo bear in disguise?" (This all went down before my ban). Next day, my account at caws was deactivated. After 3 e-mails (2 went ignored), ThreeG responded by saying I'd not be getting my account back. While reporting outages to Stephenson, when I'd report to him they were working fine momentarily, in real time (within seconds), it would go back to being terrible to use again. Also ran across a great little story about their former mod Status blackmailing a mentally handicapped person who was banned from caws.ws, for xbox live points (Which cost money). Ask him about that. Also ask him about calling people on twitter fags and homos, and telling them to die. His twitter bio is "Only faggots unfollow me." Well, guess what, I did. It doesn't apply.
So after many heated messages back and forth with Marcus after this had all went down, I learn, though not in the exact wording I'm about to use, that he was basically using me to shut people up so THQ wouldn't get in trouble for the game being the way it was, and when I started saying how bad it was, that's when he'd instigate a fight between me and a community member, so as to lose all my credibility, and so it wouldn't spread to anyone who's not a forum goer or WWE and THQ share holders.
Now, THQ's already in a world of financial trouble, with the stock split (Which was an emergency move after being threatened to be de-listed from NASDAQ for trading below a dollar for so long), ADIDAS suing them for 10 million because they failed to make a game with their sponsored tie in, and the Wii U failing. What am I gonna do, to great big THQ, that they need to silence me?lol I mean, the fact they put this terrible game on the market, and offer no refund and to not have a flawless, problem free replacement is illegal in it self, along with deceptive advertising due to the features it hyped not working properly or at all. They did this to themselves. Not me.
To this day, the servers still don't work right, they never added in Shawn Michaels' personalized commentary audio (Which Marcus admitted to me that the team flat out just forgot to include on the disc), story designer still is a disaster filled glitch and bug fest, the reversals glitch and are horribly unresponsive, and they completely took out the only helpful glitch, that allowed users to place Paint Tooled logos and ingame logos over the breast, crotch and buttocks areas that the game normally blurs out as a censoring safe guard (A few jerks who made completely nude caws one year, and uploaded them). They hurt the community every year, by making terrible games, that they say we have a part in shaping (Yeah, right), just to spite us. Wake up THQ. This is the reason Dana pulled UFC's game license from you, and WWE eventually will too. Apparently though, you want that from rumors I've heard. You're so deep in the red that you want to purposely fuck up games till all your licensed clients pull them, and you're free of any legal liability. Why don't you just make us sign a waiver when we buy a game, that if you make a game that doesn't work, its not your fault, but ours!lol
I want THQ, Marcus, caws (Especially Ernez, Joel, Status and ThreeG) you just don't treat people like crap and get away with it. It comes back to haunt you. 200 people signed, in agreement with me, my petition to boycott THQ and their games, their WWE franchise in particular. You just can't treat long time, loyal, respected members of a community like trash. You don't just slap together a shit game and force feed it to us, and act like we should just run out and take it, with smiles on our faces cause your the only wrestling game around. You're seeing the effects of that attitude.
So in closing, Sianara THQ. You'll be out of business faster than the Titanic sank, and caws.ws, you'll be lucky to have any active members left in a year. Marcus, you ruined what took me so long to build, my reputation online as nice person, cost me a few friends, and an online forum account. Never once got an apology from him. And thanks to most of the WWE gaming community. Most of you helped this mess happen in the first place by backing me when you moaned about the game, but never stepping up to back me when the time came. From now on, you buy a bad THQ WWE game, you're all on your own.