Poll Question 342 – Do you think Valve should support multiple versions of each game?

16th April 2016

The BBC posted a news item about how Blizzard took a fan’s server offline that was running the original WOW game.

Now, you might be thinking that this poll is about what would happen if Steam went offline permanently, but it’s not.

What really got me curious was this quote from Blizzard: “The developers however prefer to see the game continuously evolve and progress, and as such we have no plans to open classic realms or limited expansion content realms.”.

I think it raises some interesting questions.

Should the developers force changes of the game onto players? It happens all the time and as players we don’t really have any say in that process. Maybe it’s technically too difficult for developers to allow multiple versions of each game.

Could each change be made an option? Unless it is security related, why not?

Well, perhaps for MP games that would be a HUGE issue. Playing against players with different settings could ruining the game for many and you obviously can’t have different servers for every combination of options.

But for SP games like the ones we know and love, perhaps it is possible.

In fact, what if it were a paid option? Would that interest you? If you apid, for example, 5 Dollars per game, you could ahve all the changes as options and if you didn’t you just got the changes and had to play the latest version.

What are your thoughts?

Time to vote

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  1. For Valve games I’d love to be able to boot up older versions.

    I think it’s something that could be more likely for SP games than MP. Having the ability to play older versions of an SP game doesn’t run the risk of fracturing the community as it would MP. I mean, there’s still no legal way to play HL2 pre-2005 and I don’t see why we can’t be able to.

    Although paying for older versions seems like a bit much, like something EA would do.

    1. This is exactly what I was going to write. I’d love to be able to get it from Steam rather than hunt down a pirated copy. I know that a lot of LAN parties even opt to use pirated versions of older CS games, be it for nostalgia or ease of setting up reasons and I can see how legally sharing an old version will pose a lot of issues, but being able to DL a seriously out of date version for free directly from Steam would feel so much safer and would possibly kill piracy.

  2. This is a weird question. For singleplayer games you could just install the version that you want. Yeah not that simple with steam, but doable, and they wouldn’t make drastic changes anyway.

    I bet some people want the original Team Fortress 2, but for that there are probably special servers or mods.

    This Blizzard incident is just the exception, I don’t know why they did that, it doesn’t affect anyone, except their sales maybe, but not really.

    All I can say is that developers should have a clear vision of what they want their game to be, but offer players lots of options so they can get the best experience. That doesn’t mean developers should make compromises though, I hate compromises.

  3. I think it´d be really awesome if we could choose the version of our games in the properties menu.
    Imagine if you could just play HL2 as it was in 2004, buggy, but you had pistol charging, forward bhopping and so on.

    A great example of this would be HL1.
    A lot of people, including me, replaced the “valve”-folder, with an older build of the folder.
    This re-enables the removed “special”-command, which allows for bunnyhopping scripts.
    This is crucial in multiplayer, it should be the standard. You just can´t play high-level HLDM without bhop scripts.

    I think it´s a bad example of the version picker, but Minecraft lets you pick versions from waaaay long ago. It´s really fun to play the Minecraft versions before the community turned to shit.


  4. Yep, I do. I really miss the original WON servers that ran more custom maps than today’s HL1 servers. (I don’t mean they’re bad tho)

  5. 2muchvideogames

    I know loads of developers will stop or beatdown fan creations/setups/whatever for any reason. Like for some games, developers have issued legal threats for even making mods of those games. There really are many things we take for granted for having half life being the most mod-friendly game ever.

  6. There are definitely logistical hurdles with supporting multiple versions of a game. In most cases, it doesn’t matter. Games are in and out of the public eye in a matter of weeks, if not days, and there is no long-term engagement. But for something like WOW, which has gone on for over a decade now, I do question the wisdom of shutting down a fan effort if they are willing to put in the effort themselves at zero expense to yourself.

  7. Zekiran

    Where there is demand, there should be product. I would absolutely love to see proper fully-enabled versions of Valve’s games (and anyone else’s that have undergone significant changes) available to people who would like to use or play them.

    The shutdown of that WoW server hit home for me, because in 2012 City of Heroes was murdered in its prime, and no amount of talks, legal wrangling, offers of significant sums, or player petitions could bring it back, even to the extent of allowing for a ‘dead’ archive server to exist. So … the players over in WoW know now, what it was like to watch something beloved be literally ripped away from them.

    Sure – it’s technically “blizzard’s playground” but it’s *stupid* to see that many people enjoying the game and NOT think, “well, there’s demand, instead of shutting it down we should just co-opt it and make them pay a fee to US.” Running servers is not cheap, particularly not ones which have THAT many people on them. (Hell I think that single legacy WoW server had as many players AS City of Heroes normally did on its 13…) Offering people the option to continue enjoying what they paid for originally, in its original format, if someone else is willing to do the work… It really seems like a no-brainer to me. It certainly hasn’t gained Blizzard any friends in the internet world, that’s for sure.

    But closer to this subject, even single player games have been heavily impacted by the changes to the engines that Valve has put into things. And while SOME of those changes have made the games nicer to look at or whatever – a lot of them have failed to produce almost any tangible results, AND have broken mods irrevocably in the process. Having access to each ‘phase’ of developed material without breaking it should be something that any company ought to think about.

    “If we send this update out, x% of the mods that people have made for the prior version will no longer work,” “who cares, they’re just mods and not our game”. That’s … kind of how it sounds like to me when I think on it. It feels very contradictory, in fact. They DO have tools, and they HAVE always supported the mod making community at Valve, but… then they pull changes that literally break half the mods out there.

    Not everyone knows how to create partitions or isolate different versions of the game engine to play older WON HL1, or pre-Episode 1 changes, etc. Facilitating that would be terrific, even if it’s a fan effort.

    But the answer I have is “yes, they should always make these legacy products available where there is demand”. there are certainly games which have only benefitted from their updates, but… sometimes you just shouldn’t mess with what people actually LIKE. It’s like saying “well all you Fiat owners are well and good but now we’re going to take your cars back, repaint them yellow, and you’ll like it that way because yellow is our standard color now.”

  8. GreenPepper

    I would not expect developers to support outdated versions of a game provided the updated versions are provided to the customer for free – with the exception of cases where the developer makes a promise to support outdated versions.

    As for having access to outdated versions, I definitely think they should be provided to the consumer. There are many cases where people have bought a game, been satisfied with what they received initially, but then felt like they got ripped off after receiving an update for it that ultimately broke more things than it fixed. To me, I view it as theft to essentially rob the consumer of what they paid for and replacing it with a copy that the developer decided is what they actually should use – without their consent.

    I do not think Valve or any other bloodsucking corporation will make any attempt to give more choice to the consumer unless they are forced to under pressure. Corporate fascists are religiously devoted to having as much power and wealth as possible. If Valve wishes to prove me wrong about this issue, then by all means I implore them to add this feature and give consumers more freedom of choice.

    1. I think I used the wrong word with support. I just meant “allow users to have access to all the major versions created independently”.

  9. galocza

    actually a mp game came to my mind reading this poll: counter-strike. id love to play 1.0/1.1 and 1.3. old maps, old rules.
    i loved cs until 1.3, suffered through 1.4 and from 1.5 i almost stopped playing until cs:s.
    concerning sp games i dont see the point. at least in the case of games i know sp games got better with updates.

  10. Curlyhoward

    Heck yeah. Steam stole that control away from us.
    Back in the day I had multiple patch versions WON Half Live installed on my hard drive. You needed them because the new patches broke mods that were classics, and newly released ones needed the newest patch.
    With Half Life 2 we are stuck at the mercy of steam, with more classic mods that are unplayable because of steam pipe that I can count. And seriously, why does SDK2007 decide it needs a full download update so often?

  11. Nah, I think we’re fine as is. Kinda.
    The shotgun troopers are fun in the main game (to me, they’re the biggest threats)
    However I would love to see pistol charging patched in as an official mechanic.

  12. Regarding paid versions of a single game, they already do that, sort of. For instance, Guacameele! has the Gold edition and the Super Turbo Championship Edition, both of which are separate products on Steam. I suppose you mean having one product with upgrades that you can roll back and forth if you pay, but developers already have this workaround to do pretty much that.

    I’m with ThatoneJeff on this one. My laptop isn’t exactly up to much in gaming these days, but one thing it ran smooth as butter was Half-Life 2, and that was enough for me. Since the Orange Box update years ago, though, all the extra graphical stuff actually hits performance a bit, and the difference to me is negligible. I’m more interested in gameplay than visuals and it’s not like HL2 doesn’t look like a 2004 game anyway even with fancy lighting tricks from 2008, so I’d much rather just play HL2 v1.0.

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