Ask a Game Dev 2022-04-06 19:01:05

Not in the way the review bombers hope. We already know that there’s a vocal and passionate fanbase for our game out there - that’s a major reason why we employ community managers. And we know when they’re upset. But it’s like throwing a tantrum - it might feel good while you’re doing it and you leave a huge mess, but it won’t ultimately change anything that wasn’t going to happen already anyway.


All review bombing really does is (continue to) convince both publishers and developers that user reviews aren’t worth anything. We already hold a pretty low opinion of user reviews because they are almost never representative of the actual opinions of the user base, but they are sometimes useful for specific feedback on things. User reviews are, after all, self-selecting by nature. Only players that feel really strongly about a game will leave a review, which makes their reviews sometimes more detailed than others in specific systems. Brigading reviews just makes everything unreadable and makes user reviews useless for actually gathering feedback. 


Review bombs aren’t real reviews, and they don’t provide any real feedback. They are an angry reaction to some thing that’s enacted by a [small, passionate, and vocal part of the fanbase], a message borne out of frustration. However, the frustration part isn’t because the developers or publishers haven’t heard the complaints before; it’s because the devs haven’t acknowledged the issue to the satisfaction of the angry mob, so the mob feels they must act out negatively. Review bombs usually happen for a specific reason - Dota 2 was review bombed because the bombers wanted HL3 and had practically nothing to do with Dota 2. It’s not like Valve isn’t aware of the community’s hunger for HL3 (or HL2 episode 3), but it really doesn’t help much when an entirely separate team gets a bunch of noise to cloud up their signal. 


Thus, review bombs don’t help anybody. New Dota2 players might get weirded out by the bad reviews and might not get to find a game they actually might enjoy. Hardcore HL fans won’t get any more traction with Valve than before (which was already basically zero). Valve already knows what the HL fans want and has their own schedule and development going on. We don’t look at players more sympathetically because they tried to trash a game; it just makes us think of that small group of players as throwing a tantrum. Nobody on the development or publishing side has ever changed their minds because of a review bomb. 

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