TLDR: As a r/patientgamers, I wait until all updates are out for a game before buying. I generally advise others to do so as well. But then I thought, if EVERYONE followed my advice, then we wouldn't have all those early adopters paying to beta test the game, and thus problems won't ever get discovered and fixed. And I would miss out on some potentially great games that released in a poor state but could be polished to perfection.
Should those early adopters be rewarded in some way, for spending the time and energy playing through the often buggy and incomplete release versions of games? We might say, "being able to play the game early is reward enough", but these days we all have limited time and unlimited backlogs, I think it's quite a sacrifice to spend your precious hours on buggy, incomplete games, when you could be playing something older and perfected. Without these early adopters, many games wouldn't be supported long enough to reach their best states.
Maybe game companies need to offer similar things to pre-order bonuses for players who early adopt games?
So, one of my favorite games, Pathfinder Kingmaker, received a console port a little while ago. Kingmaker was famously incredibly buggy on release on PC, but the developers were quite dedicated to it, and after a year or two of updates the PC version is in good shape. It's one of my favorite CRPGs of all time, due to how it ticks all my boxes so precisely.
As one of the r/patientgamers, my policy is to only buy games when it looks like all possible updates and DLCs are released, and everything in a 50% off bundle or better.
So, when Kingmaker console versions were released, sadly the devs did not avoid the mistakes of the past, and they were game-breakingly buggy. Like savegame corruption and unable to save error buggy, which is about the most unforgivable bugs you can have in an RPG. There has been some patches since, but it's still not great. Hopefully they don't give up on it.
Anyways, when the console version was released I was telling people left and right in the Kingmaker subreddit not to buy or play the game for at least 6-12 months, until all the problems were fixed. But then I realised, if EVERYONE followed my advice, then those problems would never get fixed – the game wouldn't make enough sales, and there wouldn't be enough beta-tester-players to find and report the issues.
These are people who suffer through a 100+ hour game, crashing every few hours, losing all their progress due to corrupted saves, losing hours of progress due to saves not working, etc. Not to mention paying full price for the privilege. It made me feel like they should be rewarded somehow for their sacrifice, rather than mocked for their impatience/foolishness.
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