"Forged" - Beyond the Limit
As with every minor breakthrough, there is usually an even larger tragedy which follows. The following events took place through mid-to-late 2011, and the describe the other issues within our game as well as the hacking that took place.
Once again, the company known as Nexon had become cocky. The company figured that, with the recent (yet temporary) approval ratings they received, they had finally gotten the hang of things and could finally move on with the backing of the Community.
Unfortunately, this was the farthest thing from the truth. At first, Nexon's bug-fixing policy did too little. Then it went into overdrive until it bordered on aggravating. Too many silly issues were being "fixed" instead of those that needed to be dealt with. To make matters worse, Nexon proved that they knew more than they showed when they literally had to nerve to ASK the Community to choose a bug that, in their opinion, caused the most pressing issues, so that the company could "focus their efforts" on fixing that particular error (out of a poll!). Eventually, they stopped fixing bugs entirely; and went back on their words by releasing pointless new content (such as GE-forged weapons and a new mode).
Attempting to complete events became futile once again, when the requirements became impossible to meet. For time-related events, players could not log on or STAY ON for the specified time because the servers were always experiencing issues that were never fixed. For most other events and mini-missions, players were required to achieve insane tasks or purchase costly items; and most of the time, the rewards were simply never given out.
The "Zero-Tolerance" policy proved to be shallow and self-contradictory, as hackers were not un-mercilessly punished as many had believed (or wished for). Many of these hackers were banned for a few days, before they came back and simply continued to hack. The excuse this time? These people were paying customers too (clearly), and they needed to be treated with "respect" and "fairness." Yet the thousands of players who faithfully contribute to Nexon's revenue, especially those who are commonly and unjustly banned, did not receive treatment even CLOSE to what the hackers had been awarded. When asked why it was called "Zero-Tolerance" if the true concept of zero-tolerance was not being used, the company simply shrugged it off without answering.
One of the most prominent mistakes that were made during this time revolve around the fact that Nexon also went ahead with the release of the so-called "Gun Emporium," which did not turn out like anyone had expected. Instead of the stable, reasonable, and universally-coveted weapon-trading system that many had been hoping for, players were left with a silly, pointless "shop" which allowed players to upgrade only NX Items with a few "modifications", all of which had a percentage of failure.
In other words, the weapon-scrolling system so commonly seen in Nexon's other games (such as Vindictus and especially MapleStory) had been implemented into CA, a supposedly "fast-paced FPS" (which uses modern firearms!) that operated in real-time strategic combat. Eventually, it would lead to schemes such as "evolving items" such as plants that would yield rewards in exchange for in-game play time.
Only after persistent badgering did the company finally allow other, uncommon GP weapons to be modified as well.
Though the GE was supposed to be a "different" way to modify and customize weapons, the original Modification system (suppressors, scopes) remained limited in variety and drowning in unused potential.
"Newer" weapons were also released, mostly (Civil-War Era) historical weapons that were somehow even more overpowered than most modern weapons (note that no historical weapons from any other era have been featured), and immature toy weapons that were almost CERTAINLY aimed at a younger audience, such as the Guitar, Box, Squirt, Alien, Baguette, and Toy Guns.
When accused of such, Nexon simply denied it, stating that they aimed to add some "lightheartedness" to an otherwise "serious game." The very same people who decided that turkey legs and nut-shots were of the utmost gravity.
Their statement left players to consider the half-naked female Specialists also featured in the game, and how they were aimed at a younger audience to add some so-called "lightheartedness" as well...
The community's response? Why was Nexon so "serious" about their intent to make money and generate self-profit, yet not serious at all about the important concerns within their game?
Many players agreed that Nexon could have easily made more money if they simply followed the advice of the Community, their most loyal customers and the spearhead of their revenue. If they stayed reasonable and gave the Community what the wanted without overdoing it, they could have a happy fanbase, not break the limits or topple the balance of the game, and STILL make a great profit.
Nexon could have also polled the community before and after an addition to the game, to recieve players' approval and get an idea of what the community really wanted.
Instead, they completely ignored the help of their players, especially the "high-class elite" who frequented the Nexon Forums.
In further "response" to that commonly-shared belief within the Community, Nexon stated that it was not their intention to do such a thing and that they were working towards the best for everyone.
And for obvious reasons, most players ignored the company's statement and listed the true facts:
For Nexon, Money > Quality, basic listening skills, and all known methods of reason.
Promises are constantly made, yet never followed through. As they had been for years.
If promises are indeed followed through, they are done so in the best way possible and the end result is always great.
In other words, there are always half-done or completely unrelated solutions to the most pressing issues within the game.
Hacking was once again at an all-time high, and a cheap "hacking-prevention" program did nothing to stop it. The mysterious "Nexon Guard/Black Cipher" program that had been so blatantly advertised for so long, which was supposed to prevent hacking and give the company a better measure of how to prevent hacking, had done little-to-nothing in the long run except to take up RAM and make the game experience even WORSE.
The Report System was a failure, as was the Customer Service portal, where problems were almost never addressed and left to collect dust.
Instead of referring to a reliable (and public/free-to-use) outside source, such as the CBL or YouTube for evidence of hacking, Nexon seemingly banned or suspended players at random.
All of the obvious evidence, collected by thousands of their loyal players, time-after-time, were ignored and left alone.
Perhaps once every blue moon would a guilty hacker be banned, and even then, by chance.
And despite all of that, the assistance that their Community's players required was not given, and for the ticket-holders, even the most basic needs were not addressed.
Lag was, clearly, a major issue. Even the most enthusiastic players, with their specialized gaming computers, could not resist the server-wide lag. If that was to be believed, then consider the average player; a young child, who along with many others like his/her kind, make up the CA community. He or she most likely plays on a simple computer WITHOUT a decent graphics card, because he or she is only a casual gamer.
And just begin to imagine how the lag might have affected them.
Glitches and other major exploits such as "shifting," "powerleveling," "shoulderpeeking," and the ever-decreasing EXP/GP rates were (barely) addressed as a last-ditch effort, while the true long-standing, prominent glitches such as camping on the crates at Warhead, the roof of Junk Flea (Bravo site), and several other places were clearly ignored.
And even then, the details regarding the subject of glitching were vague and punishments were empty. ("susceptible to a ban" for violations).
When the EXP/GP rates were FINALLY addressed, it brought two more issues: the fact that the rates were STILL not as high as they used to be (and Nexon practically admitted that they were secretly nerfing the rates the entire time, without telling the Community), and the unparalleled powerleveling that came afterwards.
Glitches like the ranking system were left completely unaddressed. There were at least 30+ GOAs at any time, and other versions of CA began to experience the same issues.
Elite Moderators, rage-kicking, megaphone advertisements, threats, and hate attacks on other players or clans. All seemingly uncontrollable, yet clearly too simple to solve. Elite Mods could kick straight to the channel lobby with a built-in auto-F6 feature?
Meanwhile, a F2P vote-kick was susceptible to room crashes from the guy in the room lobby, who usually just hung around until the next game to repeat the process.
At this point, there were too many more issues that can't even be addressed at this point.
Here is an example of some advice given by Nexon a while back: "To avoid being rage-kicked, simply play in a non-Elite room. When it's their room, it's their rules, and they can do whatever they please."
So basically, immature people who bought their way to power were allowed to do anything they liked. The ratio of non-Elite/Elite rooms was ever-dwindling. These "Elites" hosted entire game-abusive rooms and kicked anyone who interfered with their powerleveling.
Elite Moderators were able to kick an ENTIRE OPPOSING CLAN from the game, which gives them an automatic Clan War victory.
So much for not being able to "buy victory".
And yet, how would this advice have helped benefit anyone?
The unbridgeable chasm known as the "balance" between GP and NX users was at an all-time worst. Combat Arms' eternal "pledge" to stay a balanced, F2P game had clearly been voided years ago; when the first NX-Only and NX-Advantageous items, which many consider to be overpowered, were released.
When the company began releasing NX weapons at a 5(or more)-to-1 ratio compared to GP weapons, giving GP users no variety, no options, and no respect.
And when a majority of events required you to obtain an NX-Only item, making the only available option to spend real-life money.
And yet---that pledge is still maintained and clung to.
For example, quoting from the so-called "F2P pledge" (which has been since been "edited" several times to suit the latest releases):
"...we believe that in any first-person shooter, being able to use real money...sucks. It makes the game dependent on money and not skill (thus defeating the purpose of Free-to-Play), and skill is what a first-person shooter is all about."
A "game which is dependent on skill and not money" is Nexon's definition of a F2P game, instead of a game that requires money to constantly play? Then clearly, Combat Arms is not a F2P game. Typically, the company made it even more obvious when they created and annulled their own "definition" of F2P, something even the most basic of lawyers can address in court.
"...to buy an uber gun...No point in competing if some new guy has a mystical weapon with magic bullets that always seem to find your head". 'So, no unbalanced weapons will be bought with Nexon Cash, ever. If you're looking for the Golden Gun that will help you pwn everything with one shot, look elsewhere, because it's not here. Skills are not bought, they are earned."
Well, not only can a multitude of unbalanced weapons be bought with NX-Cash, but eventually; a very, very small selection of those weapons can be bought with a VASTLY incomparable amount of GP.
"Mystical weapon with magic bullets that always seem to find your head"
And behold, the dawn of the pre-nerfed Auto-Turret. Not to mention all the unpunished powerleveling that was achieved with it (as with Quarantine). And it's not the only weapon out there.
"Unbalanced weapons that can only be bought with NX Cash"
To name a few: the WA2000, T-2, Civil War muskets, etc.And the list goes on.
Specialists and their so-called gear? A player could spend less than 10K NX for a full-duration specialist and gear.
Yet a very high-rank and an extremely large amount of GP is required to obtain simply the Specialist itself, for a very limited duration. And even then, gear and extra-slot licenses must be bought separately (which are even more expensive than the individual Specialist).
Altogether, the combined GP cost can easily exceed 50K GP; all for something less than 7 days, as well as something that most people hate and will not let you use without discrimination.
For one, it takes a lot of time and effort to make any money at all anymore, without investing in NX.
And while these slim-modelled characters get to use weapons such as Airstrikes, Miniguns, Satellite Scanners, ammo replenishers and even team-friendly FIRST AID KITS; other players who lack NX and a high amount of GP are stuck with a bulky character model, with no special capabilities (who can't even swim) at all.
How much skill does it take to press a button or set down a bunch of spiky Caltrops?
Unfortunately, a LTC, COL, or even the General of the Army clearly doesn't have the clearance (or "authority") to be able to use such items.
While a mere Specialist can.
The Recon Vest and Cyclops Bandana? Unrivaled by any other GP item; the Light Vest and Military Bandana don't even come close. And it takes every single bit of skill possible to even be on-par these NX-Gear users, who usually don't even try and rage when they are overcome.
Yet there are hardly any GP-equivalent items. If any.
Overpowered NX stuff that can only be OBTAINED by using NX? They easily outclass most GP weapons, and are released at a more frequent interval than GP items. If more-and-more GP items were released, perhaps it wouldn't be such an issue.
But when almost ALL-BUT-ONE HOLIDAY ITEMS are released as NX-Only, you know you've pushed the limit. And yet, there's always that one, useless GP item (released alongside the other holiday items) looks stupid, is still just as expensive, but gives almost no beneficial bonuses.
When was the last time you saw some excellent, easy-to-obtain GP items be released?
And when F2P players DO get a decent weapon (ex. the G36E), Nexon somehow comes up with an NX-Only variant of the gun that puts the original model to shame.
Supply/Renewal/GP Crates? Of course, they happen to be NX-Only. The MYST-G is practically useless; why buy a GP item to get a GP item?
And to spend 4,000 GP for a reward consisting of a common one-day weapon (that can't even be sold back) is just... worthless.
Which brings us to: GP Crates.
Once again, honestly. Players have to BUY NX to get GP?
Thanks to the still-nerfed EXP/GP rates (disregarding Fireteam...), players are left with almost no choice but to constantly waste large amounts of GP each day, for a weapon with a very limited duration; against the skill-less, NX-wielding players.
Players spend their hard-earned GP on a one-day weapon, but who really plays for one whole day?
And yet, those weapons continue to expire, even during maintenance and patches, and yet nothing is done to reimburse the Community for it (not until recently, if barely...)
Releases are never on-time, as excused are made before they are always delayed. Players dread the words "scheduled maintenance" because the schedule is never adhered to, and the word "extended" is always involved. Instead of performing maintenance during the late hours, when hardly any players are on, Nexon chooses to begin smack-dab in the middle of a busy day, with no reason or explanation why as to their motives.
And yet, the stuff that Nexon does to "make-up" for these issues remain forgotten, never fulfilled, of poor quality, or late as well ("we will be handing out the rewards during the next content update" or "over the next two months," statements often made right after an event, especially after a Content Update).
When "responding" via the State of the Game address, Nexon simply makes excuses (as always) and once again, completely ignore the key points which had been addressed before.
Constructively negative comments were ignored in favor of the haphazard posts which praised Nexon for its dedication and efforts.
To make matters worse, players continue to support Nexon through all kinds of ways; many of whom didn't even know they were doing so.
Simply entering a contest, participating in an event, posting in the Forums, remaining silent, or openly supporting new features; these are all ways which you can support Nexon, something not limited to just buying NX.
Support for their many employees, in-and-out of game (who are just as to blame), continues to rise amongst those who don't any know better.
Criticism of the company is at an all-time high, and the number of leaving customers continues to rise.
The Community's point heir point is said to have been proven: Nexon never listens.
Players continue to wonder why they played a game (which many of them payed for), yet the owners never connected with the Community or followed through with simple demands...