Friday, September 26, 2008

Flames of Fail

Battlefront, the makers of Flames of War, have some real issues.

Fail #1: They published the Festung Europa late war compilation book in 2006. Immediately upon release there were some obvious errors found in the book, but the company refused to issue official errata. Now, two years later, on the eve of releasing a new late war compilation book, they are finally issuing an errata for Festung Europa.

The errata begins with this line: "With Fortress Europe on the way, it's time to gather all of the corrections that have come up for the old Festung Europa." Wrong! It was time to do that as soon as the errors were found, not two years later! These guys act as if the creation of a pdf file is a major undertaking and not the process of a few minutes.

Fail #2: With the upcoming release of Fortress Europe, gamers have little reason to purchase any of the army books that have been released over the past two years. All the game statistics from those books will be part of Fortress Europe (presumably in correct form, since no errata were ever issued for those books either).

As a result, Battlefront and any retail outlet with remaining stock will be stuck with it. To alleviate this problem they've undertaken a promotion that they claim is to reward those who bought Festung Europa. Those who did are supposed to get a free army book when they buy Fortress Europe.

Fail #2, Problem #1: The people who are Battlefront's best customers and have bought all the books already get nothing from this deal. If this was really a promotion to reward those who bought Festung Europa, then it would be a discount for Fortress Europe.

Fail #2, Problem #2: It's not really a bonus for those who bought Festung Europa, it's a bonus for those who pre-order Fortress Europe. See, Battlefront isn't crediting stores for stock they already have, instead they are sending a free army book of the store's choice along with every copy of Fortress Europe they order. So, unless you get with your store when they make their pre-order, there's no guarantee that you'll be able to get the army book that you want. In the meantime, the program doesn't help the stores at all, since they don't get any credit for the books they already have.

I still hold out hope that one of these days Battlefront will return to the open, honest, and customer friendly policies they held when I was first attracted to the game, but in the meantime they continue to fail.

Correction: Now that Fortress Europe is out and I've been able to read a copy, I want to correct a mistaken assumption I made. It does not compile the lists from the other late-war army books, so those books aren't instantly obsolete as I had expected them to become. It also doesn't have all the same lists that were in Festung Europa, being only a subset of those lists due to the increased space that the new format takes up. My other points are still valid.

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