The Good the Bad and the Ugly
Welcome to The article that wasn’t meant to be. I tried writing this 3 times before I got something I was willing to publish.
The views in this article are my own. The opinions expressed here are all based on my personal experiences and do not Necessarily match those of any one else here at Black Screen gaming.
I think it is important to start this by talking a little about where Swamp started, and my early experiences with the game.
Swamp started as a small project by Aprone for Halloween back in 2011. A small game that was never meant to stand the test of time, but it turned out people liked the game quite a lot.
As time went on Aprone started adding more to the game. It started with adding more weapons then expanding the single map. From there things like armor and the online mode were added. More maps, missions, A Hardcore mode, more items, Zombie types and after just a few years that single player small game had become a Fully-Realized MMO.
As the game got bigger both in size and in popularity an important choice was made. Swamp became a paid game.
Enter the Kaldobsky gamer account, This was and still is a subscription based system in which for 24 dollars you got an account which allows access to any of Aprone’s online games and 12 months of time. Additional lots of 6 months could be added for just 12 dollars.
This account also had the benefit that if you didn’t log in during a month no time was taken. This allows you to take a break but not lose money.
I myself never played Swamp during its free to play time so I can not comment on how things were both game and community wise.
Having played offline a little in September 2014 I finally bit the bullet and bought an account.
This game reminded me of things I had heard about from sighted friends and family. I wanted to try it so badly, and Swamp didn’t disappoint.
The mechanics of Swamp captured my attention in a way no game ever had before. The fact I would go on to play for more than 4 years speaks volumes to how good those mechanics are.
I found my self using a mouse for the first time in my life. The feel of using a mouse to run and shoot while using my other hand on my keyboard to check stats, switch weapons, load weapons and anything else was so incredible.
The game play was immersive in a way no game up to that point and few games since have been for me.
Getting used to this system took time, but once you did it became an amazing experience. After you get used to controlling your character, suddenly you can go exploring and that is an adventure all on its own.
From getting stuck in the church on map one, to learning all the little rooms on Sub 1, to the hidden gems on map 5 this game had so much to find and explore.
All of this while leveling up your character, collecting armor and weapons and most importantly killing thousands of zombies.
One final note before we move on. During my first year of play several updates were released for the game. After each update bugs were found, then smaller updates would be released to address the new bugs. I still remember after the release of 3.4 the game was so buggy a roll back of 2 weeks had to happen, but the bugs were dealt with for the most part and the game play got better with new things to do.
The mechanics may have been good but what of the community on Swamp?
A friendly Environment
Having been online for several years going in to my time on Swamp I had got used to a certain level of online communication. That being said…I had never really found my way in to a community. Flitting from game to game I made friends but those friendships were minimal at best and few of them lasted the test of time.
The community on Swamp was built up, and for an outsider it seemed like a terrifying place to find myself. The first time I logged in everyone was chatting, It was so strange and bizarre Seeing people have normal conversations and act like they all new each other.
After a while I started seeing my name pop up once or twice. People seeing a new person who clearly had no idea what they were doing. The weirdest thing was they were offering help and advice.
As I got used to this idea I started making friends who helped me navigate from that tough period between complete novice, to being able to stay alive.
Some of the people I met in my first few months on Swamp have gone on to become some of my best friends. Even now months since I played Swamp the people I talk to on a daily basis include several players from those first few months.
But back to the point I was making here…this was all part of an amazing community of people. Yes there were people that others didn’t like and arguments did pop up from time to time, But for the most part this was a community of amazing people where everyone could feel welcome.
Where did the updates Go?
I experienced my first big update in December 2014 with the release of 3.4.
During the next 6 to 8 months Swamp would go through several updates bringing its version to 3.6.
However after this time the updates became few and far between. When I quit in April 2019 the game was on version 3.8.
To put that another way.
During my first year of playing we went from Swamp version 3.3 to 3.6. In my last 3 and a half years of play we went from version 3.6 to 3.8.
It is also important to speak of how the game held up during those times.
During my first year bugs did come up from time to time, However these bugs were being addressed. updates like 3.4B brought in bug fixes for the previous version.
It is hard to expect a game to just never have bugs. Yes I know Swamp is tested, but some times things are missed. We are all only human after all, and things can go wrong.
After a while updates stopped coming, and bugs started hanging around for much longer periods of time.
Long standing bugs became a common thing on Swamp and these continue to plague the game to this day.
A Down Hill Trend
Where has that community that I spoke so highly of gone?
The division between groups of people on Swamp over the years has become more and more apparent.
Arguments and personal attacks have become the norm. It doesn’t matter who you are, this should not be acceptable!
During my final months on Swamp I saw people attack others for everything from sexuality to mental and physical health.
I both experienced and saw others get told to go kill themselves as well as every insult from being called Whores to Parasites.
This behavior is absolutely not acceptable. I could name and shame people for this, but the honest truth is these players were able to get away with this behavior because Aprone didn’t do anything about it.
Where We Are Now
So I guess the question you have to ask is where are we now?
Those mechanics I talked about at the start are still there. But they are disappearing under a layer of bugs some of which negatively impact the functions on Swamp.
With out the updates which in some cases should have come years ago it has become a challenge to do things that instead of bringing a sense of joy and achievement just lead to frustration and anger.
The community of amazing people is now broken and fractured by the actions of certain players, or chased away because of abuse and bugs.
For me the bugs and frustration with the lack of updates was nearly enough to stop me playing. The abuse I received coming at a difficult time was what made me realize I had to leave. Part of my leaving also comes down to this next point.
It is Still A paid Game
When a game cost money the question you always have to ask yourself is.
Is what I am paying for worth the cost?”
4 years ago I would have said. Two dollars a month was nothing, and the cost for Swamp was worth it.
However if you were to put that question to me now, my answer would be simply no.
Between bugs that don’t seem to be getting fixed any time soon. Content that doesn’t seem to be coming. And a community that can get away with saying and doing what they please at the expense of all others. You would be better putting that money towards any number of better things.
My final statement here I now speak directly to you Aprone.
You may never read this article. If you do you may see it as nothing more then a player who has been burned and is out to do some damage.
The truth is I honestly respect what you did years ago in building Swamp. It was, and still could be the best Audio game that exists.
But the decline of Swamp means it’s no longer what it has been, and you need to make some changes or it will never recover.
I have addressed my issues here but the question is what are the solutions.
I know how easy it can be to find faults and how much harder finding solutions to those faults can be.
I offer the following advice not because I think I know best. But because I am a person who played Swamp for years and even if I never touch the game again. I would love to see it return to what it was and let other people experience the joy I felt all those years ago.
First” Fix the bugs. This seems obvious but really it’s the one thing that is dragging Swamp down the most. Forget about new features and address the bugs making it difficult to play the game with out getting frustrated.
Second: Consider having a moderator or even a couple of moderators who can help address the falling standards of chat on Swamp.
Third: Give some serious thought to the way current functions like Hardcore might be contributing to some of the above issues.
Aprone I understand that you are just one man and you have a job and family. But Swamp is something you created and charge people for playing.
So I ask this as a person in this community addressing the developer of one of the best games I have ever played.
Please don’t let what Swamp is now be the thing most of us remember when Swamp is gone.
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