I used to totally hate Steam. Now I’m merely disgusted with it. Progress!
Steam, for those that don’t know, is the premier PC storefront and games library. This is quite sad, because Good Old Games (and/or their launcher, Galaxy) should be the premier PC storefront and games library.
See, unlike Steam, Good Old Games actively avoid using Digital Rights Management (DRM).
DRM is why certain single-player games have to be online, which is stupid and superfluous and nobody can ever convince me otherwise. It’s also why you need to have like 3 different accounts to play one single game – looking directly at you, Halo: The Master Chief Collection with your still-not-fixed-since-launch audio issues.
I might not think much of The Witcher game series (SMASH THAT DISLIKE BUTTON) but I have a lot of respect for CD Projekt Group, the group that makes and publishes them. I mention that because CD Projekt Group also run Good Old Games.
Oh wait, this article is supposed to be about Steam, not the vastly superior Good Old Games. My bad.
Instead of using bland screenshots of random parts of the Steam interface, I’ll be using screenshots from random games. See if you can guess which game the screenshot is from! I’ll pop the answers at the end because I love you.
I Didn’t Use Steam Because They Didn’t Want Me To
I could probably summarise this first part in a few sentences, but I’m not going to.
Way way back in the olden-timey days of 2016 I discovered (via Steam) a free-to-play ARPG (Action/RPG) MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game called Marvel Heroes. Basically, it was Diablo but with Marvel characters and also not run by a bunch of greedy liars. It was an MMO so at least it had a good reason for having an online-only requirement. UNLIKE DIABLO III.
You’d choose a hero to unlock, and then you’d play through the game world, interacting with various Marvel characters and gaining levels and powers and skills and all that fun Action-RPG stuff. You could then unlock other characters, or costumes/skins for characters you already owned. You could unlock some through playing the game, others required money.
My main character was Wolverine, because of course it was. Call me a comic hipster (Liam, you’re a comic hipster – The Editor) but I was into Wolverine long before the X-Men movies came along and plastered him everywhere, giving everyone Wolverine burnout.
Don’t get me wrong: Hugh Jackman was awesome, even in the bad movies – but that’s not the point.
Anyway, I wanted to use one of the non-default skins for Wolverine. All you Fortnite players out there, you know what I’m talking about. I can’t remember which skin it was, but I’m pretty sure it was Wolverine’s brown suit.
So I pony up the money via Steam.
How Giving Money To Steam Is Supposed To Work
I don’t know if gaming on console works like this, but here’s how it works for me on Steam:
- – In the game, click ‘buy Marvel-Hero-dollars or whatever’ so you can buy the in-game items you want
- – Steam pops up and asks you to put money in your Steam wallet so you can but the Marvel-Hero-dollars
- – You put money in your Steam wallet via your bank account
- – Steam asks you to confirm your purchase
- – Steam says ‘Yo, your wallet is sorted, you can get back to purchasing the thing in the game now’
- – The Steam popup closes
- – The game asks you to confirm your purchase of Marvel-Hero-dollars
- – You confirm the purchase
- – You now have Marvel-Hero-Dollars to purchase your brown Wolverine suit
How Giving Money To Steam Didn’t Work
Except, no, you don’t have Marvel-Hero-dollars because Steam took your money and didn’t deliver the goods. I contact the makers of Marvel Heroes and they’re like ‘We didn’t get the money from Steam yet‘. So I contact my bank and they’re like ‘The money has definitely gone to Steam and they’ve taken it‘. I then wait for a week to give Steam a chance, and then – well…
This next part, I will summarise: I contact Steam to ask what’s up with that and they’re like ‘Well we got your money so it worked‘ and I’m like ‘Well I didn’t get the purchase so it didn’t work‘ and they’re like ‘Stop complaining, it obviously worked‘ and I’m like ‘I’ll stop complaining when I have my damn goods, here – LOOK – I have just sent you proof from the company that runs Marvel Heroes that states quite clearly that I didn’t receive my Marvel-Hero-bucks from them because they never received the money from you‘.
I cannot stress enough that I was polite in my messages to Steam during this time. Was I heated? Yes, definitely. Was I abusive? No, definitely not.
So please imagine my absolute befuddlement (damn that’s a good word) when Steam RESTRICTED MY ACCOUNT SO THAT I COULD NO LONGER PURCHASE ITEMS ON STEAM AT ALL.
- – I tried to buy something via Steam
- – The goods were not delivered
- – I try to find out why this happened
- – Steam accused me of lying
- – I provide proof that I’m not lying
- – Steam says ‘You may no longer buy anything from us ever again’.
At this stage – and for the following few years – I’m just like ‘You don’t want my money? FINE. YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE COMPANY CAN GO FU-‘ yeah you get the idea.
In fact, this is why I even found out about Good Old Games in the first place. I wish I’d know about them in the early days before I even had a Steam account, so I’d never had to make one to begin with.
Steam Continues To Be Crap
I still occasionally used Steam to play the games I already owned, and to chat with my gaming buddies. One of them tried to buy me a game for my birthday but it turns out I wasn’t even allowed to receive gifts.
I complained to Steam about this and they were basically like ‘Well you must have done something wrong or else your account wouldn’t be restricted‘, to which I simply replied ‘The only thing I did wrong was not let you steal from me‘. I didn’t hear back from them.
I also contacted the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about it and they were like ‘We can’t help you with Steam, but we can help you get the items in Marvel Heroes if you give us the details of the company that made it‘.
Unfortunately, Marvel Heroes had been shut down by that time. And for those who are curious: I ended up getting the Brown Wolverine costume I wanted via in-game events anyway.
Steam Magically Forgives Me
2-3 years after that I get a message out of the blue from Valve (the people who run Steam):
‘It has come to our attention that your account was unfairly restricted. All restrictions have now been lifted and your account privileges have been returned to normal.‘
I guess my money was magically good enough for them again.
A lot of decent games have come out on Steam since then, games that aren’t on Good Old Games (such as Vermintide 2 or Hellgate: London). So, in some ways, I’m glad to be back on Steam in the full splendour of my previous glory.
And I did get me money back in the end, after the ACCC and my bank helped me.
So that’s nice, I guess.
Did you guess the games from the pictures?
Title: X-Com 2
Pic 1: Vermintide 2
Pic 2: DC Universe Online, obviously
Pic 3: Deep Rock Galactic
Pic 4: Marvel Heroes, more obviously
Pic 5: Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3, because nobody uses the word ‘ultimate’ properly anymore.
Pic 6: Fallout Shelter
Pic 7: The Forest
Pic 8: Left 4 Dead 2