Does this game work out off the box for you? No! a stunning 47.33% of the responders answered! MP is nearly unplayable someone claimed! Are we talking about Civilization V? No! These are comments on Civ4!. Just after it's release the Civ IV Forums were flooded with complains and cries for help. Was Civilization IV a tragedy? Not at all. After a slow start many (if not most) considered Civ4 to be the best Civgame ever! Even one of the most skeptical Civ-Fans, yin26, in the end had to Eat the Civ4 box as he promised to do if Civ4 would live up to his high expectations!
How did Civ4 become such legendary iteration in the series after such a slow start? The answer is: Patching! And not only patching, also the expansions, Warlords in 2006 and Beyond the Sword in 2007, expanded the game into something great!
Now we have Civilization V and many complains are filling the forums again. Will Civ5 have a future nonetheless? Let's learn from the past! Let's learn from Civ4. Can we trust Firaxis and 2K Games to deliver? The answer is YES! In 2005 Civilization IV was released. The game was released on October 25th 2005. The first major patch was released on November 23rd (v1.09). The game continued to received patches until July 20th 2007!!. That's a stunning 2 years after it's release!. v1.74 was the 4th huge patch for Civilization IV. (1.52 on Dec 23rd 2005, 1.61 on April 13th 2006). The famous SDK and Pitboss server were released with the 1.61 patch.
Before the first major patch was released, Firaxis released a note about the upcoming patch in which Firaxis gave some info about what to expect. Similar but not as detailed as the Civ5 patch update we got from 2K through Greg Laabs this week.
In 2006 the Expansion Pack Civilization IV: Warlords was released (July 24th) and in 2007 Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword (July 18th). While Warlords was considered to be a minimal addition to the basic game, Beyond the Sword was hailed as a huge expansion, introducing corporations, espionage and many new civilizations and scenarios. Patching didn't stop with the release of these XP's! Beyond the Sword shipped with a patch for the dated 'vanilla' game! This latest XP received patches up till October 6th 2009!. That's 2 years after it's initial release and 4 years after the release of Civilization IV. (This patch included a change that removed the need for the CD or DVD to play the game!)
Does this mean that Civilization V will also be supported for many years? That the problems and bugs in Civ5 also will certainly be fixed? No, not for sure. In the Gaming Industry the past doesn't give any warranties for the future. We can conclude that 2K Games and Firaxis have deserved a lot of trust from the Fan Community though. It is impossible to expect gaming companies to release perfect bugfree games out of the box in this day and age, especially for Personal Computers. Companies have to deal with share holders and must make, after all, profit. The gaming industry can earn credits by supporting a game till it's finished. And that's what we will do again!
Many civfans bought Civilization V while knowing it would not be perfect immediately. But we bought it with the knowledge that Firaxis lived up to our expectations and 2K would fund patches. And in the meantime we enjoy the game nonetheless. And not only Civilization V! Also Civ4 is still being played by many!