Since the announcement of Borderlands 3 as yet another timed exclusivity deal with the Epic Store, some players have performed mass protest by review bombing the Steam store pages of the first 2 Borderlands games with negative reviews. Unlike previous attempts where similar protests have occured, Valve has now decided to implemented a system of review moderation to address the matter.
In a statement released by Valve, the company announced that games with extraordinary review spikes would now have zero effect on the overall ratings listed at the top right corner of the store page (e.g. ‘Mostly Negative), or in other instances of having a preview of a game’s overall score. As a result of this new update, Valve has removed the options for what they call ‘off topic review activity’ to contribute to the overall score by means of a dedicated moderation team.
In essence, an anomalous spike in review scores will send an automatic notification to Valve’s moderation team, who will then personally analyze both the nature and time period of the reviews. If the situation amounts to review bombing, the developer of said game will be notified that some review content will be excluded from the game’s total score. Some 4000 reviews have been hidden from the first two Borderlands game stores, but Valve will nonetheless give users personal preference as to whether they want to continue seeing off topic review activity in Steam pages or not.
The Steam blog post explaining why Valve has decided to implement this feature states that it is in the interest of objective, fair reviews. For many players the Steam reviews are crucial, mass overviews of the games, and review bombing is an abuse of a system for which there are other, more appropriate outlets to voice dissatisfaction.
What do I think? Well, I buy games based on many reviews from many different sources, and not just Steam. Review bombing is too obvious as a protest movement while not actually being indicative of how the game plays. Besides, I just cannot bring myself to give negative judgement to a game which has had a huge impact on my life. There, 2 cents please!
[CORRECTION: The title of this article is inaccurate. The counter measure by Steam against review bombing was already implemented on the 15th of March. Borderlands 1 and two are actually just the first games in which the ‘off topic review activity’ has taken effect.]