I used to be the biggest supporter of Evolve that I knew. Way back last year when I saw the front cover of Game Informer I knew I had to get this game as soon as it was released. I paid avid attention to every little tidbit of information that slowly dripped out of the website. I was on the edge of my seat when THQ went under and the future of TRS and Evolve was up in the air. I remember seeing Goliath gameplay when it was first released and thinking “Oh man, he’s so cool, I’m gonna main Goliath.” Then thinking “Oh man, he’s so cool, I’m gonna main Kraken,” and then “She’s so cool, oh man, I’m gonna main Wraith,” as each of the monsters were revealed. I watched each and every hunter spotlight, tuned in to every livestream, scoured the internet for every single bit of information that was put out or speculated on or “Leaked.”
When the internet (Reddit specifically) started freaking out about “Toxic DLC Practices” I suffered the downvotes to try and get people to come around and see that the DLC practices weren’t nearly as exploitative as they were making them out to be; there was no day one monster DLC for Evolve and cosmetic skins are just there to support the studio if you want to play extra. Hell, I even pre-ordered the PC Monster Race edition of the game because I wanted to show my support and because I just absolutely knew this game was going to be incredible. On release day it felt like all of my faith was validated. The gameplay was intense and deep and strategic, monster was fun, hunters were fun, it was a huge hodge podge of everyone trying to figure out everything (I stayed out of the Alpha and Beta, I wanted to play the game they released, not the one they tested).
I kept playing, even while the Wraith was unbearable to play against. I would just play as monster and do the right thing by not picking wraith. Soon though, that was the only fun I could get out of the game. Playing hunter was just too much of a roll of the dice. Hell, that’s why I’m even writing this right now. Playing in pubs was becoming harder and harder, as any single small mistake by the hunters ended with them losing the game, and I think that’s at the core of my problems even now.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was laid down on me while playing with a friend tonight. He hasn’t played Evolve in a couple weeks, which is actually on the shorter end for most of my friends I made playing Evolve. My steam friends list used to be filled with “Currently Playing Evolve.” Now I’m lucky if I see two or three other people on it, but I managed to convince him to come try out Arena Mode with me. I was playing support, Hank, and he was on trapper. In our first round of playing, we lost by the skin of our teeth. The monster had less than a sliver of health left on his last bar of HP when he downed our last hunter. I figured that we could do this, next round would be just as close. I was wrong. Our medic got LoS’d for all of three seconds, ate a level 3 rock throw and flame breath and down went Slim. We lost soon thereafter.
I knew it was coming, my friend told me that he was done with Evolve for the night. I couldn’t blame him either. It’s just too much of a roll of the dice to see if you’re going to even have fun, let alone win when you’re going into match making as hunter. A single slip up from one person is all it takes, and your team snowballs into defeat. Match after match I would play with groups of people who were only average hunters while I could pull up the leaderboards and see that the monster player was on the Top 15 for whatever monster he was playing with a few hundred victories under his belt. Game after game one second of LoS was all it took to irreversibly swing the tide in favor of the monster.
A small mistake from the hunters can mean complete defeat. A small mistake from the monster means a bar or two of health.
That seems to be how it’s always been, and when you’re playing with good players who are close together in skill it doesn’t matter as much, but when you’re match making at level 40 it seems more often than not that you’re always going to have that one person on the team who just isn’t quite good enough. I don’t blame them, it’s not their fault that they’ve been placed against one of the best monsters in the game when they haven’t even reached level 40, but it leaves such a bitter taste in my mouth that I can’t bring myself to play on my main account anymore. I had to use family sharing via steam to get an account into the mid twenties just so I could play hunter with teams that are of almost even skill, and even then the victories seem hollow.
I used to tell myself that TRS would be able to balance out the game eventually, that Left 4 Dead was loads of fun and I loved it, how could Evolve be anything less than amazing? But I can’t say that anymore. I don’t think that the PC community is salvageable anymore. There were less than five hundred people playing tonight when I was on. I was repeatedly being put into games against amazing monster players with bots on my team, ensuring an easy win for an experienced monster. Patches come once every three, four, weeks. Bug fixes that require code changes take too long to stop games from being ruined. Just today I tried playing Laz in arena only to have our assault die and have his corpse teleport two hundred meters outside the arena. The only way I can see that we could have competitive matches is if a skill based matchmaking system was implemented, but I don’t think there’s enough players left on the PC to even make it work and I don’t think they’ll ever be able to revive it even with some deeply discounted steam sale; though I’m sure it would be amazing for the consoles, that’s hardly any consolation for me when a game I loved so thoroughly has broken my heart.
I want to love this game again, but I don’t know how, I don’t know if I can.