Monday, August 23, 2010

"Starcraft 2 Secrets" eBook: Caveats

Update: I'm very glad to say that the creator of this product responded to an e-mail I sent him. He tells me he's updated the product to address these concerns, and he's set up a product registration widget, so that buyers automatically get their product updates.

Update 2: OK, I got the new version of this. It's awesome. The strategies guide is 249 pages; there's also a 57-page Campaign Guide which covers 29 missions for the "story" version of the game.

This is a Starcraft 2 ebook.

I'm selling this thing via an affiliate link, but I'm actually going to point the little blog ad at this caveat/review post, because I bought this and I have to say, on the one hand, it's 103 pages full of strategies, so I feel OK selling it, but on the other hand, the sales page is kind of bullshit. It claims the ebook tells you exactly how somebody went from newb to top-ranked in a very short period of time; instead, it's just a catalog of strategies. These strategies may be the way that this rocket to greatness happened, or the rocket to greatness may not exist. Without trying out each and every strategy, I can't say for sure. I can say for sure that the promised story is not told. Worst of all, the book promises free upgrades, but doesn't collect your contact information to send you free upgrades, or provide you with contact info to request them.

By the way, I don't even own the game - I bought the ebook so I could review it and sell more copies, and also to see how easy pwning newbs would be (because I know from experience that a good "insider"-style ebook will rocket you to greatness). I figured I'd buy it and then buy the game.

As an aside, I've always used walkthroughs. With a game like Portal, I'll only look at it if I have to; with a text adventure like Lost Pig or Varicella, I won't even bother exploring for a second. I just go straight to the walkthrough. The whole game ebooks market is awesome in my opinion; and even this book is pretty good overall, it's just that the marketing totally misleads people, which is a very unfortunate place to fall short.

This is from the affiliates page for the ebook:

It mysteriously refers to Starcraft 2 as a "casual Facebook obsession." (My highlighting.) Anyone who knows anything about Starcraft 2 knows that you don't play it on Facebook. The missing link: the same guy who created this product also made ebooks for FarmVille and Mafia Wars. It's a pretty safe bet that he copy-pasted this page; likewise, the sales page for this Starcraft 2 ebook contains claims that aren't fulfilled in the ebook and indeed a few which don't even make sense. I think he copy-pasted the sales page as much as the affiliates page, or more so, in a desperate scramble to get something online while Starcraft 2 is still new.

One thing that kind of sucks about Internet marketing is that, because many of the individual methods can be easy, you get a lot of fly-by-night types looking to make a quick buck. That being said, I'm still happy to recommend the product as a strategy catalog, not an overall guide to success, because it is a pretty comprehensive catalog of strategies. It's 103 pages, there's about 20 pages of intro/background stuff, and the remaining 80-ish pages are split more or less evenly between Terran, Protoss, and Zerg strategies, specifically builds and rushes. If you're into Starcraft, you might want to buy it, but I have to be honest with you, the sales page is complete bullshit.

As someone who sells videos about Internet marketing and recently blogged about the paradox of an awesome spammer, I have to admit, this stuff frequently looks bad, but to be honest, it's no different from the disgusting proliferation of Java or .NET. As evil and horrible as .NET is, I can't do anything about the fact that people who call themselves programmers sometimes use .NET and call it programming. They offend me by their existence, but what am I supposed to do about it? Kill them? It's tempting sometimes, especially if you read Reddit, but it's not exactly practical or spiritually evolved. The situation's the same with inaccurate or dishonest sales letters, and spam. People who do Internet marketing in bad ways make the whole thing look bad, but only to people who are fixated on the negative in the first place.

Anyway, putting aside all that negativity, what we have is a sales letter which is inaccurate, and possibly dishonest (but in my opinion more probably just lazy), for a product which is pretty detailed, pretty specific, and pretty thorough, and which includes lots of links to YouTube videos illustrating or demonstrating the strategies in question. So, with that massive caveat, I'm happy to say if you choose to buy it, buy it here, from my link.