DCS: AV-8B ‘feature complete’ notice ignites new controversy

If you visit the Eagle Dynamics store page today and have a look at the entry for the DCS: AV-8B you’ll notice that ‘early access’ has been removed from the listing which quietly suggests that the Harrier, developed by third party developer RAZBAM, is feature complete and is now being sustained. The pushback from the community has been loud. Here’s what’s happening and a few of my own thoughts so you’re up to date.

Not so feature complete?

A short message posted on the DCS World forums by Eagle Dynamics community manager BIGNEWY indicated that the DCS: AV-8B NA Harrier was considered feature complete and was no longer an early access aircraft in the store. What followed was outrage from most corners of the community with many pointing to the aircraft’s feature list on the store page highlighting some of the systems not yet implemented.

One DCS World forum post was created to highlight the features not yet implemented or not working correctly. Others more pointedly suggested that systems like the GBU-54 are still not implemented.

The last 24-48 hours has been filled with clarifications, some finger pointing, and ultimately the lack of a clear and cohesive message. One r/Hoggit thread captured much of the commentary coming from within RAZBAM and Eagle Dynamics alike. In short, RAZBAM developers lay the blame at Eagle Dynamics feet, Eagle Dynamics say they don’t change module status without the consent of the third party developer and that they are talking with RAZBAM CEO Ron Zambrano.

So what now?

At this point its hard to say what will come next. RAZBAM previously had their own community manager, DECOY, who stepped down some months ago and their communications have been less organized since then as a result. Now with this issue having come up there’s no cohesive message coming out which has lead to plenty of confusion.

Having worked in the communications and marketing field for a decade or more myself this is exactly the kind of situation you want to avoid when doing communications and public relations or community relations work. Nobody ends up looking good.

To that end, many have expressed second thoughts about the DCS: F-15E that RAZBAM is working on currently and there are concerns about just how much of the DCS: AV-8B will really be finished or if we’re at an end point where only bugs will be occasionally resolved.

I would advocate waiting the situation out before making any purchasing decisions. Although it doesn’t look good right now, cooler and calmer heads will prevail and I suspect that the DCS: AV-8B will continue to see updates and upgrades as time goes on. But they will come sporadically and slowly as they have. In short… I suspect not much will change and that will be much to the chagrin of the community.

The DCS: AV-8B is one of my most flown DCS modules although it hasn’t been on my radar very much recently. It’s a perfectly flyable and enjoyable aircraft. You can have fun with it (except with the maddeningly difficult to fire AGM-65’s) but at the same time, there are issues that I know everyone would like to see resolved.

For now, the status of the module and if it will become any more complete than it has hangs in the air. It’s an unfortunate return to controversy that I had hoped was behind us. Hopefully we’ll have more clarification from both RAZBAM and Eagle Dynamics soon – a joint statement clearing up confusion would be a good start.

13 Comments Add yours

  1. greg says:

    I followed the mess that is this situation pretty much since beginning.
    Although some features are missing, it is due to classified document they cant model (i have comment from prowler if you want as source)

    Thats said there are still some bug and they will be worked out , and ED tester has been assigned to help them in this task.

    It will be like m-2000c, it leaved early access before mid life overhauld and look, it is still updated with new “acm” mode and correcting inaccuracies

    Though it beg the question of what represent the label early access.

    The mgrs that everyone is asking about, is part of a classified mfd page, prowler said they are looking for “an out of the box ” solution to it

    Like

    1. Kerbo says:

      @greg prowler also attacked a SME while he wasn’t there to defend himself, saying any SME will not claim that out load and so ofc he was a fake, the irony is that they credited him for helping in developing the harrier.

      i believe that Razbam is at fault, the last time i flew the harrier it was buggy, unfun, and didn’t have the polish that most modules have in dcs. now some people are making comparisons between no man’s sky and the harrier, saying it will be fixed later, and i would believe that, if not for the 5 other modules Razbam is planning for the near future. if anything i believe this was to “clear” space for there next modules. by declaring it feature complete.

      (sorry for the double post, i didn’t you could reply

      Liked by 1 person

      1. greg says:

        Well, he defended his position by saying that any SME wouldnt call themselve SME for x company because of breach of NDA.

        And i think he wasnt an SME in the offcial definition. He was a maintainer on av-8b who helped baltic and razbam on certain subject (notably training mission) . But he wasnt their official attributed SME.

        He didnt attack him directly though, someone asked if he was an sme, and he responded no , claiming that no official sme would give this information out loud.
        Though , razbam was a little rough with their answer, direct aftermath of not having a Community Manager

        And i think he wasnt an SME in the offcial definition. He was a maintainer on av-8b who helped baltic and razbam on certain subject (notably training mission) . But he wasnt their official attributed SME.

        AKA the same thing for klarsnow which he is an ancient f 15c wso (or actual i dont remember)

        For the 5 modules, there is only 2 official: mig 23 and f 15e

        One other is a cooperation with bo 105 , the guy responsible for it has put the project on hold for working with trugrit on EF

        The ia-58 pucara is a personnal project of a dev

        as for the many 3d models they post around, they have a lot more 3d artist, so they continue to work by creating 3d model and sharpening their skill (explained by prowler yesterday)

        Razbam handled the situation pretty roughly i agree, but the backlash was rough too

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Kerbo says:

    @greg prowler also attacked a SME while he wasn’t there to defend himself, saying any SME will not claim that out load and so ofc he was a fake, the irony is that they credited him for helping in developing the harrier.

    i believe that Razbam is at fault, the last time i flew the harrier it was buggy, unfun, and didn’t have the polish that most modules have in dcs. now some people are making comparisons between no man’s sky and the harrier, saying it will be fixed later, and i would believe that, if not for the 5 other modules Razbam is planning for the near future. if anything i believe this was to “clear” space for there next modules. by declaring it feature complete.

    Like

  3. ClannK says:

    Regardless of how anyone feels about Harrier itself, Razbam have mishandled this from the get-go and continue to trip themselves up and make things worse as time goes on.

    The least they could do was use ED’s own recent “Hornet roadmap” as a template, make the announcement, and then move on.

    The fact that it was done in the middle of the night with no word is highly suspect and totally immature.

    I will say that my perception is the reaction is somewhat overblown, but there is some merit to the underlying concerns of the community.

    Hopefully, Razbam will cough up a few bug fixes for the upcoming patch to help quell concerns and demonstrate that the module will be supported going forwards.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      The anecdote of, “its not what you did but how you did it,” I think applies here. Good PR would have explained and gotten ahead of the controversy and given a statement to latch on to.

      Like

  4. CanadaOne says:

    I have to admit… I love my Harrier.

    But I’m not a super-hardcore flyer. I sandbox my Harrier and I really enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That’s a great point too. As much as these problems exist, you can still have fun with the jet. I think I will spend some time with it over the next little while and see where things are at.

      Like

  5. Robert K Haynes says:

    Leaving Early Access isn’t something you normally do with a whisper, it’s normally something thats announced along with an accompanying patch with the release changes.

    When you quietly make changes and hope no one notices, that sets off immediate red flags. That strikes most of us as “eh, we’ve milked this for what it’s worth, and it’s probably good enough, time to move on to greener pastures”. Maybe thats not what they are doing here, but it’s certainly what their actions imply.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Blue 5 says:

      Good punage with ‘red flags’ 😀

      Haven’t flown the Harrier in ages – what is still outstanding with it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ShamrockOneFive says:

        There’s a link in my article with an accounting. There are missing weapon systems, which RAZBAM says they need ED to implement, there are missing pages in the HUD system (which may or may not be classified), and there are undoubtedly some bugs mixed in there – some long standing.

        I think the biggest problem is not that these issues exist but how they’ve been dealt with and what confidence is gives to people buying future modules.

        Like

    2. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Absolutely. This is something you want to broadcast to everyone, not sneak it out with barely a mention.

      Like

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