Goodbye, Rec Room.

The following is the exact review I left for the game on Steam. If you would like to read it there instead, click here.

1,743 hours. That is how much time I have spent playing this game, according to Steam. This, of course, does not include time spent playing on the variety of other platforms I have played the game on. So far, that's been PC, Oculus, iOS, MacOS, Toaster, Apple Watch, Car, Nintendo DS, Peloton, and iOS Keyboard. I have had a good long run, certainly well over 2k hours all added up.

Today, though, I cancelled my Rec Room Plus subscription and quit the game. I chalk my reasons for doing this up to a few factors. First, they "fixed" infinite shot. Infinite shot is a "bug" that existed in the in-game bow, which allowed you to shoot quickly, if you could click fast. It had existed in one form for ~7 years. I put in hundreds of hours honing my skills at it. When the mechanic first came into existence, it was a bug, and removed, but due to player feedback, it was intentionally reinstated as a feature. To pull a 180 this late is a stab in the back at best.

Of course, it takes more than a bow to make me leave a game I've put 2k hours into. In a recent update, Full Body Avatars (FBAs) were added into the game, but not released to the general userbase. Of course, skids quickly found a way to equip them regardless. They're awful. There isn't even an option to let all FBAs appear as normal avatars client-side. It feels like the creative team is trying to take the game in a direction that it really doesn't need to be taken. They even have noses! Just a couple years ago, the idea of adding noses was such a joke that they gave out pairs of those fake-nose-disguise glasses as an April Fools prank. Now? Not so much.

You may be thinking, "wow you quit over a bow and some noses?", and the answer is "no". There's a bit more to this story than that. The game has steadily declined in other areas over the years. 4 years ago, they began rolling out a new UI language that was flat and 2D instead of 3D. Somehow, it's 300x slower and laggier than the 3D UI, and manages to have significantly less features. They didn't even try to replicate the positions of the 3DUI buttons in the 2DUI. If you go to the "People" tab and hit "recents", you STILL can't sort the list of people by how recently you saw them, even though that was the default and only way to view them in the 3DUI. You still can't see how many people are in each event in the Events tab in the 2DUI, even though that was in the 3DUI. You can't see mini versions of each user like you could in the 3DUI either. It is quite literally worse in every single way. When they changed the creation tools to the 2DUI, I essentially stopped creating. Years of muscle memory, gone and never recovered fully, even now.

It feels like the top decision-makers don't actually play their own games, because if they did, these issues would have been fixed by now. Another issue are the piles and piles of roblox-copied cashgrab shovelware that has found itself smeared all over the front page. Ever since they added the ability to exchange tokens for real-world cash, it has been a race to the bottom to create the worst kinds of low-effort rooms in order to extract as many tokens as possible from other players. Rec Room has only poured fuel on the fire. There is a program called Featured Rooms, in which a set of high-quality rooms hand-picked by staff are selected to be featured on the top of the Play menu and on the bulletin board inside each player's dorm. If a room was featured, it would get 5-digit visit numbers at the very least, with many achieving 6-digits or more. Now? You're lucky to get 5k visits. This is because they have removed Featured rooms from the top of the Play menu and from inside of each player's dorm. Now, you can only find it by scrolling for past 13 carousels or going to the Rec Center bulletin board. They clearly do not care about encouraging high-quality rooms.

I was lucky enough to be featured twice. I worked on a team of a half-dozen people for an entire year straight on that room. Now, it has a million and a half visits. Almost none of those are from any time recently, with high-effort and high-quality rooms being pushed out of the way in favor of the latest Roblox-Cashgrab-Simulator-Costumepark-PvP.

The straw that broke the camel's back was when someone in the Rec Room Discord server shared a video taken around the time I first joined, which just showed what the game was like. There was no low-quality slop atop the front page, nor were there any ridiculously overpriced items in the Rec Center shop. The community was better, the game was better, and the UI was better. It has only gone downhill. If I could revert the past 4 years of changes right now, I totally would without hesitation. This game has gotten worse in every single aspect since I joined, except for maybe Rec Room Studio, though I would still give that up in a heartbeat for the game to go back to how it used to be.

It's been a long journey, Rec Room. I'll always be here, ready to pick back up my controllers, if you ever improve, but from what I've seen, that's not going to happen any time soon.

Shoutout to Star, the best staff member anyone could ever ask for, we'll miss you. You were a real one.