Valve Changes Steam Reviews to Prevent Bots and Review Bombing

Once again, Valve has changed how Steam reviews work in order to prevent bots and review bombing ahead of the Steam Black Friday 2017 sale. Users will now have “weight” designated to them based on how often they mark a Steam review as helpful or not. For users that do this in a normal pattern of every so often will not have to worry.

This change is mainly meant to single out bots that mark review after review as helpful and to prevent the rise of review bombings, as has happened with recent games like Firewatch and Star Wars Battlefront 2. In a blog on Steam, the process is explained in further detail. Steam’s algorithms are built with bots that mark more than 10,000 reviews in mind, so it isn’t intended to affect the average user.

Those bots will have their selections weigh less than a normal user that only does a few reviews at a time. This weight will continue to diminish the more the bot does it. This isn’t the only major change for Steam reviews, though. The second major change is to the overall appearance of the review section of a game’s store page.

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The first reviews you will now see are entirely dependent upon the game’s current score and will reflect that score proportionally. The example given in the official Steam blog is if a game has the score of 80%, then there will be 10 total reviews shown by default on the store page: eight reviews that are positive and two that are negative.

Steam Reviews

This is meant to lead to more substantial reviews, so it could affect the classic “would play again” jokes or those simply showing off their total game time. These Steam review changes are currently in beta, so you can turn it on or off based on your preference. The blog states that more tweaks are on the way like noting when a review is indicating region-specific issues, such as server locations and poor translations.