Earlier this morning, Kickstarter MMO Magic to Master was found to be using fake testimonial reviews by many sites on their funding page for the MMO, including a fake review attributed to MMORPG.com.
The reviews (spotted by MassivelyOP's Bree Royce - thanks for the heads up!) were listed as "testimonial reviews" on the Kickstarter page, which were clearly aimed at propping up the MMO in the eyes of potential backers. The "reviews" were each unique and written in a way that was aimed at giving glowing praise to Magic to Master, despite them never actually being written by the outlets mentioned. In total, there were eight fake reviews, with outlets such as IGN South Asian, Digital Trends, GameRant, among others.
Each "review" was accompanied by the outlet's logo, as well as a 5-star rating (we use a 100-point system, as our review policy page details). Since this was brought to our attention, I tweeted out confirming that we in fact did not write this "testimonial review" and that I would be reaching out to the developer to get these pulled.
Between that tweet and Massively's article, the fake "testimonial reviews" were pulled, but not before the developers claimed they were simply on the page for "testing purposes."
Excuse me, it shouldn't be there. We don't have an official review yet. We sent out a review invitation for MOP in advance. This was purely for testing purposes. We forgot to remove it due to our excitement. We apologize for this misunderstanding.— Magic To Master (@magic2master) May 30, 2023
Quite the elaborate test that might have stayed up there as long as no one noticed as well.
The developer has since apologized and taken down the fake reviews, leaving up the Hero Engine testimonial as its sole testimonial. The developers have claimed in a DM that it is an "official" review.
Readers on our forums might find the name of the game familiar, as it was recently pushed by the developer in our community. As the track record with Kickstarter MMOs - especially ones with goals that are unrealistic as to the costs of MMO development on the whole - is spotty at best, this does nothing to engender a community to back a project.