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f13.net General Forums => AGC '05 => Topic started by: schild on October 28, 2005, 01:00:52 AM



Title: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: schild on October 28, 2005, 01:00:52 AM
I went to a 3 discussions on day 1. Something about sex, something about splinter cell, and something about something. I don't remember - at least not right now. We recorded them. After we clean it up, you'll get transcripts of the best parts. I met a lot of people. There are more attractive women in this industry then I ever would have expected. This is a nice, small convention. I met people who knew me but I didn't know them. I met grimwell and the rest of the gamergod folks. I went to a dinner with a trifect of evil - two people from Mutable Realms and David Bowman. They have my business cards. They'll probably read this, but I'm too drunk to take notice. There's a fair chance I won't remember making this post. Smed's keynote speech was good. I have a different opinion about the guy now. We recorded most of it. He let us in on a little uhmm..."secret?" DC Comics online is TWITCH. Correct. Not hotkey, not autoattack - but rather fast paced super heroes kicking fast paced supervillian ass. He told me he reads f13. Every day. He may have been feeding me a friendly jab. I'll know after I fly out to SOE headquarters this week. I missed a bunch of lectures. Instead I talked to people from CCP, Garage Games, hung out and drank with the guys from Playtechtonics, Garage games, etc. I met Lum. It was worth it. Everything here was worth it. Then I drank more. Mythic bought me beer. I didn't see anyone from Mythic there, but I went out, bought a 40, and poured it out for them. I've avoided some people. It was deft. I'm a digital ninja. I went to a fantastic discussion on sex, as mentioned earlier. We have an exciting thing in the works for you folks with something called "teledildonics." This is serious shit. Stop laughing. You can't not take this shit seriously. Everyone else is, and I'm in that bandwagon. There's a fair market for the wonkiest shit you could imagine. Then I drank more. I've eaten good food - there's a lot of it here. At least as much as Phoenix, if not more. But it's all contained to 2-3 streets in Austin as opposed to a massive desert in Phx. I had lunch with Dave Rickey. He's awesome. I partied for him, it was the least I could do. I met a lot of folks from NCSoft I talk to a lot but never met. Good people. I met the guys from Three Rings, they're awesome as well. Clan PMS and Kat from the Fragdolls were there. I wanted them to sign my asscheeks. I couldn't find a sharpie, so I drank more. It's the least I could do. We went to 2 parties tonight. One thrown by a Korean company. They bought us one beer. Then the one thrown by the Garage Games guys. That was an open bar. God bless America. I saw a lot of women I wouldn't mind having as "booth babes." But I'm slightly blasted, so who knows. I've got a lot of interviews tomorrow. We're recording them. Don't get me wrong, I'm here for the children, but I'm allowed to have fun too, right? You can try to decipher this post, but it's not in order and it's really not proofread.

Reports incoming. For now, you see what I see.



Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: HRose on October 28, 2005, 03:31:57 AM
Did SirBruce grope you?

You met a few interesting persons there. I envy.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Lt.Dan on October 28, 2005, 07:41:16 AM
Wow, toss in a couple of drug references and bash Nixon and I think you could be you-know-who. ;)


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Cheddar on October 28, 2005, 07:51:35 AM
You guys almost make me want to actually work towards joining the industry, then I read about Sir Bruce groping people.   Thank God for reality checks!


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on October 28, 2005, 09:04:15 AM
I really wish I could think of Smedley in decent terms but honestly, I can't fathom him being a "good guy". I can fathom him being shiny, fake and very plastic.

I may be jaded.

But I don't think so.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: schild on October 28, 2005, 09:15:16 AM
Ok, how about this. Smedley didn't have a group of people dressed in SS uniforms behind him. Most people are nice irl, the ones I didn't want to meet are the ones I just want to continue to assume are jackfruits.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Signe on October 28, 2005, 09:28:00 AM
I guess you were too busy to make paragraphs and too drunk to make sense.  I understood it, but then, I'm on mind altering medications.  Normal people don't stand a chance.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: HaemishM on October 28, 2005, 10:19:32 AM
Normal people don't stand a chance.

There should be no one here that matches that description.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on October 28, 2005, 11:20:07 AM
Ok, how about this. Smedley didn't have a group of people dressed in SS uniforms behind him. Most people are nice irl, the ones I didn't want to meet are the ones I just want to continue to assume are jackfruits.

Sorry, I have very little respect for a man who calls his consumers "Credit Cards with Legs". No matter what type of facade he puts up to impress the people who review his products.

If I'm wrong or off on the quote, sue me.

Edit: Sorry about the misquote - so many of them out there it's a bit of a jumble.

However, I am going to edit this to say that he's still someone that I think doesn't know a damn thing about his own consumers, or just doesn't care. The only way I think my opinion of him would improve is if he actually came out and said "Hey, we've done things wrong so why don't we just go out there, REALLY survey our consumers and see what we need to do to make a better game."

Quote me on that.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: HaemishM on October 28, 2005, 11:39:02 AM
It was Kelly Flock that called the EQ customers that I think. He's long gone and working at some other company. Not that that makes Smedley any less of a pigfucker, just getting the quote right.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Merusk on October 28, 2005, 01:16:54 PM
However, I am going to edit this to say that he's still someone that I think doesn't know a damn thing about his own consumers, or just doesn't care. The only way I think my opinion of him would improve is if he actually came out and said "Hey, we've done things wrong so why don't we just go out there, REALLY survey our consumers and see what we need to do to make a better game."

He did do that, what, two years ago now? Problem is, he only surveyed all the hardcore raiding people.  The sole 'casual' rep was Woody from GU comics (A single guy with no kids who works from his house and makes his living off of drawing one comic a day is a bad choice for that, IMO, but hey better than nothing.)  Then, just as predicted by the rest of us who had been saying catering to these people was stupid because they were going to jump ship, it happened. 

I really can't feel  bad about it. They had their shot, they said there were problems, and then ignored most of their playerbase in favor of the noisiest segment of it.  Blizzard's doing the same thing and if/ when it happens to them I won't feel bad about that either.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on October 28, 2005, 01:44:41 PM
However, I am going to edit this to say that he's still someone that I think doesn't know a damn thing about his own consumers, or just doesn't care. The only way I think my opinion of him would improve is if he actually came out and said "Hey, we've done things wrong so why don't we just go out there, REALLY survey our consumers and see what we need to do to make a better game."

He did do that, what, two years ago now? Problem is, he only surveyed all the hardcore raiding people.  The sole 'casual' rep was Woody from GU comics (A single guy with no kids who works from his house and makes his living off of drawing one comic a day is a bad choice for that, IMO, but hey better than nothing.)  Then, just as predicted by the rest of us who had been saying catering to these people was stupid because they were going to jump ship, it happened. 

I really can't feel  bad about it. They had their shot, they said there were problems, and then ignored most of their playerbase in favor of the noisiest segment of it.  Blizzard's doing the same thing and if/ when it happens to them I won't feel bad about that either.

I know about the round table they had but the roundtable in no way considered us or considered as you said the non raiding, non hardcore player. This is what bothers me, that we are time after time completely and utterly ignored yet we are in fact a good portion of the gaming community at large. I think we should be considered, maybe not focused on but at least given more thought then a brief mention.

Jaded. No. Angry. No

Disappointed. Very.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Evangolis on October 28, 2005, 03:39:11 PM
I really wish I could have been there this year.  Austin is a nice place, and I really enjoyed AGC the first couple of years.  However, last I saw, Sixth Street, while rockin, seriously needed a good steam cleaning, right up to the roofline.

And there is a statue of a Horse, a Cowboy, and a Cactus on the Statehouse lawn that still makes me chuckle, 15 years after I first stumbled over it.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Cheddar on October 28, 2005, 03:42:14 PM
Oh and take pictures!  Lots and lots of pictures.  I love teh shiny!


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Pococurante on October 29, 2005, 03:18:36 PM
Disappointed. Very.

Yuppers.  Been feeling that way since about 1996.  I'm fucking sick to death of watching one great concept after another become an assemblage of bandaids to (re(re(re(re))))-capture escaping slices of a demographic that is too fickle and whiny/fractious to be a dependable market segment.  Up until a few years ago the rationalization I heard from devs was "we're making the games we'd want to play", which were I their moneyman would have had them on the street faster than they could spell "non-representative demographic".


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Psychochild on October 30, 2005, 01:05:40 AM
"Hey, we've done things wrong so why don't we just go out there, REALLY survey our consumers and see what we need to do to make a better game."
And Stephen King should ask me how to write better horror novels.  I have lots of really great ideas!


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Rasix on October 30, 2005, 01:16:19 AM
"Hey, we've done things wrong so why don't we just go out there, REALLY survey our consumers and see what we need to do to make a better game."
And Stephen King should ask me how to write better horror novels.  I have lots of really great ideas!

Most are probably better than any of the crap he's written lately (save the Dark Tower, I still need to buy book 7!).   :-D


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Signe on October 30, 2005, 05:42:21 AM
Didn't Stephen King retire?


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Merusk on October 30, 2005, 08:40:13 AM
"Hey, we've done things wrong so why don't we just go out there, REALLY survey our consumers and see what we need to do to make a better game."
And Stephen King should ask me how to write better horror novels.  I have lots of really great ideas!

Bad news for you, Psycho, Blizzard is the Stephen King of MMOs at this point.  The vast majority of the MMO Dev crop are Terry Brooks at best.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Margalis on October 30, 2005, 03:01:16 PM
Just to re-rail this. I agree that having your customers tell you what game to make is a terrible idea.

That said, the industry often manages to ignore overwhelmingly negative opinion. To me the point of polls and such is not to let them design for you - it's to avoid decisions that 95% of the players are going to hate.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Sachant on October 30, 2005, 03:05:54 PM
And Stephen King should ask me how to write better horror novels.  I have lots of really great ideas!

I bet you could write a hell of a better ending than he ever manages.  He's such a tease.  I start reading and actually enjoying something he writes then at the end it's either an alien or the hand of God that takes care of any plot holes. ;/


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: voodoolily on October 31, 2005, 01:13:20 PM
Just to re-rail this. I agree that having your customers tell you what game to make is a terrible idea.


(http://www.windycitybmw.com/images/autoshows/2000/homer_car.gif)


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Llava on October 31, 2005, 09:06:40 PM
Just to re-rail this. I agree that having your customers tell you what game to make is a terrible idea.


(http://www.windycitybmw.com/images/autoshows/2000/homer_car.gif)

Very concise.  Well done.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Samwise on October 31, 2005, 09:35:53 PM
On the other hand, developers frequently use "customers shouldn't design products" as an excuse to ignore all customer data entirely, since designing in a vacuum is significantly easier than trying to make your design accomodate what other people want.  There is such a thing as a happy medium there.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Trippy on November 01, 2005, 04:22:42 AM
Smed's keynote speech was good. I have a different opinion about the guy now. We recorded most of it. He let us in on a little uhmm..."secret?" DC Comics online is TWITCH. Correct. Not hotkey, not autoattack - but rather fast paced super heroes kicking fast paced supervillian ass.
Hmm...


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 01, 2005, 08:48:28 AM
"Hey, we've done things wrong so why don't we just go out there, REALLY survey our consumers and see what we need to do to make a better game."
And Stephen King should ask me how to write better horror novels.  I have lots of really great ideas!

And this is a pretty decent reason why I believe most game developers and their ideas are basically scummy. Because you can't come up with a better reason then that.

Think again. Then report back.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 01, 2005, 08:52:57 AM
Disappointed. Very.

Yuppers.  Been feeling that way since about 1996.  I'm fucking sick to death of watching one great concept after another become an assemblage of bandaids to (re(re(re(re))))-capture escaping slices of a demographic that is too fickle and whiny/fractious to be a dependable market segment.  Up until a few years ago the rationalization I heard from devs was "we're making the games we'd want to play", which were I their moneyman would have had them on the street faster than they could spell "non-representative demographic".


Thank you, Pocourante. You said it far more eloguently then I could have.


And on another note.. you know when I talk about "Speaking to your consumer base and getting their ideas, what they want" and you developers, PR people and otherwise little disgusting trolls who would be nothing without your CONSUMER, I mean stop making the game that you and your business community wants and play the game that takes you outside the box. Not inside the box, on the same rat wheel, on the same path.

Get it yet?

Also Editing to say:

If you do not want to know what your customer/consumer base thinks, feels and their ideas for what they think could improve your game - why are you even in this industry, doing this job, and posting on a message board with the title of your studio under your name? Why bother even associating with the public if you don't want to deal with what they have to say?

And likewise, why would people want to deal with you and your studio and purchase your product if this is how you as a company handle things?

I'd just like to know. You know, as a paying consumer.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Shockeye on November 01, 2005, 09:05:22 AM
"Hey, we've done things wrong so why don't we just go out there, REALLY survey our consumers and see what we need to do to make a better game."
And Stephen King should ask me how to write better horror novels.  I have lots of really great ideas!

And this is a pretty decent reason why I believe most game developers and their ideas are basically scummy. Because you can't come up with a better reason then that.

Think again. Then report back.

He was referring to the letter he read at the MMOG Rant session. He was poking fun at how players think they always have better ideas than developers. Read his blog, the letter is posted there.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: schild on November 01, 2005, 09:10:54 AM
Thing is, there were people AT the AGC that proved him right when they started asking questions. Goddamn lowest common denominator is messing everything up for the rest of us. I blame the intarweb for training them so well.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 01, 2005, 09:14:53 AM
"Hey, we've done things wrong so why don't we just go out there, REALLY survey our consumers and see what we need to do to make a better game."
And Stephen King should ask me how to write better horror novels.  I have lots of really great ideas!

I saw no link to his blog. He didn't quote anyone but me. I responded thusly.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Lum on November 01, 2005, 09:32:54 AM
So, as someone on both sides of the equation over the past (...10? I want to die.) years, I can say conclusively that it is completely impossible to keep everyone happy. No matter how warm and fuzzy your development team, your core userbase will hate you.

You can pick pretty much any game, and someone outside the game will hold it up as a model of something (polish, design, community, whatever) and within that game's community, someone will be flaming the developers for precisely that.

It's all signal-to-noise. There are literally thousands of voices and they are all screaming different things. The people outside the curve usually know they're outside the curve, and it makes them scream even louder.

Brian's rant (and it was just that, not a scholarly dissertation, nor was it intended to be) spoke to this; there will always be loudmouths who will get in your virtual face and tell you they can do your job better. As game developers you have to work past that; there's no alternative short of surrendering your decision-making power to the people that shout the loudest. (And when your business then crashes and burns, those shouters will then have the luxury of moving on to something else.)

A lot of it has to do with how communities form and interact on the Internet specifically. The call-and-response nature of message boards really encourages one-upmanship. It's not the best way to actually communicate, which is why most community teams desperately try to supplement it with other forms of feedback (polling, direct chats, fan gatherings, what have you - ANYTHING).

It's a no-win scenario. It will continue to be a no-win scenario as long as we keep appealing to the same 48 people who are crazy enough to spend 24 hours a day on the Internet buying every MMO that comes out.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 01, 2005, 09:59:15 AM
So, as someone on both sides of the equation over the past (...10? I want to die.) years, I can say conclusively that it is completely impossible to keep everyone happy. No matter how warm and fuzzy your development team, your core userbase will hate you.

You can pick pretty much any game, and someone outside the game will hold it up as a model of something (polish, design, community, whatever) and within that game's community, someone will be flaming the developers for precisely that.

It's all signal-to-noise. There are literally thousands of voices and they are all screaming different things. The people outside the curve usually know they're outside the curve, and it makes them scream even louder.

Brian's rant (and it was just that, not a scholarly dissertation, nor was it intended to be) spoke to this; there will always be loudmouths who will get in your virtual face and tell you they can do your job better. As game developers you have to work past that; there's no alternative short of surrendering your decision-making power to the people that shout the loudest. (And when your business then crashes and burns, those shouters will then have the luxury of moving on to something else.)

A lot of it has to do with how communities form and interact on the Internet specifically. The call-and-response nature of message boards really encourages one-upmanship. It's not the best way to actually communicate, which is why most community teams desperately try to supplement it with other forms of feedback (polling, direct chats, fan gatherings, what have you - ANYTHING).

It's a no-win scenario. It will continue to be a no-win scenario as long as we keep appealing to the same 48 people who are crazy enough to spend 24 hours a day on the Internet buying every MMO that comes out.

I imagine that the job of being a game developer/design is more often times then not, thankless. In no small part due to people like myself that have no problem being vocal about the things that we as consumers see is "Wrong" with the industry. The problem with that is, we see it from our sides. We often times don't take into consideration how to be objective in relation to what it is you do what your job entails.

In relation to message boards, here's the problem with communication. We as consumers can't just pick up the phone, dial the developers/design people directly, tell them exactly what we mean when we say "Hey, here is an issue, can you look at it after you do the 3432432432432432 other things you are going to be doing today? Thanks!" We can't e-mail because more often than not, unless you KNOW someone, you don't get a response. For the most part message boards don't work because well.. most devs, design people don't post in a public forum and those that DO put the happy face on everything in public. I.E. You don't get a real and true answer. Not that you are expecting to in the first place. Polls, Chats and so forth have their place.. but rarely does anything come from it.

So what out of those is the best course of communication? How do we, as the consumer best let the publishers/developers/design people know what we think? Do we sit back and let all of you do our thinking for us? Message Boards are THE best way. Unfortunately.

And Lum, I'd like to thank you. You gave what has to be the most honest answer yet. That's to be totally respected. Cheers.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Lum on November 01, 2005, 11:00:40 AM
It's actually our job to find good feedback. (Well, the community team's job. It's my job to stay off the boards and fix pathing or something.) This is where message boards come in. Community people tend to become very good at (a) seperating the fruit from the dross and (b) developing a very, very thick skin.

Quote
For the most part message boards don't work because well.. most devs, design people don't post in a public forum and those that DO put the happy face on everything in public. I.E. You don't get a real and true answer. Not that you are expecting to in the first place.

How is that different from everywhere else? If I worked in Hollywood, would you expect me to get on a fansite about the TV show I worked on and give you the real deal on how I thought the writers were meth addicts and the producers were too busy driving around in convertibles to work? No. There's a level of professionalism demanded by any job. As long as I have a "employed by XXXX" tag by my name, there are things that I just can't comment on. And a lot of that is, simply, I don't want to cause problems for the people I work with by shooting off my mouth. It's not really much more complex than that.

Quote
So what out of those is the best course of communication? How do we, as the consumer best let the publishers/developers/design people know what we think? Do we sit back and let all of you do our thinking for us? Message Boards are THE best way. Unfortunately.

So, yeah. But at the same time, you said, if I can paraphrase, "most developers are scummy because they blow us off." In the singular, yes, they - we - do. It's a survival reflex, and if we didn't, we'd probably slam a pistol bullet into our throat after reading the eight thousandth poster who told us we were worthless and should die. In the aggregate, no, feedback from message boards is most definitely not ignored.

The problem, for you, is that there *is* no answer to your question. It's not physically possible to give every interested player with an investment in their character one-on-one time with the decision makers behind the development team.  So aggregation is really the only option here; the problem is that Internet message boards bring forward the optical illusion that one-to-one contact is feasible. For the great majority of people it simply isn't.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: ahoythematey on November 01, 2005, 11:18:32 AM
The only thing about message boards that I'm certain of is that games can be utterly destroyed and made souless if they start listening to a significant portion of the posters who are not discussing technical client issues.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: HaemishM on November 01, 2005, 11:44:01 AM
You know, Psychochild is just about the only motherfucker on that panel who could whip out the Stephen King analogy and it actually be somewhat close to the truth. And I don't think Teppy was on that panel, so yeah, only Psychochild.

Message boards are total shit for communication from individual to developer, simply because there are too many individuals on the message board, and so the individual is just yet one more face in the mob. And the mob can be made to do any-fucking-thing by the right people. Official message boards are the retarded children of 1930's Nazi Germany, easily led, full of furious twats leading uncaring ignorant masses to gas the theoretical Jews of ideas.

MMOG's have the unenviable problem of encouraging interaction from the mob while being completely unable to effectively act upon that mob's wishes. The mob is the community, and the community is the real marrow, the juicy bits that separate an MMOG from any other shitty single-player game. So the player is encouraged by the entire dynamic of MMOG's to be invested in the development of the MMOG, but the developer not only does not want the input, they don't need it most of the time. They don't need it because as the number of residents in an MMOG goes up, the chances that the mob will split into separate mobs with completely conflicting desires will increase as well.

The Massive part of MMOG's is what kills interaction. A 500-person community, a 2000-person community can have a lot more meaningful interaction with a developer than a 3.5 million, or even a 200,000 person community. What's the best bet for real interaction?

Representation. Community/class reps elected from the populace who are willing to bring feedback to the developers, like supplicants to the gods. Shit, give these guys free game time, and supplement what they tell you with actual metrics from in-game that tell you in raw numbers how people play. Stuff like Dave Rickey used to do for DAoC. Treat MMOG's like tiny nations. Either that, or fuck the whole thing and only tell your customers what you want them to hear. Either you do something with the feedback or you don't, and if you don't, stop even bothering trying to convince people you listen or care.

Also, stop hiring message board admins to be community reps. They really aren't trained for it.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: ahoythematey on November 01, 2005, 12:01:00 PM
Really, I'd prefer it if future MMO's designed towards a more MUD-style of gameworld, tailored to be used by 100-300 or so players, and I'd prefer it not be instanced craziness.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Sachant on November 01, 2005, 12:03:27 PM
SB has been using a representative type system since beta.  Of course you know about that.  It started with just the focus group.  Then it became specific advocates.  On top of that reports are pulled from the forums and I've started a summit chat in which we ask a select ten players each month about a question the devs want feedback on.  Of course there are also still developer chats.  It's not perfect but there is no way to be perfect when there are so many voices yelling to be heard.  However, I've seen some good changes occur based on feedback that the fans have loved.  (This after a long period of time in which feedback was gathered but nothing was acted upon due to management.)

But as Lum says, you can't please everyone as much as you try to.  There are always people that will hate every single thing that is done to the game to improve it.  There are some people that will do nothing but spam the boards with their ideas as well.  It's just important to figure out who the people in your community are and then decipher which of those really have some good ideas and which are just trying to push their own personal agenda.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Shockeye on November 01, 2005, 12:14:52 PM
But as Lum says, you can't please everyone as much as you try to.

In other words, when everyone is complaining equally, your job is done.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 01, 2005, 12:29:41 PM
It's actually our job to find good feedback. (Well, the community team's job. It's my job to stay off the boards and fix pathing or something.) This is where message boards come in. Community people tend to become very good at (a) separating the fruit from the dross and (b) developing a very, very thick skin.

You know half the time, if not more I find that the friends of mine that play massive multi-player on-line games tend to ask each other, themselves and about anyone else who will listen: What community? What liaison? Who the hell is going to listen to me and what I have to say? As developers, designers, brands and what have you - you ask us to purchase your product in blind faith that it may be good but you don't want to support yourselves behind it. To me that's more than slightly ridiculous.  Show me a game right now where the people on the message boards have a direct affect on their respective game.

I'd like to see that because as of yet, I haven't found it.

I see games - in alpha/beta where the support team listens to the members that are directly involved in said alpha and beta. Maybe for..one..two..three months after release and for about a week after new patch implementation or a new expansion players are tended to. Beyond that, little to no communication beyond tech support trying to help someone out of their tech problems.

How is that different from everywhere else? If I worked in Hollywood, would you expect me to get on a fansite about the TV show I worked on and give you the real deal on how I thought the writers were meth addicts and the producers were too busy driving around in convertibles to work? No. There's a level of professionalism demanded by any job. As long as I have a "employed by XXXX" tag by my name, there are things that I just can't comment on. And a lot of that is, simply, I don't want to cause problems for the people I work with by shooting off my mouth. It's not really much more complex than that.

I don't expect you to commit professional suicide or anyone to do so. I don't think anyone expects that. I do expect however that if you put your faith in the community to purchase your product after you've made a message board for it, there are already fan sites.. you leak gossip to places, so on and so forth that you have an obligation AND a responsibility to take the good with the bad. Don't be dishonest and say everything is going great and the kinks will be worked out. Don't tell us you'll release a product and everything will be fine when they won't be and the product will end up coming out half ass. Give us the real deal on the progress of the game if you are already touting it.

Don't bullshit the people who buy the product. This isn't difficult.


So, yeah. But at the same time, you said, if I can paraphrase, "most developers are scummy because they blow us off." In the singular, yes, they - we - do. It's a survival reflex, and if we didn't, we'd probably slam a pistol bullet into our throat after reading the eight thousandth poster who told us we were worthless and should die. In the aggregate, no, feedback from message boards is most definitely not ignored.  

No. I said: And this is a pretty decent reason why I believe most game developers and their ideas are basically scummy. Because you can't come up with a better reason then that.

Think again. Then report back.

He was being a smartass. Point blank. And I completely disagree. I think message boards are very much ignored except when they are in alpha or beta stage. Or an expansion is coming out. Or they need to hype something.


The problem, for you, is that there *is* no answer to your question. It's not physically possible to give every interested player with an investment in their character one-on-one time with the decision makers behind the development team. So aggregation is really the only option here; the problem is that Internet message boards bring forward the optical illusion that one-to-one contact is feasible. For the great majority of people it simply isn't.


There isn't an answer to the question. Not something definitive. However I will say that if you plan on putting in an option to give feedback, you need to show that the whole of the population isn't being ignored. Unfortunately for the greater population, unless they are on a message board where the industry people post, they won't the get the chance to express their pleasure/displeasure at the way they feel a game is run. However, they have the right to in any way they see fit. And more should. It should be more accessible. It should be more open. It should be more utilized.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Signe on November 01, 2005, 12:49:03 PM

So, yeah. But at the same time, you said, if I can paraphrase, "most developers are scummy because they blow us off." In the singular, yes, they - we - do. It's a survival reflex, and if we didn't, we'd probably slam a pistol bullet into our throat after reading the eight thousandth poster who told us we were worthless and should die. In the aggregate, no, feedback from message boards is most definitely not ignored.  

No. I said: And this is a pretty decent reason why I believe most game developers and their ideas are basically scummy. Because you can't come up with a better reason then that.

Think again. Then report back.

He was being a smartass. Point blank. And I completely disagree. I think message boards are very much ignored except when they are in alpha or beta stage. Or an expansion is coming out. Or they need to hype something.


This was made so apparent to me just recently when Cryptic devs asked for input regarding the Enhancement nerf during the CoV beta. 

This is what they said:

Quote
Your questions and comments will help refine the patch notes so that we can make this new system as clear as possible for all players.

As always, we ask that you play and test the changes before crying "DOOOM".

Without further ado...

Enhancement Diversification:  a bunch of crap follows

Not a word about input regarding the nerfs themselves.  They weren't interested in that.  They only became suddenly interested in our testing of the ED system itself after people began questioning that statement... in spite of the fact that this new system would completely change the way we play every one of our characters.

As for this:
Quote
The problem, for you, is that there *is* no answer to your question. It's not physically possible to give every interested player with an investment in their character one-on-one time with the decision makers behind the development team. So aggregation is really the only option here; the problem is that Internet message boards bring forward the optical illusion that one-to-one contact is feasible. For the great majority of people it simply isn't.

There isn't an answer to the question. Not something definitive. However I will say that if you plan on putting in an option to give feedback, you need to show that the whole of the population isn't being ignored. Unfortunately for the greater population, unless they are on a message board where the industry people post, they won't the get the chance to express their pleasure/displeasure at the way they feel a game is run. However, they have the right to in any way they see fit. And more should. It should be more accessible. It should be more open. It should be more utilized.

Yay for truth!


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 01, 2005, 12:50:25 PM
I <3 you Signe. You get Nutella and Pretzels!


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Signe on November 01, 2005, 12:52:19 PM
Whoopeee!


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Lum on November 01, 2005, 01:05:28 PM
Show me a game right now where the people on the message boards have a direct affect on their respective game.

I'd like to see that because as of yet, I haven't found it.

Um, the one I work on? We have two people (I know, I can throw things at them from where I sit) who read message boards. That's their job. They then collate the feedback from them and bring them to the development team, which then tries to bring as much from that feedback into the game as possible.

"AS POSSIBLE" is the kicker. Many times, the things the community demands just isn't possible, due to manpower issues, technology issues, or sometimes just the fact that the developers simply don't agree with the players that that is what's needed for the game.

Another issue is sheer manpower. DAOC has 2 people for the various community boards. Blizzard has... 10? 15? Not enough. There's never enough. But saying that "companies don't listen" is unfair. In fact I can point to several instances where some companies listened TOO much - to the wrong people.

Quote
You have an obligation AND a responsibility to take the good with the bad. Don't be dishonest and say everything is going great and the kinks will be worked out. Don't tell us you'll release a product and everything will be fine when they won't be and the product will end up coming out half ass. Give us the real deal on the progress of the game if you are already touting it.

I don't understand what you're saying here. Do you want developers to come out and say "Yeah, our game sucks, you're right, we suck"? I'm not trying to be coy or silly, I really don't get what you're asking for here. If it's "be honest"... um, most developers are, which is why they try very hard NOT to say things which could be misconstrued (as promises, say).

Quote
I think message boards are very much ignored except when they are in alpha or beta stage. Or an expansion is coming out. Or they need to hype something.

Again, as someone who works in the trenches of a live MMO team, totally disagree. There's probably no way we can meet in the middle on this one, save that if you still believe such, there is an issue of perception in our industry which needs to be resolved, because I don't know anyone on a live team on any game who isn't FLOODED by trying to process feedback.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Shockeye on November 01, 2005, 01:14:15 PM
In fact I can point to several instances where some companies listened TOO much - to the wrong people.

That's what worries me most about developers being influenced at all by what is on message boards. The most vocal are usually, from what I have seen, the wrong people to listen to.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 01, 2005, 01:27:39 PM
Um, the one I work on? We have two people (I know, I can throw things at them from where I sit) who read message boards. That's their job. They then collate the feedback from them and bring them to the development team, which then tries to bring as much from that feedback into the game as possible.

"AS POSSIBLE" is the kicker. Many times, the things the community demands just isn't possible, due to manpower issues, technology issues, or sometimes just the fact that the developers simply don't agree with the players that that is what's needed for the game.

Another issue is sheer manpower. DAOC has 2 people for the various community boards. Blizzard has... 10? 15? Not enough. There's never enough. But saying that "companies don't listen" is unfair. In fact I can point to several instances where some companies listened TOO much - to the wrong people.


You work for Mythic. So what you are telling me is: You have two people, out of everyone you have that works in that company to work the message boards and take the information, using it to bring feedback into the game? Just two?  Is that all that you have working on your consumer base and their suggestions? Maybe one of the problems is budget. You spend absolutely nothing on good, quality customer care and quality? I mean I am guessing you have a QA department somewhere at Mythic. I'm guessing they what... play Solitaire all day? Or maybe it's the fact that you don't play your own games? Maybe if you were forced to play your own game for 12 hours a day, for one week solid and had the problems that the normal player has with the game be it technical, architectual or what have you, you would understand my point.  On the other hand, maybe I am not stating it clearly enough.

I fully stand by what I say that I have seen no game, or at least none in memory where both the community and the developers, creators, what have you fully converse back and forth with ease. None. Nada. Not unless the game was in a beta stage, or it was just after an expansion/update of some sort.



I don't understand what you're saying here. Do you want developers to come out and say "Yeah, our game sucks, you're right, we suck"? I'm not trying to be coy or silly, I really don't get what you're asking for here. If it's "be honest"... um, most developers are, which is why they try very hard NOT to say things which could be misconstrued (as promises, say).

Yes. I do. I want you to come out and say: "Hey, we are here, these are the problems we are having. Let us know, are you having the same problems? Right now..our game does suck but we are going to improve it, and we are focusing on the problems as detailed below. Wouldn't that be freeing?

Stop being so careful with what you are trying NOT to say.  I mean honestly, we get that you CAN'T say some things.. but being so careful makes you look ridiculous. It is like you are trying to dumb us down in some way.  We don't need to be dumbed down.

Again, as someone who works in the trenches of a live MMO team, totally disagree. There's probably no way we can meet in the middle on this one, save that if you still believe such, there is an issue of perception in our industry which needs to be resolved, because I don't know anyone on a live team on any game who isn't FLOODED by trying to process feedback.

There is a serious issue of perception that needs to be resolved or at least looked at.  And any person on a live team on any game has a duty to be flooded by feedback. It's your job to look at feedback.

You make the product.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 01, 2005, 01:29:39 PM
In fact I can point to several instances where some companies listened TOO much - to the wrong people.

That's what worries me most about developers being influenced at all by what is on message boards. The most vocal are usually, from what I have seen, the wrong people to listen to.

Thanks for the slap!


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Lum on November 01, 2005, 01:37:32 PM
You work for Mythic. So what you are telling me is: You have two people, out of everyone you have that works in that company to work the message boards and take the information, using it to bring feedback into the game? Just two?  Is that all that you have working on your consumer base and their suggestions? Maybe one of the problems is budget. You spend absolutely nothing on good, quality customer care and quality? I mean I am guessing you have a QA department somewhere at Mythic. I'm guessing they what... play Solitaire all day? Or maybe it's the fact that you don't play your own games? Maybe if you were forced to play your own game for 12 hours a day, for one week solid and had the problems that the normal player has with the game be it technical, architectual or what have you, you would understand my point.  On the other hand, maybe I am not stating it clearly enough.

You moved from "only 2 people reading message boards" (and THAT IS THEIR SOLE JOB, there are others who take that feedback and actually process it into human-readable reports) to "no one does QA at your company, or debugs at your company, or does CS, or even plays your own game". Considering that I'm doing, um, 3 of those today (guess which 3 for bonus credit) you can see where I may take that personally had I thinner skin.

Thank you for making an object lesson of why dialogue between producers and consumers can be difficult.

Quote
I fully stand by what I say that I have seen no game, or at least none in memory where both the community and the developers, creators, what have you fully converse back and forth with ease. None. Nada. Not unless the game was in a beta stage, or it was just after an expansion/update of some sort.

You'll never see that. There's too many people. You cannot have "a full conversation back and forth with ease" when one of the parties happens to consist of hundreds of thousands of people. It's literally impossible.

Quote
Stop being so careful with what you are trying NOT to say.  I mean honestly, we get that you CAN'T say some things.. but being so careful makes you look ridiculous. It is like you are trying to dumb us down in some way.  We don't need to be dumbed down.

Let me tell you a story.

I was at GenCon giving a presentation about our latest expansion. A group of players came by.

"Well, I'd buy that, but Mythic hates assassins."

"Um, why do you say that?"

"Well, clearly, X, Y, Z, A, B, C, and this shows no one at Mythic has ever played an assassin."

"Um, I do."

"You do?"

"Yeah. From release."

"How'd you do?"

"I really sucked. I played him like the lurikeen kamikaze that he was. YAAR STRIKE fwoomf. But that was mostly me being a bad player. But here's why ..." and then we got into a technical discussion about assassin game mechanics, where I thought I had explained some of why certain decisions were made.

The next week I had four seperate lines from that conversation - in public, not on a message board - taken out of context, and posted as proof that my company hated a specific class and wanted them to suck. I think a few are even in some people's .sig files.

You HAVE TO watch EVERY SINGLE THING YOU SAY. You HAVE TO. Or you will be BEATEN WITH IT. And this is a large part of why most developers with sense stay the hell away from message boards. Because sane people only need to be burned once.

Quote
There is a serious issue of perception that needs to be resolved or at least looked at.  And any person on a live team on any game has a duty to be flooded by feedback. It's your job to look at feedback.

Actually it's our job to make the game.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Sachant on November 01, 2005, 01:41:12 PM
SB interacts directly with the players and continues to do so whether as seen as good or bad.  The new Lore server is just one example of a want the community has asked for for a long while.  It's now a reality and all aspects of the game continue to be worked on and hopefully improved upon with the help of community feedback.  As Lum says, I've seen that DAoC is very similiar in nature as far as their community interaction and use of feedback.  We still have people on the team that play the game regularly (myself included).

But I'm sure you could easily say that SB can afford to be more communicative with the players since it's not in the high subscriber end of the MMO realm.  Some may say it's too little too late since the start of SB wasn't what it should have be and the potential of the game still isn't fully realized.  It still has a solid following of people and the team is still dedicated to continuing to give the best support they can.  

(I haven't had an sb.exe myself in ages btw.  My husband can't say the same but his computer has an odd tendency to shut down with a lot of games.  *sigh*  I'm sure I'll be spending time trying to figure it out sooner or later.)



Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: HaemishM on November 01, 2005, 01:51:03 PM
In fact I can point to several instances where some companies listened TOO much - to the wrong people.

*COUGH* KUNARKEQ *COUGH*

EDIT: I'm going to disagree with my lovely wife here in that I think Mythic is actually one of the more responsive companies out there. Having 2 people who do nothing but read message boards (especially when they don't even host their own official message boards) is probably a larger percentage of the company than any other MMOG out there with more than say 100k subscribers.

But Lum is right in that there exists in the MMOG medium a SERIOUS disconnect between consumer perceptions and developer realities. It's apparent in this thread right here.

PopTart as Average Consumer Thinks:

1) Her feedback is not paid attention to
2) The company does not employ competent CS people
3) The developers don't play the very game they create

Now part of that perception is based on her main MMOG experience, which is EQ (and to some extent WoW, though WoW has amazingly less bugs to report upon). And all of us, from Lum on down, who have played EQ know that apart from total 'shit-the-bed' MMOG's like Horizons (fuck you, David Bowman), EQ handled all of these issues the worst.

On the other hand, Lum as average developer thinks:

1) Everything he says about the game will be misquoted (which he may be right on)
2) It's better to say nothing than to be misquoted because misquoting creates negative perceptions
3) Customers hate him with the white hot passion of the sun

Customers don't hate developers (except pigfucker developers). Customers LOVE their games and want to feel a part of the greater whole that is a good MMOG with a thriving community. It is this passion which makes us rant, which turns message boards to shit, makes loudmouth catasses like Furor somehow representative of the whole of the EQ Player base.

There's going to have to be some serious effort made on both sides of the equation to resolve a disconnect of that magnitude.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: voodoolily on November 01, 2005, 02:04:20 PM
I hope this isn't out of line, but I'm kind of a fan of being pleasantly surprised. Sure, sometimes I have to wait awhile for something that blows my mind, but if I had access to what I truly desire all the time, maybe it would lose its appeal. I know I'm primarily a console gamer, but the reason I mention this is because I think it translates well to the gaming industry in general.

I think that we all forget that "you get more flies with honey". (I know, it's a gross adage, but you get the gist) It's true for everything: raising kids, training dogs, having good sex and getting what you want in general. If you tell people, "I loved that, it was awesome, more please!" instead of "god that fucking sucked, what the hell is wrong with you?" then maybe we can all move closer to our goal of getting what we want more often, if not all the time.

/ducks impending shitstorm


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: HaemishM on November 01, 2005, 02:39:13 PM
You don't play MMOG's, right? If not, I think you know very little about the shitstorm of hate that they generate.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 01, 2005, 02:39:55 PM
In fact I can point to several instances where some companies listened TOO much - to the wrong people.

*COUGH* KUNARKEQ *COUGH*

EDIT: I'm going to disagree with my lovely wife here in that I think Mythic is actually one of the more responsive companies out there. Having 2 people who do nothing but read message boards (especially when they don't even host their own official message boards) is probably a larger percentage of the company than any other MMOG out there with more than say 100k subscribers.

But Lum is right in that there exists in the MMOG medium a SERIOUS disconnect between consumer perceptions and developer realities. It's apparent in this thread right here.

PopTart as Average Consumer Thinks:

1) Her feedback is not paid attention to
2) The company does not employ competent CS people
3) The developers don't play the very game they create

Now part of that perception is based on her main MMOG experience, which is EQ (and to some extent WoW, though WoW has amazingly less bugs to report upon). And all of us, from Lum on down, who have played EQ know that apart from total 'shit-the-bed' MMOG's like Horizons (fuck you, David Bowman), EQ handled all of these issues the worst.

On the other hand, Lum as average developer thinks:

1) Everything he says about the game will be misquoted (which he may be right on)
2) It's better to say nothing than to be misquoted because misquoting creates negative perceptions
3) Customers hate him with the white hot passion of the sun

Customers don't hate developers (except pigfucker developers). Customers LOVE their games and want to feel a part of the greater whole that is a good MMOG with a thriving community. It is this passion which makes us rant, which turns message boards to shit, makes loudmouth catasses like Furor somehow representative of the whole of the EQ Player base.

There's going to have to be some serious effort made on both sides of the equation to resolve a disconnect of that magnitude.

First of all. I was a guide in EQ three times over. If you want to talk about a company where Customer Service isn't tended to at ALL, nor is player feedback, SOE is the company you want to look directly at.  I am not sure anything can ever be done to improve their customer service, ever.

Second. I NEVER mentioned Mythic specifically, in any of my posts. And in fact when I say YOU I mean it in generic terms. So we can talk about misconstruing information.. I am responding to your posts.  I only responded about Mythic when Lum mentioned it, for example.

There IS no official board for Mythic, as far as I know.  So... point me towards the official board if I'm wrong? I'd love to see how you interact with your customer base.

Poptart as the average consumer simply thinks there should be more direct interaction between buyer and seller. It's really not much more difficult than that. And the seller shouldn't be so fast to disassociate with buyer once the purchase is complete.

Also -  I don't hate anyone. I have a strong dislike of many people but being part of the gaming industry doesn't automatically put you on my list of people I'd like to see flogged.

I don't think that much about game developers TO hate them. That would be far too much effort on my part.

Oh, and Voodoolily - I really could post something horrible to say to you but again, way too much effort for far too little pleasure. Please take your own line and remember you get more flies with honey. Do you even PLAY an MMOG dear? Didn't think so. Move on.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: voodoolily on November 01, 2005, 02:45:46 PM
Oh, and Voodoolily - I really could post something horrible to say to you but again, way too much effort for far too little pleasure. Please take your own line and remember you get more flies with honey. Do you even PLAY an MMOG dear? Didn't think so. Move on.

I love you, too sweetie. Even when you're mean to me, I just remember that every thorn has its rose.  :heart:

Edit: Oh, and ftr, I have spent some time playing Guild Wars and WoW, but couldn't bring myself to invest enough of my life to either notice or care about the things everyone's complaining about. Maybe my lack of interest is enough evidence of MMOG's flaws.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 01, 2005, 02:47:50 PM
Oh, and Voodoolily - I really could post something horrible to say to you but again, way too much effort for far too little pleasure. Please take your own line and remember you get more flies with honey. Do you even PLAY an MMOG dear? Didn't think so. Move on.

I love you, too sweetie.

I loathe you dear. Kisses.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 01, 2005, 02:50:27 PM
Oh, and Voodoolily - I really could post something horrible to say to you but again, way too much effort for far too little pleasure. Please take your own line and remember you get more flies with honey. Do you even PLAY an MMOG dear? Didn't think so. Move on.

I love you, too sweetie.

I loathe you dear. Kisses. And my darling girl.. I haven't been mean to you. Not even an ounce. I've been sickeningly sweet, actually. Who else would I say kisses to? And thank you for the thorn compliment..

Really I find it's an excellent comparison.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: voodoolily on November 01, 2005, 02:53:24 PM
I have a hard time telling if you're being facetious or not. If you were a boy I don't think I would give a shit. I'm just kind of sensitive I guess. *sigh* I'll just limp away and won't ever say anything in a MMOG thread again.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Shockeye on November 01, 2005, 02:59:39 PM
I have a hard time telling if you're being facetious or not. If you were a boy I don't think I would give a shit. I'm just kind of sensitive I guess. *sigh* I'll just limp away and won't ever say anything in a MMOG thread again.

As you are someone who hasn't invested a large part of their free time into MMOGs, perhaps you can speak to the reasons why the games don't grab you like they do so many of us.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: ahoythematey on November 01, 2005, 06:57:37 PM
I can tell you why, aside from 60-hour workweeks, I don't currently play an MMO, even though I'm subbed to at least one and have a few different beta accounts:

Other Players.

Perhaps World of Warcraft just totally broke me, but I really have a hard time dealing with other players in MMO's anymore.  The nice and decent people are too few and far in between, and when I do experience some gametime with them it makes it that much harder to handle the rest of the MMO.

And message boards just exasperate the situation further, where you only have Brown-nosing Sycophants who will do nothing but hand out hummers and ask for donkey punches from the devs while vehemently defending each and every mistake or messup that occurs whether or not it warrants defending against, Frothing-at-the-Mouth Fanatics who know absolutely and without reservation that the dev team is full of shit and not interested in hearing their customers concerns, and then the remaining subset I'd label as "Other" because they are simply not as persistent and vocal as the first two.

It used to be that I feared every developers VISION and would use that as validation that they were snorting lines of coke off of dead transvestite-prostitutes instead of actually caring about their game, but I guess I lost the hate when I realized that they are really just trying keep their game evolving in a direction that satisfies the majority of their playerbase while at the same time not surrender control to them because in the end they are the ones creating the gameworld.

Anymore, the VISION I fear is that which comes from other players like Caella and her ilk(PvP+ for life, yo!).  When a dev's VISION doesn't agree with me, I can simply leave the game, but I am always stuck with players and their VISION because those motherfuckers keep following me to each new shiny.

Slowly but surely, I continue to lose my love for MMO's because of things like it.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Signe on November 01, 2005, 10:01:13 PM
I have lots of really great ideas!

You better start writing them down, you old geezer, you!  You're not getting any younger!

Happy Birthday!   :-P


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: stray on November 01, 2005, 10:14:45 PM
Great rant ahoy  :wink:

Yes, I too have directed my hate towards players. Mostly.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Psychochild on November 01, 2005, 11:39:58 PM
I saw no link to his blog. He didn't quote anyone but me. I responded thusly.
Sorry, I had just posted it in another thread, didn't want it to seem that I was pimping it too hard.  People seem to accuse me of a stealth marketing when I try to do that too much.  But, if you're interested I posted the rant here:  http://blog.psychochild.org/?p=92

Really, I'd prefer it if future MMO's designed towards a more MUD-style of gameworld, tailored to be used by 100-300 or so players, and I'd prefer it not be instanced craziness.
Unfortunately, a small game is seen as inferior to a larger one.  One of the most frequent criticisms leveled at M59 was to the effect of, "There's more people in my guild in [some larger game] than are on this server!"  Hell, sometimes even indie developers judge by size; One game administrator looks down his nose at me because he's got 3000 subscribers when I only have 1000 or so.  I agree with you that this would be cool, but realize there's some immediate biases against this type of design.

As for the discussion between Lum and SuperPopTart, lemme say that we do listen to player feedback (even though I posted that rant letter).  One problem is we can't really recognize people when we use their ideas; in a fairly hard-core PvP game people will cry favoritism, that we listen to one person instead of another.  And, of course, if we don't give attribution, we don't really listen to the players, right?

In addition, I think you really need to consider changes very carefully.  When an issue pops up on M59, we don't immediately jump to do something.  We often let the worst of the storm pass (assuming it's not an immediately damaging issue like a dupe bug, even then we take time to research things before just banning people with too much cash), then consider options.  Often we find that the issue resolved itself.  Other times, a small change was sufficient when players were demanding a major alteration in the way the game works.  It's not absolutely perfect, but we do manage to avoid the "nerf, boost, nerf" cycles that affect other games.

Anyway, as a general rule of thumb it seems that 25% of people will love any change, 25% of people will absolutely hate it, and 50% won't care.  Sometimes I think the proportions might even be 10%/10%/80% if the topic isn't highly controversial.

Happy Birthday!   :-P

Er, thanks?  I think?  (Love ya, too!)

Some thoughts,


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: HaemishM on November 02, 2005, 11:46:21 AM
In addition, I think you really need to consider changes very carefully.  When an issue pops up on M59, we don't immediately jump to do something.  We often let the worst of the storm pass (assuming it's not an immediately damaging issue like a dupe bug, even then we take time to research things before just banning people with too much cash), then consider options.  Often we find that the issue resolved itself.  Other times, a small change was sufficient when players were demanding a major alteration in the way the game works.  It's not absolutely perfect, but we do manage to avoid the "nerf, boost, nerf" cycles that affect other games.

So you take the FEMA approach? Do the plebs at least get cake?    :rimshot:

I KID, I KID! As you can see, it's the players that fuck things up as many times as the developers.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Shockeye on November 02, 2005, 11:49:59 AM
I KID, I KID! As you can see, it's the players that fuck things up as many times as the developers.

Like many businesses, things would be great if it wasn't for those damn customers.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 02, 2005, 01:20:15 PM
Everyone is a customer somewhere.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Shockeye on November 02, 2005, 01:33:12 PM
But Lum is right in that there exists in the MMOG medium a SERIOUS disconnect between consumer perceptions and developer realities. It's apparent in this thread right here.

PopTart as Average Consumer Thinks:

1) Her feedback is not paid attention to
2) The company does not employ competent CS people
3) The developers don't play the very game they create

Now part of that perception is based on her main MMOG experience, which is EQ (and to some extent WoW, though WoW has amazingly less bugs to report upon). And all of us, from Lum on down, who have played EQ know that apart from total 'shit-the-bed' MMOG's like Horizons (fuck you, David Bowman), EQ handled all of these issues the worst.

On the other hand, Lum as average developer thinks:

1) Everything he says about the game will be misquoted (which he may be right on)
2) It's better to say nothing than to be misquoted because misquoting creates negative perceptions
3) Customers hate him with the white hot passion of the sun

Customers don't hate developers (except pigfucker developers). Customers LOVE their games and want to feel a part of the greater whole that is a good MMOG with a thriving community. It is this passion which makes us rant, which turns message boards to shit, makes loudmouth catasses like Furor somehow representative of the whole of the EQ Player base.

There's going to have to be some serious effort made on both sides of the equation to resolve a disconnect of that magnitude.

I'm going to disagree with Haemish here a bit. I think there's different classes of customers and the customers being talked about here are the ones that frequent message boards. I'd wager that the majority of the customers don't give a damn about the developers or whether their opinion counts. Why do I believe this? Because there's 4 million people playing WoW.

The more I read message boards, the more I see "community managers" and how people treat them, the more I think that maybe not talking to the "community at large" is the best thing in the long run. Much of the information developers need can be mined from what people do in the game itself. There are times you might want a focus group to discuss possible upcoming changes, but for the most part do you really need to talk to the "community" or listen to what they have to say?


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Stephen Zepp on November 02, 2005, 01:53:09 PM
SB interacts directly with the players and continues to do so whether as seen as good or bad.  The new Lore server is just one example of a want the community has asked for for a long while.  It's now a reality and all aspects of the game continue to be worked on and hopefully improved upon with the help of community feedback.  As Lum says, I've seen that DAoC is very similiar in nature as far as their community interaction and use of feedback.  We still have people on the team that play the game regularly (myself included).



Just wanted to interject here that I'm glad to hear that SB has gotten back to the "lore + community interaction" focus (at least on one server) that I found so damned cool about early days SB...

It started off outstandingly, but then really withered for quite a while, good to see it's coming back!

Malagant the Righteous
Nation Leader, Church of the Reunification, Fear Server

--best MMOG experience to date: Being a participant in a "lore event" that lead to founding an entire nation around the concepts (as we saw them!), and influencing the politics of most, if not all, nations on a server for at least 6 months.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Stephen Zepp on November 02, 2005, 01:56:17 PM
And to re-rail to the original thread name, which of course included the word "Alcohol":

Garage Games, hung out and drank with the guys from Playtechtonics, Garage games, etc.
Quote
We went to 2 parties tonight. One thrown by a Korean company. They bought us one beer. Then the one thrown by the Garage Games guys. That was an open bar. God bless America.

Glad to see Jay and Davey did things right! Did you happen to witness the "I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!" event?


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Shockeye on November 02, 2005, 02:10:28 PM
Glad to see Jay and Davey did things right! Did you happen to witness the "I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!" event?

I think schild witnessed it, I had to leave early.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: schild on November 02, 2005, 02:12:16 PM
Yes.

/me shudders.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Sachant on November 02, 2005, 03:36:15 PM

Just wanted to interject here that I'm glad to hear that SB has gotten back to the "lore + community interaction" focus (at least on one server) that I found so damned cool about early days SB...

It started off outstandingly, but then really withered for quite a while, good to see it's coming back!

Malagant the Righteous
Nation Leader, Church of the Reunification, Fear Server

--best MMOG experience to date: Being a participant in a "lore event" that lead to founding an entire nation around the concepts (as we saw them!), and influencing the politics of most, if not all, nations on a server for at least 6 months.

You're Malagant?  LOL  I remember you!  Had a great time running events with you all. :)

To answer the other question do we really need to interact with the community on the boards etc?  Yeah, I think we do.  There's a real correlation between activity on the board and a feeling of belonging within the community when people feel they are listened to.  Even if it's to say "Hey, I don't know but I'll find out."  Or to say "No sorry it won't happen."  People just like to feel like they have a part in the game they play.  I think that while WoW has a lot of subscribers there is a real disconnect and lack of loyalty to the game itself by many because they aren't feeling the connect with the devs.

I think the reason a game like Meridian 59 is around is because as far as I've known, it's had a real attachment with the community it's fostered.  I remember when I first heard of M59 back when I first started going to school.  It's still around after all these years and that's a real testament to the devotion the devs and the community both have.  (And that's not just sucking up here I swear. ;) ) 

Smaller games especially thrive on their communities and by fostering a loyalty base to the game, people will stick with the game even during the rough times.

From what I gather from what Haemish said about Poptart is that she doesn't feel the connect with the devs creating the games she's played because there has been very little show of connection between them.  My brother was a guide for years and his excitement for the game and helping out became apathy after awhile when it became apparent (at least to him) that the GMs and powers that be just didn't care. 

So yeah.  Interaction with the community on many levels is very very important if you want to have a game that is more than just a game but is a community that people feel a sense of belonging with.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: d4rkj3di on November 02, 2005, 04:26:35 PM
You HAVE TO watch EVERY SINGLE THING YOU SAY. You HAVE TO. Or you will be BEATEN WITH IT. And this is a large part of why most developers with sense stay the hell away from message boards. Because sane people only need to be burned once.
Once upon a time, Raph posted on the SWG boards that a direct representation of a player class's power was the number of skill points that one had to invest to become a Master.  Bounty Hunters used this quote for almost a year as a battle cry in their campaign to completely dominate other class combinations in PvP.

I know this because I was one of them.

As far as Blizzard having 10-15 Community Relations people, I think their number is closer to 4 that actively monitor the Forums.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 03, 2005, 11:53:33 AM
From what I gather from what Haemish said about Poptart is that she doesn't feel the connect with the Dev's creating the games she's played because there has been very little show of connection between them.  My brother was a guide for years and his excitement for the game and helping out became apathy after awhile when it became apparent (at least to him) that the GMs and powers that be just didn't care.  


You know in fairness to how I react to games and their developers, I am fairly jaded in that I believe developers, designers and programmers feel that once they create the product, it's in the hands of the CSR's, Guides and GM's to really get things going community wise. And that never happens, or almost never happens. I feel it is the responsibility of those above the CSR's, Guides and GM's to see that more community based interaction with the "world" as a whole is implemented instead of wasted and I can barely think of a game out there that utilizes truly their player base. This annoys me to no end.

With respect to SOE, as a former guide I can tell you their CSR and the way the handle their players is awful, my first instinct was to type the word bullshit to describe but I hate swearing. Beyond petitions and the random holiday based event that has been repeated over years and years they NEVER interacted with the players beyond spooking people as invisible beings, or trying to impress the random player with generic Guide ability. The ONLY Guide I know of that was the exception to this rule was Mennix. And he was fantastic. He just totally knew it. Got it. And people loved him, mourning him when he went away. I was only a player when he was on our server but years later he is still fresh in my memory and THOSE are the kind of experiences I think one such as myself looks for when seeking out a game. He made it fun, he let us communicate with him and he was responsive.

Most of the GM's and Guides never do that. Never did that. Most of them are chloroformed by these rules that just don't need to exist. And the responsibility to see that community and powers interact does not just fall on the heads of the servers, it falls on the developers, the programmers, the designers, the QA people and everyone else that is responsible for the implementation of ideas. And while someone mentioned disconnects, there is a huge disconnect there.

I'd love to know how many of you developers out there actively play your own game, for more then just an hour a week and if you REALLY interact with people in your own game's community.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: HaemishM on November 03, 2005, 03:14:39 PM
Mennix kicked all kinds of ass. I still remember the time he showed up as a dragon-sized halfling.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: schild on November 03, 2005, 03:20:32 PM
SPT, why are you using red italics?  :|


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Hoax on November 03, 2005, 03:29:31 PM
Doesn't that mean quoting someone you wish was beeding out of their eyes ears and mouth?  Or am I thinking of another forum.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Shockeye on November 03, 2005, 03:41:40 PM
Doesn't that mean quoting someone you wish was beeding out of their eyes ears and mouth?  Or am I thinking of another forum.

I don't want anyone bleeding out of their eyes here. Think of the cleanup!


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Cheddar on November 03, 2005, 03:47:03 PM
You do NOT want to be a janitor around here; this is the only mop they provide.

(http://www.supportal.org.uk/UploadedImages/dirty_mop.jpg)


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 03, 2005, 03:51:11 PM
SPT, why are you using red italics?  :|


I'll be serious. Simply because when so many people respond it records everyone's quotes and that means I have to go back through and pick out the quote I was meaning to quote.

So I just cut, copy, make red and italic. It works for me. I'll keep doing it.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Rasix on November 03, 2005, 04:13:12 PM

I'll be serious. Simply because when so many people respond it records everyone's quotes and that means I have to go back through and pick out the quote I was meaning to quote.

So I just cut, copy, make red and italic. It works for me. I'll keep doing it.

Ohh dear.  Hammy, talk to your wifey. Tell her the story of "StGabe, the boy that wouldn't play along".


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Samwise on November 03, 2005, 04:22:49 PM
Red italics aren't quite as bad as italics on their own.  At least they stand out visually instead of blending into the reply.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Rasix on November 03, 2005, 04:27:20 PM
You don't value my sanity, do you?


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Samwise on November 03, 2005, 04:41:54 PM
You don't value my sanity, do you?

Not as such, no.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Sachant on November 03, 2005, 05:28:20 PM

I'd love to know how many of you developers out there actively play your own game, for more then just an hour a week and if you REALLY interact with people in your own game's community.

We just had a bane last night and kicked some butt. :)  I don't get to play as much as I'd like but then again I spend a lot of time talking to players on the forums and out of game both.  I'm not a whole lot more than support but I do what I can to foster the best of the community.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Bunk on November 03, 2005, 06:59:40 PM
This is quite the impressive thread.

 - interesting discussion
 - heated arguments
 - someone here actually saying something negative at Lum  :-o
 - PopTart appears to have invented a new way to SirBruce someone
 - Sachant survived saying sb.exe without Crotchpheasants exploding everywhere

Fun stuff.

To contribute I'll ask a question regarding the whole player/dev communication thing. Has anyone ever looked at the numbers of what percentage of an MMo's players actually ever visit and post on community boards? Its always seemed to me that most boards are filled with the same type of people that frequent the info sites like Startics, Thottbot, Alakazheem - namely the power gamers and min maxers. Personally, I've always felt that the general opinions of "the boards" tended to be a little skewed, since they really don't include the opinions of the casual gamer that just wants to have fun playing the game.

I really don't give a shit about reaching 60, or having my class perfectly balanced in pvp, or feeling nerfed. I also don't post about the games I play for the same reason - I don't care about these minute details, I just want the game to be fun. As a result, my type of player tends to be under-represented in the forums.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: stray on November 03, 2005, 07:10:33 PM
As a result, my type of player tends to be under-represented in the forums.

It's one of the reasons why I tend to stick around here ("tend" being an understatement). Why I came to Wto or f13, and fled the Vault. Why I hardly ever post on specific game boards.* Communities like this one were a godsend when I first found them -- If I was somewhere else talking about mmo's, I'd think I was the only person who didn't like them.

*Though sometimes the mix max, number juggling, game specific bullshit seeps into these parts too.


Anyways, I think the type of gamer generally represented here, for instance, is a rare breed.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Signe on November 03, 2005, 08:21:22 PM
Comparing PopTart to SirB is dicing with death, you know.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Calandryll on November 03, 2005, 10:13:19 PM
This is something I actually wanted to talk about in the Community panels and am disappointed I didn’t get a chance to. There is no such thing as “the customer” when it comes to feedback on game development. Let me explain.

Let’s say you own a store and you sell “whatchacallits”. One day, 20 people buy a whatchacallit from you. The next day, two of your customers bring back their whatchacallit and say it’s defective. You examine it and determine that they are indeed defective and replace them. Perfect! Two satisfied customers, no problem. That’s the easy kind of customer service because those two customers’ complaints are in a vacuum; they aren’t connected to any other customers’ concerns and your fixing their concern didn’t impact your other customers at all. In an MMOG sense, this is akin to a customer having a billing problem, calling support, and having that problem resolved.

But a few days later, 5 of your customers come to your store and tell you the handle on the whatchacallit is too small. Before you can react, 5 other customers come in and tell you the handle on their whatchacallit is too big. Another group of 5 tell you the handle is stupid and you should just get rid of it and spend your time adding flame graphics to the whatchacallit. The last group of 5 says it’s just right the way it is, don’t you dare change it! You only make one whatchacallit and any change you make to one of them, you have to make to all of them. What do you do? No matter what you do, 15 of your customers are going to be pissed. Fifteen of them are going to say “You didn’t listen to us. You don’t care.” In MMOG terms this is akin to class balance.

The moment customers’ desires are connected and different there is no such thing as “a customer”. What you have now is multiple groups of customers, many with diametrically opposed wants and opinions…essentially you have special interest groups. What’s even more challenging is many players will belong to different groups within special interest groups. You show me a community that always agrees 100% on the direction of the game and doesn’t actually have completely opposite views on what the right direction is, and I will show you a community of one person.

Before I continue, let me state clearly that this is NOT the players’ fault or problem. It’s our (the developers) problem. We have to do a better job of setting players’ expectations, of communicating WHY we make a change, and of sticking to our promises (implied or otherwise). We have to recognize who the special interest groups are, how they agree and disagree, and do our best to keep them all in mind when making updates and changes. And when we don’t agree with a special interest group, it’s up to us to tell them why we don’t agree in a clear and professional manner.

The fact is, every development team I’ve worked on (up to about 6 or 7 now) does in fact look for and value player feedback. I can list countless examples of how designs were changed in UO based on specific message board posts or in-game comments. And I can list countless examples of how those changes had a positive impact on the game and of how some very vocal groups of players HATED those changes just as much as other groups loved them.

Honestly I think the biggest problem we face with this issue is being consistent. Sometimes we do a good job of explaining the reasoning behind a change and other times we make a change without giving any warning or explanation at all. We have to stop that. We also have to understand that the message boards are a special interest group all unto themselves and that they may or may not represent the community at large. We need more in-game metrics to see what our players are doing in addition to what they are saying. Logging in and playing the game is good, but it won’t give you anywhere near all the information you need. That’s a whole other issue though.

I hope that all made sense and I further hope that nobody takes anything I wrote the wrong way. We DO value and want player feedback. It's important. We go through a lot of effort to try and take player feedback along with our own knowledge of the game and then make the best decision we can. I have yet to work with a team that didn’t and wouldn’t for very long if I did. But in the end, it is impossible to please everyone when everyone wants something different. That doesn’t mean we don’t try to do what is best for the game after we get all of the feedback. But any change, no matter how minute, will probably upset someone. The trick is to not just understand that, but to be understanding of it.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 04, 2005, 01:13:16 AM
Exactly how am I like SirBruce?

And not a bullshit answer, if you please. I don't do dumb blonde well.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: stray on November 04, 2005, 01:31:50 AM
http://forums.f13.net/index.php?topic=5008.msg129782#msg129782

SirBruce was notorious for chopping up posts, quoting and replying bit by bit.  :-D

Innocent joke, I think. Everyone SirBruces someone every once in a while a while. That you did it, using red italics, is breaking the "rules" in two ways at once (not my rules, mind you. I'm just explaining things...).


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: schild on November 04, 2005, 02:02:07 AM
Exactly how am I like SirBruce?

And not a bullshit answer, if you please. I don't do dumb blonde well.

More of a StGabe thing really.

Edit: Also, I just realized. By tagging it red, you could have just tagged it quote. In other words, you're doing the exact same amount of work. instead of typing
Code:
[color=Red][/color]

use

Code:
[quote][/quote]

It actually less letters than doing the color. No dropdown menu either. Also, my eyes bleed less.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 04, 2005, 09:17:44 AM
Anything I'd said just doesn't matter. It's stupid to poke someone because of the way they choose to quote something. It's petty.

Whatever. Red Italics gone.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Evangolis on November 04, 2005, 11:47:03 AM
...To contribute I'll ask a question regarding the whole player/dev communication thing. Has anyone ever looked at the numbers of what percentage of an MMo's players actually ever visit and post on community boards? Its always seemed to me that most boards are filled with the same type of people that frequent the info sites like Startics, Thottbot, Alakazheem - namely the power gamers and min maxers. Personally, I've always felt that the general opinions of "the boards" tended to be a little skewed, since they really don't include the opinions of the casual gamer that just wants to have fun playing the game.

I really don't give a shit about reaching 60, or having my class perfectly balanced in pvp, or feeling nerfed. I also don't post about the games I play for the same reason - I don't care about these minute details, I just want the game to be fun. As a result, my type of player tends to be under-represented in the forums.


I think most players want the game to be fun, but those definitions vary.  I think my player type, which is primarily explorer, is vastly over-represented on all forums, particularly on general comment/hardcore gamer forums like this and Corp.  By contrast, I think achiever types are vastly under-represented.
***

I kind of like the red text for quotes, it does make things a bit clearer, but only with this funky black background.
***

...  It’s our (the developers) problem. We have to do a better job of setting players’ expectations, of communicating WHY we make a change, and of sticking to our promises (implied or otherwise). ...

Which promises?  Even when developers start making the game, before developers announce more than the most basic description of the game, they are making two promises to players, one that this is such and so sort of game, and the other, that it will be fun.  What happens when those two basic promises conflict, never mind all the promises that follow.  Is it really possible for developers to keep their promises when there are so many of them, and they are so often evolve into contradiction?

I've long since come close to the Kelly Flock position ('Customers just mess us up.'), that customers generally tend to create confusion for developers, and customer comments, as opposed to customer behavior (like quitting, or other quantifiable behaviors) are more trouble than they are worth.  I do think customer behavior in game is important to follow, but message boards seem to me to be a bad place to work on design changes, particularly post-alpha.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Shockeye on November 04, 2005, 11:54:20 AM
I've long since come close to the Kelly Flock position ('Customers just mess us up.'), that customers generally tend to create confusion for developers, and customer comments, as opposed to customer behavior (like quitting, or other quantifiable behaviors) are more trouble than they are worth.  I do think customer behavior in game is important to follow, but message boards seem to me to be a bad place to work on design changes, particularly post-alpha.

I am starting to come to this conclusion as well.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: HaemishM on November 04, 2005, 12:09:28 PM
The moment customers’ desires are connected and different there is no such thing as “a customer”. What you have now is multiple groups of customers, many with diametrically opposed wants and opinions…essentially you have special interest groups. What’s even more challenging is many players will belong to different groups within special interest groups. You show me a community that always agrees 100% on the direction of the game and doesn’t actually have completely opposite views on what the right direction is, and I will show you a community of one person.

Conflicting desires, anyone (http://www.f13.net/index2.php?subaction=showfull&id=1129654069&archive=&start_from=&ucat=1&)?


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Calandryll on November 04, 2005, 12:34:23 PM
I've long since come close to the Kelly Flock position ('Customers just mess us up.'), that customers generally tend to create confusion for developers, and customer comments, as opposed to customer behavior (like quitting, or other quantifiable behaviors) are more trouble than they are worth.  I do think customer behavior in game is important to follow, but message boards seem to me to be a bad place to work on design changes, particularly post-alpha.
Agree and disagree. I don't agree because that statement puts the blame on the players. It's not the players' fault if their comments confuse the developers into making the wrong decision. That's the developers fault...and more importantly, the fault of their OCR team. A good OCR rep. can wade through the comments, pick out the key issues, and report back to the developers.

I do agree however that we need to look at BOTH message board comments and in-game actions. We probably don't do enough of the latter yet. I don't think designing in a vacuum is a good idea though and just looking at metrics and statistics doesn't give you the subjective information you need to make a fully informed decision.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Shockeye on November 04, 2005, 01:10:51 PM
I do agree however that we need to look at BOTH message board comments and in-game actions. We probably don't do enough of the latter yet. I don't think designing in a vacuum is a good idea though and just looking at metrics and statistics doesn't give you the subjective information you need to make a fully informed decision.

This is something Damion Schubert stressed heavily in his presentation on Vegas and MMOs and it's something I think every developer should be doing their best to implement: robust datamining. If you know what's popular and what's not you know where to take the game going forward. You don't have to wade through as much noise on the forums because you can track what quests people are doing and which ones are being avoided, average time for completion of said quests, what mobs are being killed, etc etc etc. I know of one upcoming NCSoft game where they are putting in robust data mining and I hope it works as well for them as I suspect it will.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Bunk on November 04, 2005, 01:57:14 PM
I wasn't trying to be mean or petty PopTart, I just always find it funny when people start posting in that style, because certain people on these boards used to have coniptions at Bruce for doing it all the time. Personally it doesn't bother me.

So to be clear: it was a joke. To be further clear Signe, when some one is "SirBrucing" that is not comparing them to Bruce, but mearly a long standing reference to a posting style.

Lets all be happy.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: HaemishM on November 04, 2005, 02:17:28 PM
Technically, she was StGabing.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Shockeye on November 04, 2005, 02:23:19 PM
Technically, she was StGabing.

StGabing with flair.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: WayAbvPar on November 04, 2005, 02:44:41 PM
Technically, she was StGabing.

StGabing with flair.

Isn't that what the Nazis made the Jews wear?


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 04, 2005, 03:15:35 PM
The moment customers’ desires are connected and different there is no such thing as “a customer”. What you have now is multiple groups of customers, many with diametrically opposed wants and opinions…essentially you have special interest groups. What’s even more challenging is many players will belong to different groups within special interest groups. You show me a community that always agrees 100% on the direction of the game and doesn’t actually have completely opposite views on what the right direction is, and I will show you a community of one person.


In reference to what I was speaking of earlier in these posts, I stand fully by my position and say that everyone wants good customer service and interaction between what's above and what's below. Everyone wants their opinions, concerns and comments to be taken and digested seriously. Nothing HAS to be, but everything NEEDS to be looked at.

I don't know one single person that did NOT enjoy GM or guide or CSR intervention in their game play, when it was used to encourage further good game play, a furthering of a storyline or used in some way to enhance the world. Even when it was SOE's repetitive BS holiday events.

Furthermore, Bruce was a penis. When he had the rare intelligent thing to say it was a shock. Bruce was a disgusting, horribly offensive simply because of what he represented troll of a human being, if he even qualifies for human being status. So thank you for the amusingly funny comparison. I hope you contract something herpes like and very painful.

Also, I don't necessarily think it fair to attach a tag to StGabe just because he may have reacted badly to not utilizing the quoting system properly. And I don't appreciate being tagged for the same thing. I just didn't use it, thinking my way looked better and to me was easier. Point. Done. Gone. It's over. Move on.

If you don't like that I have the ability to quote using red italics, remove the red and the italics. Oh wait, no then I'll try blue.

Not trying to go into bitch mode here, it just happens. Maybe I'm throwing a Lindsay Lohan?

Edited because I spelled something wrong.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Calandryll on November 04, 2005, 03:45:30 PM
The moment customers’ desires are connected and different there is no such thing as “a customer”. What you have now is multiple groups of customers, many with diametrically opposed wants and opinions…essentially you have special interest groups. What’s even more challenging is many players will belong to different groups within special interest groups. You show me a community that always agrees 100% on the direction of the game and doesn’t actually have completely opposite views on what the right direction is, and I will show you a community of one person.

In reference to what I was speaking of earlier in these posts, I stand fully by my position and say that everyone wants good customer service and interaction between what's above and what's below. Everyone wants their opinions, concerns and comments to be taken and digested seriously. Nothing HAS to be, but everything NEEDS to be looked at.

I don't know one single person that did NOT enjoy GM or guide or CSR intervention in their game play, when it was used to encourage further good game play, a furthering of a storyline or used in some way to enhance the world. Even when it was SOE's repetitive BS holiday events.
But not everyone agrees on what "good interaction" means. For some, just seeing "red names" post on the forums is enough. For others, they want a response to every idea they post. And for others even if there is a response, if their idea/suggestion isn't implemented, then that means the devs didn't listen. And then there are dozens of views inbetween those extremes including some people here who wonder if we should interact with customers on the forums at all! It's up to us (the OCR people) to help set players' expectations on what level of communication we plan to deliver and then stick to it. I don't think we are quite there yet.

As far as in-game events, having run them in a couple of games now, there most certainly have been complaints. The biggest being those people who felt left out because they missed the event. Or people who thought the event caused too much lag and ruined their plans for the night to camp some monsters. Or people who felt that the resources to run events were a waste and we should be spending them on fixing bugs or adding new content. Or those who felt there wasn't enough story in an event vs. those who don't care about story and just want more phat lewt. Nothing is ever black and white...there is always more than one opinion to almost any situation.

I'll assume the rest of your response wasn't directed at me. :)


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 04, 2005, 03:47:50 PM
The moment customers’ desires are connected and different there is no such thing as “a customer”. What you have now is multiple groups of customers, many with diametrically opposed wants and opinions…essentially you have special interest groups. What’s even more challenging is many players will belong to different groups within special interest groups. You show me a community that always agrees 100% on the direction of the game and doesn’t actually have completely opposite views on what the right direction is, and I will show you a community of one person.

In reference to what I was speaking of earlier in these posts, I stand fully by my position and say that everyone wants good customer service and interaction between what's above and what's below. Everyone wants their opinions, concerns and comments to be taken and digested seriously. Nothing HAS to be, but everything NEEDS to be looked at.

I don't know one single person that did NOT enjoy GM or guide or CSR intervention in their game play, when it was used to encourage further good game play, a furthering of a storyline or used in some way to enhance the world. Even when it was SOE's repetitive BS holiday events.
But not everyone agrees on what "good interaction" means. For some, just seeing "red names" post on the forums is enough. For others, they want a response to every idea they post. And for others even if there is a response, if their idea/suggestion isn't implemented, then that means the devs didn't listen. And then there are dozens of views inbetween those extremes including some people here who wonder if we should interact with customers on the forums at all! It's up to us (the OCR people) to help set players' expectations on what level of communication we plan to deliver and then stick to it. I don't think we are quite there yet.

As far as in-game events, having run them in a couple of games now, there most certainly have been complaints. The biggest being those people who felt left out because they missed the event. Or people who thought the event caused too much lag and ruined their plans for the night to camp some monsters. Or people who felt that the resources to run events were a waste and we should be spending them on fixing bugs or adding new content. Or those who felt there wasn't enough story in an event vs. those who don't care about story and just want more phat lewt. Nothing is ever black and white...there is always more than one opinion to almost any situation.

I'll assume the rest of your response wasn't directed at me. :)


No :) It wasn't. Sorry :(


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: WayAbvPar on November 04, 2005, 04:26:03 PM
Quote
Maybe I'm throwing a Lindsay Lohan?

Did cocaine destroy your curves as well?


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 05, 2005, 01:01:42 AM
Quote
Maybe I'm throwing a Lindsay Lohan?

Did cocaine destroy your curves as well?


No dearest, cookies did :(


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Sachant on November 05, 2005, 10:37:52 PM
As far as in-game events, having run them in a couple of games now, there most certainly have been complaints. The biggest being those people who felt left out because they missed the event. Or people who thought the event caused too much lag and ruined their plans for the night to camp some monsters. Or people who felt that the resources to run events were a waste and we should be spending them on fixing bugs or adding new content. Or those who felt there wasn't enough story in an event vs. those who don't care about story and just want more phat lewt. Nothing is ever black and white...there is always more than one opinion to almost any situation.

Exactly.  There were always people that complained about events or that they missed them or didn't get the good gear or were robbed after they got the gear etc etc etc.  And of course dead on about the rest.  Different people have different ideas about what level of interaction is good customer service to them.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Shockeye on November 06, 2005, 01:46:34 AM
Malagant the Righteous
Nation Leader, Church of the Reunification, Fear Server

I found this going through some files on one of my drives the other day.

(http://www.f13.net/staff/shockeye/meradin.jpg)


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: stray on November 06, 2005, 02:29:28 AM
Never had a cool ( :roll:) sig...

Had a lot of silly characters though....And an even sillier guild (they marketed their own tote bags and coffee mugs for crissakes!).

Judge Dredd on Chaos. Mostly.

[edit] Btw, did you join Hing when Corruption came out? That was just when I was calling it quits, but I remember those dudes being big board shittalkers. You weren't one of them, were you?  :-P


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Shockeye on November 06, 2005, 03:13:44 AM
[edit] Btw, did you join Hing when Corruption came out? That was just when I was calling it quits, but I remember those dudes being big board shittalkers. You weren't one of them, were you?  :-P

I was with whatever Clan Havion was called before, then Clan Havion, then Relentless while moonlighting with the Pink Bunnies of Fear for a short time and finally joining Hing on Fear. I didn't have enough time to dedicate to pwning Malagant so I ended up quitting for awhile. After the first expansion came out I played with Hing a bit on Corruption but Corruption wasn't Fear and just wasn't fun. Mainly I blame Malagant for the lack of fun on Corruption. I ended up leaving Hing with a couple guys from the Fear/Relentless guys and started a small city but it just wasn't any fun anymore. The battles against the Church on Fear just weren't there and I had no interest in continuing on Corruption.

BTW - I just like to add that Ewle Ebonlore is a tard. Thank you.

(http://www.f13.net/staff/shockeye/meradin.jpg)


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: stray on November 06, 2005, 03:32:46 AM
BTW - I just like to add that Ewle Ebonlore is a tard. Thank you.

Heh, luckily I never played Fear. Still funny though how much I hear about them.

Sadly, my tote bag/coffee mug guild was the Ebonlore of Chaos. So much so that Wolfpack themselves equipped and ranked everyone, then joined in and kicked us off  :-P. Point of pride and of shame.

[edit] More shamed of the tote bags though.

That, and the leader turned out to be a mangina....Probably like Ebonlore.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Sachant on November 06, 2005, 04:44:51 PM
Ewle was listed as one of the most hated figures in SB history.  Of course I think I made sure he/she was added to the list because I remember all the crying about them not to mention Ebonlore was notorious for breaking NDA.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 07, 2005, 12:47:25 PM
As far as in-game events, having run them in a couple of games now, there most certainly have been complaints. The biggest being those people who felt left out because they missed the event. Or people who thought the event caused too much lag and ruined their plans for the night to camp some monsters. Or people who felt that the resources to run events were a waste and we should be spending them on fixing bugs or adding new content. Or those who felt there wasn't enough story in an event vs. those who don't care about story and just want more phat lewt. Nothing is ever black and white...there is always more than one opinion to almost any situation.

Exactly.  There were always people that complained about events or that they missed them or didn't get the good gear or were robbed after they got the gear etc etc etc.  And of course dead on about the rest.  Different people have different ideas about what level of interaction is good customer service to them.


Edit:

I should say that although I know games implement Customer Service, Quality Control and so forth, I suppose I just would like to know why it seems like it is the most low budgeted aspect of the game when it is needs to be focused on as one of the most important. These are not all sustainable communities. Sorry to point that fact out.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Yegolev on November 09, 2005, 01:27:00 PM
A 500-person community, a 2000-person community can have a lot more meaningful interaction with a developer than a 3.5 million, or even a 200,000 person community. What's the best bet for real interaction?

I have not read pages 2-4 as I write this.  We know all about message boards and the MOG.  It's out there and the hardcore expect message boards plus trappings.  I propose the community feedback be inlined.  You can't stop the community boards from cropping up unbidden, but you can provide a mechanism within the game to gather what is needed and at least mitigate the perceived.  I do mean within the game, too, since I am thinking about integrating it into the world design even if it is something retarded like bulletin boards.  I am too tired to come up with a less-half-ass idea, sorry, but if you provide [the illusion of] feedback within the game you will lessen the need for players to wade into a Vault board.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Yegolev on November 09, 2005, 02:13:28 PM
There is an unfinished thought in there somewhere after the word "perceived".  Damn work.  I expect my thoughts can be deciphered without further brain-effort from me.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: HaemishM on November 10, 2005, 10:42:01 AM
I assume after perceived is "lack of developer communication with the player."


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: SuperPopTart on November 10, 2005, 12:51:49 PM
I give up. All MMOG's and their developers can die. Bye MMOG world!


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Shockeye on November 10, 2005, 01:01:12 PM
I give up. All MMOG's and their developers can die. Bye MMOG world!

There's always Second Life.


Title: Re: Day 1 - 3: Alcohol
Post by: Yegolev on November 10, 2005, 01:49:42 PM
I assume after perceived is "lack of developer communication with the player."

Yeah, that's it.  I think we know it is mostly a problem with perception on both sides.  An inlined feedback system (hopefully more sophisticated than an asinine poll) will give the developers more of a feeling that the datapoints relate to something approaching the actual playerbase rather than the fringe crackbabies on a forum.

In-game issue-management and feedback to players, I submit, will provide a better experience  than having to exit or alt-tab to read email, hoping the bunglefucks send you something more than an automated reply.  Hell, even if the response is automated, at least I don't have to leave the game in order to get pissed-off.  The trick, obviously, is to give some sort of feedback so that the complainers feel like their whines are not simply being redirected to /dev/null.  Putting this mechanism inside the game can also help hide any automation implemented.  Should not be necessary to say that this will have to be implemented well.

Am I on crack, or am I reinventing shit?