July 22, 2009

Utilizing the Community

Over at Syp's Bio Break blog i read Josh Drescher send out mails to a few people the devs deem to be opinion leaders, asking for feedback on WAR. Nice to hear the devs try to take the pulse, but do they have time enough to work out a few of the major things befor more people jump ship? From what i read/hear many players, that are bored in WAR, will jump to eg. Aion IF until September nothing happens that will convince them to stay. Many of those don't have the illusion Aion is THE new MMO, but just want to have stuff to do and everything new is interesting at first.

IMO to get some more time Mythic could do the following things to keep people busy for some time:
# release a permanent new scenario with fun (crazy stuff) mechanics and the possibility to use some engines/gadgets to release some NPCs, break through a wall, tear down a building, whatever gets people to laugh on vent.
# Add some fluff items as carrots for players to obtain. This is really easy done. Make them low drop rate and different areas for different things. Example: NPCs & players in captitol raids can drop armor items (just social clothing) with models from the opposing faction. If its headpieces, they dont even have to have the right size just fit properly. Always wanted my Orc to have a tiny Knight of the Blazing Sun helmet on my head. Just something that creates a smile on the players face from time to time while doing the daily grind. Mythic could also finally start to implement purposes for all those unique grey items, that do nothing despite what is hinted.
# Add a new dungeon with a short lockout timer - maybe two hours. It does not have to be huge, but improve the NPC AI in it! Warhammer NPCs lack brain in general. Create some scripted AI events on the mobs that are unpredictable - a trap that spawns 20 Nurglings that start to rape only healers. Some huge guy that will knockback tanks quite a distance and start banging on DPS, whatever. There are still many cool NPC models not used very often, use them. With the ward changes new items don't have to be a set, as long as the itemization with stats is properly done. It is ok to change loot tables later on, as long as there IS useful stuff to grab from the start. Give us some more models from NPC armor, good looking stuff. Saw the Orc shoulders with the dead boar? Thats stuff i want to see instead of Darkpromise looking like rank 5 armor.
# Give me something to do/farm solo while waiting for people or if the friends are busy. Maybe some new ingredients for the crafting skills. If nothing new properly adjusted is in the pipeline, make it fluff! Alchemy potions that can turn you into a Yeti, talismans that will make your armor radiate, whatever. Can you remember how we put work into obtaining the Ogre suit in WoW? Took quite some time and effort, but it was FUN. Add a few loooong, but good, quest chains for r40 characters they can work on.

I know what you say: This takes away from the working power to *really* fix the game? It doesn't have to bring everything to a deadlock. We all know Mythic has different teams working on different things. And all the above, I'm sure they can salvage some ideas, mechanics and models they already have. So the workload could be reasonable, but would give players some stuff to explore and have FUN with while they work on the more important things. But once players have something to do, please fix the game mechanics and the RvR campaign instead of releasing areas like LotD.

And finally give us some more details about how you intend to fix keep/fortress raids and the campaign. Let us be part of the process, post pictures... not just "we're working on it". No one cares if you throw some ideas out of the window again, if you tell us why.

There is also a fine line you have to walk to motivate community members enough to give you constructive and intelligent feedback on your product. Despite that the GOA Community Managers say its different, i know for a fact that many EU players feel alienated from the WAR development process. I know a bunch of players that test all changes on the PTS intensively and i can talk for a long time with them about game mechanics & changes. But when you get towards the topic of giving feedback, many gave up since they feel its a waste of time as the Mythic developers show no appearance at the EU forums at all. GOA tried to counter this some by handing out mounts to players providing feedback. Nontheless when i logged into the EU PTS, only *very few* players were online at all. Of course GOA tells us they collect & compress the feedback and the EU community is heard by the US developers. But with mediocre reputation GOA still obtains within the EU WAR community, some are not sure it really works like this since there is still no proof. The EU forums are pretty dead and more or less a support forum. Have you ever seen a Mythic developer post in the EU forum since it launched? Maybe discuss some changes on the PTS boards? No? Me neither. I know, I know.. we are being heard and the devs are listening. But tbh, EU players still feel like 2nd rate customers and its not only GOA's fault, but also Mythic's.

Of course proper information management is hard, given the high tide of feedback and posts on a MMO forum. Many posts are just a large "noise" of whining players that have basicly no idea about the game mechanism, but just lost to a certain class, whatever. It's important to filter the feedback properly. Some may remember what happened in AoC when the devs just listened to the crowd that shouted the loudest and went through some pretty harsh nerfs/buffs that were changed later on. Its easier to point with a finger on the developers than being part of the team yourself and have to deal with certain limitations. One more thing we should not forget is, that you can't always rely on what the customer wants when you work on an innovative product. Often the majority of the playerbase only sees their current needs/problems and can't grasp the bigger picture. In this case a developer has to take the hard road and make changes against the community will so it will help the game in the long run. The more important to communicate this properly. Beside the genric blahblah producer letters I'd like Mythic to adress some issues directly with better information and tell us their thoughts for the roadmap. Many of us claim the 30secs immunity change will not rescue the current CC problem and Mythic should take away a bunch of CC skills and redistribute CC for RvR purpose. I'd like to know more in detail what will happen and what the big picture for certain issues for Mythic is.

/wall of text crits you for 10k


Bootae said...

100% on the money. Great post.

WeRT said...

/wall of text crits you for 10k

No problem for me - still i have ~400 hp - so M2, vigilance, shield rush, and screaming on vent : "need more fcken heal!" :D

and back to topic:

This game is already dead. Even if AION will suck balls, impact will destroy WAR, and many players stay on Low/Low servers. Or - first time in WAR we see Empty/Empty monit ;)

Sharon said...

Nerf text walls! ;)

I agree with your suggestions, but please know that many US players don't feel any more in the loop than you all do!

Bootae said...

WeRT - I think you maybe exaggerating somewhat with the dooom calling :P

I'm looking at the EU server list right now and it looks like:

2x Low/Low
1x Low/Med
8x Med/Med

And this is before most of us Brits will have finished dinner and have yet to log in for the evening's primetime session.

Things are far from perfect, but I'm not seeing the server death some are claiming.

WeRT said...


"And this is before most of us Brits will have finished dinner".

Man. Not only ppl from Britain play this crap MMO. Srs, last time on K8P were more ppl on /1 from Poland, so we just start talk in out native language. Do not use your "POV". Because what you said links me to Flamming post:

Rule of MMO's.

"OP - Any class that kills me
Balanced - Any class I easily kill
Zerg - Any group larger than my group
Non Zerg - Any group I am in
Fair - Any success achieved by me, my group or my realm
Unfair - Any success achieved by an opposing player, group or realm
Prime time - Any time I am playing
Off peak - Any time I am offline
Exploit - Unintended & dastardly use of in game mechanics by opposition
Non Exploit - Intelligent & heroic use of in game mechanics by me, my group or realm
Your realms AM raiders - Noble Australian shift workers
Opposing realms AM raiders - Dole scum nolifers"

And to servers dead. How long you play ? I play from start - and have only 2 days break without sub. Playing almost every single day after work do deep night. I try to have no illusion about State of the game. Why? Because atm they merge servers (like [EN]Eltharion with some French empty RvR server). And this is before AION release. I play with ~50-80 ppl in this game for a long time. Now only 6-7 us left. Is it progress or regress dear mate?

Bootae said...

Obviously I know its not just Brits playing, but it's still a big population boost about to log on and join those already logged in.

I've played since beta and on live servers since the headstart. I'm playing with the same full guild of people as before, we've only lost a handfull of folks and have gained more.

You can't tell me not to use my POV when you're only using yours.

At no point did I claim the game is progressing, just that it's not dying as some people want to make out. We're not facing a turn off and EA's history with UO's small playerbase supports this.

Bootae said...

Though your "rules of MMOs" are spot on, dear mate. :P

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