A different way to talk to a community

| Saturday, June 26, 2010
Ever feel like the WoW development team is a bit distant? I do. Sure, a Blur drops into a thread here and there and makes a joke, but there's a very clear "We are not your friends, stop trying to put your arm on our shoulders" vibe.

Then there's this from the TF2 blog:
"Yeah, that's really, really..." he trailed off, so bored with the sentence he didn't bother to finish it. "Look, maybe you should read this. You know--help you get into the 'Team Fortress' mindset."

He slid over a well-worn game design manual. I leafed through it. It wasn't a game design manual, it was a coffee table-sized book of women wearing hats.

Mistaking my confusion for interest, Robin excitedly pulled his chair over to me, and looked over my shoulder. "Would you look at that hat," he whispered, pointing to a lady in a wide-brimmed hat. "Gorgeous."

I read the blog on and off, partly because it doesn't update every 15 seconds like certain obsessive people who shall go unnamed but are similar to the heavy class in that they are tankish, laugh a lot, and sound vaguely Russian. I get the impression that they are having fun. They're barely even making a game. They're playing a game, a huge company game, and part of that just happens to on the side involve them making a game. Maybe it's just a disguise, the sort of "pretend we're humans not corporate suits" that is standard these days, but damn they put on a good show.

Sure, Blizzard puts its devs on stage and we ask them some questions, but that's a once and now and then sort of deal. We get GC as a punching bag on the forums. Which, based on the photo of him on wowhead, appears to be killing him. The man looks like he's on the verge of zombie. I feel sorry for him. I probably shouldn't.

After writing this, Iapetes showed me this:


Video Game Philosopher said...

It strikes me that communication between developers and players is a major problem in the industry. Star Wars Galaxies was a prime example, where the majority of the community didn't want both the combat upgrade and especially the New Game Enhancements, but Sony went ahead and released poorly tested trash code and alienated most of their players. Saddly they are just now getting to the point where they realize they need to listen to their players, and are making decent improvements to a game that has been abandoned by most of the people that would play it.

FFXI is another burr in my saddle. I bought the game throguh steam again because I've lost all my account info (its been years since I played last), but have not been able to register an account. Their servers always report that they are busy, talking to representatives doesn't help. This strikes me as really poor customer service, and along a same mentality as a dev team that doesn't care. That said, the FFXI dev team has made some decent improvements to the game in the last year or two.


Klepsacovic said...

You know you've done something wrong when you lose half your subscribers (or was it more?) and have to refund the recent expansion. I wonder why they didn't release a more expensive pre-NGE server.

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