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All Posts by Sanya

All Posts by Sanya

2 Pages 1 2 »
40 posts found

With all due respect, Lucid, I don't think you're familiar with the way actual pros handle community. Sure, there are plenty of companies that only want a face and a mouthpiece... but I don't work for them.

Thanks for the kind words, y'all :)


@Matt - yours was certainly the longest and most reasoned response, but there were so many people suggesting Kickstarter that I really wanted to do a response. I couldn't on the Dominus page, because that would have looked like I was speaking for the company and as of noon Monday, I wasn't. As it was I was dancing on the line, but that's... what I do ;)


It really made me (and the rest of the team!) feel good to see so many people saying they would have supported the concept out of pocket. But it's not my IP to Kickstart (#1) and we never did find a server programmer after months of looking (#2) quite aside from how many people might have supported us.


There's a market for this game. There's passion for it. I hope the next team to take a swing at it gives me a call, because I'm SO THERE.


Originally posted by maplestone

The rutting ram archetype is the one that bugs me (likely because on some level I fear I behave this way), This sort of poster is trying to carve out a territory on the boards and makes runs at any perceived alpha male intruding on their turf.  They may have opinions, but they aren't really thinking about the content, they are reacting instinctively to the social dynamic of the boards, so there's no reasoning with them, no debating them.  If you could put a mirror up to the message board, they'd furiously crash into their own reflection.





 

QFT.

Wish I'd included that one.

No hype.

None.

It will kill my game.

We are a small company with limited resources. I am only interested in the sort of player who gets that. This isn't going to launch like a game with a 100 mill budget.

Also, it's a three faction PVP game. Once people cross into the PVP areas, which they can do whenever they want even though the progression won't nudge you there until the midpoint, they can be killed.

Hype would bring me thousands of people who will like the idea until they die, at which point it's because the other side OMGHAXXOR, as opposed to "zoned in at too low a skill point total without the protection of a guild."

 

Originally posted by Icewhite But the lack of promotion (pandemic to indies) means that not many people will hear of it until well after launch.

 

Well, to be fair, we're just getting started. Once we are in a position to start releasing video, and open up the beta to more than a hundred testers, you'll start seeing some promotion.

A company that starts hyping six months before release needs to deliver content so polished that is justifies the six months of waiting - waiting from the perspective of a player, I mean.

Player sees game --> Player likes game --> Player can't play game --> Feeling of blue balls nearly kills player --> Player gets game --> Player thinks "I waited six months for THIS? OMG HATEZOR."

This kills launches for gigantic budget projects. What do you think it'll do to a company that doesn't have the money to polish for a year, or even three months?

Futhermore, hype leads to big splashy opening days. If you already know you won't have the staff or equipment to cope with a big opener, you actually want a quiet, word of mouth kind of scenario. An indie can't afford a giant marketing campaign a year after launch to tell everyone "no, really, we fixed it."

You know, this is turning into a column, I should shut up and save it.

I hope we can live up to the excitement :)

Hey, kickass! Welcome to the madness, Jaime :)

Veritas_X: Conversely, I'll wager that most developers are positive that players are a seething mass of exploiters, bound and determined to escape the box they're being shoved into by the design.

Well, yes, but only after the game's been out for a week. *rim shot*

@Brostyn: FWIW, the person who conceived, designed, and pushed TOA into launch was put in charge of WAR.

@Ficus: EVE is kicking ass in multiple categories, but I truly feel that they're an outlier. Sad, though. I'd love to see more games start small, build according to an in-depth long term plan, and involve their players so closely in so much of the development.
 

Oh, good. I knew something was missing from the comment thread.

Or I could have just let Tupo answer, because he did it faster and better :)

Grym: Er... neither? Last week a couple guys were bitching that it was just AWFUL of me to point out that there are huge numbers of dudes, particularly in the 18-34 range, who will seriously buy anything with tits or triggers.

I was chatting about this with my editor, and we thought a little picture tour of advertising would make a fun column.

Anyone who tries to fight human nature will lose.

I do feel that it is silly of people within the gaming industry to sniff and say they market at men because women don't buy games in the same numbers... when the default style of marketing is clearly aimed at heterosexual males, and I couldn't resist throwing that point in there.

But no adult professional gets bent out of shape at the idea that boys like boobs. It'd be like being offended that grass is green. I made a lot of snotty comments about Evony because... dude, look at the ads! I can't resist that kind of snark bait!

Khal - I used to work Star Trek conventions as a volunteer just so I could get in for free. Setting up hundreds of folding chairs so we could all enjoy the anecdotes of Red Shirt #47 is my specialty :)

With that said, my first reaction to being told the Vulcan image was too extreme to be in the game was "DEANNA TROI, DUDE." Followed by "T'POL WEARING BLUE GEL." Also, I used to play a drinking game where you had to do a shot every time you thought you saw Uhura's hoo-ha. I mean, for real, those skirts and the Uhura perch were just a disaster waiting to happen.

Um, so, my point is, I am aware of the naked lady stuff in Trek Lore. Probably to an unhealthy degree.

But I haven't seen any of that in the game, and I'm reliably informed that Stripper Vulcan there was an image that was created strictly for the magazine, and does not appear in game, and the rumor is because it wouldn't have been approved.

Hope that clarifies!

Sarcasm?! MOI????

/ducks

To the point that some studios are already doing this - yes. CCP is miles ahead of most, IMO, and there are definitely places that are doing good work. That's why I ended the article by mentioning that savvy players (industry wide, not just literal players) have caught on.

Sorry that wasn't more clear - behind the scenes, I get made fun of when I go on too long. And these are supposed to be editorial/opinion pieces, not fair and balanced examples of reporting. So in trying to cut the word count, and to state strong opinions, sometimes absolute clarity is lost.

And of course, sometimes I just screw up ;)

 

Originally posted by Zorvan

 

I'm curious. When did "community managers" become developers and/or in charge? A community manager manages the community for the benefit of the developer, not the customer.

Regardless how some may try to make their job seem like more than it is, a community manager boils down to two functions: provide a firewall between the devs and the customers and act as a mouthpiece for those same developers. A community manager doesn't tell you anything the company doesn't authorize them to, unless they like being unemployed.

So to say a community manager would "never allow" something is pretty presumptuous, unless you know for a fact that cm enjoys eating ramen while looking for another job.

 

Certainly that is true at some companies. It is not true at all of them.

Some community people are mouthpieces, and they get paid accordingly. Other CMs have specialized communication skills that have value, skills the rest of the team does not necessarily have (because they have other skills like "game design" and "knowledge of programming languages").

Companies that hire the latter are looking to build long term relationships with their players.

Companies that hire mouthpieces are betting that their product alone is enough to hook you, such that they don't need to form a relationship.

Both kinds of companies can be successful.

 

Originally posted by Rommie10-284

I have to agree that it's the undocumented changes that get people going off like train whistles.  After a while, the response of "Sorry!" starts to read like "Sorry, Charlie!" to folks, and they get wound up over the perceived sarcasm.

(snip)

Sadly, even if a game spelled out all the facts, every time, every patch, they will still get rabblerabbled  with those facts, instead of speculation.  It makes it easy to see why effort might be withheld on a process that will have the same results, at least at a superficial level.

 

 

 

The first was one of those things I never satisfactorily solved. I *always* cared and I was *always* truly regretful, but the 400th time does ring a bit hollow. But the front line people can't do anything about that. All the front line people can do is keep being sincere even if no one believes it.

The last is pretty much the main argument faced by everyone who advocates transparency.

I'm going to stop posting now :) Can you tell this is something I care about?

Originally posted by PyrateLV
Originally posted by Paragus1

The only thing worse than vague patch notes are undocumented patch notes.  Do the devs really think that because they didn't list it, that people won't notice something?

 

I find it ironic that Sanya is writing about this since DAoC was notorious for incomplete, vague and even undocumented (stealth nerf) patches.

I guess she of all people would really know about this

 

Well, I was trying to illustrate that whether the company is really good at it or really bad at it, it's a group process consisting of multiple departments and user feedback.

Everyone has to be on the same page for the process to work.

Though for the record, there was never a stealth nerf in my time. There were some things that weren't documented, but that was a failure of documentation, never an attempt to sneak things in.

EDIT: Okay, there was one attempt at sneaking, but neither I nor the producer was told about it, or it wouldn't have happened, and it certainly never happened again :)

Originally posted by Paragus1

The only thing worse than vague patch notes are undocumented patch notes.  Do the devs really think that because they didn't list it, that people won't notice something?

Example back in Age of Conan, my best friend was playing one of the classes and logged in after a patch to find out that one of his main attacks had its damage reduced by 50-70%.   It's almost like they want to make you think it is some sort of big, a but that mysteriously gets reported all over the forums and never gets fixed.   I don't think they have the heart to tell people that their class just had its balls cut off and is now effectively useless.

 

I can't comment as to that particular change, being as I haven't worked on the game. And not documenting the change is inexcusable.

BUT

No developer, anywhere, at any time, would nerf an attack by 70% unless it's the opening move in a chain that eventually grows, or unless 30% of the original is still pretty damn good. If it was an intentional change, then "effectively useless" is only accurate if you are comparing the attack to its bloated original. If you had started out with the smaller version, you would almost certainly have taken it to be normal, not useless. If the change has rendered most of the players of the class "useless," then they were overly reliant on that one single attack, which is pretty much proof positive that the class was broken. A class shouldn't ever have an I WIN button.

A 90K/year salary only sounds like chump change if you're used to making 200K/year, but there are millions of people who would take that 90K and cackle.

And as I implied in my article - it's always better to do one big nerf than two little ones, because there's a real cost in lost subs when you spread out the pain.

So, yeah, my only problem with the scene as you describe it is that it wasn't noted.

Before anyone else says it... yes, I'm having some cheese with this wine.

 

I realize that no one actually reads threads after they go past five pages, but if anyone who already posted happens to see this, I have a couple notes:

- There is room to disagree on the best implementation of a roleplay server for a mass market MMO. I don't claim to have the One True Way. But I have a column to write every week. Dana is always, ALWAYS, looking for people who can write. There's an application link up there. Apply.

- Someone upthread pointed out that I'm not talking about Mom and Pop games, here. I think what I laid out is entirely doable for a company working with thirty million dollars. The t-shirt budget is higher than the annual salary for an in-game event coordinator. The OFFICE SNACK BUDGET is higher than the cost of paying three "contractors" a few hundred bucks a month. And half of you have pointed out that most of my must-have features already exist.

- Speaking of already existing, someone said that no modern MMO would have hand-approval for names. You are quite wrong in that respect, sir. Free Realms with their four million registered users is doing it. You spin three wheels to create a name - all of the combinations possible with the wheels are acceptable. If you want to use your own name, you submit it for approval... and in the meantime, you will use a name you create with the three spinning wheels. If they can do it with four million users, believe me, anyone can.

- No edits were made to my article after seeing the reaction to Dana's - I didn't even SEE the reaction to Dana's until he mentioned it to me this AM. My eyeballs are still bleeding.

- Yes, LOTRO's chat system is one of the best out there, but I am greedy and want even more flexibility, hence my IRC comment.

- When I say "scripted" in RP terms, I don't mean two people reciting pre-written lines. But there is usually an outline of sorts for the major events. To name just one example, I remember a DAOC storyline where a female character was kidnapped, and her clan declared war in order to get her back, with her in-game fiance leading the charge. The person playing the kidnap victim knew, in advance, that she was going to be kidnapped, and she furthermore knew she was going to stay in a particular keep unless her clan ransomed her or won the fight. I mean, if she hadn't agreed in advance, well, you can't really kidnap people in an MMO. And in DAOC there are a dozen ways to avoid being trapped in one place. Finally, her primary kidnapper rained abuse on her, but because it was scripted in advance that he would abuse her, she didn't take it personally. It was roleplay, not cruelty.

 

 

/boggle

When I last checked this thread, it was two pages long. Then I stopped checking it, because it was a holiday weekend, and the only time I spent on the computer was for paying work.

And my goodness.

Guys, this was kind of a "low hanging fruit" week. For my more insider-y columns I try to interview people currently working in the industry. Last week being the week before a holiday, a lot of employed people weren't on IM. So it was less an inside the industry column than it was an inside the game column.

Anyway, I needed something fast and simple. It struck me as interesting that in a number of anecdotes grouped close together, people acted with courtesy and respect for each other - took into account that the things they said might offend or hurt people that they couldn't see. And yes, I was aware it would start a discussion... which, um, is currently my job?

It does bother me that whenever I try to say basically  "listen, these words coming from someone we can't see and don't know can be hurtful," the response usually degenerates to "well, *I* never had a slave."

Get a grip, please. There is a ton of respectable scholarship out there about privilege and invisible benefits, etc.

http://www.nymbp.org/reference/WhitePrivilege.pdf

Yes, it's about white privilege, but it can apply to other situations.

Saying that a particular group is at a disadvantage in our "culture" is not assigning blame for it.

Finally, if I were going to answer the various people saying context matters when you use words that can be harmful... YES. And the open chat channel in an MMO where you cannot see any of the people you're talking with, where you don't know their backgrounds and experiences? IS NEVER THE RIGHT CONTEXT. I'm sorry I didn't make that more clear! Seriously. If you want to swear or act like an ass or reveal your own favorite -ism, do it in guild chat or PM.

 

 

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