Devs/Players Communication

I started playing GoA when open alpha was released and it was a really warm welcome. Devs where in the chat in the client and answered all the questions one might have, the community seemed friendly and I was treated as a respected community member and play tester by the community and the devs alike.

Unfortunately, since then, that has vastly changed.
Don't get me wrong. The community is great and because it is still small, you get to know the others relatively quickly. It's a friendly community which I am proud to be a part of and even though we are not always of the same opinion, we treat each other respectfully on the forums and in the chat.

After the open alpha release, devs where still available in the chat and answered a lot of questions. Special thanks to @marktillery at this point for always being friendly and trying to answer everyones questions. That's a really good thing which you cannot expect from any dev team at all, so thats definitely a plus.

However, we have also been asked to give feedback on pretty much all aspects of the game. I have since posted a lot of feedback on the forums, drafted many ideas on possible balance changes with other people, shared some insight and also asked questions about game mechanics. All that on the forums.
I was thinking the devs probably appreciate my feedback but I was also unsure about how to present feedback and for some things I was completely unsure if they even want that kind of feedback at all. So I just went for it thinking they'd eventually tell me what they think about my feedback, if I should keep it coming or if some specific things don't need feedback because they are set in stone anyway.
Unfortunately, none of that ever happened. In fact, I don't think I ever got an answer by any dev to any post I made. I asked in chat if they read the forum and if they could answer in one of my threads in which I was asking questions about game mechanics and I was told that they have a lot to do but they will read it all.
I course I understood the situation they were in and I was patient. I kept posting, bringing up ideas, discussing with other people about possible balance changes all in the hopes of some dev eventually reading it and possibly using it for a future patch or, in case it wouldn't be considered, at least tell me that this is not the route they want to take with the game.

Unfortunately, I am still waiting today. I do not know if they read the threads already. Some suggestions might not even be applicable anymore due to patched that came out so if they haven't been read before a patch they made then useless, I basically wasted the time thinking about it and putting it on the forums. When I realized that, it made be feel really bad.

All I wanted was a simple answer. Something that lets be know what I have been trying to do for the game wasn't all in vain. I have made a huge feedback and suggestion thread with many things that I thought could use an improvement (https://forums.guardiansofatlas.com/discussion/844/my-experience-so-far-likes-dislikes-suggestions#latest), I have talked about upgrades and how I think they could be implemented in a better way (https://forums.guardiansofatlas.com/discussion/comment/3581/#Comment_3581), I had come up with a suggestion for better unit control everyone seemed to like, yet no dev said anything about if they plan on adding it or if they even consider it (https://forums.guardiansofatlas.com/discussion/874/automatic-control-group-adding-on-warpin#latest), and lately I have put a lot of thought in potential balance changes that others came up with (https://forums.guardiansofatlas.com/discussion/901/community-discord-discussion#latest), yep not a single answer by a dev on what they think about any of those suggestions. I am not even sure they even read.

All this makes me feel very sad. I was asked for feedback, yet I do not get any feedback myself. How are we supposed to keep the ideas coming if we do not even get told which kind of ideas are what the devs are looking for and which kind of ideas are not required at all / anymore?
How can we be expected to stay motivated when theres the lingering feeling of the stuff we are trying do to for the game is being ignored?
I don't know how the others feel, but for me, it makes be really sad.

@devs: I don't mean do be rude, but I think it is a matter of respect to actually show some interest if people are trying to help you out with ideas and feedback, especially if you asked for it. I once felt like a respected play tester, but this feeling slowly degraded until it completely vanished today.
I really like this game and I will keep playing it regardless of this communication problem being fixed or not, but if you feel like you are unable to get into a dialogue with the play testers, then I can only hope there are enough people who like talking to walls.

Now if I am the only one who feels like this; fine, then it can be kept the way it is, but I can't quite believe people are satisfied with the situation.

P.S.: Announcing a dev stream that gets canceled is no problem, but the fact that there is no info about it for hours is exactly what this problem describes - a lack of communication.

Please keep this thread civilized :)

Comments

  • Hey Aswan,

    Your resident forum lurker TokOwa here. I don't speak for Artillery, so I hope they don't lynch me for saying this. I'll try to give a little bit of perspective on the team and why they might not be as active lately, based on my current understanding.

    First of all, thank you so much for your contribution. I am for a fact certain that the Artillery team is very grateful for everyone who takes the time to play and especially to write feedback. Making sure that there is a dialogue between devs and players has been a big priority for the team, but this does not mean that they always have time to write replies. Before I continue, I'll say that I totally understand where the disappointment comes from and I felt this way when I started writing as well.

    On a general level, what they will probably be doing is to read through posts and note things down. Sometimes they don't have another opinion than: "Interesting, we will keep an eye on it." If the community continues to have the same opinions over a longer period of time, the chance of it happening can increase. The main point is that they have to aggregate the feedback and find out the best option. If they reply to one post, they might feel that they need to reply to all the posts, in order to not give differential treatment to the playerbase. This definitely takes a lot of time. When this time is available to the devs, I'm sure that they will be more proactive.

    Usually, when the team goes quiet it is because there is something that is more important taking up all their time. An example is before the open alpha announcement. This is a team that is incredibly excited to get whatever they are working on out to the alpha testers. The point here is to not think that the lack of communication is a permanent development. More likely it is something that ebbs and flows.

    Personally, I think the best thing to do is to continue being patient. The devs only have like 8-10 hours a day to work, while the community churns out stuff 24/7. It would also be good to temper your expectations. Balance is one area that I wouldn't put too much effort into large posts for example. With game mechanics suggestions, we have to realise that they change very infrequently, and if a change is to be made, it has to be certain to improve the game. Many of the suggestions of the community are awesome but are also things that take many resources and time to implement. It's not something that can be decided very quickly on.

    Anyway, this is just my perspective and why I'm okay with the current situation.

  • AswanAswan Member
    edited September 15

    @TokOwa said:
    Before I continue, I'll say that I totally understand where the disappointment comes from and I felt this way when I started writing as well.

    How did it change?

    @TokOwa said:
    On a general level, what they will probably be doing is to read through posts and note things down. Sometimes they don't have another opinion than: "Interesting, we will keep an eye on it." If the community continues to have the same opinions over a longer period of time, the chance of it happening can increase. The main point is that they have to aggregate the feedback and find out the best option. If they reply to one post, they might feel that they need to reply to all the posts, in order to not give differential treatment to the playerbase. This definitely takes a lot of time. When this time is available to the devs, I'm sure that they will be more proactive.

    I am not talking about huge replies here. All I am asking is something that makes me know I am not being ignored, something that shows me what I suggest is actually being read and possibly considered. Of course there are discussions between community members regarding certain ideas, changes, suggestions and I don't expect devs to take part of the discussion itself, all I am asking for is a little feedback from the devs on the direction things take. It we talk about something we'd like to have in the game but the devs already thought about it and decided they definitely don't want that in the game, it's not much work to just tell the participants of the discussion that this route will definitely not be taken so they can come up with other ideas for that thing they wanted to have changed.
    So basically, if we are told how they want their feedback / what exactly they want their feedback on, we can be more productive and there are less suggestions to read through that aren't wanted anyway.
    Also, the "If I reply to one post I have to reply to all" thing would lead to a situation in which asking something only the devs can answer on the forums would become completely useless so we'd only be left with the chat for that. I also tried to ask for an email address to ask things because the forums don't work for questions to devs but I didn't get one =/

    @TokOwa said:
    Usually, when the team goes quiet it is because there is something that is more important taking up all their time. An example is before the open alpha announcement. This is a team that is incredibly excited to get whatever they are working on out to the alpha testers. The point here is to not think that the lack of communication is a permanent development. More likely it is something that ebbs and flows.

    I understand that there can be more important things and I really don't have a problem with this. What I am trying to say it that it actually feels like a permanent development. It wasn't like that in the beginning and I have been patient. Being patient wasn't too hard since there was a way to at least be able to get some replies in the chat, but lately that hasn't been the case as well.
    If it didn't feel like a permanent thing to me, this thread wouldn't exist. This is me suggesting to change this and trying to find out if others feel the same. Of nobody feels the same, than is might be just me and no change is required from the devs side.

    @TokOwa said:
    Personally, I think the best thing to do is to continue being patient. The devs only have like 8-10 hours a day to work, while the community churns out stuff 24/7. It would also be good to temper your expectations. Balance is one area that I wouldn't put too much effort into large posts for example. With game mechanics suggestions, we have to realise that they change very infrequently, and if a change is to be made, it has to be certain to improve the game. Many of the suggestions of the community are awesome but are also things that take many resources and time to implement. It's not something that can be decided very quickly on.

    Ok that might be some good stuff in this paragraph, especially the thing about balance. This is exactly what I wish for in a dev response, telling us what we should focus on with our feedback and what can be neglected because it won't have much influence anyway. Now if some dev could come in and confirm that, we'd have a good start :)
    Of course new features and bigger changes require more resources and won't up that updated frequently. But I think that especially in that case, it's important to reply to suggestions, because else people might feel ignored for an even longer period of time.

    Why not create a thread with some suggestions and the state of the suggestions (Implemented/Will be Implemented soon/Up for discussion in the team/changed into suggestions #X/denied etc.) with the name of the person who suggested it behind the actual suggestion and maybe a link.
    That way, everyone could go go the thread and see whats going on while the devs wouldn't need to reply directly to suggestions a lot because people can see if they suggestions has actually been considered. Maybe that's less work in just one place than going to every thread for replies.

    Also, regarding the available time for devs, sure, they have only a few hours a day, but saying 8-10 is way too few. Maybe thats per person, but not everyone has to post and answer on the forums, I just want someone for the start. There are also very few threads and posts in general and going through all of them doesn't take a lot of time, at least for now.
    Btw., is there a community manager?

    @TokOwa said:
    Anyway, this is just my perspective and why I'm okay with the current situation.

    I see. I am looking forward to other replies so see if it's just me, because if it is and everyone else is fine with the situation, the best solution would probably be me stopping to post and instead play the game and let others, who don't feel this way, do the feedback part.

  • I think you have a lot of awesome suggestions for how they could improve, and I'm not trying to defend them, but rather provide the other side of the story.

    The reason for why I say they have limited time is that most of the feedback is addressed for the Game Design team, and there is like two of them at the moment. These are the same people who work on balance patches, future content, changes to game mechanics etc. It was also only two weeks since they last made a reply on the forums, which is quite a short time for a development process. Other than that they did have streams and I think I remember excal writing on Discord how he appreciated the thread with the community discussions.

    Currently, I don't think there is a community manager.

    Definitely don't stop writing feedback if you have something you feel strongly about. But try to be accepting of the fact that the devs have a schedule and that they might not be able to get to the feedback quickly. Currently, I just try to express my opinions where I have them. The devs benefit from hearing our opinions. But we're not entitled to a response. We should be giving feedback because we love the game and want to do what we can to help. But once we start expecting something in return, it makes the relationship with the devs not good, and it turns into lobbying. If the devs do respond, that's awesome! But if they don't, it's not the end of the world.

  • Hey, I feel the same, they chip in now and then in some threads, but rarely in the "interesting" threads. I know discussions sometimes can be a bit abstract and long-winded, but that's because it's a complex game, and sometimes it's just a small confirmation that's wanted from a dev.

    I've mentioned Path of Exile's "Development manifesto" before, where they create threads to inform, and discuss(sometimes create polls) about a certain design goal in the game. I like this a lot. GGG(devs of Path of Exile) have a really strong reputation in the community from just having really good communication. Chris Wilson, lead developer, has 6000 forum posts over 6 years and is similarly active on Reddit, again I think their attitude is something to really look up to as a developer.

    It can be simple answers in a thread about inventory and item management:

    "A pet to sell my stuff? Dear god, I hope you say no."
    - No

    or a bigger issue which is highlighted by this Reddit post: https://www.reddit.com/r/pathofexile/comments/4zg5rs/id_like_to_thank_chris_and_ggg_as_a_whole_for/?st=it492oit&sh=a08ac80a

    Although it might be too much to ask, even if PoE also started small (4-13 people early) it's still a totally different game, and Chris Wilson didn't take a vacation in 5 years after they started the alpha... So he might set the bar to an inhuman level...

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