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How to Communicate With Your Player Base, and Accept Responsibility for Mistakes

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Llewen, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. Llewen

    Llewen Grand Inquisitor
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    I have long been an admirer of CCP, the developers of EVE. EVE has been an amazing success story, that has flown completely counter to the prevailing industry trends. It is a universe that offers wide open pvp, full loot, and even the possibility of permanent character death. It has the most complex and interesting in game economy of any MMO I have ever seen. It is a true sandbox environment, and character development is skill based, not level based.

    It has succeeded as a relatively small independent game studio where many of the giants of the industry have failed. While they have been turning out the same level based, directed play, single player games in a multiplayer environment, over and over again, with the same "please-don't-hurt-me-or-steal-my-phat-loot" player interaction, and the same boring quests, over and over again, CCP has offered a game that is interesting, challenging, and a true massively multiplayer gaming experience.

    But one of the best things they have done is create a real community of players and fans of the game, and they have communicated brilliantly with their player base, in an open and honest way. And recently they have made some mistakes, and seriously disappointed many in that player base.

    And this is how they have dealt with it - with honesty, integrity, humility and openness. Game developers throughout the industry should be sitting up and paying close attention. This is something extremely rare in the industry, and in the world of business generally, and well worth emulating...
     
  2. Ahuaeyjnkxs

    Ahuaeyjnkxs stranger diamond

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    Have you read the entire thing ?

    You think EA will bow down ? EA forgot how to bow a long time ago, in fact its back is so stiff it would break if it bent.

    This is the funniest post I read all day, thank you for that !
     
  3. vexyvixen

    vexyvixen Journeyman
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    Wow, success and humility in an MMO = awesome. Because of this post I am now going to try playing EVE. I love playing Ultima Online and I don't foresee a day that I will stop playing it, but I do wish the leadership of UO were as humble as the leadership of EVE.
     
  4. Kayne

    Kayne Guest

    Nice to see a game company being honest and open about their mistakes.
     
  5. Remember when EA botched Age of Shadows so bad they actually gave us in-game t-shirts practically admitting the fact?

    Still got mine. See? 50% wool!
     
  6. RaDian FlGith

    RaDian FlGith Babbling Loonie
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    Not that Blizzard has ever gone to quite that extent with their player communications, but sadly, EA is on the wrong end of proper player communication.

    Blizzard shows design elements for upcoming things before they even hit the test server, with the understanding that they may not be implemented. Blizzard also, while perhaps taking a day or two to respond to some GM tickets, actually answers pages with a personal response, and when the situation warrants it, replaces items (be it malfunctioning in-game items or even replacing items on a hacked player).

    CCP's communications regarding their recent mistake is, sadly, one Sony might have learned from back in the days of the NGE for SWG.

    But, back to the point, I've always wondered why post-Origin EA/Mythic/Biowhatever the group is called these days treats stuff with UO as such a mystery. Excepting, of course, for the past two years, where I fully understand the reason for not communicating is that if they don't announce it and the team doesn't have the resources to complete/fix/implement it, they don't have to explain why it never appeared.

    As I'm guessing treasure maps still spawn under trees.
     
  7. Picus at the office

    Picus at the office Certifiable
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  8. Kayne

    Kayne Guest

    No need for a lock, no rule breaking has occured.
     
  9. /false ... it is 100% real/authentic digital ... :gee:

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA !!!! [​IMG]

    Who messed what up and did what?

    :lol: Look at the differences in the analogy/comparision you just made
    EVE has an individual "fessing up" .... and >delivering what<
    Nebuluos EA ... shoved that mess of AOS into the community ... and left it there ...

    and ONLY (anonymously/no-person) gave you some text to CHOOSE to wear

    I'm with dummy [​IMG] I'm Dummy ...

    or
    blah blah blah ... AOS !!

    EA and EvE dude Both did what they did for the same reason ...
    keep your money here at "home"
    either way ... subscription count, persons job ...
    who ends up with the money ...

    NEITHER way do you ... DOH!!

    by the by (speaking of buying)

    The investment of money in EVE should not give you an unfair advantage over the investment of time.

    :talktothehand: it ain't about the money, so, leave the money right here and remember it has nothing to do with nothing and you and me ... right? we buddies and i'mma gonna get things right and ... yadda yadda *billing cycle* yadda yadda *billing cycle* yadda yadda *billing cycle* yadda yadda *billing cycle* yadda yadda *billing cycle* yadda yadda *billing cycle* yadda yadda *billing cycle* I'm with dummy [​IMG] I'm Dummy ...
     
  10. mghtyshark

    mghtyshark Adventurer

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    I Fayled to comprehend your point on the previous post. The only think that was clear to me is that you are a dummy.........
     
  11. Martyna Zmuir

    Martyna Zmuir Crazed Zealot

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    Correct! If you ignore Arenas that is... A system that was announced, stadiums were built, and a marketing tissue-paper-of-lies campaign was built around it...Then it was shelved for over a year, where it remains. They avoid the topic like the plague.


    Shockingly, they don't. Though it took them 4 months to fix it, if I remember correctly.


    Edit: I don't expect BioWareMythic to step up their level of communication to be on par with that of EVE or WoW. They don't seem to have that level of commitment to the UO community that would be required, especially since they rely on fan support for 100% of game information and forums. I have a slim hope that the new producer might see fit to change this, but I won't hold my breath.
     
  12. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    The Warhammer producer came out of his shell two days ago:

    Dev Discussion: Feedback: Scenarios in Tier 2 and 3

    Somebody needs to nudge the UO or Ultima producer or whatever.

    But it still seems like Kai Shober does 95% of the "discussion" with all three BioWare Mythic games.
     
  13. HD2300

    HD2300 Certifiable
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    To the OP, the stratics cult of mediocrity should also accept responsibility as well.

    If you have 1/2 of stratics cheering on mediocrity, you will keep getting mediocrity until a debacle like the account migration happens.
     
  14. /false logic

    Stratics >in no way< (except your bitter imagination)
    CAUSED the migration ...
    inception through lingering manifestation ...

    ALL in your imagination ... burma shave :danceb:
     
  15. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    I understood what he said. You FD definetly did not. Quit interpreting things in a way to gain a post count.

    He is not blaming stratics or the posters for the migration. He is saying after the fact of the migration stratics posters started complaining and demanding better.

    Now before he is claiming 1/2 the stratics posters was ok for mediocre quality and treatment from the devs for UO. Only when something major happened then did we as a whole started complaining.

    He speaks the truth about the lack of love for UO and we as players need to accept some of the responsabilty.
     
  16. canary

    canary Guest

    Indeed. Really, the players of UO need to actually take the company to task when they are messing up instead of saying things like:

    * I'm happy for whatever I get in game in terms of content!

    * The UO team doesn't owe us anything!

    * You only pay to use the servers!

    * At least we got SOMEthing!

    I am so, so over hearing this from certain people on stratics.

    When you pay for a product, as a consumer, shoddy work or treatment should never be tolerated or, heaven forbid, complimented. It is not an ok practice.

    edit: While I have never played EVE, I really, REALLY applaud that guy and the letter he wrote. It is things like that, owning up to something, that earn people respect.
     
  17. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    I'd point out that CCP relies heavily on the success or failure of EVE as far as whether the company succeeds or fails. There is a very serious incentive for the CEO to speak up.

    With EA, they can afford to ignore UO (and Warhammer and Camelot). They'll make more money in the first few weeks, if not first week, of Battlefield 3 than they will make from UO, Warhammer, and Camelot combined for the entire year. The Sims online facebook game has 50 million players in its first two months, with 10s of millions actively playing and they'll make more from that than they will from those games.

    They hired over 200 people for their new BioWare Star Wars support facility in Ireland. That's just support people - account, GM, etc. That's probably a lot more people than work entirely on the three MMOs combined (devs, artists, GMs, etc.).

    We're a drop in the bucket and we are treated as such.
     
  18. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    It should have happened years ago.

    But you can't unify players, you can't get the players behind one thing (there will always be a group against whatever it is), and UO doesn't bring in nearly enough money to warrant that kind of attention. I'm still shocked that we are getting a high resolution update for the EC. Hell, I'm surprised that Camelot is getting a bunch of stuff overhauled.

    Speaking of the graphics update, Pub 73 has the first batch of high resolution graphics. There will be people loudly complaining about it who have no intention of ever using the EC, even though everybody will benefit from it if it brings in new players.

    UO is a part of the "Ultima franchise", but we still don't even know what that means or what it entails for UO.
     
  19. thilly thilly thilly ...
    He IS (at least in english) BLAMING an acceptence OF mediocrity for something ...

    YOU are trying to alibi some craziness AS IF
    COMPLAINING NEVER OCCURRED ...

    You are in agreement with him ...
    ergo

    you are BOTH NUTS ...

    G'day:rant2:
     
  20. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    oh thats right. 30+1=30 in your book.

    I forgot. Thank you for grabbing my hand and leading me to the straight and narrow path of your wisdom.

    Last time I will say. I understood what he said and you didn't. You are now just trying (poorly I must add) to justify.




    Nuff of you :talktothehand:

    I am joining the masses and going to enjoy the ...wait for it.... iggy function.
     
  21. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    Got picks?
     
  22. Ahuaeyjnkxs

    Ahuaeyjnkxs stranger diamond

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    You all realise what I was saying two years ago now and act like it was self-explanatory...

    You're easy to surprise dear Woodsman !

    UO may have no "value" right now... but UO contributed to EA's success in many ways back in 1999, it did alot of money. So the opinion of alot of folks towards the company weight in the balance of things.

    I did predict this would happen, and I think we are just seeing the surface of whats coming for UO, it will receive so much attention you will then again be baffled and be forced to consider my version of history.

    I have been saying this for YEARS, to me stratics is in high school in the study of community building in my opinion... noone will deal with these people but me, and even worse noone likes how I deal with them...

    Did any of you understand whatever FD or Zosimus said ?

    You both make no sense, this is zizany and I also predicted it.
     
  23. Nok

    Nok Lore Master
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    I believe some of you know what it is that I do, for those of you that don't... here it is. I publish browser & mobile apps for MMO communities. DAoC, EVE, LOTRO, UO, WAR, WoW and others. Relevant to this topic, I browse and communicate with these communities every day... the devs, fan sites, guilds, players, portals and so on.

    Not only do I want to, but I have to for GXB to be a success. Its important to know what is going on in community, what the devs have planned and are responding to, what the players are doing with and feeling about their game.

    Now about Llewen's point. Of the games I publish for, yes... EVE is the best when it comes to community relations. CCP talks to it's players & fan sites, proactively reaches out anyone that gives to and services the EVE community. They even hash out major community issues, I believe it was last year there was a major brouhaha amongst fan sites... CCP flew people in, had a sit-down, and worked things out.

    Something else the EVE community has... a higher percentage of players contributing back to the community, blogging, building sites, working together as a team of community players.

    I regularly get emails & PMs from Coker & team like "How ya doing?", "Can you mention this?", "Is this anything you need help with or answered?" And I am not getting special treatment, CCP does this for everyone. CCP understands and values the importance of good community relations.

    Blizzard does things differently, but still does them well. For as large as their community is, they listen pretty well. Blizzard isn't quite as proactive, given the sheer size of their community... they do a good job of managing it. As far as players wanting more and getting a chance to express it face to face, one word... BlizzCon.

    BioWare, NCSoft, Sony, Turbine are all pretty equal but with differences. Though BioWare and Sony are making big moves on their communities to up their games so to speak. BioWare's DA, ME & SWTOR CM teams are extremely proactive in reaching out to players and fan sites to address concerns, but is beefing things up now for SWTOR's expected launch in December... they want to be able to rival Blizzard in terms of community relations and support. Sony just recently hired some new CM people to up their game as well, and their SOE FanFaire is still the community showcase.

    About Mythic's name... it's not Mythic, EA Mythic, OSI or "post-Origin EA/Mythic/Biowhatever". It is referred to as BioWare or BioWare Mythic (sometimes as BioWare Fairfax because it is located in Fairfax, VA and BioWare usually calls their studios by the names of the cities they are located in... Mythic is the exception). Why those two? BioWare is the division, BioWare Mythic is a studio (1 of 6) within that division.

    Back to the topic at hand and BioWare Mythic. Before I get started, let me preface this with a few things. I too have been playing UO for almost 14 years, still do when I can. Been to Fairfax, EALA, most of the UO town halls and several of the DAoC road shows. I know several of the current and former devs personally. I like all these people personally. And nothing I'm about to say is personal.

    DAoC/UO/WAR are not the worst supported communities in the MMO genre, but... they aren't remotely near the top or even in the middle of the pack. Sad part is not only do the players and fan sites know it, but so do the devs... if you think the devs don't know or care, you're mistaken (okay, I know of two that don't care, but they shall remain nameless).

    Community management for UO is non-existent, for DAoC and WAR... it is dissipating into thin air. Why? Budget is the common excuse, but complacency, lack of morale, other projects and so on are some of the other relevant factors.

    Now for me to be the bad guy. Sure it is easy to always blame the "devs" for everything, but players have their role in this too. The DAoC/UO/WAR communities may not be very big, not what they used to be, yada yada yada, blah blah blah. But I remember when EVE had under 100k players too, but now EVE has four times that (more than DAoC/UO/WAR currently combined). The three games have their faithful & loyal players, some really great people, fan sites that do a great job... but lets be honest about this too.

    Players breakdown into three camps... diehard fanatics who want give up who won't give up till the last server's plug is pulled from the wall, the nay-saying trolls who want to watch the world burn, and in the middle players who just want to be in-game without the extras. Within those three groups, you have players demanding their game go back to the way it was when they started playing... and other players wanting the game to progress with the times. It's like this in a lot of MMO communities... not just ours.

    Fan sites. The petty rivalries. The battles to kill off the perceived competitors. Social cliques similar to being in high school all over again. Hanging onto past incidents, personal rivalries and unsettled scores for... years on end. Again, these are not exclusive to this community... but happens in many.

    The successful gaming communities are the ones that find a way to get beyond their issues, work with each other and with the dev teams. This is where CCP excels with EVE, and other communities & publishers could learn from.
     
  24. silent

    silent Lore Master
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    A couple points EA is too big to care about what this community was about pre-EA or what it stands for now. People keep throwing terms of use, contracts and other BS when CUSTOMERS complain about UO service. Providing a quality product and service goes way beyond paper and digital contracts, it's about will these people keep paying for this service, will they ever buy another product from this company if they felt they were not considered a valuable customer. All the contracts and TOS in the world won't convince someone to ever support your company again if the PERCEPTION is they were treated poorly in the past.
     
  25. Nok

    Nok Lore Master
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    This community was never pre-EA. It has always been EA. EA bought Origin in 1992, funded Origin's development of Ultima Online, then it was EA that launched UO in 1997. Origin was the development studio, EA was always the publisher.
     
  26. Lady Storm

    Lady Storm Crazed Zealot
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    EA needs to take a hint from Blizzard, reciently my friends dad was hacked on his wow account, 1 of his characters was in my guild and of high enough rank to have access to the full guild bank box. Luckly for him his son was on and caught the person red handed and called in a very helpfull GM and were able to stop the theft. My guild bank was striped but as is Blizzard policy the e mail i was sent the minute it happened also included that items were in process of being returned to my ingame email box.
    Not only is their GM's very kind and helpfull but will make sure your completely satisfied with their service. Everything was returned within 48 hours to me. Down to the last scrap of leather. Now thats service to the customer.
    No hemming or hawing about upsetting the game machanics, just strait forward replacement of my lost items ... something EA stoped when it became too tough for them to cope with.... or was it too bothersom?
    One wonders if EA really wants people to play their games.. oh they want your money.... but I swear they act like its a bother to do so.
    EA has under the guise of story line removed or altered things to suit the Dev idea of how the game should be going illreguardless of how the original game was done.
    With each addition they did a give and take aproach(mostly they took more then give) to players that had mass numbers of players leave.
    Each large publish was a pain to hear as many felt it too little or too much of a change that they couldnt handle it and fled the game. Many hopes dashed and many privlages taken away.

    Even die hard players have been thinking of leaving UO for good which is a hard thing to hear. I too have considered leaving the game and been looking at other persuits to get involved in because EA has driven off so many friends over the years I find I play alone most days.

    EA needs to get off its high horse and learn you need some personal touches and hands on with UO not sit up in the clouds and dictate like a heartless GOD and hope they worship you.
     
  27. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
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    My feelings echo yours... tired of playing an MMO as a solo game... sick and tired of EA treating players as criminals.... EA seems to treat it's customers as scammers. With great bits of distrust... It's seriously getting old. I don't know how many friends have quit over being hacked.


    Tired of being treated like I did something wrong. I know other games return lost and stolen items. I can see not returning things when it WAS just recklessness..... such as "Oh no! I forgot to lock that down!".... That is your own fault.... but to be robbed by someone using an exploit .... or hacked by someone.... this is where things need to be replaced.

    And Hackers need to be prosecuted. Trouble is EA thinks that because someone got hacked they asked for it.... by doing something "illegal".... well I can say for sure that often that's not the case.

    I had a friend get hacked recently and all he did was make a stratics account....


    I know there has been a great deal of negativity towards the DEV's... but it's only because of a love of the game and the fact that other companies do a FAR better job of customer support...

    There is very little customer support from EA.

    GM's haven't got a CLUE how the game works..... Trying to explain something as simple as "This monster spawned out of reach please move it" or "I can't place this house because there is Stew and a few Watertroughs still stuck here that need to be removed. Please come and remove them."..... is like trying to teach a Dog to speak Cat.
     
  28. BajaElladan

    BajaElladan Certifiable
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    Hail Folks,

    I have been a Sosarian since shortly after the Launch of UO in September of 1997. I knew nothing of Ultima prior to an invite from a friend to try out Ultima Online.

    I loved the game worlds design immediately. And I loved playing an online "game" with real life friends. I did NOT like nor enjoy the early days of terrible lag, time warp reverts, and the Felucca-only living with murderers and thieves doing all in their ability and power to ruin my online experience and deny me any FUN.

    Back then I worked fulltime so I played mainly evenings and weekends. Like many, even though I saw myself as a "die-hard" UO Fan, I was seriously considering quitting UO when word of Trammel's coming was announced or leaked out.

    Trammel cemented my future with UO. I have Played and Payed non-stop for 14 years. I have seen it all. It broke my heart, and almost my UO Spirit, when Richard Garriott aka Lord British departed our online Sosaria. I, we, have no way to really know if UO life would have been better had Richard and Lord British remained among us. I for one still hope for their eventual Return to us. Yeah, Im an idealistic romantic.

    I have no desire to debate our past and what were mistakes or improvements, especially not in this Thread. However, I am extremely interested in discussing and formulating ways to see UO not only continued ... but Improved!!!

    I think many mistakes may have been avoided or minimized had Development Teams been more open with the actual Players and more conversational.

    One thing I have observed, sadly, is a sharp, steady decline in In Game support, and in Communication between the Devs and the Players. Mesanna (Bonnie) is almost the lone exception to this. She has remained, even become more open and available to Players and in her devotion to In Game support. We are told now that In Game GM's report to and are provided by EA, not by UO's Dev Team. This I believe is a grave error on the part of EA.

    The Account System Migration was the single greatest MESS and slap in the face to every existing Account Holder. Only AFTER the migration was I ever "hacked" (someone was able to log into one of my accounts other than me and without my knowledge or permission) for the first time. The hacker clearly didn't find the account worth keeping as they didn't change the password. It had only a few never worked characters so the hacker didn't bother deleting them. The hacker did, however, steal a House on New Magincia, all the houses contents, the house owner character's suit, and everything of value in the characters backpack and bank box. The moment I became aware that anything was awry I Paged a GM, emailed Mesanna, and as soon as phones opened I called EA Customer Support. Other than helping me to change the password (which used to be easy on old acct mgmt system but took EA Rep 3 tries on the new system) I was told by EA/UO it HAD to be my fault I was hacked and nothing could be done.

    Sadly, I no longer have any confidence that any of my accounts are secure. That lack of any feeling of security has me seriously considering quitting UO for the first time since Trammel was created.

    My recent Posts are a cry for help! I want, I need, to know that EA and our team of Developers, as well as our Players, care to save and improve Ultima Online. I know some care but I need to see tangible evidence from EA, from the UO Dev Team, and from as many others as possible.

    Otherwise, I fear the switch may get turned off on UO, or I may no longer find reasons and passion to cause me to want to play, let alone pay, for Ultima Online.

    That's my .02 cents worth.
     
  29. Ahuaeyjnkxs

    Ahuaeyjnkxs stranger diamond

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    Sorry you've been hacked... I wouldn't hold my breath...

    I admire your dedication to UO, but you see what your blind acceptance of trammel gave you ?

    Leave it all behind, join siege.