Stupid is as stupid does

Thread of reference. I tackle again the issue of the “communication” in mmorpgs and the relationship between the devs/community managers and the playerbase. Again with my candidness and so pure principles.

Oh, I so agree, but noone usually shares my point about the “communication”.

In June we were waiting a patch that was delayed for almost a month. The last time we got a message saying “We are sorry but due to the changes to the data structure we ask you to download the whole client, we cannot make a patch. We are confident that it won’t happen again.”

So we jump in May, two months later that announce. The patch keeps being delayed over and over till the last day. And we happily discover that it’s a new client and a 2Gb download. during this time many suspicious and popular threads were open to ask if we had to go through a full download. No answer, till a surprise of the last day.

Now my point is similar to yours. I don’t pretend shit to not happen. But I pretend to be considered with respect. Respect means that you don’t let me discover the last day that the download is 2Gb again. In particular when you excuse the lack of informations as: “things change till the very last minute”.

They just choose to “glide” on the issue and shut up. It goes as it goes. The point is: if they actually care about EXPLAINING what happens, peoples will also understand THEIR point of view.

It means that at the end nothing really changes (you still wait, as in your case, or download the 2Gb as in my case) but at least you know WHY you are waiting. You know WHY they had to make those particular choices.

This is the CORE of the communication problems for EVERY mmorpg. DAoC screwed this a lot pushing out absurd nerfs (like the berserk famous example) without (if not months later) explaining their point of view, without opening a confrontation and a sincere discussion.

This is NOT communication (two-ways), these are proclaims:
“shit happens”
“The sky is green”
“Nerfs are needed”

And then they are surprised if the players don’t digest that shit. We need a company with some balls to tackle a real communication that doesn’t only “blather” but that has also ears, and respect for the others.

In the case I brought as an example an honest communication wouldn’t have helped the problem itself, we still had to download those 2Gb, but if they cared about answering the threads and explaining why they couldn’t make just a patch would have helped a lot to understand the reason behind the choice, making the choice more tolerable.

Because, you know, we could be able to see and share their point of view. And when an understanding is possible the “shit happens” can be digested, because it’s shared and because we can all see the reasons behind. We can excuse those choices, we see from where they are from and why. It MAKES SENSE.

“Communication” is exactly about being able to share a point of view. So that the players can understand and, sometimes, help back. Instead “communication” in mmorpgs is just about relaying announces. Without explaining anything of the reasons behind choices.

The players then see those choices as absurd and unacceptable and they start to fight back and attack the devs. Why? Because noone helped them to understand what was behind those choices.

“The login servers are down, we working on them”
This is NOT tolerable and I’m going to complain.

“The login servers are down, we had an hardware failure”
This IS tolerable and the wait will be at least excused because I understood the situation.

Mark Asher:
Isn’t the important thing that they acknowledge the problem and inform you they are trying to fix it? Why do you need more information about the nature of the problem? I understand you may be curious, but why is Blizzard obligated to satisfy your curiousity? It won’t make the servers get fixed faster.

I took the issue from a broader point of view. This time is the log in server, the next time is a nerf and the next again is something else.

The point is that what happens (the server is down, my class has been nerfed, the patch is out) I know already. What I’d like to know is *why*.

1- In the case of a technical problem nothing changes in practice but the users tend to complain less if they know what happened.
2- In the case of a nerf I can answer back with proper arguments (and so start a discussion that is useful) or understand the point of view of devs and decide about it if to agree or not.

Peoples get angry when they do not understand a choice that has been taken. The only aim of a proper communication is to explain why. There’s isn’t another one.

The point is that you read this as: “Oh, look HRose whines because he wants to know minute by minute everything happening.”

Instead I’m discussing the whole relationship with the community.

Blizzard isn’t obligated to satisfy my curiosity but if Blizzard could follow what I explained they would get a lot less complains and angst and a lot more support, positive attitude and interesting discussions.

Union Carbide:
If the devs pay more attention to the players’ whining than to their own design, the game is fucked. See any of the Tribes 2 patches for what happens when you let your forums design your game for you. I don’t think that this will happen with Blizzard, however, for proof I give you the changes made to the Necromancer’s Corpse Explosion in the very first Diablo 2 patch, an extremely unpopular change at the time but ultimately balancing.

Discussing doesn’t mean letting the players design the game.

And whining is the exact consequence when the players doesn’t know why something happens. They whine because they cannot find valid reasons about why something happened.

But this probably doesn’t get along with that “the community is filled with fucktards, lock them in a soundproof room and throw away the key” that is probably rooted in your brain structure.

Instead I’m of the other faction: “the community is your most precious resource, nourish it”.

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