Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Age of Conan - Defensive, On Message or Right?

Craig Morrison has dropped into a forum post based on a recent blog post he did a little over a week ago...(Source).
Craig called the blog post "Community Communication...Between a rock and a hard place".
In it he discusses how difficult it can be to communicate with the "forum" crowd when stating his message.
He points out how someone "argued" with him over PM about Age of Conan.

The conversation went

"'[PM'er]You can't possibly tell me what I like or dislike most' and I [Craig] replied explaining that I wasn't trying to do that at all, that I was just pointing out that there were different playstyles out there and that we, as an MMO developer, had to try and balance the needs of many different playstyles. (much in the way I have discussed it here before) to which he then replied - 'That's exactly the same thing no matter how you word it. You are still telling me I am wrong in my opinion."

This is understandable on Craig's part. The person was still seeing it his way. But, then the blog post does go on to state that he maybe felt this person was wrong in his basically, wrong?

A fine line there.

Anyways, someone posted his conversation (blog post) on the AoC forums. And seems Craig gets a bit defensive. (Source) At least from my viewpoint.

I am trying my best to understand if Craig is trying to just make sure he stays on his message, is being defensive or is he right? Or should the old adage apply..."The customer is always right".

The post takes a turn into some "opinion" territory, with players stopping in to point out their concerns, with Craig stating the reasons they have done what they did in the game...yet, so many seem to think it is NOT the right "direction".

What basically started as a "state your point in a concise manner" looks to me to turn into a "now dear forum poster, here is why your point is NOT right"

For example...

POSTER: I really think you should make some new armor/weapons, so everyone isn't pigeon holed into a single set of options in order to be viable in pvp.

CRAIG: ON an aside first, I think 'viable' is subjective to your personal approach to gaming. If you are a true min/maxer there will only ever be one 'viable' choice....aside from that though we are working on adding more items and armor into the game, and the expansion will see a huge addition there.

So Craig DOES answer his post, but seems to take an attitude that this specific posters opinion of viable is...not viable?

That poster returns and states...

POSTER: Great! Love the idea of an expansion other than that I shouldn't have to pay for content that should have already been here. Hate to hear that I'm stuck with mostly the same gear as what I've been wearing for the last 18 months for at least another 6-10. That seems like an awful lot to ask of your subscribers.

I also don't agree with your assessment about being "viable". I'm approaching 'viable' from the standpoint of 'I want to kill people, rather than be killed by people'. There is no reason to level up in pvp or use pvp gear in this game other than if you don't have the raid equivalent. DPS > mitigation in this game, so if you're using Pvp gear over raid gear, you're fooling yourself.

The way your gear progression should be going based on how hard it is to acquire in this game is :

(He goes on to explain what he sees as viable)

This gets no response from Craig. But he does have this to say when someone points out that he looks like he is defending and not saying --Well, we may be wrong, or we need to look into that--......

POSTER: I think the real issue is that Craig is "defending" his stance, and these points will go on deaf ears. But, that was a really good (but tough) read. Everyone at the Funcom offices should also read it thoroughly, and not reply or defend anything.

CRAIG: They don't fall on deaf ears, all the feedback is read and assimilated and while we won't always agree hearing other opinions is always valid, and being able to discuss them without feeling like it is 'defending' is an important part of taking part in an actual discussion. Think of it more as explaining rather than defending.

I guess I do not understand that if opinions are "valid", why must you always explain away the opinion to make it feel like the person is "wrong".

Or is it wrong to believe the dev is trying to do this, and just needs to give you the "reason" they did something?

This is a really tough situation right now for Craig, with updates being few and far between for Age of Conan, layoffs, subs seeming to disappear (based on visual acuity as well as sources like Xfire).

Should Craig even be in this discussion? for now...Cheers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess I do not understand that if opinions are "valid", why must you always explain away the opinion to make it feel like the person is "wrong".

The trap is here trying to explain it at all. Any software designer would really want to explain their throughts about the big picture and how they reached the conclusion what is good based on metrics mined from play data and combined with actual player inputs.

They cannot address the view of a single player in such an effort, unless the player back up their experiences with actual numbers.