Starfield | Securing The Scientist
This is one of those slippery slopes kind of deals. Where you don’t want to set your team up for massive public failure; but, you want to lead the community enough to keep them engaged, excited, and pocketbooks at the ready.
There are some out there that are clever enough give the player base a sliver of what they have upcoming. Meanwhile, others that just ride that hype train down to the bottom of cliff and call that a success. Some of these places, in my opinion, would be better off not saying anything at this point and just left their work be the star. While others, need to work on more effectively communicating with the player base and making information easier to find.
Path Of Exile: They Got Me!
This is one of those games who seem to understand the impact effective communicating skills can have on the player base. From using April foo’s, to flat out having a post each league that showcase nerfs. They have a mix of everything and every week sharing with the players what is going on from their end.
Playing into the theme of April Fools they released information that the game now is just going be a 100 PVP battle royal game back on April first. With how popular that style of gameplay is becoming anyone could see why a game developer would want to try and cash in on it. They even made some name change over at stream to lure people into the April Fool’s joke.
Their real trick at hand is they, in fact, made a Battle Royal mode for 100 players to PVP in. I myself not having time missed out completely on this. I’m jealous even though I don’t play PoE for pvp aspect at all. I want in on it the next time this rolls out.
This was an excellent execution of a plan. They released both written and video format and then a little time after they did a follow-up. They underplayed how much effort was put into it by letting us know employees who wanted in on this were only given one work day. They admitted to there being balancing issues. Finally, they asked for feedback on what needed to change and how frequent should this new battle Royal mode be available. To find more about this you can read How We Made
Lots Of Updates
While Grinding Gear Games does not always hit the mark. They are always sharing information about upcoming changes. Sometimes they are long and other times they are short and to the point such as What To Expect From Content Update 3.3.0. Unlike some company that tries and hides nerfing and things that tend to disappoint players, they take ownership of such things with Balance Changes post every league. Where they at least try and address things they think are relevant for the player base to know are getting “balanced” --aka the nerf bat!
Sea Of Thieves: At Least Some Attempts Are Made?
When your game is freshly out there are always issues and things that never came up in alpha or beta testing or simply where not addressed at that time. At some point, the developers are either going address these things directly by keeping the player base informed of their current path of thinking. While other times some places seem to just go silent as if everything is working as intended.
The developer Rare has at least done a little bit of both here with something like this –Top Feedback.
With their game being open pvp: trolling, grieving, and hacking are going be major community killers for a game like this. I’m sure we all can think of some very toxic and vile game communities out there that just killed the game right out.
They at least made acknowledgment they are aware of issues, own up to their in place mechanics are not handling things like they would have liked. They also give some examples of how they are expecting to fix issues; along with, not much information at all on other things.
Rock And Hard Place
This is a tricky spot. Sometimes you just don’t have enough information to hand out or things could change so much between letting the player base known and getting it live that it's completely different. While I think they could have been stronger on dealing with certain criticism on content that can always be a double edge sword as well. They at least have created a template for releasing information and keeping players updated.
I do hope in the future they are a bit more detail oriented. When I think you have made a plan to make a plan for a plan. Well, we seem to be doing a lot of thinking and not much doing.
7 Days To Die: Are You Still There?
This is one of those games where they have created lots of places to try and dig up information on what is going on. It’s just not always prevalent in the places that tend to count. In the past, they have done update blogs on one site, twitter, their own forums, and just odd places you had to know about looking at such as some random gaming site.
The biggest issue here is they have been in Alpha for what seems like an eternity now. Even worse, if you look them up in places you can buy the game like Steam. There last official post from them in their news feed was on 10/26/2017 talking about patch 16.4. Players looking to buy a game and understand the risk of buying one that is still in alpha will see this and go “is game development dead?”
If you go out to steam forms for this game you get to have some insight into their next alpha patch 17. Even that post is dated as of February the 11th. I’ve seen single man game development make sure there is more relevant and up to date information on their game than this. Now granted if you click the link in that post which is more or less all its there to do. You realize there more information being shared then they are letting on and that is just redirecting you to more current stuff.
The company themselves have their own means of distributing information to the player base. While that’s great to have. When your game is on a major distribution platform you need to stay on top of things over there as well. If not players are not going go into the middle of a forest to find the treasure trove of information. You can’t expect them to and even more so when people are just looking to toss a couple of bucks for the weekend at a game to play. It’s easy for them to skip right over you when it looks like an outdated and almost abandoned project.
While I can understand not wanting to give away too much and create unwanted hype. In the short term, this will cost you sales. Players can also lose interest in your game to the point when you do make a major announcement they won’t even know about it.
Information Use To Be Flowing
In the past, if you know where to look, they have been a company that had insanity detailed patch notes. Such as Alpha 16 notes . If there was a single blade of grass that changed in the game I would not be shocked for it to have been mentioned.
No Man’s Sky: Next Of What?
You might know this game by a few other names. I like to just call them Hype Beast Monster 9000. I don’t know why but no matter what it seems they just create hype on everything. Even when they seem to be trying to downplay something they just can’t. They refuse to let it not allow the player base to run ramped with: hope, dreams, and disappointment in the end.
I’m fine with companies giving short updates and sometimes being rather vague as not wanting to create too much hype. But come on what are you guys doing over there—really?
While its cleaver to call your next patch Next and let us know it’s the biggest patch yet—OMG I can already feel the hype. That is about it. Other than reminding us over and over again that they are working hard – for us not for themselves (right guys ;) )
Naturally, the player base thinks they are getting the moon and everything that could ever be. On top of that multiplayer, shipbuilding, pvp, dreams, and their soul back. Simply because many of them seem to eat hype for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
April Fools Or Not??
Now to be fair that post was posted on the March 29th in my time zone. It could have been an April fool’s joke in their time zone. If it was with their massive PR issues in the past I think it was a bad move. While it’s funny to poke fun at yourself for past mistakes sometimes it’s best to not stir the bubbling cauldron.
This really showcases what can and does happen when you do not give out enough information to the player base. They just start assuming all kinds of weird and crazy things. Even more so when there is no voice of reason going around and saying in an official capacity “that’s not going be in this patch.”
Are there any games you have played where the developers either under or oversold upcoming content?
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Written by @enjar about my opinion on managing expectations using commutations in the gaming industry.