Blogging meh, and should Mythic stop listening to you?

RL is kicking my ass lately, can’t exactly focus fully on a blog post. I’ve written about five different posts today, all which have been scrapped due to them not exactly saying much of anything.

The one that came closest to being finished was a commentary about WAR’s RvR, and how Mythic listening to DAoC players might not have been the best idea. I’m not sure I completely agree, but I can’t think of enough examples to justify a full post. I think the idea that a developer could be influenced TOO much by the player base is rather interesting. Is Mythic now suffering because they listened too much to players in beta?

11 Responses to Blogging meh, and should Mythic stop listening to you?

  1. Thallian says:

    To some extent, sometimes I think that can be true. We don’t alwyas want what we think we want. I say this very cautiously because then you have the other extreme where developers don’t listen at all, and that’s very easy to end up in.

  2. Snafzg says:

    It’s kind of hard to answer that! :P

    The direction they were originally taking was heavily instanced and many beta testers yearned for more of a focus on the open world. Now, I think we can all agree that the current implementation of keeps is pretty boring, but I don’t know what they could have done better given the short turnaround from January/February when they implemented that until release in September. It was a major shift in their original game vision.

    On the other side, considering how many people bitch about scenarios in WAR when it wasn’t even their focus for the game goes to show that taking that direction 100% would have been complete suicide. Then again, maybe if they spent more time refining instances, it could have gone better.

    There are simply too many ifs.

    To sum it up my thoughts, I don’t think they had a great original vision, they listened to their beta feedback, did the best they could in a short amount of time, and are now suffering for it because they didn’t cross all their t’s or dot all their i’s.

    No one can refute that WAR is far from reaching the potential it could have reached. The fact that they had 800k players one month in and now refuse to share numbers doesn’t bode well.

  3. Ravious says:

    I agree with Snafzg, more or less. I think they skewed their beta crowd, and kind of surrounded themselves with people that were ready for RvR similar to DaoC. That’s fine. I think they created a fine niche game, but if they wanted a WoW-pounder then they maybe should have distanced themselves a little from DaoC players. Instanced Keeps would have been preferable in hindsight, IMHO.

  4. Werit says:

    They should always keep an eye on the community, but the direction should come from the designers.

  5. Coppertopper says:

    I think they should always listen and make adjustments from community concerns. How they make the adjustments and the time it takes to get them implemented is what really defines the developer. For instance, one class in DAoC had good nukes and CC (cleric – loved that class) as well as chain armor. The whining was nonstop of course. So do you nerf the class silly or introduce armor enchants that increase resistance to that class? Mythics infamous TOA expansion for DAOC again introduced crazy imbalance to the game. Large guilds benefitted most , pugs suffered not only in the pve part of the expansion, but the RvR was broken for those who couldnt muster the raid sized manpower to get the pve done. So do you nerf all the drops or make every one of those encounters doable by a single group?

    Mythic already learned that if you dont listen and react to your playerbase you lose subscribers.

    And whether they instance keep battles or not (I hope not – immersion ftw!) just make them interesting

  6. Shiro says:

    The communication between player and dev is admirable, to say the least. They just need to weed out the whining from actual feedback – writing a ‘lunatic code’ to differentiate between that would merit a few faces in pies. :D

  7. arbitrary says:

    They should have left out crafting!!!

  8. xXJayeDuBXx says:

    But the crafting is so awesome!!

  9. skarbd says:

    You should always listen to the community, since it offers a large pool of ideas. There will always be cleverer people out there. Just because we play games, it doesn’t mean that our experiences and jobs don’t have an impact on our thought processes.

    As a developler you need to take onboard these users, but ultimately you have to look at the bigger picture, things that your customers don’t know and don’t need to know about.

    The problem will always be separating the wheat from the chaff. That’s the job of CSRs and the community managers.

    Since the fortress/keeps were added very late in the day, they simply don’t have some of the things we took for granted with DAOC. But in a nod to Mythic, they aren’t afraid to make significant changes when required.

  10. Swift Voyager says:

    Common sense rules the day here. It’s not rocket science. Listen to the players but don’t let them make your decisions for you.

    Personally, I think the MMO industry is still in infancy. Game companies are run on a retail sales business model. The designers, developers, advertisers, investors, financial planning are all based on retail sales principles. An MMO is not a retail product like previous video games; it’s an entertainment service more like cable television service. It takes lots of time and money to get going and relies on subscriber loyalty to survive.

    In retail video game sales, you rely on getting most of your ROI shortly after release. In an MMO you need to plan more like a service provider, where the typical business plan allows for 20% anual ROI. So, your initial investment is returned in five years based on the standard model, and only then do you start to make profit. How many MMO’s are over 5 years old? Even after you get 100% ROI, you need to keep feeding money back into a service business to sustain it and stay competitive.

    Compared to the average service business, MMO’s are extremely successfull. Can you imagine how happy you’d be if you opened a restaurant and got 50% ROI in the first six months? When you add the high startup costs of a tripple A MMO title, I think it’s fair to extend the business plan to more than 5 years actually. Keep in mind that that’s five or more years after the release date. You can’t expect any ROI during developement.

    I don’t have access to the books at any MMO company, but I often wonder what they expected when they started out. They have a huge advantage over other services, since customer loyalty is inherent to MMO’s. You won’t see a customer just change from one MMO to another because it’s cheaper. The time invested in building up a character and making online friends will keep customers loyal for years as long as you give them a reason to keep coming back.

    So, you listen to your customers and stick to your business plan.

  11. Tesh says:

    Unless your customers aren’t buying your business plan, of course.

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