Leaderboard: How should MMORPG studios communicate to players?

The most peculiar comment thread erupted in MJ’s recent post about Secret World Legends’ Krampusnacht. In response to the casual note that the holiday event rewards had been announced by the community manager in Funcom’s Discord channel, MMO readers expressed furious annoyance that details of that sort were being disseminated in obscure chats instead of through official channels accessible to everyone.

MOP commenter Greaterdivinity rather colorfully requested that developers stop using chat channels “for delivering information to the community at large,” not out of specific dislike of Discord but because studios must surely know that they’re reaching only the tiniest sliver of their full audience that way. The alternative “doesn’t even need to be a forum,” commenter Styopa chimed in. “Forums are for interacting and dialogue. I would be happy if they just had a single reliable go-to source for current game information. Like, say, an official web page?”

Now don’t go getting all reasonable! Save that for the polls! How should MMORPG studios communicate to players? Choose all that apply in today’s Leaderboard:

How should MMORPG studios communicate to players? (

  • Official forums (20%, 129 Votes)
  • Unofficial forums (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Reddit (5%, 31 Votes)
  • Discord or other text/voice channels (2%, 12 Votes)
  • In-game messages (9%, 60 Votes)
  • Launcher messages (16%, 102 Votes)
  • The bleeping website, official wiki, dev blogs, etc. (18%, 119 Votes)
  • Livestreams (5%, 31 Votes)
  • Videos (5%, 30 Votes)
  • Press releases and interviews (7%, 45 Votes)
  • Conventions or "town hall" events (3%, 21 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (0%, 1 Votes)
  • All of these (4%, 28 Votes)
  • None of these (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Elf butts / no response / view results (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Social media like Twitter or Facebook (3%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 200

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49 Comments on "Leaderboard: How should MMORPG studios communicate to players?"

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Alex Malone

Information released by a studio about their game should be in a location that is publicly available without any form of further signup / registration…..i.e. the official website.

They are free to promote that information however they want – social media, launcher, in-game, press-releases – but if the original information isn’t publicly available, your audience might not be able to see it.

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Stropp

All of those and more, as long as the communication is timely and puts across the message that the developer wants to put across in a clear manner, then any and all channels should be used.

Caveat to this: Sometimes a single channel or few channels is more appropriate than many. That depends on the message to be communicated.

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Hope

I tend to know, even when I’m taking a break from the game, what’s happening in Star Trek Online. I lucked into finding out Krampusnacht was coming and then had to dig up the when.

When you need to learn something other than character creator design or good ways to handle name uniqueness from Cryptic, something has gone horribly wrong.

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Hope

I prefer that they use the launcher (which is best because everyone has to look at it) or the website, but honestly, “a venue they control directly and which, if it allows public comment, is well moderated” is the basic bottom-tier requirement. Reddit is awful. Discord is a chat program and things scross off of it. Use your own bloody web space to make announcements.

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Jeffery Witman

I know people will hate me for it, but this kind of behavior is annoying because it’s part of a pattern of behavior meant to obfuscate information and keep the player base as much in the dark as possible. It’s the same thing that game publishers and studios are doing with gamble boxes of all kinds. They do it with their player and revenue numbers as well. They do everything possible to make sure their consumers are as ill informed as possible. It’s maddening, especially for a game like SWL that has a core of information gathering and mystery solving players as the base.

I’m not sure why, though. Did someone present information to them that makes them think players spend more money when they’re being kept in the dark? Is that an accurate analysis?

In the case of SWL, I think a big part of it is ego. They got a lot of feedback from players before the relaunch that they didn’t like. They got a lot of feedback from players in the beta phases that they didn’t like (and outright banned more than a few for criticizing some of the changes made, a few of which ended up being reworked months after the relaunch). Their early access garnered more of the same, and that trend has continued on their official Reddit sub, on their Facebook comments, and in every MOP article talking about the game.

They’ve made some good corrections lately with the QOL patch, but that’s still just a band-aid for much of what players have been telling the devs they need to work on for months now. I don’t think they like being wrong, so they’re not giving the players a place like a forum to discuss it criticize any ideas, future plans, or potential changes. That way no one can point to all the criticism rightly given before they implemented them and embarrass the company, team, etc.

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Koshelkin

In that regard, anyone ever saw a SWTOR event announcement? Me neither.

Nick
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Nick

Website and forums. Maybe in-game messages and launcher to back it up.

Everything else is just nice to have, as long as things like twitter and Facebook don’t disseminate exclusive info. I hate that people think I should be checking 10 places to get the gist of what’s going on in a game. Website and official forums should be the catch-all of all updates.

Bluxy
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Bluxy

I do think forums should have a community manager lead to act in part of the game team

I think its great that the teams do interviews and live streams/post stream as a way of keeping in touch.
been really liking the coding and artwork streams lately

Veldan
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Veldan

Forums > everything.

– everyone knows about forums (at least in the MMO world)
– anyone can view them without the need to log in to something
– it’s either going to be the first place people look for info, or the second after facebook/reddit depending on what kind of person they are
– people never have to search, main info is always going to be in a ‘news and announcements’ or ‘patch notes’ subforum, and under the ‘dev tracker’ if you want all the tidbits of information
– it looks better because it’s official and doesn’t rely on third party websites / web services

Skoryy
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Skoryy

Forums are most often cesspools that people would be best off avoiding. Never read the comments. (Except here.)

Veldan
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Patreon Donor
Veldan

Which is easily fixed by moderation. I’ve been visiting some forums of big mobile games, and it’s amazing how good some of them are. All it takes is 1 (very) active moderator.

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Jeffery Witman

Sure, but Facebook and Reddit are even worse.

cryinglightning39
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cryinglightning39

You can get *almost* good dev interaction and often community manager interaction on STO’s subreddit. On their official forums though, fat chance. I personally think that’s messed up. Devs and cm should communicate equally across all platforms and not ignore the one side they don’t like. And don’t blame it on the players! That’s bull plop.