Wouldn’t it be nice if players had a direct line to devs to deliver feedback? Hi-Rez is launching a new initiative to ensure just that. As announced at the fall Hi-Rez Expo, both Paladins and SMITE will be getting community leadership councils in 2019. These player advocacy groups are players from the community, elected to the position by the community. Over one-year terms the delegates on these councils will offer focused feedback from the eyes of the playerbase, representing their views during the development process.
Called the Assembly of Champions, Paladins’ council has eight seats. Four of the seats are dedicated to the four platforms (one apiece for PC, XBox, PS4, and Switch), and four are considered wildcard, to be filled by top vote earners regardless of platform. This ensures that each platform will have representation.
SMITE’s council, called The Olympians, will consist of nine members. The breakdown is slightly different, with two from each platform (PC, Xbox, and PS4), with one of each focused on Conquest and the other focused on non-Conquest modes. The three remaining seats can be filled by delegates from any platform as voted by the community.
The role of the councils will be to bring player feedback to the table at an earlier stage of development than has been possible ever before. These councils will have early access to ideas and builds (all under strict NDA!) to add input from the players as their representatives. Throughout the one-year term there will be scheduled meetings to attend — bi-weekly for Paladins and monthly for SMITE — to provide feedback and advocate for the playerbase. Once during the year the council will be flown to Atlanta to meet on site at the studio for a few days for a summit that will include meetings, panels, and workshops, not unlike EVE Online’s Council of Stellar Management.
This consistent feedback and focused conversations will be invaluable to the dev teams. As Paladins Brand Director Alex Cantatore put it during a Paladins panel, when the teams work on something and get to the point they present it to the public only then to find out the players don’t like it, that’s too late to do much about it. “Through this process, because it will be under NDA, we’ll be able to share with them earlier and get their feedback,” he said.
Being able to bend the devs’ ears and have your voice heard is definitely a perk. These council members will be a direct line of communication with the devs as well as direct lines of communication from players through private Discord servers. Other perks include acceptance into the partner program for the game, free admission to the Hi-Rez Expo during your term, special avatars and in-game titles, and of course, the flight and travel to the annual summit in Atlanta. Paladins also offers a tag on the forums and a Reddit flair that denotes the Assembly position.
Does this sound like something you want to do? Folks who are 18 years old or over, have a valid passport or US ID, have been active on their game account for at least six months, and can speak English conversationally can apply. Applicants also cannot be a former Hi-Rez employee, contracted worker for the studio, or a current pro player. Additionally, applicants must have a clean record with no EULA or TOS violations.
If you meet those requirements, you can submit an application anytime between now and January 1st, 2019. Community voting to fill those seats then starts on January 11th and runs through January 25th. How will candidates convince players to vote for them? By campaigning, of course! Chris Larson, General Manager, said, “I cant wait to see the campaign videos!”