The Daily Grind: What’s the best way to communicate ideas to MMO developers?

    
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I’ve been thinking about communication since I saw a tweet about The Cycle: Apparently, players submit their pipedreams and bug reports and suggestions to a Trello board.

I personally love that tool, but it seems pretty unusual for this purpose. Usually MMO companies will have suggestion forums, bug report tools, or even just subreddits where they point players, but let’s be honest, those are File 13 destinations: Nobody’s really listening. And yet a lot of indie games and Kickstarter games do actually want that feedback, so collecting it in an organization tool seems pretty brilliant. Way better than a forum where everything is buried in short order, right?

What would you say is the best way to communicate ideas to MMO developers?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Aiun Tanks

Exit surveys.

Vaeris
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Vaeris

This, 100%. Though in my personal experience with any significant change requested (or in my case called for throughout development) with Age of Conan I want a significant crafting system. They wanted “Combat, Combat, Combat”. I played from launch (nightmare) for a few months and then left. A while (years?) later they are like “Look at this new crafting we are adding!”. Yeah, no. I asked for that a long time ago. You had your chance.

For all their computer science and business degrees these companies seem to lack one person with any clout that has a psychology/sociology/anthropology degree that can press home that creating game systems/mechanics that allow players to build significant things in the world creates a bond and makes it more likely to remain. If all your game does is destroy then it’s disposable.

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Aiun Tanks

In their minds, sandcastles only exist for people to kick over. You can’t kick over peoples’ sandcastles if there are no sandcastles, so you better let people build sandcastles. Limited ones. They can’t fathom that sandcastles are worth building for their own sake, and that some people might care about them beyond that it meant they lost at the ‘kicking over’ competition.

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Kero Kero

I don’t really think there’s any functional difference.

They have the trello board as a suggestion box that others can comment and you can edit. And they take feedback through the discord.

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Jon Wax

Last 3 Dev groups I’ve dealt with, I just emailed 2 of em and 3rd had about 5 employees in our discord, which was unofficial. So directly I guess?

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Witches

Be rich, create a rival MMO and implement whatever you want to see in your fav MMO, once it succeeds or even doesn’t bomb terribly, your devs will copy it.

The best way is IF you have some medium where you can talk with the dev without noise.

That said, forums usually work, the problem is the devs have many things to work on, just because they don’t drop everything to go work on your suggestion immediately, it doesn’t mean they didn’t read it and took it under consideration.

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NeoWolf

Divine Intervention? :)

In all seriousness I’m not entirely sure you can, at least not initially.
I mean if you look at almost all instances of where Developers listen to feedback it is pretty much always retroactively coming only after they failed to listen to us initially and then fell flat on their face in some way.

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rafael12104

The best way? Hmm. Well, I’m not sure it is the best way, but the most effective way is to turn a dev or publisher event into a public forum. Heh.

Remember Redshirt? And there is Blitzchung too. Or EAs attempts to control BF2 Q and A? Lol!

It’s not what you are asking, is it? I think it is. Truly. Forum discussions and bug reports don’t cut it most of the time. They say they listen, and some do, but their priorities differ from a player’s priorities by a huge margin.

So. The only way to force them to change their priorities or at least address yours is to claim one of their PR opportunities as one of your own.

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luxundae

Inception

laelgon
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laelgon

Official forums.

You’ll never escape the problem that the majority of happy players are busy playing the game, so the forums are going to over-emphasize the opinions of a smaller unhappy group, but at least forums can be well moderated by the company, and they’re generally easier to go through the history of comments. Put it on the forums, make it clear that there is one place for feedback, and call it good. I can’t imagine trying to gather and analyze the feedback that appears on Reddit, Twitter, Discord, etc… not to mention people feel free to be more toxic when it’s not tied to their game account.

This goes both ways. I don’t think Discord, Twitter, or Reddit are the proper places for making statements, unless those statements are also appearing on the company website. It seems like a lot of companies will fire off a tweet or say something in a discord channel, and that’s the only record of it.

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3dom

The channels I never use: Discord, Twitter, Facebook and official forums. Especially – official forums.

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Anstalt

Official Forums.

This is on the assumption that the devs are actually serious about community engagement.

With an official forum, the devs can have one unified place of engagement. They can control the space, moderate it how they like and, preferably, restrict access to only actual players (past and present).

From our point of view, if we are serious about giving genuine contructive feedback, then we need a place where we feel safe to post, where there are no time restrictions, where we can upload images and video, and where we know that the devs (or at least community managers) will read our feedback. Additionally, we don’t want to be forced up to 3rd party sites if at all possible, so forcing us to use something like reddit or twitter is a bad idea because many of us refuse to use such services, particularly if we care about privacy.