Elite Dangerous attempts to explain its balancing act between sharing details and communicating too much

    
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A common refrain among players of Elite: Dangerous is that developer Frontier Developments isn’t communicative enough – a pain point that the studio says it’s attempting to address. However, the communication that has been provided to this point is apparently not good enough for some, which has drawn forth a lot of discussion on the matter and ended up summoning community manager Paul Crowther:

“Game development is always ongoing, from investigating and fixing issues through to looking into new updates. However whilst development is always ongoing it isn’t always in the right state to be shared. Talk about something too early and then you can end up with disappointment and anger if that thing has changed or isn’t what some had envisioned. It’s like seeing a live action version of your favorite book, it doesn’t matter how good the acting is if the portrayal is different to your head-cannon.”

Crowther further promises that the devs are hard at work on Update 6 of Odyssey, and that more news will be shared when it’s ready to be shared on the forums, social, and during the game’s Supercruise News broadcasts, along with further details on what Update 6 will include. “We will be more than happy to share with you once we can be sure what we show you is at least very close to what you will get,” writes Crowther.

source: official forums (1, 2), thanks to Stuart for the tip!
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MasterOfPuppets
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MasterOfPuppets

If Frontier operates anything like my time with EA, “sharing details” means running interference and getting your low level staff to act as a firewall for internal company policy they aren’t allowed to talk about and possibly haven’t even been informed upon… and “sharing too much” means admitting the company doesn’t actually listen to public feedback, it won’t or perhaps even can’t do what you would like to see happen, but rather to keep up the facade of listening to the public because the public will fill in the gaps in facts with their hopes and dreams instead.

Because here’s the harsh truth; people don’t go into coding in order to make the games you want to see, but the games they want to make. They think of themselves as artists not servants of the public. Management on top of them then tries to get in financially beneficial to the company decisions, but by the time both of those perspectives filter down to the public facing staff, the decisions have already been made. Our job was to keep you hanging on until the actual results became obvious.

And that staff can’t share how those decisions were made. Console work being delayed “to fix PC performance” of Odyssey? My money is on with the PC version being in such a shocking state, the consoles are on course to being unplayable, like Cyberpunk 2077 was on PS4. They need even more time to fix it, but are spinning it as “supporting the PC”.

They won’t tell you that though.

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Neurotic

I honestly miss the days when all of our gaming news came once a month, in printed form. This was an exercise in anticipation and expectation management that I don’t know how people get these days. Reading about EQ2, or World of Warcraft, for example, and desperately hoping against hope that in 4 weeks’ time you’d hear some new information, was an intense experience. I truly feel sorry for developers these days.

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Hikari Kenzaki

So, I can say from experience that you will never make everyone happy here. You just have to do what you believe is right for your project and hope your community understands.

Some will say it’s not enough information. Some will complain if you post anything other than a patch date. Some will flat out not read any of it and then say you’re not communicating. The majority, however, appreciate more communication over less communication.

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rk70534

I really have to support the studio in this. It seems nothing is ever good enough. People are just too fickle – Elite has gone in three months from people claiming “They are beating SC” with Odyssey to full doom mode… No balance whatsoever in expectations and reactions from a relatively large and vocal group of gamers.

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Ok_Chip261

Yeah, players are acting almost as if something majorly significant happened in those three months between “They are beating SC” and full doom mode.

Something like, you know, they got to play Odyssey…

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rk70534

Something like the boom and bust -cycle in the genre expectations hitting ED. Overhyped expansion runs into trouble (common occurrence in MMOs), and suddenly the pearly gates of heaven, after having opened, are revealed to have supposedly thrown the gamers instead into hell.

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Knecht_Rootrecht

You are flat out wrong in this regard.

Aside from the Odyssey reveal trailer hype, the reception of the actual expansion was lukewarm, even during the alpha. It was very bare-bones, a shooter mode which was largely unconnected to the rest of the gameplay. It was lacking features and was quite unpolished.

What hyped players was landing on atmospheric planets and the early dev blog screenshots looked great but players were not able to verify this during the alpha that was short and limited in scope.

Then the expansion came and almost immediately players noticed that the planet graphics for all the already landable planets were downgraded in quality and in performance. Also the devs responded to criticism during alpha with the reply that all the problems reported were being fixed in an internal build. I think I started calling BS at this point, but even I didn’t expect how bad it actually was.

Aside from the bad performance and gameplay loop, it was noticeable loss in quality. Lighting was broken with planets being either too dark or too bright. Distinct features of planets like canyons and higher mountains were gone. The ground textures were replaced with a bland texture which noticeably repeats itself. The planets from the screenshots looked nothing like the ones from the dev blogs and so on.

Communication is part of the problem of Frontier, they communicate too little but when they do, it is mostly BS.

Fisty
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Fisty

Seems to be a trend.