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Reader Comments (12)

Posted: Aug 14th 2008 4:54PM (Unverified) said

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The vision behind Everquest was only relatively successful at the time because of lack of competition. The reason WoW was and is so undeniably successful is because the designers listened to what the players' biggest gripes with games like EQ were... then improved nearly all those issues. By comparison, EQ seemed archaic when WoW came out.. and not just because of graphical issues. It was a game that was determined to be painful and job-like to play.. from ridiculous timesinks and death penalties to the insane grinding required.

There is a point where designers have to listen to the customers, as far as things like general ideas go. After all, they are the ones playing the game, and designers get too close to the product to see the game as a whole like a player does. At the same time, the team needs to be able to filter out things like selfish whines, cries for nerf and keep the overall vision true to what they planned from the start.

Posted: Aug 14th 2008 5:24PM Alpoe said

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Hey, we mages actually have a reason to QQ

Posted: Aug 14th 2008 5:56PM (Unverified) said

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Shut up Lando.
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Posted: Aug 14th 2008 5:49PM (Unverified) said

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Yes, developers should listen to comments, but no it should not be gospel. Spend 10 minutes on the WoW forums, or any game forum and you will hear 100 terrible suggestions and 1 absolute gem of wisdom.

Those gems of wisdom are crucial in a games long term success, but they have to be filtered out of the mess by intelligent and forward thinking developers.

There was a time in which players couldn't respec in WoW, people complained, it was changed. There was a time when people AFK'd in every BG, people complained, it was changed.

All complaints are not valid, but some are and very important.

Posted: Aug 14th 2008 8:45PM wjowski said

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Regarding Everquest...it's not hard to be successful when you're the only game in town. Everquest's fame had nothing to do Brad McQuaid's 'Vision'.

Posted: Aug 14th 2008 11:13PM (Unverified) said

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I'm sure that Ultima Online, Earth and Beyond, Dark Age of Camelot, and Anarchy Online would like to have a word with you about being "the only game in town" during EQ's glory years.

In fact, you might argue that EQ started going down hill when McQuaid left and the game became managed by Sony's corporate machine. (you'd be wrong, but it's not an entirely invalid argument)

-K
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Posted: Aug 15th 2008 12:28PM wjowski said

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And almost all of these games suffered from a variety of problems that crippled their chances of competing with EQ (though I'll give you Dark Age Of Camelot).
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Posted: Aug 14th 2008 11:47PM (Unverified) said

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Listen yes, act on it no.

I mean in RL no one wants to pay taxes, but society would not exist without a taxation system. In similar fashion, game devs should listen to the needs and wants of their customers, but in the end that should make their decision based on their experience.

What you want as a player, may not actually be what you really need.

CK
http://www.crazykinux.com/

Posted: Aug 15th 2008 1:11AM Jeromai said

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For an interesting contrast in sane game forums, City of Heroes.

There are some really dedicated people there, putting in tremendous amounts of effort tracking objective stats/numbers, etc. that developers would be foolish to NOT listen to.

And the CoX devs mix in both their own vision as well as take into consideration what the bulk of their players would like to see in the future via surveys, market research, etc.

The LOTRO forums don't seem too hopeless either. Though more middle of the line, like the Everquest 2 forums.

On any other forums like WoW or AoC for a random example, I would definitely NOT want the people there determining a game's direction, since they mostly consist of haters who don't like the original game and came to complain.

Posted: Aug 15th 2008 6:08AM (Unverified) said

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As anyone who has ever worked for customer services or technical support then you will know that the customer is almost never right!

Amount of time played, number of max level characters, quality of gear/guild, post counts - all are artificial "barriers" to getting out truthfull respectable information through the forum leaches who will pull you down just to make himself feel better.

No wonder nobody takes official forums seriously when quality breaks down and are not admined with an iron fist. Nobody would put up with this treatment in real life so why should forums be different?

I would even go as far to say Beta is no longer being used for bug testing, but for viewer-hungry journalist previews attracting too much attention for it's own good.

Posted: Aug 15th 2008 10:08AM (Unverified) said

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I was gonna say listen to the customers originally because even though there are a lot of crybabies, it's not hard at all to weed those players out in order to get the constructive feedback from the real players.

But I changed my mind, they really should listen trust the designers to know what's best for the game. If you have designers who don't know what they are doing to make a game enjoyable for majority, then it's probably going to fail regardless of feedback.

However if a designer does implement something that nobody likes i.e. Arenas, said designer should lose his job and that content disabled until it can be fixed or replaced with something better.

Posted: Aug 16th 2008 2:08PM Ozmodan said

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It really depends. The forums seem to really attract the whiners who most of the time do not represent the actual playerbase. So as a developer you have to turn a deaf ear to a lot of the complaints as most players cannot see the big picture, only what their character presents them with.

In some cases though, it can result in disasterous problems for the development staff and the game.

Star Wars Galaxy is a good example when the NGE implementation was put in the game. Most suscribers threatened to quit if it was not reversed and true to their word, the game lost 80% of it's subscribers in 3 short months. Probably the most bonehead move of any developer in the business.

Dark Age of Camelot also suffered from a nonlistening staff when they implemented the Trials of Atlantis expansion, giving hard core players huge advantages. Instead of listening to the complaints and toning the changes down, they left them pretty much as they were. They also suffered about a 60-70%% loss of population in a few months.

So it behoves a development staff to keep a close ear to the ground and head off major complaints about the game while not giving in to the small groups of inherent whiners.

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