OK, I guess that kind of got away from me somewhere in there. It does seem pretty certain that TERA's going to win, though.
But did you come here for my random ditherings? Hopefully, since that's what marks every intro to WRUP. But WRUP isn't just about that; it's also about what the Massively staff will be playing over the weekend. This week, we also talked about whether or not we believe that developers read and incorporate player feedback. So check out what we'll be doing down below, and let us know what you have planned for the weekend in the comments!
@Beau_Hindman: I am switching to Three Rings' new Doctor Who: World in Time MMO for Rise and Shiny this week. It's really an interesting game, with some of those wonderful Puzzle Pirates-esque puzzle minigames. It is really cute, as well. I'll also be continuing work on my character in Gemstone IV. He's a Halfling on a search for his ancient family dagger called Star. All I can find for him right now is a basic dagger, but it's a start.
There's a difference between developers listening to forum feedback, wishing they could act on it, and actually acting on it. As someone who not only knows developers but also lives with one, I can tell you that pretty much every negative post (and positive one) will at the least be read. If developers could act on every post, though, they would need a team of thousands. It's usually impossible even then.
@nyphur: I'm still nerding it out in Diablo III, but being an EVE Online player, I've been working out all the maths behind the game mechanics and spreadsheeting it all out. Keep an eye out for my upcoming guide to the Wizard, which will be full of my findings. I've also been playing spreadsheets in space, testing out the new game mechanics with the Inferno expansion, and looking at how the new modules will affect PvP.
I know for a fact that the EVE Online developers read the forums and occasionally implement player ideas. This was a lot easier back when they were a small team, and it's a lot more typical for sandbox games than themeparks. Today, CCP uses the CSM as a kind of concentrated focus group, and the CSM puts a spotlight on any important ideas and forum threads. It's a great example of how a company can still listen to its players even when there are over 350,000 of them.
Considering the results of my Choose My Adventure poll, I guess I'm going out to grab a copy of TERA. I probably won't start playing just yet, although that's far from certain. I'd also like to pack in some time with City of Heroes and Final Fantasy XIV as well as sit down to a rousing match or two of Thunderstone.
Developers definitely listen to what the players have to say; unfortunately, the signal-to-noise ratio is generally pretty awful. There will be a lot of well-reasoned and wrong complaints about anything you do at the top, and the challenge becomes filtering out the bad complaints and paying attention to the good ones. Some companies do a better job than others, but everyone does it.
I'm playing a lot of Skyrim and a little Age of Conan. I'll probably hit up Lord of the Rings Online's spring festival events too. And sure devs read forums and occasionally act on some of the feedback. Some teams are more visible about it than others, though, like the early Star Wars Galaxies dev team and a lot of the indie sandbox outfits.
@Jeremy_Stratton: I always end up deviating from my weekend plans, but I'm thinking I'll spend most of my time in Fallen Earth, Vanguard, and EverQuest II.
I think many developers whose community feels they aren't listening at all are actually listening intently and judiciously using community suggestions to improve the game. I think there are other companies that "listen" way too much to the community feedback by taking those changes and just slapping them into the game. Many players do not know what is best for the game. They can't because they'd need insider information on how the entire game works, how each part affects the other, and what the future roadmap is.
@Sypster: With the announcement of RIFT's expansion, I'm definitely happy with my recent decision to head back into the game. I'm leveling up a Dwarf Cleric from scratch and getting acquainted with all the new features that have been added since my sabbatical. I'm also deep into the Great River region in Lord of the Rings Online with my Captain, and it's got me quite psyched for Riders of Rohan. Two great expansions this fall, how awesome is that?
Devs do take forum feedback into account -- that's one of the jobs of the CM -- but it's most certainly filtered feedback. Filtered as in sifting out the noise from the legitimate complaints and ideas, and balanced against the "silent" majority that just play the game and don't necessarily share your or my views.
@JayeRnH: I'm fixing to play a little Star Wars: The Old Republic and a little RIFT this weekend, but I also want to work on my Poet's Palace dungeon for EQII's contest.
As always, it depends on the game, but there's no doubt that devs take our forum feedback into account. However, I think there's more and more reliance on metrics when it comes to design decisions because there's a disconnect between what we think we do in games and what we actually do in games. By extension, what we think we want in games might not necessarily be the case, so developers think we think we want something that we don't necessarily think we want. Or something.
Personally, I need a break from all that was double XP last weekend, so I am going to take it easy and have a lighter gaming schedule this weekend. I am on the verge of completing one decorating project in EverQuest II, so I will be applying some finishing touches there. I also want to get in on LotRO's Spring Festival (except with so much to do there it might just suck me in!). Aion will find me poking into either a newer instance or mentoring someone through a lower one.
Yes, I do think developers read and act on feedback; in fact, I have seen it come to pass. I just feel bad that to do so, one has to wade through so much less-than-helpful, non-constructive stuff to find the useful info.
@mackeypb: I will be playing more Diablo III, since I got a rollback on my account. I ended up losing some stuff, but I've more or less made it back. I'll also be playing more League of Legends; one of my friends clued me in on a secret technique that I need to practice, but I don't really get in situations where it's useful that often. It's still important, so I'm trying to force myself into those situations so I can commit it to reflex.
Devs definitely listen to the forums, although the response varies from game to game. It's obviously stupid to act on most of what comes out of the forums, but it's one of the most important sources of player experience available to the devs. Very few companies actively ignore their forums (e.g., Square Enix), and their games tend to be worse for it.
@terilynns: I will be writing most of this weekend as the house is quiet, but I'll be jumping into Star Trek Online from time to time to say hi to the fleetmates and continue to level my Klingon faction character.
And I have to say I really do believe that devs and their superiors act on feedback from players on the forums. They don't always act on it, but I've seen the implementation of many things either suggested by, and sometimes demanded by a player base.
At the start of every weekend, we catch up with the Massively staff members and ask them, "What are you playing this week?" (Otherwise known as: WRUP!) Join us to see what we're up to in and out of game -- and catch us in the comments to let us know what you're playing, too!