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Communicate

October 14, 2020 by Tim

Sorry, this is going to be one of my “here’s how I wish the world worked” posts.

I was originally spurred to touch on the subject (and importance) of developer communication by the latest game-as-service, The Avengers, but it’s a topic that becomes more and more important as some games shift from “we shipped it, that’s it, it’s done” to an evolving, long term experience.

The goal of a game-as-a-service is for the developers to build a lasting relationship with their potential customers. I feel that it’s especially important in the early days, when these sorts of games are at their more fragile and wanting for content/fixes, for developers to establish a rhythm of communication with their prospective player base, even when there’s no real news to report. And I feel that’s the part where a lot of devs derail; if they can’t offer exact, specific details or concrete announcements, they opt to stay silent, and I strongly believe that’s the wrong approach.

Even popping onto twitter or reddit to say “Hey, we’re still listening and working on stuff, and we’ll share details as soon as we can” is better than complete radio silence in my opinion. Because it imparts a sense attention that helps the playerbase weather any lulls in content updates or bug fixing. As a player, if you’re investing time in a game without a clear, finite “end point”, you want to know that it’s still alive on the other end; that your concerns are not being hollered into a void.

Crystal Dynamics was silent for a period of time after Avengers launched, as the community pondered about balance fixes, what a content roadmap might look like, whether certain things were even on their radar. When they finally responded, they had some helpful information, but it felt like they only did so because a large publication (IGN) reached out to them to get information. It was not a great way to handle communication with the players of a new game who just want to know they can expect attention to all the quality of life issues a newborn game might have.

On the other hand, while researching the framework for this discussion, I couldn’t ignore that the vocal playerbase for these games could stand to adjust their response/reactions a bit as well. Reading the through Reddits and forums gives a glimpse at some incredibly negative and abusive reactions to perceived inaction. The sort of vitriole you might forgive a developer for not wanting to wade in the middle of, creating a nasty cycle. While I thoroughly empathize with the desire to see your new game purchase evolve and increase content, and get new features, the timeline from zero-to-complaining about it seems to get unreasonably short at times.

Every time a game-as-service is held up as a success story, or a “how to do it” comparison (let’s say Warframe or perhaps Destiny in their current states), the vocal contingent seems to conveniently forget that those games have been out for years. They have had those years to grow and tweak and add on new content to get to the place where they are a bountiful example of “things to do.” And all of them started in the exact same rough, barebones place and went through growing pains of their own.

So there are some developers that understand the important of communication, and some that don’t. Likewise, there are some players that are reasonable with their expectations, and some that aren’t. And I think the healthiest community for these ongoing projects we’re calling “games-as-service” are when both sides work together to meet in the middle.

Yes, if a developer wants to engage a community long term, they should endeavor to verbally, and sometimes repeatedly express where they’re at and what they’re doing to improve the game, even if they’re vague about it. But the community should understand that these things take time, and that perhaps a game that’s intended to live 1, 2, maybe three years does not also have to be the only game you play. That you can play in bursts, sometimes seriously, sometimes casually, sometimes not at all. Play other things and then circle back around to touch base as the game evolves.

Typing this, I can already predict a myriad of responses. “I just wait and buy the game a year or two later, at a discount, after it’s been patched and had expansions.” Yes, excellent approach, good for you. But this argument doesn’t really apply to you then either, does it? These games can’t get to a place where they’re patched and expanded without the people that jump in at the start and play through the evolution, can they? As a non-customer you neither care about their communication nor are you one of the vocal contingent losing your shit on social media.

Or perhaps “Maybe the developer should just release a finished game then”, which is a wonderful argument (in fact, it’s a great subject for a discussion all on its own), but it ignores the concept that games like these, and MMOs, etc are never really “finished”. They’re intended to be grown and expanded, so given that caveat, who is to say how much or how little constitutes a “finished” amount suitable for release? If WoW shut down tomorrow, knowing the full breadth of content the game would eventually contain, could you objectively call its launch state in 2004 “complete?” It felt pretty good at the time, but in comparison now it feels a little basic and small.

Those arguments are both valid viewpoints in the right context, but I don’t necessarily feel they apply to the targeted argument I’m making.

So the TL;DR here boils down to this, without any “whataboutism” tangents: I am of the opinion that A) developers need to be proactive about communicating, even if all they’re doing is communicating about future communication, and B) Players that choose to board the train early on in the trip need to exercise some more patience about the fact that maybe some track is still being laid.

Discuss.


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des
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des

I kind of disagree. While I understand the one you described is an utopic view, where the updates require time but are mostly improvements (and hopefully there are games like that out there), I have played games as a service where the devs would dish out constant feedback, tell players they received the message, that they would change things… and the updates down the line just went the way the devs wanted things to be disregarding all the feedback from the players, and when confronted about it they would simply state “that’s not how we envision the game”. One of… Read more »

TomB
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TomB

Anything that somebody can come along and update to totally change the experience can do that. This is where buying a shrink wrapped game that was what it was and didn’t ever get updated meant you finished it, but it was always what it was not something new and horrific. Skyrim is not an MMO, but I could play for years to try out different character classes, try to see all the odd litle corners, and trying to follow up all the side quests. And that’s before any additional user or publisher stuff added beyond the game as it is.… Read more »

Matt
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Matt

As a long time WoW player, a lot of the stuff you see about how they’ve ruined the game, is just the very vocal minority moaning because they can. You could give them 1m gold and they’d still moan about it.

Equally, there are some big changes every now and then that do upend things, but they’re rarely as bad as people say.

Pulse
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Pulse

thanks for that 1m, ill go buy a stack of ore and advance 2 levels in my skill now

no thanks nintendo
Guest
no thanks nintendo

“Yes, in the long run, they may be great. I can always go play them then.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ha7HAG6jVqc

wkz
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wkz

… lemme guess, you’ll be starting WoW when blizzard announces the closure of their servers then?

Nyzer
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Nyzer

A problem with the game-as-service model is that there tend to be more infamous examples of either failures or extremely long delays before updates than there do famous examples like WoW. I would absolutely argue that WoW was a “complete” game during its initial release (especially given the context of the game-as-service model of the time, when it was far newer and less certain). In fact, while there’s certainly much more content in the game now, it’s long been true of WoW that previous expansions’ content isn’t actually really engaged with so much as sped through while leveling in order… Read more »

Matt
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Matt

I think you’re hitting the nail on the head with the comparisons. There’s so many attempts to replicate WoW in different forms, whether direct competition (SW:ToR), or similar models different game type (Anthem) and whilst some are ok, Destiny and FFX definitely seem to have a decent enough playerbase, and I hear good things of others, but the majority flop quickly. Or don’t make it past that initial wave of hype as the dev’s waited too long to cash in on it, or thought it would last longer perhaps? My main experience was SW:ToR, I was so hyped for it… Read more »

Jessica
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Jessica

I can agree some ON PRINCIPLE with how BOTH sides should act. HOWEVER, when it comes to Avengers, NOTHING was done well OR properly. Single player too short, store is unfair to EVERYONE, aesthetics are ugly, too many of the same copy pasted limited enemies, small selection of Villains you WANT to see, Multiplayer is buggy AF, etc. Like compare that to say…Genshin Impact where people are bitching about the End Game, BUT STILL PLAYING! They’re STILL on there playing. They JUST released a new event and EVERYBODY is doing it, even after it’s been a few days. You’re connected… Read more »

Michael Delaney
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Michael Delaney

Hahaha…. WoW was a bloody mess on release. They sold more copies that they had server capacity (they had to ban the sale of the game for 3 months, server queues were 2 hours long) and everything up until Burning Crusade was a fight to keep both players engaged, stopping them rage quitting, and keep the whole business from not imploding in either a server fire or hemoraging money due to upscaling employees. What Blizzard did right, what other successful live-service games like Fortnite, Warframe, Final Fantasy MMO did right is diagnose their mistakes, reinvent themselves, scale up to demand,… Read more »

MRD
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MRD

Final Fantasy XIV was only done right after fans had pleaded with the developers for a batter game. Fans were ignored and it tanked. Tanked HARD. Only after the massive bucket-of-water-to-the-head wake up call did SE attempt to get it right.
It was only after all that that there took a step back and diagnosed their mistakes.

Nyzer
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Nyzer

Yep. For all of that, though, it was an absolutely massive game on release, having players explore entire continents during their long trek to max level, rather than depending on reusing the same 15 hours of content as a “live service” in an empty game world. It didn’t feel like a rushed game pushed out well before its time in order to meet arbitrary deadlines imposed by execs that didn’t understand how game development works. Its flaws definitely existed, but were far more obviously due to the sheer scale of the game and the fact that they clearly didn’t expect… Read more »

xtratopicality
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xtratopicality

This is exactly right. If Blozzard hadn’t reinvented itself and basically reinvented everything down to the hardware used to serve modern MMOs it wouldn’t be where it is today and the industry is better for it.

But it still had to start with an engaging game that made everyone want to stick it out through the pain of AQ and early BWL. If not for that… goodbye Susan. Too many games don’t make an engaging enough experience or effort to start and without that comms they never make it to expansion 1

evilleet
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evilleet

I am sorry, but WoW was very much not a “complete game”. There was no endgame content, the quests and dungeons where buggy (and some of them still are in the current “classic” version 15 years later. There was no PvP system, no battlegrounds, the servers where unstable and players around the world hat such bag pings that playing was done at around 100ms and the only content you had, you made yourself. Now, as you mentioned, the times where different back then. In comparisson to what WoW did right, was interface, usability and a very rich lore from the… Read more »

Nyzer
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Nyzer

The thing about WoW at launch is that hitting that end of game took months of leveling and gearing, AFAIK. You had sixty levels of mostly open world questing with some dungeons, but seriously, that world was MASSIVE. And there are so many differences between the way MMOs were then and now. WoW took years to switch over to the heavy max level endgame focus it’s got nowadays. A lot of WoW’s issues had to do with having a ridiculously massive playerbase, too – the server population was just that much higher than initially expected. Even the outright buggy shit… Read more »

Juzek Powruzek
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Juzek Powruzek

I dislike GaaS as it’s always online and full of adolescents with whom I don’t see eye-to-eye. My son loves them though. If there’s quality I’m willing to extend to them benefit of a doubt. Thus I’ve decided to buy Cyberpunk 2077 to help the makers make it. The market being as it is – high quality game makers disappearing – if “we as gamers” are responsible for something it is to keep those that provide good stuff alive. And the same goes for The Long Dark.

evilleet
Guest
evilleet

I find it weird, that you pay for something that isnt custom made just for you, in advance. You wouldn’t pay for a house you intend to spend your life in up front, with only promises and a trailer?

Look, i get that supporting developers is a thing, and it is very much needed.
But with “triple A” games coming out left end right all the time, all that is happening is that the companies are feeding their shareholders first and staff second. At least, that is what it feels like when i look at the state of games nowadays.

wkz
Guest
wkz

Nobody buys a house custom-made. Nobody. There will always be this corner or that garage (or lack of) or that balcony that is your least liked portion of the house… but that’s why you renovate (Mods)

Unless you’re a game developer who absolutely refuses to bend to the will of the public (i.e. you’re a fairy-tale-isque existence that tends to appear in negative game magazine write-ups more often than not), that game isn’t going to be custom made for you…

Just saying.

evilleet
Guest
evilleet

I have 2 friends who got their house drawn by an architect and built after their own specifications.
Pretty sure the payment was given after completion. 😉

Nyzer
Guest
Nyzer

High quality game makers are disappearing because of the major companies that have learned what corners they can cut and still make bank with, since people will still preorder games from known problem companies, dogpile criticism of deeply flawed games into the ground, and shell out tons of money on predatory microtransactions.

I don’t think Cyberpunk 2077 is among the games that certainly shouldn’t be preordered, but you can support those companies just as well by buying the game (new) a few weeks after release, once the reviews have started coming out.

leduk
Guest
leduk

wow is still a complete game since you needs hundreds of hours to clean EACH PATCH (yeah I heard some people angry because they run out of content when playing 12h/day, but it was WAY WORST on vanilla, just look at classic) and the pvp is theorically infinite. And classic wow is aboslutely not more difficult, it’s just more and more stupid grind but that’s all, the pve difficulty is a joke.

Masterfox
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Masterfox

I have not played or even bought the Avengers game, but I think that every game dev company could learn something from Factorio/Wube Software: They released weekly dev blogs on their forums, and people would read them and share feedback, and the devs would actually respond to at least some of it.
And I think that is a great model to keep your community engaged and show them the game is still in active development, and allow them to shape the game as well.

Bwauder
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Bwauder

It wasn’t exactly a game as service format, but the yes approach is how Owlcat games avoided being mauled “in the press” like Bethesda (F76) when they released Pathfinder:Kingmaker. They released on schedule – despite the product honestly being somewhere between alpha & beta development, which wasn’t well received by the struggling player group BUT they kept a constant stream of news and patches coming, almost daily in the earliest days, and it was recognised that they were making a huge effort and had faith in the eventual quality of the ideal product. Sure, you can’t avoid the ragers, quitters… Read more »

TomB
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TomB

Tim has just asked for the social media equivalent of the ‘busy cursor’. “look, we’re doing things… yes… thngs… and they will be ready…. sometime.” A someone who has worked on a MMO platform before they were the rage now and who has worked on and released a lot of software, I’m going to say this: When I see a product, I look at how much it grabs me as an idea and look plays a small part as do mechanics and positive reviews (I read them to discount ones whose criticisms I would not be bothered about). But there’s… Read more »

Morrigan
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Morrigan

This is the problem of Trend CHASERS, rather than trying to be a Trend SETTER. This is a $60 game that is the equivalent of STILL being in Beta AT BEST. Gamers have started to wise up about these models with every new diaster. Fallout 76, Anthem, and more. This game is just a complete mess all around is the problem. There’s no clear vision in ANYTHING. It’s basically just Fallout 76 all over again. Now look at Genshin Impact. It’s got lootboxes which people hate. Yet it’s beloved. It has problems with the End Game Content, but the players… Read more »

TomB
Guest
TomB

The other thing that is happening is gamers aging. With more family commitments, more real life challenges, economies that are simultaneoulsy seeing house prices rise and employment fall, etc. All of this makes for stress and a desire for something fun and distracting for limited free time. So hopping onto a game/platform with connectivity or stability issues, with bad balance problems, with poor UI or screwed up control setups… or trouble getting into a game or matching well… it turns the free time you hope will help relax you to a deflating or frustrating addition to your already present stressors.… Read more »

Michael Anderson
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Michael Anderson

OK, so I am in the ‘not the target audience’ camp (I am dealing with the Baldur’s Gate 3 thing – a new game in a franchise I have played since initial release by a developer I love, but sold as an unfinished product … ).

But I am commenting (first time, as well) because as a kid back in the late 70s I actually delivered the Patriot Ledger for a short time (as well as the Brockton Enterprise and Boston Herald before getting the prized Globe route) and lived in Stoughton, so all of those towns are very familiar 🙂

Paul
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Paul

Here’s the thing, though…I finished the main ‘story’ for Avengers in the first week. But then I feel like since then I’ve just been waiting for the DLC characters and new stuff. And I’m still waiting. My friends were in the “wait until it’s cheaper” bracket, so I don’t have familiar company to play with.

Meanwhile I have a regular group for Warzone Quads that we play every other night.

evilleet
Guest
evilleet

Error 16
Blocked access from your country.

sorry, this internet stranger cant help you or your cousin. 🙁

Ingvar
Guest
Ingvar

That’s why I use a VPN service. Just one click and I can pose as a citizen of ~60 countries.

evilleet
Guest
evilleet

There is no practical need for me to pretend i am anywhere else in the world right now.
Thus a (paid) vpn is not really needed.

no thanks nintendo
Guest
no thanks nintendo

That first panel for the player where he says he’ll buy the game should be the “NO” panel, IMO. The “YES” panel would be something like “I recognize that game-as-service is just another AAA publisher business model designed to take advantage of me, where they hope to sell me what they think is a ‘minimum viable product’ but what that actually means is ‘unfinished game’. Because of this, and because I already have a healthy backlog of games to play, I am not going to buy this new game-as-service at launch. Instead I will keep an eye on this game… Read more »

Morrigan
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Morrigan

I dunno, there ARE some games that can be worth Pre-ordering. There’s others where it’s a smaller gamble, because at worst…it’s just not as goo as it should be, but still is fun enough. I knew from playing the Munster Hunter games that MHW was going to be good. REALLY good. An it was. 100% worth preordering. I knew that it had a business model that was actually VERY consumer focused and fair. An the game is STILL getting updates of free content for the players, in the form of Cosmetic Advertising, like when you could make your cat look… Read more »

TomB
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TomB

Would those same games that you said were good enough (or just plain good) be good enough to buy after release and a bit of a pause to see how things are unfolding? If not, why? I don’t disagree with your characterization of good games. I have NEVER seen the sense of pre-orders. Artificial scarcity, media hype… and where’s the benefit to the player in the end? It’s good for the companies. I know games companies are necessary to make games. I also know too many devs who were friends of mine who walked into that set of salt mines… Read more »

crymblade
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crymblade

My biggest bone with “games as a service” is when the base game fails to deliver 2 things: 1) A main story arc that tells a sufficiently entertaining(not necessarily long) tale. This is the guarantee that the rest of the story is going to be good. 2) A downtime that is enjoyable. Artificially extending play with non-auto or semi-auto grind IS viable as a game, but it is a game about juggling resources, not the jrpg/tower defense/action/etc. game that I came to play. So if I have to spend 90% of my time doing something I don’t find fun, then… Read more »

Michael Delaney
Guest
Michael Delaney

My ideal scenario is… From experience we know it takes a lot of content to start and keep a Live Games As A Service running, so we have decided a road map should not be what we are planning to do after release… but our road map is the highway we already built. We completed the game earlier this year and have been beta testing it for the last 3 months, we ask our customers to be patient while our development team fully fleshes out this game with content, enemy variety, quests, game modes, pve, pvp, dungeons, raids and a… Read more »

Aegyuptus
Guest
Aegyuptus

I read all the way through your essay about games-as-service and appreciate the discussion it sparked in the comments, and I thought it was good. I figured that since I got through all of that and enjoyed it, the least I could do was vote. +1 from me!

Hellion1982
Guest
Hellion1982

I’m going to agree with Tim here.
I don’t want to be flooded with inane posts, but I don’t want Radio silence either. Take RDR2 Online now. We rarely hear anything solid from the developers. And when we do, it’s usually disappointing. The game is still riddled with bugs that they haven’t fixed, and we see zero updates from them.
That’s mildly infuriating, isn’t it?
There’ s a sweet spot between full on flooding gamers with ‘news’, and total absence of anything. Game developers and publishers need to find that sweet spot.

JanTuts
Guest

There is also players now expecting GAAS (specifically the non-stop content), even when that was never the plan… We just FULLY released (1.0) our game after 3 years of development, of which 1.5 years in Early Access, and besides praise (yay, thanks!), we also hear a lot of “I really like where this is GOING, I can’t wait for when they add more maps, and this and that feature” (heartwrenching…). I dread the day when this turns into “WTF, lazy devs abandoned the game”. No, when you bought it, the game was considered feature-complete, DONE. Aside from some bug fixes,… Read more »

Hunter
Guest
Hunter

This right here is why I hate games as a service. People expect that all games are going to grow like on the games as a service model. They’re never satisfied with what they have, they just want more, and often times they want it for free.

Cyrad
Guest
Cyrad

A missing piece of this argument is the fact that the players paid for an incomplete game marketed as a complete experience. A game that often has tons of microtransactions ontop of the $40 to $100 price tag. Often devs do not pull the “this is an evolving game” card until *after* the initial release of the game in response to players who bought the game on launch.

Cyrad
Guest
Cyrad

There’s also the issue of devs constantly saying they’re listening to feedback and then outright ignoring it. Some games, like Fallout 76, even go a step further and use feedback suggestions to exploit the playerbase with additional microtranactions advertised to fix the game’s issues.

Dodgy
Guest
Dodgy

Phoenix Point comes to mind… started out as a horribly balanced unfinished “x-com clone” (How dare Julian Gollop rip off such a well established franchise that Firaxis had created!!!) but now almost a year later it feels still unfinished and differently horribly unbalanced. All jokes aside, no they did not get it right the first, second or third time but they do actively listen, communicatie and in general put in effort… which is all I dare hope for these days. And then there is Fallout 76. As a diehard fan who owns the boxed special editions of Fallout 1 and… Read more »

Morrigan
Guest
Morrigan

Actually? For a new game? I am going to SERIOUSLY disagree. Genshin Impact hasn’t been out long in America. Yet it’s become a darling to many players. It’s 100% game as a service. By the time the game released in version 1.0 it was a smashing success. It’s STILL continuing to have GREAT player base. The difference was that they took time to do it right THE FIRST TIME! THAT is the problem with Avengers and with so many games: They are TOO BUSY chasing after the $$$ and Trends, they forget that they need to make a great game… Read more »

ReaverRogue
Guest
ReaverRogue

Tim I thoroughly agree with you here. Game studios and indeed any business that caters to the public needs to have an open, clear line of communication. Even if it’s as simple as scheduling a weekly or monthly Q&A with their client base to provide updates around the product and answer any concerns that might come up is more helpful than just pure radio silence. Radio silence in this day and age, with all of the half-baked and unfinished products that have leeched innocent people of their money under false pretenses (See Star Citizen and Chronicles of Elyria as prime… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

This is exactly the type of thing you’d see on places like Kickstarter as well. I’ve been a “Superbacker” on Kickstarter for years, and it has definitely taught me to be patient and expect delays. Developing a new product, or idea, takes time, and it’s all done by humans, and humans take time. With that said, it’s the people that post at least monthly updates that avoid most of the anger and negativity. Even when those updates are mostly saying “We don’t have any real news, but we are working hard.”

Peosea
Guest
Peosea

Remember back in the days when game devs would finish the actual game before selling it?

Pepperidge Farms remember.

raven0ak
Guest
raven0ak

Happy that Nintendo at least holds tradition, most big names don’t

Bryce
Guest
Bryce

One of the first companies I thought of when I read this was Gearbox and the game “Borderlands 3”. Yes, I agree that the core story has some flaws… such as I think they could have come up with less annoying villains than the Calypso Twins. (Seriously, it’s like they took the things people liked about Handsome Jack, and tried to turn them to 11 but didn’t quite realize that Jack was a fine balance of humor, arrogance, and psychosis that worked because of where those levels were set.) That said… They have solid DLC that comes out on a… Read more »

Roborat
Guest
Roborat

I thought they made the twins so very annoying on purpose. I know it gives me extra motivation to really want to kill them.

David Gibson
Guest

It’s interesting to see responses like this now to new “games as a service” like Avengers when that attitude was wholly absent for Anthem, which was hated since the first trailer…

Detton
Guest
Detton

I think people hated on Anthem for a whole lot of other reasons that don’t apply here, and it never got TO the point where the fact that it was a GAAS was even relevant as a result of them. If it ever had managed to get off the ground without exploding, then it probably would have ran into this too.

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

For a second I thought this was about Baldur’s Gate 3, because this, and also the reviews on the Early Access vary *so widely* it’s almost hilarious.

Sujad
Guest
Sujad

Speaking as someone who’s put thousands of hours in Warframe, I am not at all a fan of games of a service when you have to pay for them. Warframe, like most other F2P games in a grey area simply because they’re free to play. You can put money into them (I’ve bought some plat packs in Warframe because I’ve spent so much time and I wanted to give something back to the devs) but when you have games as a service that you have to pay for, if something goes wrong and you can’t play any longer, it makes… Read more »

Cori
Guest
Cori

Im with Jim Sterling in the “live service” “AAA” discussion.

Xormie
Guest
Xormie

I do agree to a certain extend. In the past, I remember when developers use to talk to their base a lot (Ultima Online), but the fanbase starts to get too demanding and the meeting stops. I believe this is the issue. Come present day, the fanbase is “worst” because they will take any words (even cryptic) and hold against the developers. The art of navigating those is a full-time job and no one wants to do it (opinion). I believe that is why the developers don’t release any news until they have something concrete, but you and I know… Read more »

Trunks013
Guest
Trunks013

Hi there ^.^ As a long time Warframe player i noticed something about what you are saying. First if we take Warframe for example they have an entire dedicated Community team with multiples representative assigned to platforms ( PS4, Switch , Xbox and even PC ) The team seems consisted of main 6 individuals that are most of the time up front the camera but also joined by Programmers , Sounds specialist , studio director , writers and others from time to time. This is also without pushing aside the team that handle streams ( they have literally a god… Read more »

Eldest Gruff
Guest

I think it’s kind of awesome that they show geographic statistics for that Athlete of the Week vote. It’s like, wow, look at all those people across the contintent… and down in Australia… South Africa… Argentina… all gathering together to vote. 😀

TuffMelon
Guest
TuffMelon

I feel like many people using Warframe as a success story never played Warframe back when it was as young as the Avengers game. That game was barebones back then.

ProjectXa3
Guest
ProjectXa3

Oh it certainly was, but that’s not what the discussion is about, it’s about the devs actually keeping up communications and the community not being a large pile of assmonkeys

TuffMelon
Guest
TuffMelon

But that is what i was referring to? People are being assmonkeys because of them using things like Warframe/Destiny as as an example of ‘how things should be’ and dragging Avengers as a result. My point is if these people had actually experienced these ‘success stories’ personally (or at least with less rose tinted glasses), they’d have less traction to use on Avengers and hence they might be a little less monkey and ass.

Detton
Guest
Detton

Well, in general, we’re talking about how Warframe is now, though, because that’s how it is now.

I remember those original days, don’t get me wrong, it was bad. Back then though, there wasn’t as much competition, and Warframe got a second chance and could turn themselves around.

The Avengers is being dragged on because it is now, where other games were back then. (not just Warframe as that was only an example.) And it’s a lot harder to get a second chance because of all the games that ARE touted as being good NOW.

Logan
Guest
Logan

Warframe Beta! That was rough.

It’s come a *really* long way since. (Just wish some aspects of their PR were better)

Detton
Guest
Detton

I would concede the point about Reddit and people being violently angry about games needing more to do with their lives,and you are absolutely right about developers needing to have REGULAR communication with the playerbase. But I don’t think I agree with the rest of it. Thing is, EVERY game wants to be a Game As A Service (GAAS) these days. You can’t hardly buy any game that doesn’t have a battlepass, a subscription, a premium subscription, a developer roadmap (that’s almost never met…), multiple currencies (of which only the premium one has any actual value), and microtransactions that rotate… Read more »

Eldest Gruff
Guest

This post makes me sad. This is not my experience at all, in the least. Am I insulated from most of it by being primarily Switch? Surely this isn’t what the rest of gaming has turned into?

Detton
Guest
Detton

By and large? Yes. I think the Switch probably has less games of that nature than the other consoles — for good or ill, a lot of developers avoid the Switch because it doesn’t have “the SRONGEST GRAPHICS!” — apparently, if you can’t see every sweat pore on a face in 4k detail, it just isn’t worth it. (hyper-realism in video games upsets me, but that’s another discussion) I mean, I can name a few GAAS for the Switch, but if you almost exclusively game there, then it wouldn’t seem as overwhelming. So I envy you, and you shouldn’t feel… Read more »

Eldest Gruff
Guest

Due to a bunch of real-life stuff, I never really did much single-player ‘console’ gaming in this last gen; free time was few and far between, and it was mostly from stolen moments with my 3DS. I went from 100%ing Oblivion and Skyrim Vanilla with my 360, to BARELY scratching the surface of Persona, and wondering why I spent the money in the first place. So Switch became my console of choice, and I’d say it’s near-exclusive. Until this year, I was still a handheld-only Switch player. Now I’m looking back at the last near-decade of games I’ve missed and… Read more »

NorrinRadd
Guest
NorrinRadd

There are still well made single player experiences out there. I’m probably going to catch hell for this, but Sony has gotten the better of those in this outgoing generation. Your Spider-Man, Horizon: Zero Dawn, God of War and the like. The previous two years have been absolutely loaded, honestly. Your annual titles tend to be the worst with the transactions. But I play a lot of games and I manage to mostly stay away. I think the only expansion passes I’ve purchased were for Spider-Man and Witcher 3, and I feel like both were well worth it but the… Read more »

kinshotaki
Guest
kinshotaki

Possibly insulated on the switch, possibly insulated by genre, possibly insulated by good game decisions, but as a primarily PC gamer I can only think of one game I play and not regularly (right now) with daily anything that isn’t a browser game I check on during breaks at work, and thats WoW, but i also avoid (due to just lack of interest in the gameplay) the looter shooter/looter grinder games, and Battle Royale’s two genres I know have a lot of both daily stuff and games as service model.

Jesse
Guest
Jesse

“Every game wants to be a GAAS these days.” I don’t really have that experience at all. I also have a family (two preschoolers and a busy schedule that involves making their lunches then dropping them off at school and picking them up each day, then making dinner, etc), so I don’t have time on a daily basis to play games. I probably play 3-4 hours a week. Off the top of my head, the last few games I’ve purchased include Star Wars Squadrons (Which I’m playing now), Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami (those were a cool find), Avengers (but… Read more »

Casra
Guest
Casra

I feel bad to a point for dev’s as they are working hard creation is not a “Poof it’s done” process. And if they do that they get hammered for “crunch” and people complain. But on the flip side, the kids with all the time on their hands to play who burn through content demand immediate satisfaction. I’m currently tinkering in Dual Universe for example, and I read the people that wig out over lack of content or updates and it’s like “it’s a long process kids, as long as they aren’t taking Star Citizen levels of time…

Brendan
Guest
Brendan

Man, you’re gonna get some stimulating feedback on this one. 😛 So I feel that this comic is a little reductive (A webcomic? Presenting a reductive version of an argument? WEEEEIRD), but it’s reductive in a way that I feel misframes the problem. Yes, communication is a critical issue, and yes, players should be patient and divide their attention, but there’s way more to it than those two issues. For one, while many more developers are, these days, taking what I coin the “Terraria” approach to early access (Release a great product, and then continue developing for it, and keep… Read more »

KL12
Guest
KL12

Developers want the game keep running and the gamers want their favorite game keep online. But the fact is none seems clear with where they should make the game to go and how it could reach its destination. So some dev just dropped after knowing they have no idea (Anthem), or gamers dropped it as there is no way to see its destination (like WoW, GW2 and Destiny 2 , which I paused and let them idle).
In general , we both sides have got lost in this GaaS. Its a total lost

Marth Koopa
Guest
Marth Koopa

“Games as a service” is the worst thing to happen to the industry. It’s pretty much why I will only touch games from companies like From Software, Gust, or Nihon Falcom anymore, because they make a complete, and properly designed, game in the first place that doesn’t need to be a “service”

Soup
Guest
Soup

The speed of updates can never meet player demand, it’s simply not possible. With the modern gaming market being so crowded with so many games vying for attention, I can’t say I blame people for being impatient. It doesn’t help that the marketing for these games seems to almost intentionally set up unrealistic expectations. But it’s the same as every gaming fad – there will be a few wild successes while most games will fail spectacularly mostly do to a variety of design faults or lack of content, but sometimes just bad luck. For my part, I’m just going to… Read more »

ProjectXa3
Guest
ProjectXa3

You brought up Warframe as a game that gets listed as a “good” version of game-as service that has a shitload of stuff to do, but I find it also has good use as an example of the devs communicating CONSTANTLY with the playerbase just like you said! Hell, even in isolation lockdown they’ve kept their weekly devstream communications rolling with from-home devstreams and they’ve been doing this sort of thing for as long as I’ve been in the game since around 2017. They’re not perfect, but they generally put reliable amounts of news and updates out at reliable intervals,… Read more »

Croi
Guest
Croi

Games aren’t a service. They are games. An debit card payment reader is a service. The act of paying is not a service. Someone cooking my food is and someone bringing it out to me is a service. Food itself is not a service. If a game is a service, then it isn’t a game. They need to stop trying to make games an actual service and understand they service the customers by providing updates, fixes broken code, and dealing with cheaters. The game itself isn’t a service, it’s a product and the service is provided to ensure someone can… Read more »

Brian
Guest
Brian

For me, it’s really quite simple. Did the developer deliver on what was promised Y/N? Any “as a service” thing is beyond that and a wonderful way to keep a game alive for many years, and if that’s what the developers sold (think Microsoft Flight Simulator) and is what they are delivering, then great. If instead they sold a complete game that is supposed to be playable completely in it’s current state and with little admitted intention to do anything but content additions (think Egosoft’s X series) then I’d be quite disappointed to find out that the game is nigh… Read more »

Deepak
Guest
Deepak

I think one of the main problems here were that most reviews highlighted that Avengers had almost exactly the same problems that Destiny, Anthem, etc had at their launch time, which is a bit disappointing. I mean games copy mechanics and features from other successful games all the time, you’d think the devs here would have seen what went wrong with similar games and steered away from those mistakes at least. Of course, given the long development cycles, it’s possible that many of those problematic “features” were already frozen by the time those games released, but you’d think the team… Read more »

Kenju
Guest
Kenju

This is why Monster Hunter World has thrived as well as it has for as long as it has, the devs have given regular content updates yes but more importantly they have maintained solid communication with the playerbase and informed them of not only what they have planned but also any delays or problems they encounter (hell they even apologized for content delays caused by mandatory quarantine shutdowns). It might not have been every day or every week, but it was at least every other month or so that they would pop in and tell everyone what was going on.… Read more »

Flexxible
Guest
Flexxible

I know you’re familiar with Warframe. DE have devstreams every week, they release SOME new stuff semi-regularly and done so for many years. They dont retain many new players, like ever. I feel like even if Avengers devs were communicating just like DE does, it wont work with average gamer dude who bought this de-facto early AAAccess game for full price.

Flexxible
Guest
Flexxible

By the way WoW had finished product from start at 2004, whole map filled with mobs, quests, resources, instances and ever raids. Even if you’re leveling a single character you’ll have way more than 60 hours of content. There’s no ifs or buts about it.

Some guy who rages
Guest
Some guy who rages

Ashes of Creation is doing a wonderful job at communicating to their prospective players (and the game isn’t out yet, Alpha 1 end of this year). They also listen to community feedback and incorporate those ideas to make sure it’s not only the game we expect it to be, but delivers on the promises that got us liking and backing the game in the first place. Many game developers could learn from this constant community feedback and updates.

Saborlas
Guest
Saborlas

Behavior Interactive does a great job of this with Dead by Daylight. There’s a good mix of free vs paid new content, they’re active on soshmeed, we’re frequently asked to answer satisfaction surveys, and they respond to major bugs VERY quickly (I reported the bug where the Heartbeat was SUPER faint, which is bad because you play about half of this game with your ears, and they had it fixed in three days… and I’m sure it was all a blur of code, Red Bull, and cocaine).

Faro
Guest
Faro

The problem with Marvel’s Avengers for me is that it is asking for a full price, plus microtransactions, plus possibly eventual added costs while it is less engaging, entertaining and complete than many early access games are right now. And it’s the same with games like Anthem and Destiny. They don’t get to start off with an idea that they are going to be a great hit, and act like they deserve my attention and money for years to come. They need to actually make a game that will do that, and those games are not it. World of Warcraft… Read more »

Duane E Naulls
Guest
Duane E Naulls

Minecraft is an oddball in this case. When you have updates that completely change certain areas and add a hefty amount of content all for free, it makes you start from fresh all over again. Of course, some grand binome changes aren’t as worthwhile as others (poor Nether), minor additions such as treasure maps and beehives add a substantial amount of game time with little effort. Copper by itself will give new life to building again, especially since it changes to green like the copper roofs in Ottawa.

Really, Minecraft is the only GaaS that matters.

NorrinRadd
Guest
NorrinRadd

Man, I’ve thought a lot about stuff like this lately. Unemployed due to covid, so I find myself with an overabundance of time. I largely agree with Tim here, but I’ll devil’s advocate a bit because I think there are some caveats. The now defunct Marvel Heroes MMO(-ish?) game had a wonderful development and community team. Those folks were always interacting on the official forums, reddit, Twitter, Discord, you name it. I could go on about the things I liked about how they handled this side of the business, but that isn’t my point here. They did a thing that… Read more »

Dan
Guest
Dan

I don’t play MMOs, and am not a fan of the “Games-as-a-service” model. But largely, I miss feeling like I actually own a game after purchase. It also stings, continually having to pay for something to maintain your access, when the game isn’t “improving”, and getting worse by some standards. A good example of this, though not a game, is the new “software-as-service” model used for MS Office and Windows in general. MS Office really hasn’t changed much in the past 20 years. Adding “additional content” probably isn’t going to improve the experience, and in all likelyhood going to make… Read more »

Devil_Arcana
Guest
Devil_Arcana

What I like are those certain games that are many years after their release date, still getting patched. It’s like the dev actually cares for the finished product and *gasp* the customers who enjoy it.

drivel
Guest
drivel

The goal of a game-as-a-service is for the publishers to milk folks every last penny, often children, and often with gambling mechanics.

FTFY

BoxFullOfDwarves
Guest
BoxFullOfDwarves

– I’m going to buy this game as a servi…
– NO!