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Change management 101: Devs withholding big feature announcements to avoid overwhelming fans

BidwoodBidwood Toronto, ONPosts: 554Member

"We've only announced about half of what's in these games. And the reason why we haven't announced everything is that the concepts are so different - we've been working on this for two years - it's not fair for us to just dump it on you and expect you to understand everything at once. So what we're doing is we're introducing you to a bunch of different concepts, so people can start wrapping their brains around it and seeing where it can go, and then we'll unveil all the other things as they go. So there's a lot more feature announcements for us to do.

 

Interesting...  good change management on SOE's part. Just look at how people exploded over the art style, UI, horizontal progression, no trinity, and combat. This suggests they have figured out what they want to do and are deliberately withholding their thoughts. I don't blame them.

 

I wonder what other shockers are in store. The only major feature areas I remember them saying "we're not talking about that yet" about were crafting and PVP. How do you expect these areas to be different enough that they had to be announced later? Were there other areas?

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Comments

  • donpopukidonpopuki Dearborn, MIPosts: 591Member
    "We're not ready to talk about that yet"
    Translation
    "It's still in development therefore we have nothing to show"
  • MendelMendel Marietta, GAPosts: 924Member Uncommon

    Where has their change management skills been the past 13 years with EQ1?   They've got a rather long history of messing up a patch or an expansion, introducing another, bigger error, then not be willing to shut the server down and do a roll-back to clean out the problem.   Worst one I remember was avoiding a rollback and 30 minute downtime for an on-going 'selected' roll-back that went on for almost a week.

    And I'm with Don, here.   "Not ready to discuss that" is just their way of saying "we haven't made that decision yet".

     

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • MendelMendel Marietta, GAPosts: 924Member Uncommon

    And technically, what the OP is talking about isn't change management.   I'd call it 'expectation management' if anything.  But it's having the exact opposite effect of what normal expectation management  efforts should do.

     

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • ste2000ste2000 londonPosts: 4,699Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by donpopuki
    "We're not ready to talk about that yet"
    Translation
    "It's still in development therefore we have nothing to show"

    This

    I also add, that they are also quite confused on where to go from here............

  • LatronusLatronus Lexington Park, MDPosts: 692Member
    Originally posted by donpopuki
    "We're not ready to talk about that yet"
    Translation
    "It's still in development therefore we have nothing to show"

    You win!!!

    image
  • RegnorRegnor Redmond, WAPosts: 27Member Uncommon

    I'm not prepared to speculate about the state of their work. I will hold them to what they say and approach the launch like any other MMO launch: with skepticism, expectations of a difficult launch, and disappointment about promised features. As with any other MMO, at the end of the day the thing that will determine whether or not I play it is whether all of the inevitable downsides are overcome by the fun factor.

     

    The credentials are there. There is some reason to be optimistic. All the TESO folks griping about not having Jeremy Soule writing the music may not yet realize that at least part of the reason is because he's doing the music for EQN. That alone is exciting because music is such a big part of every game for me, and I have adored his music over the entire course of the TES series. My disappointment at hearing that he was not doing the music for TESO was only overcome by my joy to learn that he was scooped up for EQN.

    Men do not stop playing because they grow old. They grow old because they stop playing. -- Oliver Wendell Holmes

  • RydesonRydeson Canton, OHPosts: 3,858Member Uncommon
    Overwhelm me.. Overwhelm me.. Please cuz right now I'm not feeling it.. LOL
  • SuraknarSuraknar Montreal, QCPosts: 824Member
    Originally posted by Bidwood

    "We've only announced about half of what's in these games. And the reason why we haven't announced everything is that the concepts are so different - we've been working on this for two years - it's not fair for us to just dump it on you and expect you to understand everything at once. So what we're doing is we're introducing you to a bunch of different concepts, so people can start wrapping their brains around it and seeing where it can go, and then we'll unveil all the other things as they go. So there's a lot more feature announcements for us to do.

     

    I would rather qualify this as Marketing Brainwashing 101.

    It is a Carrot on the stick approach...keeping your hopes up and keeping you interested and running. ;)

    - Duke Suraknar -
    Order of the Silver Star, OSS

    image
    ESKA, Playing MMORPG's since Ultima Online 1997 - Order of the Silver Serpent, Atlantic Shard

  • BidwoodBidwood Toronto, ONPosts: 554Member

    I did mean change management...  introducing the new stuff slowly and having dialogue about what it all means. I have a feeling most of the fans of the franchise will be extremely turned off by the final product. So introducing it all at once would create a lot of negative buzz and turn many players off. They believe in and are passionate about the way they designed the game and want to get as many people as possible to see the value.

     

    You can't honestly believe they haven't thought about things like PVP and crafting. A lot of money has gone into this already. I'm not saying they have a system in-game to show you, but they have most likely figured out what they want to do. Will players have as much control over crafting as they do building in Landmark? Will there be open-world PVP connected to 'a life of consequence'? I believe they've worked a lot of this out on the drawing board and could easily tell everyone where they're going, but decided to do that in increments to avoid scaring players off.

  • xeniarxeniar Posts: 805Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Bidwood

    I did mean change management...  introducing the new stuff slowly and having dialogue about what it all means. I have a feeling most of the fans of the franchise will be extremely turned off by the final product. So introducing it all at once would create a lot of negative buzz and turn many players off. They believe in and are passionate about the way they designed the game and want to get as many people as possible to see the value.

     

    You can't honestly believe they haven't thought about things like PVP and crafting. A lot of money has gone into this already. I'm not saying they have a system in-game to show you, but they have most likely figured out what they want to do. Will players have as much control over crafting as they do building in Landmark? Will there be open-world PVP connected to 'a life of consequence'? I believe they've worked a lot of this out on the drawing board and could easily tell everyone where they're going, but decided to do that in increments to avoid scaring players off.

    They wouldnt scare people off if they released good things not dumb idea's like this parkour running.

  • usuckmmorpgcomusuckmmorpgcom c, KYPosts: 1,348Member
    Maybe they're all too busy doing parkour to bother with the rest of the features. It would explain some of the animations.
  • noncleynoncley LondonPosts: 648Member Uncommon

    "it's not fair for us to just dump it on you and expect you to understand everything at once."

    In that case, explain what you're talking about and stop treating us like fucking mooks.

    You've got a website. It has forums. When we ask questions, answer them. It's not that difficult. 

    Oh, and stop using the 'we have too much to explain' excuse to disguise the real problem: 'when looked at through the eyes of the poor suckers who are going to have to buy what we build, our proposition suddenly seems a lot weaker than we thought'

  • donpopukidonpopuki Dearborn, MIPosts: 591Member
    Originally posted by Bidwood

    I did mean change management...  introducing the new stuff slowly and having dialogue about what it all means. I have a feeling most of the fans of the franchise will be extremely turned off by the final product. So introducing it all at once would create a lot of negative buzz and turn many players off. They believe in and are passionate about the way they designed the game and want to get as many people as possible to see the value.

     

    You can't honestly believe they haven't thought about things like PVP and crafting. A lot of money has gone into this already. I'm not saying they have a system in-game to show you, but they have most likely figured out what they want to do. Will players have as much control over crafting as they do building in Landmark? Will there be open-world PVP connected to 'a life of consequence'? I believe they've worked a lot of this out on the drawing board and could easily tell everyone where they're going, but decided to do that in increments to avoid scaring players off.

    Until they have a in-game working model they shouldn't comment because there could be unforeseen technical challenges and cross functional limitations.

  • BidwoodBidwood Toronto, ONPosts: 554Member

    Here we have two conflicting ideas from players about how they should handle it, which shows there isn't some simple remedy that will make everyone happy:

     

    Originally posted by donpopuki
    Originally posted by Bidwood

    I did mean change management...  introducing the new stuff slowly and having dialogue about what it all means. I have a feeling most of the fans of the franchise will be extremely turned off by the final product. So introducing it all at once would create a lot of negative buzz and turn many players off. They believe in and are passionate about the way they designed the game and want to get as many people as possible to see the value.

     

    You can't honestly believe they haven't thought about things like PVP and crafting. A lot of money has gone into this already. I'm not saying they have a system in-game to show you, but they have most likely figured out what they want to do. Will players have as much control over crafting as they do building in Landmark? Will there be open-world PVP connected to 'a life of consequence'? I believe they've worked a lot of this out on the drawing board and could easily tell everyone where they're going, but decided to do that in increments to avoid scaring players off.

    Until they have a in-game working model they shouldn't comment because there could be unforeseen technical challenges and cross functional limitations.

    So if they know they're going to have full PVP in most of the world, and the "life of consequence" will limit griefing, what's stopping them from saying that? Likewise, if PVP will be totally optional it would have been very easy for them to say so explicitly. This is one of those areas where what they do will be different enough from what fans are expecting that they want to pick the right time and place to talk about it. They don't want to be dealing with 10 issues all at once - they want to be able to focus on and address features one at a time.

     

    Originally posted by noncley

    "it's not fair for us to just dump it on you and expect you to understand everything at once."

    In that case, explain what you're talking about and stop treating us like fucking mooks.

    You've got a website. It has forums. When we ask questions, answer them. It's not that difficult. 

    Oh, and stop using the 'we have too much to explain' excuse to disguise the real problem: 'when looked at through the eyes of the poor suckers who are going to have to buy what we build, our proposition suddenly seems a lot weaker than we thought'

     

    It's not that the fans can't understand what features they're implementing - more like they won't see the value, and may dismiss the entire game without giving it a chance if there are too many features that sound undesirable at face value.

     

    I think the game they're building will be pretty popular to a lot of people. Probably not all of the fans of the franchise though.

  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Common
    Originally posted by donpopuki

    Until they have a in-game working model they shouldn't comment because there could be unforeseen technical challenges and cross functional limitations.

    i like SOE games but i agree

  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 8,441Member Uncommon

    Haha i hope you don't believe them?

    Truth is they can string interest along over a long period of time by only giving you tid bits each time.if they unload the entire game at once,interest will be lost within a month and the game forgotten about.This is simple marketing 101,i hope they don't pay their team big money to pull off amateur marketing.

    2 years is not nearly enough time to have any kind of game speech made up,imo they should have waited until about 4 months prior to testing.All this vagueness marketing can work in reverse especially considering many gamer's have become skeptical and for very good reason.So we will look at their ideas in a totally different way than what they are trying to make us think about the game.

    You know why it is tougher for developers to pull off BS marketing ploys,gamer's are MUCH more educated now than when a game like Wow came out.ANY developer can prepare videos and make features look astounding but how they actually appear and play out in the actual game is where it matters.That is why developers should  be VERY careful about misleading gamer's it can come back to bite you.

    A perfect example was the Warrior's slam into the ground effect,it was revealed after a young lady asked a question about lag and poor vision that they said the video was beefed up to make the effect look better.

     


    Samoan Diamond

  • MardyMardy hollywood, CAPosts: 2,213Member
    Originally posted by donpopuki
    "We're not ready to talk about that yet"
    Translation
    "It's still in development therefore we have nothing to show"

    ^

     

    I see SOE PR spinners are hard at work.  We known darn well if they have something to show, they'll show them.  They want people to be hyped about this game.  They aren't ready to talk and show certain things because they are still in development.  Just like PvP, it's been put off that's why they've got nothing to say about it.

    EQ1-AC1-DAOC-FFXI-L2-EQ2-WoW-DDO-GW-LoTR-VG-WAR-GW2-ESO

  • winterwinter El Paso, TXPosts: 2,276Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Bidwood

    "We've only announced about half of what's in these games. And the reason why we haven't announced everything is that the concepts are so different - we've been working on this for two years - it's not fair for us to just dump it on you and expect you to understand everything at once. So what we're doing is we're introducing you to a bunch of different concepts, so people can start wrapping their brains around it and seeing where it can go, and then we'll unveil all the other things as they go. So there's a lot more feature announcements for us to do.

     

    Interesting...  good change management on SOE's part. Just look at how people exploded over the art style, UI, horizontal progression, no trinity, and combat. This suggests they have figured out what they want to do and are deliberately withholding their thoughts. I don't blame them.

     

    I wonder what other shockers are in store. The only major feature areas I remember them saying "we're not talking about that yet" about were crafting and PVP. How do you expect these areas to be different enough that they had to be announced later? Were there other areas?

     Sounds like the standard empty PR and Marketing speech to me, but then some people will eat up anything they read as fact and truth.

  • HellidolHellidol TACOMA, WAPosts: 405Member Uncommon
    I would love to give this game a go  but I might end up passing because of the FtW business model I was personally burnt by hardcore, any time you pay for something and you don't get what you pay for but you get a receipt but no produce that is called stealing and from what I understand you go to jail for theft at least in this country.

    image
  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Common
    Originally posted by winter

     Sounds like the standard empty PR and Marketing speech to me

    it sounded the same to me - i still look forward to EQN tho

  • BidwoodBidwood Toronto, ONPosts: 554Member
    Or maybe they're telling the truth and the stuff that comes next will make you just as upset as the movement, lack of trinity, horizontal progression, etc.
  • Jester92Jester92 Lafayette, LAPosts: 156Member
    I agree entirely with SOE, all telling everyone everything will do is cause overhype, trolls, fanboys, and other obnoxious things.  I however am liking everything I have seen so far about Everquest:Next aswell as Landmark.  In order for people to take things for what they are and not jump to conclusions, introducing one thing at a time allows podcasts, and streams, and etc. to focus on discussing one aspect of the game at a time and so far it really has sparked alot of in depth debates over just that, the topic at hand which generally is what ever they reveal each week! in anycase, looking forward to this game, and glad sony's management likes torturi... I mean knows how to handle hype.

    J. B.

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by Bidwood

    I have a feeling most of the fans of the franchise will be extremely turned off by the final product.

    Starting to look that way.

    But...recall many times in the past ten years when that didn't happen? Cynical negativity is a rule, not an exception.

    Oh boy wee great is the initial fan reaction, always.

    Uh oh, this isn't exactly what I was dreaming of comes next.

    And we know what happens to every new game after release. Particularly here, we have our honored traditions (villagers with torches marching on the castle) to uphold.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • TheCrow2kTheCrow2k Adelaide, AKPosts: 953Member
    Actually this is not good change management at all. They are in an environment now of poor trust & so a lack of communication leads to Timor, speculation and misinformation running rife. Precisely what a good change management team tries to avoid.
  • donpopukidonpopuki Dearborn, MIPosts: 591Member
    Prior to SOE Live they made it sound like they had pretty much completed the game. I thought their strategy was to keep it in the "black box" for as long as possible and then have the big reveal with a beta shortly afterwards.

    Everything about the lack of info screams to me they are less than 50% done. Don't get me wrong, I want to play the game they say they want to make.
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