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General: Weathers: The Evolution of a Patch Note

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  • weblinkz2002weblinkz2002 Member Posts: 112
    Originally posted by Zorvan



    I'm curious. When did "community managers" become developers and/or in charge? A community manager manages the community for the benefit of the developer, not the customer.
    Regardless how some may try to make their job seem like more than it is, a community manager boils down to two functions: provide a firewall between the devs and the customers and act as a mouthpiece for those same developers. A community manager doesn't tell you anything the company doesn't authorize them to, unless they like being unemployed.
    So to say a community manager would "never allow" something is pretty presumptuous, unless you know for a fact that cm enjoys eating ramen while looking for another job.

     

    You are correct in one instance, a Community Manager cannot overstep their bounds and release information to the community that does not benefit the company nor any information that is strictly verboten. However, a CM is supposed to be there for both the Developers and the Players.

    Yes CMs provide a filter between players and devs, but not all CMs have to act solely as a mouthpiece. You're thinking more along the lines of Community Liaisons or Community Reps. Now this is also depending on whatever company that employs them, they are mostly used for moderation. A Community Manager should be someone with the skill to grow and sustain a community.

    Generally a CM won't post any information that they are stricly forbidden from releasing, but they are employed to help keep the customers informed and have a pleasant experience in any social function, dependant on company.

    On the other hand, you're pretty presumptuous yourself thinking that CMs get fired at the drop of the hat for being nothing more than a mouthpiece. Try working as a CM for a few years, then you will be singing a different tune. Sanya is a great Community person who love loves doing community work and is looked up to as a role model by others in the Online Entertainment Industry. Someone else even stated that she was one of the key figures who helped "redefine" the role of Community Manager.

    I'd suggest doing some actual investigation toward what all entails in community management. It may open your eyes up to a whole new world.

    ~Webby "This MMO needs more dead bird."
    image

  • TeimanTeiman Member Posts: 1,319

     

     

     NOT EVERYONE IS GOOD AT MATH

    the ability for everyone to understand a change is a myth.

    Don't ask for the real change, If yo aren't ready for Hard Math.  

    no, jimmy, you will *never* understand the changes on the code.

     

     

  • JYCowboyJYCowboy Member UncommonPosts: 652
    Originally posted by Sanya

    Originally posted by Zorvan


     
    I'm curious. When did "community managers" become developers and/or in charge? A community manager manages the community for the benefit of the developer, not the customer.
    Regardless how some may try to make their job seem like more than it is, a community manager boils down to two functions: provide a firewall between the devs and the customers and act as a mouthpiece for those same developers. A community manager doesn't tell you anything the company doesn't authorize them to, unless they like being unemployed.
    So to say a community manager would "never allow" something is pretty presumptuous, unless you know for a fact that cm enjoys eating ramen while looking for another job.

     

    Certainly that is true at some companies. It is not true at all of them.

    Some community people are mouthpieces, and they get paid accordingly. Other CMs have specialized communication skills that have value, skills the rest of the team does not necessarily have (because they have other skills like "game design" and "knowledge of programming languages").

    Companies that hire the latter are looking to build long term relationships with their players.

    Companies that hire mouthpieces are betting that their product alone is enough to hook you, such that they don't need to form a relationship.

    Both kinds of companies can be successful.

     

    Wow Sanya,

     

    I know a company that just hired a new CM who they feel reflects the one way you describe but really does the other way.  In other words they wanted a community builder as the game needs it.  What they have is a  BIG "mouth piece".

    I will leave it to you to decide what game.

    <,<

    Great read and thank you again.  :)

  • VPellenVPellen Member Posts: 215

    I used to play a Korean MMO.

    Actually, let me rephrase that: I used to play the English Version of a Korean MMO.

    The Korean version opperated as many standard MMOs did, with patches, testing, incremented versions, content updates and what have you. The English version was somewhat different. Specifically, the update schedule was.. well, it lagged behind. Updates were implemented in odd orders. Picture the following scenario: Update 5 in the Korean version would have a new landmass, some new quests, and some class balances. Update 5 in the English version would be implemented about a year later, and it would have some quests from update 6, some landmass from update 5, and the class balances from update 4.

    Now this in itself was odd, but not truly horrifying. No, what was truly terrifying was that the patch notes attached to said game never mentioned any of the class balance changes. The average update would be a page along the lines of:

    "MMO Company presents Grind Online's newest update: The Sizzleblack Mountains! In the deep forests of Yornbecker, <lore lore lore lore lore> and many other adventures! The update will include the Sizzleblack Mountain region and many new monsters and quests!"

    If there was a major update like, say, adding a new class, they'd talk about it. But the patch notes never mentioned balance changes ever. I recall one particular patch.. One of the game's two Rogue classes was, until that point, incredibly gimped, and restricted to stealth only whilst next to solid geometry such as walls. This update changed this: Said class could now stealth away from walls. In addition, the primary stealth detection moves in the game (belonging to Clerics and Mages) were reduced to about 20% of their original effectiveness. Did I mention this was a game with PvP, and that the most valuable items in the economy were only available through hardcore large scale guild vs guild PvP? Did I further mention that said Rogue class was one of vital importance to winning in these guild wars?

    Yeah, that patch upset the balance a bit.

    The best part was when they removed the balance changes a week later without warning, only to reimplement them in another patch about six months down the line. The funny thing is, I actually knew about the balances a long time in advance. How? Fan forums actually uploaded the Korean patch notes, usually about a year and a half ahead of us. Did I mention that my main was of the same Rogue class which got buffed that patch? Imagine me, having anticipated that patch for about a year, seeing it implemented, being incredibly happy, getting to play with it, and then seeing the patch removed a week later.

    Now imagine me calmly composing a polite letter to customer service/community management inquiring about the details of the update, if the patch was taken out due intentionally or not, and if it would get reimplemented in the future.

    Now imagine me getting a stock letter in response which answered none of my questions.

    Now imagine me going apeshit.

    I will always remember that MMO with a sad fondness like I remember my first girlfriend (whom, incidentally, I played that MMO with). But I will never forget how incredibly incompetent the administration was. And I swear, if I ever find myself in a position of power within an MMO company, I will never let such things happen to my players. And if I ever do, and the players of my game ever start obsessively googling my name, and they find this post, I want them to show it to me and remind me of my god damned roots.

     

     

  • jomazaeljomazael Member Posts: 7
    Originally posted by Sanya

    Originally posted by PyrateLV

    Originally posted by Paragus1


    The only thing worse than vague patch notes are undocumented patch notes.  Do the devs really think that because they didn't list it, that people won't notice something?

     

    I find it ironic that Sanya is writing about this since DAoC was notorious for incomplete, vague and even undocumented (stealth nerf) patches.

    I guess she of all people would really know about this

     

    Well, I was trying to illustrate that whether the company is really good at it or really bad at it, it's a group process consisting of multiple departments and user feedback.

    Everyone has to be on the same page for the process to work.

    Though for the record, there was never a stealth nerf in my time. There were some things that weren't documented, but that was a failure of documentation, never an attempt to sneak things in.

    EDIT: Okay, there was one attempt at sneaking, but neither I nor the producer was told about it, or it wouldn't have happened, and it certainly never happened again :)

     

    In my experience of IT, just about every developer there ever was at the very least dislikes documentation - some get the experience, eventual realisation or even enough beatings to realise that documentation IS a part of the process, but so far I havent met a single dev type that enjoys writing swathes of documentation. And typically the more junior they are, the more they grumble about it. They'd much rather code away, possibly, maybe, if you are lucky throw a few comments in the code, and then fill out the Job Done bureaucracy part as quickly as possible.

    So that changes go through undocumented ? Ha ha. About par for the course. Should it happen ? No, everything should be documented, ticked, properly versioned, peer reviewed. And whilst there, all projects should come in on time, all clients should have a grasp of what they want to achieve, there should never be feature creep and so on and so forth. In the real world, documentation is often the thing that gets dropped - no time, too busy, dont want to do it , or even just forgotten ! I've seen documentation go from essential, to nice to have, to lets do it afterwards, to why arent there any for this live system ? On numerous occasions.

    So personally I wouldnt get too paranoid about devs or whoever not always providing complete documentation. If its raining, you are likely to get wet. A policy of universal umbrellas for all ? Sure. An umbrella utopia. Never going to happen.

     

    Secondly, I disagree with airing all the equation underwear in public. To me this is not far from issues regarding mechanics when playing Pen and Paper old school RPGs. Just how much of the mechanics, decisions and dice rolling do you show to players ? IMO Invariably the more under the hood mechanics that are shown, the worse the experience for players. Sure there are players that want to tweak every stat and grasp every roll, but allowing players to see all that goes on behind the GM's curtain is never a good idea. Kudos on information sharing, shame about spoiling the game. The wizard of Oz is much more impressive when hes hidden behind the curtain, and you are all staring at the big impressive light show instead.

    Publishing lists of cold hard formulas destroys some of the "magic" of the game. Where there is doubt, people tend to invent their own theories - and in the best case scenario you get content for free that never existed - I've heard it said these boots make your loot drops better. Ever since I've worn them my drops have been awesome... blah blah blah.

  • TeimanTeiman Member Posts: 1,319


    Originally posted by jomazael
    In my experience of IT, just about every developer there ever was at the very least dislikes documentation - some get the experience, eventual realisation or even enough beatings to realise that documentation IS a part of the process, but so far I havent met a single dev type that enjoys writing swathes of documentation. And typically the more junior they are, the more they grumble about it. They'd much rather code away, possibly, maybe, if you are lucky throw a few comments in the code, and then fill out the Job Done bureaucracy part as quickly as possible.

     
    All programmers know how to write code, but writting the documentation is something else.
    To write good documentation you have to have a multiple personality disorder. You have to think like a programmer to understand the code, and you have to think like a user, to understand the change from the user point of view. This multiple personality disorder is painfull. Once you have it, you are able to make a traduction. Anyway theres always something that is Lost In Translations. Programmers writting documentation sould be paid for code and for doing translations works. Is two jobs in one.

    What the OP describe here is varing degrees of quality on translation. The first example is a "Babelfish" like literal translation, latter ones are less literal, more interpretation-free translations.

    Translating ideas is hard, and often imposible. the idea you want to transmit, maybe exist on source, but not on target.

  • ThradarThradar Member Posts: 949

    I'd be curious to find out what percentage of subscribers read patch notes.  I would bet it's pretty small.  I further postulate that the percentage of people who obsess about the contents is a small percentage of that percentage.  I rarely even scan patch notes, most of the time I don't read them at all...or even care.  Just push the patch so I can keep playing.

  • nekollxnekollx Member Posts: 570
    Originally posted by Thradar


    I'd be curious to find out what percentage of subscribers read patch notes.  I would bet it's pretty small.  I further postulate that the percentage of people who obsess about the contents is a small percentage of that percentage.  I rarely even scan patch notes, most of the time I don't read them at all...or even care.  Just push the patch so I can keep playing.

     

    depends on the game. in City of Heroes we get pretty anal when a patch stripes of the armor from our tanks or encourages the blasters to refuse healing (true stories)

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