Variable Robot and the sorry state of staff communication

khadhar
khadhar Posts: 29 Arc User
So, Variable Robot came out a while ago. If you mosey down to the PTS forum section you'll see over 20 pages of criticism on it, and yet Cryptic seemed to only listen to perhaps... the first two pages, fixing some of the categories the pieces could be found in, and adding some more material options (Things that already should have been a given). There is a titanic laundry list of issues with the costume set, for which I will not be buying it, ever. If variable robot is indicative of the new "standard of quality" for CO's costumes, then I am intensely worried.

This however seems to be endemic of a larger issue. It feels like either the guys who actually work on the game aren't getting all the information they need, or they just aren't listening to begin with.

Communication has always been a problem for this game's staff, but this really hits it home. In 22 pages of feedback, we got three posts from ladygadfly, only one was to acknowledge they were making fixes. And these were simple bugfixes mostly, not changing anything core of the costume set like remodelling or reskinning as far as I could tell. Trailturtle mentioned something about them being on a time budget. Time budget? For what? What else are you working on? Why is it eating up time that lowers the quality of the rest of your work? If whatever you're doing reflects detrimentally on the rest of your work, stop doing the thing that's causing it.

This is what I'm talking about. We know nothing of what's going on behind the scenes. You won't tell us, you keep being (hoho) cryptic, and that makes some people angry. Most of the information we get is from community managers, and probably so do you. And in a game of chinese whispers, the original message always gets twisted around.

I feel that what we need is for the actual devs to get on here and talk to us. Not through some intermediary. Talk to us, as people. It's all too easy for you to see us as "the little people" and for us to see you as "the company" when there's not actual communication between us. We're just ships passing in the night. You have a pretty passionate community, small as it may be in comparison to other games, and they want to be involved, but you exist aloof of us, from all appearances seeming to bury your heads in the sand.

I apologise if this is ranty... It comes from a good place, because I want to be glad to pay for something that someone obviously put effort into.
Post edited by khadhar on
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Comments

  • revanantmorituri
    revanantmorituri Posts: 392 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    And before people start responding with the litany "Devs ain't got time for that", let me throw out a few names: Sean Fish (Manticore), Matt Miller (Positron), Christopher Bruce (Back Alley Brawler), Phil Zeleski (Synapse). Core, major, lead developers at Paragon Studios, who spent ample time on the forums reading and responding to player input. Hell, the Plant Control power set was largely overhauled thanks to fan input.

    These are the sorts of Developers we hope ours are aspiring to be like.
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  • ashensnow
    ashensnow Posts: 2,048 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    Cryptic opting to not act on given feedback does not mean that there is a failure of communication.

    'Caine, miss you bud. Fly high.
  • jonsills
    jonsills Posts: 6,314 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    And before people start responding with the litany "Devs ain't got time for that", let me throw out a few names: Sean Fish (Manticore), Matt Miller (Positron), Christopher Bruce (Back Alley Brawler), Phil Zeleski (Synapse). Core, major, lead developers at Paragon Studios, who spent ample time on the forums reading and responding to player input. Hell, the Plant Control power set was largely overhauled thanks to fan input.

    These are the sorts of Developers we hope ours are aspiring to be like.
    Not currently employed? (Matt Miller did a yeomanlike job on STO, creating the new Klingon tutorial - and was cut during the layoffs recently. Don't know about the others, but I'm pretty sure they're not working on this game, anyway.)
    "Science teaches us to expect -- demand -- more than just eerie mysteries. What use is a puzzle that can't be solved? Patience is fine, but I'm not going to stop asking the universe to make sense!"

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  • championshewolf
    championshewolf Posts: 4,375 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    jonsills wrote: »
    Not currently employed? (Matt Miller did a yeomanlike job on STO, creating the new Klingon tutorial - and was cut during the layoffs recently. Don't know about the others, but I'm pretty sure they're not working on this game, anyway.)

    Yep. Won't comment on Matt Miller, though my sources point to multiple reasons he was laid off, including the above statement.

    Christopher Bruce (Back Alley Brawler) was laid off from Paragon long before Going Rogue came about, and was hired and as far as I know works on the Neverwinter team.

    The other two, as far as I can tell, are still working for Cryptic.
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  • meedacthunist
    meedacthunist Posts: 2,961 Arc User1
    edited June 2015
    One person started building this costume.

    Another one was given this task to finalise.

    And I think there was a large gap between skill levels. Like it even might have been by Cryptic North and then passed to a new employee. But that's just a hypothesis.

    The costume is full of leftovers from a team or direction switch.

    Hence it looks like it looks.

    But the costume itself is a non-issue.

    But pulling this trick AFTER announcing a raise in costume prices that was supposedly justified with quality... I think now Cryptic will never convince anyone with a brain that extra money are because of quality.

    Let's be blunt, it was a cynical lie. This explanation about "quality" was like reading Stormshade again and again.

    And I wonder who's gonna be deemed responsible for this failure, because I doubt that this set will yield enough profit regardless of being "finalised" in time or not.
    So far the only people I know who bought it were using their accumulated stipends, so it was no money anyway.

    ...

    There's no point in rushing a release if it will not sell good enough. So whatever money were paid for making it (and my brain stops working every time when I think that someone was paid to produce something of this quality) might be wasted anyway.

    And all this trouble for a costume set that nobody was really waiting for. It was long time after the design contest and nobody was seriously expecting it until it was announced. And even then nobody was expecting it so soon...

    Oh the irony...

    Aaanyway, better luck with the Steel Arachnid set. Really.
    Because I don't think Cryptic could afford two busted sets in a row. They needs to sell something from time to time, after all.
  • khadhar
    khadhar Posts: 29 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    ashensnow wrote: »
    Cryptic opting to not act on given feedback does not mean that there is a failure of communication.

    Not my point. My point was they just left us blowing in the wind without an answer of if anything would be done or not. And when they do, it's that copypasted "We may or may not be doing something that may or may not appear in the future."
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    Twas Brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe,
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.
  • nextnametaken
    nextnametaken Posts: 2,212 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    Grumble Grumble Grumble
    Talking about it doesn't get it done.

    Time budget means they have x hours to expend on things.
    Because every hour cost money.

    Let me put it to you this way. Using national pay averages from some website somewhere, it costs about $167,000 to pay Arkayne and Trailturtle. Two guys who can't do every task necessary to make this game do anything more than it is already doing.

    Say they have a 3D/2D artist fresh out of college/some experience groveling under their iron fists for another $33,000 and we come around to about $200,000 a year to keep the game going and give lifetimers their monthly promised 3D costume piece.

    There are 40 hours in a week and 49 weeks of work in a year (accounting for 2 weeks vacation and national holidays), so we have 1960 hours a year of labor divided by $200,000 comes out to $102.04 cents per hour that they are paying just to have three people in the office reading forum comments and discussing/deciding/acting on it.

    But that's $102.04 an hour they are already allotted to complete tasks already on a huge list.
    The costs run higher than this of course and backtracking to fix things costs $102.04 an hour or more.

    Time explaining all their activities to the scurvy peasants doesn't earn them money.

    Get a free game engine and start making your own games and see how much spending time on forums making promises and explaining things cuts into the time required to practice your craft, especially when you then have to rely on other people to do that job. They might get sick, they might get fired, they might have too much on their desk that's already heading for a deadlines, they might have OB/GYN or Dentist appointment that cuts into the hours you promised the people on the internet. Better to just keep the ball rolling as best as you can.
  • ashensnow
    ashensnow Posts: 2,048 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    khadhar wrote: »
    Not my point. My point was they just left us blowing in the wind without an answer of if anything would be done or not. And when they do, it's that copypasted "We may or may not be doing something that may or may not appear in the future."

    They, as the producer, created a product that you could preview before deciding whether or not it was worth buying.

    You, as the consumer, are expected to then either buy the product, or not.


    There is no problem of communication here.


    I am not saying that there is no problem. Its just not one of communication.

    I know that I am not going to buy the set, then again I might not have even if it had been a perfect match for the concept art (no offense Meeda, gorgeous art, just not my thing).

    'Caine, miss you bud. Fly high.
  • jaazaniah1
    jaazaniah1 Posts: 4,874 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    Pretty much my feeling. It could have been perfect, but if none of the parts would fit any concept I wouldn't pick it up.
    ashensnow wrote: »
    I know that I am not going to buy the set, then again I might not have even if it had been a perfect match for the concept art (no offense Meeda, gorgeous art, just not my thing).
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  • jonsills
    jonsills Posts: 6,314 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    It has one particular showstopper that keeps me from wanting the set. There are a few other places where even that might not have been enough to stop me - but those other places weren't touched. (For instance, it would have been nice if there'd been an option for some small barrels on the costume, say as an optional piece for the bracer or on the wings, or even pistols attaching to the leg pieces, but no such luck.)

    So yeah, if they'd used Meeda's design as shown in a thread down in Fan Base Alpha, I'd be all about this thing. As it stands, no.

    But I don't blame the folks responsible for communicating with us - they're not designers, and they can only tell us what the designers tell them. (And as pointed out above, if the designers take the time to hold meetings with the rest of the staff, that's going to cut into their time for, well, designing.)
    "Science teaches us to expect -- demand -- more than just eerie mysteries. What use is a puzzle that can't be solved? Patience is fine, but I'm not going to stop asking the universe to make sense!"

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  • jonesing4
    jonesing4 Posts: 794 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    ashensnow wrote: »
    They, as the producer, created a product that you could preview before deciding whether or not it was worth buying.

    You, as the consumer, are expected to then either buy the product, or not.


    There is no problem of communication here.


    I am not saying that there is no problem. Its just not one of communication.

    I know that I am not going to buy the set, then again I might not have even if it had been a perfect match for the concept art (no offense Meeda, gorgeous art, just not my thing).

    Seems you're being a bit obtuse by simply redefining what "communication" means.

    To you it apparently means that previews of products are available. To the OP (and many others) it means that the developers of a subscription game--that is still ostensibly under active development--talk to the players/customers about what they are doing with the game.

    That would appear to be a logical and fair definition of "communication". It isn't happening here, so yes, the problems with our game currently include a lack of communication.
  • ashensnow
    ashensnow Posts: 2,048 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    jonesing4 wrote: »
    Seems you're being a bit obtuse by simply redefining what "communication" means.

    To you it apparently means that previews of products are available. To the OP (and many others) it means that the developers of a subscription game--that is still ostensibly under active development--talk to the players/customers about what they are doing with the game.

    That would appear to be a logical and fair definition of "communication". It isn't happening here, so yes, the problems with our game currently include a lack of communication.

    The OP focused on a single point or example of supposed sorry state of communication. I responded to that. My point stands.

    I believe that Cryptic does communicate what they are doing with the game.....not much.

    'Caine, miss you bud. Fly high.
  • chimerafreek
    chimerafreek Posts: 383 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    And all this trouble for a costume set that nobody was really waiting for. It was long time after the design contest and nobody was seriously expecting it until it was announced. And even then nobody was expecting it so soon...

    Oh the irony...
    To be fair, I DID kinda want the blade arm and the Heavy boots, So in that sense I guess I waited for it.

    But then I proceeded to stop doing that the moment they made it clear that neither of those where going to be included.


    Though if they matched the quality of the rest of the set, I probably wouldn't have gotten it anyway.
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  • khadhar
    khadhar Posts: 29 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    ashensnow wrote: »
    The OP focused on a single point or example of supposed sorry state of communication. I responded to that. My point stands.

    I believe that Cryptic does communicate what they are doing with the game.....not much.

    Twas an indication of what I meant. A lack of communication in general. Certainly, people like Trailturtle try to keep us as updated as they can, but he's not a dev. Another example, when was the last time we had an UNTIL report?

    The intent of this thread was never to be bitter about it, but to nurture a faint hope that perhaps such a thing could be possible. Because other games have done it, I'm sure. And they likely have far busier design schedules than the (presumed) schedule Cryptic has.
    __________________
    Twas Brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe,
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.
  • nepht
    nepht Posts: 6,883 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    They would fix the costume parts if they did not have tech issues. Pretty sure they will fix it right after they fix the targeting.
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  • decorumfriends
    decorumfriends Posts: 2,798 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    The finished product in the ad looks like some kid made it out of cardboard.

    This is a major case of "dropping the ball", especially when the new/old devs came on and made a point of saying "Oh, we're going to get right to work on that costume!"
    'Dec out

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  • gingervitos
    gingervitos Posts: 275 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    I don't get all the hate this is getting I think this costume set is great.

    Git Gud M8!
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  • roughbearmattach
    roughbearmattach Posts: 4,784 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    Similar to "all the hate" for the Awakened Automaton, it seems as though most of the important feedback on this costume set was ignored.

    There is a playtest server and forusm, ostensibly for folks to try things out and give feedback. If most of that feedback, especially the most important aspects, is not taken, it makes people feel lousy.
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  • nepht
    nepht Posts: 6,883 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    Similar to "all the hate" for the Awakened Automaton, it seems as though most of the important feedback on this costume set was ignored.

    There is a playtest server and forusm, ostensibly for folks to try things out and give feedback. If most of that feedback, especially the most important aspects, is not taken, it makes people feel lousy.

    Rough Bear your replying with reason and logic to a man with none. Ginger also did not understand "all the hate" Assassins Creed Unity got, he honestly thought that was a well made game.
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    They all thought I was out of the game....But I'm holding all the lockboxes now..
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  • avianos
    avianos Posts: 5,582 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    Similar to "all the hate" for the Awakened Automaton, it seems as though most of the important feedback on this costume set was ignored.

    Very Good Call back, The Automaton is Loathed and Hated by the community not only because of the Potato Build, but because DEVs ignored Critical feedback and suggestion about the AT and it's powers
    DEVs also avoided to TRY to Buff some of the powers (Targeting Computer to buff Melee Gadgeteer powers (LaserSword, Chainsaw), Grapple Gun Pull to not being useless, 2 Blast powers e.t.c)

    For me the incident with the Variable Robot just confirm my Fears for the Quality Drop with the Studio Zig-Zag and the GAP between Community and DEVs
    POWERFRAME REVAMPS, NEW POWERS and BUG FIXES > Recycled Content and Events and even costumes at this point
    Introvert guy who use CO to make his characters playable and get experimental with Viable FF Theme builds! Running out of Unique FF builds due to the lack of updates and synergies
    Playing since 1 February 2011 87+ Characters (7 ATs, 80 FFs) ALTitis for Life!
  • roughbearmattach
    roughbearmattach Posts: 4,784 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    The OP is right. The real difficulty is communication.

    If Variable Robot was preceded by a statement like, "Though this costume set was inspired by the one in contest, it is really beyond the scope of our time and budget. We will rename the set, and it won't be quite as comprehensive," then the community would have reacted so much differently.
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  • jonsills
    jonsills Posts: 6,314 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    The OP is right. The real difficulty is communication.

    If Variable Robot was preceded by a statement like, "Though this costume set was inspired by the one in contest, it is really beyond the scope of our time and budget. We will rename the set, and it won't be quite as comprehensive," then the community would have reacted so much differently.
    I'd still have been pretty peeved by the clipping issues (as noted by others before me so ably, clipping with random gear is my problem, but clipping within the same set is their problem). Most especially is the issue with the elbows clipping through the wings while standing still when you use the wings that are supposed to go with the set. That's just careless.

    Maybe if this were offered in the lowest tier of costume pricing, where we expect the less-valuable sets to go...
    "Science teaches us to expect -- demand -- more than just eerie mysteries. What use is a puzzle that can't be solved? Patience is fine, but I'm not going to stop asking the universe to make sense!"

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  • crypticarmsman
    crypticarmsman Posts: 53 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    It's probably because the two Devs remaining on CO are overworked as it is. (I'm assuming at least two because Cryptic keeps referring to the 'CO Dev Team'; but I wouldn't be surprised if they cut it to a 'team' of one.
    Formerly known as Armsman from June 2008 to June 20, 2012
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  • championshewolf
    championshewolf Posts: 4,375 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    It's probably because the two Devs remaining on CO are overworked as it is. (I'm assuming at least two because Cryptic keeps referring to the 'CO Dev Team'; but I wouldn't be surprised if they cut it to a 'team' of one.

    From what I understand there are devs and are getting more. However, our only veteran is Arkayne, he's having to hire fresh, new faces, so there isn't much experience going around right now for them.

    Does this mean we should cheer? Dunno, I wouldn't right now, since the last time this happened they cannibalized our new devs for other teams. Then again I am sure that's going to happen anyways.
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  • Oh look, more comparisons between CO and an mmo that shut down nearly 3 years ago. That sure never gets old!
    In game I'm @eviltaco, aka chalupaoffury. Cryptic apparently loves making me change my name every 2 years or so.
  • chaelk
    chaelk Posts: 7,732 Arc User
    was wondering who captain cromulent was, sooo what exactly is a cromulent?
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  • biffsmackwell
    biffsmackwell Posts: 4,739 Community Moderator
    http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Made-up_words has your answers. Shame on you for not being a Simpsons fan!
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  • KagamiTheMagicalCatGerl
    KagamiTheMagicalCatGerl Posts: 357 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    Similar to "all the hate" for the Awakened Automaton, it seems as though most of the important feedback on this costume set was ignored.

    There is a playtest server and forusm, ostensibly for folks to try things out and give feedback. If most of that feedback, especially the most important aspects, is not taken, it makes people feel lousy.

    Have any of you people read "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" ? It applies here. Eventually all the "negative feedback" just blends together into the sound of a baby crying, and that baby was born long before the AA was ever conceived.
  • KagamiTheMagicalCatGerl
    KagamiTheMagicalCatGerl Posts: 357 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    It's probably because the two Devs remaining on CO are overworked as it is. (I'm assuming at least two because Cryptic keeps referring to the 'CO Dev Team'; but I wouldn't be surprised if they cut it to a 'team' of one.

    You might want to be careful. Compassion towards the devs isn't too well received around here. Most folks around here are content to not even acknowledge them as human beings and instead talk about them like they're some sort of out-dated, malfunctioning computer.
  • http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Made-up_words has your answers. Shame on you for not being a Simpsons fan!

    I live for obscure Simpsons references.
    In game I'm @eviltaco, aka chalupaoffury. Cryptic apparently loves making me change my name every 2 years or so.
  • mrlunkovich
    mrlunkovich Posts: 59 Arc User
    Personally I consider the biggest example from the VR debacle not how much they ignored feedback about the set, but the fact Meedacthunist at one point stated they didn't want their name attached to what was being put out and yet they slapped the name on the description anyways. Frankly I think they have every right to not want it there, what was put out just plain doesn't reflect their design and they shouldn't have "credit" forced on them. If they can't listen to a player about something as important as using that player's name I don't see how people are to trust they will listen about anything.

    I hate to say this but honestly DCUO did a better job of the Dev team communicating with the players, yes the two that do it aren't the coders and artists that work on it but they are the development heads that tell said what to do on the game. Granted there are issues with them that do reflect negatively enough on the game that I left it once I learned of CO, but even still that is a much different level of communication than just a few forum community managers( nothing against Tailturtle or Gadfly ).

    I know we have to understand that Cryptic/PWE just isn't a big/important enough studio to host a weekly podcast for a game, or have a big/talented enough team so the team leaders have time to host it or post on the forums, but could we get like a monthly "newsletter" from the people in charge? Let us know whats being worked on, what are they planing, what do they see as the important issues that need to be addressed and why.

    Yeah, some players are free and never paid a dime, some just spend a twenty here and there, but all players deserve to be well informed about the game they are being asked to commit money and/or time too.
    ~I'm a figment of your imagination, a mass hallucination, only real because you feel I am~
  • KagamiTheMagicalCatGerl
    KagamiTheMagicalCatGerl Posts: 357 Arc User
    Maybe they did that on purpose, for "reasons" xD