How much input did players have in charting the 2023 Roadmap?

Discussion in 'The Veterans' Lounge' started by Brontus, Mar 1, 2023.

  1. Brontus EQ Player Activist

    Maybe I'm mistaken, but i'm not aware of any in-game polls, emails sent to players from Darkpaw, or official threads on the forums here that asked for input from the EQ community on the content of the 2023 EQ roadmap.

    As well as adventure, creativity, and exploration, the Darkpaw Games byline below says in no uncertain terms that the studio is also dedicated to community. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that they and those who work for them care what the community thinks.


    Whenever I go on a journey or a trip, I like to know the destination before I embark. As a grown man, I also like to have some sense of agency when determining that destination. I know that Darkpaw Games cares about inclusion. Inclusion means including people, not excluding them. The best way to be inclusive is to be considerate of others opinions, feedback, and experiences.

    The institutional knowledge of the EQ playerbase is collectively vast. It makes sense to consult your players every now and then to make sure they are satisfied with what you are delivering to them. So, I'd like to ask our esteemed developers the following question:

    How much input did players have in charting the EQ 2023 Roadmap?
  2. Tucoh Augur

    Allayna likes this.
  3. Warpeace Augur

    Better question would be why didn't the CRC also add Class representatives for class specific feedback that could pull info from the players and present it?
    Metanis likes this.
  4. Brickhaus Augur

    Hopefully no more than you or I.

    The CRC mission changed from DPG's own posts in that thread from a community resource to one specifically geared towards helping test things. From the list that a player generated from the Discord handles, I saw a number of folks that I would respect for helping find/squish bugs. But if that list was also influencing the direction of what the devs looked at for the game, I'd be kind of mad. Because that list was not at all a good sampling of the playerbase. The player that knows all the various SPAs and how they interact is probably not the voice I want directing how the group game flows.

    That's what was so disappointing about the CRC delay and changes. I know there are people that have been cozy for the developers for years (largely through the old community stuff) that have been the bug in the ears and have influenced some of the things we've seen the last 10 years ... that have quite frankly been poor design choices. We really needed some fresh voices mandated in that role and we didn't get them.

    As far as the original question is concerned, the players have had an enormous amount of influence on the roadmap. But not enough. Because lag/raid lag was never mentioned.
    Duder, Qimble, Allayna and 2 others like this.
  5. Tarvas Augur

    I was not aware that a vast majority of EQ players knew how to resource and produce a MMO. Thank you for that interesting tidbit. I find myself in the minority, unfortunately, of not knowing how to. I am familiar with resource management though. I imagine that the developers are working off of a multiyear plan like most other successful businesses. Upsetting the applecart over something less than game breaking is probably not in the cards. I doubt anyone at DPG has a whole lot of say over the amount of resources they get. I would hope that they have communicated the bare minimum they need (the game still runs after all) and what they could if more was forthcoming.

    Being dedicated to a community is not the same thing as taking input from them. Most community input would be useless and/or impractical to implement. I imagine shifting through it for gems takes considerable time. They do seem to be engaged on some topics with the community though. I do not expect them to communicate on every single subject that is brought up, though, even if I feel it is important.
    Duder, Celephane, Szilent and 2 others like this.
  6. Brickhaus Augur

    What are you responding to? Because absolutely nothing in my comments mentioned resourcing and producing a MMO. Someone asked about the CRC and I gave an opinion on it. And I mentioned the fact that lag was not on the roadmap at all, which was a major disappointment for many.

    BTW, there's nothing inherently different about a MMO than any other business/project. A lot of the people playing this game have a ton of business/project experience including myself. While there are a myriad of ways to run a successful business, most would have knowing your customer base and catering to that base near the top of the list. The only way to do that is through input.

    Edit - I guess my eye sight has caught up with me. Although I still think the comments are way off base.
    Stymie likes this.
  7. Fanra

    "Zone Performance Improvements" is Darkpaw's way of saying reducing lag.

    I see player input as fitting into three categories:
    1. Bug reporting
    2. Feedback about annoying game things
    3. Feedback about game improving things
    1. is things unintended by the developers, not stuff that you feel is wrong. The fact that Terror of Luclin raids give out a million range items and barely any of some other items is not a bug. Not updating your spell/disc for four expansions is not a bug, even if it means your abilities have stagnated.

    2. is about things in the game that are more annoying than anything else.

    3. is about ways to make the game better.

    Naturally, 2 and 3 are different for everyone and sometimes it seems hard to distinguish between them.
    But the categories are mostly in order of importance.
    • When you are in a raid and numerous people find the game crashing, that's going to be the top problem for you.
    • When you say leave to an NPC in a raid instance and you wind up in the Plane of Knowledge instead of at the quest giver because you bannered into the instance, that's annoying, especially since the raid might want to drop the instance and get another one after failure because otherwise it causes people's games to crash.
    • When you offer the suggestion that there should be stick figures in the Player UI window showing if you are standing, sitting, crouching, mounted or feign dead / fallen to the ground, that is a way to make the game better.
    As for resources, it is a big problem.
    That's not a lot of people to do everything in the Roadmap, plus what they want to do. If they wanted to do 10% of what players suggest, they would need 20 times that many.
    Corwyhn Lionheart likes this.
  8. Waring_McMarrin Augur

    They did not respond to you but the initial post.
    code-zero and Corwyhn Lionheart like this.
  9. Lluianae Elder

    I can't comment on the effectiveness of the CRC as is, but I remember when we had CCs/CLs who did exactly that. It worked with varying degrees of effectiveness.

    The whole point of what we did was to liaise with the team and present consolidated, if somewhat filtered, feedback. Improving the signal to noise ratio. It lead to some great additions, it lead to some certainly pushing agendas, but I can say absolutely that everyone who was at one point involved as a CC or CL thoroughly cared for the game. Even the ones we'd butt heads with on the regular (Frodlin!).
    minimind likes this.
  10. Tarvas Augur

    I should I have said, "taking all the input from them." As I went on to say, they are engaged on some topics, but it is probably hard for them to separate the wheat from the chaff with the amount of people they have. As Fanra highlighted, there are less than 30 people working on this project and some of them are shared resources. Regardless of how responsive anyone thinks they should be to their ideas, from a planning and resource perspective it is simply impossible for them to change course at will.
    Corwyhn Lionheart and Rijacki like this.
  11. Roxas MM Augur

    every player wants something different.
    apart from that, Henry Ford once said, if i had asked the people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.
  12. Cicelee Augur

    I remember when I first heard about Everquest back in early 2000. They had a tag line that says "You're In Our World Now" or something to that effect. I believe many players forget about that, to be honest.

    We do not play in Cicelee's world. Or Brontus' world. Or Sam Deathwalker's world. We live in the world of the developers in charge of the game. It is their world, and they can do whatever they want to it. We are able to voice our opinions, and they give the community a platform to do so with these forums as the primary way. But in no way, shape, or form do they have to act upon it. Because it is not OUR world, but rather it is THEIR world.

    And if you don't like it? Cool. You have a choice to play or quit. We all have a choice. No one or nothing is forcing us to play a computer game.

    So to answer the OP question, it is irrelevant how much input they use from us. We have a platform to voice concerns, which all of us have done so in the past. Just remember that tagine from when EQ first came out...

    "You're in OUR world now"
  13. Gorg00 Augur

    Given the ideas I see posted on these forums, hopefully very little.
  14. CatsPaws Just use plain English.

    Nothing against the crc folks but have not seen any input about what they are doing either or what they have contributed. I feel there is no low level common player input at all but that being said:

    They should hold the workshop again. Back in 2008 they did this:

    Several EverQuest players participated in a Quest Workshop where members of the development team walked them through the quest creation process, now two of those quests are featured in game!
    • Gyrospire Relocator: Researcher Stripcog has unearthed a device that will allow a being to teleport to the top of each of the gyrospires. Unfortunately, he needs the assistances of others to help get the device working again.
    • Kicking Tail: Scribe Choone's party, attempting to help Choone research a story for Gimblefixx, was ambushed and nearly wiped out. Choone is asking players to thin out the Minotaur warriors enough for his mission to continue.
    For the 16th anniversary they also put in seven new player-designed missions and a few other times.
    So they have listened to us and allowed us to add to the game. Overall I found the player made missions/task etc to be very fair as far as the player being able to complete them or having the wherewithal to complete unlike many that come out now and require you to be raid geared to even attempt.
    Duder, Corwyhn Lionheart and Rijacki like this.
  15. Rijacki Just a rare RPer on FV

    I'm sure every retail company has a "dedicated to the customer" type clause in its corporate mission statement and that is exactly what the "community" is, customers. Every company I have worked for has had a similar statement. I currently do software testing on router devices. In the past I have done software testing on electronic payment services and network systems administration. In all cases, customers are generally not specifically or explicitly polled to determine the roadmap for the year even with the "dedicated to the customer" clause in the mission statement. Customer feedback in the form of tickets raised with support and field engineers for issues (bug), feature enhancement requests, and new feature requests are taken into account as well as the industry trends and projected trends as well as possible feedback from the shareholders. That doesn't make the companies less "dedicated to the customer" or even imply they aren't responsive to customer issues or desires.

    This, too. How we as players/customers call something might be very different from how development/management terms it. "Zone Performance" is a formal (and more precise) way to refer to the game code controllable elements of "lag". "Lag" is a slang word encompassing not only game code related elements but also network and other out of game elements such as the latency on a network and the specific hardware running the game both at the company side and the client side.

    Spot on!

    Well said!
    Shanarias and Corwyhn Lionheart like this.
  16. filthytlpplayer Lorekeeper

    I think you're using that quote as a sort of "the customer isn't always right." There's truth to that, but the quote is really about innovation. The people didn't know to ask for a car because all they knew was a horse. EQ1 has been a horse for a long time, even if it was a car 24 years ago. That quote holds true for something like the requests to remake/remaster EQ1 in a new engine, as opposed to innovate in an EQ3 that innovates and brings a fresh take to the genre.

    I agree that every player wants something different and using the community as the primary source for the roadmap would signal to me a company that lacks vision and direction.
  17. minimind The Village Idiot

    Community input comes from community correspondent group (whatever the name is today) and then entirety of the forum discussions from the last many years.

    They are dedicated to community or else they wouldn't go through the massive chore of facilitating this forum, pay people to communicate here, and then take ideas from here.

    Of course, "inclusion" is a very broad term. Be sure not to use it as a cudgel by suggesting that if YOUR opinion wasn't directly heeded that you didn't have the opportunity to be included in the process. You are not owed a voting stake in design just because you pay to play a video game.

    If you're going to ask a question and expect an answer (not just make a forum performance) ask a question that can be answered. There is no measure of input. "We received 17 centimeters of player feedback per hectare this year."

    Also, here's some advocacy advice: Don't try to hold an organization accountable for something that isn't a problem nor when you have neither authority nor relevant expertise. It makes it harder for everyone else to advocate in the future. (This goes the same for other companies, politics, etc.)

    If you wish to have direct, consistent, influence on the design or direction of the game, click here:
    Stymie and Rijacki like this.
  18. Brontus EQ Player Activist

    It may be THEIR world, but they still have to CONVINCE players to visit that world and more importantly stay in that world.

    I don't think that tagline has aged very well. It's a bit smug and non-inclusive.

    The "take it or leave it" approach is seems tone deaf to modern business practices of valuing customer retention and customer satisfaction. Perhaps this explains why the EverQuest franchise never really reached its potential as a intellectual property.

    Granted, fantasy virtual worlds are a unique service and not an atypical consumer product. We live alternate lives in them and can spend many years in them. It is not unreasonable to suggest that it would be a good idea for the gods (admins) that run these viruals world should come down from their lofty alabaster towers and vist the great unwashed masses of players every now and then to seek their counsel.
    Koshk likes this.
  19. Brontus EQ Player Activist

    The forums cost virtually nothing to run and admister. Our community managers do far more behind the scenes than just police the forums.

    I didn't mention anything about my opinions being rejected. I was looking for inclusion in a broader more democratic sense.

    I asked a simple good faith question. The question assumed that there must have been some player input. I'd like an answer please.

    There is nothing wrong with asking for more transparency and some occasional dev-to-player dialogue from Darkpaw.

    You seem to be chastising me here for having the termerity to ask this basic question. You have no idea what my experience is in the video game industry or what my level of expertise is. My advice to you is to not make assumptions about a person's level of competency. Besides, I made no mention of myself in the original post. It's not about me, it's about the happiness and satisfaction of the EQ playerbase. As an active member of that community, I am simply making my voice heard.

    You say that "something isn't a problem." It seems you already have your mind made up about the question that is the basis for this thread.

    Courage begets courage. There is nothing wrong in speaking your mind in a polite, considerate, and constructive way on these forums. Many changes to EQ came about because players were disatisfied with certain things and came to the forums to give feedback.

    Corporate America routinely uses paid focus groups to ensure that their products and services are addressing their customers needs. The efficacy of focus groups in making better products is undisputable. The entire EQ community is one big unpaid focus group. It make no sense for them not be be peroidically consulted about the product they are using each day: EverQuest.

    Darkpaw clearly states that they value community. I think an enlightened, passionate, committed community is far better than one that is not. Without the community, there would be no EQ. The relationship between Darkpaw and the players is symbiotic. We both need each other.

    Paying customers should not have to join the EQ dev team and move to San Deigo in order for them to give valuable feedback and opinions to Darkpaw.

    So I will ask again:

    How much input did players have in formulating the EQ 2023 Roadmap?
  20. Rijacki Just a rare RPer on FV

    You already have your answer.

    Daybreak doesn't have to give you an exact accounting of where they used feedback from the forums, feedback from the 'council', feedback from Discord, feedback from the in-game reporting, feedback from beta, feedback from Facebook, feedback from other teams, feedback from the industry, feedback and desires from the development staff alone, feedback and desires from the producers, or feedback and communication from any other source. Neither you nor any other player is entitled to have any employee of Daybreak give you a point by point accounting for every item in the roadmap.
    Stymie, Svann2 and minimind like this.