Why not use the community rather than breaking things?

Discussion in 'The Veterans' Lounge' started by yepmetoo, Apr 21, 2022.

  1. yepmetoo Abazzagorath

    This patch brought this up to me again, but I wonder why the devs don't utilize the community for feedback BEFORE they work on specific mechanic changes?

    They get an idea to fix or change something, they work on it, unbeknownst to the players, then spring it on us in a test patch, then hell or high water they implement it, even if people point out bugs, people point out logic issues, or balance issues, they push it live anyway. Sometimes they have to patch a fix in, almost always something they were told about on the test patch discussion/bug thread.

    The only "bugs" they ever fix in between test patch and live patch are things that literally are game breaking, like cause crashes. Otherwise, they ignore it, either entirely, or for weeks.

    This is a bad way of doing things, and also lends itself to colossal wastes of time. Why not, before wasting time on working on things like that, just post a comment thread in the patch forum? Like (from the last patch):

    "We want to simplify body types in EQ, here are our tentative plans, please post comments or potential issues this could cause."

    Then you let people rant, rave, and post the actual nuggets of information you need to NOT screw things up in the first place that you then have to put in MORE effort to fix it again.

    Just utilize the resources you have. No need to comment, just listen to people, take the valid and ignore the invalid stuff, send PMs to posters that bring up things you didn't think about that maybe you need more info on, and THEN work on your solution.

    Like, its fantastic that they realized that you should be able to hit decaying skeletons with newbie weapons, but its extremely sad that they made the "fix" on test without thinking about the other consequences, that with no magic items in game, you can now pick pocket stuff you aren't supposed to. You can disarm players in duals/pvp and disarm even raid NPCs that have weapons equipped. Something like that could have been noted and thought about before making a knee jerk change to fix a poorly thought out thing thrown on test.

    Just a thought.
    Biltene, Paladin, Hobitses and 13 others like this.
  2. Windance Augur

    One thing to consider is moving the live patch back a week, this would give them two weeks to fix issues that are found on test.
    Nennius likes this.
  3. Ozon Augur

    The community can barely agree on what classes actually exist in game. Trying to take direction on the game in general gives me a headache to even consider it.
    Roxas MM and CatsPaws like this.
  4. Szilent Augur

    did you run out of time in the Test week to test? or did you not test in the given week and still wouldn't test if there was two weeks?
    Madeni, Wyre Wintermute and Bigstomp like this.
  5. Szilent Augur

    Several substantive problems, small ones and large ones of which you bring up several examples, that arose from the body type consolidation were fixed before going Live. They were fixed because players testing on Test server saw those issues and brought them to the developers. Only those problems that weren't seen because no one tested them did not get addressed. The community you laud as such an excellent resource dropped the ball on some facets of this, not the developers. Folks that want these things seen to then be taken care of should /testcopy their main characters, log on to Test, and test.

    The only thing "knee jerk" going on is your shifting blame onto developers making a change that prioritizes long term game health.

    "just post it for commentary on the forums" is a low-effort armchair quarterback asking for a team jersey.
    Biltene, Hobitses, Roxas MM and 4 others like this.
  6. yepmetoo Abazzagorath

    Juvenile garbage response.

    Every single major change that has had problems when pushed live has been preceded by bug reports and posts in the patch discussion forums noting problems. Outside of a couple of situations, those reports and posts have been IGNORED and the material went live anyway.

    Several times devs have even posted afterwards essentially going "we didn't know", at which point it was quickly pointed out that those exact things had been posted and/or bug reported. Much like things that get /bugged, very specifically, both on the forums and in game, and are ignored and pushed live.

    Posting for commentary (like, I don't know, our government requires for many policy changes prior to being allowed to implement changes, which was very useful until it became a partisan weapon), and then going through a thread, which even if it was 20 pages long and would take 30 minutes to read, is a low cost low time resource way of becoming aware of issues they were not aware of.

    In fact, they have done this in the past at times, like prior to PoP when they were going to institute some major changes to specific mechanics, and after feedback altered their tract on some things.

    You stating that players "failed" because they didn't catch the developers failure in a couple days on test? Really? Give me a break.

    What I suggested is already what happens in the patch thread. The difference is that by the time it is posted on the forums so that people are made aware of it, IT HAS ALREADY BEEN CODED AND PROGRAMMED, at which point the resources of time, expertise, and experience needed to deal with unforeseen issues multiplies, versus gathering more information ahead of time to spend less resources to get toward the eventual state.

    I mean, this is to an extent what the community council or whatever was always meant to do in the past, before it went by the wayside, and what the new one (if it ever happens) is supposed to do. But the reality is that limiting it to 20? people is wasting the potential resource of thousands of players. Post it publicly, give it 2-3 weeks for people to complain and/or comment, then sort through the ashes and find the things they didn't think of, and then implement it better than it would have been and stop WASTING DEVELOPER TIME doing stuff that then needs to be changed in the first place.

    Even if *every single problem* was identified on the Test server, they then still have to spend time to go back and fix it. It is a waste of time and limited resources when even a single issue could have been brought up BEFORE they code and implement the changes.

    But please, continue to blame players for not testing enough in the 6-7 days the change is available on a server during the middle of summer.
    Hobitses likes this.
  7. Bigstomp Augur

    I both agree and disagree.
    I agree if more players went and checked them out that would help.

    I disagree that players should be the ones testing this stuff.
    We did beta, we tested this stuff both with and without dev attendance and reported issues.
    We helped tune various mechanics such as travel through zones with invis potions, events both group and raid and other things with our feedback.
    Then halfway through the expansion there is a massive change which wipes all that tuning out.
    Hobitses, Metanis and Wyre Wintermute like this.
  8. Skrab East Cabilis #1 Realtor

    Man, fudge and walnuts off with these replies. Nobody here is responsible for playing and testing this game. There's no chance I'm going to sit around attempting to QA this game so some multibillion dollar investment firms can milk a few more dollars out of a product by cutting its QA staff.
    Wdor, Fenthen, Moege and 2 others like this.
  9. Benito Sword of Truth Bombs

    It took CD Projekt RED 1 year to fix Cyberpunk 2077 with 500 employees.

    I don’t expect perfection from EQ’s trim but efficient team after just a few patches.
    Ozon likes this.
  10. Szilent Augur

    It's 100% fine if you don't want to test. 100%. Totally fine. It's not fine to then turn around as yepmetoo has done and blame devs for not seeking his forum comments ahead of patching to fix their work right up that has clear problems (of which he's totally aware…in hindsight after thousands of players try a thousand things in the Live environment)
    Wyre Wintermute likes this.
  11. Yinla Ye Ol' Dragon

    But people did go and test, it was brought up about the specialization resetting when zoning, I brought up about the NPC for specialization not talking to me, yet they did nothing to address either issue.

    It was brought up about magical weapons, pickpocket, disarm and not being able to kill NPCs as newbies. These were addressed to a point, but we never got the pickpocket changes on test.

    The changes to body type we were assured would not effect ToL, but that comment may have just been in regard to headshot.

    Any big changes to the game need to be on test longer, they have done test patch a week early before now to make sure things are running correctly. I guess they didn't think these new changes were a big thing.
    Hobitses, Fenthen and Skrab like this.
  12. niente Developer

    EQ is a really big, complicated game to work on. Play as well (but you already know that). That doesn't excuse making careless mistakes, but bugs are often not as careless as they look.

    Here are the things that were fixed (by code - I don't know all the things design fixed) between the Test and Live patch:

    1. A zone crash caused by pets with buffs
    2. A zone crash caused by suspended pets with buffs
    3. A zone crashed caused by Mercenaries with buffs
    4. A zone crash caused by someone with a Mercenary going LD
    5. A zone crash caused by bad DB data that was created after the previous bugs
    6. Magic Items (This request was not taken lightly. Despite popular belief, the issues with Disarm/Pickpocket were known)
    7. Changes to Disarm and Pickpocket (including new additions)
    8. Dodge disciplines not working
    9. Specialization (this fix was incomplete)
    10. Short duration buffs not fading when zoning
    It was an unusual amount of code bugs. At the same time, I think the code team did a great job of fixing things. That is the purpose of the Test server. Not to have 100% uptime, but to test things before they go Live so we can fix issues. Even though it may seem like Test bugs are ignored, that is not the case here.

    I want to say, I'm not trying to make excuses for our mistakes when I say this, but it is extremely difficult to make changes to EQ without breaking something. Things break in ways you couldn't imagine (for example - the Mercenary LD zone crash above). It often feels terrible to see something you've done break, it causes a lot of stress when it's broken on the Test server, and even more on Live. It is additional work for us to not have these things work when they are patched to both Test and Live. No one likes it or doesn't care about it (not players, not developers). Lazy developers would especially not want this, because of the additional work and mess it causes. It is harmful to our confidence and self esteem when these things happen. You start to question whether or not you're qualified to do your job. It often makes you afraid of touching that system in EQ again, ever. Sometimes you don't (I am extremely wary of modifying the UI). And when that happens, the game doesn't get better. I know that bugs suck, but EQ needs to move into the future and this team is doing that.

    The good news is, we care about the quality of our work and will fix things. Even if it isn't fixed right away - I want to say that we are doing our very best, even when it seems careless, it absolutely is not. Even if you've played EQ for a long time and know how these things work, you still make mistakes. Unless you don't do anything - that's a good way to not create bugs. Sometimes the scope of something is more than can be reasonably tested. Even if we spend time carefully thinking, discussing, considering a change, how to do it, how to make sure it works correctly and is tuned well, it doesn't always work out the way you think. Even trying very hard to do something well the first time, we don't always succeed. The good news is, even after things are broken, we can still fix them. This is part of the job - make something, test it, if it goes live bugged, dust yourself off and fix it. If you don't fix it the first time, keep trying. If you can't figure out what is causing the problem, keep working on it. We can't leave EQ in the past, not make improvements, just because we're scared of bugs.

    EQ has been worked on by so many people, and it's been around long enough that a lot of internal things were not designed with the future in mind, or for usability (by developers). One of these was bodytypes. There is another half of this change that is not visible to players (actually, a lot more than half). This change made the concept of bodytypes a lot more simple for the design team. It was a fairly large and complex change, that requires a lot of EQ, design, and code knowledge. Not even just knowing EQ, but knowing the history of EQ design internally. There are tens of thousands of NPCs in EQ. Over 20,000 of them were impacted by this change. Expecting this to result in no issues, or all of those NPCs to be tested is unrealistic. There are so many traps for designers to fall in everywhere. It makes doing their job so much harder. These changes, that sometimes look like a misguided kick in the teeth riddled with mistakes, have a lot more value than what is visible in-game. And yes, we will continue to work on and fix any related bugs.

    As far as player feedback goes, we do want and need it, even if it sometimes feels like you're being ignored. I hope that you won't give up. Without players, there is no EQ. I know that not every developer has posted here and told you how much they like your ideas, or that they read them, or that they were so excited because you really liked something they made. But I have seen player ideas, concerns, suggestions brought up and considered by the development team; from the lore discussion thread, from feedback and things you'd like to see implemented.
    ChiiChii, Eteract, Biltene and 53 others like this.
  13. Windance Augur

    Thank you Niente.

    From the player point of view ..

    Adding a few lines about WHY you are making a change to some core functionality that has huge ripple effects would go a long way.

    Adding a line stating that the intent is not to change the overall behavior of game and you expect it to take a patch cycle or two to adjust all the mobs so they behave as they were intended. ie. still be able to run invis though zones, still get headshot, etc.

    -- All NPCs have had their 'body type' reviewed and potentially adjusted ...

    This tells us what the change is but not why? Do you intend to make further changes to the mobs 'body types' so they conform to what what people expect?

    Example: (making this up)

    -- All NPCs have had their 'body type' reviewed and potentially adjusted ... the 'body type' flags have not been used consistently. This change will help stream line the combat code moving forward.
    -- Many of the 20k+ mobs in game may be acting strange due to their new 'body type', please report them so we can get them fixed up.
    Viciado, ChiiChii, Paladin and 6 others like this.
  14. Burdi Augur

    Well, personally i would like to encourage the dev to deliver boldly their changes.
    Of course please test as much as possible.
    Please don’t be afraid to change things.
    You won’t make any mistakes by doing nothing, but guys please go ahead fail, success, experience and learn.
    ChiiChii and Fanra like this.
  15. Febb Augur

    I think we need to break out the beta server (non expansion dev beta server) for big system changes. Let players connect to it to test these changes over a month or two before pushing to the test server.
    Viciado, CatsPaws and Fenthen like this.
  16. zleski Augur

    I don't think anyone is doubting that the developers and designers put in a lot of work. From the point of view of players there's a perception that defects and incomplete features/products are shipped prematurely. The perception is heightened when players report issues during general (test server) and closed (beta) testing periods. For example, the various Necromancer spell issues were all reported during the closed beta period prior to general availability (GA) of the TOL expansion and most, if not all, of the issues were not addressed before launch and were only now addressed five months later.

    What you have is an optics problem (in addition to whatever internal work prioritization and/or staffing problems) where players are reporting issues prior to GA that are not addressed until some time after the GA date. I'm a software engineer for a Fortune 50 company and I know that it's challenging to delay product launches to ensure feature completeness. I'm urging your producers/product managers to not let launches happen until they are feature complete and urgent player feedback is addressed.

    Daybreak has made great strides with visibility with the public roadmap, but that's only part of the quest: you must also obtain and retain player good will. It's very easy for players to stop reporting problems because "we know it'll take six months to fix, if ever" and then fade away from the game because it appears that developers (read: those who prioritize work) don't care.

    Ninja edit: A change to the game with the magnitude of changing NPC types is one that should have soaked on test for far longer than a week. There are huge ramifications to the change (which is probably why it was deferred for so long). Ramming it through tells me that the SDLC is in real danger because the scope and risk of the change wasn't well understood.
    Paladin, Hobitses, Dre. and 5 others like this.
  17. Derd Augur

    Test had this patch for a week, unless I'm missing a thread or post, the see invis problem was never reported. Apologies if my search was flawed, but is there enough activity on test that this wasn't found and reported.
    Wdor and Fenthen like this.
  18. MasterMagnus The Oracle of AllHigh

    The point of this thread is using the community to help avoid breaking things.

    Niente: the communication is (as always) much appreciated.

    Call me crazy, but I'm thinking these forums aren't the best or most efficient way to gather information. Maybe some subset of the players could be used as sort of a resource?

    Like sort of a Community Resource Council?

    For those unaware, you can click on the Test Update Notes And Bug Roundup subforum and see three patches last cycle

    You can see there, issues that were wrung out by players, and reacted to in a far too haphazard way. This was all about body types. The change helps coding immensely, it was not to benefit or nerf any player in any way.

    Make the changes you guys need to make, but communicate with people that play different characters at different levels (including level 1-10), and aren't pushing some agenda/just bloviating on the forums.

    And when you see an issue with a Release Candidate change in test, have a deeper dive design meeting before 'knee jerking' a fix ("oh I got this, hold my beer"). The meeting will also benefit from the user research you did when presenting the change to the CRC first.
    Paladin and Hobitses like this.
  19. Szilent Augur

    there isn't! you should /testcopy your main character each month & poke at the game on patch week!
  20. Szilent Augur

    The subset of players exists! It is The Players Who Play On Test Server During Patch Week Each Month (TPWPOTSDPWEM)