Hey, been gone for awhile but i’ve been made privy to a number of new systems and ways in which FS has conducted the recent beta. First of all, I would like to point out, that FS interacting with “selective” player groups is nothing new, they just aren’t hiding it anymore. The circle-jerk style of development and implementation of the forum system (and private discords) basically devalues any community comments or concerns and creates an echo chamber. Given the post “quality” of the anointed chosen ones FS has apparently selected for these roles, and their egotistical behavior in discord environments it has pretty much created a toxic community run by a bunch of self righteous oligarchs and should probably be dismantled for the health of the game.
I’ll get off my soap box, but there is no reason to ever really visit this site again, as it has been made glaringly obvious FS doesn’t care about any of our opinions and would prefer to have their egos stroked in private.
This is an old article but unfortunately I’ve read it quite recently for the first time. It offers another perspective and (if true) confirms some of the things that I’ve been suspecting. Everybody who felt/still feels like a Fat Shark fanboy should read it. I’m not branding anyone, hell, I myself have been glorifying Fat Shark and Vermintide for a long time among my friends and on the web. I bought this game to myself, my GF, her brother and my best friend (so that’s 4 copies in total which I personally bought + DLCs) and got 3 more people to buy this game indirectly.
I still love the game but have mixed feelings for Fat Shark and I’m far from the fan boy that I used to be.
I’ll probably receive some flak for this response, but here goes…
What would you have done differently, then, and how? Just stating “your actions are/were bad” doesn’t really help in improving things.
Personally, I haven’t seen real wrongdoing here. It was slightly disappointing that people outside the Beta had hard time following the discussions, but it seemed to me that the people selected were of varying skill levels and opinions. If there was a selection bias, it was towards people who could express their opinions sensibly, without rage mode or knee-jerk reactions. I would’ve liked it if the beta forum sections were open to at least read for the rest of us, too, but I understand why they were closed - it makes sense to limit the amount of input to those who have actually tried out the beta. Besides, the official Discord’s beta channels were (and are still, actually) open to everyone. The closed Beta Discord channels were, afaik, a third-party effort (even if they were done with FS’s blessing).
The earlier, fully open betas didn’t apparently work that well either - they split the playerbase for their duration, and many players jumped in to just test out the new content. Now there was also a new .exe to download, and there was a lot more content than before. I’m not saying things couldn’t have been done better, but I have a hard time seeing how they could’ve been significantly improved. I’ve also seen no evidence of this “echo chamber” you claim there is beyond a few people’s claims.
Welcome back, Revy. It’s been a while. I hope you’re well.
I just want to chip in a little, but I won’t go in to it too much.
I don’t know of any developer who doesn’t have a crew of players they work with at a closer level than the wider community. It’s pretty normal to have focus groups during the production of any product - be it a game or a new flavour of soup (or anything in between).
I’m not saying we got the comms balance during the WoM Beta right, far form it, but as many noted, it was the most communicative beta we have had to date, and we will continue to work to improve further on the communication pathways in future tests.
I wouldn’t call that an article, more of a blog post that reeks of self advertising. You can taste the salt through the screen, even though he tries his hardest to appear neutral while taking things out of context. Notice how he constantly has to say that there’s technically nothing wrong with “insert thing he’s complaining about”. Or point out that he doesn’t have any issues with X, while still trying to highlight it as an issue? I love how he goes on to argue with SneakyPanda in the comments.
You’re right, it’s a blog post. He might be buthurt for not getting the invitation to Sweden, and he might be advertising himself and his channel. But if we stick to the things he wrote and not the reasons why he’d wrote it, one should stop and at least think about it.
Not proof per se, but as the discord communication during the closed phase (or “internal test”) was done through an external, third-party Discord server (Squirrel Squad or Red Moon Inn, don’t remember which one), instead of FS’s official one (where, I might repeat, WoM beta channels are still open), I’d call that a third-party effort. Through both open phases, the official Discord channels have been free-for-all, even if majority of the discussion has been in the closed forums.
I don’t know what you’d consider proof. I don’t have screenshots, as I don’t take them for no reason, and I wasn’t part of the beta myself. But as the Discord communication during the NDA period was located in and moderated by a community separate from Fatshark’s official channels, despite FS employees taking part in it I’d consider it a third-party effort. You could probably still find the posts containing the invite and other info on Reddit (and possibly the official Discord channel’s message history and Steam), but as it’s been more than a month since that, it’s a chore to seek it out (and my google-fu isn’t good enough). FS does a lot of its communication through less official channels, and a few of the devs are certainly more active (or at least noisy) in Reddit than they are in here. I’ve also gotten the impression that the few large unofficial Discord groups have a large dev presence, even if I don’t know about their activity there.
Besides, I brought this up as a comment on the original post’s mention of private Discord channels, just to point out that FS has their own channel, too; that its contents were (during the time when communication was open and afterwards) available to everyone; and that the closed communication (again, during the time when NDA was in effect) in Discord was done through an external community and, as I understood it, initiated by that community’s actives, even if it was with FS’s approval and cooperation.
I don’t fully condone that kind of communication closure, spreading the channels widely, or limiting the official communications to the forums either. I’m trying to say that for that part of it, FS isn’t to be blamed, as they (to the best of my knowledge) weren’t the ones to initiate that. I’d love to hear a clarification on this in either direction.
I don’t think that quote has anything to do with what I was talking about. It confirms a thing that has been very visible for a long time (and, as Hedge said, nothing unique to FS) - that they have a closer relation to some members of the community than others. There is still nothing to implicate an “echo chamber” (which would require those members to be specifically chosen, and being of similar opinion to the devs in general, of which there is no implication, and actually those high-profile fans have disagreed with the devs often enough) - or anything about this particular incident of closed beta communication being done through an unofficial channel.
Thanks for responding Hedge, im not sure if thats entirely the issue people are upset about, more so that the forums here felt entirely devoid of FS presence during the duration of the beta in favor of a much smaller player base that seemed to be picked arbitrarily. Even if thats not the case, perception does matter quite a bit.
I was one of the people that was critical of the way FS handled communication in the betas, but I’d like to know if this statement is actually backed by evidence or purely perception.
That’s beside the point. The problem most people who complained had in the last beta wasn’t that FS has a separate Discord group, the problem was that we were left in the dark about a lot of things communication-wise on the beta forums.
The issue truly arose later on in the 2nd beta where we were still unsure as to what direction FS wanted to go in mechanically, how certain things were meant to work/actually did work and why they changed certain things the way they did, it made it harder for the community to give good feedback.
In the 1st beta we got a thread on the dodge changes and one on cataclysm, the former helped to clarify/clear up misconceptions about the way the dodge timing changes worked mechanically and the latter was a simple, concise post on what FS wanted out of cata as a difficulty.
More of that (when it came to the reworked combat system, talents etc.) would’ve been ideal, and would’ve dispelled the perception that FS wasn’t listening.
This dead horse has been thoroughly beaten in more than one other thread, so there’s especially no reason to bring it up now when you weren’t in the beta or even around on the forums for it, and claim to have “no reason to visit this site again.” But hey, at least you get to make a dramatic exit?
Melodramatic feedback aside, I have to say that the betas for the game have been drastically different every time, each improving and regressing in different ways.
With the big balance beta, installing a separate patch kinda worked well because it allowed you to play the new content patch as a preview without reinstalling an entirely new game client. I think it also kept progression, which was good. In other ways, it had issues because it made it cumbersome to switch between the live game and the beta, since you had to reinstall the patches each time. It meant that a lot of players just stuck to one or the other if they didn’t want to switch.
With the Winds of Magic beta, the separate game client did allow people to somewhat easily switch between the beta and live versions, but did add constraints like limited sign-ups and large space requirements. To my understanding, the latter was unavoidable, due to them working on compressing and restructuring how the game files are stored and loaded to prevent the game bloating up in size from the new content update. The closed test nature seemed like it was designed to help focus the feedback by only grabbing interested players who signed up for the beta, instead of it just being an “early access” patch.
Point being, the next beta will… probably be completely different and we’ll have entirely new things to whine about that beta.
I think my biggest issue with the focus group and internal test, opposed to the “open” beta group, isn’t just simply a saltiness that some people got the golden ticket while we didn’t. I think the issue was that there weren’t clear expectations set for what the larger group’s role was compared to the smaller group’s.
Was the larger group’s role mainly guiding the general direction of the update and bug hunting? I know most of the bugs posted were acknowledged, but were any of the suggestions read and seriously considered? I suppose we won’t really know until the patch hits and someone cheers “hey I said that thing on the forums!” from outside of the focus groups.
My definition of the word “insight” moreso suggests that ideas and design decisions can be generated from any general beta tester posting on the forum or writing feedback in the google feedback form. “Insight” is more than just saying “Cataclysm feels too hard”, “Beastmen are rough”, or “The game feels too slow because of stagger”. It’s the creation of original ideas that get considered and tested within the game. I don’t really know if I can say that’s the case because I don’t remember seeing any dev or employee on the beta forum except to acknowledge bugs.
If a dev read an idea and wrote a ticket to try and implement it, it’d be a simple matter of linking it to the forum comment/post that inspired the idea, throwing some likes on it, and saying “Hey good idea, we have a ticket for this now!” Having someone else besides Hedge also showing up in the forum might also establish a relationship with the team such that the overall role of community manager isn’t always just “Community Ragestorm Lightning Rod”, which is probably inevitable.
TL;DR - I was asked for my insight but all I got was this portrait frame lol
Keep in mind none of this is personal, I actually quite like @Hedge, but this is a somewhat important and topical matter, since its somewhat relevant on other platforms. The accusations of streamer privilege for example regarding the WoW beta, however in that circumstance, its closer to Blizzard using the influence of a popular stream base to garner attention and make content more accessible where as what recently happened at Fatshark is much more similar to fan’s accusations, where select individuals have considerably more influence on a game’s direction than the input of a broader community. Once again, its mostly a matter of perception, regardless of the actual impact 75 individuals actually had on the development of the game it ostracizes a large portion of the community and devalues the forum platform as a whole. Additionally things like the “Hero” badge in the forums, create an environment that make it appear as if there is blatant favoritism towards individuals who suck up to the company as opposed to making constructive criticisms.
huh? I call out fatshark just as much as anyone else. I spent the first week of beta complaining about the stagger and dodge changes, even going so far as saying I will not be playing if it goes live as it was. I’ve openly stated multiple times that the weaves do not interest me and I’m not excited for them.
I’ve spent the last 9 months trying to get the night maps added. As well as the games optimization fixed, to which many other people were/are having issues. Dropping to 20 FPS on hordes and so on. I definitely wasn’t sucking up or giving them an easy time, lol. Not to mention the Hero badge has been in use since March 2018 on different users. But it’s a problem now?
Im not saying you don’t, and im not even saying its my opinion on the matter. If you read my statement is about perception, and its a commentary i’ve heard a few times in regard to the system in place, but since all of the metrics are view-able you do kind of wonder how people who are pretty inactive receive the badge (image for example of 1 hero poster’s metrics)