Response to Devs + Honest Customer Feedback

@Fatshark_Hedge responding to your post here vice PM to ensure the message is clear and transparent. I understand you closed the thread due to the toxicity of some people’s replies but I got the impression the critical aspect of the feedback being provided may still have been misunderstood.

Thank you for the earnest apology and explanation. This is what people need more of in order to support team FS. That said, hardly anyone’s actually going to see that post and, while I can’t speak for everyone, I’ve actually never seen an apology for anything. That’s one of the major issues. If you guys have been apologizing and offering transparent explanations, it hasn’t been in a public enough or official enough way. Placing a clear and honest explanation in the Important Information section covering FS’ understanding of the state of affairs and how FS intends to remedy the situation would be extremely prudent at this juncture. The absence of such a thing is what is driving conscientious consumers away. I’ve heard it here and heard it in game chat countless times: FS is too secretive. If that’s not the case, FS needs to step up and tell its customers what’s actually going on.

Couple issues with this. First, you never actually came out and said that. People suggested it would be good customer service and you asked, I think rhetorically, how the ideas would work then said what FS’ considerations were for a few of the recommendations. People then levied criticism against the response and very logically pointed out inconsistencies/fallacies in FS’ thinking on the matter and those responses were never actually addressed in any real way except for the “it’s not the end of the world” incident, which is ultimately a meaningless sentiment a la “ah, so desu ka.” You can say that people are meme-i-fying that statement out of context but there’s no context in which that statement was ever appropriate from a customer service standpoint because it’s just a more eloquent way of saying, “cool story, bro.”

Second, that’s an over-generalization of the issue. It was explained a lot in the patch thread but the problem is that FS doesn’t seem to have much respect for the player’s time and, due to poor communication, rewarded people who didn’t play the game the way you initially designed it to the tune of the fact that, relative to the changes you implemented, the effort:reward ratio for normal play was functionally 0. This compounded with the failure to track important stats for the challenge feature, which I find impossible to believe wasn’t planned or in the works for quite a while given how long it took to address the green dust issue. More on that later.

All this combined means that everyone would have actually been much better off if they hadn’t bought your game when they did. If customers hadn’t supported you at first, their time would have been vastly more rewarded because the reward:effort ratio when we invested 1000s of hours was functionally nonexistent for all but the luckiest of players and all of those hours were plagued by fundamental design flaws (eg green dust, atrocious RNG) and game-breaking bugginess. While vertical progression games often, as a side effect, create a system where it becomes easier to progress if you don’t play for a month (but after that it gets to require more effort again), I have never, in over 30 years of gaming, seen a company create an incident like this where the customer would have been better rewarded if they’d withheld support. It’s unprecedentedly inadvisable. This is by-and-large the core issue that you still haven’t addressed: you sold us an unfinished game that’s actually more buggy and less playable than a ton of actual Early Access titles and then you created a situation where every single one of us would have been better off if we just hadn’t supported you until now. You need to understand this if you want to have effective customer service.

That’s why I said, “mirroring.” While not identical, the concept is there. I find it impossible to believe this wasn’t something that was planned from the beginning since everyone has always been extremely vocal about it and the VT1 contract board is the only thing that gave that game any meaningful reward sustainability.

While I realize you didn’t literally wipe any stats, the sentiment remains the same. The outcome is the same whether they were “wiped” or never tracked in the first place when they should have been. The only difference between the two is the justification/rationalization. I’m not going to armchair quarterback this beyond pointing out how big of a screw up it is. It’s something FS needs to get sorted out internally if they want to appreciate their customers and respect their time. This should have been dealt with in the planning phase. If Okri’s Challenges wasn’t part of the planning phase, it should have been. I do appreciate the honest apology but, as a consumer, I have to tell you that that doesn’t fix the feeling that FS didn’t have enough respect for my manhours to do more prudent planning. I apologize if that seems harsh but it’s the most to-the-point and honest feedback you can get.

We all appreciate hearing your honest take on things and we’d like to hear it more often. I appreciate you’re all working hard but I have to ask, why isn’t management hiring more people? If the game vastly oversold, which is a sentiment on here I’ve seen repeatedly, can you not fill sorely-needed positions to better ensure both development and customer service positions? It’s difficult to be too sympathetic when the marketing is as polished and prevalent as can be but we can’t even get a dev to post on the official forum in regards to a major outage (ie. the one last night). There should be people on the payroll directing and providing pre-emptive guidance to avoid all of the incidents I’ve pointed out herein. In 30+ years of gaming, this is the only game where I’ve had to go on the forums to be like, “ok… wtf is going on.”

It costs anywhere from 5-25x as much to get a new customer as it does to retain an existing customer. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars supporting FS. I’ve invested thousands of hours in the game and on the forums to try to help you make the game better, provide feedback, or to foster a lore and player friendly environment in direct support of the Warhammer IP. I do my best to encourage and help people in game, fostering a fun, friendly, non-toxic, and effective environment carrying/helping newer players instead of leaving lower-skilled groups in a huff or blaming failure on others, despite playing the game at a high enough skill-level and having enough knowledge/experience where that kind of behaviour isn’t irregular.

As previous, despite what anyone’s opinion of my blunt approach to feedback may be, I’m the model customer. It pains me to do this but because the game has failed to respect my time as a player and a person, combined with the still-buggy state of the game, what I perceive to be false-advertising, what I consider to be an insufficient and at times inappropriate dev response, and apparent failings in management/direction, I will not be socially or financially supporting your products. This will remain true until such a time as FS can demonstrate it’s actually learned from its mistakes, respects its customers’ time, and has the wherewithal to demonstrate a more appropriate level of customer appreciate. As much as I enjoy Vermintide, the aspects of it that I most enjoy are all tied to the Warhammer IP and not the game in and of itself. There are lots of other Warhammer products to support and a plethora of other developers, in a wide variety of titles (including titles outside the Warhammer universe) who have done more to earn, reward, and reinforce my patronage such that they’re more deserving of my time and money. I hope you can take action to change my mind but I’ve yet to see any actions or attitudes that make me suspect that’s likely. I will continue to play the game I payed for but will not be investing further at this time. The things that your customers are asking of you in every aspect of feedback are very much the bare minimum and continued failure to reach this low bar will continue to drive people away. I know from conversations with friends that I am not alone in these sentiments.

Closing thought: Is management actually aware of the criticisms/concerns of FS customers?

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So I can close any post like this now? Just get in and start trash-talking?

I mean these guys were not muted, their posts were not hidden and both of them were on the same side - it’s not like both sides started insulting each other.

:laughing:

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I totally agree with your sentiment and thought the logical and undesirable conclusion of what hedge was suggesting was obvious but left that out in the interest of moving the conversation forward. That said, it’s painfully apparent that in threads which aren’t critical of FS, trolls are individually muted but there are a number of more critical threads that were stealthily locked for seemingly no reason this week. Waking up to not be able to reply to the conversation when, except for a few blatant trolls, it seemed valuable/productive is another example of how the customer service has been extremely sub-par to date.

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Absolutely - not only do they read the forums and social media commentary, reports are passed on for concerns/complaints/feedback on a regular basis.

I don’t advise this.

if you wish to discuss moderation (including auto-moderation ), please email us at community@fatshark.se.

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Then I have to say, that greatly reinforces my decision and makes me more fervent in my resolve to see it through. It also makes me feel like my initial faith was misplaced and that I was foolish to have supported the product based on my previous, erroneous interpretations from end-state VT1.

No issues with moderation or auto-moderation aside from what was stated, which is more of an observation from this past week in particular, as stated. While that’s a purely anecdotal observation, I’ve never felt like that with moderation in other games and it’s a sentiment that should be avoided. Don’t have a followup to the moderation consideration but, if I did, I’d want any such discussion to be transparent, given the state of things.

It’s the same as telling your boss that they command your wrong.

Thank you for this answer Hedge, it further reinforces my faith in this game. We will see what will the management do in the next couple of months :slight_smile:

Might I ask why, though? If they’ve been “listening” this whole time, the feedback seems to have fallen mostly on deaf ears. This is especially evidenced because one of the most common criticisms is “talk to us more” and it’s taken months to reach even this level of developer rapport. It also suggests they’ve seen all of our feedback and criticisms regarding stuff like what you posted here and seemingly chose to ignore it.

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I’ve said in one of the older posts that I will give them 6 months to iron this game out and make it better, content-wise, gameplay-wise and overall quality wise. The game came out unfinished. Instead of releasing it on the March of 8th, they should’ve released it on September of 8th.
Yes, we got unfinished product, and that lowered my trust towards FS. But, on the other hand, in the sea of numerous WH40K titles this is one of the rare Warhammer fantasy games that is actually good and has a lot of potential (hell, besides TWW, it’s the only Warhammer fantasy title at the moment). I don’t know about you, but I don’t like 40K that much.
So, you see, I’m very biased here. I’m a Warhammer junkie, I fu*king love Warhammer fantasy and it’s like a drug to me. So far, this is a good drug, not the one that they’ve promised us, but a good one. And what are my options really? Besides this I play Warhammer Total War but that’s a whole different genre. I don’t like Mordheim or Blood Bowl because those IMO don’t qualify as good dru… I mean games :smiley: Just take a look at my Steam games and see for yourself the “list” of things that I play.
games2

Besides Witcher 3 on GOG and BF4 on Origin, Vermintide is the game that I’ve played the most these couple of months. Oh yeah, I have Doom installed as well, but I’ve pirated that one :grinning: (but I plan to buy it soon, it is really a great game that deserves to be bought)
So they will have my support until September. I think that’s quite enough time to fix and and improve Vermintide and set the foundations for the future of this game. In other words, I want to trust them.

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Just wanted to say I agree with basically everything in your OP, and you covered a lot of things I didn’t go over in my thread. As always you bring really excellent feedback to these forums, which I’m very sure takes a lot of time and effort.

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Thanks mang. Much appreciated. I was amused to see you had a similar post a few minutes before mine and you touched on points I missed as well. Also well thought out.

@Angerblaze that’s fair. I’ll give a more comprehensive response when I’m at a keyboard.

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You know right now I’m, really not on FS’s side, especially after the typical flawed game damage control forum “supervising” took place a few times now and I’m one of the last people who intend to white knight here but “hiring more people” isnt that easy for a “finished” (well lets say released) product…
Software like that is simply too confusing and, well, grew more over the time than just being created so just hiring a pack of throw away code monkeys that will do code monkey stuff isn’t going to work since code monkey stuff is restricted to easy reproducable Average-Jim tasks and protocols. Same with every other part of the company.
And by looking at the recent pacthes I bet my left ear and at least two fingers that people at FS themself dont 100% know what is happening with this thing they created (so yeah we make this faster and woops its crashing, why does it do that?). So getting someone effectively workready could consume more time, manpower and money than just biting trough with the native team. Even worse, if they would aim for serious business partners instead of the monkey pack (which is the only way to fix anything that isnt a crooked hello world sign), they probably need to settle with expensive long term contracts and actually find those people meaning that after the extreme high workload right now there are suddenly a bunch of overpayed people (instant workforce is expensive) sitting around doing nothing than eating up funds. So these people get occupied with some shovelware stuff to profit of them or at least cut the losses afterwards, tuning up the mass production button and suddenly there is another Blizzard Entertainment which once upon a time, far, far away made good games but not anymore.
And despite all the bitter derision I leave here I’m still glad this glitched pile of bugs, crashes and bad gamedesign is at least not turned into an ordinary, overpolished and boring AAA pile because the first one has the potential to get good someday while the second one is wasted money regardless of how long I wait for it to become good.

I agree for code but I mean even just general office work, PR positions, community interaction, QA, etc. I’m glad to hear they’ve got a new hire to help with community interaction, so that’s a start.

As said, that’s totally fair. Just the way I read your post I was confused cuz I was like, “wait, I know you’re upset about this stuff too.” For me, it’s already boiled over but that doesn’t prevent them from taking action to turn things around and pleasantly surprise me.

Off topic stuff:

Have you tried Warhammer: Dark Omen or Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat? Despite their age, they’re both phenomenal. SotHR is especially well done with tons of multiple paths and endings. I actually think it’s a better crafted experience than Total War: Warhammer. Incredible story and world-building that really gets the lore. Worth checking out.

I too prefer fantasy to 40k. I don’t dislike 40k but I find it far less interesting, engaging, or original. I prefer my sci-fi without as much fantasy mixed in, though I’ll admit I love the way Orc technology doesn’t actually “work,” they’re just such powerful psionics (without realizing it) that they simply will the material world to do their bidding within the scope of there limited intelligence.

Also, have you checked out Gotrek and Felix? Pretty awesome stuff and they have a new omnibus coming out this year.

I do hope the world finally convinces GW to further support Fantasy… it’s just such a good universe with such deep lore and so much potential that I hate seeing it go to waste.

Man-O-War is also based in the fantasy setting though its sorta like a less polished Sid Meier’s: Pirates.

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Bloodbowl while aesthetically being similar to fantasy is technically its own setting or I’d throw that out there as well.

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Just to throw in my two cents as a developer: hiring more developers usually makes things slower and worse for a period of at least a few months. There can be a lot of factors, but it boils down to new hires needing to learn some or all of the code base, language, systems, workflow, and so on… plus pulling time of already-experienced devs who have to train them. Then you have a bigger team to manage and assign work to, which means more people need to be responsible for that, etc. Also sometimes throwing more devs at a problem just makes it grow even worse; Often a project already has the right people, but what they need more of is TIME. Not having time, they hire more people and try to hit deadlines, and then you end up with fun things like http://selab.csuohio.edu/~nsridhar/teaching/fall06/eec521/readings/Gibbs-scc.pdf

I am still hopeful that they’ll eventually get this game where everyone wants it to be given time. I agree with you that it sucks to have to sit around and wait for an indefinite amount of time for these things and they could really use a few more hands-on-deck in non-dev areas, especially PR and customer interaction positions.

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Yes, to clarify I don’t mean for coding I mean for general corporate requirements, e.g. More community reps, QA, PR, etc

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So you DO know something about development… or did you just read the book I advised? smiley_face

100% in agreement on the dev points. Would be nice if more people had read
The Mythical Man-Month (or at least parts of it). My favorite line from your link: “The average software development project overshoots its schedule by half”

Fatshark will get the game there for sure. They got VT1 into a good state and honestly VT2 is far past where VT1 was 3 months in. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that VT1 trailed off and is almost dead since VT2’s launch (sale last week made it pick up a little).

Would just like to add that the QA team could be doing a great job. If a bug is caught there’s still no guarantee that it’ll get fixed. Developer time constraints and all that, at some point they just have to push what they have and go from there. For example, players caught huntman’s ludicrous boss damage early on in the 1.0.8 beta, but that made it to live.

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