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Join Date: Dec 2007
03-23-2012, 10:40 AM
Hale's summary is very solid.
It is much easier to maintain productive and civil discourse in an environment where it begins there and is actively maintained with communication that builds a level of trust to act as a buffer against the occasional individuals who will be unproductive regardless.
The duty officer area sees a lot of communication not because of any particular design by Cryptic, but because active communication is something that I personally believe justifies the time investment in healthy environments. The duty officer area specifically sees this because I happened to be the designer asked to shepherd the system to fruition.
Developers at Cryptic - with the exception of moderators, QA and Production - are neither required to or enjoined against posting; it is purely a personal call on the part of the individual developer. It is a significant time investment, and different disciplines and different situations may make it more or less effective as a tool. I believe in the right situations it can be a very useful tool, but I also recognize there are situations where it may not be effective, not the least of which because, let's be honest, it takes a certain degree of masochism for a developer to step into the light.
Different parts of the community and different people in different roles at Cryptic and Perfect World will inevitably have different priorities and a different focus. Even internally, there are different philosophies for design, interpretation of the IP, and execution of the design, and it is the internal processes that occur at any business - and certainly here - that analyze these, prioritize them and sort out what gets done when.
There are painful results of this. Some areas of the game - Klingons and PvP being two good examples - have not seen as much attention, focus and resources as many people - including many internally - would like. This isn't a malevolent plot, but rather a company as a unit taking a hard look at its internal resources, time, schedule, business considerations, dollars-to-people-drawn-in analysis and many other considerations and making what it feels is the best decision for the long term health and future of the game and the company.
Not everyone, certainly not in the community, and not even internally, is always going to interpret or agree with any particular assessment, but that's business and social organization for you - believe it or not, even the CEO doesn't always get what he wants.
Just as some players are passionate for certain aspects of the game and not other aspects, some developers similarly are passionate for certain aspects. When schedules and official company priorities do not line up, individual developers will sometimes come in outside of normal hours and work on things. Some of the Klingon ships, some of the PvP work, the ship interiors, and similar things are all outgrowths of this.
A part of the community that wants more attention can effectively direct this into two places:
First, individuals can make the case for more attention. Logic can help, but numbers speak louder. If lots of people buy Chance Boxes, Klingon ships, consoles, duty officers, or anything else, development resources will tend to follow that.
Second, where the community has ideas and individual developers see an opportunity to turn their own passion into solving a problem, even if it isn't directly on the schedule, the community and developers can work together.
In both of these cases, as much as it may be tempting to express anger and frustration in a hostile way, it will backfire and result in less attention, just as a fact of human nature.
Similarly, things that seem obvious to you may not seem obvious to other people, and in most of the firestorms on the forums I have seen there is missing information, sometimes on just one side, often on both. There is the knowledge that is gained from practical experience, and there is the knowledge that is gained from understanding of the innards of the systems, and good design comes out an amalgamation of both of these. This last point is exactly why I do encourage and believe in supporting frequent communication with the community.
Personally, I play PvP far more than I play PvE, and as I have had time I have tried to address what issues I can, and to champion it internally where I can. Where the community is able to be constructive and an effective, civil partner, and as time and schedule permit, I will happily engage it.