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Anet... just stop for a moment


Labjax.2465

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As someone who has been burned out far too many times, I can tell you that when you are burned out, it's hard to do anything, much less be creative, thorough, and thoughtful.

So... Anet: if you are working with too few people to do too much work and running ragged, I don't care what corpo reasons there are for doing it, you need to slow down and pay attention to detail. You can't keep going full steam ahead while running over the concerns of your players. It's not working. The quality of work you are putting out is repeatedly shoddy and people can tell. You are coming up on a 10 year milestone for this game and are currently positioning yourself to have it be a source of mockery and disillusionment instead of celebration.

I know there'll be some "but you have to be realistic about how a business runs..." gut reactions if anyone reads this, it doesn't matter because Anet, you have to be realistic about where you are headed and what it's doing to your game, brand, and company.

You just went full speed ahead on a patch that your community panned and now you have taken on more work so you can address the concerns in the future? When are you going to find the time? If you couldn't find the time in your plans to delay the patch, how could anyone think you'll have the time to address its concerns in the near future?

In fleeting moments, you seem to genuinely want to care about player concerns, but you don't have any time or energy to allocate to it. How do you think you are going to sustain this game that way? Reflect on it a moment, please: which is worse, a game with slightly slower content patches or a game with faster content patches that are buggy and poorly-thought-out, with issues that have to be fixed after?

Step back, focus your energy, and be realistic about what you can do with the resources you have. Underestimate what your teams can do if you have to. You probably have some people who are overachievers, who burn themselves out trying be incredible and then can't sustain it. You have to anticipate for that. You are in this for the long haul. This isn't a term paper you've got to turn in before midnight. Act like it.

And give the players more credit. For heaven's sake, they put up with an enormous amount from you, despite having no say in what happens, ever, other than voicing an opinion that (like this) will probably never be read or taken seriously. And if you feel disrespected reading what some of them say, or it hurts your feelings, I can sympathize, but they have feelings too and they can feel disrespected too by what you're saying and what you're putting out. I guarantee you most of these people just want to enjoy your game. Make time for their concerns with action (not just words) and they will respect you more. It's not a big ask. It's an essential part of keeping in touch with the people who play your game, so it can stay strong and keep growing.

That's all I got. I fully expect to be taken unseriously by some other players for this, but I got no way to message you directly, so this'll have to do.

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I dunno losing half your studio probably might be the reason.

 

Company morale is a thing, when employees are happy they generally do better work. Lack of job security and losing your buds alongside effective people in the pipeline and of course it'll be a giant mess.

 

That being said, it is a business which means this is entirely a management problem, not burnout.

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2 minutes ago, Kalocin.5982 said:

I dunno losing half your studio probably might be the reason.

 

Company morale is a thing, when employees are happy they generally do better work. Lack of job security and losing your buds alongside effective people in the pipeline and of course it'll be a giant mess.

 

That being said, it is a business which means this is entirely a management problem, not burnout.

Sure, those are possible reasons, but regardless, what they're currently doing is a problem.

As to the last point... management style can lead to burnout.

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4 minutes ago, Labjax.2465 said:

Sure, those are possible reasons, but regardless, what they're currently doing is a problem.

As to the last point... management style can lead to burnout.

It's true management style can lead to burn out, but I suspect the constant change in who's running the company over four years has led to more problems. It started when Colin left, followed Mike Z, followed by some guy I can't even remember. Mike O'Brien took over for part of the time in there too.  Then Colin came back with Grouch. There was a big layoff during that time and a major reorganization. 

 

It's hard to believe that there's a lot of stability when both Amazon and Microsoft are right down the road, hiring people way at salaries that Anet can't match.

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7 minutes ago, Vayne.8563 said:

It's true management style can lead to burn out, but I suspect the constant change in who's running the company over four years has led to more problems. It started when Colin left, followed Mike Z, followed by some guy I can't even remember. Mike O'Brien took over for part of the time in there too.  Then Colin came back with Grouch. There was a big layoff during that time and a major reorganization. 

 

It's hard to believe that there's a lot of stability when both Amazon and Microsoft are right down the road, hiring people way at salaries that Anet can't match.

To that point, I always wonder who is the main person the studio head answers to, considering this is owned by NCSoft, as is BW with EA and SWTOR has gone through similar revolving door with leadership and similar problems in its late life.

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1 minute ago, Labjax.2465 said:

To that point, I always wonder who is the main person the studio head answers to, considering this is owned by NCSoft, as is BW with EA and SWTOR has gone through similar revolving door with leadership and similar problems in its late life.

I honestly have no idea how they get anything done, between organization and deadline issues, and other stuff that comes up.  It's a kitten hard job...and I'm not sure how much of the community really gets the number of factors that go into making a game like this.

Anet doesn't get everything right, for sure. But for the game I want to play they've had a pretty decent track record, though it's worse for me now than it used to be.

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5 minutes ago, Vayne.8563 said:

I honestly have no idea how they get anything done, between organization and deadline issues, and other stuff that comes up.  It's a kitten hard job...and I'm not sure how much of the community really gets the number of factors that go into making a game like this.

Anet doesn't get everything right, for sure. But for the game I want to play they've had a pretty decent track record, though it's worse for me now than it used to be.

Makes me think of the story surrounding Anthem and its development. I'm paraphrasing from memory, but one thing that stands out to me from that story was that bioware management had this delusional idea that even if things were a mess, they could be worked out in the end because of "bioware magic." It makes me wonder how many games that turned out well were barely held together by overachievers in key positions at the right time. As someone who has a tendency to want to overachieve because of people-pleasing, I can imagine how this might happen: you have some people in the right places at the right time who very much want a game to succeed, who are under crunch, and they go above and beyond to make it happen despite mismanaged time and resources. And instead of management noticing them (they aim to please, not to be egotistical and noticeable), management takes it as a sign that their management style was fine and it'll all work out in the end. Maybe it even continues to work the next couple of times, but eventually it doesn't work out so well and those people can't keep it up because you can't overachieve forever, you burn out. So then management gets in trouble, or spins it as a learning moment and fails upwards, and you get someone else in there to do the same thing over again, who also doesn't understand how to make things happen.

I had an experience not too far off from this in micro, in a college game project I was doing on the side with a couple other people. One of the people had big ideas, but never showed up to contribute beyond it and it ended up being me scraping together the programming for the entire thing with minimal programming knowledge and feverish googling, and the other person providing the art and design concepts. It was janky, but could have been nothing if I hadn't bended over backward to make something happen. Not that I deserve all the credit for it, but just relating it to what I'm saying about overachieving.

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You will have more chance to reach them with a video with Teapot (try to shower him with "gifts" also).

Just open Viber-esque channel for messages  + Skype the   with pros and Teapot .  I wont believe that will create any mess for the World first pve scenarios ..

Edited by Killthehealersffs.8940
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The game and combat system were always too good for the niche they aimed at with this revenue system. That has always set player expectations too high. Its really not a triple A game in many respects, but it the great gameplay leaves people wishing for what it could have been.

 

It was never in the cards, just enjoy it for what it is.

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7 hours ago, Kalocin.5982 said:

I dunno losing half your studio probably might be the reason.

 

Company morale is a thing, when employees are happy they generally do better work. Lack of job security and losing your buds alongside effective people in the pipeline and of course it'll be a giant mess.

 

That being said, it is a business which means this is entirely a management problem, not burnout.

Replacing them with clueless newbies probably didn't help. 

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15 hours ago, Vayne.8563 said:

I honestly have no idea how they get anything done, between organization and deadline issues, and other stuff that comes up.  It's a kitten hard job...and I'm not sure how much of the community really gets the number of factors that go into making a game like this.

Anet doesn't get everything right, for sure. But for the game I want to play they've had a pretty decent track record, though it's worse for me now than it used to be.

Game development is hard but what the leaked chat showed is that Anet just makes it harder for themselves on purpose. Not only they advertised this balance patch as an awesome new rework of the classes, an epic balance patch. They gave it to people who don't know the classes they were supposed to rework! It's absurd! If they cared, they wouldn't have done it. Period. 

They use discord for conversations insulting Players, discord which allegedly already has leaked for them in the past. No lessons learned there. Sure, maybe the dude said a lot of other good things but Players will remember a) that he insulted them and likes to cause the worst emotions in them (I wonder how he feels now), b) that the lead of the balance team knows almost nothing about his job.

Game communities are a difficult lot, you just should not do crap like this! It's just showed how little respect they have for their playerbase. 

I'm saying it as a person who's been on their side always, since the Factions release. Always defended them, believing they had the game's and the Players' best interest in mind. This stupid chat proved me that I was an idiot. I just lost the trust in them completely. 

I'm sorry for the rest of the Anet team, having t out up with it. I've been there in my own work and it sucks. But you know who's fault it is. Please fix this mess. 

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1 hour ago, nutri.1385 said:

Game development is hard but what the leaked chat showed is that Anet just makes it harder for themselves on purpose. Not only they advertised this balance patch as an awesome new rework of the classes, an epic balance patch. They gave it to people who don't know the classes they were supposed to rework! It's absurd! If they cared, they wouldn't have done it. Period. 

They use discord for conversations insulting Players, discord which allegedly already has leaked for them in the past. No lessons learned there. Sure, maybe the dude said a lot of other good things but Players will remember a) that he insulted them and likes to cause the worst emotions in them (I wonder how he feels now), b) that the lead of the balance team knows almost nothing about his job.

Game communities are a difficult lot, you just should not do crap like this! It's just showed how little respect they have for their playerbase. 

I'm saying it as a person who's been on their side always, since the Factions release. Always defended them, believing they had the game's and the Players' best interest in mind. This stupid chat proved me that I was an idiot. I just lost the trust in them completely. 

I'm sorry for the rest of the Anet team, having t out up with it. I've been there in my own work and it sucks. But you know who's fault it is. Please fix this mess. 

I don't judge an entire company on the words of five or six people. I've known devs who've worked for this game before, because they've been in my guild. You can't have hundreds of people working somewhere and have all of them be equally diligent. It just doesn't happen.

 

And you have a couple of guys who've been back for a few months doing tons of stuff all at once. Stuff is absolutely going to fall through the cracks. And there are people who work for you that can pull the wool over your eyes and convince you they have some answers when they really don't. I'm not naive enough to think that everyone that works at Anet is conscientious or good, nor am I narrow enough in my view to believe that people that work their don't care. It's so easy to make black and white statements when you're not in a place and haven't seen what's going on.


I've worked in places where the wrong people, in retrospect the obviously wrong people, were put in positions where they causes the company either embarrassment or actual damage.  In a couple of cases, I assigned those people to roles myself. You could say I didn't care, but since I  did you'd be wrong. I simply made a mistake because my relationship with those people was different than their relationship with people beneath them.


It's so easy to make snap judgements with the tiny bit of evidence we have, but what we have is a tiny bit of evidence. Quotes from a few people from a mid-sized company that is being run by people who've fairly recently returned. 

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8 minutes ago, Vayne.8563 said:

I don't judge an entire company on the words of five or six people. I've known devs who've worked for this game before, because they've been in my guild. You can't have hundreds of people working somewhere and have all of them be equally diligent. It just doesn't happen.

 

And you have a couple of guys who've been back for a few months doing tons of stuff all at once. Stuff is absolutely going to fall through the cracks. And there are people who work for you that can pull the wool over your eyes and convince you they have some answers when they really don't. I'm not naive enough to think that everyone that works at Anet is conscientious or good, nor am I narrow enough in my view to believe that people that work their don't care. It's so easy to make black and white statements when you're not in a place and haven't seen what's going on.


I've worked in places where the wrong people, in retrospect the obviously wrong people, were put in positions where they causes the company either embarrassment or actual damage.  In a couple of cases, I assigned those people to roles myself. You could say I didn't care, but since I  did you'd be wrong. I simply made a mistake because my relationship with those people was different than their relationship with people beneath them.


It's so easy to make snap judgements with the tiny bit of evidence we have, but what we have is a tiny bit of evidence. Quotes from a few people from a mid-sized company that is being run by people who've fairly recently returned. 

Personally, I don't think Anet employees don't care. Even the one relating to leaks.

I do tend to think, however, that in general (due to how companies tend to be structured in this... society model... way of doing things) it's more often the people with the clearest picture on what to do and how to do it who have the least power and influence. At least insofar as it's a kind of work where what to do and how to do it is not something measurable that you can get certifications for. Like I'm not saying nurses know better than doctors. But a lot of qualification in entertainment is half BS. You have the technical skills you can't BS easily like programming or 3d modeling, but then there's stuff like design where what determines quality is very nebulous. And with a system that rewards people for being associated with a project that was received well by audiences, you're inevitably going to end up with people steadily climbing the ladder whose work was maybe skillful, but was largely carried by the work of others in terms of how the final product was received.

In a roundabout way, I guess I'm touching on the Peter Principle. And like with that principle, it's not as though it's the person's fault for being promoted to a position they can't do effectively. But the consequence is that people who can't handle a role are doing it.

There's also just the whole thing of the job market and how a lot of it has more to do with connections and being someone the others at the office want to work with than being the most effective person for the role. The main exception being roles where qualifications and the rarity of them takes precedence over likability.

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7 hours ago, Vayne.8563 said:

I don't judge an entire company on the words of five or six people. I've known devs who've worked for this game before, because they've been in my guild. You can't have hundreds of people working somewhere and have all of them be equally diligent. It just doesn't happen.

 

And you have a couple of guys who've been back for a few months doing tons of stuff all at once. Stuff is absolutely going to fall through the cracks. And there are people who work for you that can pull the wool over your eyes and convince you they have some answers when they really don't. I'm not naive enough to think that everyone that works at Anet is conscientious or good, nor am I narrow enough in my view to believe that people that work their don't care. It's so easy to make black and white statements when you're not in a place and haven't seen what's going on.


I've worked in places where the wrong people, in retrospect the obviously wrong people, were put in positions where they causes the company either embarrassment or actual damage.  In a couple of cases, I assigned those people to roles myself. You could say I didn't care, but since I  did you'd be wrong. I simply made a mistake because my relationship with those people was different than their relationship with people beneath them.


It's so easy to make snap judgements with the tiny bit of evidence we have, but what we have is a tiny bit of evidence. Quotes from a few people from a mid-sized company that is being run by people who've fairly recently returned. 

It's true, and I'm over reacting. I shouldn't judge them that way, but those mistakes the balance team did with this discord are so basic, that it's really hard not to be frustrated. I don't even care about their balance. I care about their lack of respect towards their playerbase, which is now proven by their own words. 

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22 minutes ago, nutri.1385 said:

It's true, and I'm over reacting. I shouldn't judge them that way, but those mistakes the balance team did with this discord are so basic, that it's really hard not to be frustrated. I don't even care about their balance. I care about their lack of respect towards their playerbase, which is now proven by their own words. 

I feel you. I could have forgiven some poor balancing. Tbh, I even could have forgiven what was said in private that leaked out, as long as it was clear the dev would face consequences for it (e.g. bare minimum, a stern talking to, if not a reevaluation of the work they're doing and how).

But when the game director comes out and lumps together calls for someone to be fired and death threats, and says both types are not welcome in the community, that crossed a line for me. It went from being about biased balancing from Anet to being about "toxicity" from the community. That along with doing nothing other than promising to do better and essentially saying "sorry, we have to go full speed ahead because development is hard."

I mean, I think what I'm trying to get at here is that *they* created a toxic situation and then treated their players in a toxic way when they were called out on it. And I still would like a reason, any decent reason, to let it slide as a moment of corporate confusion and organizational failure, but so far, they've provided nothing whatsoever to make me think they are going to do anything other than hope people forget about it after a while and keep doing what they've already scheduled to do. I wrote the OP in part because I would like a reason to be able to forgive them for it and move on. And I would like them to do better going forward, rather than implode and hemorrhage players.

Edit: Also, I think it's worth saying that despite criticisms I have about the game, I believe this is a game that has some really amazing design in it and there are a lot of people who have worked on it past or present who should be very proud of what they were able to make. And knowing that, and being heavily creative myself, makes it all the more painful when it is messed with carelessly.

Edited by Labjax.2465
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10 hours ago, Vayne.8563 said:

I don't judge an entire company on the words of five or six people.

I don't even judge the company. I just look at the delivered service/product.

However, I do look at official statements from people in higher management roles, like a game director, and how they respond and adress issues.

And not even apologizing a little bit for the misbehaviour of his employee(s) (documented in the leaked chat logs) but instead blaming the customers/community and lump a lot of the critics together with people that make death threads does not look  so good, in my opinion.

 

10 hours ago, Vayne.8563 said:

And there are people who work for you that can pull the wool over your eyes and convince you they have some answers when they really don't. I'm not naive enough to think that everyone that works at Anet is conscientious or good, nor am I narrow enough in my view to believe that people that work their don't care.

Most people in most companies care about their job and are passionate about what they do. But you have also (in all/most companies) underperformers and overperformers and people that don't have the maturity that's required for their responsibilities.

It is the job of leadership/management (on all levels) to identify such and put all people in positions that will help to achieve the common goal/vision of the company. And to communicate the common goal/vision/direction of the company internally to employees and externally to customers and partners.

 

10 hours ago, Vayne.8563 said:

And you have a couple of guys who've been back for a few months doing tons of stuff all at once. Stuff is absolutely going to fall through the cracks.

Sure. "Balancing" is such stuff that has fallen through the cracks. For Years.

There is good and bad management. Good management makes sure that important things don't fall through the cracks.

If people want to blame someone at Anet they should blame the management that allowed all this to happen.

 

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4 hours ago, nutri.1385 said:

It's true, and I'm over reacting. I shouldn't judge them that way, but those mistakes the balance team did with this discord are so basic, that it's really hard not to be frustrated. I don't even care about their balance. I care about their lack of respect towards their playerbase, which is now proven by their own words. 

I'm sometimes frustrated by stuff Anet does. I just refuse to paint everyone with one brush.  I can be made at changes without being mad at the entirety of the company.  I mean I've made plenty of mistakes in my life, but I've been blamed for far more than the mistake I've made personally.

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