On communication.

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The latest issue of the 9th Scroll is here! You can read all about it in the news.

  • On communication.

    First off, I really want to say that I love this project, I think that you are all-in-all making an amazing game where the love and hard work put into it really shines through!
    Please have in mind that the following thoughts come from this place of admiration, I do not want to bash anyone nor overly criticize, but I do want to give some advice that I hope can help the project.

    (I really hope I don't come of know-it-all-y, that really isn't my intention. I really just want to give feedback and point out the things that I've experienced as a gamer and supporter.)

    My biggest (Or only.. The more I read, the more I'm leaning towards neutral at worst otherwise) issue with the 1.2 previews (No it isn't released yet!) is transparency and communication, or rather a lack thereof.

    I completely understand the need to distance this project from what was before and make this it's own game. They can never and should never be the same thing. But a lot of people still don't seem to understand this. Nor the thinking or logic behind it.

    After reading the 2nd scroll I feel like I understand more of the difficulty facing the project and why most changes have been made. It is an incredible tool and the people responsible for it are doing a great job.
    However, even with the scroll (due to late-ish release), I really don't think this information has been presented in a timely, clear and consistent way to the community in one official place.

    What I as a player, and I think many others, really would appreciate is clearer communication. You have an entire forum and multiple channels to use, do so!

    If you're just skipping through this, please atleast read point 3, I think this is the most crucial part.

    Some of this I've talked about in other thread earlier but anyways, my suggestions are to:
    1. Look over the releaseorder.
    Releasing previews after explaining why certain changes are made (i.e. scroll) would help a lot. If people know that all the books are being toned down, their personal nerf will not sting as much (but they still will ofcourse).

    I've had it explained to me that the scroll has been a last minute work from parts of the rules team but it doesn't have to be that detailed at first! I really love the scroll, it's really awesome. There is, however, such a thing as overworking and I feel that a lot of that information could have been summarized beforehand in a different medium. Then release the scroll, with more in-depth notes. I think this would make less people have issues with the AB previews.

    2. An up to date announcement thread.
    This part of the forum seems criminally under-used, it's the projects best venue for explaining it's vision! Use it on a regular basis to announce all the decisions that you can share with the community! Recruit new people for keeping track of this if you're able/need it.
    Dont overwork yourselves when there's thousands of people who'd love further insight into the project. (No you really don't have to give them the right to vote on important decisions, just take the help if the organization can stand it.)

    3. State your vision and mission.
    This is projects 101 guys! It's extremely useful and important and something I'm sure has been done internally already. Don't be afraid to share it.
    If you want to keep people around they have to both feel heard and you have to be damn sure they hear you! Create an official document/thread/w/e where you clearly and properly state point by point what you want to do, how you expect to do it, what changes that will entail etc etc.

    This would be the best place to once and for all properly explain the values behind the projects that can not and will not change!
    This would be things like how to avoid power-creep, that almost everything will get nerfed (unless I've misunderstood completely) more before the project is done and why this is so bloody important!

    I feel that alot of great things have been said about this just the last day(s) if not more but it's been all over the place. Collecting and clarifiyng the projects standpoints in a clear manner would be a win-win. (Especially for the staffmembers who're running around and answering the same lines with a few variations in every thread on the whole damn webpage!)

    I might very well have missed a thread/document such as this during my searching and if so I apologize in advance. (I can really be blind sometime). If it exists, please refer me to it and review it's position, wording and accessibility.

    4. Timeline.
    In different mediums you've briefly talked about your timeline, what order things will be released and what said releases will entail.
    Creating a clearer goalstructure will go hand-in-hand with this in the best case scenario, but please don't forget it! Saying that "this will change in a few months" puts out some fires, but having clear dates with a clear, visual aid in explaining this will surely help even more.

    Points 5-6 are more general ideas and suggestions, not being communicationpoints at their core.

    5. Stretch your deadlines! There's no value in releasing stuff fast just because you can. Make sure it's thoroughly worked through, and release everything as much on schedule as possible.
    People will whine about everything but take a note from Blizzard. If you don't feel ready to release or need another week, there's really no harm in that if it gives a more stable version. Ofcourse, this might be something you're already doing and I've missed that. This is mostly in regards to the rules- and content-teams as it sounds like they've been pressed for time.

    For the armybook previews, (much appreciated, great stuff from what I've seen!) set a collective deadline about a week before your prefered release date. Make sure all the previews cover the same things where possible (create a template for everything you can!) while ofcourse still allowing artistic freedom and the content-teams own unique flairs. This way, everyone would get access to the previews at the same time (schedule youtube-upload if needed!) or you can stagger it at your own pace to keep the teasing up.

    6. Keep a stable-version. (?)
    Someone (I think in the initial reactions thread) suggested that when you release a new version of the game, keep the earlier edition in a subfolder or a "stable" directory. This way people still have access to the earlier rules if they don't like the latest version, and you can atleast make people feel like they aren't "forced" to play something they don't like.

    I understand if this might seem problematic from a game-testing point of view since you are likely to loose a shitload of playtesters compared to "force-releasing" the versions, but this might mitigate some frowny-faces.
    I can also imagine this might be difficult if changes are made to steer clear of a certain IP.. All in all, information about this would be nice too! :D

    TL;DR - I completely realize and support the fact that this is not a democracy. It's authoritarian with community-input, which I really don't mind. Foremost because nothing would get done if thousands of people are supposed to answers polls before each change.
    HOWEVER, I really really believe that more transparency and information, collected and clearly formulated would make for a more easily acceptable and tolerated process.

    There is nothing that can be done about the process so far, but please take some input with you until the next release!

    Oh and btw, I saw someone write something about being intimidated by T9As organisational matrix because "it reminds me of a certain company"... This might be one of the most stupid things I've ever heard. For big projects like this, matrixes and clear organisations are extremely usefull if not indispensable. If anything I think this could be made more prominent and worked more upon, ad infinitum. :thumbsup:

    While my workload irl is pretty big at the moment I'd be more than happy to consult and spitball regarding this if there's an interest, just send me a PM! :love:

    T9A is my #1 hobby right now and I'd love to keep it that way, the last thing I want is for all the staffers to suffer burnout because of a lack of communication!

    Don't overwork yourself, don't let yourself get worn down (a short break is always better) and once again, huge kudos on a job well done! :party:

    Looking forward to more of your amazing work!

  • I'd like to mention something that has come up in other threads.

    A HUGE part of the uproar about 1.2 is because our expectations were not managed very well at all. We were expecting the 1.2 changes to be similar to the 1.1 changes, the 1.0 changes, etc. Not this massive nerf-fest across all armies.

    The idea that ALL the armies were going to be taking some pretty heavy hits was never once communicated to the community. Thus, when the nerfs started leaking out, nerdrage set in.

    A simple official notice that "The 1.2 changes will be a heavy nerf across the board to bring down several editions of GW codex creep" a week in advance would have sufficed. Yes, there would a week of whining.... but once the 1.2 leaks started happening, people would have started saying, "Well, that could have been worse, so this isn't so bad after all..."

    Mark this one down as a learning experience in how NOT to communicate about a major reduction in the game power level.
  • Big thanks @Nesgoth for the in depth analysis.
    Well appreciated and read (entirely!) by several "red-tags" already.

    V1.2 release did cause lots of concerns among the community.
    Some were anticipated and more or less mitigated with pre-releases which could improve, but also which could have been much, much worse if not for the fantastic work done by @blonde beer (kudos to him).
    Very bluntly, the focus was on new magic and new organisation, we failed to realize that most of the community would resent so much what was done to "their" favorite army.

    About mission and vision, please let me know how to improve the "about us" series, which is the first link from the home page rotating menu.

    Deadlines, timelines, stability, this is our daily concerns, the result you see is compromises.

    In brief, we will take advantage of the V1.2 lessons learned to try and improve the link with the community, which is to be involved earlier and deeper in the process.
    Thank you for your help.
    (now back to morning coffee and to work, where there is a running crisis, but real life...)

    Social Media Team

    UN Coordinator, aka UNSG

    - druchii.net contribution: The 9th Age - Dread Elves
  • @Calisson Thanks alot for the reply and your work! I'm glad to hear some "red-tags" have read it amongst all the chaos the last few days, I really hope you can use something from my pointers, it's easy to get blind to the flaws at home.

    I completely understand your position, stuff seldom work out the way you've planned either way and I'm sure that all the staffers will learn from the (few) mistakes and do an even better job moving forward!

    Regarding the About us-section. I like it! Really didn't see it though, perhaps changing the wording on it to something that's more likely to get pressed? For me it's one of those things that I generally skip over, changing it to something along the lines of "Team and vision" (ok maybe thats not the best name but you get my point) might make it more enticing.
    Also, I'd like to see something about how said balance would be brought about, i.e. through "minimizing power-creep by nerfing most units"/"banning all HBE-players" etc. (Sadly only) The first is something that's been thrown about the forums but I haven't actually found anything like it in the about us-section. Of course this would change to some degree between releases but I generally believe that more information = happier players so no need to hold back! ;)
    Lastly, I tried searching for "mission/vision/goal" and so on and didn't get any good results.. Are the about us-posts addable to the search engine? Perhaps I just used the wrong terms.

    I posted this in Initial Impressions of 1.2 but I feel it has some relevance here, as it concerns community feedback:

    Nesgoth wrote:

    While forum-polls is an OK way of getting insights I really would recommend doing more reliable surveys (really easy to do in Google's online tool). That'd let us get more proper correlations and statistically significant results.
    1 question polls are easily misunderstood and provide way too little information to all parties.
    This is basically b/c of people feeling that the army direction survey was misdirecting and hard to understand at times. Making easily understandable surveys isn't easy to begin with, especially not with so many different languages. With that said, having more questions with further variation and clearer scales should make it more valid and reliable.

    (Double kudos for putting out fires both IRL and here with us whiney nerds! :thumbsup: )