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The Dwindling Dev Tracker

First BioWare Post First BioWare Post

iamthehoyden's Avatar


iamthehoyden
08.29.2012 , 02:35 PM | #81
Quote: Originally Posted by JovethGonzalez View Post
If anything, measure against what we had before we started our increase in communication on August 8th. I guarantee that you will see a difference.
Thank you for the response. I actually just went back through the Dev Tracker in an effort to do just what you suggested and considering that it cuts off at August 9th, this would be difficult to verify. I thoroughly believe you are working behind the scenes, so to speak. I will look forward to reading the new blogs that will be coming.
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
---------------
Fan Fiction: My Name is Solomon Crae The Man in the Box

Vandicus's Avatar


Vandicus
08.29.2012 , 02:37 PM | #82
Quote: Originally Posted by iamthehoyden View Post
Thank you for the response. I actually just went back through the Dev Tracker in an effort to do just what you suggested and considering that it cuts off at August 9th, this would be difficult to verify. I thoroughly believe you are working behind the scenes, so to speak. I will look forward to reading the new blogs that will be coming.
Just an fyi it appears that dev tracker is buggy. Just checked and I can go back as far as late july right now, but yesterday I was only in recent August.
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Darasuum kote Mando'ade!

iamthehoyden's Avatar


iamthehoyden
08.29.2012 , 02:47 PM | #83
Quote: Originally Posted by Vandicus View Post
Regarding the questions you mentioned, I believe all three have directly or indirectly been answered by dev posts already. Forced mergers are allegedly happening by the end of summer(Sept 21), I believe SGRAs was stated as "in development"(which in their lingo is closer to release than "planned", but farther away from release than "soon") and paid transfers are coming at an unspecified time after the forced server merges. Last known answer on Makeb(which wasn't actually too long ago) was that they haven't decided whether or not to charge for it(from an interview). Sorry if I'm wrong on any of these, my memory isn't as fresh regarding these topics and their dev posts as it is on some others.

***

Just an fyi it appears that dev tracker is buggy. Just checked and I can go back as far as late july right now, but yesterday I was only in recent August.
It's defintely buggy. At any rate, data only as far back as July 31 doesn't really give a clear idea of what level has been the norm prior to August 8th.

As to the answers you have provided. This is actually what I was talking about. These aren't answers (aside from the SGRA one, which I'll address in a moment). "End of summer" is extremely vague and while some people are assuming this means Sept. 21, we've had no clarification that this is correct. Makeb - they haven't decided, again, not an answer that clarifies what they're doing with it. And as to the SGRAs, if you could point out where we have official, clear word that they're currently in development, that would be lovely. As to my knowledge, nothing official has been said regarding that set of features for over six months.
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
---------------
Fan Fiction: My Name is Solomon Crae The Man in the Box

Cured's Avatar


Cured
08.29.2012 , 02:57 PM | #84
Instead of playing Intergalactic web Dev acquisition race maybe include such things as outside post or information in the developer tracker for us. Most people come here for there information.....for obvious reasons.

Vandicus's Avatar


Vandicus
08.29.2012 , 03:07 PM | #85
Quote: Originally Posted by iamthehoyden View Post
As to the answers you have provided. This is actually what I was talking about. These aren't answers (aside from the SGRA one, which I'll address in a moment). "End of summer" is extremely vague and while some people are assuming this means Sept. 21, we've had no clarification that this is correct. Makeb - they haven't decided, again, not an answer that clarifies what they're doing with it. And as to the SGRAs, if you could point out where we have official, clear word that they're currently in development, that would be lovely. As to my knowledge, nothing official has been said regarding that set of features for over six months.
Well these are the best answers the team is allowed to give at the moment. They might still not have decided on whether or not to charge for Makeb right now, so they can't answer that. Not sure what you're expecting on that front. End of summer is a general time frame, versus a very specific one, much like TFB in September. They've given themselves a schedule within which they can work, and if they fail to meet that timeline, well that's a shame and something people will probably complain about. But it is a given schedule, just not a to the hour/day one. When developing products, especially so games(from my limited experience in Java) its hard to give exact figures on when a person is done. Don't even get me started on the disconnect between the people in marketing and the people actually working on the product.


Quote: Originally Posted by Tatile View Post
If you could, that would be lovely. If possible, could you also link your source in the Official SGRA thread, Vandicus? There are many people who have been hunting for the information as we are fast approaching two significant dates: the six months since the Guild Summit and a year (that is, twelve months) since the only post on these forums from a Bioware figure regarding SGRA's (that hasn't been a 'please post in the ignored thread'.)
Will do if I spot it. Having more difficulty than usual locating stuff, couldn't even find the TFB in September post to source one day(though its back now). Maybe I should start bookmarking these pages to have my own personal devtracker .

*EDIT

Actually didn't we have a thread that kept track of all the facts collected and released about game before the forums were wiped? Starting to look like we need those again, especially since most of the important info over the last few weeks has been coming in through dev posts in threads.
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Hessen's Avatar


Hessen
08.29.2012 , 03:22 PM | #86
Quote: Originally Posted by JovethGonzalez View Post

Finally, while this team is highly visible, a lot of what we do is internal: responding to developer requests for feedback, moderating the forums, writing patch notes, working with localization, sending various documents & ideas for approvals, working with marketing, maintaining relationships with fan sites & guilds, attending game development meetings, escalating issues, following up on bugs, and much, much more.
Thank you for the response.

Unfortunately I don't feel the quote above is relevant when related towards the promise of improved communication to subscribers.

I'm not doubting you work hard and have plenty to do, but as a customer I don't really care about your other responsibilities, I care about visually seeing improved communication as promised. And at the moment I still feel the levels aren't acceptable. (as someone who follows SWTOR on Twitter, Facebook and is on these forums regularly)

Tatile's Avatar


Tatile
08.29.2012 , 03:25 PM | #87
I know I'm probably going to get ripped apart for saying this but I don't have a Facebook account and don't plan on getting one. Is it possible to have any information relayed on Facebook also posted on the Official forums in some way? I am under the impression that one needs to have a Facebook account in order to view a person's page. Or book. I'm assuming book. Of faces.

Kubernetic's Avatar


Kubernetic
08.29.2012 , 03:32 PM | #88
Quote: Originally Posted by Tatile View Post
Ok, you have a point, this isn't entirely about numbers, it's about substance. As much as I'd like to see us hitting the high 20's with developer responses, it would all be for naught if those responses are merely just more of the same "Soon™" we've been receiving.

I'd like to see named members of the community team responding in the SGRA thread. Just one at the moment would be enough. Ideally I'd like to see them getting involved in the discussions and conversations that happen on these boards, but, as evidenced by Ms. Berryman's posting here, there isn't the time for that.

To me, posts that say "We're aware of this" or "We like this" aren't what I would consider 'good' communication. Yes, it is a form of communication, but then so is a temper tantrum two year old. Ms. Berryman specifically came into this thread to tell us how the developer tracker works and what kinks it has. That I appreciate. Ms. Berryman's second post helps to alleviate some concerns that I had about the future of their communication via the forums.

Developer posts aren't all encompassing when it comes to communication. I would like to see patch notes posted on the site ahead of deployment - even if the patch isn't being run on the PTS (our little x.x.# patches, for example). I would like to see the developers discussing the reasons behind their changes when they do class or other mechanics adjustments. Obviously this takes more time, but the information to create such articles must already exist, it's merely formatting it.

I realise that people get angry about release dates and those being missed, but I feel that some of that tension could be avoided if we are kept informed about why changes and delays are happening. Something like "we aren't happy with how some features are working out" or "we ran into some unexpected coding issues" maybe even a simple thing like a window broke and now the kitchen is flooded so half the electrics had to be turned off for a day and that put a kink in production. People are getting annoyed because we have a lack of detail, a lack of insight.
For Starters...

While it's certainly your right to have these expectations, I think you need to calibrate your expectations and bring them in line with reality.

One of the main problems I see here with people who are upset (or at least concerned) in this thread is that you have some vague expectation of an acceptable level of performance that you desire, but have no way to really quantify or set the expectation on what that is.

What it seems to boil down to is that you have certain questions that you want answered, in verbose fashion, including exacting dates for release and availability in game. And if they are not answered to your satisfaction, then you claim the developers are "not communicating enough".

This is, in my opinion, a flawed way of thinking and not really conducive to anyone's happiness, either the developers themselves, or you, or the others who frequent the forums and have to keep going over this time and time again. So let me explain.

We Are Customers, Not Insiders...

As someone else suggested, either in this thread or another, you aren't really cleared for that level of access. While I'm sure that BioWare considers you a valued customer and desires your continued subscription fees, you haven't been cleared for authorized release of this information, are under no Non-Disclosure Agreement or any legal structure to allow you to be held to a standard of secrecy, and so forth.

In some cases, what you're asking for are pieces of internal data that they just aren't ready to release yet. Continuing to post multiple threads about how you are unhappy that they aren't releasing this information, or at least some speculative prediction of when these elements might be available, is not at all constructive or reasonable.

They aren't holding this information back to make you upset. They aren't holding it back because they hate you. They aren't holding it back because of a wish to be manipulative and sucker you out of all the cash you can fork over before you realize they were just lying to you all along.

Programming And Development Is An Art, Not Necessarily A Science...

If you haven't taken part in a large development project like this before, you may not understand the basic mechanics, but a behemoth of an effort like this is not something that you can run with scientific accuracy. Programming really is an art in many respects, because the programming languages are just that, languages. There are different ways to accomplish the same task, and sometimes you may not realize that you've chosen a wrong method for achieving that task until much of the work is done and you realize it's now conflicting with other areas of the programming code that have already been constructed and are not really viable for a rewrite.

What this means is, giving out exact dates for release is a fool's errand. They would be stupid to do such a thing when they are not sure that it will launch by that time.

Just take a look at this thread itself as an example. At some point, a community manager said "We're going to be communicating more often...", and with that simple comment, here we have an entire multi-page thread where people all have their own ideas on what that comment was supposed to mean. One user even assigned it a number... "12 posts per day", when no community manager ever even gave a specific number of posts, or promised such a thing. It was just invented in someone's head as a measuring stick, and now they EXPECT the developers to comply with the measuring stick they have deemed valid, or else they will now feel slighted and more frustrated.

What do you think will happen when they give out a specific date, and some sort of a design/mechanics issue prevents them from launching the content on that date? I can tell you what will happen. All hell will break loose. It's happened in other games when this occurred, and it would happen here.

Given that we're not talking about trade secret information such as the underlying design and mechanics of the Super Secret Space Project, the details of which are obviously being held back for a number of reasons including wishing that competing games with a similar genre, such as Star Trek Online, EVE, Project Titan, and others won't take their planned design and start trying to mimic and copy it in advance, they have obviously determined that the best course of action for anything coming into the game (for the most part) is to just say that "it's coming soon".

This is the only way they can avoid the obvious explosions of angst and vitriol that always accompany a missed launch target. And they are right to do so. This thread is all the justification anyone should need to reaffirm that BioWare's methods here are correct.

Now, sometimes they know they're close enough to a certain deliverable that they can give us something more tangible than "soon". They were able to tell us at some point that character transfers would "be here at the beginning of summer", for instance. I will note, however, that one poster made a thread sometime prior to the enabling of transfers and stated in no uncertain terms that they said "beginning of summer", and to this poster that meant if it was even ONE DAY LATE beyond June 21st, it would be officially considered "late". See what I mean?

They had confidence that 1.2 would drop "sometime in early April", and it did. They had confidence that the latest event would launch "sometime in August", and it did. They have stated that the new operation "Terror From Beyond" will drop in September. We'll have to see.

SGRA As A Working Example...

SGRA specifically is an intricate beast, as you well know if you've progressed through the various trees of companion advancement. While I understand the desire to have this in the game, you must also understand that there are other concerns than just flipping a few switches and replacing some lines of code. While it might have been nice if they could have included that dynamic from the very launch of the game, it requires additional mechanics to be implemented that probably would have extended the original development cycle and perhaps even pushed back the launch date beyond December 2011.

For instance, they probably need to add a "Sexual Preference" element into the character creation system now, because I'm going to want to stipulate that my characters are heterosexual so that I avoid the SGRA elements. There are some of the companion lines that almost force you along certain paths, and those are going to need to be altered so that they don't exist anymore, and that a relationship with any companion can be either squashed or ended at some point. This may not have been in the original design.

So when they aren't giving specific dates for release, there could be a number of issues involved, not only that it might be a lot of work for a small demographic of the overall game population, but that it just might be pretty darned difficult to accomplish, and as they move to implement these changes, they keep finding more and more elements of the entire companion interaction system that have to be altered and retooled. The more that happens, the more vague a release date becomes.

Ultimate Expectations...

While it might be nice if we could have background reasoning on everything that's happening, first off you have to remember that there are hundreds of thousands of players here, not just yourself. And each of us has our own desires as to what will be in the game and when.

It would be absolutely impossible for them to be giving you continual updates on every single moving piece of the team within BW HQ as you are requesting. There are too many things happening, and too many issues involved for them to be doing this on all fronts for all customers. As they said, they have a lot of other responsibilities too, not the least of which is maintaining the forums and keeping the posters from turning the asylum inside out, so to speak. They have development meetings, they have localization efforts to accomplish, patch notes to write, and all sorts of other tasks that, combined with a "running dialogue on every single aspect of development" would be overwhelming and require its own huge dedicated team, almost as large as the entire development team.

Not only that, but since they aren't the actual developers, you're now also trying to goad the developers themselves into STOPPING DEVELOPMENT in order to EXPLAIN WHY DEVELOPMENT ISN'T HAPPENING FAST ENOUGH, which is ultimately just drawing everything out even longer. That makes no Earthly sense. These expectations are not in line with reality.

They've said they have some developer blogs coming in. But those will be snapshots of what's happening, not a running streaming live video of all activities. You should set your expectations accordingly. I don't think any company anywhere is ever going to be able to provide the details that some of the customers appear to want. It just isn't possible on a budget.

So they'll have to pick and choose certain elements to report on. And when they do that, it isn't going to be because they're hiding something (unless they are actually trying to hide something, like the internal mechanics of the SSSP), but simply because you have to choose your battles and focus on the ones you can win. And you have to stay out of the hair of the developers enough so that they can actually keep developing the game, so that the elements you want to see can actually be implemented, rather than besieging the entire staff with reporting paralysis.

Sorry about the book, but I keep seeing this happening in repeated threads, and I think it's high time that those with unreasonable and unrealistic expectations realize what they are doing, and figure out how to move forward with a more understanding outlook.

As always, your mileage may vary.
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Hessen's Avatar


Hessen
08.29.2012 , 03:38 PM | #89
I completely agree that unrealistic and unreasonable expectations, both prior to and after release is a huge problem.

However, how much of expectation management is down to the end user, and how much is down to the service provider though?

Given that people having poor expectations and leaving the game as a result of them is bad for both the customer and the company, surely they should have a vested interest in trying to manage those expectations as best they can?

Tatile's Avatar


Tatile
08.29.2012 , 03:39 PM | #90
My expectations are unreasonable, then. As I clearly cannot manage my expectations I'll do the next best thing. Thank you.