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Gathering Feedback

First BioWare Post First BioWare Post

sdom's Avatar

02.22.2019 , 11:32 AM | #31
Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
Hey folks,

I wanted to kick off a thread and add some clarity on influencers plus seek out some feedback onÖ feedback (the influencer topic came up here). First, the clarity. I think there became a misconception that we are in constant communication about game updates or future content with the influencers that the rest of the players arenít receiving, this isnít true. Since they are under NDA there are situations that they may hear info earlier or be a sounding board for ideas, but it is extremely infrequent. A lot of our communications happening with them in their forum is logistical (sharing their content, etc). Second, is the feeling that we weigh their feedback more than other players, which is also not true. The influencers are a great source of a snapshot of their community, so they can give us a feedback from a number of players at once. However, this in no way means that we weigh the feedback that comes from them differently then the feedback we receive here on the forums, on reddit, from PTS, social media, or any other sources.

I definitely hear the genuine concern though that we, BioWare, are not gathering your feedback as much as you want us to be. This is something that over the past year or so we have really made a lot of strides to improve and so the question I want to pose is how we can improve further! Let me talk about the various sources that we collect and respond to feedback, and based on that, letís talk about how we can get better.
  • PTS Ė This is one of the places we have put some of the largest efforts. This started in earnest with 5.9.2. Once an update goes on PTS the team has been fairly ravenous in grabbing any and all feedback we can get. This goes from bugs to general change requests. We canít always account for all feedback and sometimes it may be at odds with design goals, but the team works to change as much as we can before we launch it. We have similarly moved away from announcing specific launch dates so that we can work with you during PTS to get the update to a good place before going live.
  • Forum posts Ė In some cases we either wonít have enough time on PTS to get meaningful feedback or it isnít something that will go on PTS at all. In these instances we have been trying to make detailed forum posts to highlight exactly what you can expect, so we can gather feedback even without your ability to get hands on (think of the Guild Perks posts).
  • General feedback Ė This is a constant stream of feedback coming from you, the players, to us. This comes from a large number of sources but primarily here on the forums, Reddit, and social media.
  • Planned feedback sessions Ė These can happen in a few different forms. We used to more prominently use PTS in a closed environment under NDA, although we have moved away from it. We also will host focus testing sessions. Most commonly these are in Austin but we have hosted them all over the world. They are hand-recruited sessions under NDA, typically very early in the process.
  • Data Ė This isnít feedback, but, data is very important in our feedback cycle as we will compare the information we are receiving from any sources to what we are seeing in the behavior of players.

With all of that out thereÖ how can we improve? I know our feedback loop is by no means perfect, but being able to gather your feedback consistently for each update on PTS has helped us quite a bit in getting direct feedback from you. Share your thoughts!

Thanks all.

How's this for "feedback".
  • It takes your team around an average of a week to respond to most tickets, frequently longer in a lot of cases
  • On an administration level, even the times that tell you when to contact customer support, at least in the context of the UK, is incorrect, and the thread you link everyone to by default is outdated every time we move in to a cycle where the clocks move forward.
  • Your terms of service team understand absolutely nothing about the concept of context, and frequently pull players for ridiculous things like chat profanity, when there is a profanity filter
  • When questioned, your team does not have a process in place for consumer rights which is of course, against trading standards laws
  • Your customer service team are both rude and robotic. They stick to a set script and have no problems speaking over you on the phone which is extremely ignorant and unprofessional
  • Your account disputes team have never used one ounce of common sense to convey a judgement on a dispute issue, even once in their lives

How about see instead of focusing on a game that is largely complained about as being incompetent in a lot of areas, FIX YOUR OWN HOUSE. That way you'll actually have a working hierarchy that can cope with the needs of the product you are trying to build. Your english based customer support team aren't even properly fluent in the language that's allocated to them, and I'm sick of having to foxtrot umbrella charlie kolto indica norway gamma spell it out to them every time i need help with an account issue.

Outside of the fact they compromise your entire company's legal standing, it would also be nice to speak to someone capable of giving the customer support. I think you've assessed the major problems in your game as mechanics based, which is incorrect in my books. Your real problem is you're short of the right talent at your back end across the board and you're trying to achieve great results with a less than great workforce.

Jyroshi's Avatar

02.22.2019 , 11:36 AM | #32
As others have said - respond on topics, feedback should not be one way. Especially after bigger updates..

This does not mean you have to argue in dept about all the details. Just acknowledge you read something and will internally discuss some issue. If possible give us an timeframe when to expect new info for it, or post updates on the topic.
Try to explain your reason / decission why you changed something in the way it is or why you won't change it.

Perhaps make a list (like for the known bugs) and let us know on which issues you're working or collect the most urgent problems.

Make me feel it's worth my time to write my opinion and give my feedback to you ;-)

DarthSpuds's Avatar

02.22.2019 , 11:57 AM | #33
I'd be inclined to give balanced, informed and structured feedback if there was even one iota of evidence that Bioware actually listens to that feedback. Command Crates, Conquest, and Slot Locked Mods is all indicative that they don't.

I predict this is a "make them think we care by asking for feedback, it worked last time" type of thread.

Here's the ONLY bit of Feedback Bioware needs to be able to understand that they are repeatedly, and serially wrong in the decisions they make.

We used to have over 200 Servers, now we have 6.

Until Bioware is honest enough to shoulder the blame for that more feedback will be as pointless as all previous feedback.

All The Best

If you think my comment has been helpful in anyway please >>Click Here<< for the Refer A Friend Bonus.

Paulsutherland's Avatar

02.22.2019 , 12:01 PM | #34
Why don't you do what Star Trek Online does? Whenever new content is released, start a thread here asking for peoples opinions on whatever said content is?

Lhancelot's Avatar

02.22.2019 , 12:02 PM | #35
Quote: Originally Posted by snave View Post
As Eric repeated ad nauseam during his streams leading up to 5.0 - Perception is reality.

It's another marketing approach to a product problem. This video explains this approach and why it results in the situation we're in now quite well -

You can see this occurring all over the gaming landscape at the moment. Have a look at what's going on with Blizzard.
Hopefully that's not a representation of what is going on here.

If that is what is going on here, well I am sad. If that's the case, I guess we have to hope a new gaming company rises up with a new product, a new game that isn't being created by a marketing department.

Basically an outlier that isn't one of the main monopolies controlling the gaming market would have to put a new game out for things to be different I guess?
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TheAresian's Avatar

02.22.2019 , 12:11 PM | #36
One incident above all others for me tells me how BioWare feels about its players. It's one I've brought up many times and one I'll keep bringing up. Back when the CXP system first started there was a massive nerf to CXP as a result of some eager beaver supposedly powering up to level 100 in a day or two. During the stream, a member of the streaming panel who shall not be named said that the players weren't playing the game the way BioWare felt it should be played.

In other words, what we want means nothing to them. Our feedback is meaningless because they already have an idea of how things are going to be and that's that. We post because we care about the game, but I haven't seen anything from BioWare that's lead me to believe that anything has changed since then.
Quote: Originally Posted by tahol View Post
+1 from me. I have never had any hard feelings for a game dev...and then there's Ben Irving. Him leaving filled my petty heart with joy.

snave's Avatar

02.22.2019 , 12:14 PM | #37
Quote: Originally Posted by Lhancelot View Post
Hopefully that's not a representation of what is going on here.

If that is what is going on here, well I am sad. If that's the case, I guess we have to hope a new gaming company rises up with a new product, a new game that isn't being created by a marketing department.

Basically an outlier that isn't one of the main monopolies controlling the gaming market would have to put a new game out for things to be different I guess?
It's 100% what's happening here.

Focus for this game is now virtually all based around marketing, you cannot make the argument they're trying to use a product based solution when the product is receiving small irregular updates that are pushed with as much hype as possible.

The CM team is a marketing extension which means they are concerned with the public perception, not the reality. Why do you think we've had little to no community management? Once 6.0 is announced that will change and the CM team will work in conjunction with the assigned influencers to push whatever narrative they feel will sell the game.

Ossus is a time-gated mess implemented to keep people busy repeating the same content over and over until they can drop the next hype bomb that will keep you subbed for 3 months more. It's the most obvious use of loss aversion and time gating I've ever seen in any video game that isn't mobile based.

BTW I'm not against marketing approaches, but they need to be balanced if you want to succeed in more than just the short term.

We have no innovation, we have regression.

AOrdo's Avatar

02.22.2019 , 12:26 PM | #38
I've read all the messages here and a conclusion is obvious whoever your influencers are they are not doing their job right of relying the good message to/from the community. Several problems seems to have been adressed to you and neither had been solved. The game still developp away from the players opinion (and as a result less player on the servers).
Simple things could be done and many before have already gave the answers. Listen more , just admit that while you developp the game it have to be made for the players pleasure and not only for business decisions. Balance that as a first. I don't mind paying for stuff but only if it's worth it.
- Blue mandalorian armor NPC-like have been asked since day one and still nothing. Not even a word on it. That clearly speak about your communication methods.
Have fun since you asked our opinion you'll have a direct reality check ^^

Costello's Avatar

02.22.2019 , 12:49 PM | #39
I'm going to hold back on my natural cynicism that 7+ years on these forums has breed and hope that this isn't a 'we promise better communication post' and is genuinely a forward looking and positive post. Please don't let me be wrong.

First Lets look at what Star Wars The Old Republic does better than any other MMO out there (lets not pretend there aren't other MMO's).

Story, Companions, connection to the world/history, dialogue, NPCs with personality. In all of these aspects, there isn't much out there that can compare, sure The Secret World did well on story, but your playing a mute, sure Elder Scrolls online does well on world lore and NPCs with personaility. But here we have characters we are invested in, a world that we helped forge (not literally), companions and romances etc etc. And what feedback do you take on these, None.

That maybe a little unfair, as changes were made in the Knights of series, but rather than get feedback you sought of looked like you saw what was happening and reacted, cutting it short. Which is strange because the concept worked, in fact I'd say it was great, what failed miserably was the content of the story. After an Initial 9 chapters some amazing, i.e. fight with Marr on his flagship, escaping from prison, battling an underworld cult etc and some not so good you then had us wait was it months and then get one of the most boring chapters imagined, running round after 'Firebrand' planting bombs etc that seemed to do nothing to advance the story and not even a very interesting companion that many would probably not have recruited. Next after a month was running round after Major paws being dictated to by him accomplishing nothing. We have all the galaxy to explore, a story that could go anywhere, 34 or so companions to pick from and thats the options, maybe some feedback could have given a list of 10 must return characters.

Now I'm not saying an Immortal Emperor or Zakuul would necessarily been my first choice of where to take the story but the concept of what you achieved was pretty amazing, sadly the execution didn't really deliver. Now instead of looking at what didn't work, the plot holes, the down right *** moments none of this seems to be tested or feedback sought and you scrapped the concept rushing the story with more plot hokes and *** moments. Now there are so many plot holes that I would love covered, we all know the explanations would be a what if machine of well if this happened, then this could have happened and then this... but just take Vaylins final fight, shes had her chains broken, her own guard has never seen anything like her power before (a guard given his age had seen Valkorian). So someone that you would never stand a chance against at every moment before in the story and needed to use her conditioning to survive. Now when she is more powerful and nothing has changed with you, you can defeat her and push through her bubble. What changed, she was more powerful than the last time when Valky Sue had to time stop to save you...

Things that sadly the game doesn't do so well. Well exploration, the graphics were cartoonish at the start 7 years ago, if I want to explore mythical lands I'm better off in Elder Scrolls online. So as much as I want to be on Tatooine etc you have a hurdle to make that come to life. Then most areas are completely filled with enemy mobs making any exploration a chore. PvP its all warzones and Arena's which if your into that great but the engine couldn't cope with open world PvP; so the PvP on offer isn't the epic battles which leads to balancing and gear and win trading and a certain level of elitism. Which is fair you are taking up a slot, so if your letting your team down they have every right to feel your costing them the match. High end group content, now the combat engine isn't the greatest focusing so much on rotations, then there is ability bloat I can't think of many games with so many abilities to rotate through, but the engine aside, the big issue is most high end ops are about learning mechanics. There not often intuitive relying on either a guide or trial and error to get through. I don't know how many people still do progression raiding or even high end raiding; I suspect not as many, its much harder to find guides and if anyone is crazy enough to try VM with a PUG they are likely to regret it. Most the time the screen is filled with stuff, all the while your hoping to look out for a cast bar to interrupt or whatever, while most runs are about wiping until things come together. What also disappointing is that people can't just come across a group fighting a world boss and jump in, its invites only, its balanced for x tanks, x dps, x healer etc there is nothing dynamic or open world jump in and enjoy about it.

And what do the things that are often not done so well, due to in most caaes the limitations of the beta hero engine and cool down centric rotation combat, have in common. They are the things that appear on the PTS and you may look to take some feedback on. So you have elite PvPers and Progression Raid teams giving you feedback almost exclusively. On aspects that probably aren't the core identity of the game or what drawn people to a Bioware MMO, I understand Anthem doesn't even have PvP (though could be wrong as that might have been someone ranting), but this would suggest how big a markets it seems to be for Bioware games. While you know how many progression raiders you have and how much revenue they bring to the game. And thats probably accepting that after so little to do for so long people will just try out what content is available just for something to do. How many people rushed to complete the story in the first week vs try out GOTM NIM in the first week?

But I think you have to accept that there is going to be a fair level of cynicism given how much time seemed to be devoted to Vet or NIM content. We got told there wasn't going to be a NIM GOTM, the data didn't support it. Keith then came in and said do it, probably based on his progression raid guild and so GOTM got a higher difficulty level. Based on data? Based on feedback that it was what was best for the game? Based on Keith's progression group? And then all that seems to get tested is that, then the next thing to get tested is the Colicode Queen op boss. Where is the feedback coming that these were the best use of what appears to be almost no resources.

EricMusco's Avatar

02.22.2019 , 12:52 PM | #40 Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. Next  
Quote: Originally Posted by Lhancelot View Post
Hi Eric, thanks for entering the forums to discuss this topic.

The biggest complaint I personally have is the slow acknowledgement of people's concerns regarding new game changes that are viewed unfavorably by a lot of players, or the lack of acknowledgement of real gamebreaking issues in the game.

I realize that it's impossible for you or your team to directly communicate with every single player who complains or writes something critical of the game, but when a large group of people are making the same complaint a simple acknowledgement on the forums would go a long way.

An example of this is how ranked is filled with wintraders, quitters, etc. A very active discussion has been going on in the PVP section for weeks, even months about how the ELO system is manipulated and players are having their games ruined by cheaters who have a real lock down on the ranked matches now.

This is just an example of where some very passionate players are expressing their real concerns about how the game is being ruined for them due to the entire system of ranked scoring is not working due to cheaters. I personally don't participate in ranked much, but it's disheartening to see these very passionate players expressing their frustrations with absolutely no acknowledgement from anyone that could help them or at least acknowledge the problem is being looked into.

Maybe on your part, you feel it should be understood that of course you guys are trying to work on fixing the issues in ranked. To the players though, by not responding to anything written on that topic in that section it makes it seem like you guys don't care. The joke is that if you want to write something and not have it read by BW, write it in the PVP section because it's like a graveyard there for dead posts and threads. There are never any responses in yellow text there, ever. I just wonder why?

My point is, why not drop in to that section and let people know you guys hear them? Just one post letting them know you guys are reading what these players write would go a long way in assuaging their anger and disappointment at the present state of ranked and it's scoring system that is so easily manipulated. I don't think you understand how much a response from you or someone on your team means to the players here in all sections of the forums. (I speak for all the sections, not just the PVP section of course.)

By not responding to problems brought up in the forums, the anger of the players only snowballs, and then their anger at the problem initially written about turns to resentment for BW because it appears by not responding at all, you guys don't care. Then as time goes on, some players become apathetic to the problem, and either change activities in the game, or even worse quit. If it seems that the player's concerns are not valued, naturally players stop caring and/or playing.

I only use the ranked situation as an example, because there's a lot of discussion there that includes ideas on how to solve the problems of cheaters in ranked, and in my eyes it seems like if you guys are not reading those posts/threads you are missing a lot of potentially useful information and ideas on how to improve that part of the game.

I guess my main point is instead of letting resentment and anger build to a crescendo, a simple yellow texted post from you or someone on your team really would alleviate a ton of pressure that only builds as time goes on with no responses from you guys.

One reason the forums are not as active as they could be is that it really seems it's just a place where players can chat with one another about the game, but no one takes it seriously as a place where we can have meaningful interaction with you or anyone for that matter from BW.

My questions are:

  • Is it possible that you guys can be more active on the forums?

  • If it's not possible for you to be more active on the forums, is there a better platform where we can reach you and know that you are reading and taking in what we write?

  • If there is another platform for communication between players and BW for SWTOR, where/what is it?

I think what you are going to find is an immense influx of comments and concerns regarding this topic! I also believe initially it might seem overwhelmingly angry and frustrated here however in time if you guys just respond more frequently to the players on the forums you will find that posts will be far less critical and angry over time by simply responding to concerns instead of letting them fester and build over time.
Thanks everyone for the feedback feedback so far. I think this is a great framing Lhancelot so I wanted to take your post and hit some of the things you brought up, especially the questions. I have been working on some things to enhance communication and since some of them specifically involve win-traders, I can speak pretty directly to your post.

You mention the team being more active on the forums and so let me hit a few places where this can / will occur in the future:
  • Some of you may have caught that a few months ago there was a job listing for a Community Coordinator. Dan joined us a few months ago and is the other member of the community team. However, the vast majority of Dan's responsibilities are behind the scenes (social media, blog writing, screenshots, and more). However, we may get to a point of having him step more into the forums especially around things like blog feedback.
  • Win-traders! With the next Ranked Season starting soon, that means that we have been working on gathering all of the data, player reports, and are taking action against cheaters in Ranked. The person who has been handling that action in this round is a Live Producer that works with Keith and I named Mike. He is actually working on a forum post to talk about win-trading and what is happening. I would expect to see that from him by Monday. Going forward he can then engage with you about win-trading or anything else he is working on that is related to the community.
  • QA - Our Quality Assurance team actually spends a large amount of time combing the forums for issues. Both bugs and feedback which they help in documenting and passing on to the dev team. We are in process on getting a "general" QA account that they can use to communicate with all of you more regularly, especially about bug status.
  • Dev team - This is where I know all of you are "most hungry" for information. Getting dev team time to get into the forums can be tricky but we will continue to look for opportunities to do this. I have also been trying to get more in-depth write-ups including things like design goals from the dev team that I can pass on.
That is a few instances where I am trying to drive more communication to all of you that isn't just me posting information. Getting more of the team engaging with you will hopefully help in getting more communication going between you and the dev team.


Eric Musco | Community Manager
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