Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Klarke, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. Klarke Commander

    Trust is very important in game development. Internal trust between individual devs within a studio, trust between the developer and their investors/publishers/parent company, and trust between a developer and their fans.

    This post is about trust between a developer and their fans.

    The developer trusts their fans to support the game by playing it and spending some money on the service or product that they're working hard to create, maintain, and improve. The fans, whether they spend money or not, trust the developer to improve and expand the experience over time. Most importantly, fans trust a developer to take their feedback into account when doing so. Obviously, this doesn't mean acceding to every whim of the fanbase. However, it also doesn't mean ignoring major community complaints. Red 5 has two significant breaches of the trust of their fans in the recent past.

    1. Item Durability. In spite of an incredible amount of pushback from the community, item impermanence was implemented. Not only that, it was implemented in a confusing, frustrating, and incomplete way. Everyone I know who plays Firefall both in-game and IRL absolutely hates the item durability system. After months of it being in the game, it has failed to facilitate a healthy player-driven economy, which was its stated goal. Additionally, the latest update effectively reset that nonexistent economy while leaving all of the legacy gear present on the market, resulting in many new and old players making costly purchase mistakes.

    2. Removal of PvP. Yes, there are duels and the FFA area around Sunken Harbor. In a game that has had virtually no meaningful amount of PvE content added in months, removing the only real means for players to create entertaining content for themselves was a huge mistake. It gained Red 5 nothing. Why not leave it in-game, but state that it would not be seeing many changes while the PvE side of the game was fleshed out? If years of being a gamer has taught me anything, it's that even in the worst games, shooting at my friends is always fun on some level. This breach of trust was exacerbated because it came after a rather large push to break Firefall into the eSports scene.

    This new update has seen a very mixed response according to this thread: There has also been quite a bit of individual forum post feedback about the patch; the majority of it has been fairly negative as well.

    In my opinion, the next step will be to discern which features are receiving the most backlash and then update them so that they resonate more with what the community wants from their Firefall experience. If Red 5 does what they have done in the examples above, this will be another egregious breach of their fans' trust. The coming months will show Firefall fans if Red 5 is willing to do what it takes to reestablish a trusting relationship. Based on the (admittedly anecdotal) waning activity of outside communities like reddit and ffanz, that's about as long as they've got.

    Gamers are a vicious and sharp-tongued lot, but they're also curious and forgiving. If you do right by your fans, they will flock back to you.

    PS: The only reason I'm posting something like this is because of the many games and betas that I've been a part of, Red 5 has one of the most active groups of developers who visit the forums. I know one of you will read this. It's not a criticism. It's a vote of confidence.
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