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PuddleMurda

The pitfall that is community feedback

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Posted (edited)

Before I lay it all on the table I want to clearly point out that I do not have any factual evidence of this being the case. It is merely a personal reoccurring observation I have made as a frequent forum visitor, and follower of development of games in the somewhat niche genre that is hardcore tactical shooters. Most of what I am about to write does not relate directly to Squad at this very stage, but my fear is that it will in a not too distant future. 

 

What I believe to be a very negative aspect of official game forums and generally influential forums such as Reddit, or even Facebook (apparently), is that the actual playerbase is misrepresented by a small percentage of frequent forum posters, such as myself, and that game developers rely too much on player feedback rather than their very own vision of what the final and finished product should be. 

 

 

 

As the early access business model has boomed in recent years, giving small developers the opportunity to create titles that previously only AAA studios would have the finances and capacity to develop, game forums and feedback trackers have become common. Players are given the opportunity to voice their opinions, and if the consensus is distinguishable enough in said forums these very opinions can at times persuade game developers to make subtle changes, or even change the direction of the development entirely. 

 

This is probably very appealing to many gamers, even myself, as we now can be a part of the development, even if only by voicing our opinions. We can now try to influence developers to implement features we have dreamt of seeing in games since Half-Life first blew our minds. We can now indirectly be a part of a passion we have. A passion for gaming, and the evolution of video games. 

 

"What is the problem?", one might then ask. "That's awesome, right?!" 

 

Personally, I think this is absolutely detrimental to the creative freedom and vision of game developers. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Let me explain; 

 

It might be a very effective strategy to build a budget and a strong (not necessarily good) relationship with the players, but I firmly believe a lot of potential is lost in the attempt to please this small percentage of the playerbase that takes the time to engage in the game's different forums. 

 

How many forums have been flooded with "I don't like that"-posts, with little if any substance to them other than the player's very own emotional appeal? How many proposed features, that could have been possibly game changing in nothing but a positive light if implemented correctly, have been downvoted with "that's not fun"?

 

How often is an argument posted along the lines of "There is a limit to how much realism that can be implemented before it becomes boring" or "That would drive most of the playerbase away because insert: appeal to emotion"? These types of arguments are often praised as absolute truths, thus creative suggestions with a lot of potential are downvoted into oblivion, when in an objective reality the answer is; "There is a limit to how much realism that can be implemented before YOU find it boring" and "That would drive YOU away because insert: appeal to emotion".

 

This is were I am becoming increasingly worried. The suggestions and ideas met with this type of rhetoric are almost always of features that would add another level of depth to a game. Forum users rarely engage in constructive criticism, trying to figure out whether or not such a feature could be implemented in a functional way, taking many different factors into consideration, but instead let their initial emotional response to such a suggestion dictate how they will respond to said suggestion. "No, just no. I would not want to do that, and therefore it is a bad idea", is a very typical forum response to suggestions that could lead to very interesting discussions, and possibly game changing implemented features. 

 

Appeal to emotion-based arguments can often be very persuasive and difficult for someone who is trying to be creative to counter. Not only because of the simple fact that the emotional appeal is based on a different opinion, but also due to the creative suggestion posted not being a well tested theory and therefore is denounced quite easily with a simple "no, I do not like that"-argument, easily relatable to many forum users. 

 

This leads to a generally negative atmosphere. Not much is being pushed forward to the developers in terms of carefully constructed multilayered ideas and suggestions that has been subject to constructive criticism and brainstorming. What we see is mostly "I don't like this, fix it" or "I want to be able to do this, get on it devs".

 

Developers giving in to floods of these kinds of opinions is nothing but detrimental, and they simply shouldn't. They should not listen to players bleating unconsidered emotional statements, because most people don't have a clue what is good for themselves, or anyone else for that matter, in the long run.

In OWI's case, implementation of features should come from three dimensionally explored and thought through theories of how said features will make the game an even more intricate and tactical anomaly among hardcore first person shooters. NOT take "waaah, I don't like this" into any consideration whatsoever, even if these complaints are large in numbers. A lot (I would even go as far as saying most) of forum posters do not even attempt to look at the big picture from a three dimensional point of view. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying we should stop discussing and brainstorming around our favorite games. However, I do believe giving much less "power" to the forum users (in other words; developers should just have a little more integrity and balls to develop their game) would lead to a much more nuanced community which could actually provide really useful feedback, and ingenuitive suggestions.

 

 

 

It would be interesting to see more forum user's (that I have just now taken a big dump on) point of view on this. If it has been given any thought, that is. I find it hard to believe I am the only one feeling this way, even though it is slightly contradicting myself, since I am a posting forum user.

Edited by PuddleMurda

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, PuddleMurda said:

 

well you seem to forget that eventhough we can post and discuss our ideas/feedback on forums, reddit and discord we don't actually make any choices for the game. These are all made by the devs.

 

-So you can make a suggestion in a thread and everybody can say they think it is shit idea, but if the devs like it they will implement it.

-Or you can make a thread about how you hate a feature in the game and it should be removed. Even if 90% of posters in that thread agrees with you the devs can still decide it stays because it fits their vision of the game.

 

I see it as a problem that so many people don't take part on here or reddit. But I am not really sad that these people doesnt get heard, since it is their own fault. Also the devs are not stupid, they know they can't trust feedback there 100%. They probably also rely on all kinds of statistics and their experience from playing the game themselves.

38 minutes ago, PuddleMurda said:

In OWI's case, implementation of features should come from three dimensionally explored and thought through theories of how said features will make the game an even more intricate and tactical anomaly among hardcore first person shooters. NOT take "waaah, I don't like this" into any consideration whatsoever, even if these complaints are large in numbers. A lot (I would even go as far as saying most) of forum posters do not even attempt to look at the big picture from a three dimensional point of view. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying we should stop discussing and brainstorming around our favorite games. However, I do believe giving much less "power" to the forum users (in other words; developers should just have a little more integrity and balls to develop their game) would lead to a much more nuanced community which could actually provide really useful feedback, and ingenuitive suggestions.

Just got to this part. This is excatly what the devs in Squad are doing. They implement lots of features that many on forum/reddit hate, but the devs think moves the game in the right direction. So I really dont see your concern.

 

Edited by Romby

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Romby said:

Just got to this part. This is excatly what the devs in Squad are doing. They implement lots of features that many on forum/reddit hate, but the devs think moves the game in the right direction. So I really dont see your concern.

I believed this until the "everyone can revive a downed teammate"-feature was announced, as this is clearly a result of the outcry in different forums about how boring it is to play as a medic, or how squad leaders find it difficult to keep two medics in a squad. 

 

So this is not exactly what the devs are doing. Hence my concern. 

 

Edit; I don't even understand where the notion of a lack of medics come from, as I always play as SL, and always have two medics if I request it.

Edited by PuddleMurda

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, PuddleMurda said:

I believed this until the "everyone can revive a downed teammate"-feature was announced, as this is clearly a result of the outcry in different forums about how boring it is to play as a medic. 

 

So this is not exactly what the devs are doing. Hence my concern. 

 

Edit; I don't even understand where the notion of a lack of medics come from, as I always play as SL, and always have two medics if I request it.

I dont see it like that at all. I see it as a system that together with persistent ammo has been made by devs to:

- make people rely more on revives than respawns

- make it easier to stay together as a squad. Before if you won a firefight but lost all medics, people still had to respawn. Now one suvivor can get a medic up and he can revive rest of squad.

 

I really dont see how that feature changes anything for medics. I still think medic will be main guy for revivals since:

 - revived players still need medic get more health, lose almost black screen and to get stamina

 - normal players still only have 2 bandages and also need these to stop bleeding. No bandages = bleed to death from one hit

 - Everyone else need much longer than medics to revive (so they wouldnt do this during firefights)

 - actually it allows medics to be more aggresive. So they can focus more on winning firefight quickly and then reviving, since if they go down someone else can get them up.

 

Edit: just saw your edit :-D. As said above i dont think this was added because game had to few medics or that people dont play medics. A squad without medics in future will be a squad of players with no health, almost black screens, no stamina and no bandages to stop bleeding.

Edited by Romby

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None of this social media stuff has ever mattered when the game itself never even had a vertical slice.

 

All the features that made the game unique have steadily been diluted by people, who felt it was owed to them because they're the ones that bore the financial burden of being the actual front end of the game for the general public.

 

At close to a million concurrent owners and daily peaks of less than 3000 combined with a whole cornucopia of new titles dropping in the near future Squad needs to bring the focus around to MilSim realism or face an exponential collapse in the player base and community.

 

As a realistic MilSim game Squad stands to retain a core cult community whereas if it goes down the path as yet another FPS hybrid clone it's gonna get gibbed big-time.

 

Mod edit : removed the unnecessary wording. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Zylfrax791 said:

 

Interesting post when you look at the subject of the thread. So the devs need to do what you think is correct or the game will fail. Perhaps you should read below part again. Many active users here will post excatly the opposite opinion to you and also say that "As a xx game Squad stands to retain a core cult community whereas if it goes down the path as yet another xx it's gonna get gibbed big-time

1 hour ago, PuddleMurda said:

How often is an argument posted along the lines of "There is a limit to how much realism that can be implemented before it becomes boring" or "That would drive most of the playerbase away because insert: appeal to emotion"? These types of arguments are often praised as absolute truths, thus creative suggestions with a lot of potential are downvoted into oblivion, when in an objective reality the answer is; "There is a limit to how much realism that can be implemented before YOU find it boring" and "That would drive YOU away because insert: appeal to emotion".

 

Edited by Romby

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I've seen tons of bad ideas over the time I've spent here and I'm pleased to report none of them actually made it into the game. I'd say the dev team is looking pretty solid as far as their integrity is concerned. Judging by the amount of "I don't like this and that" threads we get every time new features are announced, I'd say they actually push against a wall quite often.

 

People on the internet are entitled to their likes and dislikes, doesn't mean it has any effect on the developement.

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30 minutes ago, Romby said:

Interesting post when you look at the subject of the thread. So the devs need to do what you think is correct or the game will fail. Perhaps you should read below part again. Many active users here will post excatly the opposite opinion to you and also say that "As a xx game Squad stands to retain a core cult community whereas if it goes down the path as yet another xx it's gonna get gibbed big-time

 

No. Perhaps you need to go back and read my post in it's entirety and put it into the context of the math equation of nearly a million concurrent owners in nearly three years and less than a 3000 player daily peak averages across that timespan.

 

That's not growth in the community, it's a flatline average. That means similar to the Seinfeld episode when Jerry tells George that everything he's doing with women is wrong and he needs to do the opposite as an analogy.

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14 minutes ago, MultiSquid said:

People on the internet are entitled to their likes and dislikes, doesn't mean it has any effect on the developement.

So exactly what was the event that triggered the removal of the v9 "Rush Meta" then?

 

We're supposed to believe that had nothing to do with the vocal minority effecting development?

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Zylfrax791 said:

No. Perhaps you need to go back and read my post in it's entirety and put it into the context of the math equation of nearly a million concurrent owners in nearly three years and less than a 3000 player daily peak averages across that timespan.

 

That's not growth in the community, it's a flatline average. That means similar to the Seinfeld episode when Jerry tells George that everything he's doing with women is wrong and he needs to do the opposite as an analogy.

Without further information those numbers doesnt prove anything. I think a lot of those million buyers expected a BF clone. So I could argue that to make more people play they need to make it even more arcade that it currently is.

Edited by Romby

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21 minutes ago, Zylfrax791 said:

So exactly what was the event that triggered the removal of the v9 "Rush Meta" then?

 

We're supposed to believe that had nothing to do with the vocal minority effecting development?

Why are you so sure this was a minority pushing for the rush meta to end? You don't mean to tell me the majority of players actually enjoyed the rushing?

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22 minutes ago, Romby said:

Without further information those numbers doesnt prove anything. I think a lot of those million buyers expected a BF clone. So I could argue that to make more people play they need to make it even more arcade that it currently is.

They're incorrect numbers. These stats are made available by websites like Steamspy - Which account free weekend downloads, and limited game time from promo/trial codes, to the total amount of owners statistic.



 

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22 minutes ago, Romby said:

Without further information those numbers doesnt prove anything. I think a lot of those million buyers expected a BF clone. So I could argue that to make more people play they need to make it even more arcade that it currently is.

 

 

Trying to deflect with a circular logic puzzle doesn't negate the fact that over three years later nearly a million people bought the game, played it and for one reason or another stopped playing and didn't grow the community. Click the "show empty servers" option. Every single one of those is a private individual forking out around $100 a month for nothing. That's simply not sustainable. Basically server Discord's have become nothing more than pitiful vehicles to beg people to seed their servers. The real winners here are the hosting companies ironically...

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My hopes are that the devs stay strong to their vision and ignore almost everything we say except for bugs, glitches and exploits we find.

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@Zylfrax791 How many times do you have to be told that the number of people that play Squad and own Squad is NORMAL for this type of game.

 

Take a look at similar games and their numbers and you'll see we're doing just fine :)

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2 hours ago, Zylfrax791 said:

Trying to deflect with a circular logic puzzle doesn't negate the fact that over three years later nearly a million people bought the game, played it and for one reason or another stopped playing and didn't grow the community. Click the "show empty servers" option. Every single one of those is a private individual forking out around $100 a month for nothing. That's simply not sustainable. Basically server Discord's have become nothing more than pitiful vehicles to beg people to seed their servers. The real winners here are the hosting companies ironically...

I agree, people stopped playing for some reason. Probably because Squad wasn't for them. Also when was the Rush meta removed? Because that didn't really result in any lost players. Squad has more avg player in the last 4 months than any month Nov 2015 - Jan 2018 (exept 2). Making it more milsim isn't anything else than your opinion! Also look at what Melbo and Dubs wrote!

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Being cautious with community feedback is a well understood game design principle and from what the devs have been doing it looks like they understand that. The upcoming revive changes are an example of something that wasn't really being suggested by the community, at least not directly, but coupled with the wounded state and persistent ammo changes it shows the devs have a pretty strong vision for what they want.

 

While the majority of players aren't game designers and their individual suggestions may lack quality feedback is still important to understand if the game design is working.

 

I've been playing Squad since pre-alpha and I can testify that the player count has not been dropping. I remember around V7 I had trouble finding populated servers on weekends and these days it's hard to join servers because they're packed beyond capacity.

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19 hours ago, Zylfrax791 said:

No. Perhaps you need to go back and read my post in it's entirety and put it into the context of the math equation of nearly a million concurrent owners in nearly three years and less than a 3000 player daily peak averages across that timespan.

 

That's not growth in the community, it's a flatline average. That means similar to the Seinfeld episode when Jerry tells George that everything he's doing with women is wrong and he needs to do the opposite as an analogy.

Squad's playerbase definitely hasn't grown proportionally with the number of owners, which is sad, but I personally haven't played in a few weeks/months because I got busy and it requires too much energy/time when work is busy. 

 

It certainly hasn't flatlined though. Year on year growth is occurring (slowly) and hopefully with more assets/maps/gameplay improvements, the growth can accelerate. We can see like last month that there were less average players in July 2018 than 2017 though, which is not a *great* thing to see. 

9Mtl9HYpSoua_C_8cy7RGw.png

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46 minutes ago, Psyrus said:

Squad's playerbase definitely hasn't grown proportionally with the number of owners, which is sad, but I personally haven't played in a few weeks/months because I got busy and it requires too much energy/time when work is busy. 

 

It certainly hasn't flatlined though. Year on year growth is occurring (slowly) and hopefully with more assets/maps/gameplay improvements, the growth can accelerate. We can see like last month that there were less average players in July 2018 than 2017 though, which is not a *great* thing to see. 

9Mtl9HYpSoua_C_8cy7RGw.png

How did you make that graph? The AVG numbers left doesn't match what the graph shows.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Romby said:

How did you make that graph? The AVG numbers left doesn't match what the graph shows.

Oh you're right, sorry I did it while I was doing some other stuff at work and was only half paying attention... my bad! :$

 

Edit: I see what happened, December is on the left and January is on the right -____-

 

Edit Again:

 

Here's a fixed up one.

 7EZn4sA4QqKOQ5qRfskIzQ.png

Edited by Psyrus

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Posted (edited)
On 8/21/2018 at 3:40 PM, Romby said:

I dont see it like that at all. I see it as a system that together with persistent ammo has been made by devs to:

- make people rely more on revives than respawns

- make it easier to stay together as a squad. Before if you won a firefight but lost all medics, people still had to respawn. Now one suvivor can get a medic up and he can revive rest of squad.

 

I see your point, but the end does not justify the means in this case. There must be a ton of different options that wouldn't sacrifice depth and the true meaning of each individual role on the battlefield. This is at best an attempt to throw a bit of makeup on something the community has turned in to an issue, when it never was one. 

 

If I join a late game I play as a medic myself. Reviving 20 something teammates, keeping the squad somewhat up and running, and still achieving a positive K/D (which for some reason a lot of players think is more important than the team effort) is not something I would consider a feat. It's just another game as a medic (when done right). There is no need to give every player out there the ability to revive teammates, it just makes the medic role less attractive for those who actually manages to own that role. 

 

It is already quite easy to stay together as a squad, and keep rallys up. Sometimes I am wondering if HABs are redundant, as rally point warfare can be highly effective if done right. It is up to each player in each squad, and their squad leader, to own their respective roles and nothing needs to be made "easier". Marksmen and MGs in the back together with a medic and the SL, riflemen on point with LATs trailing just behind and the second medic somewhere in that mix... done. 

 

If they want players to rely more on revives than respawns, give everyone the ability to drag a downed player to safety, play as a unit, let the medics do their job while marksmen and MGs provide suppressive fire. One can also claim that removing rallys all together would force the squad to not run around like a bunch of headless chickens, dying left and right because no one knows or cares about the overall objective of the game. 

 

In a game like Squad, where the entire premise of the game is communication, tactical decisions and teamwork, nothing should be made "easier". It will do nothing but lessen the magic, and water the game down to just another team vs team shooter. Players need to man up, own their role, and play the game the way it is supposed to be played. 

 

This is what many, if not the majority of, forum users can not grasp. The argument is always "this is too difficult" or "not fun", when the discussion should look something like; "here is a creative solution to a feature that could be awesome, but needs a few touches to perfect".

 

To say that OWI is not at all affected or the least bit influenced by a general consensus in the different forums (which I believe misrepresents the actual playerbase) is in my opinion quite naive. 

 

On 8/21/2018 at 3:40 PM, Romby said:

- actually it allows medics to be more aggresive. So they can focus more on winning firefight quickly and then reviving, since if they go down someone else can get them up.

 

This will only encourage an even larger crowd to run and gun like headless chicken. Is this really what you want? 

 

Edit; I believe this feature will do nothing but turn a real issue like the meat grinder effect into an absolute clusterf*ck of an issue. 

Edited by PuddleMurda

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Stom said:

While the majority of players aren't game designers and their individual suggestions may lack quality feedback is still important to understand if the game design is working.

This is the very idea I am arguing against. 

 

When I sift through game forums of games I actively play and see all the complaints, which it mostly is, I can not relate to a fraction of those complaints. These complaints are most of the time backed up with nothing other than emotional appeal, as I pointed out in my original post. Rarely do I see constructive criticism, or in-depth analysis of whatever the complaintive is referring to. This leads me to believe that these posts are "salty rants" rather than an attempt to provide constructive criticism for the greater good of the game. Therefore a vast majority of posts should just be blatantly ignored, and not be viewed by developers as "feedback" on implemented features. 

 

Remember, it is more or less scientifically proven that we, human beings, can take something to the end of the world for the sake of being "right", even if we know we don't have a clue of what we are talking about. 

 

Again, I would like to point out what I stated in my original post; 

On 8/21/2018 at 2:33 PM, PuddleMurda said:

Most of what I am about to write does not relate directly to Squad at this very stage, but my fear is that it will in a not too distant future. 

 

I am thinking more and more about the backlash EA is having with Battlefield V, and how many Battlefield fans might turn to a better alternative for a WW2 game. Imagine if a horde of players who are used to the fast paced gameplay of the Battlefield franchise decide to purchase Post Scriptum and start to bombard the Post Scriptum forums.

Edited by PuddleMurda

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Posted (edited)

Sorry, I didn't word that very well.

 

What I mean is that players suggestions shouldn't be followed most of the time because they don't have the same vision of the game as the developers. However, the feedback is important because it can confirm what is happening in the game. If people are discussing whether or not the rush meta is good or bad doesn't matter, but if everyone is discussing the rush meta that confirms it does exist.

 

To me it seems like OWI has stuck to their original vision of the game with some of the specifics changing which is normal during development. They set out with the goal of making a game the fills the space between BF and Arma and I think Squad does that at this point.

Edited by Stom

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Posted (edited)

I’ve been playing Squad since the early access release and it seems that every patch the devs make changes and additions that promote teamwork and more thoughtful gameplay. It seems that’s their vision and they usually don’t accept feedback unless it coincides with that vision.

 

I also have no idea why people even use the word milsim when talking about Squad. I know there’s emphasis on authenticity and realism but most changes being made are moving Squad closer to PR in terms of vison (teamwork and gameplay over realism) not a milsim like Arma. The revive mechanics for v12 are also meant to encourage squad cohesion and teamwork.

 

Lastly, let’s not forget that there has been a lot of blowback from (I believe) the competitive community about getting rid of the rush meta, adding more sway, and basically doing anything that slows the pace of the game and takes control away from individual players. But the devs have stuck with their guns instead of rolling back changes to please vocal members of that community.

Edited by fatalsushi

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