Dating Error Of Neverwinter Champion’s League Confirms Communication Needs Improvement

Hey folks,

Jumping in quickly. We know some this snuck out on us a little early. We will be posting an official announcement for this in due time. I ask that you all hang tight for a little bit longer. We’re excited to show you all what we have in store once we’re ready. A lot more information will be coming for this in the near future!

Alex

This is the comment with which Communication Manager yetweallfalldown ended the newly installed Neverwinter Champion’s League before it even started. Well, technically it was just misscheduled, but two weeks in the official calendar and the hype (and doubts) that came with it felt like another slap in the face of the unloved stepchild that is PVP.

This isn’t about a specific area of the game though, but more about simple communicational errors that PWE and Cryptic are still prone to. Let’s recap: In late April the Neverwinter Champion’s League unintentionally leaked for the first time on the preview server and lead designer goatshark jumped in to settle expectations. Two weeks ago, another patch on preview brought up the NCL again, this time in a more concrete form as event on the Calendar. It stayed there without further notice of any official source although a lot of controversial posts arised on the forum about the tournament. Last Wednesday, one day before the preseason was scheduled to start, the event was scratched from the calendar and after the lengthy downtime on Thursday, Alex cleared up the situation with the above statement.

I actually don’t know how the communication between other developers and their players work, but what we’re seeing in Neverwinter is currently not sufficient. To be honest with you, a few months earlier this post would’ve been a lot less forgiving, but since participating on this project I know stuff always takes more time than anticipated and it’s precisely the small things that you miss the most. Like scratching an event from the calendar that shouldn’t already show up.

But I also don’t earn money with what I contribute here, it’s purely fun and publishing myself. From a company that has two employees, who should serve as a link between the devs and the community, such a behavior becomes more puzzling. Sure, both Andy and Alex have plethora of other responsibilities and tasks to perform, but if you, as a company, are unable to drop in for a single clarifying post over two weeks, then you might want to redistribute the load so that someone is able to. We know a feedback system from the Mods and Community Manager is in place and the tournament was kind of a big deal in the PVP area, so the likelihood that all of the noise simply was missed by everybody is… let’s say small.

To be honest, with all the bugs and other issues of Elemental Evil, including a queue and matchmaking system not prepared to shoulder a competitive tournament, the whole thing actually did feel premature and user beckylunatic rightfully stated that the lack of an official announcement, which normally happens a week in advance of a brandnew event, would have been enough to remain skeptical.
On the other hand you have the whole PVP community eagerly waiting for something to happen, so a certain degree of frustration isn’t at all surprising. You could even go as far as saying that in such a situation where you deal with an impatient part of the playerbase, that sort of still waits for a promised “PVP surprise” by the way, extra care is appropriate. Because you not only displease customers, but also make life harder for yourself in terms of credibility, which is also a huge problem this game has.

Communication between players and developers seems to be a tricky thing. You don’t want to give out too many information or ETAs that players could use against you, but you also can’t remain too silent if you want to avoid impatience or the impression that nothing is done. For me personally it’s always enough that I know they are working on a fix/change, have reported an issue to the dev team or label stuff as known problem. From that point on I don’t really care any longer even if it then takes a very long time until the problem is actually solved or a feature implemented.
You can only profit from being a bit more vocal. Users become secondary mods and pass links to dev comments if a known issue comes up, the conspiracist don’t have as much food and a lively dev tracker suggests that something is done, even if you keep being vague about the “when”. You also avoid a lot of situations where you are forced to excuse yourself for an error, especially if an issue has already been brought up on the preview server without an official response. Instead, you can just inform players and look competent in the process.

To come back to the Neverwinter Champion’s League, I think a post one or two days earlier would have created much less disappointment and I can’t imagine this being such a great deal. Under the new Community Manager one of the focal points was to enhance the communication and the latest example shows we’re not quite there yet. But I think they are actively trying to improve the situation, which could yield better results in the future.

Thanks for reading and be sure to share your own opinion about PWE’s public relations.

PS: No lowbie diaries this week fellas! I didn’t have enough time to play the char. There’s sadly also a decent chance I won’t be able to next week, summer and all…

j0Shi

j0Shi

j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

4 thoughts on “Dating Error Of Neverwinter Champion’s League Confirms Communication Needs Improvement

  • Avatar
    June 7, 2015 at 8:47 am
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    Here is what I don’t understand. The model for mature software environments is well established and clear. PM’s, Scrum Masters, etc are trained to coordinate these type of things and prevent issues. Where is the ball getting dropped here? If the game cannot afford the staff to produce professional results, shut it down. Why would you under staff something profitable. This reinforces the idea that they have given up on NW and are just milking it dry. So is NW currently identified as an investment or a divestment for PW. I personally am not putting any money into the game because I feel very confident that it is currently in divestment while they pursue new games in the bubble gum hentai style. This makes me very sad. So I see Svetlana Anesjka effort in notifying Hasbro as an attempt to ensure Hasbro is on the same page with PW in this regard. Come on skyforge set to release in “summer” same time as mod 7, coincidence?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      June 7, 2015 at 9:20 am
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      If they give up the rights to control someone else D&D will hire to make a better game for them, so it’s more about controlling the contract in my opinion.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    June 7, 2015 at 2:04 pm
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    I’m an xbox player so i don’t have the entire historical context you guys do here, but i’d like to chime in anyways 🙂

    I agree with what most of you said about the needed communication. Let us know that you have acknowledged the issue and that it is being worked on. Like you said, I don’t expect a “date” of when it will be done, just that it’s being fixed / worked on / etc.

    Just a quick comment to PutzBoy78, I am a professional software developer and when you start putting out “test” versions of applications, there is usually things missed as it hasn’t gone through the full QA testing which would most likely caught these issues. It could be something as simple as a missing “if” statement that was supposed to stop it from showing up on any environment than your development environment (done that -> the QA process caught it before it went out live). I would venture their “preview” server releases are not nearly as tested until they are closer to an actual release. Just my thoughts though 🙂

    Reply
    • Avatar
      June 7, 2015 at 10:14 pm
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      The challenge is problems identified and reported on test are making into production. Bad code making it to preview is not an issue, it is expected. Bad code on production is unacceptable if the issue is identified on preview first.

      However, I’m not convinced that the issue is a “coding” issue. At this point, I’m sure the issue is in source control (we have seen multitudes of bugs reintroduced on production), code documentation (having clearly defined the impact of changes to specific areas of code), and attention to detail. I don’t question the coding skills of the developers (with the exception of lag issues, which are attributed to overworking systems), I don’t know them, but something like not flagging weapon enchantment slotted mainhand weapons as “mainhand only” is an attention to detail issue. In theory there is a checklist of items for routine changes like weapon additions. Assuming this is a mature development environment with the intention of longevity and therefore the need to add weapons multiple times over the course of years.

      Reply

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