Unless you play one of Daybreak’s games, you probably don’t know that the studio has just started a so-called “insider” program. Actually you might not even know Daybreak Games at all. It’s a publisher and developer that among other titles runs the popular zombie survival game “H1Z1” and the EverQuest MMORPG series. Their insider program sounds like a volunteer QA job that comes with minor ingame incentives. I feel it’s an interesting concept that’s also worth discussing for the Neverwinterverse.
Neverwinter’s Efforts Weren’t Properly Maintained so Far
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While you can easily reason that PWE is lacking the resources to pull it off, I still like the idea of giving player feedback a professional look. The mentioned efforts from individuals in the community team have clearly failed though. So if you want to establish something, it needs to come from the company. Which is why I think an official program with official rewards like Daybreak’s is the way to go.
Does Neverwinter Need an Insider Program?
Which begs a second question: Does the game even need something like an insider program? It certainly has definite up and downsides. On the one hand, why not take advantage of the ideas within the community? Some players are with the game longer than most devs. On the recent maintenance stream Environment Artist Patrick Poage admitted most of them weren’t around when the Astral Resonator exploit happened for example. So might the players actually be the most experienced asset the devs have? That’s certainly a possibility.
On the other hand, giving players development power comes with risks. The Class Feedback Reporter System already faced accusations that some in charge followed their own agenda. The devs are those that make decisions, but advising comes with a certain influence. It can be hard to find truly objective testers, if that’s even possible at all. Examples like the October Bugfix Month also show that players can get involved in other, less official, ways.
Some may take offense at the fact that insiders receive ingame loot as well. It certainly can’t be gameplay relevant stuff. If we’re talking about mount skins, stuff that the volunteer mods get as well, then there’s no issue. But handing out lockboxes or other something like that can get you into trouble even though you might think it’s justified for the effort.
So yeah, you probably would need to be very clear about rewards and the topics and decisions players participate in. But if that’s all sorted out, why the hell not? Neverwinter has great minds and theorycrafters that certainly would be willing to become an “insider”.
What’s your take on the Daybreak Insider Program? Is it something that PWE should adopt or do you see too much potential for drama? Share your thoughts in the comments below and visit the corresponding thread on our message board!
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