State of the Game Stream Random Thoughts

After we’ve already done a summary of Tuesday’s “State of the Game” stream, I’d like to follow up with some random thoughts on the stream. I don’t know about you guys, but watching the stream a pretty large list of pros and cons started to pile up in the back of my head. There were a lot of things I really liked, and a lot of thing I really did not. So let’s alternate the good and the bad in this one and work through my list!

Pro: Much Better Makeup

First and foremost, let’s not forget Julia and Thomas don’t have to do this. They talked about scheduling issues and it seems like this really was Thomas’ only chance to make it. It sometimes is hard to understand for the gamer why streams aren’t happening every freaking month/week/day, but as Foss mentioned there is a multitude of different tasks to take care of. So thanks are in order because they came in and answered the community.

I also think Julia really took comments like those from Janne to heart. There was much less giggling, much less “hey, let’s look who randomly comes by today” and much less food deliveries. They were prepared and worked through their list. That made the stream much more professional.

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Con: Why Not Make This More Often?

But also: Why aren’t stream happening every freaking month/week/day? This was an hour, and they answered like three random questions from chat in the last two mintes before running out of time. This was foreseeable. If you’re only doing a stream once in a lifetime, surprise, you won’t get to everything. Why not bring in devs for specialist streams and FAQs about Foundry, Class Balance, Dungeons, or even the Moonstone Mask? Who cares! A stream every other month, at least every module, should be do-able, right?

Pro: More Community Engagement, Honoring Feedback

I like how they stressed how important feedback is to them. There are still plenty of reasons why players feel like they are not heard, but I buy their statement that they do actually listen. Even though many of us are already disgruntled and do not provide the feedback we could, it will encourage others to test and post more frequently. I also like that some event involving devs is planed each month now. Hopefully this idea won’t end like the Driftwood Taverns Community format…

Con: Hush-Hush

Overall the answers were once again too generic. I don’t know why, but everything is just so hush-hush with them. They rarely deliver hard facts and instead try to sell emotions much more (which Foss is great at btw., see below). They talked about team sizes, differences between platforms and AD generation without attaching numbers to it. Oh yeah, and of course we had multiple “can’t talk about it yet” sightings.

Pro: Bringing David Anderson in for an Expert Explanation

That David Anderson sighting was just superb. It’s this kind of “nerdyness” that streams usually lack. Too often you get very generic “looking into it” and “passing it on” answers from people that don’t actually work on issues themselves. And seeing how engaged, knowledgable, and passionate David was about the Foundry is exactly what the hardcore faction needs.

Con: Twitch Stream Without Twitch Topics

As much as I enjoyed David Anderson, it was the completely wrong topic. Look, I get this was a general “State of the Game” for all players and not just Twitch, but given the platform and format, you have a bunch of the hardcore community watching. So you should at least prioritize “their” issues. Instead of Foundry, somebody should have talked for 10 or 15 minutes on dungeons, what it takes to make them or rework the old ones. And why this means they can’t do more than one each module tops.

This wasn’t only the Foundry though. Apart from the Ras Nsi issues a lot of “casual” topics were touched on. But it’s mostly hardcores that call for such streams, and then don’t feel represented by it. So you kind of defeat the purpose of doing them.

Pro: Looking Back at Last Year

The first segment of looking back at last year contained a lot of extra information that you usually don’t get. It was not only the stuff about “what they learned”, but more the challenges of working within a constantly changing team. Some veteran guys went to Magic, some new hires still have to be trained. Players don’t normally realize these tiny everyday struggles.

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Con: Looking Ahead

This comes back to the “hush-hush” I was talking about above. A “State of the Game” should cover much more concrete stuff. I’m with KaliGold here, who asked: Did they mention anything to get excited about? I don’t think so. Because, first and foremost, they did not actually share anything except that “great stuff is coming up, trust us”. I’m sorry, but that’s not enough. I’m not sure I would agree that they shouldn’t do such a stream when there’s nothing to announce, but it was a slight disappointment nonetheless. They have already internally laid out plans until Mod 15, and are actively working on Mod 14. So why not share at least something?

Pro: Foss as a Salesman

I stick to my opinion that Thomas Foss is a great Lead Designer for the game. A little bit of my early delight has gone away because I realized that part of his shown enthusiasm is just him being a great salesman for, well, probably anything. But I still believe in his genuine interest to develop the best possible game for the majority of players. Plus he is by far the most charismatic and reachable Lead we’ve had so far.

Con: Foss as a Saleman

That said, I totally get that some players want a more knowledgable person on stream. Foss doesn’t work on any systems, he supervises, mentors, and schedules. He can hardly answer any questions on the fly, he needs to actually go to his devs and get the info. As much as they try to make people understand his role, it’s still hard for players to understand that a “Lead Designer” apparently knows so little about the game’s specifics.

That’s my list of pros and cons, what are yours? Share them on our social channels, in the comments below, or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!

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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.

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