Black Desert Online

A Fan Site for the upcoming MMO Black Desert Online

6:12 pm, January 5, 2018

Official Forums - Talking to the Devs

I'm an old **** and been around a long time, and I've seen too many (unfortunately) MMOs come and go. I have the pleasure of being close with and having many game devs in my own community, who commonly share the reality of managing their customer base against their shareholders and management teams. There exists a disconnect in how gamers expect to give feedback, and how the developers consider feedback, that I wanted to address, and perhaps help many of you understand why many posts get responses, and why others do not.

Usually with these MMOs there exists a "unofficial" fansite such as that sprouts up by an entrepreneur out of enthusiasm. They try and capture stray and curious gamers to give them a place to get even more excited. Generally it's a great thing while it lasts. Then comes along the developers catching up to the community, and with it comes the "official" website, forums, etc. Now in most cases having a close platform to talk directly to the devs is great. On paper many gamers think "official" and assume "better" when in reality it is rarely the case. Most official forums are present with the following publicized issues:
  • Moderators are overwhelmed to deal with drama/spam
  • Moderators selectively delete posts that create negative PR
  • Moderators delete/lock what was otherwise a good constructive thread, on the basis of drama/flaming.
  • Moderators selectively delete posts that criticize the game/company
  • Gamers who have been playing the game a long time are drowned out by first-day registered accounts "zerging" posts that disagree with their limited view
The above happens, in almost every MMO official forum, in some capacity. It generally cedes to the casual gamer/poster and pushes away the more dedicated "thinker". Understand as community managers and advertisement department workers, they have the job to present an undeniable image that they either have the most supportive community ever, or that they often fix and improve the game to the community's request.

As for a random gamer using Google search about Black Desert, first impression is everything. They use tools such as Google Analytics to view sources of traffic, most of which from major news publishing sites, to see where the sources of viewers are coming from - and where they are going on the forums. Google tracks everything from the age of viewers, gender, location, browser, your ISP, and even your desktop resolution. It specifically gives community devs a visual map of their customer base before they even become customers. They can/will see how popular their sub-forums are, and know exactly which threads/forums are more likely to cause you - the user - to close the browser tab or website. All of this is tracked and more. They specifically know which threads are receiving a lot of attention even if they don't have a single reply. As you may guess, they know *exactly* how popular their PvE is vs PvP and other sub-genres. This is why if you use generalizations about the game in your posts, they discount you quickly.

Community Dev: "User A says our PvP in x-area is killing the game"
Management/Dev Team: "Well that is hardly a blip on analytics/SEO/discussion base right now"

^ Because of that, without linkback/referrals and proper support, your post is gone/irrelevant. Just like that, even if your post could have single-handedly fixed the game.

So as a community moderator or manager, they generally don't want a random visitor to see that they have major flaws or complaints, and complaints/issues generally don't matter unless they see the SEO numbers to support fixing it. It is a business above all. It's a deadly loophole of balancing PR with advancing the game - one which you have some control over.

The only way I've seen this successfully "fixed" to some extent is being vocal about it, and ensuring that places like remain a strong voice, free of squelching. Having links here linking to the main thread on the official forums is important not only for "referral traffic" which increases the chances of the issue being address, but also to give a blanket to prevent the thread from being removed. Whether negative or positive, in most cases your post will not get deleted here, and you should be thankful for that. I do not know what kind of moderation the new Daum site will bring yet, but if we want Black Desert to be successful, we *have* to highlight intelligent, thought-out posts and threads concerning our favorite areas of the game we find lacking - even if they give the company bad PR.

I recommend the following when making posts that criticize the company/game for their practices/mechanics:

  • Create a thread that starts with a compliment about things you enjoy about the game. Set the tone as constructive.
  • Use tags if available (super important!) Tags are not for show, they directly correlate with the Google SEO.
  • Within the first few sentences, directly bring up your complaint, or the community complaint.
  • Use bullet points, like this, to make statements. Use paragraphs, proper sentence structure, to explain your statements.
  • Link to examples. Do not rely on conjecture - or it will be often overlooked. The more images/links the better.
  • Keep all profanity out. You are an adult.
  • Have a support team. Notify others you are posting on their behalf as well. If they can support your thread with thought-out responses, better.
  • Copy/paste your post to pastebin or link to reddit. Reddit will do the job for you if it's a good post. You want copies in case of moderation.
  • Keep your sentences direct and to the point.
  • Use one thread for one issue. I cannot stress this enough. A thread called "my many issues with BD" will not be given the same treatment as "My main thread about PvP issues". *Important*
  • Have a summary, a tl;dr. Unlike the way you were taught in school that the first sentence captures your audience, it is the opposite on the internet. Your last "tl;dr" is your biggest draw.
  • Close the post to thank the devs for what they've done already, despite your anger or frustration. You are human, they are human, even if you don't believe it.

This isn't a ticket to be ignorant or disrespectful, but we all know that there are areas of the game that need help, and only supporting each other, re-posting and supporting thought-out "fix threads" will we see results. Otherwise, some random gamer may check the forums to see that the issue they strongly felt about doesn't bother anyone else, when in fact it does. This also will not prevent the onslaught of complaint posts with horrible grammar and those we all cringe at, but I hope it will help. If you follow the bullet-points above, and aggressively speak your mind, we can look to some obtainable results I hope. I remain optimistic.

tl;dr - We have some extremely intelligent people here bringing up great points about PvP and more. We need you to do the same on the soon-to-come official forums, with well laid-out posts that will get ten-fold the attention/viewers. This community needs to support those posts properly through multiple links to those threads in various areas (it matters), and we need to expect reasonable results, without being swept under any rugs. Thanks.

edit: Mods: If this post is in the wrong forum, please move it - I did not feel it belonged in the general black desert game discussion areas. Thanks.



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