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Open letter to Goodgame

Chris2307 (GB1)Chris2307 (GB1) Posts: 944
Dear Goodgame Studios,

I've only been playing GGE for 7 months now. Far shorter than other players but in this time, I have grown to love it. You've managed to develop and maintain an addictive, interesting and multi-dimensional strategy game that many thousands of people across the entire globe enjoy playing! You've not only produced a game but a community. This is why so many people, including myself, keep coming back and - more importantly - put money in to the game.

Most weeks, you press ahead with an update. Some are great, some are poor and most provoke debate amongst players. Many of these updates focus on generating additional income and that's great! You're a business, not a charity right? And in theory, additional income means more development to the game and a better experience for the players. Fine.

Recently, however, we've been seeing more updates geared much more towards ruby spending. It feels like this investment -> development circle is being broken. It feels like you're interested in adding features which suck more and more money off of players but aren't really too concerned about the "fun" element of the game.

The storm islands event/kingdom could have been amazing! In fact, I had a lot of fun in there during the first month but with prices so high, do you really expect players to spend so much each month? I don't play in this kingdom now because the price Vs reward is just to great for me and my alliance.

The RV nobility contest was a deliberate and arrogant swipe at the player made rules. Not to mention how easily abused the contest was. I understand you don't support player made rules but when you spend so much effort building a community based game, you're not going to get around player made rules - they will always exist and for the good of the game in my opinion.

So these are two recent updates which, in my opinion, show you are only interested in:

1. Forcing players to play the game by your rules
2. Requiring much much more money to be spent on an element of the game

These two points are not good for you. Of course you "own" the game. You own the code, the graphics, the IP, the trademarks etc... But what makes the game is the community and their interpretation of the game and without this, you'd have nothing. A game that is carefully managed and given the freedom to grow organically as per the wishes of the players should be your winning formula. Key to this is a decent two way relationship between GGS and players but you seem to go against the grain. You constantly and stubbornly argue/disagree/dictate the community. Does this not tell you something? Players will ultimately leave if you sour that relationship anymore.

Which leads me to the contentious issue of the next update. The thread following the announcement of the update has easily broken the record for any other thread in that section. At the time of writing this, nearly 900 players have posted on over 40 pages (almost all of which are negative). I'm not going to get in to the details of why the update is so damn terrible but what is clear is that you're not willing to listen to your customer base.

Having received an incredible amount of negative feedback, you respond with what can only be described as an immensely stubborn and arrogant response. You give us information which isn't really new. You just tell us how we should be playing the game and how the update will be going ahead still on Monday. I struggle to fathom why a company would deliberately anger so many of its customers.

We've suffered for a long time now. We post ideas on this forum and rarely get any kind of response. CM's regularly side step questions with vague responses which will make any politician jealous. We are treated like children. Do remember that the majority of your income comes from working professionals over the age of 18. Income from people who will only tolerate a finite amount of abuse.

I warn you now GGS, you will lose players and you will lose income if you press ahead with this update. This is nothing like previous updates and it won't simply get glossed over like in the past.
Chris2307 @ en 1
Post edited by Chris2307 (GB1) on

Comments

  • edited 19.05.2014
    Hi Chris2307,

    Thank you for your feedback and the time you have spent to write such a deailed post. I've split it into sections and will try and answer as many of your comments as possible.
    Chris2307 wrote: »
    Recently, however, we've been seeing more updates geared much more towards ruby spending. It feels like this investment -> development circle is being broken. It feels like you're interested in adding features which suck more and more money off of players but aren't really too concerned about the "fun" element of the game.
    This can be a difficult perception to break. Having spent a long time on this forum I have seen many updates being written off as a "ruby update" by the players just because something concerning rubies changed. Personally I disagree with the term since you are never forced to spend rubies in the first place. Ruby features in the game have always existed as an advantage for those that wish to pay for them and are not a requirement unless they are deemed to be by players. You don't have to spend money in Empire to be successful. Yes it will help and speed things up, but with enough effort you could achieve everything in the game without spending massive amounts on rubies.
    Chris2307 wrote: »
    The storm islands event/kingdom could have been amazing! In fact, I had a lot of fun in there during the first month but with prices so high, do you really expect players to spend so much each month? I don't play in this kingdom now because the price Vs reward is just to great for me and my alliance.
    Any event in any game is very hard to get right first time. There is always going to be a balancing period before it gets to a stage where both sides are "happy" with the result. With the first run we made some mistakes and we fully acknowledge that, but we are always planning and working on changes for the future. As you may have already seen (as an example) we have more changes already in the pipeline for the Storm Islands that will hopefully (eventually) help us get the right balance.
    Chris2307 wrote: »
    The RV nobility contest was a deliberate and arrogant swipe at the player made rules. Not to mention how easily abused the contest was. I understand you don't support player made rules but when you spend so much effort building a community based game, you're not going to get around player made rules - they will always exist and for the good of the game in my opinion.
    I can't say how true that statement is because I don't know the motivation behind it, but lets assume it was because of that reason. Player rules are all well and good, but why should we not do something to disrupt it when these rules are directly causing ingame problems? Do you know how many complaints we get about there not being enough RV's or that we should punish a player for taking one? They are and always have been a reward for PVP combat. Just because players decide it is a rule they want to enforce doesn't mean that we won't try to change that. For example, lets say that a group of people get together in real life and decide the speed limit on roads should be increased. Does that mean that it should be allowed and that the police shouldn't pull people over for speeding? Just because it is a rule created by someone doesn't mean that they should be able to enforce it on everyone if they do not have the authority to make it a rule.
    Chris2307 wrote: »
    So these are two recent updates which, in my opinion, show you are only interested in:

    1. Forcing players to play the game by your rules
    So encouraging players to play the game we have designed it is a bad thing? Players will always play the way they want to, but I don't agree that means we shouldn't make changes.
    Chris2307 wrote: »
    2. Requiring much much more money to be spent on an element of the game
    Without specific cases it's hard for me to comment on this one.
    Chris2307 wrote: »
    These two points are not good for you. Of course you "own" the game. You own the code, the graphics, the IP, the trademarks etc... But what makes the game is the community and their interpretation of the game and without this, you'd have nothing. A game that is carefully managed and given the freedom to grow organically as per the wishes of the players should be your winning formula. Key to this is a decent two way relationship between GGS and players but you seem to go against the grain. You constantly and stubbornly argue/disagree/dictate the community. Does this not tell you something? Players will ultimately leave if you sour that relationship anymore.
    Personally i feel you are taking too much of a one sided view here. Yes, there is a need for the community, but it works both ways. Without the game there would be no community. Having been an avid gamer for many years now I have experienced very few games that are "given the freedom to grow organically" since they often don't last without some sort of structured plan.
    Chris2307 wrote: »
    Which leads me to the contentious issue of the next update. The thread following the announcement of the update has easily broken the record for any other thread in that section. At the time of writing this, nearly 900 players have posted on over 40 pages (almost all of which are negative). I'm not going to get in to the details of why the update is so damn terrible but what is clear is that you're not willing to listen to your customer base.
    I wouldn't say that was the case. The thread was started on the 14th, which means players have had 5 days to post. 2 of those days have been over the weekend when Steve was not around to comment on it. I'm sure you can appreciate that it takes time for one person to gather all that feedback and report it on to the team responsible. You can already see today that we will be making a change to it so i feel that pretty much proves that we are willing to listen, but that doesn't mean we will make every change that is suggested. If we implemented everything that has been suggested in the almost 2 years that I have been a CM here then there would be no capitals, no metropolises and all the players would be sending troops armed with lasers to battles in cars.
    Chris2307 wrote: »
    Having received an incredible amount of negative feedback, you respond with what can only be described as an immensely stubborn and arrogant response. You give us information which isn't really new. You just tell us how we should be playing the game and how the update will be going ahead still on Monday. I struggle to fathom why a company would deliberately anger so many of its customers.
    I haven't seen anything that i would deem as arrogance on our part, but I will admit I am still catching up with all the posts since i have been out the office for some time.
    Chris2307 wrote: »
    We've suffered for a long time now. We post ideas on this forum and rarely get any kind of response. CM's regularly side step questions with vague responses which will make any politician jealous. We are treated like children. Do remember that the majority of your income comes from working professionals over the age of 18. Income from people who will only tolerate a finite amount of abuse.
    I have made my thoughts know on this subject a number of times. We (Steve and I) won't comment on every suggestion. If you post a suggestion thread then it should be discussed amongst the community. We will often forward ideas on to the team without posting about it in the thread. It doesn't mean that the idea hasn't been noticed.

    On the subject of vague reponses, if you are not happy with it then tell us. We have a lot of posts to respond to and may not have the perfect answer when we post it. If you feel we haven't addressed your issue then just send us a PM or post in the thread telling us that and we will see what we can do to fix it.

    Regards,
    Ethan
  • DirtnapDirtnap Posts: 170
    edited 19.05.2014
    Some great points from both of you. But with everything or rather all of this said I would have to agree with both.

    But, the real life example of speeding is a bit off. Because we do not pay police directly, it is pretty much taken out of our taxes, whereas the game or GGE we directly pay them for certain elements. I do understand your logic behind it though.

    Also about the lasers and cars, over the 2 years I would bet that those suggestions were from kids or people that really just wish to post on the forums for attention. I will also be willing to bet the people that suggested those are not still playing the game anymore. Most of what the author was suggesting I would guess would be the fact that most of the suggestions are from the serious or dedicated players that prefer to keep the medieval theme intact.

    Also correct that with no game there would be no community, this is very correct, but when the community funds the game then they should have a voice that should always be taken into consideration.

    Finally, as we shake our fist and curse under our breath at GGE we all understand ultimately that it is their final decision of what goes and what stays in the game and even what gets added to the game. As it is the final decision if the community decides that the game isn't just as appealing anymore and searches for other options to entertain themselves.
    "I am an acquired taste, if you don't like me you need to acquire some taste!"
  • Pipplepepper (GB1)Pipplepepper (GB1) Posts: 509
    edited 19.05.2014
    Lovely first post - measured - balanced.

    response? Dismissive.

    GGS have a community of player desperate to play a game they'll pay heavily for and also give good quality feedback for. I have a small business - I'd kill for this kind of engagement - not try to stifle it and tell it it was wrong at every turn.
    Pipplepepper @ en 1

    No to tribute update.
  • Tsar Alexander2Tsar Alexander2 Posts: 107
    edited 19.05.2014
    Amazing letter chris, the way you both do these letters you should try and be polticans,CM you quit your job and become a full time poltican same with you chris. I have a felling one of you will become a Prime Minister/President
    Do you lie the rabid animal?
  • shazoo2shazoo2 Posts: 133
    edited 20.05.2014
    great first post, very expressive of how many, many of us feel towards GGS. The response by the CM was well crafted and erudite, yet certainly lacking in real substance when seen as a response to the original post. CM must stand for Company Man, because it was all a defense of what is in reality indefensible.The bottom line is that players are bailing on the game because of how GGS runs it. in the past 4 days, we have had 5 members of my alliance quit, simply because the game has become less fun and more expensive, due to the current direction GGS has taken it in. 3 of these players are (were) higher level ruby buyers, and my alliance will miss them in battle, as well as in our chat. Many of us have quit buying rubies altogether, which is actually a good thing. I myself am disillusioned with this game now. After 18 months, it is stale, and the cash greedy antics of the people who produce it make me frankly unconcerned with it anymore. Shame on GGS, and whoever came up with this business model. Disrespecting customers and attempting to steal what they have paid their hard earned money for is just stupid.
    shazoo @ usa 1
  • BerserkJamesBerserkJames Posts: 107
    edited 20.05.2014
    that was a fantastic letter, the response from cm, expected nothing less as normal, all i can say is R.I.P GGS, as it will be a slow and agonising death of what should be a fantastic game, if only you would of listen to the players, your customers, which clearly we mean nothing, in implementing this update
    BerserkJames @ au 1

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