Our Thoughts on In-Game Surveys

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Ludia, Please Stop Crowdsourcing Development

Let me start off with some gratitude before I get negative.  I really appreciate that you want to hear player feedback. I think everyone can agree on that.  The goal of the game is to create fun and enjoyment and encouraging feedback is a great way to gauge that, but let’s get one thing straight:

We are not developers.

I am an electrical engineer and while I was in school, I worked in the campus IT department.  If there’s one thing I could say I’ve learned above all else from those fields, it’s this. The client doesn’t know what they need.  A lot of the time they don’t even know what they actually want and they almost never know what’s best for them. It’s my job to translate what they tell me they want and/or need into an actual solution.  Development is your job, not ours.

The Problem(s) with Surveys

Surveys as a method of communication aren’t inherently bad, but the way you are using them is counterproductive for a few reasons.

  1. Players will vote based on what benefits them personally, not what’s best for the game. It’s not always intentional or malicious, but as players we are intentionally biased.  People want to see the creatures they hate get nerfed and the ones they love get buffed.

  2. Players are awful at balancing.  There’s not really much to expand upon here, they just are. A significant amount of what the average player considers “fair” would actually break the game.

  3. Players are incapable of seeing how individual changes affect the whole.  “Fixing” one problem can create new problems. Sometimes in completely unrelated ways.  Some of the proposed changes in these surveys could work against one another. Some could compliment one another too well.

Don’t Set Yourself Up For Failure

These surveys are doing you a disservice. Game development is hard work. I know a lot of players think balancing and bug fixing are easy, but there are some of us who know how grueling it can be. These surveys trivialize all that work. They make it seem like game development just comes down to multiple choice questions and popularity contests. At the same time, it comes off as lazy and disrespectful to put the burden of that hard work on us. I’m not implying you are either of those things, but that’s the light these surveys paint you in. Don’t sell yourself short like this.

Communication is Key

Please continue to value player feedback.  It would be great if you communicated what your goals for certain mechanics/creatures are so that we could provide better feedback.  As for the surveys, they really need to be more generic and abstract. Ask simple things like “Do you think X creature is too powerful?” or “Which creature(s) do you think need to be buffed?”.  Then, publish the results of those surveys and give us a write up about what action you want to take on those results.

Player feedback should guide development, not dictate it.

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About the Author(s)

Hello, I am either a robot made to fold paper or a robot created to fold paper.  I forget which.  I love numbers! I love data!  I love animals!  I love you!  Will you got to robot prom with me?