Magnus responds to customer concerns

It may have escaped your notice, but European players have a few concerns about GOA’s management of Mythic’s game. Recently there’s been a petition about the website, and long threads on both WHA and the Vault detailing player concerns. As expected, now the weekend is over, Magnus has stepped out to comment on the WHA thread.

It’s undeniably placatory in tone, promising good service, explaining why there have been delays in hotfixes and patches. Promising better communication between Mythic and GOA, telling us they know there’s a problem with the website. We won’t get a test server for 1.05 but it’s being looked at. Server transfers are on the way which we can now read about on their website.

And hey, guess what? You know that Realm War page that Magnus has told us frequently will be coming ‘next week’ – now it’s in internal testing and he really enjoys playing with it. How nice. Any reason it wasn’t up all those weeks ago when we were promised it? And you know what – he hopes to bring us more information about it… NEXT WEEK. Phrases I wish could be obliterated from his vocabulary include ‘next week’.

No.. we’re on only the good news here, kids. And it is a good, solid PR post. It doesn’t cover the lack of communication from GOA, which is one of my primary concerns – the fact I mostly check the US Herald for game news, and then just use GOA occasionally, via the RSS feed. And we’ll see. They’re very good at making us hope things are about to get better. I really hope they are.

But it doesn’t address the fact that much of this could have been in place before the game was launched. It’s not like the Realm War page wasn’t being asked for the MOMENT the US announced theirs. The website has always been held under derision by the community. We’re 6 weeks into the game being live, and there’s still no real end in sight. In fact, there’s no sign at all the website will change from the Flash-horror that it is, just that they have enough feedback to fill a medium size library about how much we all hate it.

It is a good post, but it smacks of PR. We’ll see by what actually changes.

Why do I have to get my news from a fansite?

OK, so the game has gone gold and the preview weekend by all accounts has been a great success. Across the internet, a great flock of gamers has woken up and cried out for more information. Questions about the beta. Questions about what to expect in Europe. Questions about how the game plays now and what Mythic are planning to do before launch. Lots and lots of questions. But above all…

Why do we have to get our news from fansites?

It seems to me that Mark Jacobs prefers talking to random fans on bulletin boards to getting timely news updates onto his own site. GOA are the same if not worse. Oh, I understand why. You have to go through boring processes and boring other people to get a website updated. It’s a process and a hassle. With a bboard you just log in and post. And there’s an instant response from (a very very small subset of) fans either hugging you for showing up or chewing you out.

And cool as it is to have contact and feedback with developers explaining their design choices and what they’re working on at the moment, it’s no substitute for getting the news up on the site. (Yes, it is cool, and we do like reading what they have to say … but we don’t want to get our news from the fansites!)

So really, how does Mythic and GOA expect people to use their websites? We expect them to be a reliable source of news on the game. And news relevant to our respective regions. And to make it clear where to get other reliable information. I still think it’s fine not to have official forums but it’s important to be clear on where a fansite is different from an official site. A fansite is a place to talk about the game. An official site is a place to get news.

It looks sloppy and amateurish to have to trawl fansites for the news. And the vast majority of players will not read fansites!

What we expect of GOA

I’m not going to slam the site for being in flash, it’s a minor detail in the general scheme of things. But there’s no news. All they do right now is have a few fluffy articles about EU stuff. No mention of the game going gold, no mention of any of the reviews that are on the US site. (I’m not 100% myself as to whether links to reviews count as news but I’ll give it a bye since it’s interesting to visitors who don’t know much about the game. Obv would be better if they linked to our review but you can’t have everything.)

What they need is for Mythic to put their game related news on a different RSS feed from the US-specific stuff, and have it available prominently on the EU site. That would save people having to type things in twice and would ensure our news is up to date. Please do this.

Both sites also need to put links to the bigger fansites up more prominently. We who have been following the game for a long time know which the biggest forums are. A new player won’t. Do you really want to make them go through the whole list? At least put a brief description next to them. As of 18th Sept, their main job is to cater to their actual players. I’d suggest they’d be better served by a website designed to give them the news that they need.

Travel the Road

Syp over at Waaagh and a thread over at Warhammer Alliance pushed me to go look at the Road to WAR site. According to James Nichols (dev posting over at WHA), it’ll be properly announced in this week’s newsletter. Also, in the WHA thread, Mark Jacobs popped in to say:

And no, it’s not the good news I promised. Which, as a gentle reminder, I did say could take weeks. I’m hoping it’s only days but it might take a little longer to work out the details.

I think we’ll have a bunch of good news coming over the next few weeks. 

Good news always sounds good to me.

NB: Not found a specifically European version of this, might be that we hear something in newsletter – currently you can only select regions of the US or Australia though, so looks like this one isn’t really directed at us.

GOA website

Edit: Ok, the website maintenance has been postponed, so this is a little defunct!

There’s been a ton of discussion about the GOA website and its use of Flash and how many users would rather it was more like the Mythic one. Community Managers have continued to insist it’s a work in progress, which is good enough for me, to be honest.

Anyway, it’s coming down on Thursday and Friday for maintenance. Will this be when they add the ability to put in beta/early access codes for those of us who pre-ordered the Collector’s Edition? Will it emerge from a cocoon looking completely different? I guess we have to tune in on saturday to find out!

Also, please note the following:

Please note that some of the content on our Newsletter is hosted on our website, hence some Newsletter content will be unavailable during this maintenance.

Now reads to me as if the newsletter will be Thurs or Fri! (let’s get ready for an NDA release?)

NB: yes, ok, after my initial lameness I realised this could refer to old newsletter content. But I’ll keep what I originally wrote, I’d like to think the newsletter will be out before the end of July!