While I understand and agree that the events are not "mandatory", I partially disagree that they aren't needed to progress. The events offer items (sometimes) that many players don't have access to normally. But that is neither here nor there. The issue is the, "this is what we're giving you and if you don't like it, tough" attitude, no matter how nicely you put it. Imagine if your boss(es) arranged a special party for you. After following awful directions, you arrive to see a drunken clown, stale donuts, and week-old coffee. This is your reward. This is how highly your boss(es) think of you and reward you for your performance. How you would feel there is pretty much how many of the players feel after some of the events. I know it kinda sucks to come up with ideas week after week to please several thousand people. I've been there. Game balance is an issue so you don't want to shell out +7 lvl 100+ gear every time. But if you're trying to offer bacon cheeseburgers to your vegan patrons, you don't tell them to suck it up. That's bad business.
A suggestion? Pull something from the player feedback. Give us an event we ask for. Then TELL us the event came from player suggestions. See what happens then. It could go great, people are happy, win-win for GM's and players. Or it could suck terribly then you could say, "well this is what people wanted." Then maybe there'd be less complaints when you come up with events.
I understand GM's are not developers (usually). Sometimes it's easier to come up with ideas then to actually crunch the code to make it happen.
Very well stated.
To build off this idea a little, a poorly executed reward ends up being an insult. In dkenog's example above, the bosses would have been better off doing nothing at all than throwing a party that communicates "we don't care about you".
Personally, I've not even seen what the wheels look like yet as I always wait until the last day to turn in all my collected stuff. Thus, I can't comment on the success or failure of this particular event. Let me ask a question though to the GMs: when was the last time you had an in-game event that was a real success? The fragments collection wheels of the last on were often broken and the NPC wasn't even there half the time. (Not to mention feeling like a blatant attempt at making us spend gold, in that regard the current event's no reties for gold may have been trying to address that.) The Olympic one COULD have been but it was so buggy and confusing, which was too bad because it was kinda tough but the rewards matched the effort IMO. Before that... Easter I think, and I was a new player so I had no idea what was good or not. The weekly GM events however DO ofter balanced effort to reward and ARE often fun. So the events the GMs CAN control are balanced well (again, in my opinion).
Unfortunately, as GMs; you are usually the only connection we customers have to the company. So to the customer; you ARE the company. This is just like the cashier at a store; if you have a problem, how often do you get a manager rather than mention it to the cashier as you are finishing? Having worked a lot service jobs, I completely understand the desire to stand by the company you work for (after all, you want to believe that you represent a good company if nothing else). But the responses need to empathetic to customer rather than dismissive. If you tried the suggested special of the day at a restaurant and thought it was nasty, you wouldn't want the waiter you complained to reply "well, you didn't have to order it".
A little more transparency (openness and honesty) would go a long way too. If you know the devs are experimenting or trying things based on our feedback; let us know. That'll make us feel like we ARE being listened too. If you don't know that and your hands are tied, tell us that and tells us what you can and will do. That'll make us feel like YOU are listening at least. These two points alone are the major reason why certain GMs/GSs are really well liked and certain others are not liked much at all.
Just remember; we keep playing the game so that means we WANT to like it and we WANT to like the people representing it.