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billdoor

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billdoor
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PostedFeb 15, 2013 3:51 am
I appreciate the answers, Superman and Paladin.

I will agree that the Customers Relations Team has been a positive thing on the whole. Not very visible, but efficient in helping players that encounter thorny issues that the individual game staffs seem unable to solve or get right.

And yes, illegal servers do have the economic advantage on you in terms of fostering community relations and providing player service due to the simple fact of what makes them illegal - not paying the developers to publish the games. Still, given that, serious inroads should be made by you to steal their wind and thunder. They are after all eating into profit that should by right be yours.

Now, tickets. Of course tickets need to be handled within a reasonable time, or the community and reputation backlash will be fierce. One need but to look at Shaiya between October to January to see what can happen when it gets out of hand. Fortunately, it is now back to a state approaching normalcy (and will hopefully remain so past the next EOM tiered...).

But then there's this:
GMPaladin wrote:
If we spend time posting on the forums, interacting on the shoutbox and in-game, will we have time to handle tickets and prevent huge backlogs that hurt both revenue and player perspective of us?  

I want to put forward the point that a lack of GM and PM interaction within the community and the game also hurts both revenue and player perspective of Aeria as a host. Taking an active interest in the individual communities in terms of presence as well as hosting events (with a creative touch) frequently is also important, not just in terms of player retention (by keeping their interest going), but also in terms of more potential AP buyers and spenders wanting to hang around.

In the case of Shaiya, GM events have been at an all time low since the server merges. One GM event/week has been the norm in that time. The Shaiya community expected to see more GM events when there was just the one server to do events on (and after all, the Linked Server used to have frequent weekly events), but instead, the opposite happened. I guess that tells us something about how important the game is now in the great picture of Aeria's.

I understand well that games go in and out of fashion and have their own cycles of life, but I find it hard to grasp that you prefer stifling and strangling games that could or should be thriving in spite of their imperfections or age and drive their communities into deeper mistrust and alienation towards Aeria rather than nurturing them in order to extract the highest possible profit out of happy spenders. I believe most people would prefer to spend gladly rather than grudgingly. If you cannot meet that with the great majority of your games, you are either expanding too rapidly and the lack of community nurturing will come back to bite you financially, or the cost efficiency of running the various games has changed significantly since the days I first joined Aeria (or the profit margins expected have increased).

The communities will always want their cake and eat it too. If this cannot be so, for reasons of the future health of a game, staff shortages, hardware/software limitations or challenges, developer intransigence, whatever - it should be a backbone reflex within each Game staff to tell their community why this is the case. You want the community WITH you, not against you, and the best way of achieving that is by being forthright. There will always be those who will complain no matter what, but the chances of creating more support and goodwill within the communities as a whole would be greater - and the more likely to create positive synergies. Without those, a community will wither and die.

I see that Last Chaos is now being advertised as it is celebrating its sixth anniversary. From the LC community input I've seen for a while now, I am pretty sure that's cold comfort to them, as they have felt largely ignored by Aeria. Makes you wonder if there will be a seventh anniversary.

But anyways...
Superman0X wrote:
I would agree that our brand marketing... well sucks. Luckily we have some great staff, and volunteers, which does earn us some goodwill. Without this, well, I don't think we would even be talking with you here.  

Indeed. In the main your staff is not your problem, it's the policies you are dictated and the choices you are forced to make given the staff you have and the overhead requirements the Product Managers are given. It seems to me that most of the good ideas the Aeria founders had back in the day that made Aeria seem like a caring host and was part of attracting players to their doorstep have now been sacrificed on the altar of profit and efficiency. I hope they are aware that in the process, they are also sacrificing the company's soul - ie its reputation.

SeasonsEnd/MadManMoon/Uigeadail - retired from Shaiya as of May 10th 2014.
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Superman0X

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PostedFeb 15, 2013 9:21 am
billdoor wrote:
In the case of Shaiya, GM events have been at an all time low since the server merges. One GM event/week has been the norm in that time. The Shaiya community expected to see more GM events when there was just the one server to do events on (and after all, the Linked Server used to have frequent weekly events), but instead, the opposite happened. I guess that tells us something about how important the game is now in the great picture of Aeria's.  


This is interesting feedback. It is interesting because of what you have chosen to leave out. What you have failed to mention is the technical issues since the merge/ep 6. These issues have included game crashes, many, many long maintenances, and extended downtime. Loss of items, and other other game breaking bugs. You have basically implied that the GM Team should have ignored all of that, and all of the players affected by these issues... and run events instead.

The GM Team has been busy with tickets, because the game has had severe technical problems, which have caused players to be unable to play, and enjoy the game. This has been the highest priority... sorry.

billdoor wrote:
I see that Last Chaos is now being advertised as it is celebrating its sixth anniversary. From the LC community input I've seen for a while now, I am pretty sure that's cold comfort to them, as they have felt largely ignored by Aeria. Makes you wonder if there will be a seventh anniversary.  


You have a very good point here. LC is now 6 years old. When we launched the game, we only had a few competitors. At this time, all of them have either gone under, or been bought/sold. The games that they published have also faded away. Shaiya will have its 6th year anniversary in December (20th). It (just like LC) has been predicted to fail ever since the day of its launch.

I am not going to claim we are doing a great job (because we can clearly improve greatly). However, we are doing the things that result in our games being played for years. Just as we were compared to our competitors then, we are being compared to new competitors now. In six more years, you can see if we are still here, and if our competitors have yet again disappeared.

Killa_1112

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PostedFeb 15, 2013 9:48 am
billdoor wrote:
Superman0X wrote:
I would agree that our brand marketing... well sucks. Luckily we have some great staff, and volunteers, which does earn us some goodwill. Without this, well, I don't think we would even be talking with you here.  

Indeed. In the main your staff is not your problem, it's the policies you are dictated and the choices you are forced to make given the staff you have and the overhead requirements the Product Managers are given. It seems to me that most of the good ideas the Aeria founders had back in the day that made Aeria seem like a caring host and was part of attracting players to their doorstep have now been sacrificed on the altar of profit and efficiency. I hope they are aware that in the process, they are also sacrificing the company's soul - ie its reputation.  
Bingo, right here.

The games need to be flexible, the PMs given the freedom to run the games in the best interests of the individual communities, Not the "1 size fits all" approach that the company is using happy people = people who will pay.

There are things you as publishers have the tools and power to do but point blank refuse to do anything about, high enchants in low pvp zones and the economy are 2 major ones. This is what pisses people off and its why players leave in droves now. The addicts will eventually up and quit. You talk about shaiya "surviving" we don;t want a game to survive, we want the game to flourish and it STILL CAN, but ONLY if you work with the communities, people like SE here have seen and done everything in the book, h3ll even Avyn have tried and failed to get aerias arse in gear, the few experienced voices left are going completely unheard and the game is suffering. Badly.

Superman0X wrote:
billdoor wrote:
In the case of Shaiya, GM events have been at an all time low since the server merges. One GM event/week has been the norm in that time. The Shaiya community expected to see more GM events when there was just the one server to do events on (and after all, the Linked Server used to have frequent weekly events), but instead, the opposite happened. I guess that tells us something about how important the game is now in the great picture of Aeria's.  


This is interesting feedback. It is interesting because of what you have chosen to leave out. What you have failed to mention is the technical issues since the merge/ep 6. These issues have included game crashes, many, many long maintenances, and extended downtime. Loss of items, and other other game breaking bugs. You have basically implied that the GM Team should have ignored all of that, and all of the players affected by these issues... and run events instead.  
What are we meant to think? We aren't told anything beyond 'we're working on it' The same gen response we always get. Those words have now lost all meaning. Updates are so few and far between they are almost worthless. once a week 30 mins of a GM/PMs time would be enough to right a semi detailed post. And yes, we would rather have that then be ignored and you spend 30 mins working on the problem.

Communication > Ignoring and letting us think you are doing nothing.

If its a long standing issue you bet we want you to give us a detailed post, if its been going on for weeks we would like to be kept in the loop, yes, even at the cost of working on the problem, the bridge building and communication is what matter most right now, because we aren't seeing any of it.

Sup i would liek to direct you to This post This is a post that i made late last year, I asked your advice before posting this to make it as constructive and concise as possible (we both know I'm often to opinionated) This was made to set out clear lines on how Aeria can improve community interaction quickly and efficiently (for shaiya specifically), how taking mere moment out of their time they could help re-establish the broken link between host and community, i outlined the good and the bad throughout the post and used several quotes from other posts to show how little it would actually take.

It was not acted on.

Superman0X wrote:
I am not going to claim we are doing a great job (because we can clearly improve greatly). However, we are doing the things that result in our games being played for years. Just as we were compared to our competitors then, we are being compared to new competitors now. In six more years, you can see if we are still here, and if our competitors have yet again disappeared.  
I have given the company and you personally ample feedback over YIM, on the forums, and in the feedback section as well as countless posts on the shaiya forums. Aeria never acts on any feedback, the px server is all i know of that was actually acted on and even then Aeria didn't maintain it properly... so it because worse than the rest, and again the community screamed for Aeria to nip the problems int he bud before the got worse and (surprise surprise) NOTHING was done. Just another 'epic new promo'.

- Courtesy of the Great Avyn

Superman0X

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PostedFeb 15, 2013 10:10 am
Killa_1112 wrote:
billdoor wrote:
Superman0X wrote:
I would agree that our brand marketing... well sucks. Luckily we have some great staff, and volunteers, which does earn us some goodwill. Without this, well, I don't think we would even be talking with you here.  

Indeed. In the main your staff is not your problem, it's the policies you are dictated and the choices you are forced to make given the staff you have and the overhead requirements the Product Managers are given. It seems to me that most of the good ideas the Aeria founders had back in the day that made Aeria seem like a caring host and was part of attracting players to their doorstep have now been sacrificed on the altar of profit and efficiency. I hope they are aware that in the process, they are also sacrificing the company's soul - ie its reputation.  
Bingo, right here.

The games need to be flexible, the PMs given the freedom to run the games in the best interests of the individual communities, Not the "1 size fits all" approach that the company is using happy people = people who will pay.

There are things you as publishers have the tools and power to do but point blank refuse to do anything about, high enchants in low pvp zones and the economy are 2 major ones. This is what pisses people off and its why players leave in droves now. The addicts will eventually up and quit. You talk about shaiya "surviving" we don;t want a game to survive, we want the game to flourish and it STILL CAN, but ONLY if you work with the communities, people like SE here have seen and done everything in the book, h3ll even Avyn have tried and failed to get aerias arse in gear, the few experienced voices left are going completely unheard and the game is suffering. Badly.

Superman0X wrote:
billdoor wrote:
In the case of Shaiya, GM events have been at an all time low since the server merges. One GM event/week has been the norm in that time. The Shaiya community expected to see more GM events when there was just the one server to do events on (and after all, the Linked Server used to have frequent weekly events), but instead, the opposite happened. I guess that tells us something about how important the game is now in the great picture of Aeria's.  


This is interesting feedback. It is interesting because of what you have chosen to leave out. What you have failed to mention is the technical issues since the merge/ep 6. These issues have included game crashes, many, many long maintenances, and extended downtime. Loss of items, and other other game breaking bugs. You have basically implied that the GM Team should have ignored all of that, and all of the players affected by these issues... and run events instead.  
What are we meant to think? We aren't told anything beyond 'we're working on it' The same gen response we always get. Those words have now lost all meaning. Updates are so few and far between they are almost worthless. once a week 30 mins of a GM/PMs time would be enough to right a semi detailed post. And yes, we would rather have that then be ignored and you spend 30 mins working on the problem.  


I will conceded that our management is what I would call 'risk adverse'. They try to go with the safe bets. We are also not pushing the envelope on F2P games. We tend to quickly follow a success, while trying to refine the process.

However, this does not mean that we have not done well. I will provide some of the stats (that I know). I know that Grand Fantasia was the #1 Fastest growing game in Europe for 2 years. I know that our LATAM office is now the largest publisher in that region of the world. I know we have had many other 'major' success stories. Shaiya is one of these, and our success with this game is why Nexon bought it.

The reason why you are not satisfied with the success of Shaiya, is the same reason why we are not publicly held. Public opinion of success, and the business definition are very different.

You can see this in the stock market every day. Public perception drives the stock market. If people 'think' something is good, the price goes up. If they 'think' it is bad, the price goes down. It is not really the details of the event that is important.. but rather the perception that matters. Because of this, public companies must 'market' themselves, and in doing so, convince others that whatever they do... it is good.

Aeria is a private company. As such our executives and board members do not partake in marketing the Aeria image. This is something that every public company does, and that every public company can see the value in... but that private companies sometimes miss. If we did a better job of presenting our actions to the public (i.e. communication), it is highly likely that the public would think that what we are doing is good. This is the simple process of brand marketing and public communication... which we suck at.

billdoor

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PostedFeb 15, 2013 3:18 pm   Last edited by billdoor on Feb 15, 2013 3:38 pm. Edited 1 time in total
Superman0X wrote:
billdoor wrote:
In the case of Shaiya, GM events have been at an all time low since the server merges. One GM event/week has been the norm in that time. The Shaiya community expected to see more GM events when there was just the one server to do events on (and after all, the Linked Server used to have frequent weekly events), but instead, the opposite happened. I guess that tells us something about how important the game is now in the great picture of Aeria's.  


This is interesting feedback. It is interesting because of what you have chosen to leave out. What you have failed to mention is the technical issues since the merge/ep 6. These issues have included game crashes, many, many long maintenances, and extended downtime. Loss of items, and other other game breaking bugs. You have basically implied that the GM Team should have ignored all of that, and all of the players affected by these issues... and run events instead.

The GM Team has been busy with tickets, because the game has had severe technical problems, which have caused players to be unable to play, and enjoy the game. This has been the highest priority... sorry.  

Hehe, I was waiting for that one. I guess I should say touché, but then again...

As far as I've understood, the server merges were at least in part trumped through by Nexon, which leaves them at least in part to be blamed for the resulting issues. Still, I and a lot of the community have a hard time understanding that in the period while the merge issues were still haunting Shaiya, new and apparently untested content was foisted onto us. Your distribution contract with Nexon can't be all that much to cheer about if you are not able to test content before it is released. So, you and your players were left with content AND merge issues that in part triggered the ticket deluge, as well as the community disenchantment.

I am in no way saying the issues you list were not issues. As a major guild leader in Shaiya, I know well that they were. My guildies and every other player were left to deal with these issues for months, just like your employees. We lived with them day by day, and a lot of paying customers were paying hard cash for ingame services that kept their playing on hold for up to three weeks for each ticket they sent. Which brings me to the point of being proactive. If you test new content, if you use your GS teams actively in this process, you would get the feedback that MIGHT cause a christmas release to be delayed into the new year, but might actually help retain your player base in the long run more than releasing untested content would.

It's all about balance and daring to take the long view. I've understood from previous conversations with past PMs of Shaiya that the long view is nigh on impossible for them to take. What counts is the bottom line of THIS month, not half a year ahead. Which is a sad tale for the communities.

Aeria CEOs seem to overlook that an MMORPG is not QUITE a consumer item on par with a chocolate bar, or maybe better - a movie - ie being consumed and once consumed, the consumer moves on to something else. The difference is that MMORPGs create communities within them. These communities tend to want to stick together. It's a social thing even more than a consumer thing. If the game host prepares the ground to keep the social structures intact, it will encourage further spending on the game. If the game host doesn't, the social structures will attempt to resist the changes (ie the perceived attempts to force people from one game to another) and start working against the host. This clearly is a situation to be avoided, but one that Aeria has become increasingly more adept at fostering.

Ideally, Aeria would like to see the majority of their players move from one Aeria game to another once the various games run their courses and come to the natural end of their lifespans. But the social nature of MMORPGs do not allow for these transitions to happen smoothly. What is needed from Aeria's side is to be as candid as possible about the future of their various games. Ok, that might not make Nexon happy in the case of Shaiya, but it holds a higher possibility of keeping players and paying customers under the Aeria umbrella for being a company they trust.

Aeria will surely be around in six years' time. And probably still be quite successful. But will it be a company that people speak highly of, or one that just about everyone who comes in touch with will perceive as a soulless money machine after 2-3 months of getting to know? Aeria MUST make money on their games, and I'd be happy to help you do so if you only took care of your communities. Which consist of a huge number of people besides those who pay to play.

Unfortunately, the Aeria leopard has proved unable over the last three years to change its spots for the better of its communities. I won't say it is too late for miracles, but as I've said before, as soon as a certain game comes along, it's bye bye Aeria for me and a host of other players. And our money. Because you failed to take care of the communities and be a good game host. What makes me sad is that the warnings have been issued for years, but ignored to the point where keeping up the fight to turn the ship around has proved pointless, but I will keep up to make sure someone hangs the bell on the cat. Until the day I leave.

That said, I will also endeavour to give credit when due. There have been encouraging signs, but there's also a disturbing tendency of each of these being countered by equally discouraging half baked updates, and poorly thought through promos.
Superman0X wrote:
I know we have had many other 'major' success stories. Shaiya is one of these, and our success with this game is why Nexon bought it.  

I hate to sound snide, but I guess that Choi Rock refused to sell to Aeria is still a sore point?

SeasonsEnd/MadManMoon/Uigeadail - retired from Shaiya as of May 10th 2014.

Superman0X

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PostedFeb 15, 2013 3:34 pm
billdoor wrote:

Superman0X wrote:
I know we have had many other 'major' success stories. Shaiya is one of these, and our success with this game is why Nexon bought it.  

I hate to sound snide, but I guess that Choi Rock refused to sell to Aeria is still a sore point?  


I will be the first to admit that in some things, Nexon may be better than us. They are an experienced developer. They have offices in Korea. They have lots of cash. In these three respects they were a much better match for Shaiya than we were. What was sold was not just rights to the game, but the development studio as well. Perhaps, now with the merger of Aeria and GamePot, something like this might be more viable in the future.

To be honest, I was actually more frustrated with Perfect World acquiring Cryptic Studios. I feel that was truly a missed opportunity.

billdoor

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PostedFeb 15, 2013 3:41 pm
Superman0X wrote:
billdoor wrote:

Superman0X wrote:
I know we have had many other 'major' success stories. Shaiya is one of these, and our success with this game is why Nexon bought it.  

I hate to sound snide, but I guess that Choi Rock refused to sell to Aeria is still a sore point?  


I will be the first to admit that in some things, Nexon may be better than us. They are an experienced developer. They have offices in Korea. They have lots of cash. In these three respects they were a much better match for Shaiya than we were. What was sold was not just rights to the game, but the development studio as well. Perhaps, now with the merger of Aeria and GamePot, something like this might be more viable in the future.

To be honest, I was actually more frustrated with Perfect World acquiring Cryptic Studios. I feel that was truly a missed opportunity.  

That's a fair answer in that regard, alright.

And on the social aspects of MMORPGs making them a somewhat ... delicate commodity to manage?

SeasonsEnd/MadManMoon/Uigeadail - retired from Shaiya as of May 10th 2014.

Killa_1112

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PostedFeb 16, 2013 6:38 am
You don't need to be a dev to have the tools to correct the game. You ahve the power to make reasonable changes in favour of the community. But nothing ever changes, problems are left to rot away and now they have warped the game into something that is unplayable unless you spend big. I use to drop 200 sometimes 300$ a month into the game. I couldn't even stand still with that. People will and Are walking. Not all solutions need to come from the devs, Aeria has the tools to fix this stuff. I was told from a former PM and i quote "however much control players think they have over the market, we have more."

If this is true then fix the problem. You have let it rot for YEARS and its causing the game to crash and burn.

- Courtesy of the Great Avyn

GMPaladin

Aeria: Specialist
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PostedFeb 19, 2013 7:41 am
LordRapthorne wrote:
won't happen. With the state of some of Aeria's games, there's more likely going to be more GM's laid off than any more hired  


This is incorrect. We are actually hiring right now.

bjw12345678

Rank 2
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PostedFeb 19, 2013 8:07 am
dam i got here to late, so much to read Q_Q

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