While you might feel Avyn is wrong in his conclusions, Paladin, he and Killa are bang on in how Aeria is being viewed by its community. You might do well to ask yourself whose perception of the company is the more important for its reputation in the long run, its customers or its management.
For those of us who have been part of your community for a good number of years now, we have SEEN these changes. Your game management teams have grown increasingly more insular and GM/PM interaction increasingly more rare. Your new community members might not see this, but those that have been around the block for a while DO. We see that the levels of service and interaction that we were semi-happy with at best in the outset has deteriorated to a level that is now well beyond the point of what is acceptable.
Superman0X ventured the opinion a while ago that if people kept paying for games hosted by Aeria, that meant they were happy with Aeria as a game host. I will not pick up that debate, except to say that the fact that I am still around and paying while being MOST unhappy with the direction Aeria has taken over the last three years, is but one proof that his conclusion is wrong. If I want to keep on playing Shaiya, my choice is between playing and paying at Aeria and being unhappy with the legal host, or playing illegally on a private server. Several have chosen the latter, while I, being a law-abiding person, is LEFT WITH the INFERIOR service of a legal monopoly. I know well what services private Shaiya servers provide their players, and those players are unanimous that while the challenge of playing Shaiya there doesn't keep their interest going, the customer service is beyond compare. Now, who's the one with an image issue?
Aeria hosts games people want to play, but Aeria doesn't give the impression, and here I repeat IMPRESSION, of caring two beans about their communities. You would be doing yourselves no ends of good with at least appearing to take an interest in your communities, as in contrast to what it looked like 3-4 years ago, the company's apparent interest in them now is ZERO.
In the rare cases your employees interact in public (and some promotion is not involved), they are mostly snide, sarcastic or oracular. Aeria has made being vague an art. Even the simplest announcements are made in the most ambiguous manner possible, leaving players unsure of what will ACTUALLY happen, what the rules of a promotion is, or simply what is going on. One is led to think that the first thing a new GM is taught is to make sure no statement is ever written in a clear and unambiguous manner. You are keeping everyone guessing, and in the worst cases this leads to people being banned.
Aeria the company of 2013 does Aeria the company whose community I joined in 2008 no justice. Aeria was never perfect, but your increasing imperviousness to take feedback in order to INCREASE the satisfaction of your communities has shown what abyss you have fallen into in terms of cultivating a healthy player community.
While I might be happy to see a reply from Paladin or Superman here, I would be vastly more mollified by seeing ACTUAL GM and PM interaction increased in the various game communities. THAT would be making a difference.
What you guys have for some reason always appeared to fail to appreciate is the gap between what you SAY Aeria is doing and what it APPEARS to the players you are doing. As long as that gap is perceived in the deficit of Aeria, you will be losing community confidence. You want the equation of
Aeria's quality of product / Community expectations
to be as close to 1 or above (if possible). As long as that is in a severe deficit, you have a problem. Communicating with the community might amount to window dressing at times, but if you are to appear to take an actual interest, it's actually even better that you say SOMETHING than nothing at all, as long as the something is honest and forthright. Aeria has gotten increasingly better at the "nothing" bit over the years. The Mafia could take lessons from you on omerta