Ren36

What do you think of our publisher? (Feedback)

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Ren36   

In the beginning I considered creating a poll, but there are too many ways to mess with it and it´s much better anyways to hear the reasoning behind the opinions.
And since I don´t wanna set the tone or influence anyone I will withold on my opinion for now.

To give a rough idea of what the work of NCWest as game publisher entails:
 

- Recruits and develops internal or third-party development talent to develop the publisher's game concepts

- Acquires film and other intellectual property licenses to develop into games

- Provides technical and production support to its game developers, which may include such things as localization, censoring, porting, development tool licensing and use of publisher-owned proprietary tools
- Server

- Conducts quality assurance testing

- Promotes, advertises, manufactures, sells and distributes the games it publishes

- Provides technical and customer support

- For online game, a publisher may be responsible for community management and running the live team that develops new content

If you find the time, I would also like to hear the opinion on NCSoft the developer, just be aware to differentiate between the publisher.

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Grimoir   

Some things are not correct....
 

Quote

 

"Recruits and develops internal or third-party development talent to develop the publisher's game concepts"

"For online game, a publisher may be responsible for community management and running the live team that develops new content"

"porting, development tool licensing"

 

thats not a publishers job, thats the games development team.

 

My opinion is:

The publisher isnt great, but its not so bad either. A lot of things are out of their control and most players dont realize that. Players can ask , demand , suggest changes but all the publisher can do, is pass it along and if the development team thinks otherwise or doesnt like the suggestions, they simply will not do it, and not even NC can change their mind.

I have seen worse publishers and better ones, NC is kinda floating in the middle.

The only thing i would improve is communication, because that lacks a lot, and more investment into the community to eliminate errors and misscommunications in news posts and patch notes.

 

 

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Ren36   

Wasn´t Bethany/Liinxy our community manager @Grimoir in name, which was actually done by babbletron?

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Grimoir   
1 minute ago, Ren36 said:

Wasn´t Bethany/Liinxy our community manager @Grimoir in name, which was actually done by babbletron?

Yes and no, Bethany was the community manager, Jonathan was the producer. Two different things and two different responsibilities.

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Ren36   
13 hours ago, KlausFlouride said:

There's a lovely thread on the BnS Reddit about what the community thinks of the job NCW is doing.

You probably mean the thread that started off about the netcoding and input delays, especially on high end PC and fps issues.
If it´s another I couldn´t find it, so I´ll answer with this in mind.
Programming and alike is usually the responsibility of the developer including the netcode. Though ofc to some extent the publisher has the possibility to tweak it, similiar to the .xml changes that some players did with the client, but it only focuses  only on one aspect and not on the publisher itself.

On 10.8.2019 at 5:03 PM, Grimoir said:

Some things are not correct....

"Recruits and develops internal or third-party development talent to develop the publisher's game concepts"

"For online game, a publisher may be responsible for community management and running the live team that develops new content"

"porting, development tool licensing"

A publisher usually informs the developer about laws and what kind of game concept runs in different regions, like f2p or if for example rng upgrade paths would float the same in our region as in korea. We were also the very first region to receive tradeable raid mats and some other perks due to suggestions and feedback we´ve given to NCWest.
Community management like I said was actually the work of Liinxy, but it felt like it was mostly done by babbletron who informed us of upcoming patches via twitter and alike. He also seemed more informed in general and engaged more with the community than her. About the 3rd aspect I can´t say much, but the publisher is usually involved to what extent depends on the region from which it is ported.
On a side-note, though it´s said that Liinxy and Elusive resigned, it felt more like that they were actually fired, especially after NCSoft´s CEO Kim himself stated that they were "misreading market demand in these regions consistently." Which is the job of the publisher to forward feedback from the community to the developer.

For those who are interested CEO Kim continues as following:
"These regions are very competitive, so we must do more to keep the player's interest on our games. For Blade & Soul, I believe the wrong steps were taken in the beginning, and our second attempt to reorganize our western branch was not very successful. We will be undergoing another reorganization later this year, and bringing our western branch closer into our Korean operations." Kim stated that this reorganization was intended to close the gap between localization releases and patches, while also facilitating western player's feedback better so they reach the dev teams with minimal delay. NCSoft seemed to signal that if the third attempt to reorganize their western branch wasn't successful, then they would have to consider if continuing to operate in North America and Europe would be wise. Aside from this, very little was discussed of Blade & Soul 2, other than a nod towards more information being shared at G-Star in November.

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vor einer Stunde schrieb Ren36:

For those who are interested CEO Kim continues as following:
"These regions are very competitive, so we must do more to keep the player's interest on our games. For Blade & Soul, I believe the wrong steps were taken in the beginning, and our second attempt to reorganize our western branch was not very successful. We will be undergoing another reorganization later this year, and bringing our western branch closer into our Korean operations." Kim stated that this reorganization was intended to close the gap between localization releases and patches, while also facilitating western player's feedback better so they reach the dev teams with minimal delay. NCSoft seemed to signal that if the third attempt to reorganize their western branch wasn't successful, then they would have to consider if continuing to operate in North America and Europe would be wise.

Well from my experience, in the last 3 years i play BnS, it looks like something went terribly wrong in the communication line Community <--> Publisher <--> Developer.

Many good ideas, many requests and suggestions went lost in the Forum-Nirvana while you never heard anything about them.

Just an example Clan-PVP. Since Clan-PVP was introduced people complain about the times. For German people Clan-PVP start at 10PM and goes to 12AM during middle eurropean summer time. Ill guess frensh players are also affected. but nothing ever happend, as far as i remember not even a note from our communitymanagement that this problem is forwarded to the publisher / Dev's.

 

I dont know where the Problem was / is since our Communitymanager / Forum Moderators at least on some of those threads stated they will forward it to the Development Team, but thats all you ever heard. I dont know if its fair to blame Liinxy for a failure in this communication line, it never is a single persons fault.

So if CEO Kim realy is serious about his statement the first thing he should do is make sure this communication line work and overall work in both directions.

So when there are suggestions there should be a feedback.

 


 

 

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Ren36   
On 8/11/2019 at 10:53 AM, KlausFlouride said:

Read the rest of the thread, there was a lot more than poor coding.

After reading through, some replies mention the management of the developer NCSoft, whereas others briefly the support of NCWest, bugs that are stacking up with each patch and some other projects of NCSoft that were run into the ground, but in general the focus is on performance issues, which is mostly the job of the devs in Korea.
Aside from that regarding Liinxy´s impact on streams it´s true that she lacked knowledge about the matter and in general it felt like that none of the recorded team played BnS, which is probably why the developer NCSoft and publisher NCWest feel so disconnected from BnS or the products they try to sell.
Merlin brought up miscommunication and that it´s very likely not only the fault of one person, seeing how babbletron partitally helped Liinxy to relay info to the community as producer, even though it wasn´t his job.
About the ideas, there are actually many from time schedule changes, reverts, account wide rewards/limiting rewards to 2 characters, more ways to obtain certain items up to QoL to unsummon cats for screenshots and recycling content.

All in all it´s nice to see that the CEO recognizes the problems, but the thought that it came so far while problems/suggestions were intentionally not looked into or put on hold and that we are now at the 3rd attempt before BnS might quit for good in EU & NA leaves me with a mixture of feelings. The product can be only as good as the person who understands what he is actually selling and the marketer who compiles and forwards information to the producer & community.

On 8/11/2019 at 12:25 PM, Merlin DE said:

Well from my experience, in the last 3 years i play BnS, it looks like something went terribly wrong in the communication line Community <--> Publisher <--> Developer.

Many good ideas, many requests and suggestions went lost in the Forum-Nirvana while you never heard anything about them.

Just an example Clan-PVP. Since Clan-PVP was introduced people complain about the times. For German people Clan-PVP start at 10PM and goes to 12AM during middle eurropean summer time. Ill guess frensh players are also affected. but nothing ever happend, as far as i remember not even a note from our communitymanagement that this problem is forwarded to the publisher / Dev's.

 

I dont know where the Problem was / is since our Communitymanager / Forum Moderators at least on some of those threads stated they will forward it to the Development Team, but thats all you ever heard. I dont know if its fair to blame Liinxy for a failure in this communication line, it never is a single persons fault.

So if CEO Kim realy is serious about his statement the first thing he should do is make sure this communication line work and overall work in both directions.

So when there are suggestions there should be a feedback.


 

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From what I've seen lately, NCWest lacks a lot of things, but the main problems involve communication, online advertisement, and player encouragement for Blade & Soul. 

 

Advertising

Spoiler

 

I would think that for a North American publisher, they would be doing more to improve the online presence of this game in the United States, and over the past 2-3 years I played, the player count continues going down. Realistically, player counts are supposed to fluctuate because players come and go, but I have been seeing it primarily go in one direction downwards. Part of the reason has to do with the poor optimization, since if you can't play a game, you quit immediately. But part of it also has to do with the fact that not many people know about this game, which is a consequence from the publishers not boosting this game's online presence.

 

Whenever I check my mail or just browse the Internet, I see advertisements for a lot of other games, with Black Desert Online in particular showing up numerous times; I'm going to use that game as a good example. The publishers for that game know how to brand because part of boosting your presence involves slap-sticking your content on digital billboards, media, etc. enough times such that it interferes with people's daily online browsing. If they stop and look, that's proof they know about the game now, and that's something I haven't seen coming from NCWest. The publishers for Black Desert Online do this so often that I have to stop and look, and they do it so much I get annoyed and close off the ads, but it was a huge success for getting me, some online user, to know about the game, even if it annoyed me.

 

Can't play a game if you don't know about it.

 

 

Communication

Spoiler

 

People on social media keep hating on the game, calling it Pay-to-Win, dead, and criticizing how much it sucks. At this point, it isn't constructive criticism; it's just annoying, but the fact that these people, who are part of the player base, are continuing to say these things is a red flag. And that red flag rose from the lack of communicative reception.

 

Online users can be belligerent, disrespectful, and rude, but certainly they have a capacity for understanding. Why haven't any NCWest community managers addressed what people are posting online? They could at least respond to these people because a majority of what people are saying, and who they're blaming, is wrong, partly because of misunderstanding information and miscommunication. They're going to keep doing this because they want attention, and ignoring them will not fix this problem. Sure, the reasoning for staying quiet might be because some of these people are trolling; that's not the point. Not everyone online is a troll, and treating them like you would treat a troll is disastrous.

 

If NCWest is under the gun to not respond as part of their job by NCSOFT, that's understandable, but I don't think neither would want to be under the guns of the player base, as Bethesda dealt with that with what happened with Fallout 76 and the game's merchandise, and they're still dealing with that.

 

The same issue can be seen on the forums. When players are asking about some things that are worth responding to from NCWest community managers, why is no one responding? A communication barrier between publisher and player was created, and its gap continues widening because of this lack of communication. If players feel like they're being ignored, they rage and start attacking, which is continuing to happen.

 

Worst of all is if players feel the publishers don't care about anything they have to say, they quit.

 

 

Player Encouragement

Spoiler

 

If anything, Blade & Soul does not encourage players to spread word about the game. The lot of us can agree that this game can be fun, and it is playable up to a certain point, but none of us will bother telling others about it, and if we do, what comes out is discouragement to not play this game, and encouragement to stay away from it.

 

There is a huge lack of encouragement by the publishers on the players to spread word about the game, and that is hurting the game more than people being unable to play it. This has to go into advertising: can't play a game if you don't know about it, and the players that do play the game, knowing it exists, will not bother telling others about it because they get nothing from it but false hope.

 

A large portion of a game's outward presence, both online and offline, is going to come from the player base and community. Because NCWest isn't encouraging players to spread the word, maybe by using a referral program for rewards, or telling players that if you recommend x amount of people to play this game, you get a cool badge, title, etc., the game continues failing because people keep leaving with no one to take their place. This explains the continuing downward spiral of the player base: players leave, and without any new players to play the game, the player count permanently decreases.

 

Remember: as players, we're the ones playing the game. Rewarding us for it can only encourage us to play more, and possibly spread word about it.

 

 

Edited by Snowyamur
Added spoiler tags to organize info.

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Ren36   
22 hours ago, Snowyamur said:

From what I've seen lately, NCWest lacks a lot of things, but the main problems involve communication, online advertisement, and player encouragement for Blade & Soul.

An in-depth reply speaking from experience and simple solutions. Makes me wonder why NCWest/NCSoft didn´t come up with this, especially since the forum is filled with several approaches, but there is probably more to it.
And that´s competition. Bns barely faced competition with their game, even if their players count dropped it didn´t affect their initial sales.
People that invested too much stayed the longest and continued to do so. And the fishes that didn´t, didn´t hesitate as much.
But when the servers crumbled and the whales were left alone with their own kind, this game became a race within a race with the pace the updates came out.
Upgrading and upgrading to defy the meta just to keep up and compensating with the downsides of your class and what it can contribute to the party. Just to realize that rerolling to new classes ends up with far less gear & time required to do the same.
For me. at one point this game stopped to being game. That NCWest employees "resign" left and right now is hardly the way to approach it, if the blanks aren´t filled.
So ye I agree with your suggestions and NCWest should hurry with the man power that is left.

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59 minutes ago, Ren36 said:

And that´s competition. Bns barely faced competition with their game, even if their players count dropped it didn´t affect their initial sales.

It sounds like poor decision-making on their part. When Blade & Soul finally launched in the United States after years of anticipation, its servers were so overpopulated that people had to wait in queues to play. Something like that doesn't happen for every MMO that kicks off, especially one that's coming from another country. It was poor planning, poor changes being made to the game, and focusing on the wrong things at the wrong time that led the game to end up where it is now.

 

People ask for UE4; we're given an unsatisfying date for its release. People report bugs and issues; they don't get fixed. Many others continue hating on the game partly from misunderstandings; NCWest doesn't do anything to correct or address them. It sounds like it all boils down to NCWest not doing much to fix these problems, but it's also because of NCSOFT refusing to do much about it. 

 

The lot of us continue feeling like we're not part of this community, even though we are, and that's because there's stubbornness among executive employees refusing to see the bigger picture. We feel that they're ignoring us, and we're probably right based on the current situation. The game is not in a good position right now, and both publisher and developer are to blame.

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Personaly i dont like the preformance but i consider the game still playable, what doesnt mean they shouldnt optimize it asap.

Ignoring the community it a much bigger problem in my opinion.

- Clan-PVP times

- PVP-ballance

- Matchmaking on Battleground (its nice to have a mostly bronce team and get matched against a most gold team losing 1800:0)

- Droprates (espacialy mao gloves and the ninja nerf of alphacoin fragments dropping from boss 1 and 2) 

  on guy posted he had 150 mao kills and not a single glove, WTF NC-Soft????

- continusly ignoring the request for moonstons farmable outside of PVP

- hiding items behind paywalls (Gems / Oils) without making them farmable in a reasonable amount of time

- realy bad rng with unity stones

- missing or wrong informations in patchnotes

 

these are only a few point comming up regular in the forum since i play or since they are introduced

and most of them never get adressed or commented by our communitymanagers

 

 

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Ren36   
On 8/14/2019 at 1:30 PM, Merlin DE said:

Personaly i dont like the preformance but i consider the game still playable, what doesnt mean they shouldnt optimize it asap.

For sure it´s playable, but there is a difference.
It was made unplayable by NCSoft and playable by the community, because in the same moment you recommend BnS to a friend it became a habit to suggest him to install bns buddy too. To make sure that he experiences BnS with the least amount of possible problems.
Though it shouldn´t be like this, through the years the pace at which performance issues are resolved by the playerbase currently exceeds paid programmers of NCSoft, including localization and translation errors.
For good or for worse, due to this everyone´s knowledge of their operating system windows got upped by at least one level through the sheer amount of tries and effort even the average user put in to find their personal cause for their problems, while showing findings & results to NCWest.
With the most recent approach to translate dx9 into dx12, which was even brought up back in 2015, but actually done by a player.
 

https://forums.bladeandsoul.com/topic/141112-directx1112-upgrade/

 

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Grimoir   
51 minutes ago, Ren36 said:

Though it shouldn´t be like this, through the years the pace at which performance issues are resolved by the playerbase currently exceeds paid programmers of NCSoft, including localization and translation errors.
For good or for worse, due to this everyone´s knowledge of their operating system windows got upped by at least one level through the sheer amount of tries and effort even the average user put in to find their personal cause for their problems, while showing findings & results to NCWest.
With the most recent approach to translate dx9 into dx12, which was even brought up back in 2015, but actually done by a player.

 

You have to consider the following:

 

Game content, bugfixes, changes etc - these are done by developers in korea, they are not affiliated with NC in any way and they decide what they put into their game, regardless what feedback NC provides.

Translations - they have a translation team, so yes NC is responsible for it

With the sheer amount of texts to translate etc, its only normal some bugs slip in, no one is perfect and its not like translations can break a game or make it unplayable.

 

As for the DX9 to dx12 - at least in my opinion, why waste time for this when you can do it all together with a new engine? I am pretty sure they had the engine upgrade already in plan for a longer time.

 

 

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Ren36   
On 16.8.2019 at 12:50 PM, Grimoir said:

You have to consider the following:

Game content, bugfixes, changes etc - these are done by developers in korea, they are not affiliated with NC in any way and they decide what they put into their game, regardless what feedback NC provides.

Translations - they have a translation team, so yes NC is responsible for it

The way you write is confusing and it´s not easy to make out whom you mean with NC, but from what you write...
You make it sound as if the devolper and NC(Soft?) work independently, but let´s say NCSoft really has no say in it.
Do you think that NCSoft/NCWest as an investors would just be an onlookers to the developers? I mean on the off mark since NCSoft acts as the figurehead that faces the wrath of all the customers, do you really think they would just watch as their money is drained without any result or profit they invested into the development studio?
Let alone the investors, even for distributor & promoter it wouldn´t be long until they were gone, if their feedback didn´t count. Same as the playerbase.

On 16.8.2019 at 12:50 PM, Grimoir said:

With the sheer amount of texts to translate etc, its only normal some bugs slip in, no one is perfect and its not like translations can break a game or make it unplayable.

Everyone makes failure, but it just doesn´t feel professional. There is not even an encouragement from the publisher, the incentive starts from the community´s side.
NCSoft & NCWest only react, but do not act.

On 16.8.2019 at 12:50 PM, Grimoir said:

As for the DX9 to dx12 - at least in my opinion, why waste time for this when you can do it all together with a new engine? I am pretty sure they had the engine upgrade already in plan for a longer time.

The problem is I see no effort in many fields. There is only regress, while putting the playbase on stand-by. I don´t expect everything to be solved at the same time, but even one should be possible within this year without dishing out the next content. If they would have concentrated on fixing issues before they became this size it wouldn´t be as hard to start anew with UE4, because as of now BnS has no positive reputation as it was pointed out what would happen if BnS would be put up in steam and their review.
And who says that UE4 won´t be a waste of time either, if none is left to enjoy it and if it will do anything at all for our client, because with the amount of options that UE4 will offer it becomes just as easy to mess more up.

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Am 16.8.2019 um 12:50 schrieb Grimoir:

Game content, bugfixes, changes etc - these are done by developers in korea, they are not affiliated with NC in any way and they decide what they put into their game, regardless what feedback NC provides.

The publisher is the one with the money and the power. Same like in the music industrie. Most musicans dont even own the rights for their work, they are owned by the labels.

You want to to publish your work, you are need of a publisher, and he dictates the rules. 

Ill guess its not much of a difference in Asia. The one with the money got the power and dictates the rules. I have experienced this, when i was a scripting / modding moderator and betatester for a german developer. Well sure, the publisher didnt changed game content, at least as far as i know, but the publisher made a lot of decissions, for example releasing the game, even it wasnt realy ready for relase and a lot of bugs still nee to be fixed at this point.

So when NC-Soft doesnt use their Power as a publisher to force the developers to fix things, its for sure NC-Softs fault when things didnt get fixed.
The friendslist is a good example. Many people are affected by this bug vor 14+ month now and nothing happens. All NC-Soft does is putting of the affected players by cuntinusly claiming they are working on it. 

 

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On 8/16/2019 at 3:50 AM, Grimoir said:

With the sheer amount of texts to translate etc, its only normal some bugs slip in, no one is perfect and its not like translations can break a game or make it unplayable.

Maybe so, but when you sell a game to a consumer in a language they can't read, that's paying poor attention to consumer satisfaction.

 

This game wasn't made for the developer; it was made by developers to be sold and branded on the market under a specific name/label, and with today's gaming consumer market, even the smallest of flaws by a huge game industry like NCSOFT will not be overlooked. It's been made clear by people both on the forums and social media that they will not tolerate what's happening to the game anymore, and they demand fixes and changes to make the game more enjoyable and less of a mess. Either they get them, or they leave and move on to another game; it's as simple as that. If NCSOFT doesn't want to permanently lose potential consumers, they need to step it up.

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Grimoir   
8 hours ago, Merlin DE said:

The publisher is the one with the money and the power. Same like in the music industrie. Most musicans dont even own the rights for their work, they are owned by the labels.

You want to to publish your work, you are need of a publisher, and he dictates the rules. 

Sadly that is not how this works. The developers "allow" NC to publish their game, while giving NC parts of the profit. Thats how you need to see it. A publisher, unless the game is managed by their own in house devs, has near to no power to decide what goes in the game and what not.

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When NC-Soft would decide to stop publishing BnS, the Devs are screwed, i dont think they have the ressources to publish the game by themself. This would mean they either find a new publisher who would take over BnS or they are done.

Its the same in Gameindustry as in Musikindustry, either you play by the rules of the publisher / lable, or your Musik / Game wont make it to the market.

 

As a developer your success or failure depends on the publisher and not the other way around.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Merlin DE said:

When NC-Soft would decide to stop publishing BnS, the Devs are screwed, i dont think they have the ressources to publish the game by themself. This would mean they either find a new publisher who would take over BnS or they are done.

It's likely they don't have many resources because if they did, they would have seceded from NCSOFT to establish a new game industry under a new name. Let's say that this scenario was true: even if NCWest decided to become an independent game developer and publisher, they would not have the rights to Blade & Soul because the game was developed by NCSOFT first, and they have proprietary ownership over it. They would have to make new games that are not under NCSOFT to sustain themselves, and if they made some BnS knock-off, NCSOFT would attempt to take ownership of it.

 

The game industry has become more cutthroat and cruel over the years, and it's turned the focus for games from having lots of fun to making lots of money.

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