(Before I get started, let me ask that this thread be left as is. I refer to the change to the Gem Conversion process only as an illustration on communication. Please do NOT merge it with the other thread on the Gem Conversion discussion.)
The following is a case study on ANet communication and transparency. I will walk anyone who has ears to hear through the way that ANet handled the change to Gem Conversion appeared to the playerbase, and why it’s indicative of typical ANet communications.
Please hear me: I’m not suggesting that any of these steps is an actual reflection of ANet’s thinking or process, or a reflection of the entire playerbase’s attitude. I am, however, presenting how the whole debacle appeared to the players.
Afterward, I will walk through the same four steps and offer a possible alternative where, if ANet had used good communication, the whole thing could have been avoided.
What Actually Happened
What ANet Did: Decides behind closed doors to streamline the Gem Conversion process. The proposed modifications would severely limit the useability of the conversion feature.
What Players Heard: Nothing. No communication happened prior to this change. Silence prompts the playerbase to assume one of two things. Either 1) ANet is greatly out of touch with its playerbase’s desires, or 2) ANet doesn’t care. ANet
goes where does what ANet pleases.
What ANet Did: Moves ahead with the change despite obvious negative consequences: a Gem Conversion system that forces players to purchase more or waste more Gems/Gold than they want.
What Players Heard: Nothing. No communication happened prior to or at release regarding ANet’s awareness (or lack thereof) of negative consequences. Silence once again prompts one of two conclusions: Either 1) ANet makes changes recklessly without giving thought to the ramifications (like bolstering its growing image as a cash-hungry company with little regard to actual content), or 2) ANet genuinely is an unabashed, cash-grabbing company.
What ANet Did: Ships the change. Patch notes communicate only what happened without the tiniest hint of why.
What Players Heard: Patch notes. Notes that in no way justify the change. The glaring lack of information leaves players to assume: Either 1) ANet makes reckless changes without thinking through the consequences, or 2) ANet is a cash-grabbing company.
What ANet Did: Chastises the playerbase and demands suggestions for possible changes. Despite the near-universal outrage across all forums of communication (FB, Twitter, in game, Forums here, etc.), the only response from ANet was, “We may consider changing it, but only if you stop ranting and start suggesting changes.”
What Players Heard: Excuses and criticism. Rather than an apology for a huge misstep, the playerbase received a slap on the wrist for expressing frustration, and the promise that things might change. But only if the playerbase was good. And stopped whining. This leads the players to conclude: Either 1) ANet has an ego that refuses to admit it has done wrong, or 2) ANet doesn’t actually care what the playerbase truly thinks.
Once again: I’m not saying that any of the impressions that the playerbase had are completely and unequivocally accurate. However, the above describes how ANet’s actions and words communicated.
(edited by Phenn.5167)