You’re welcome for the earworm. 😉
This week, there were a lot of changes going on in my favorite MMO, The Secret World. Our Game Director, Joel Bylos, announced that he will be moving on to a different Funcom project and the massive Enhanced Player Experience update went live. (detailed patch notes are also up)
This is still going to be a short post, for a couple reasons.
One is that I’ll be joining the rest of the Beyond the Veil cast tomorrow to interview Joel, who has graciously agreed to answer player questions. This has been arranged within the last couple days, so we’re getting ready for that. If anyone reading this would like to submit questions, there’s a thread up in the forums; and feel free to join us over on our Twitch channel at 7pm EST tomorrow. 🙂
The second reason is that the update just went live today – since I didn’t have a chance to get onto the test server, the last thing I want to do is blather on about changes I’ve not seen ingame yet! (We’ll also be covering the update on the show, if not this week then next.) If I’ve learned nothing else in my time gaming, it’s that no matter how a change sounds on paper, it’s easy to make mistakes if you try to either praise or flame the changes before you’ve tried them and gotten used to them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched folks in this and other games rant at great lengths about horrible, game breaking changes…that they came to enjoy after a few weeks or after some adjustments.
Major changes in games always remind me of other times I’ve watched folks deal with change. I spent over a decade in retail management and even in the real world, change is difficult; and each person reacts to change in different ways. Try changing up a policy for your employees, or making changes that affect customers, and you’re usually in for some headaches.
It’s always seemed like folks have more trouble with changes that aren’t primarily meant for them. Changes that help customers, but inconvenience your staff tend to get more pushback. Changes that are good for your staff but affect customers seem to also get more. Changes that are supposed to help out with inclusion can get more pushback from folks who were already comfortable with the status quo. The frustrating thing as a manager was always that even changes that immediately help one group of people are often put in place to help the store (or company, or group) as a whole, but you can’t get useful feedback when folks are more set on resisting the changes than seeing how they actually play out.
In the case of games, and specifically changes like the recent ones in TSW, it can be hard for end game players to get behind changes that are geared towards new players. It’s interesting for me when I know a few folks who stopped playing the game early into it, and have told me that these changes are likely to make them want to give the game another chance. “A few of my friends” is a super small sample size, but it leads me to believe that the changes are sounding about right to the folks that they were geared towards.