Producer's Letter

Discussion in 'Official News and Announcements' started by d_carey, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. d_carey Developer

    Hello all -

    My name is David Carey and I recently took on the role of Producer for Planetside 2. It’s a very exciting time, and I am hoping to work with the community to make PS2 the best game it can be. I know that some of you may be skeptical at this point, but I’m willing to wait and be judged on the team’s actions after a few months. I feel we have a bright future ahead, but we also have a lot of work to get there. I want to make sure we keep you guys in the loop as much as possible. The last thing we want to do is work our butts off to make a game you guys don’t enjoy.

    First things first, I’ll start with a quick professional bio on me. I started at SOE in the Quality Assurance department about 10 years ago. This was a dream job for me, having played way too much EverQuest during my youth. I was on the floor as a tester for a while, and then eventually moved into a QA Training position. My first job on Dev was a short-lived stint as a Tech Writer on FreeRealms. I moved into an Associate Producer spot, focusing at first on the FR website, then transitioning over to the game side. I then joined the Clone Wars Adventures team as the Project Manager, where I stayed until I switched over to Planetside 2 during pre-Alpha. My entire time on PS2 was spent as a PM until I became the Producer about a month ago.

    Producer is an interesting role, and often defines itself depending on the person occupying it. I've seen many different types of Producers over my career. Some are extremely hands on with everything, while some are more involved with certain aspects of the game and not with others. I envision myself as Producer with the goal of empowering my team with the ability to make good decisions. I’m very lucky to land my first Producer job with an excellent group of people that I've worked with for years. Many of the members of the PS2 team were with me on the QA floor back in the day, and Matt Higby and I have worked together in various roles for about 6 years now. There are several Devs where this is our 2nd or 3rd project together and I really couldn’t ask for a better situation. Matt has a strong vision for the game, and he is one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. Our Technical Director, Josh Kriegshauser, is a brilliant coder, and that’s not an adjective I use loosely. Our Art Director Tramell has a huge depth of talent and experience to draw from (I get to work with the guy who designed the Pip Boy? Are you kidding?!?). I think you can tell I’m excited by the opportunity here, so I really couldn't ask for more.

    Part of the process of allowing the team to make good decisions is to stay in touch with the players. Our team is very good overall at checking social media (we have lots of lurkers so you may not see them all, but they are reading). In very broad strokes, my idea for communicating with you guys is the following: I'll use Twitter for quick announcements of patches, downtimes, the status on major bugs that are affecting the game, etc. I'd like to use Reddit for conversations with the players about how to address issues or what issues are important to them. The forums will be for official announcements, like patch notes, grants to fix things, status on major game related events like server merges and what not. I'm new to this, so maybe my plan will need some minor (or major) alterations, but you guys can tell me that after we've tried it out. I've run it by our Community Manager RadarX and he agrees with the overall concept. We need to start somewhere and I think we all can agree that communication needs to be improved if we want to leverage all the great things a thriving community can do for the game.

    One of my goals is an informed player base, who may not agree with, but at least knows the reasons behind our decisions. As a former MMO player on the outside of the gaming industry looking in, I was always interested in how things were done. I’ll also try to give you guys a few behind-the-scenes peeks when possible. Not everything is exciting over here at SOE, but I know there is a lot of interest even in what some people might think are mundane jobs, like our build process or how a zone map is created. Go ahead and ask those questions, I’ll be as open as I can. Pretty much the only off-limits areas are financial stuff and anything related to security measures in game.

    What I'd recommend for any level of PS2 player is to subscribe to Higby, RadarX's, and my Twitter feeds. Even if you don't do social media (cough I still don't have or want a Facebook account cough) Twitter is worth it because you will get notified of downtimes earlier, and get other important messages as well. I keep my Twitter postings to PS2-related info only - no links to top 10 lists or comments about how I don't want to mow my lawn today. If you want to be more involved with organic discussions with the Devs, check out Reddit. If you want to get specific, concrete details about upcoming events or status on global SOE issues, check the forums. I know checking all 3 can be time consuming, so if you can only do one, follow Twitter. I'll often post links to interesting PS2 debates on Reddit or informational postings on the forums. Here's what we (the game team) can't do: treat Reddit and the Forums as different communities. It's the same community (PS2 players who really care about our game) with different preferences on communication. It's not about 'this group is negative' or anything like that. I don't mind passion, and I understand passion can sometimes lead to anger. I've had game sessions ruined by bugs and wanted to throw my computer out of a window too. Personal insults against my devs, however, I won't respond to. "That's a stupid idea!" is much, much different than "Your items designer is an idiot if they think..." Let's avoid the personal attacks so we can have helpful discussions that direct the game to being a better experience for everyone.

    Specifically in regards to the forums, I know you guys feel under informed and under appreciated, because to be frank, I haven't been doing my job there. That's going to change. I'm working with Radar to come up with a plan, but the current thought is that at least once a week I'll spend some time answering your questions and dealing with hot topics. I'm counting on Radar to organize that and present the top issues in some method that we’ll need to work out. So how do you get your issues noticed and commented on? Present them appropriately and constructively, with some factual back up where appropriate. Radar reads everything that goes up. We’ll have more details on the format later.

    Looking forward to working with you all.

    -David
    • Up x 76
  2. GlueHead

    Welcome to Planetside 2!

    You are doing great, keep up the good work!
  3. Flamberge

    -cries-

    But nevertheless, this was probably one of the best examples I have EVER seen of a games staff communicating OPENLY about real, down to earth topics. Phenomenal job! Keep up the awesome work.
    • Up x 2
  4. AdmiralArcher



    well.....it is a bit belated, but congratulations on the promotion!


    as for the communications, i think that using reddit is nice, but you have a pretty nice official forums, its there for a reason and it should be where things happen the most. at the very least id ask that, if you make a thread on reddit like an AMA, announce it on twitter and make a thread on the official forums with a link to the reddit page, that way we dont have to scrounge through reddit trying to find it, because as someone who doesnt use reddit often, reddit is very confusing

    twitter is good, but when you announce things like the helmet PTS reward thing, it would be nice if you set a time frame for asking questions, like....ill be watching this thread for 20 minutes after i post it, within that time frame i will answer questions regarding the topic only

    As a Boy scout, i can attest that communication is the most important aspect of any job or task, whether its digging a hole, rigging a canoe to be used as a catermaran, or building a game, communication is by far the most important aspect of a job and its great that you have recognized the problem that the game still has, people feel left out and uninformed because people either, only use reddit because the official forums are "toxic", they use twitter, (which many dont have) or questions simply are not being answered because the devs dont have time for that.

    hosting an AMA would be nice, maybe once every 2 weeks, and you can have people like wrel, and zoran help gather and distill questions, hell you could even use straw polls.
    and thats something i really recommend, the official forums bans polls, but you could get some valuable information from polls. you can have a set of polls for questions, like

    1. Question A

    2. Question B

    and you could have people read the question and decide which one they would rather know the answer to.
    that way you are not answering thousands of questions every week.

    its just a few ideas, and im sure you will find the best way to do things
    • Up x 11
  5. Macho

    David,

    Your many responses on the forums (both here and Reddit) have been one of the best changes to Planetside since it released (Higby's increased interaction and Malorn's updates have also been nice to see). The relationship between the community and development team has been so much better in the past few months and I believe that this is one (of many) reasons that the game is headed back in the right direction.

    I'm happy y'all have finally figured out that this type of interaction is a very important aspect for the PS2 community and hope you continue in this manner.

    I appreciate the time and feedback. Keep it up.
    • Up x 5
  6. Jaedrik

    I know this is an issue that will come up with this address on this forum--but I feel majorly stinted by the Reddit community. There is an informal level of social oppression, I feel, of political correctness, that stifles the sorts of organic conversations with the devs that I wish to have (mostly relating to my usually unpopular/uninteresting agenda), and outweighs the more formal guidelines of the official forums heavily. Rather than having a reasonable, informed discussion, unpopular opinions are downvoted into oblivion. Of course, I understand there are so many things that the design's direction will not change on (which I loathe, for example, the fact that during beta the damage falloff ranges were brought in rather than the general accuracy of CoF increased to push the average engagement ranges out to match the anticipated falloff ranges, or the fact that I find it lamentable that vehicles are force multipliers alone, which they will not be with the new alerts methinks) but those are the things I want to talk about most, and I feel as if the forums are the best mechanism for speaking about them. Of course, this more directly openly contrarian mood and the more formal guidelines can make things defensive, but I feel it is nowhere near such as Reddit, which employs intimidation to stomp out intolerable viewpoints on the game or the game's mechanics, what is or what ought to be.

    Gah, the message above is jumbled and poorly written, but I hope you understand. I do not believe it conveys my own sentiments either. I simply want to push my agenda at this point, which I earnestly feel would make the game more fun.
    I hope and know that RadarX will continue to deliver those coolio reports on the forum's hot topics, though.
  7. MaxDamage

    Seems like an cool guy, from Reddit posts.
    Don't understand the claim of lack of communication, the organic nature of interaction through different mediums thus far has seemed pretty healthy and helpful.

    Personally when I see important people from the games I play interacting with the players - that's a good thing yes, but it's also like hanging out with your friends at the park and having your parents along too....

    ..watching.

    Maybe Darren won't pluck up the courage to kiss Sharon, when his mum Karen is listening to their every word, looking for suggestions on how to optimise the Saron.
    • Up x 2
  8. Forkyar24

    stop nerfing tanks and you guys will be fine, if I wanted to play infantry only id buy cod.
    • Up x 3
  9. RoyAwesome

    Cross posted my response from reddit

    First of all, I'm incredibly impressed with the incredible change in the dev team that we have now compared to 3-4 months ago. It almost feels like Smed fired everyone and rehired a new team that is incredible... Perhaps they replaced people with clones bred from birth to do game development. I dunno. Whatever you guys are doing to turn around the quality of development and the perception of the dev team to the public is ******* working and keep going.

    I'll take you up on the offer. The Bastion Fleet Carrier was an excellent idea and the concept art and potential for dynamic and player driven gameplay and '******* cool' set-piece moments with that thing is immense. Are you guys willing to tackle the technical and design problems of getting a large, titan-like vehicle in the game?

    Secondly... Are we getting the massive world tech developed for H1Z1?
  10. Torok

    Beautifully executed, great read.

    You know your job and how to deal with us, glad to have you aboard!
    Looking forward to the future.
    • Up x 3
  11. Rigsta

    The level and quality of PS2 dev communication has always been great. More recently, it's been superb. We notice, and we're grateful.
    • Up x 4
  12. Wobberjockey



    having spent time on both redditside and forumside, reddit is hands down better for a discussion.

    mainly because on a forum, once you pass page 1, any salient points are going to need to be remade on every page afterwards.

    on reddit those posts tend to float to the top.



    so yes, reddit can be confusing, but it IS worth while. and there is a bit of truth to what smed said a few years back where a player can just haul off and verbally unload on the team when they deserve it without fear of moderation (note i said when they deserve it. the community does this far too much as a whole. myself included)
  13. AdmiralArcher


    i agree reddit is better in the long run, but if you use reddit, then they need to make sure that they at least provide a link on the official forums to the reddit thread. i dont want to go looking for it
  14. Stopper

    Hello Mr Carey,

    That's all good news !

    PS2 is my favourite game, that I try to play everyday even if I'm 41 and have a busy job. It's such a great game !

    I know the dev team is made of peoples that believe in what they do and are perfectionists : we just need to travel through Hossin, watching every detail and hearing the ambiant sounds, to see it.

    In regard of what you said in you letter, I have three concerns.

    First, I don't use Twitter nor Reddit and don't want to have just to read and talk about PS2. I'm fine you use them if we have the same informations and - that's important - can reply on the officials forums without having to go to Reddit. If you ask for something on Twitter or Reddit ("What are your top 5 bugs to adress" or "what do you think of..."), please create the same topic here, so we can respond here too.

    For exemple, I liked a lot when, a few months ago, Luperza asked here in a thread what where the top 3 bases of everyone (by the way, you should do it again, now that Amerish 2 and Hossin are released, maybe the top 5 per continent ; maybe even an ingame poll should be interesting).

    Second, there are some things that a lots of people want. I can understand it's not in the game (for technical or game design reasons), but, when it's something that seems important to a lot of people, can you explain why it's not in the game ?

    For exemple, I think almost everybody (or a vast majority) wants to know the technical caracteristics / effects and numerical values of attachments (suppressor, ammunitions...). If you wanted to add it, it would have have been for a long time. So I guess you refused it for a reason. You should tell why rather than letting peoples creates hopeless suggestions threads about it. Another exemple : I asked in june why we don't know the status of deployed mines ; even if I want it, my question was essentially "what is the game design reason to not have it ?" ; it would have been interesting to have an official answer from a dev.

    Third, even if adding new content is good, I (personnaly) think that the ingame "quality of life" is what essentially matters. So the emphasis should be put on correcting persisting bugs (why some minor but very irritating bugs like the color of a crosshair or the auto ressupply that never worked stay during months ?).

    Anyway, thanks a lot.
    • Up x 1
  15. NyaR

    Hey D Carey, this is [D] Hej. I have a problem:

    There are some bugs that have been ignored for over a year that negatively effect my gameplay and the gameplay of those I play with. Many of my comrades have quit the game due to these outstanding bugs but all I see your team doing is pushing update after update wrought with broken features that get shoddy fixes and are ultimately ignored in favor of pushing more broken updates. This is what I've come to understand as your development cycle, and although the game has left beta almost two years ago I do not feel any less like a beta player than I did when I played the actual beta.

    I ask that you please take some time off from releasing new ways to monetize our gameplay and fix these problems:
    Infiltrator decloaks after reload, outfit recruitment broken, warping players, exiting vehicle on jump pad causing players to fly up, c4 suiciding you even though stuck to vehicle that has departed, reflex sights having wront tracking in ADS, ADS causing FPS drops, Flack and high quality explosions causing FPS slideshows, drop pods bouncing up and down, random rocks and buildings floating in air, squad leaders being punished for placing beacons, and more that I'm sure you are well aware of.

    After all, the more players that play the more players you can monetize.

    I've been a PS2 subscriber/customer since release, but I am beginning to feel taken advantage of. I'm no longer a beta tester, but a customer, and I would very much like to have a gameplay session that isn't wrought with bugs. I'd like to feel like PS2 cares about keeping players like myself as subscribers and players, rather than shaking us down for bug reports and moving on new pastures of PS4.
    • Up x 3
  16. PsyStorm

    I have recently returned to Planetside and I am having a good time so far. I am happy about your promotion and I hope you can further fine tune this game to make it stand out as something different than say Battlefield type games. I think there are so many items that could be available to classes that are not currently. This game is set in the future and I think the creativity of it and that futuristic feel could be further enhanced with more creativity in weapons and vehicles.

    One thing I hate about the game is the farming in spawn rooms and the camping outside of them. I don't think that should be the challenge and if players had bigger space to get out they could actually effectively fight their way out instead of relying on luck or slipping by with an infiltrator, or the Max crash. I don't enjoy getting farmed with vehicles and I don't feel it's very satisfying to farm people with them as it is no real accomplishment.

    Anyway good luck and will be watching your progress.

    Psy
  17. Astriania

    The communication from the whole team lately has been really excellent, so thanks for that.

    The only thing I'd say is that I'd prefer to see more official threads started here, not on Reddit. It would also be good to have official responses in Ideas & Suggestions on these boards, even if it's 'no we can't/won't do that'.
    • Up x 3
  18. Yuki10

    Subscribe to what? Whats a twitter?
  19. Solidpew

    But, but.. a man with a well kept lawn is a man I can trust!!
  20. Who Garou

    I agree on the over-all "go with the forums" for communication.
    Good post.
    --
    I disagree that than any relevant game conversation can take place and be exposed to even the tip-of-the-iceberg of the player base (that actually comes the forums at all, let alone regularly) in a 20 minute time span.

    Any real discussion/Q&A that expects to have exposure should be up for at least 24 hours if not entire weekends.

    The exposure level of a 20 minute span for question and answer of discussion will likely only bring out a certain kind of hardcore forum goer - one that obviously isn't playing at the time (or just sitting there in-game running down the disconnect clock while dealing with the forums, twitter, or whatever interface is being used for communication).
    - of course, time of day will affect it as well.

    I understand that there are those that like a quick response, but would you rather have a quick response or a true response.

    For best response, putting a poll in-game is the best way to handle it as in any given game only a small minority of players ever go to the forums and, of those that go, a good majority only go to look for a specific answer.

    Coming to this game I found the fact that there was a forum and a wiki a bit confusing. I have the feeling that having a Wiki tends to steer even more players away from the forums.
    • Up x 3

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