Popular Streamer Roasts Neverwinter, Says Devs Lack Passion

All right all you professional salt farmers! I hope you brought cheese today, because we got the whine! Popular streamer, YouTuber and Perfect World affiliate Garlaanx released a video yesterday that roasted Neverwinter and the studio’s lack of passion for the game. And all jokes aside, he made some pretty good points, as you would expect from a veteran player that’s been with the game for so long. I won’t go over everything in this piece, but instead like to add my own opinion on specific aspects. So please go watch the rant first and then continue reading!

“You Can Always Quit”

It’s quite obvious that Garlaanx isn’t quite satisfied with the state of the game. One of the things that he addresses is why he still can’t quit the game. It’s an important aspect to me because far too often the “you can always quit” argument is thrown at players that express discontent, especially in a free-2-play environment. But the truth is that the more you’ve invested, be it money, time, emotion, or whatever, the harder it becomes to turn the corner. At a certain point, it even makes more sense to suffer through an extended period of dissatisfaction than switching games, as weird as it might sound. People that don’t get that are just ignorant.

Additionally it’s funny that even studios and devs use this argument when they actively enslave their players using mind tricks. I guess you can also always quit heroin then?

The Studio Lacks Passions, the Devs Do Not

I think Garlaanx makes a proper distinction between studio and devs with the stuff he brings up about passion. I personally do not believe that the devs themselves lack passion, but they are constantly working against cruel deadlines and hence simply getting the job done becomes their main priority. There’s simply no scheduled time to polish the game, and do those little things that create atmosphere and immersion. It’s very much an issue of management.

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I agree there’s absolutely no excuse why you couldn’t have at least minorly tweaked the Summer Festival this year. Add a few more legendary and epic raffles with different rewards, there you go. Veterans would have a much higher incentive to go through the ticket grind again. Unless there’s some weird complications involved, this should be like a 30-minute task, shouldn’t it? (it’s probably not, but definitely feels like it…)

Constant Team Changes

One thing also related to content, specifically maintaining and extending the systems and features you have, are constant team changes. Cryptic lacks consistency. It’s a small studio and devs leave all the time, because they get better opportunities (and money) elsewhere. People are also juggled in-house. Today you might be doing class balance for Neverwinter, tomorrow writing story for Star Trek. Of course it’s not that drastic, but some senior devs for example have left to help with the upcoming Magic the Gathering MMO.

This also means it always takes time until a new hire or reassigned dev is familiar with a field. It obviously would be much better if the same dev or team would work specific areas for years. If you feel like the devs make the same mistakes over and over again, it might be because “rookies” just repeat “rookie” mistakes, or are unaware of what previous devs and teams have been doing. SoD is one of the best, and recent examples. The balancing team went back and forth on the power, and ended up with a state that caused exactly the same issues as last year. There’s no apparent learning curve.

Nobody Knows What’s Going On

Attached to the above bullet is the lack of general oversight. It often feels like nobody within Cryptic really knows what’s going on with their game. I do not share the notion that all devs have to be hardcore gamers of their own title, but a little knowledge obviously helps. More than that though, their approach of filtering and forwarding feedback, or analyzing their own internal metrics, is completely off. It takes way too long to understand that there is an issue, then too long to find a solution. And when they finally do, the person in charge probably leaves, and the cycle starts again.

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Many exploits used to linger for months, and were often only fixed once they leaked. Issues with class balance, queues, and progression systems take modules to correct. That’s not ideal (to say the least). The way it currently works is that they release a feature or system, fix the most glaring and important bugs with the next 2-3 patches, and then move on. What should happen is that you monitor new features for 6-8 weeks and then do a full rework based on community feedback and internal evaluation. Additionally there should be a dev that monitors live issues all the time and bumps these things up their internal priority chain.

Community Management

Last, but not least, this game has no true Community Manager. Julia’s title doesn’t fit her actions. Again, not her fault, but she should really be labelled something else. Giving the community a manager just creates the impression that there should be much more interaction and engagement. Sure, the “Community Manager” job comes with varying tasks based on your employee, but perception matters. And it’s not the first time this is causing irritations. So when will Cryptic learn and either schedule more time for community related activities or stop fooling everyone? It certainly feels like Julia is more of a Social Media Manager and Lead Secretary that also happens to do limited tasks related to community management.


That’s my take on Garlaanx’s video. Do you have something to add? Feel like we’re being too negative? Share your thoughts and experience on our social channels, in the comments below, or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!

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j0Shi

j0Shi

j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

9 thoughts on “Popular Streamer Roasts Neverwinter, Says Devs Lack Passion

  • Avatar
    July 17, 2018 at 1:26 pm
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    A Community Manager should spend most of their working day managing community issues, not eating doughnuts and looking for pizza.

    >:8o

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 17, 2018 at 7:19 pm
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    They lack a lot of things besides passions. Both the Cryptic work ethic and general level of competence are very very low.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 20, 2018 at 6:11 am
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    I see everyone has touched on “Snack Time CM”, lol

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 20, 2018 at 4:34 pm
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    not sure why we want to attack the CM about “eating”, seems irrelevant, petty, and insulting

    I second @j0shi’s point but this also requires having a bit of understanding how development works. Devs don’t need passion, devs write code. They aren’t and shouldn’t be the creative minds behind content. That’s the distinction as a developer is effectively a programmer. He’s handed a script and told to make this.

    A lead developer is the guy who is handed the script and questions how much hours/$/etc to create this and overseas the process.

    The creative part, the part that needs enthusiasm is the designer. In a nut shell this is the person who storyboards the content. Essentially this is probably supposed to be the mimic king.

    A part of the issue is the designer is delegating a major part of his function to the developers, which why it can appear that the developers are not passionate. They probably aren’t nor should they be. If your a coder you don’t really give a shit about what code your writing. Your looking for that pathway to lead developer with a better/more mature organization.

    Cryptic is obviously not a mature organization. It’s a place to start your career with hopes of making in roads to a better job.. Cryptic obviously lacks many of the core roles that a mature organization has such as source control, release management, project managers, game economists, and true designers. They farm out these roles to junior members calling it “opportunites” because its cheaper (short term not long term) and those guys gobble it up hoping for resume fodder. They do the best they can but will lack the training, experience, and management support to do it well.

    You want to find out what’s wrong with cryptic, look at the top. The devs are just trying to get their foot in the door in a competitive field.

    The irony is that in D&D there is already a role for designer, we call them Dungeon Masters. Neverwinter can even leverage foundry for ideas and candidates to engage in planning. The amazing thing about Neverwinter is outside of licensing it could easily be a community based game. The mechanics are documented in the guides. We talk about how to manage PVP, but its all there in D&D. Cryptic does not need to make things up, they could simply implement what is already available including the knowledge and experience of thousands of Dungeon Masters.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 20, 2018 at 5:12 pm
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    Not “eating”.

    Overeating, to the apparent exclusion of all else.

    Where’s the Community Manager? Why have these bugs gone live after we all reported them?

    Did no one pass on Sharp’s State of the Game? Where’s the Community Manager? What does she do?

    Where is she? Previous Community Managers used to do stuff! And Communicate with the Community! Where’s the Community Manager? What does she do?

    Live Twitch of “Cryptic are Fantastic” propaganda and bullshit doing nothing of any value or worth:

    “Oh! THERE she is. 27 stone (378 lbs) of blubber and bluster. Now I see what she’s been doing all this time…”

    😡

    But it was mostly tongue-in-cheek. It’s a sad fact of life that Fat people have to be twice as good to be appreciated half as much. Not work half as hard as their predecessors.

    But Putz makes a lot of very valid comments on the quality of Cryptic Staff. The game is fantastic, except for the persistent bugs and power creep, recycling old content with a lightly re-coloured skin and their apparent inability to read a D&D 4 and 5 Core Rules manual or d20 SRD.

    Imagine how good the game could be if it was run by a mature company that had not been taken over by Chinese “Churn and Burn” money grubbers.

    I blame PW.

    🙁

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 20, 2018 at 8:34 pm
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    Putz – because she obviously doesn’t do anything else. Any complaints against her at Reddit or the official forum are quickly nuked. However, all over different discord channels you can read different snippets.

    Reply

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