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Date: 2017 Oct 19 19:55
Subject: Why we suck at communicating with Dentin, and what needs to change if you really want to be listened to.
So I know this is going to come off as weird coming from me of all people.
I don't exactly have the greatest track record for good communication
skills, in fact I'd say my communication skills are pretty much the same of
the average player on the mud. Yeah, I know, that's probably hard to
swallow, I mean Lokar is so abrasive, loud, and rude when people don't
agree with him or he thinks they say or did something stupid.
Well folks here's the the thing, the difference between loud abrasive and
passive aggressive abrasive isn't that one is a better way of getting your
point across, or that one less rude than the other. The both pretty much
fall on the same spectrum in those regards. Also when you you make
ridiculous accusations it pretty much is exactly the same as loud abrasive.
To be blunt, the majority of the mud SUCKS at communicating their
complaints and wishes in a way that makes your target audience want to
actually listen to you. I'm going to cover a few specific things I've heard
said, explain that you're wrong, try to give examples of why you're wrong,
and then hopefully we can all move past it and try to actually open a
dialogue and see if we can't get things actually changed for the better.
The big thing I see a lot of people say, and have seen a lot of people say
for a LONG time about MANY different changes (even stretching some changes
to ridiculous lengths to justify their reasoning) is that Dentin makes
changes motivated by greed. To my knowledge dentin has not ever once made
changes that weren't directly related to making things buyable with credits
or changing the costs on things buyable with credits to motivate purchase
I've seen him specifically not make changes that could pull in more money,
plus if he really wanted to pull in money he could just add in very pay to
win bonuses for donating, it wouldn't be difficult.
I saw him make changes that actively pissed off one of the muds largest
donaters until they quit he game, he knew full well it would piss them off
and eventually chase this person away but he did it anyways because he
personally thought it was better for the games balance and design as a
whole. (I'm referring to Cu/Calina for those of you who have been around
long enough to know who that is.)
I saw him ban another huge contributor to the mud for absolutely atrocious
behavior I know some people like to twist this one as 'yeah but he waited
so long cause he liked the money' but you'd be wrong. Many of you haven't
been around long enough to know that Dentin has a very specific pattern of
letting things go on way to long before dealing with them. Tyrant for
example was not a huge donater to the mud, but it still took years for him
to be banned for the stuff he did. That pattern isn't greed, that pattern
is a thick skin and entirely to much tolerance.
So step one to making Dentin more likely to listen to you is to stop
accusing him of being a greedy money grubbing jerk-wad because actual real
evidence and behavior patterns prove this to be absolutely false.
The second thing people do is complain about the issue without trying to
provide possible solutions or attempting to meet half way, and usually this
is done with very heavy anger overtones. Threats to quit, talking about
how everyone else is going to quit. Talking about how awful everything is
If you want to be treated seriously you need to start a calm conversation,
explain your issue, explain why its an issue, and then be willing to not
entirely get your way.
The third thing people like to do is make the accusation that all Dentin
ever does is dent things. If you comb over the change log I'd be willing
to bet there's WAY more buffs, quality of life changes, and additions to
the game than dents. A lot of those changes go unappreciated while dents
get nagged about hardcore.
Dents suck, everyone hates dents. However denting things is a very
important part of balancing a game and keeping things in line with each
Dentin doesn't actually sit around looking at the mud scheming about the
next thing he can dent. He trys to make informed decisions (usually.)
Dentin is only human though, and like everyone else he has flaws. Sometimes
his changes can be a little short sighted, often times he looks at data the
mud records, but doesn't grasp the actual real impact at a play level.
Sometimes he makes knee jerk reaction changes to something he doesn't like.
He is human, humans fuck up.
His goal is ALWAYS to make the mud a better place though, to protect the
longevity of the game, and to try and provide a fun game to play.
We're fortunate in a game like AA to have an easy direct line of
communication to the people who code for the game. Most companies don't
usually bother talking to people individually. Most bigger games make
changes in a very similar way to Dentin (looking at numbers) but pretty
much ignore their players unless its super critical.
So how do we use this access? We bitch and moan and complain, we attack and
insult him, and in general we don't try to have productive conversations.
Dentin is generally pretty reasonable if you approach him like a rational
adult and try to actually have a conversation with him instead of accusing
him of being a horrible asshole out to destroy the mud and take all of your
money at the same time.
Reasonable is not the same as 'Will buckle to your every wish' though, hell
he might not even waver a little bit on some things, but as long as you're
not a dick about it he will generally listen.
Try to keep these things in mind when you're busy attacking him in bovine,
or making snide comments in private channels, or raging somewhere. It will
work wonders once you start trying to actually talk about things.
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