How to save a game

I have what I’d say is a very sound theory as to why the devs tend to deny many of the suggestions that are given to potentially improve the game, even if they’re very good ones. In fact, I think this applies to pretty much any other game as well. I’ve had this idea in mind for a long time, and I’ve decided that there’s not a much more opportune time to share it.

So, let’s assume an alternate scenario in which the devs are really, really compliant, and take virtually every single suggestion that we the players gave them, shaping the game into what we really want, which seems pretty good, right? The problem with that, however, is that they would be giving the players more control of the game, letting them mold it specifically to their likings. Upon seeing that their suggestions are taken liberally, eventually, without fail, the players will get greedy and start requesting more changes and, more importantly, they’ll be more expectant of the devs to comply. Their expectations will continue to rise, until the devs refuse one idea and the players get hyper pissed at them, and act like they broke a sacred promise or whatnot. It’s not like we can act surprised that the players would behave like this. I mean, if you discovered a cow that gives liquid gold instead of milk, what would you do? Bleed that sucker dry, of course.

So I think that’s why the devs, and other game producing teams in general, try to minimize the amount of player suggestions they take. They want to keep us reminded that they’re the ones in control of the game, not us. Now, it’s perfectly understandable that they would be afraid of this outcome, and try to keep the control reasonably out of the player’s hands. But the big question is… at what cost do they achieve this?

On the flip side, all of us of course know what happens when they don’t listen to suggestions, and continue to allow problematic glitches and OP and unfair monsters to abound; people get angry and quit. But if they take too many ideas, then people will inevitably take advantage, and gradually gain more and more control of the game, and then when the devs try to take control back, what happens? The players get angry and quit.

Maintaining a game is hectic business- there are a lot of balancing acts that they have to maintain at the peril of the game kicking the bucket. One of the lesser known ones is how much influence they allow their players to have over them. They have to avoid two extremes: changing too little and ending up with a horribly one sided meta, and changing too much and losing their control of the game, both equally devastating. I think right now they’re trying to be extremely careful not to lapse into the latter situation, but they’re forgetting to also avoid the former.

So, to Ryan, Tyler, Erin, and the rest of you crew… I understand you’re doing what you can to keep the game alive, and I applaud your ability and foresight to protect the game from invisible threats. But that isn’t an excuse to ignore the visible ones. Listen to your players. Too much control in their hands is bad, but too little is bad as well. Just try to be a little more open to our suggestions. I don’t expect you to take all of them, just the ones that the game legitimately, sorely needs. I’ve been devoted to this game for a very long time now, and I don’t plan to leave it anytime soon. I still have faith that you can turn this problem around. So, turn it around, dammit! :slight_smile: