Trion: Communication needs to extend beyond forums

So I have my own gripe about the World Event.

Trion has always prided themselves about their communication with their customers, and I think they’re doing great with content, but I think they’re stumbling when it comes to delivery.

So we had two weeks of Phase 1 of this world event and a little in-game tracker that told us when Phase 2 would begin. Excellent so far! But what it didn’t say was “and Phase 2 is a 1-time, short duration event so be ready when it launches!”

If I hadn’t happened to check Twitter on Saturday I would’ve totally missed Phase 2 of the event (oh wait, I did anyway, but that’s another gripe). I guess people learned about this from the forums and maybe from European players who experienced it first hand?

Scott Hartsman posted about the event both before and after it, and both times in the forums. Kudos to him for owning up to the problems but how many players didn’t see these messages? If you go to right now, the most recent news is about the addition of Authenticators, posted on 4/15. I guess there’s preliminary patch notes about 1.2 up somewhere in the forums, too?

Bottom line is that Trion relies exclusively on its forums to communicate with its audience, and that, to me, is horribly short-sighted of them. Communicate to me through the game client please. Make better use of the space in the Launcher. For longer form communication, how about setting up a blog like every other non-MMO company does? That way your customers can subscribe to the RSS feed of this blog and never have to worry that they’re missing out on important news about the game they’re paying for. Sure, cross-post to the forums as well; I’m not suggesting getting rid of that.

But if the idea is that to play your game effectively I need to remember to troll through your forums once a day (even if that means going to your devTracker) then over time you’ll lose me as a customer. I’ll forget to visit and so will miss out on events and features and that in turn will lead to me becoming disenfranchised with the game. That’s not a happy thing for either of us.

Setting up a blog should be pretty trivial. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Look at what Netflix does, for instance (they use Blogger). I can subscribe to that feed and have all the Netflix news I need pushed to me.

I wish I could do the same with Rift.

How about it, Trion?

9 thoughts on “Trion: Communication needs to extend beyond forums

  1. Despite not being a RIFT player myself, I totally agree with this article and could easily replace “Trion” with any number of MMO studios. Forums are great for those who enjoy and set up a second or third life in them. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. Experienced devs like Trion should already know that the forum community is a small fraction of the overall game population. Put the needed posts in the forums for discussion but put the developer post itself elsewhere. Turbine has their Dev Diaries where the posts are highlighted as News on the main website for everyone to see, and the dev diary content is copied to the appropriate forum. They also Tweet information posted like that, or if the servers go up/down, or about in-game events. I only have a single Cryptic dev on Twitter but they do at least put important things like the Ask Cryptic Q&A sessions up on the main site as well as the forums. So they’re at least on the right track too.

    All MMO studios should have their social networking feeds — especially Twitter — giving up-to-the-moment play-by-plays of what’s going on with events, etc. as well as in the forums — where only a minority of the players bother to look — and in a blog (or blog-like content delivery system) where players can subscribe to RSS update feeds.

  2. Yeah Phase 2 and 3 were a real let down, all the hype about this “new content after 30 days” and what did we get? 2 weeks of farming death rifts to buy the cool one time only stuff, followed by a lame ass phase 2 that didn’t even award planarite, just the event currency, then Phase 3 was the hugest wtf waste of time, i followed the stampede to the phase 3 location and stood around for 10-15 minutes and it was over, seemed like all it was was a scripted scene with some dialogue i couldn’t pay attn to because of the 50million people emoting.

    Hopefully future “world events” are actually going to be fun…

    On the plus side you are going to get a mail on all your characters later this week with some cool stuff.

  3. The definitely need to make better use of the launcher, although so do Cryptic and Turbine for that matter. Of the three, actually I think Trion’s doing the best job of using the launcher. They definitely needed to put something in the World Event tracker to mention that Phase 2 was a limited time thing.

    Not that it would’ve helped me out much, I don’t see my wife understanding why I need to skip going to her parents’ farm for an early Easter to play a game.

  4. I agree with you, the more avenues of communication, the better. I think that should apply to all games, but especially Rift. I may be wrong, but…they don’t even have a latest news page. There’s a “News” section, but under that there is only acclaim and awards. They also have an “Updates” page on their website, but their one entry there talks about River of Souls, and for all intents and purposes, there is nothing really practical, no “when” or “how” or anything. Like you said, a blog could easily amend this.

    I for one will never ever ever go to game’s forums unless I’m looking for bug information. If I hadn’t been following Rift on twitter, I would have missed their thread.

    Communicating through the launcher or in-game would help a lot…even if it’s just a in-game mail from the devs saying, “hey, check our website!” would work. That way, everybody who plays the game sees it, beyond those who frequent the forums and those who use social media.

  5. Agreed and more so!

    Social media is all fine and great but it should always be an additional form of information distribution. Information for the game, be it an event , lore or item/ability information should be presented in the game as that is where it is used and most applicable. The game client/launcher is the one point common to all players.

    It has become the norm for these game providers to rely on information distribution via other means, mostly forums, and they continue to neglect to include the basic information within the content they provide.

  6. I received email about many of these events, and I never made it past beta. So (ironically?) their marketing machine is doing a good job trying to lure new players with this info, even if guest relations is doing a poor job keeping existing players informed.

  7. Er… “guest relations” being rather specific to my travel industry job; really meant customer service, lol.

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