10

I'm a member of a gaming community and a recent patch caused some severe breaking changes to the expected behavior of some user-generated content in the game. This has understandably made some users very angry, including very prominent members in the community who are strong advocates for the game and develop a lot of content for it. Some of them have been making gestures that they will stop playing over this change.

The developers don't really communicate with the community at large, but in private conversation (not with myself) they've acknowledged that the changes were a mistake and that they will be rolled-back in the next build. They likely won't take any further action to address the community backlash on this issue.

As a member, I can't speak for the developers, but in an effort to keep the community focused on the quality of the game I've been trying to keep a level head about the problem and catalog the issues and potential workarounds that were generated by this change.

The users that were hit the hardest by this are, so far, absolutely inconsolable. When I presented my efforts to catalog and reproduce the bugs caused by the changes and suggest workarounds, I was met with verbal abuse because I didn't have a workaround for their specific problems. In my brief conversations with them, I don't think they understand that this change has caused multiple bugs with different scopes. They aren't technical users at all, and some are quite unwilling to learn how the game server could have broken their content in more than one way. After investigation, I found that their specific problems don't have workarounds -- the changes will simply need to be reverted by the developers. Until then, it seems like it is all doom and gloom.

Is there anything further I can do to support these hard-hit users, and perhaps help them through this period? Some of these users have made wonderful content that was broken, however temporarily, by this change... and I would hate to see them leave before they can release it publicly.

7
  • 1
    Related: 1, 2 May 5 '15 at 16:49
  • Was the private conversation with the devs meant to be private (and it leaked to you), or is what they said ok to share? May 5 '15 at 18:51
  • It had already been leaked by another user and was public by the time of this posting. Not sure on the developers stance of private conversations getting leaked, but it isn't an uncommon thing in this particular community. A fair bit of news and buzz comes about that way, only other dev source is usually patch notes. May 5 '15 at 18:58
  • Are there other gaming communities which are focused on your game in question or is your community the sole spot for all the gamers who play the game? Did the developers reveal when the changes are going to be reverted? What do you mean by "verbal abuse"? Do you (or he) feel offended or even insulted? Are you a normal community member or are you a precious and well-known one who has a lot of reputation?
    – Zerotime
    May 5 '15 at 22:05
  • It is a small and old community, maybe several hundred active participants if I'm being generous. Everyone communicates in the same spots. The change was abrupt. By verbal abuse I mean that I was sworn at and dismissed outright by a "precious and well-known" community member. I wasn't offended; I let it roll off because it is out of character for them and they're understandably frustrated because this change destroyed a project they've spent months working on. I think they were offended that the workaround I proposed didn't address the particular bug that was effecting them. May 5 '15 at 22:51
5

It's a tough situation since you have some trusty information. You know that the changes are about to be changed. I don't know where you have this information from, therefore I'll offer you a two-way-solution.

Solution 1

You have the information, so why don't you use it? You were verbally abused by the users because they are really upset about the changes literally destroying their (gaming) experience. Tell them that you know that something will happen very soon. But don't reveal the one who told you the information, you don't want to have an innocent in your discussion. However, before you do that, be absolutely sure about your information or the whole thing is going to backfire.

Solution 2

Maybe you've got this confidential information from a friend of yours or just overheard somebody's conversation. Let's just say you can't tell others about it.

You are well-known, as you told me in the comments. The more important detail: You just happen to be there right now. It's absolutely reasonable that not everybody likes your workarounds, it doesn't even matter if they work or not. Let's make some little difference between users types:

  • Active users
  • Inactive users
  • "Young" users
  • "Old" users (you)

Let me explain it to you. You are an old user, you contributed a while ago. Users appreciated you in that time and you gained reputation by contributing and actively creating content. Nevertheless, you've now become an old user. You don't actively participate that much anymore, still you are well-known for your actions done before. Users might come up telling you:

Well, neither you have been around for a while nor you have participated. You don't have any idea how the situation is right now!

They are basically telling you that you are clueless about the situation now. They appreciate your previous contributions but you are no active member of the community anymore, therefore you have no right to give advice. At least, that is what users might think.

Let's wrap up what you can do, although your position isn't that helpful at all:

  • You can try to tell them that you struggled too. Tell them that problems can occur sometimes. There is no reason to give up but there is a reason to work out something different. Maybe, instead of getting thrown back, there now is the opportunity for different projects which had to wait in the past. Basically, get their focus on another project.
  • Explain to them that the changes were made by the authorities (the developers) who had something in mind while doing it so. Redirect them to them.
  • Try to talk to them, again. You tried your best to work out some solutions, however it really doesn't satisfy you (as well as them) that you didn't find a solution for their specific problem. Nevertheless, be quite polite talking to them.

Still, you should never forget that you are in a really disadvantageous position:

  • You are not an active member anymore.
  • You are no authority.
  • Old users know you, younger ones do not. They won't be happy seeing an "old" guy solving their problem.

You can try the best to calm them, but you shouldn't be surprised if it's not working, too. Nevertheless, you always have the option to cooperate with a team member who has more power than you. You can suggest that it's necessary to take action as fast as possible to minimize the damage done by the developers.


Actually, after I read through your question and my answer, I can totally recommend you to talk to the hard hit users as soon as possible. If these users stay angry and upset about the current situation, it can spread to the community. Communicate to them that you are working hard on a possible solution, but it seems like you aren't able to fix it eventually. It is highly recommend to get to the developers who can state that the whole thing was mistakenly changed.

Users don't want to be comforted by you since the community itself didn't do anything wrong. The developers did, hence the gameplay is severely damaged. The users aren't happy with the current "game situation".

Make clear that you, as well as any other technical user, is bound to some level. Put pressure on the developers, their main goal should be fixing this issue. All users should support it, the more users are up to put pressure on them, the sooner the situation will be resolved. However, don't spam them. Write one email which

Dear developers,

you have released a recent change which was meant to further improve our gaming experience. We sadly discovered that the change has broken important content of many users. We tried to resolve the problem ourselves by creating workaround. However, we weren't able to fix every issue since some are deeply rooted into the game mechanics. Please take a look at it.

Sincerely,
your community

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.