Gameplay and Game Mechanics issues
What is the best way to present feedback?
You have two choices for sending us suggestions and feedback on game content
1. Email email@example.com
2. Post a suggestion in this forum.
Does the feedback email actually get read by anyone?
All those emails go into our email management tool and are assigned directly to the community manager. That means I read each and every feedback email recieved. I usually do this at the very least every other day so they dont stack up in the queue. Then I take the suggestions / feedback and enter it into a database that I use to keep track of the suggestions.
What happens to that feedback and is it used?
The feedback is used to discuss issues with the AO management team on a daily basis. As Community manager I am part of the management team with the Game Director, lead designer, lead coder and QA/CS manager that meet every single morning to discuss the current status, plans, patch plans, customer service community etc, basically everything that goes into making AO.
We are constantly reviewing it and going over the points raised with the game Director. Likewise when the Game Director or lead designer are considering changes they also come to me to sound out how those changes would effect the community, and I can draw on the feedback to illustrate opinions etc.
Does this forum actually get read by anyone at Funcom?
Yes! I regularly review the contents of the forum and use them in the same manner as the email feedback as explained above. In addition the individual devs and designers also regularly view and read the topics.
Why can't we get a reply to our suggestions?
Unfortunately we simply dont have the resources to answer each and every query posted on the forums, or emailed to the feedback emails. It really is that straightforward. That is why the Game Suggestions forum isn't a two way feedback area, its not because we might not want to, many of the suggestion on this board are worthwhile and often lead to discussion and thoughts on design internally, but if a proper answer was to be given to every suggestion the devs wouldn't have time to actually create the game.
So how do I know why feedback is making any difference
We work very hard to communicate with the playerbase when working on the game. The Community Updates , the new featured content section (which includes design considerations in the articles when appropriate), the update forums, the professionals program, the feedback emails, the surveys we do, the great ARK team, and from spending time in game, we try to communicate as much as possible and a good chunk of the fixes and changes in each patch come directly from player feedback (if I had to estimate it I'd say at least 30-40% of all changes in any given patch come almost directly from player feedback) so overall we feel we put a lot of time and resource into ensuring that communication is there, so all the feedback we recieve is valuable and worthwhile.
What is the difference between game suggestions and the patch forums, you answer questions in the patch forums, why not here?
If there is a patch forum up at any given time it is because we need to communicate about upcoming or current changes in that patch. This is in an effort to ensure that patches roll out as smoothly as possible and, if appropriate, to explain, confirm or deny the implication of any given change in the current patch cycle.
These are specific answers to specific issues and different from Game suggestions as the points are relevant to a change being made to the game in the patch series rather then a suggestion for future changes.
It is also important to try and resolve as many issues as possible with the patch, and to explain and clarify its features before it hits the live servers wherever possible
Customer service issues
1. Any Customer Support Issues should be emailed directly to firstname.lastname@example.org and NOT posted to forums
2. If you wish to suggest changes to an existing customer service policy it should be sent via email to Feedback@anarchy-online.com
Why can't we raise customer service issues on the forums?
Actual Customer Service issues and customer support policies are not open to debate on the forums as quite simply people will never agree on what they should be. The GMs and CS manager do of course consider player opinion and impact of all their policies. Like myself with community the QA/CS manager sits on the morning management meetings and goes through such issues with the Game Director. Unfortunately though public forums are not the place to dicuss the ins and outs of what is and is not against the Games support policies.
You need only look at any thread that has ever mentioned things like 'griefing', 'ganking', 'ninja-looting', 'harrasment' or such like as players will never even agree amongst themselves how those things are to be defined, let alone how to enforce them and such threads just degenerate into flames and personal attacks when people disagree.
So why are we not just allowed to disagree and debate on those kind of points?
We know from experience there is absolutely no gain from allowing players to debate policy choices on open forum. It creates excessive work for the modersators as people do not always respect the forum rules on such threads, doesnt really give any additional feedback outside of the fact that some people disagree on 'subject X', which we would already know and generally only ends up creating bad feeling between the players themselves that disagree with each other. All pretty counter productive.
That is why the feedback email address is the best avenue for any suggestions on policy. It will reach me and the CS manager, and it will be read and at the very least taken under consideration. It allows you to clearly express your personal opinion without getting into arguements about definitions or others opinions on the subject you are raising.
If I have a customer service issue in game why can't I post it to the forums?
It is important that customer service issues can be dealt with personally and without interruption. This is to give the players complaint the respect it deserves. That would not always happen on open forum.
If people are suffering from some CS issue when they make the post they are often being emotive rather then strictly rational and again public forums is not the place for that as other posters can often disrupt and make the original poster feel even worse about the issue (and unfortunately we know from experience some posters like to disrupt and enflame on occasion even when they are not involved in the issue) It is perfectly understandable when someone is frustrated or upset about any given issue they might experience but that is why the correct avenue of response is a personal email reply.
We feel strongly that customer support on serious issues should be as personal as possible and that is why we operate full email support. Public forums just do not work as an avenue for that kind of response as they can be disrupted by other posters, be possibly missed if an operative overlooks a thread (as opposed to our email tracking which ensures they see every email), and generally isn't a really beneficial or efficient way to operate customer service.