A look at Turbine’s community interaction
You know, you’d think that to keep up a successful game after almost ten years, community interaction and generally responding to criticism would be paramount to success, right? Well, you’d be right. And that’s one of many reasons why DDO is failing. You see, Turbine has proven time and time again to be horrible at communicating with their player-base and listening to very valid criticisms of their game.
Lammania should very well not exist. At this point in the game, it’s pointless. A “test server” is supposed to be where bugs are ironed out, where testers find potentially overpowered or underwhelming skills and abilities, and where the company subsequently brings these abilities to be more in line with the rest of the game. But no, that’s not what Turbine does. People will play on Lammania, find something, and bring it to Turbine’s attention.
“Hey guys, this monster is way too powerful compared to everything else around its level. This might make sense if it were a boss, but it’s a normal monster. Is everything working as intended?”
No response from Turbine. We get Shadar Kai assassins.
“Hey guys, I’m really not sure if this new feature is a good thing for the game. It adds sporadic difficulty and messes up with a lot of quests, which are fine as of now. I don’t think you should try to fix something that isn’t broken. Why not focus your effort on something worthy of attention?”
No response from Turbine. We get monster champions.
“Hey guys, this class is WAY too strong. It does a lot more damage than any other class or build around its level and has an ability which gives it nigh-invulnerability… is this really how it’s supposed to be working?”
No response from Turbine. We get Warlocks.
What’s the point? It’s obvious that Turbine is trying to push their own agenda, regardless of what the player base thinks. I can’t help but feel that they keep things like Lammania and the forums up to provide the thin veneer of an open marketplace of ideas, when in reality, it’s just a smokescreen to cloak and obfuscate suspicion.
You know things are bad when you’re seeing more truth being spoken at DDO Vault, a notoriously “no holds barred,” brutal, sardonic forum more akin to 4chan’s /b/, than on the official DDO forums. For those uninitiated, this is a forum where more pictures of bunny girls with big tits are posted than actual content related to DDO. And yet even then, there’s a greater volume of substantive, engaging content going on there than on the official forums.
On the official forums, the posts which mention valid criticisms and present engaging ideas are either ignored or quashed by the mods. Only the posts which confirm Turbine’s agenda are given any credence and attention. I’ve also followed fiascos like the whole Gamer Geoff debacle, where on his blog, he purposely and intentionally misquoted and misrepresented the words of someone else in order to make Turbine look fine and dandy, while making himself out to be the victim. Guess what? He’s one of Turbine’s affiliated bloggers. It’s obvious nepotism and Orwellian attempts at controlling who and what’s heard in order to push a narrative. It’s not so different from what’s been happening with Gamergate. The only DDO blogs I see are the ones which obviously and sycophantically kiss up to Turbine and pretend as if nothing is wrong with the game in its current state. This is precisely why reading the Vault can be so refreshing: although there’s a lot of stupid and sophomoric shit and pseudo-drama there, when it comes to actually discussing DDO, most of the Vaulters are right on the money. That to me, is what counts. It’s not who they are that matters; it’s what’s being said that matters.
Though this is a rather broad and hazy subject to cover, I’d argue it’s one of the most dangerous and most prominent reasons why DDO has been on the decline since 2012. At the root of it all, every single problem which plagues DDO right now boils down to Turbine either not knowing what’s good for the game or not caring enough. Turbine doesn’t know what will bring them more players, or what will satiate their current players. And instead of listening to their dedicated players who have logged thousands of hours into the game, and who know a lot more about the game than Turbine does, they blindly flail about, haphazardly adding in silly, pointless updates to the game while trying in vain to keep up the façade of being in control and in the know about how their game works and operates.
I’m not sure how long exactly this has been going on, but I do know that I personally have observed a sharp decline in quality ever since Update 14. Perhaps Turbine’s been this way the whole while, and perhaps they’ve simply gotten lucky with their old content from 2006-2012. I don’t know. Anything’s possible. All I know is that this is the state of things now, and unless something big changes real fast, then this will ultimately be the downfall of DDO. We’ve already seen that the game has been steadily decreasing in popularity since Update 14; during DDO’s golden age at peak hours, I used to see 30-40 LFMs or more up, whereas now, the most I see is 10. Maybe 15.
If this were a normal situation, I’d close things by saying, “Turbine, you’ve gotta change the way things are going.” Because we’re going wrong and because that’s the only way you’re going to salvage DDO. But who am I kidding? I know that Turbine won’t change. They’re going to drive DDO into the ground with their mismanagement. All we can do is to stop playing the game—or at least stop supporting them with our money.