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  1. #1

    Thumbs up Cut the devs some slack

    I have seen a lot of posts accusing the lotro devs of making poor design solutions and bad functionality.

    In my opinion this is to shoot the messenger. As a developer myself (not at turbine I can assure!), I think people mistake what our role is.
    What I have seen, most midsize to large software houses are split up between the product dept (who call all the shots) and the development dept (who write the actual code).
    You have generally very little freedom to implement functionality you would like in the product. To add to that, any longlived codebase sets up more and more restrictions in the way you can write additional code.

    After development work is done, it is the testing/QA dept who is responsible for everything working hunky dory, whether it is about some website functionality or a game combat system.


    Those are my 2 developer cents.

    I hope this post doesn't violate forum policy as it is meant to enlighten the general forum public to the role of developers.

  2. #2
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    I think with the exception of a couple of keyboard commandos, everyone knows it's the suits in power that are calling the shots. There is no doubt in my mind that the devs in the trenches try their very best to make a good product. I imagine they are caught between the bean counters trying to save every penny and the suits wanting a quality product NOW. I truly feel for them.


    It's just the small number of arm chair devs here in the forums that are handing out the insults.
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  3. #3
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    I suspect the beef is with the overall direction and not a particular 'dev' =)

    To me it's natural that internal contracts between departments or parts of an organization can give poor performance: the economy internal contract demands A and creative department manages to meet demand A but loses sight of the big aim which would be customer satisfaction. If demand A is met, coders get their bonuses but it doesn't necessarily give great satisfaction for the customer - the internal contract gets in the way.

    Friend at crytek describes it as very hard to keep focus on the main target: customer base.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muddo View Post
    As a developer myself (not at turbine I can assure!),
    This seems a rather strange comment considering your thread title.

    You wrote above that you are a developer but quickly exclaimed: "not at Turbine i can assure!"

    Adding the "I can assure!" part makes it seem like a put down on being a Turbine dev. Or am I reading that wrong?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by enginekid88 View Post
    This seems a rather strange comment considering your thread title.

    You wrote above that you are a developer but quickly exclaimed: "not at Turbine i can assure!"

    Adding the "I can assure!" part makes it seem like a put down on being a Turbine dev. Or am I reading that wrong?

    Yes. I thought only writing "I am a developer." would beg the obvious question if I was at Turbine so I added the latter part. It's challenging both to write brief and expressive posts on a forum...

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Muddo View Post
    ...

    In my opinion this is to shoot the messenger. ...
    And I think you give carte blanche to "coders" to not deliver the demanded result on time and in budget.

    There will always be points of friction between production, development and financials. In fact, nothing would ever get done properly without all three. Just because finance and production tends to have the higher authority, that doesnt make the development branch the romantic underdog who "would if they only could". We´ve seen a lot of grand developer-led projects out there crash and burn miserably because they were not harnessed in by decent oversight.

    There are certainly cases where one of the branches represses the other from delivering a thoroughly decent work. But in general, companies where the departments are completely at odds do not work. In fact, the company I work for right now, a multi million corporation with hundreds of employees, is directly steering that way. Its a fascinating experience.
    Last edited by Vandervahn; Nov 13 2013 at 11:35 AM.

  7. #7
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    Those who stand in the spotlight are the vocal point for feedback.

    I've not heard from Kate Paiz in a long while. Turbine has selectively put forward their developers, not their Executive Producer, to the communications frontline. That is a decision by Turbine, not by the players.

    Other companies employ other strategies. Each to their own, reap what you sow.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muddo View Post
    Yes. I thought only writing "I am a developer." would beg the obvious question if I was at Turbine so I added the latter part. It's challenging both to write brief and expressive posts on a forum...
    Is your name blue? No. Then you are not a Turbine official.

    You could be a Turbine employee posting under a private account in your spare time. I'm not sure if that would be allowable as many companies do tend to limit such participation in internal guidelines, and do so in wisdom.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainothon View Post
    Those who stand in the spotlight are the vocal point for feedback.

    I've not heard from Kate Paiz in a long while. Turbine has selectively put forward their developers, not their Executive Producer, to the communications frontline. That is a decision by Turbine, not by the players.

    Other companies employ other strategies. Each to their own, reap what you sow.
    Yup. Same with lots of other businesses - help desk staff getting the blame for when a key system goes down but which was a management responsibility for not funding maintenance sufficiently. Another obvious example are the British Gas call centre staff taking the brunt of a commercial decision to up gas prices by 8% or so.

    Personally, I find the absence of regular communications from Kate Piaz quite startling. The last comms I saw from her was back in January. Yes it's good to see the Dev Diaries written by the more junior staff but those are details whilst what we are missing is the grand strategy. I'd like to see Kate or whoever is the Senior Producer / Game Director post on a quarterly basis what the strategy & game direction is, what releases are in the pipeline, the upcoming changes etc. Some MMOs do this up on a monthly basis - Funcom for example.
    Because SOA was damn site better than what we have in today's LOTRO.
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  10. #10
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    Aye, there is a reason why I mention Kate Paiz in my post.

    There is a huge potential power in communication from 'the boss' so to speak. For reasons unknown to me, Turbine does not employ this power. It's like a government that only let's their clerks speak, not the president. It's ... rather wierd.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Muddo View Post
    I have seen a lot of posts accusing the lotro devs of making poor design solutions and bad functionality.

    In my opinion this is to shoot the messenger. As a developer myself (not at turbine I can assure!), I think people mistake what our role is.
    What I have seen, most midsize to large software houses are split up between the product dept (who call all the shots) and the development dept (who write the actual code).
    You have generally very little freedom to implement functionality you would like in the product. To add to that, any longlived codebase sets up more and more restrictions in the way you can write additional code.

    After development work is done, it is the testing/QA dept who is responsible for everything working hunky dory, whether it is about some website functionality or a game combat system.


    Those are my 2 developer cents.

    I hope this post doesn't violate forum policy as it is meant to enlighten the general forum public to the role of developers.

    I hear what you are saying, but criticism is healthy if it's done right. No one should be cursing out devs or treating them with gross disrespect. But I do not believe in the slightest that "the suits" are down that far in the trenches.

    For example, I made a post with an issue I have with the design of Trollshaws. In no way do I believe that "the suits" came up with the design for the area. Although not in the gaming business, I have worked higher-up in a few large corporation and it doesn't work that way. Those people may dictate the general direction of the company, but they are not writing specs for the devs and programmers.

  12. #12
    Sapience is offline Former Community Manager & Harbinger of Soon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainothon View Post
    Is your name blue? No. Then you are not a Turbine official.

    You could be a Turbine employee posting under a private account in your spare time. I'm not sure if that would be allowable as many companies do tend to limit such participation in internal guidelines, and do so in wisdom.
    It's not allowed. If we post publicly in relation to our products we must identify ourselves or use employee or "blue name" accounts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caernach View Post
    I hear what you are saying, but criticism is healthy if it's done right.
    Yes it is. Sadly there are those who choose to believe that anything they say, in any manner, is valid in both message and tone. This is, of course, not true and usually results in disruption more than useful feedback. How you say things has a very heavy impact on how your feedback is taken and what kind of weight it is given. It is possible to give very critical feedback in a polite manner.

  13. #13
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    I try to be "professional" when it comes to criticism. I've always felt that criticism laced with hatred leads that criticism to be ignored. My post in the thread regarding the Trait Spec costing 100 Mithril Coins, I felt wasn't hate laced, and many other people post in the same way. Please don't color all people who dole out criticism with the same brush. In my experience, most people tend to critique implementations in a mature manner, just that the few who are more rude just stand out more.

  14. #14
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    I agree that there are some downright disrespectful and unacceptable posts directed the devs sometimes. No one should be calling out any specific person, nor should people be insulting them, whether directed at one dev or a group.

    However, there are those who voice their concerns without insults and try to be as constructive as possible. What happens sometimes is, those threads start to bring in posts by those who do insult the devs and then arguments ensue. Eventually, the constructive critiscm gets buried by the boisterous lot who continue to insult and threaten and whatever else. People then start insulting those who are critisizing, even the respectful ones. However, I think at the end of the day the community team is still reading those posts that are respectful, whether they have the time or ability to respond or not.

    With the recent cases, there is quite a large change coming to this game that a lot of us have played for years. It's inevitable that some people will be shaken and greatly concerned with whats going to happen. Hopefully those with criticisms will voice them in a manner which we all know Turbine will listen to, and not in the forms of insults and threats. It would benefit us all. Petitions, "I'm leaving", "devs don't know what they're doing" threads serve no purpose. And posts of those nature end up locking otherwise, constructive threads.

  15. #15
    I should like to point out that, in a forum such as this, whenever a fellow forumite addresses something to "The Devs" it can be assumed that the actual addressee is the Development Team, as a whole (including the "ties" as already presented above), rather than a specific subset (in OPs case the actual implementors/"coders") of same.

    As such, I should think the OP is mistaken as to who the critcism is often directed at.

    SNy

  16. #16
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    It's wrong, but its also a sad fact of life that those on the front line so to speak, get all the ####. yet nearly always, they are simply doing what they are told..

  17. #17
    Sapience is offline Former Community Manager & Harbinger of Soon
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    Quote Originally Posted by LethalLethality View Post
    I try to be "professional" when it comes to criticism. I've always felt that criticism laced with hatred leads that criticism to be ignored.
    In cases where the 'feedback' is primarily vulgar or more of a rant than anything actionable, this is true. Everything gets read, but if there is a heavy dose of "hate" laced into the criticism then it's only reasonable to question whether the criticism is based on actual views of the game or from the 'hate' end of things. So I would have to be honest and say that criticism that is heavily laced in rhetoric and anger is probably going to be less valuable as a result.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Muddo View Post
    I have seen a lot of posts accusing the lotro devs of making poor design solutions and bad functionality.

    In my opinion this is to shoot the messenger. As a developer myself (not at turbine I can assure!), I think people mistake what our role is.
    What I have seen, most midsize to large software houses are split up between the product dept (who call all the shots) and the development dept (who write the actual code).
    You have generally very little freedom to implement functionality you would like in the product. To add to that, any longlived codebase sets up more and more restrictions in the way you can write additional code.

    After development work is done, it is the testing/QA dept who is responsible for everything working hunky dory, whether it is about some website functionality or a game combat system.


    Those are my 2 developer cents.

    I hope this post doesn't violate forum policy as it is meant to enlighten the general forum public to the role of developers.
    One of the things that a lot of people don't grasp completely ( I used to be one of them) is we are playing a game created by someone else. The key here is understanding that despite the best of intentions you me and every other poster can walk away and never pick up lotro again. The dev's etc have a much higher stake in the process, their lively hood depends on its success. So they create it in a manner that achieves multiple ends. Its profitable, its fun, its a dam good representation of ME. So joe user comes along and finds something he dosent like and puts his thoughts on the matter into prose. That's not the end of the world IMHO but often there is no measure of reality. A lot of the posts read like bile filed end of the world rants, now at times that has merit if you want to garner additional players to read a point of view. In the end, we are renting game content and its pretty dam good. Dev's take heat because joe player knows they changed the aspect of the game they care about. Joe player could of course put into his posts the fact he gets the dev isn't trying to make the game less desirable for him and is making the change because its in the macro interest of the title but that's just not how forum posts work. A lot of us get it, id say a vast majority understand the business and the game and take it for what it is. Ya, we ##### about the things we care about, its because we believe it can be better. However its never our asses on the line, I can shut it down tomorrow if I don't like. Dev's got to slog through, so yes cut them some slack but keep the finger pointing up, apathy kills communities, often slowly and its sad to watch.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
    In cases where the 'feedback' is primarily vulgar or more of a rant than anything actionable, this is true. Everything gets read, but if there is a heavy dose of "hate" laced into the criticism then it's only reasonable to question whether the criticism is based on actual views of the game or from the 'hate' end of things. So I would have to be honest and say that criticism that is heavily laced in rhetoric and anger is probably going to be less valuable as a result.
    Sometimes. But sometimes not.

    Vulgarity and ranting is not always born of hate. It could be out of frustration in seeing a game they once loved turned into something they can no longer recognize.

  20. #20
    Sapience is offline Former Community Manager & Harbinger of Soon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremi View Post
    Sometimes. But sometimes not.

    Vulgarity and ranting is not always born of hate. It could be out of frustration in seeing a game they once loved turned into something they can no longer recognize.
    Still 100% the wrong way to go about providing feedback.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremi View Post
    Sometimes. But sometimes not.

    Vulgarity and ranting is not always born of hate. It could be out of frustration in seeing a game they once loved turned into something they can no longer recognize.
    There are other ways to voice one's frustration. I have seen this time & again of people getting down right nasty & it has gotten them nowhere with Turbine.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
    Still 100% the wrong way to go about providing feedback.
    Maybe.

    That would probably depend on who is receiving the brunt of said rant's vitriol. Some people are better than others at dealing with harsh criticisms. Though seeing as you probably know the LOTRO developers on a personal basis... where as I do not, you are probably in a better position to judge the more effective way to provide feedback with them.

    But I would council against dismissing feedback just because they are harshly delivered. It is more often than not probably just frustration and disappointment that is to blame rather hate.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosey21 View Post
    There are other ways to voice one's frustration. I have seen this time & again of people getting down right nasty & it has gotten them nowhere with Turbine.
    There is always a better way to do something and always a worse way to do something.

  24. #24
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    The thing is; no matter how civilized you make a post - if it is critical of something there will often be uncivilized responses and that will often get a thread closed too, almost always regardless of the original poster's intent. In a perfect world, those responses would be modified/hidden/deleted and the thread could continue, but that is a question of resources I imagine, and closing the thread is the resource-friendly way of doing it.
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  25. #25
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    I don't blame the Devs one bit.

    IMO there are simply too few of them to adequately deal with the amount of resistance Helm's Deep BETA has received.

 

 
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