How much should players know?

So you are like totally addicted to this MMO (used to be RPG at the end of that) and you find yourself getting 2 hours of sleep, forgotten the name of your dog so you call him Frodo and if you miss another day at work your boss will tell your coworkers that one time when he stopped by your house found in that compromising position with umm your avatar. You my dear are a fan, addict or the one game companies like the most because you pay them diligently or dislike the most because you play so much that they can’t keep up with the content required to keep you playing so much. Either way, you’re their number one fan.

You have entered the addicted zone.

Players want to know what is going on with their precious addiction. The question is, how much do they need to know?

For example, most of the time when there is a major exploit the Devs will go into ninja mode and penetrate the exploit with their little keyboard armies and the player base is none the wiser – of course those that enjoyed the exploit know but who are they going to tell? They will be slaughtered on the message boards. Cheater! I can hear the cries now. Wah.

The Developers love the game (well most of them I hope!), the players love the game (most of them I hope!) and anything that goes on with the game is important to all facets of the equation. This is where it gets touchy. As Community specialists our job is to tell the players what is going on and if budget allows to give them a bunch of shiney stuff to wear. Swag. is. good. I like swag too. The thing is, if we tell the fan base:

– Fixed an exploit that allowed players to climb up on the zone wall and urinate freely killing players below. (I swear I hope that never happens.)

This would be the response:

Player A:

About friggin’ time, you know how many times I got killed by the pee while afk?

Player B:

I hate exploiters, all exploiters need a perma banning!

Player C:

lol, that bug still exists? I haven’t played the game in 2 years and I remember doing that!

Player D:


<scratches chin>

<ponders where it would be fun to try and urinate on players>

After spending weeks they find a spot that was missed and next thing you know he/she is giggling uncontrollably.

Player E:

<scratches something>

<Thinks: Hmm if that used to work over there, then it’s very possible that I use this spell with the right timing I could do amazing things and no one could catch me.>

Okay, I can continue but why don’t you folks come up with other versions? :)

So the next time you see a mini patch go in and scratch your head in bewilderment because there are no notes – we are protecting you and the integrity of the game. Oh and from dangling the apple in front of possible weak addicts who just want to win. Or have fun their way…more on that later.

In other news, this website though not very popular yet surely made a big hit with the spammers. If anyone needs links to helping Mr. Winky I can forward you a couple of links.

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4 Responses to How much should players know?

  1. Matt says:

    Knowing how much information the players should know is always rough. If you give them too much information then they will nitpick it and, as you’ve explained, will give some of them ideas. If you give them too little, they complain about lack of communication and start fostering the us-against-them thought process which isn’t useful for anyone.

    The devs don’t hate players (by and large – if any do, they are a minuscule percentage). They don’t hate the game, and one would hope that most of the players don’t hate the game and the devs. Other groups in the company may show contempt, but that’s another discussion entirely.

  2. Mark says:

    I think it’s fine to withhold everything if the bug is fixed in a timely manner. I could name some specific awful mishandlings of longstanding exploits, but we’ve all experienced them. A lot of times, I wish that Devs could make an announcement like, “hey, don’t jump through holes in the wall/floor to port to your bind. We will fix the exploitable spots if you report them.” (The key here being that they get fixed in a timely manner~)

    It all gets pointless when bug are so well known that people post regularly about them, when nothing is said by game Devs (or community people) in those threads (or otherwise), and the community as a whole feels that it’s an unintentional “game feature” due to the lack of communication or action. It just feels very disrespectful to people who *want* to play fair but are unsure what’s pushing the limits of gameplay and what’s cheating.

    Let’s be honest, most of us play to push the limits of a game, so it’s nice when there’s some communication about intent.

  3. Joanne says:


    When you are discussing a large game that isn’t brand new and shiny, bugs are classified and prioritized. Some bugs while all the Devs want it fixed, can’t figure out or the time it would take to fix it would be just crazy as everything else would get neglected. Of course everyone wants the bugs to be fixed and as fast as possible but sometimes it takes someone new on the team to go “Uhh hey I know a quick and easy way to get this done.” Tada!

    I could list an example on DAoC about a bug and what players considered a “Game Feature.” Oh the memories!

  4. Shiloh says:

    You know, I think a dev presence is more important than dev information. Of course players want to know every minuscule detail of how things happen and why they are happening and how it could be done differently. But in the back of our heads we just know that isn’t possible and that most of the time it’s a “because I said so’ sort of thing.

    The important part isn’t knowing. The important part is knowing that the devs care as much about the game as we do. That might sound silly because of course they do! But we as gamers are insecure and clingy and needy in our relationship with the game because we can’t have a direct effect on how it is. So gaming communities need dev presence – on the main site, or their forums, or just hanging out on blogs- to let us know that we are still loved and that yes we are important.

    Oh, and information about the game is a nice topping too. it’s our hot fudge syrup :D

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