What running an AirBnB business has taught me about consumers & feedback. (How it's like to be Funcom)

So I run a successful AirBnB business. A large room in the heart of a popular city, for which I charge 68 Euros a night. I am fully booked well into 2019.

All 5 stars rating and stuff.

Then one day the boiler broke. You know, that piece of "basic amenity" that keeps the shower warm.

As you can imagine, replacing the boiler in central Europe can take up to 2 weeks and up to 1500 Euro, depending on how rare your boiler is, if you don’t have a relative who has studied that sort of thing.

Having bookings everyday, I had to offer guests either discounts, or cancel reservations.

What I quickly learned is that as soon as technology fails you, it is your fault. Your personal fault.

You become public enemy Nr. 1, and everyone starts viewing you from someone who offers sanctuary to others in their private home, to some scammer who purposefully sabotaged their own machine to have you cancel your own reservation so AirBnB could keep the service charge, and your somehow in cahoots with this.

Suddenly they are given the license to say "Host lied about basic amenities. I would stay clear of this host", even though a notice and a discount offer or a full refund and cancellation was offered directly via SMS to each and every guest several days prior.

Suddenly AirBnB is allowed to ask you for documentation and proof which breaks many layers of the European Data Protection Compliance, just so you can prove that your boiler really is broken, and that your not just ■■■■■■■■ yourself out of money with reservation cancellations just because you feel like it.

Consumers go from having a soul, to becoming vultures who want a refund that would make you lose a lot more than just the refund’s worth. I had guests actually accept the booking regardless, then actually extort me for a full refund in cash, or a really bad review in my otherwise spotless record.

I have experienced capitalism and entitlement head on, in a way I never even thought possible.

So when I look at the Funcom forums, and the Steam forums, I experience the exact same phenomena.

It’s as if there are 2 modes a person is programmed to have: 1. A person. 2. A consumer.

When people are in consumer mode, they go full on toxic, without realizing that not all businesses rejected their job applications, or would treat them the way their current bosses do. Not all businesses are pure "Performance first. Leave heart out the door."

Not all businesses are Microsoft or Apple, or Electronic Arts.

If we don’t give each other the benefit of the doubt when it comes to technological failure, than dayum… God forbid any of you ever have a machine fail you, when your service depends on it.

Technology evolves, advances and changes… but Man? Man never changes.

Think about it.

We don’t need AI to conquer us. Technology already has! It’s programming how we think and how we treat each other.

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Yeah, heart, soul, all that romantic wishful thinking yadda yadda.
Money is money, there are companies competing four your money. If you fail to convince someone that your company is going to provide stuff better than other’s that someone gonna spend their money elsewhere.
This is a market, if your technology fails and someone else’s doesn’t it is only natural for consumers to purchase the product that isn’t failed by it’s own techology and steer clear from the ones that are.

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Exactly! Survival of the fittest.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson once said: “Curious that we spend more time congratulating people who have succeeded than encouraging people who have not.”

By this example, if Funcom is to be successful, shouldn’t they be entitled to be even worse than Electronic Arts?

Where is my magic? where is my mounts? where are my thralls that open gates for me where is the ‘living and breathing dinamic ai’?

Moderator edit: Watch the language. Also, things can change between pre-launch and launch.

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NMSYearsLater

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Well said.

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I see what you’re saying but it’s not exactly the same.

You started with a finished product that completely worked and when it started to fail you kept up a good line of communication and offered discounts and refunds until your product was fixed.

Funcom delivered an unfinished product and offered no discount or refunds and instead asked for more money. They also lacked communication and customers had to search forums, Facebook, and twitter to find answers.

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How do you send information to so many users at once though? Especially with Data Protection Compliance?
Also, no game works well at launch. It never has, since the advent of the graphics cards.
Sure, we can quote mature games that work well. But they’ve had a lot of time to gestate.

Funcom’s clearly overwhelmed. But pulling on a plant isn’t gonna make it grow quicker.

I get people come here on the forums and regurgitate the same thing out of frustration and in a way, it shows they care about the game.

I suppose the complaints act as a sort of an akward icebreaker for better information. Hmmm.

rubs chin
That’s one way of looking at it I suppose.

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Many people also don’t research the games they buy then complain after.

Funcom clearly stated before launch that some features weren’t going to be feasible at launch, and will be implemented in a future date for free. We still keep seeing threads complaining about that thing.

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I think it’d be adviseable to “embed” information into things consumers will read wether they like to or not, like on steam:

“Conan Exiles - The Art Team presents: Jewel of the West Item Pack”

instead of just

Item description for Jewel of the West should read: “Funcom’s Art Team presents all new building pieces, placeables, weapons, armors and warpaints from the powerful kingdom of Aquilonia!”

The item description of the Khitai DLC shoulda been similar, cuz that just looks like a full on expansion, like the one for AoC.

I can see how people get confused.

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Every platform should of had a bug list in its current forum from day one to compile those bugs but instead it took months for this to happen. This meant that users were constantly posting new threads about the same bug but all confused about how they got it since there was no offical statement.

An example being one patch introduced a bug that would kill your character from frost damage after you had logged off in the frozen north. At first no one knew why their character had died when they logged back in and all their items missing, so this problem would happen more than once to the same players. I did some testing myself and managed to find out the problem and asked on the forum if this was a bug or an intended feature as there was no mention of it in the patch notes. I got no response, so I asked on Facebook and again got no response, so I asked on twitter and again got no response, so then I asked again on twitter but this time I contacted Joel instead of the offical Exiles account and finally got a response saying it was a bug and they were looking into it. I then went back to the forums and responsed to all the players threads who couldn’t understand why their character had died and their items were missing.

It should not have been that hard. A simple addition on the patch notes or an offical response saying “this is a bug and we know it’s a bug so watch out for it and we are working on it” would suffice and show a level of respect.

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Don’t take my word for it, but I feel as though it’s because Funcom was running on a skeleton crew, who were tasked with bringing Funcom out of debt.

CE essentially had the effective workpower of a singleplayer indie studio, but the scope of an MMO.

I’d say it’s time they started hiring QA, but that’s not up to us to decide. Only they know how precarious their finances are, on wether they will expand, or continue running on fumes to keep the overheads low.

It’s kinda like how Hello Games does it. Keep the overhead and profile low, but work on full throttle under the hood for better or worse.

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Thank god they’re not.

All joking aside, OP you’re absolutely right. I’ve made suggestions on how people can fix their issues or even help Funcom help. And they personally attack me. They WILL NOT have a discussion with you if they feel you disagree with them.

My wish is that Funcom would actually just step up and ban these people. There are a few that make constructive posts. A few that actually use the bug report forums. A few that ask honest questions, make honest criticisms. But the rest got to go.

The forums are not a place to rant and rave as someone before tried to tell me. Try acting that way at your town council meeting and watch how quickly you are escorted out. Ranting is best done into a pillow (and please don’t hurt small animals in the process). When you type, you see the words you type. You can reflect on them. They are a reflection of the clarity of thought and effort of the person’s mind.

To quote one of my college instructors:

“Clear speech and clear writing are a sign of a clear mind.”

So when we see posts like this:

How do you all think that quote describes that? Its a rant in a thread that has nothing to do with what he is talking about. He’s using profanity to the detriment of proper grammar. And no solution or compromise is even suggested. Like if you read it, you can picture a man red face hitting a table with his hand or stamping the floor.

Why would anyone ever want to deal with something like that? Why should we? Think about that? If all those posters were removed, how constructive would the forums be? It wouldn’t be all song and praise. We’d be able to voice our concerns without fear of being drowned out by the profanity and nonsense.

For example I’d love to start a thread addressing a possible fix to Archery. I’ve been able to fix the playstyle for both PVE and PVP and by proxy fixing the Accuracy Attribute and its associated Armors all through one small less than 1MB mod. I could give the datatable to Funcom for them to implement it to the normal game.

But it would only get drowned out in the mess. If that mess could be cleaned up, we’d have a better shot at making this game even better.

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Heh. Kind of reminds me of this situation when the first pve-c got converted into pvp with no explanation and stuff. In case of some boiler, its easy…
But to compare the situations: you run this yourself. Jens Erik and the other people at Funcom still got their bosses bossing them around. And I kind of like the thought of those bosses having hindered them from explaining what exactly happened.
How it was the physical resources having gone out of stock. Not just performing a swift config change and killing pve-c.

Heh. Most people experience capitalism in a clearly other way than you.
I guess most people have experienced the part of capitalism which is a lil nastier than owning some room they can rent out.

The basic issue is how we got raised to be consumers.
How money is money and thus really precious and how that affects our life in a bad way.
However, without this stuff, our “civilized” world probably would still be stuck a few centuries in the past…
Who knows?

That being said - my own experience with this game now is up at 2k hours. I was destroyed when bows got nerfed hard. Fortunately there came neat animations and combos (daggers+2h swords) so I could let it slip that bows became not just less, but rather went to no fun at all. (I always go for eighter rouge like assassin from behind, evading and stuff while bringing a bow - or ranged only. I’m just not the casual brute one would encounter. Sure, said the one wielding the two handed sword and a mad grin in her face… :smiling_imp:)
I guess I am still salty because of bows. :thinking: :joy:
Because I grew to love how bows worked before. How their direct damage was viable, rather than relying on ranged poison… Of course I would defend the one way I loved to play the game.
I think that is only natural for us humans. Only natural in capitalism…

Sounds just like it seems. They’ve been pushed to their limits for months I think.
And the current heat wont place them in a better situation. Even in climated places, people tend to more faults during work. …

The only thing I would really want to demand:
Explain properly.
(There have been at least 3, if not 4 times when things could have been explained properly, but werent.)

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Another big issue is the community based of two different type of gamers.
Group A - PvP lovers, who got totally neglected by Funcom, if its the overpowered Spear from day 1, explosive unbalance, valuts, Dysnc in servers, and more.
Group B - PvE, RP lovers, which dont care about most of the bugs in the game, as long as they have decorations to play with, and they can creep on the 1-2 grils on their server they are pleased from how the game is.

Its clear Funcom loves group B more. they have less complains and pay much more money from DLC’s.

This… might be a contentious view of mine, but after playing ARK (which was 100% PvP, with PvE officially being a subset and an afterthought) CE is actually better for it, respecting PvE, because the PvE crowd have a larger representation and a much longer stay-time than PvPers, who generally either rage-quit each other, or submit to an alpha tribe, and just thrive on griefing.

PvE is the game itself. PvP is just griefers, griefing other griefers.

What if Funcom really is just working on the game itself?

On ARK, for every fun feature they add, they nerf down 10 things. Then that great feature they added get’s nerfed down 3 months down the line, all in the name of PvP balance.

I mean, PvP players already cost us the Silent Legion Armor, and wiped everyone’s orbs etc.

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Wow i got really sad after watching that video.
I really hope these things are still coming to the game, i want sorcery so bad now!

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I was actually encouraged to see that the CE developers were already wanting to add many elements that players have been suggesting for a while now. Its great that we’re on the same page. And I’m looking forward to seeing the realization of the dream (though I wish it was done yesterday… I hate waiting… but I understand that these plans take time).

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I think it’s unfair that you stereotype/label every pvp player as a griefer.

Yeah it was a annoying that most of us had to suffer because of a few that exploited the orbs bug and we shouldn’t of had to suffer and lose items we legitimately farmed. End of the day though the bug was well known, had been reported and had been around far too long. It should have been acted on much faster.

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That’s what moderators are for! :slight_smile: We can’t be everywhere at once and rely on the community to help us help you. If you feel at any time that someone’s out of line or otherwise not contributing to a positive (or at least constructive) environment, please flag their posts and a moderator or Funcom staffer will look into it.

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