Why is RK9 and it's launch so poorly managed?


#1

So first of all, those of you who don’t agree are welcome not to, please do opinionate why you don’t but for the sake of our community and the devs/mods, keep a friendly tone!

Poorly planned, no preparations:

Servers were launched only days after the official announcement was made.
How are devs and management supposed to reach out to the community, old players and making the game lucrative to new players in such short notice? Zero preparations were made - as such, the community wasn’t prepared either and there was certainly not any time to attract newcomers.
Thus far, this whole thing has been a catastrophy and here’s why;

Lack of community outreach and updates, HUGE issue

Since the launch of RK9, information to the community has been very limited. There is no obvious plan, there are no official announcements regarding hotfixes, patches, maintenance, etc, except some (in perspective) last minute calls on Discord and a very limited patch note on forums. You simply can’t just refer us to an hour-long Twitch replay and a FAQ-post that’s 1) outdated and 2) never updated.

There should be sticky’s with updates well beforehand but there’s not. All I’ve noticed are some vague announcements on the discord channel - what about those who aren’t on Discord?
I just recently learned that they are increasing the cap to 20. Where are the official announcements?(???) And PLEASE, don’t say “Discord”.

  1. First and foremost, the current management doesn’t have a clue about how the game works nor anything about its content. Lots of items and upgrades are capped at level 21 thus making a level 20 cap nearly obsolete, except for the new levels of course.

  2. If this was supposed to be community driven in any form, it has failed miserably. There have been no polls, no votes, no nothing. And on forums, there are nearly zero requests for increasing the cap. Dead silence except for recurring issues with subscriptions and items.
    It’s obviously not as community driven as it’s made out to be. Unless they focus completely on the 50-something regulars on Discord, which is both naive and unfair if that is the case.

This leads me to wonder, where is the information regarding the updates? Where are the patch notes?
Are we supposed to guess? Do we have to say the right things and be on Discord in the exact right moment? What’s the deal, really?

Not to be rude, but how it should actually be done:

  1. Ask the community how they are feeling and what their stance is. How would we like you to proceed?
    For example, make polls on Facebook. Do a sticky thread in the community corner and lift the question. Those are just a few obvious ones that I can think of.

  2. Consider the community feedback, exhaust the possible/impossible ideas and proceed to make a plan.

  3. Project the information, make the plan and make a decision. Chose a course of action. Put a date, write a patch note and put it together. Prepare to make a public announcement.

  4. Proceed to make the announcement public. Reach out to your official social media platforms and of course the forums. Make a sticky. Present to the community the result of the feedback, what the next step will be and how you will proceed. How/when the changes will be implemented and whether or not there will be any significant changes apart from what was concluded with the community feedback.

As opposed to what it is now, which is something down the line of “herp derp we are taking servers down to fix something oh also we are increasing cap to 20 good luck” on discord, and then hoping that the word will spread and completely rely on those on discord. Like honestly, it shouldn’t take a forum post by a supposed amateur to explain to supposed professionals how this sort of thing should be handled.

Yes, I know you are understaffed at the moment. Yes, I know you have limited time and resources. But THAT’S EXACTLY why careful planning and projection is the absolute essence of making something like this work.

Conclusion:

The lack of information leaves this whole thing as a frustrating, stressful experience rather than something new, fun and enjoyable. The management of this operation is subpar, it has become obvious (especially after the alarming stream in relation to the announcement) that management lacks understanding of the game, thus making the experience nowhere as wholesome as it should be for the anticipating crowd.

It’s becoming more and more obvious that this is a quick and seemingly very effective cash-grab, and the only thing that could prove me wrong is if there are drastic changes made real soon.
Else me, amongst many others I’m sure, are more likely to cancel our subscriptions than to sink with this ship becuase unfortunately, this is starting to become a hair in the mouth…

I tried to be thankful, I tried to enjoy it and most importantly I tried to be patient. But the outright BS and evidence is stacking at such rate now that I simply can’t shut up and I most certainly can’t be patient anymore.

Thanks.

Update: 22 minutes ago there was a patchnote released. That’s more than an hour after servers went down. That’s the first time it was officially announced that the cap has been increased. An entire hour after they brought the servers down. Unacceptable.


#2

Alternatively the cap is meant to deny access to those items, as they represent a step jump in power?


#4

Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t lifting the cap supposed to be a jump in power? Now it’s just a jump in grind with the excitement part left out.


#5

I agree. I didn’t hear about the launch until last night, and I had been checking up on it’s status every couple days.

Last night I saw some pretty cool screenshots of people “raiding” TOTW at level 10. I was looking forward to participating in that this weekend, however now I feel like by the time tomorrow morning rolls around there will be level 50 engie twinks already camping all the bosses.

I don’t have anything against any particular level cap, I would just like some kind of schedule a week or so in advance so I can plan out how I want to play.

As a suggestion, I would make raising the level cap an event and suggest dungeons or areas that the community can focus on together. (Level 10 Subway, Level 20 TOTW, Level 30 Steps of Madness, etc). Many people have never seen these old RK dungeons and it would be nice to revisit them as a community.


#7

Yea, this is my main concern. There’s no fluidity, no preparations or anything at all. Those who can’t sit home on discord all day in the lap of AO mods and devs, they miss out on everything. Come home, anticipate some quality time and all of a sudden there are changes again and you just feel like you have ask around and do a bunch of research instead of logging on and enjoying something. A lot of us are chasing a shadow making it stressful and not as enjoyable as it was set out to be

All though, in all fairness, they did do a kind of extensive announcement. They went on facebook and they had a somewhat messy yet wholesome twitch stream with the official announcement. That was about it though.


#8

Just to expand a bit on my previous post, I would like to see some kind of “community goal” or focus for each level cap. This focus/goal can be something else the community votes on.

For example, when the server was launched this week, an announcement should have accompanied it encouraging people to join this weekend to “Defeat the Abandoned Subway” with a level 10 cap in place.

For those who get bored of the subway, they will be forced to venture out to more dangerous dungeons in larger raid groups, introducing a new challenge and doing something that probably hasn’t been done before (ie. raiding ToTW with a bunch of level 10s).

This theme could continue on each week (or however long the community votes for). Next week the cap could be raised to 25, with the focus being put on Steps of Madness, then Level 50 and Temple of Three Winds. (…although TOTW at level 50 with today’s gear is probably a whole different ballgame from ~2004 gear, there’s another thing to vote for: what level makes each dungeon challenging)

Make each jump an event to look forward and give the community a clear focus of the “it” thing to do that week. (I think the community can do that itself if given the opportunity to settle in to a rhythm, but tailoring the level caps to make the dungeons challenging will still be key)


#9

Exactly! Very well put. This is what any sane person would anticipate when FC suddenly decides to do a fresh start. The longer it goes on in it’s current state, the more obvious it becomes that it’s a cashgrab. It’s unfortunate because this whole experience could’ve been 10 times more enjoyable.


#10

It just feels like monetizing on nostalgia while minimizing expenses. Just a little more planning, little more preparation and little more effort would have done wonders.

The main turn-off for me was that one-for-all serpentine armor. With just a slightly more effort they could have modernized some of the better-looking old RK armors by adding some stats to them and added those to drop tables in several leveling zones. Same effect for new player retention and armor progression without ■■■■■■■ off many veteran players and adding much more identity for different profs and builds. But no, you had to make “incentive for people to pay on the new server” and kill the variety by doing so.

Utter greed and laziness. And i thought community had a say in things. What happened to those countless “concerns for new server” threads? Ignored, because addressing any of the issues would have taken time and money.


#11

Yep, with emphasis on the minimizing expenses part. It has reached a point where they wont even spend 30 min to sit down with a cup of coffee and discuss how to make it work properly.

I’m afraid this will hurt their reputation furthermore, leaving the game with the same group of people who had the old server living - those with huge wallets, no other options on the market or absolute die-hard fans. And even those numbers have been declining the past few years. They aren’t resuscitating the game but merely causing a temporary influx of subscriptions and shop-incomes.

If anyone in the management genuinely cared, they would take this post seriously and look into their own wrong-doings or at least address the critique and skepticism. Question is, will they though?


#12

I just joined these forums so I couldn’t find the quote function if there is one. So, I copied your post and I’ll be addressing each part. EDIT: I figured out how quoting works, so I fixed it to make it more readable

So first of all, those of you who don’t agree are welcome not to, please do opinionate why you don’t but for the sake of our community and the devs/mods, keep a friendly tone!

Poorly planned, no preparations:

Servers were launched only days after the official announcement was made.
How are devs and management supposed to reach out to the community, old players and making the game lucrative to new players in such short notice? Zero preparations were made - as such, the community wasn’t prepared either and there was certainly not any time to attract newcomers.

Why was there not at the very least an email blast to all current and past subscribers? Come on Funcom, you do this several times a year with events, and you didn’t do it to launch a new server? Get on the ball! You also have these forums, a facebook, a twitter, a twitch. All of these outlets could have been used to hype this server launch for weeks. People would have given you positive reinforcement the entire time, motivating you to do a proper launch!

Thus far, this whole thing has been a catastrophy and here’s why;

Lack of community outreach and updates, HUGE issue

Since the launch of RK9, information to the community has been very limited. There is no obvious plan, there are no official announcements regarding hotfixes, patches, maintenance, etc, except some (in perspective) last minute calls on Discord and a very limited patch note on forums. You simply can’t just refer us to an hour-long Twitch replay and a FAQ-post that’s 1) outdated and 2) never updated.

That twitch stream was absolute garbage. The entire stream focused on Andy exploring a small section of the backyards with absolutely no new information shared. That was not an information session. It seems like someone popped their head into Andy’s office in the morning and said “Hey do an AO stream today. Good luck!”. I try not to fault him, because he probably doesn’t have much experience with AO. Funcom probably has him focusing on their more profitable, more populous, and more frequently updated games. I get that. But at least give the guy some time to prepare, and if you did, then the blame shifts to him. Why didn’t he prepare if he was given the time? And if he wasn’t given the time, why? Funcom, you have got to do a better job with community management. Now, as far as announcements, why, oh WHY are we using discord? The AO discord is not even an official discord managed by funcom! There needs to be updates in game. There needs to be votes in game on level cap changes! There needs to be announcements and polls on the forums. Announcements on twitter! Announcments on facebook! Why am I an active, paying customer of this game and I didn’t know the level cap was changing? That is unacceptable. I wasn’t even ready for the level cap to change. There should have been more community involvement in this decision. Plenty of people are having a ton of fun at this level. There is more community in the game than there has been in years, and you just fast tracked the level cap higher for no reason, without proper community involvement. Good job yet again Funcom.

There should be sticky’s with updates well beforehand but there’s not. All I’ve noticed are some vague announcements on the discord channel - what about those who aren’t on Discord?
I just recently learned that they are increasing the cap to 20. Where are the official announcements?(???) And PLEASE, don’t say “Discord”.

There should 100% be stickies in this forum with the announcements, and polls to ask the community about level caps, expansion releases, etc. Why is there not a forum section called Rubi-Ka 2019?? When I wanted to point someone to the faq, the only way I could even find the post was to go to the facebook and get the link from there. That is insane! We should have a way to properly give feedback using polls ran by Funcom, and posts made by actual users of the server. Discord is not an acceptable place to do any of this! I also learned of the level cap changing through word of mouth. It wasn’t necessary, it wasn’t announced beforehand. When you raise the level cap, we should know then the next level cap change is happening! There shouldn’t be so much mystery with this. This is supposed to be a community driven project, but it just isn’t currently.

  1. First and foremost, the current management doesn’t have a clue about how the game works nor anything about its content. Lots of items and upgrades are capped at level 21 thus making a level 20 cap nearly obsolete, except for the new levels of course.

The twitch stream was abominable. There was no ingame knowledge demonstrated at all. As I said above, this may or not have been Andy’s fault. I’m even willing to forgive this, but there has to be more effort to involve the community and let us make their decisions. We have been playing this game for several times longer than these people have worked at Funcom. Level 20 cap is stupid and doesn’t make any sense. The level cap at 10 is weird, but okay. It gets people familiarized with the game again and encourages teaming to do missions or subway. It even resulted in some raid groups forming to kill abmouth. This was great! And it was completely organized BY THE COMMUNITY. We have been doing this without Funcom’s support for a long time. We have organized our own events in game for a long time. Please don’t shut us out and make all the decisions for us while subsequently claiming this is a “community driven project”. That is a load of crap and you know it.

  1. If this was supposed to be community driven in any form, it has failed miserably. There have been no polls, no votes, no nothing. And on forums, there are nearly zero requests for increasing the cap. Dead silence except for recurring issues with subscriptions and items.
    It’s obviously not as community driven as it’s made out to be. Unless they focus completely on the 50-something regulars on Discord, which is both naive and unfair if that is the case.

Addressed most of this in the previous part.

This leads me to wonder, where is the information regarding the updates? Where are the patch notes?
Are we supposed to guess? Do we have to say the right things and be on Discord in the exact right moment? What’s the deal, really?

Not to be rude, but how it should actually be done:

  1. Ask the community how they are feeling and what their stance is. How would we like you to proceed?
    For example, make polls on Facebook. Do a sticky thread in the community corner and lift the question. Those are just a few obvious ones that I can think of.
  2. Consider the community feedback, exhaust the possible/impossible ideas and proceed to make a plan.
  3. Project the information, make the plan and make a decision. Chose a course of action. Put a date, write a patch note and put it together. Prepare to make a public announcement.
  4. Proceed to make the announcement public. Reach out to your official social media platforms and of course the forums. Make a sticky. Present to the community the result of the feedback, what the next step will be and how you will proceed. How/when the changes will be implemented and whether or not there will be any significant changes apart from what was concluded with the community feedback.

Make the section on the forums, Use polls. Use voting in the game with the ingame browser. Use announcements on Facebook and Twitter. Guys, you have a great thing here. Please do not ruin it by not listening to your community. At this point, you need to involve us. Make this the community driven project you claim it to be. Let us decide when the level cap changes. Let us decide when we are ready to gain a new expansion. Stop worrying about this “12 month” timetable you had. We don’t want 12 months. We want it to be much longer.

As opposed to what it is now, which is something down the line of “herp derp we are taking servers down to fix something oh also we are increasing cap to 20 good luck” on discord, and then hoping that the word will spread and completely rely on those on discord. Like honestly, it shouldn’t take a forum post by a supposed amateur to explain to supposed professionals how this sort of thing should be handled.

Seriously guys. Use your social media channels. Use your launcher. Use your forum. You have so many tools available and you use…Discord? A community ran discord that has a miniscule amount of consistent users compared to your social media and forums?

Yes, I know you are understaffed at the moment. Yes, I know you have limited time and resources. But THAT’S EXACTLY why careful planning and projection is the absolute essence of making something like this work.

Understaffed isn’t a great argument when most of us want to be involved. Let us make the decisions, your release schedule will SLOW down. It will be easier on you. Manage your community interactions and your devs will have less work to do with releases.

Conclusion:

The lack of information leaves this whole thing as a frustrating, stressful experience rather than something new, fun and enjoyable. The management of this operation is subpar, it has become obvious (especially after the alarming stream in relation to the announcement) that management lacks understanding of the game, thus making the experience nowhere as wholesome as it should be for the anticipating crowd.

I disagree a bit here. I find playing on the new server extremely fun and enjoyable and has allowed me to reconnect with a lot of my friends. However, I wish the community involvement and the announcements were much better. The game is still a great game and is still playing great and it’s just the decisions being made that should be improved.

It’s becoming more and more obvious that this is a quick and seemingly very effective cash-grab, and the only thing that could prove me wrong is if there are drastic changes made real soon.
Else me, amongst many others I’m sure, are more likely to cancel our subscriptions than to sink with this ship becuase unfortunately, this is starting to become a hair in the mouth…

I was well aware from the beginning this is most likely a last ditch effort to make some money with AO. And honestly, I’m okay with that. They are providing a service, I am paying for said service. I understand it won’t last forever. I’m happy with the server, but the progression and decisions being made need to be communicated better and need to be more community driven than they currently are. This is a huge contention point to me and a large part of the community.

I tried to be thankful, I tried to enjoy it and most importantly I tried to be patient. But the outright BS and evidence is stacking at such rate now that I simply can’t shut up and I most certainly can’t be patient anymore.

I, personally, am thankful. This has been a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and with a game I loved for a long time. Playing has been an enjoyable experience but there has been some serious thorns in the community’s shoes that must be addressed.

Thanks.

Update: 22 minutes ago there was a patchnote released. That’s more than an hour after servers went down. That’s the first time it was officially announced that the cap has been increased. An entire hour after they brought the servers down. Unacceptable.


#13

Yea, absolutely no marketing what so ever. Everytime there is a holiday event, we are spammed. I thought that there would be a huge launch party-esq event with this but nope. Nothing. They could’ve doubled down on the profit but they rushed things instead.

I don’t fault him at all for trying to do his job, like you said it’s obvious the higher-ups dumped him on this. All though, you don’t need to understand the game to plan something and market it. I mean, it comes down to general marketing, projecting and planning really. It’s as if a) he didn’t bother to do his job or b) he’s not allowed to do it any better, which would be weird considering how little it takes to send out a mass invitation and all other basic things they do every time there’s an event to hype.

On the other hand, if he sought to take up on this project, then we have a huge issue. All of those things are speculations though and the bottom line is this is all quite messy atm.

It kind of is at this point actually. AFAIK FC officials have mod rights, and they have a link in the launcher. However, it is still very far from the entire community. Thing is, I think only a fraction of all the players is on Discord. Also, who turns to Discord, a live chat client, as their primary source of information when there is a nice and neat forum that recently went through a complete overhaul? The forums are, and should ALWAYS be the primary source of information. No matter what. And currently, nothing is.

Right on the money.

That is personally biased and probably varies from person to person. I think there are two types of players, as I’ve noticed. Those who are obstructed by the stress and confusion due to the lack of information, and those who simply live in the moment. I guess I’m the former and you’re the latter and I envy you for that.

You also state further down in your reply that this is temporary and you’re enjoying it. So am I. For now. The problem is, people will, enjoying it now or not, grow bored either way when there’s no fluidity in updates and community engagement. When you’re always cold-showered with updates you simply didn’t except, and they come randomly, you will probably get tired of it. If not, good for you but these are my two coins.


#14

I’ll just pop in and say; as an old returning player that does follow the discord. I completly agree with the arguments about the need to actually involve the community in the decisions about progress. I don’t agree with all the stuff above, but that I agree with.

I hope this is just a first week thing and that is was part of the rough plan to have a 30+ cap early on but you started it at 10 to try stuff.
But you need people, old and new, involved. I witnessed all of the ‘raise the cap’, ‘is the cap raised yet?’, ‘people will leave if at 10’ on discord yesterday. And I sincerly hope that it is not base for how decisions about progression will be made.


#15

It’s safe to say that the consensus here is that there is a lack of communiaction with the community. The community is completely neglected.


#16

I don’t really have much to add to this conversation aside from saying I agree with most of it. Just want to bump to get in front of FC.


#17

I only found out about RK19 due to simply wondering what AO would be like these days. Is it done on purpose this doesn’t get a lot of traction till you guys feel more certain about what you actually want?

There’s nothing on it on the main site and not one gaming site has picked it up while sites like PCgamer and massivelyop often speak about nostalgia in games.

Yes the sub price is higher compared to other games but that shouldn’t be too much of a deterrent for some.


#18

Massively have had 2 articles about it. One when the server was revealed and one when it started. Some other sites had at least an article about it when it was revealed.


#19

Looked it up and seems they did a short piece on the 6th, so i stand corrected however it does seem to be flying under the radar, if that is a result of waned interest in general i don’t know.


#20

All they want is our money… Ty funcom you killt the game again


#21

'cause its funcom.


closed #22

This thread has some valid points but recent posts have not been constructive.