Well here we are, the final entry in the Improvement Series. There’s a million more topics I could cover. Faction Assault, Leagues, the need to revamp the events system so players don’t feel like they can’t take a break without fear of never being able to catch up again…there’s a lot of ground to cover, but it’ll have to be covered by someone else.
I wanted to take the time to cover what is possibly the most important topic outside of core gameplay improvments; how Scopely communicates.
Many of us are aware by now of what has been deemed anniversarygate; a series of offers totaling $36 that gave 1200 tokens (or 12 pulls) on the year 3 anniversary wheel containing exclusively 6★s and their ascendable versions. The formal response to this situation could be described charitably as rocky at best, with the community feeling that it did not live up to the standards of transparency they expect. The response did not explain the situation in-depth, and the compensation offered caused many to balk at how poorly it was considered.
We’ll use this situation as a template to explain Scopely’s common breakdowns in communication and how they should be better handled. First off is the initial response.
A brief, initial response should have followed within a few hours of the initial situation breaking, not a day later. JB has been a wonderful CM to the community, but when the situation broke he was on vacation, and it’s unreasonable to expect one single individual to be around 24/7 to react rapidly to every situation that pops up. There should be multiple Scopely CMs whose establish work hours are capable of covering a 24/7 period. I think most would agree that JB to us will always be our primary CM, the work he’s done has been exceptional, but we need enough CMs to maintain 24-hour coverage every day of the week. This is a live game with a 24/7 live event schedule, it’s not acceptable to have dead zones on the sheer scale and magnitude Scopely does.
Assuming that the coverage issue is given a proper solution, when situations like anniversarygate arise, it should be a matter of hours, not days, for the first reaction to surface. Obviously the first step is to immediately take down the offer as soon as players begin reporting it en masse, then give a brief statement less than an hour or two afterwards just summing up the issue and acknowledging that it is being investigated. This should come within hours of the issue being reported, not days later.
The formal response can take more time to be put out, assuming that an initial statement is given within a few hours of the issue coming to light. These responses need to be meaty, and must contain the following:
- In-depth breakdown of the issue, with more than just a brief acknowledgement of the known facts. Include actual data for the geeks. When you say “very small number of players” how many is that exactly? There needs to be quantifiable numbers.
- Detailed list of steps to fix and compensate for the issue.
- Timeline for said fixes and compensation.
The official response to anniversarygate was 182 words, contained no in-depth breakdown and was in fact so vague players were effectively left to their own devices. In addition, the compensation caused the community to balk to such a degree that not even the most ardent of Scopely supports could claim it was acceptable. Which leads us into our next issue…
There are times when Scopely’s actions are not appropriate or not enough to handle the magnitude of an issue. Up to now, Scopely has adhered to a strict belief that their first word is the final word, and that no changes may be made to a situation after that, no matter how dire the situation may be. Scopely needs to abandon the idea that compensation is the opposite of profit, and embrace a more player-first approach. When the community is so universally united in their opinions, it is a sign that Scopely is in the wrong, and they need to recognize this and course correct when necessary.
In cases of such magnitude as anniversarygate, after the situation has reached its conclusion, including compensation and potential course correction, a formal letter from the game’s management may be necessary to sum up the issue, formally apologize to the players, and outline what steps are being taken to prevent the issue in the future. Not just a vague promise of “reviewing policies” of course, but actual, concrete and thoroughly considered and outlined steps displaying exactly what policies are being enacted, with timelines.
In the case of anniversarygate, only the Official Response section was observed by Scopely. There was no initial response, course correction, or formal letter, which should all be required given the magnitude of the situation and the overwhelming response to it.
These changes to communication policy would be a good first step for Scopely to begin repairing their relationship with the community. Players have a lack of faith in Scopely because of how previous situations were handled. “Shit happens” is not an appropriate response to a major issue and it undermines the players’ faith in Scopely to do the right thing. Here’s hoping some progress can be made.
This was a long series with a lot of thought and hope put into it. It was genuinely fun envisioning a better, brighter future for the game and I hope everyone reading this will continue to do the same. Push hard for the change you want to see, you never know how it might end up.
Table of Contents
Improvement Series Part I [Non-Unique Rewards]
Improvement Series Part II [Token Wheels]
Improvement Series Part III [Apprentice Mod(e) - Making 5★s Useful Again]
Improvement Series Part IV [Supply Depots]
Improvement Series Part V [War Crates]
Improvement Series Part VI [War Queue Management]
Improvement Series Part VII [War Towers]
Improvement Series Part VIII [War Matchmaking]
Improvement Series Part IX [Ascendance Revamp]
Improvement Series Part X [Skill Trainer Revamp]
Improvement Series Part XI [Final Words]