On behalf of myself, & possibly the Guild Wars 2 community: Hi! nice to meet you. I know you only took over as proxy studio head approximately 458 days ago, right around the time of the massive layoffs, so you might not be familiar with this. But the Guild Wars 2, community as a whole, really appreciates communication. Especially in times of content droughts, such as right now.
With a lot of your community getting ready to jump ship for WoW next season, or when / if amazon & Riot release their MMO's, what's going to make people stick around long-term isn't whatever's in End of Dragons, it's not Dragon Response Missions, and it's certainly not flashy gem store items that you dripfeed us to keep your game afloat. It's going to be how we remember that you treated us during times like this. And gotta be honest here, not impressed.
The "new direction" of "balance" nerf updates coming out every 6 months, (especially after Cal Cohen hyped that we'd be getting them faster than every 3 weeks: aweful.
The media promotion of the game, especially when you could be doing SO MUCH to attract people to your genuinely good MMO because of covid: non existent.
The Nazi policing of your forums to remove anything that dares disagree or suggest that pretty much all of Icebrrod Saga's content hasn't been fun, or even suggest alternatives: kinda scary.
The lack of communication surrounding the updates, the company and the direction of the game: frankly disgusting.
I know that ANet's quarterly earnings for NC Soft, largely due to the Vermillion Wings are pretty good. And many may disagree, but I honestly don't have any problem with flashy gem store cosmetics that clearly aren't stopping any time soon.
However, honestly, your community really isn't doing great. Your company Twitter hasn't been update in 2 months. Aside from gemstone updates and "News" posts plugging things members of the community not ANet employees are doing, and notifications of community art shows, WHICH AGAIN YOU DON'T DO, we haven't had an actual update on the official site since the first part of champions came out. Idk if you have a Community Content Manager or a PR Director or what, but maybe consider hiring a new one if so, eh? Maybe even someone who plays the game and doesn't only leak minor balance updates to private PvP discords that the community, at large, can't see. That also might be good.
Because I'm not one to criticize without suggesting solutions herse some easy things:
#1 TALK TO US: For the love of God, most people don't even know that the last "Mike" directing your game left & was presumably replaced by you. I'm just going off of what I can glean from glassdoor sites. But please WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON WITH YOUR COMPANY!?
#2 Regular Updates: About more than just community projects. Don't get me wrong highlighting community efforts is FANTASTIC, but it would be even more fantastic of you ALSO DID THAT OUTSIDE OF CONTENT DROUGHTS.
#3 Start Talking about EoD: The elite specialization leaks for PoF were, hands-down, some of the best free marketing that Guild Wars 2 ever had. Hell one screenshot of a specialization weapon, or a Screen-grab from one of the new locations would entertain your community for MONTHS.
#4 Go back to streaming on Twitch. Idk if you locked Cal & his WvW buddies in a balance dungeon where they're not allowed to do anything but balance EoD & nerf everything that isn't a Guardian, but ffs please let them go back to streaming. It was small, but regular content that not only actually have the community a way of actually talking to devs BECAUSE THEY PAID ATTENTION TO THEIR CHAT AND GAVE A SH*T ABOUT US, but it also showed that, if it was even only for 2 hours / week SOMEONE AT ARENANET FUCKING PLAYS GUILD WARS 2.
I have no earthly idea how so many people at your company claim to be "passionate about Guild Wars" and never seem to play it. There are so many egregious examples of this from the awful stream of sunqua peak to the many many errors & typos in the 2nd to last real balance patch that we got over a year ago now. I can't remember the last time I saw a Dev on US servers who wasn't "Darkbringer." & Unless that's 1 account all of the devs share that's super sad.
You may not know this because I doubt you've ever played it, and most likely don't care, but GUILD WARS 2 IS A GOOD GAME. A fantastic game that's coded in mud using an engine from the stone age. But it makes it work. Your community management is pretty sh"t tho tbh. Especially lately. There are tons of other studios doing weekly streams, updates, blog posts, and genuinely not treating their community like trash. Some for games they have been around for some time and many more for games that aren't even partially or fully released yet. And if you don't do something soon you're not going to have any community left to manage.
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More about Guild Wars 2Post: "A Letter To Sam Kirk (ANet’s Current Creative Director) + ANet In General" specifically for the game Guild Wars 2. Other useful information about this game:
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