So here we are. 2012 seems a long time ago, doesn't it? I found out about it while playing Diablo 3 with Gftd1. He mentioned PoE in chat. I logged off and checked it out. I backed it pretty soon afterwards.
So, now we're on launch day here's my two pence FWIW. They say no feedback is bad feedback. Which is, of course, utter bollocks.
I've watched the first two parts of your video about developing PoE. Even a horrible old bastard like me was moved by your passion. OK, I was only moved a little bit, but for me that's progress. Anyhow, it was great being even a tiny part of the juggernaut that you unleashed by launching your Kickstarter. I don't regret a penny.
You've put two fingers up to the naysayers, gate-keepers and legacy publishers and won. Man, that must feel good. It's a buzz seeing the game at the top of the Steam listings. I've been posting here since the first week of Obsidian and at BIS forums before that. Watching the journey has been genuinely brilliant fun. I speak for many when I say this success is richly deserved. The idea that your studio might fold was horrible. Thank your deities of choice it hasn't.
So that's enough smoke blown up your arses. You did good. Here's what I think you didn't do so well, take it or leave it.
1. Legacy Stockholm Syndrome - I see this with legacy authors. You shake off the shackles of publishers and stumble, blinking, into the light. Hell, you're free to do what you like. But... the pull of The Old Ways is strong. So you end up with indie freedom but legacy attitudes when it comes to new ways of involving backers and taking risks. For example the launch of the game and decisions around Paradox's preview strategy (some of the streamers, guys, shouldn't have been trusted with Kandy Krush, let alone Pillars). Although I'm personally [fairly] relaxed about the release myself, I dig why some backers are asking why they were treated the same as Joe Soap who just wandered onto Steam. The answer lies in communication. You guys must be so freaking busy, I see where the cracks in the pavement must open up. But it has to be a lesson learnt. There should be no surprises around crap like this.
2. Community Management - You finally did it, and the guy is clearly up to the job. But it was too late. That position should have been filled on Day One. We can only speculate as to the hype, synergies and opportunities that might have come out of it. For long periods of development it seemed like you thought the video updates could make up for a lack of forum presence. I think this was a mistake. Forum-goers are a contrary pain in the arse, this much is true, but somewhere in that muck there might be gold. Your forum-goers are also your missionaries, prepared to travel into dark, unexplored regions of the gaming omniverse to spread light where there was previously only FPS shooters. The more engagement, the further they roam. A CM would have filled that gap and allowed devs to dev. Edit - Bioware is awesome at this. Say what you like about their games (and I do), you can't even begin to knock how their CMs mobilize the Bio-horde.
3. Set out your stall - What is a backer? (ha ha 'What is the nature of a Backer?') A customer? An investor? Some schmuck who put down a chunk of cash for a risky pre-order? I've felt like all three during the KS. This was inevitable given it's your first go at crowd-funding, but in the future maybe you need to lay down some ideas and boundaries beyond legal rubric. Some folks thought of themselves as benevolent pre-orderers and some felt they were clearly share-holders in Obz (ha ha ha). Many felt somewhere in-between. I think you need an honest statement of expectation, a compact with your backers. A guarantee. It should be completely realistic but it should also include some carrots as well as sticks.
These aren't massive gripes - the success of the enterprise speaks for itself. I'm still unhappy about some of the decisions around the game mechanics, but I'm big enough and ugly enough to suck that up and play the hell out of this game. But, as a backer and fan, if you want to finesse and build on what you've already achieved, I humbly submit my opinion for your consideration.
Edited by Monte Carlo, 26 March 2015 - 01:31 AM.