No TLDR here... hard to summarize...
I kind of wanted to blurt out a cranky response to this post, but I DO understand it comes from a vaguely good place that cares about the game, so it deserves a proper answer. I DO want to give you all an honest answer from a dev's point of view too. And it really comes down to two things:
1. Exactly what @Saltypatra said... TIME! - much as I (and Nimhain) would love to continue work in the community, Gems of War has been growing so much in 2017, the team here has been growing too, and it's my job to try and keep that all in line from a dev & direction & team pov. And Nimhain's job to keep it all in line from a design & live-operations pov. At this stage of growth, it's a massive undertaking... and leaves us no time to drop by here... but that's where @Saltypatra comes in - she's here to make sure we communicate with you guys. She reports to us constantly, and we make sure she's passing information back down the pipeline to you!
Do we wish we could return to the old days where we personally would always have a little time to chat? Sure! But things need to get done, and it takes so. much. darned. time!
2. There is a darker side to this answer. Both Nimhain and myself stepped back from the forums when we realised that it was impacting our work, not only due to time, but due to the amount of abuse & harrassment we would encounter on a daily basis. In all honesty, you get accustomed to a certain amount mud being thrown your way in a public-facing role... as far as I'm concerned, @Saltypatra is a saint for taking some of this stuff in her stride and keeping on moving.... I'm not kidding when I say that a week wouldn't very often go by when someone doesn't threaten me, and it's not good, but you put up with it.
HOWEVER, during the Guild Wars preview, I received over 15 Death Threats in 3 weeks, I had my personal information published online, I had some pretty bad experiences on linked-in and social media, and discourse, and even my email... and some of the descriptions of what would be done to me and exactly WHEN they would be done, and where, were disturbing. I'm not easily disturbed, but a part of my mind started wondering "what if there is a crazy person out there?"
At this point, I realised that, yes, this level of abuse WAS affecting my work. I can't have that happen really... I've got a lot of stuff to get done... so it was time to take a step back.
Now I KNOW most of you here are good folk, who are probably a little horrified about what I just shared, but as always, I wanted to be totally honest with you. All I can say is that, I AM actually really sorry I can't hang out more... the mostly fine folk are not the problem and I really enjoyed discussing things with you! But... EVEN IF I had time, the emotional toll of trying to discuss things as a game dev in a game forum, while being subject to all kinds of abuse, just affects the quailty of your work. That's a sad reality of the internet... we make an awesome thing for sharing thoughts and ideas, and a small number of crazy people can wreck it for us.
The solution? Well, I'm not going anywhere... neither is the rest of the team. We're all still fixing bugs, adding features, improving stuff, occasionally breaking a few things too (it's the nature of the business after all - we're all far from perfect).
And finally, @Clark, I just wanted to address your points one-by-one...
6 months ago this post would never have even been considered as the Devs were very active and communicated well both in game and in forums.
@Saltypatra is here helping folks out and writing dozens of posts every day! We're pretty active!
Now, they are gone, obviously don't care
I don't think anyone seriously believes we don't care... I know you're saying that for effect. But honestly, if you saw the amount of effort & progress being made here in the studio, you wouldn't ever question how much the team cares!
don't fix bugs
Aww c'mon! We fixed DOZENS last week!
Although I grant you we're pretty good at adding new ones some days.
In all seriousness though, bugs get added to our tracker and ranked on severity... just because a bug somebody sees doesn't get fixed, doesn't mean we're not fixing OTHER bugs. Be aware though, that some need client updates, and others are waiting on the codebase being all over into Unity
don't ban cheaters
I banned over a dozen this weekend myself!
We DO ban them... but we don't really comment on that. We also like to see some real solid proof of cheating before we do it.
don't update on progress of bug fixes
We have a known issues thread for that, as it can be a lot of work to track every single thread - many of which are repeats of others - but we also try to jump in and help when appropriate... it's probably something we could be better at, so we'll certainly take that feedback from you!
Anyway - just realised how much I've written... so pressing REPLY!