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As Requested by a Dev: A Thread about Devs' Actions/Inactions

Just another TGIF that meets the QA and professionalism standards documented throughout these forums: a key element for new players to et their expectation.
:blush: :vulcan_salute:
#GoWprogrammingskills

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It is no longer news that the toxicity levels in the forums have been noticeably lower since the last quarter of 2020, for reasons that are documented therein and quickly observable by those who have been keeping an eye on patterns.

A ‘silence’ instead of ‘belligerence’ company approach has been arguably an improvement for all parties involved.

There are, however, signs of further possible improvement, as illustrated by a recent comment by a Mod:

Here we are able to observe a seemingly honest response, in a professional tone, that answers the actual issue being raised, and provides information on where the customers’ expectations should realistically lie:

  • no patronizing/dismissing
  • no dodging the actual question while seemingly answering a tangential one
  • no spinning the reality to make it seem that this is as intended because it’s good for the customers
  • no ‘our hands are tied’-style excuse to justify the product’s shortcomings
  • not ignoring the topic altogether

While we can of course argue that there are always going to be ‘more vital’ priorities, and thus this sort of non-critical issue would never be addressed in such a status quo, it is hard to argue against the value of this type of communication style, especially if it can be done consistently on topics that matter to the playerbase (i.e. warbands, deeds, event medals…), and duly documented in the Official Forum (as opposed to some non-searchable echo-chamber stream).

Noteworthy, and therefore noted.
:blush: :vulcan_salute:

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Good to see a deserved positive comment in this thread! Hoping for further improvement from both the team and us players down the line!

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When seeing things like the chat issue we faced yesterday, we can’t help but wonder: broken GW Scores, Weapon Affixes, Medals/Explore interfaces, Game Crashes, Text Inconsistencies, Ridiculous Localization… how are customers supposed to harmonize the claim that this company’s finances are doing outstandingly well, with their apparent inability (unwillingness?) to improve their product/service (e.g. ‘server programmers’ et al available 24/7 for all matters arising, not only those that may affect customers’ ability to spend on the product)?

The “all the massive gains are taken by the suits” suggestion seems a bit credulous, since suits pretty much anywhere know we should keep feeding such a (alleged) Golden Goose.

What then explains this company’s product/service quality?
:thinking: :blush: :vulcan_salute:

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I’m struggling to justify the game’s profits with the lack of hiring.

The chat issue seems to ultimately be a license issue as posted in global chat by a dev. Where are the sysadmins? Does the company have any? Sometimes companies like to be cheap and outsource them (everything is fine now, why pay them?), ignoring that they’re amazing at preventing disasters like this and also fixing them ASAP when they do happen. Some other companies like to instead give sysadmin roles to devs, and when it’s not their specialty, problems can come up. So, I have to think the company doesn’t have in house, full time, dedicated sysadmins.

There’s the QA issues. Is there a QA team? If so, is it in house or outsourced? The difference in quality between the two is massive. If the QA team is in house, is it a dedicated QA team, or is it just devs or other non-QA doing QA on the side?

Why are support tickets taking more than a month? I won’t comment on whether this should be a dedicated team or not, because I don’t have any professional experience with this and don’t know how it’s commonly or successfully done. But the turnaround time is way slower than other games I play that make less money (the longest I’ve seen is one week).

These issues are easily overlooked in new indie game companies. They’re small, have made no or very little profits, and everyone working there wears many hats. Yep, totally get that. But, this game has made 22 million in revenue since launch, and 5.6 million last year. I admit, that’s not profit though. I tried to find the game’s profit and couldn’t, but if someone knows it I’m definitely curious.

I will admit I’m not too upset about the lack of 24/7 support. I’m a big supporter of companies not forcing evening/weekend work. Sure, people could be hired specifically for off hours, but that is way expensive. Personally I’d like to see sys admin and QA issue addressed before getting after hours support.

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Is it though, when we factor in the possibility of hiring in different timezones/countries and the resulting positive effect that would surely be reflected in app store ratings and recommendations?

:thinking: :relaxed: :vulcan_salute:

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Do they hire internationally? I thought it was Australia only, ignoring any possible outsourcing they may or may not do. Assuming they only hire in Australia, it can be a pain and horribly expensive to start hiring internationally unless they plan to do so on a large scale. I don’t think this is a big enough company (20ish people I think? I could be way off, thought I heard 20). Working with devs or QAs in different timezones when on a small team is painful. I’ve done it before, and won’t again unless it’s only a couple hours off at most. I’ve met good devs quit because of that type of setup so it can backfire.

Handling support tickets is likely easier than dev/qa to push to different timezones, but then you lose the benefit of getting broken features (like chat right now) worked on 24/7.

**Disclaimer: Just in case I need to say this out loud, regarding this and my previous comment, my conspiracy hat is on. I do not know the inner workings of this company. I am making assumptions based off my own experience. I like to converse and enjoy word vomit. Do not take what I say as truth.

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Didn’t they say their publisher is taking care of QA for them (:wink:)?

Anyway, their publisher’s (Digital Bros / 505) QA expenses for last fiscal year:

And last quarter:

In other words: QA expenses are down from 47’000 EUR per quarter in 2019 to 7’000 EUR per quarter now.

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If they don’t, whereas doing so would solve multiple issues, surely that’s on them?

They have recently been assimilated by their international 505 umbrella, so the infrastructure is there if there was a Will to improve…

…which historically hasn’t been there unless there’s short-term profit (or risk to existing profits).
:sweat_smile: :vulcan_salute:

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Salty McEnany will tell us IP2 is In Australia, the bottom of the world, so lower numbers actually mean higher support. (She would have some usual suspects believing her too)

Yes, I know 505 is in Europe. It was a joke, but not something I wouldn’t expect from them.

I just want to debunk one conspiracy theory, and say that our programmers were working on this issue in the morning of our work day, so they weren’t working outside of their usual hours.

I cannot comment on much else, which I’m sure isn’t a surprise. It is sensitive internal information which is why I haven’t commented on it before, and won’t do so in the future. (Just so you know I’ve read the comments here, but won’t be discussing the finer points with you all.)

What I can say is that I have been in talks with our higher ups about job roles and repsonsibilities, and mentioned that in the future we would benefit greatly from more staff on the community and support side. I don’t know if and when this would happen, but I have had discussions regarding the possibility.

I can also say that I doubt we will ever have 24/7 support, as our company size cannot justify it. Very few companies have it, and those that do are significantly bigger than IP2.

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On another thread you made it clear that development of Puzzle Quest 3 hasn’t taken any man (or women) hours away from Gems of War. But certainly it will eventually in regards to support. Unless there’s going to be completely different support agents helping with eventual issues in regards to PQ3. With the game set for release this calendar year. And y’all now in month 3 of Gems of War support being very much behind the usual 1-2 week delay in tickets response time. Wouldn’t the solution be to expand the support staff now prior to PQ3 release? Clearly they will be busy for the next 6-9 months until they are definitely needed. Not saying PQ3 will launch for sure with issues. But if I was to bet on 2 things, I’d say the Sun will rise tomorrow and PQ3 will need more support agents than you presently have. I imagine this isn’t news to any of you. Still hearing that you’re trying to remedy the issue with support response time would be an improvement upon “we’re trying to help as much as we can, please be patient.”

I can’t speak for other players. But I know I personally spent tremendously more on Gems of War when I actually felt supported. And not because 10k exclamation marks were trying to draw my attention towards offers in the game.

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Thanks to the valiant efforts of the Gems of War hero who restored the Dawnstone and resurrected Quetzalma the Dawn Phoenix.

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Thanks for the response @Saltypatra!

This is actually awesome. I hope your company stays like this! Forced to work overtime is too common so it’s nice to see a place respecting a work life balance, even if customers don’t appreciate it.

Hope my comment didn’t come across as a demand to know. Speculating is fun though, even though it may frustrate you, sorry! Sorta. :stuck_out_tongue:

Keeping my fingers crossed. This would definitely help.

Yeah, 24/7 support is horribly expensive to have.

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Oh hey you found this thanks!

If 505 is doing the QA, that may as well be outsourcing.

Looking at the 115K figure for QA, and assuming QA is fulltime, 505 has only 1 to 3 QAs. That is shockingly low. I am used to having 1 QA per team, or 1 QA shared among two small teams. I am guessing 505 lends their QA for many games beyond Gems of War.

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Welcome to being owned by a huge corporation. The motto tends to be “scrape by with as few resources as possible, in order to maximize profit”.

As long as people keep gobbling up $10 elite (lol) pa$$es they have zero incentive to change this. Yes, it LOOKS terrible on the outside…but players just keep right on rewarding bad service by spending money on it.

This “golden goose” keeps feeding itself as long as the farmer makes the feed attractive enough (i.e. elite (lol) pa$$es).

Also, yes, the profits largely go into the executives/shareholders’ pockets. That’s how many corporations work. It never ceases to amaze me how many people think that buying more stuff/buying stuff more often will suddenly make a company cater to them (unless they’re a crazy high spender, anyway). A company’s bottom line going up tells the people in charge that they’re doing the right thing, not that they should go back and recalibrate anything. They likely saw a huge cash spike from the first elite (lol) pa$$ because a lot of players saw “a deal too good to pass up”…so the 2nd and 3rd ones included the same type of stuff.

That influx of income funded a ton of QOL fixes, right?

Nope.

A couple campaigns later we get…shrines. With a “!” that won’t freaking go away. That you can buy unlimited times for a chance at Power Orbs. Which somehow only became a possible Greater Chaos Orb reward once they could be gambled for with real money.

Giving a corporation money makes them want more money. News at 11.

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You don’t need additional QA staff to find typos, grammatical errors or inconsistencies in troop descriptions. If you can’t be bothered to correct these despite it taking less than 5 seconds for your brain to scan, recognise and correct them before releasing a new troop, then that just screams ‘I hate this job and I will do slightly less than is expected of me just to let all of you know’ to me.


Actually, scrap that.

You don’t need an expensive QA team fixing bugs if you refuse to acknowledge any and all bugs to begin with

taps forehead

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This is one of the reasons I question outsourcing. I’ve had issues where outsourced devs/QAs will miss an absurd number of typos or have grammatical errors galore because they’re not fluent in english. I dealt with an outsourced doc team too and omg. :woman_facepalming:

I have a rule for my team: If QA finds one obvious error, they should stop all testing and just pass it back. If it happens often, I have a talk with the dev. Because I agree with you, QA is not for obvious stuff (though I do think inconsistencies in troop descriptions might be their realm). But, that rule can definitely cause delays due to the potential constant back and forth, and sometimes due to higher ups and/or non negotiable deadlines, I just have to let the problems slide. insert internal screaming emoji

It’s one of the reasons that for as much as I critique how things are done for this game, I don’t blame @Saltypatra for any of it. She’s a trooper for dealing with this forum despite how negative we all are. I’ve never seen such a negative forum for a game.

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Lets use detect o bot as an example. One actual in game test would have shown their QA something was wrong. They could hire every QA person in the gaming industry and still wouldn’t find it using their current system.

IP2 QA is the best job in the world, you literally fail every single time, get to sit at home watching TV and still get paid.