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Milk, Bones, & Muscles - A Sincere Letter to the Devs

Dear devs,

I write this in genuine hope that you will see this and at least consider the points given here. My goal is not to bash you or make fun of you.

Imagine for a moment that this game is a cow (just go with it). You, as the farmer, want this cow to produce lots of milk so that you can afford to feed your family and make a profit. Like any farm animal, it’s important to keep the cow healthy so that it can produce sufficient resources for you. It is absolutely vital to keep the bones and muscles of the cow strong and healthy - otherwise its milk will go bad and eventually may run out.

Now let’s take this weird metaphor and apply it. You, naturally and rightfully, want this game (cow) to produce money (milk). However, as of late, many of us (and not just on this forum) feel that the majority of updates are based around milking the cow rather than caring for it and making it stronger. It’s as if every update brings a better machine in to milk the cow more and more, while the bones and muscles (gameplay/features) are being ignored. Many players feel as though the cow of this game is getting weaker and less healthy because the primary focus of the past many updates has been milking, or monetization. This, in part, may contribute to the overall negativity of these forums, of which I do not want to be a part of, but must concede that it is at least partly valid for a variety of reasons, which leads me to my next point.

Allow me to create a scenario borrowed from relational psychology. There exists a concept known as Gottman’s Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. These four “horsemen” are major disruptions in a relationship which may signal an oncoming end to the relationship. The horsemen consist of criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

How does this concept relate to GoW? In my opinion, and the opinion of many others, as seen in this major thread, stonewalling, or refusing to communicate/cooperate, has been an issue for a long time in this community. This post by @Saltypatra was made regarding stopping most dev communication outside what is necessary and this exemplifies the stonewalling issue. I believe the stonewalling on these forums has happened due partly to defensiveness, another horseman.

That’s not to say the devs are entirely to blame, however. If we are considering the dev-player interactions as a relationship, we cannot put all blame on one party. There have been extreme amounts of criticism and contempt from this community which go far beyond normal feedback or discontent, such as death threats and individual attacks. I believe this is also a large contributor to the stonewalling and defensiveness of the devs, and I believe this was confirmed by Salty (although I may be wrong on that).

TL;DR: The game is continually being milked without being fed. Sooner or later, as evidenced by the warning signs of stonewalling, defensiveness, criticism, and contempt, this game could break apart if something is not changed. I love this game and I implore the devs to reconsider their communication and direction for this game. I also ask the community to be gracious and kind; feel free to disagree with a dev or an action, but please don’t make this video game so personal and feel the need to lash out.

I truly believe GoW can get back on the right track, and I hope this is a decent summary of what many members of the community have been feeling lately.


I thought this was a great quote from @ButtStallion relating to this topic (emphasis added):

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I largely agree with this. When I was playing Monster Hunter World, for example, Capcom didn’t go into detail about every little thing they were doing, but they regularly provided a roadmap of the direction they were taking the game and when major updates would be released. It was always a general date (i.e. Rajang releases in June or whatever) and more specifics would be released as things got closer, but the fact that there was that level of communication with players made it easier to stay engaged with the game and the community. You knew where the game was headed, and what to look forward to, and what to expect. I’d love to see a similar roadmap with Gems of War.

As for the milking…yeah, I can’t help but agree. Quality of life updates have been few and far between. The weekly lore events feel too same-y, and the points rewarded random and arbitrary. You still can’t save medals to a particular team. Pet battles have become incredibly rare even as the pet population has boomed. There’s a lot of little things that make the game more of a hassle than it needs to be. Addressing those things, or at least explaining why it’s not feasible for either balance or programming reasons, would be nice.

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I think it’s not unfathomable that GoW might just be on life-support after 7-8 years of being in development. If that’s the case then the likelihood of getting a roadmap or developer interaction of any kind, other than what we’re getting now, is rather low. What’s there for them to say? “We’re going to slap a random medal-for-real-money offer at the end of an explore run”? “We promise to fix bugs preventing you from spending money on the game”? “We’ll shuffle the World Event scoring mechanism every Monday and call it a day”? The feedback would be predictably bad.

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I am here to agree with @NerdieBirdie and @Relle

It is real shame that the communication from the development side has been cut to minumum. I know that the athmosphere on the forums can be really acrimonious and harsh at time. Heck, Ive been known to carry torch and pitchfork around just in case. But what can i say? I really like the game and spend lot of time playing it and talking about it. And when i feel like it is taking turn for the worst, i can voice my opionion not so civilly at times. Or when i feel like im being lied to by the community manager.

But is the stonewalling the right call? No, absolutely not. Keep to communication open, use honesty and truth. It is ok to say if you dont know something and it is ok to say if you cant talk about something.

And sometimes it is ok not say anything at all. Ive seen so many threads where Salty gets triggered into commenting something meaningless (and being salty) and players get more fuel to their flames. For no reason at all. There is a saying: Never wrestle with the pig, youll both get dirty and the pig just likes it. ANd oh boy, can we be pigs sometimes! Ban people who cant behave. Ban people for personal attacks. Maybe get more community mods to keep things civil.

And the milking side of things? There is lot to be said, but unfortenately my shipment of pitchforks and tinders has been delayed due Christmas season.

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I understand the stonewalling comment, but I have to disagree.

I do post on these forums regularly. (Not last week, as I was on a much needed holiday, but I am on these forums 5-6 days a week.) These days our forums are primarily used for feedback and bug reports, and we have moved away from providing roadmaps after a lot of sustained abuse. I do not believe that this is an unreasonable reaponse to our treatment, and it was done for the safety of our support staff and developers. I have spoken many times in the past about us being open to feedback, and we do action feedback when and where it is appropriate and won’t harm the health of the time. (And, time permitting.) However, any feedback that is abusive in tone will not be taken into consideration.

I do talk about rough roadmap content in streams, as I find it a safer environment to do so. It is completely up to you if this is a social media you are interested in following or engaging with.

I will continue to field bug reports, collate feedback, and interact with the community as I am doing now. You say that it’s fine to say if I don’t know something, or say I can’t talk about something, but every time I take this approach (as I have been asked too) I will be personally attacked and ridiculed. I reply when I can, I gather information for you when I can, and I release that information when it is appropriate to do so.

I will keep working in this capacity moving forward.

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A look into the past would reveal that most grace and kindness ran out because, as you put, it became obvious the cow was being milked while not being cared for.

It came to a point where the decisions made can’t be even defended in my opinon. The second campaign is ending, personally I didn’t took part on it just to see how things would progress. I’m missing the Book of Deeds from the free track and HONESTLY I’m not much worse than any other player that have these books.

An entire update about increasing the level cap of kingdom’s upgrades and nearly three months later people can’t do any relevant progress…

Meanwhile all the other things players asked, begged and argued as being important to the vast majority of us were simply disregarded.

I know a guy who would like to take a look at this cow:

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I just want to put up a small comment about this part: Time Zones exist. And not everyone has same work/free hours. Not everyone is able to join or watch streams, and therefore can’t engage with them.
Which is why having such stuff on the forum is easier for all to engage with.

I do agree though that there are some people who are a bit too… aggressive or toxic in their feedback (complaints). A bit of respect & dignity goes a long way.

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Apparently ‘Month on Month’ gross income up over 34.2% September 2020 over September 2019. There’s the effect of the pass system. That’s on top of near €4 million gross income last year.

:cow::cow: :steam_locomotive: :dollar:

I’m outta milk!

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@dank-o our stream is partnered, so people can also watch after the fact if they want too. I know it’s not the same and I apologise, but I hope it tides some people over.

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Thanks for your feedback on the subject @Saltypatra. However there is one thing that bothers me and is continuously brought up but always walked around and the vast majority of players agree it is long over due but the developers seem to not see it as a priority.

This is the ‘milk’ that the op is talking about. That is troop balancing it has been far far too long. There are so many troops that have so much potential but we just keep getting more and more troops while some of our old favorites are just not as strong or useful as they once we’re.

I guess I just don’t understand why it isn’t a priority. Things like this go a long way with the player base and promote a healthy community.

Just my two cents.

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Very much appreciate the response on this, even if it’s not what I wanted to hear.

I do understand - as much as I can without being in your shoes - why you wouldn’t want to communicate with the community as in the past. This is definitely not a one-way street and there are, I believe, errors on both sides. I can’t imagine getting death threats over a Match 3, but I can imagine that would steer me away from wanting to respond more personally to posts.

I do hope that there can be some sort of middle ground. Streams are much, much more difficult to go through than forums for news, even if streams are available afterwards. Forums are made for this type of discussion; streams or VODs are hours of content mixed all together. I truly understand that streams are by far an easier platform to be more personal on, and I don’t think that can or should change.

I do, however, think that interaction on the forums could be done in a slightly different way that would be majorly beneficial to the community. I believe it is possible to have a little more interaction and personality here, and a little can go a long way. The toxicity of these forums is absolutely not okay, and mutes/bans would be helpful for weeding out those who can’t refrain from personal attacks and threats.

The fact that you and I can’t have a discussion about crucial game directions such as what many players feel is the “recent” shift in focus from content and gameplay to almost entirely monetization is upsetting; you did not make mention of this anywhere in your response. Again, I don’t blame you, and I understand this sort of interaction is your policy at the moment. I really hope that there can be steps taken to have that change, though. You are, after all, in charge of communications here, and solid and constructive communication can’t happen without, well… communication, no?

I want to emphasize once again that I am not trying to jab you or blame you or your team. I very well might do the same thing were I in your position. As a member of this community, though, I see how this communication style is hurting the community, adding on to the negativity and hostility, and causing players to leave. This is my favorite mobile game, and I’ve been here for years. I want only the best for GoW, you as the devs, and for the community.

I don’t think this communication style is what’s best for anyone, and I would love to have a discussion about how to improve the communication and toxicity.

This, for example, is at very least a lovely conversation-starter by @AMT!

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In Kelly’s Heroes, the General asks “what is the point of having a Communications Officer if he can’t communicate”. Seriously.

I’ve read many forum posts. I’ve even read global chat on occasion. I have to, if I want to recruit new Raiders to my guild. I no longer do.

 They don't re-balance troops because they don't have to.

 They don't fix Doom Blade and Doom Club because they don't have to.

 They don't communicate because they don't have to.

Many times I have read “I stick around for my friends and my Guild”. I’ve said the same myself. No longer. My guild will survive without me, or it won’t. I have one last GW, and then I’m done. Thanks.

Break the co-dependency. Pound Sign Quit 2021.

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@Saltypatra

I wish to give you and fellow members my contribution as a newcomer to GoW.

When a couple a week ago I was looking for a new game in Steam, I was at first concerned by the amount of negative comments users left there, yet the overall figure was quite positive.
I decided to give it a try and make an opinion by myself…

The gameplay was exactly what I was looking for, Match3 and Strategy games being my favorite genre, yet the stonewall I had to climb to be able to learn and understand the overwhelming GoW content & mechanisms and finally progress in game was/is possible only because of help I got/get from this community.

I’m playing for ten days now and so far I’ve spent 12$ in game content not because I needed to, but because I liked what I saw, the “Bones & muscles” the OP’s metaphor he talked about and I will probably keep giving some money here and there as long as I feel being happy with those “Bones & muscles” .

Yet I should say that honestly what really matter the most to me now is the very friendly and helping community.
If you let this community die or simple starve or growing sour, the older gamers leaving, the forum becoming an hive of crazy hornets, etc.
Then you will never be able to retain the new players you will eventually attract.
… and the cow will die (metaphorically of course) :wink:

TLDR: Take care of this community cause they take care of new players !

Best regards
PS beg your pardon for my English language shortcomings

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Spot on mate! One of the best posts we have had in 2020.

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I’ve seen this point about threats and safety a few times now
At this point I’m curious, we’re there any actual legit local threats that actually were a cause for concern? Or is just a bunch of nerds from oceans away talking shit, like they do with every online person
I would think if it were legit, it could be handled by law enforcement, and would get solved.
And if it is the latter, it’s time to stop using negativity as an excuse for things. Not saying it’s right, but it’s a fact of life in our current era, and like I tell all the people who constantly report people, have the emotional stability to ignore or block them. How we receive stimuli ourselves is almost as much a problem as those who transmit it.

Oddly enough. Most keyboard warriors don’t use a postcard with their home address when making death threats. And since IP addresses are pretty easy to hide these days. I feel like expecting the victim to know the seriousness of a threat is pretty ludicrous. Criticize the game as much as you want. But until you get death threats yourself… perhaps don’t advise other strangers the appropriate response for them.

Is it safe for me to be negative against “victim blaming in this case”? Or should I try to make a more positive approach for those who try to alienate me due to my negative thoughts when I see bull shit like this? (Rhetorical questions of course.)

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To your point about hiding IP addresses, wouldn’t that go both ways? As in wouldn’t u feel secure they can’t find u just as u can’t find them?
Maybe it’s just me, but I feel no anxiety over anything online.
As to your second point. If we all had the ability to ignore negativity that has no bearing on our actual lives, whether getting upset over an online comment or our favorite team losing, we could all focus on being positive.
You say it’s telling people how to feel. I look at it as adding perspective, so people can maybe step back, rethink things, and live a more mentally and emotionally stable life by their own choice.
I’m not one focus on these forums, it’s just a once a day morning newspaper Lol, so I’m finished with posting about this.
It was just a curiosity of what actually happened, since it’s now been brought up multiple times.

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Thing is, not everyone like to say"'it’s raining" when other people are spitting on them…

Many people have different sensibility - some can take more, than others, but everyone has it’s limits.

Each member of this forum has an option to “mute” any other forum user -> temporarily or permamently (very usefull option, used it recently on 2 accounts). You wont receive any message from them, all their posts will become invisible for you, etc.
Now, community managers have this unconfortable situation, where they simply can’t perma-mute/ignore someone who’s being rude each time they adress them. Even if someone is rude now/today, they might report a bug in future or have a problem that will need DEV attention.

Life isn’t that easy…

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Cooperate addresses? A company usually makes their address public knowledge. I don’t feel like you know how crime works…

Regarding abuse on the forums, I’ll just toss this idea into the void and see what others think. Tagging @Saltypatra who is likely tagged way too much, but giving an idea on how to protect everyone:

Our forum accounts should be linked to our in game account. Anyone who is abusive in forums not only gets banned in the forum, but also in game. Yes alts exist so this isn’t 100%, but as the saying going, don’t like perfection be the enemy of good enough.

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