Unpacking what was said
GGG’s Managing Director Chris Wilson stepped up and agreed to hold a live stream interview with a few PoE streamers. By that, the streamers asked Chris many burning questions about the game’s current state and where it’s headed. So here are the most important points from the live stream, and what it could mean for PoE currency, crafting, and more.
Build Variety and Nerfs
One good thing Chris said is that more nerfs like the 3.15 ones are not in the plans. They are still trying to make Expedition better, so they’re focusing on that. Later about the flasks, he did say that some of the nerfs were wrong and that they got carried away nerfing stuff.
They’ve noticed the mistakes and will try to rectify them.
Slowing Down the Game
By slowing down the game, they wanted players to still be actually playing the game. He said some players go into an area and find the enemies are already dead. That situation was described as ‘running on 1500%’ and they want players to ‘run at 800%’. The streamers then suggested releasing a video detailing developers’ expectations of where the game is going and how to enjoy it. Chris agreed to it.
They know about the RSI problems the game causes their players, and the changes to flasks were to combat that. However, that just made everything worse, and now they have to find a way to reduce ‘piano flasking’ while keeping the spirit for using flasks. Their recent attempt didn’t really work, and the players were back to hammering their flask hotkeys.
This is something they’re continuing to review, and we’ll see more changes to the system going forward.
As for the timers, they wanted to push players to be better. Without this push, no player would want to get better equipment or skills. Plus, they’re not really against the ‘zoomy’ gameplay, they just want players to have a gameplay experience that’s not over in a flash.
GGG is playing around with a ‘Hard Mode’ where item drop rates are severely reduced. Plus, there aren’t any master crafting or veiled items. Chris said it’s an alternate mode for people who want a challenge. He called it brutal but really fun. That means players don’t get Exalted Orbs as much as they do in normal mode, and with that, PoE trade isn’t as feasible.
At any rate, it’s where they’re testing features and things they want for Path of Exile and PoE2. Then some people found out about it and wanted an alpha server for it.
Context and Communication
Perhaps the biggest thing about the player’s recent discontent is a lack of context and communication. Players don’t share the same mind as the devs, so how the latter present their ideas is a big thing. GGG tries to do this with their manifestos and other channels, but it fell through recently.
On the players’ side, there is the problem of misinterpretations and misunderstandings. When the developers are being vague, players have no choice but to rely on what information they have. Whether that’s past actions or tentative speculations, it doesn’t change the fact that changes are hard to accept.
Some don’t take that fact too well and end up writing about all kinds of negative things. Despite the good intentions to offer suggestions or improvements, their presentation can become hostile instead. Like how players can misunderstand the developers, the developers can also do the same to the players’ comments.
It got to the point that even Chris isn’t willing to read through forums and social media. That means they have someone (or a team) reading player responses so that’s two layers of possible miscommunication. It’s like a game of ‘pass the message’ where the message gets scrambled by the end. Sure, shorter chains are less prone to it, but there is still that element.
Also, this doesn’t mean that there are no miscommunications inside the company. Chris confessed that QA testers had reported problems with the update, but it didn’t reach the correct people. Is that a problem with the QA testers or the system? There are many factors to communication and it feels like all channels (internal in the company, devs to players, and players to devs) are all mixed up.
Of course, there are many more topics covered in the live stream, especially the progress for PoE 2. Many players would consider it more promises made to be broken, but at least there was an attempt to reach out. We can only trust and hope in the vision GGG has for the game.
It may be difficult, but have fun playing Path of Exile!
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