The Division 2 Devs’ Response To Crunch And Player Feedback Is A Game-Changer


The calls for of supporting dwell service video games are far-reaching and complicated–and that is true for Massive’s The Division 2. Just not too long ago at E3, the sport’s new Expeditions feature was detailed at E3, and that is a part of the sport’s in depth first year of free content updates.

In a brand new video characteristic, GameSpot’s Jess McDonell seems at Massive’s The Division 2 particularly and the way the studio has gone about supporting the continued sport and interacting with its neighborhood. Jess speaks with Massive neighborhood builders Petter Mårtensson and Christoph Gansler about how they have interaction with and incorporate participant suggestions with the dwell service sport.

You can watch the total video above, whereas all the Q&A is accessible under that includes joint responses from Gansler and Mårtensson. In it, the builders talked concerning the worth of transparency in The Division 2’s growth, tips on how to handle participant suggestions, and tips on how to preserve a continuously evolving on-line sport.

Gansler and Mårtensson additionally focus on the hot-button challenge of crunch, which is an trade time period for the follow of builders working overly lengthy hours to complete milestones.

GameSpot: How necessary is participant suggestions to what leads to the sport?

Gansler and Mårtensson: Player suggestions is essential to us at Massive Entertainment. We’re at all times monitoring social channels and boards resembling Reddit and YouTube to see what the gamers are saying concerning the sport. We need our neighborhood to know that we see the event of The Division 2 as an ongoing relationship. That stated, we and the gamers don’t at all times agree on all the things. We have to continuously have a holistic view of what goes in and what goes out of the sport. But we focus on the suggestions we get each day.

When it involves growing The Division 2 and incorporating participant suggestions, how strongly do you agree or disagree with the alleged Henry Ford quote: “If I had requested folks what they needed, they’d have stated quicker horses.”

“We discovered quite a bit from the primary sport that we took with us into The Division 2.”

As builders, we will need to have a 360-degree view of the sport. Our designers and manufacturing groups know the sport intimately. They know what’s possible and what’s not possible, and so they understand how sure adjustments which can be being requested would or wouldn’t work virtually. Sometimes suggestions will be laser-focused on a selected facet of the sport that, if modified, may have a lot larger implications that you just don’t immediately see. At the identical time, a lot of our gamers additionally know the sport very nicely, so nothing is discarded.

In addition, we’ve got quite a bit of knowledge from the sport. We have a fantastic information analytics crew that works along with our consumer researchers and the neighborhood crew. Together, they see how our gamers play the sport and typically the loudest complaints should not mirrored in actuality.

Has your perspective of how to reply to or implement participant suggestions modified from The Division 1 to The Division 2?

We discovered quite a bit from the primary sport that we took with us into The Division 2. Updates 1.Four and 1.Eight for The Division have been largely based mostly on participant suggestions and we even introduced neighborhood members to our studios for workshops on the sport’s growth (large shout out to all our Elite Task Force members!). That mindset is one thing that we took with us to the second sport.

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How usually are extremely requested options applied?

For each title replace we’ve launched for The Division 2, we attempt to implement numerous options or tweaks which were requested by the neighborhood. Some requests take longer to implement after all, however we’ve got some cool stuff arising that neighborhood members have mentioned and requested that I received’t spoil now.

There are hundreds of solutions throughout your official boards and the Division 2 subreddit. Where is the road between seeing extremely requested options and what can virtually be applied, whether or not that be for quantity or technical causes?

That line will be tough to attract. As talked about earlier, we have a look at all of the suggestions we get, see if it’s one thing that we consider would make the sport higher, if it’s technically doable to implement, after which resolve based mostly on these elements.

“We can’t always answer every question or respond to every criticism, which of course can be frustrating for some, but we try to talk to our players as much as we possibly can”

Even when your neighborhood would not agree with sure mechanics or adjustments, they appear to have an unimaginable quantity of respect for the way persistently they’re heard and communicated with. Was this at all times the plan? How do you virtually preserve that open line of communication?

We are lucky to have a passionate neighborhood crew that has a frequent dialogue with our gamers. Our Twitch channel is our most important software, the place we do our weekly State of the Game livestreams. We additionally do gameplay streams since that’s a fantastic avenue for us to only sit down, play the sport and speak on to our neighborhood.

We can’t at all times reply each query or reply to each criticism, which after all will be irritating for some, however we attempt to speak to our gamers as a lot as we presumably can. The neighborhood crew additionally has a detailed relationship with the builders themselves and data flows each methods because of this. Myself and Chris, the neighborhood builders for the sport, sit smack down in the midst of the Live Team and are in fixed communication with them to verify we all know all the things that is occurring.

And sure, this was at all times part of the plan. State of the Game has been operating for a very long time, from earlier than the primary sport even launched, and we’ve got no plans to cease doing it. The neighborhood interplay has been extremely necessary for all of us engaged on the sport. Many of our builders present up on our streams or work together with followers on Twitter and different social channels.

Can you supply some examples of issues which have modified within the sport because of participant suggestions?

For the primary sport, Update 1.Four was eye-opening for us. For The Division 2, the drawbacks on weapon mods have been very controversial inside the neighborhood and we ended up eradicating them from the sport.

Can you supply some examples of issues that haven’t modified, regardless of participant solutions to change them, and the pondering behind this?

We had deliberate to extend the Gear Score within the sport from 500 to 515, with the latter solely out there within the Dark Zones. In the top, we determined to not undergo with that change, which pissed off some gamers that have been trying ahead to it. We perceive them, however with a collection of PvE and PvP adjustments in our newest title replace (Title Update 3), we wish to enhance the Dark Zone expertise and make it extra enjoyable and rewarding. That stated, we felt that protecting the gear rating at 500 was for the very best, from a sport expertise standpoint, as it’s too early to introduce increased gear rating gadgets at the moment.

How do you handle when your viewers is split in what they need out of the sport (for instance reducing versus sustaining the present mission problem)? With whom does the ultimate resolution sit on whether or not one thing ought to or should not be applied?

The ultimate resolution sits with the administrators, designers and the manufacturing groups. As talked about earlier, we have to at all times determine if a change is optimistic and practical. The neighborhood can completely be break up on the subject of sure matters, however in the long run, we should make selections based mostly on these elements. The unhappy actuality is that there’ll at all times be people who find themselves disenchanted with any adjustments to the sport, one thing that comes with each dwell sport. You can’t please everybody, however we hope folks know that all the things we do, we do for the general betterment of the sport.

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To what diploma is that this communication or transparency a advantage (or an issue) for the event crew?

Sometimes issues go flawed, and we don’t consider in hiding from our errors. We’re human and errors occur. Transparency is essential for us; it’s a part of the DNA of the undertaking. Of course, we will’t speak about all the things, even when we’d wish to. That’s simply the truth of sport’s design and the enterprise. Again, referring to Update 1.Four for the primary sport – that’s after we actually discovered how necessary transparency will be, how necessary it’s for our relationship with our gamers. That knowledgeable us transferring ahead.

It’s a advantage as a result of the entire crew is behind it. The issues come up when we’ve got issues we will’t speak about for no matter causes. That could cause frustrations since gamers need solutions to their questions. It’s a superb line to stroll. You don’t wish to over promise and underneath ship, for instance.

Does having a continuously evolving on-line sport change the way in which you view the developer/participant relationship?

Yes and no. This relationship is pure to us now. Of course, it adjustments over time, particularly with new instruments changing into out there and new social platforms and teams popping up. Recently, we arrange our personal official Discord server and, all-of-a-sudden, we’ve got a brand new software to collect suggestions, get a way of the neighborhood temper and immediately speak to our gamers in methods we couldn’t earlier than. Having a dwell sport means staying dynamic – on the subject of growing the sport, in addition to for the way we talk. Over time, I hope we will grow to be even nearer to our gamers in new and artistic methods.

“We’re human and mistakes happen. Transparency is very important for us; it’s part of the DNA of the project.”

What are the distinctive challenges and benefits to having a continuously evolving sport?

The challenges and benefits lie in that dynamic setting. There are issues occurring on a regular basis, however not all the things is seen to the gamers. Small adjustments can inadvertently grow to be big adjustments, and vice versa. We should be on the prime of our sport continuously, monitor what is going on within the sport and in the neighborhood and react accordingly. It will be onerous, however extraordinarily rewarding too. It’s a crew effort and our dwell and manufacturing groups are taking over that problem each day.

How do you handle the swings between positivity and negativity that come from the neighborhood?

We do our best possible to speak, hear and be as clear as doable. We speak to our gamers as a lot as we will, even when it’s not at all times doable. We collect all of the suggestions, utilizing each qualitative and quantitative strategies. Those swings are a pure a part of communities, however total The Division neighborhood has been a supporting and welcoming place for a very long time now. We additionally know that suggestions at all times comes from the love of the sport, so even when it’s one thing damaging, gamers simply need the sport to be higher. We recognize that.

How a lot do you try to implement with every replace and the way do you handle fixed rebalancing and bug fixing?

We attempt to implement the updates as a lot as we will, inside the limits we’ve got. For Title Update Three that we simply launched, for instance, we made a collection of steadiness adjustments whereas additionally fixing a whole bunch of bugs – some seen to the gamers, some not. We’re not slowing down, and our completely different groups are 100 p.c devoted to creating The Division 2 even larger and higher. It’s an ongoing course of, however with the data we’ve got from releasing and working the primary sport, we’re in place to take this sport to new heights.

In regards to reviews that on-line, evolving video games require fixed ongoing growth, do your growth groups endure durations of crunch and what are your ideas on the follow?

When it involves growing on-line, evolving video games or game-as-a-service, there may be much less ramp up and ramp down time than throughout conventional sport manufacturing. The crew engaged on The Division 2 has managed to respect a wholesome work-life steadiness all through the undertaking. We’re actively working to forestall groups working extra time, and when it does occur we’ve got very clear guidelines and communication concerning the follow. For instance, extra time is at all times paid in accordance with Swedish work rules. And HR follows up with each crew member individually to evaluate workload and discover options to strike the correct steadiness.

At Massive, we’re intent on offering a wholesome and enriching work atmosphere with the objective of protecting our crew members with us for 10 years or extra. Work-life steadiness is important if we wish to entice and retain the very best expertise to proceed growing video games on the identical scale and high quality as The Division 2. We have been rated as one in all Sweden’s most engaging employers amongst younger professionals in 2018, so we’re happy with how our efforts are paying off up to now.

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