Advisory Councils and Reactions

Ah, STO…you never cease finding ways to give me stuff to post about.

While I was away, the folks at Cryptic announced an Advisory Council for Star Trek Online.  And as I’ve come to expect lately, things went to hell almost immediately afterward, in part because the STO forums are a seething cauldron of rage with only occasional periods of placidity on the surface, and in part because the whole management of STO is a monument to the concept of “Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth”.  Didn’t help that the original announcement mentioned they had put in people who hadn’t played the game into the Council.

Yeah, that kind of thing can’t POSSIBLY cause a reaction, could it?

Eventually, someone rubbed a few brain cells together and put up a FAQ on the whole mess, but that should’ve come out literally seconds after an initial announcement-particularly with this crew.

It amazes me how often Atari/Cryptic/CBS (whoever is running that portion of the mess at the time) can absolutely put out information in the worst possible way, how often they seem to make the same boneheaded mistakes time and again.  Or maybe I shouldn’t be-after all, SWG had the same sort of stew with Lucasarts/SOE.  And even though SWG still makes plenty of dumb moves, their magnitude dropped dramatically after their infamous meltdown in ’05.  (On the other hand, SWG’s continuing existence confirms that even disasters can still subsist, if not thrive.)  I seem to recall over in SWG, there was also a bit of discussion with folks who didn’t play the game and the direction of where it eventually went.  (No “straight to hell” jokes here-I’ll supply the humor, thank you!)

Now, in some ways, I don’t have a major issue with the concept of an Advisory Council.  EVE, for example, regularly “elects” members from the player base to stand for the larger community.  SWG had the profession correspondents (later Senators) to stand for the players who considered such professions their own.  If a developer is willing to listen to these people, and if these people are a part of the game-and can look at things objectively-then this could lead to considerable improvement in where things are going with the game.

But it’s also equally possible that these players will have their own personal agendas that will be pushed to the detriment of the game as a whole-that they’ll push to the exclusion of all else.  People with any sort of advantage will do all they can to make sure they keep it.  Looking at the health of a game as a whole is-from what I often see-a far too rare jewel.  For a game that’s still working to find its feet and stand strong, these are the people we need.  I just don’t know that we’ve got enough of them.

The point becomes moot, though, if the devs just have them there as political cover (eg. correspondents/Senators in SWG after the debacles of the Combat Upgrade and the NGE).  I hate to be cliche about it, but…time will tell.

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