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Default Avadon - Responding to Critics

May 6th, 2011, 11:45
Whatever you may think of the Codex as a whole entity, I really don't think the point to be raised from this concerns them (or the debatable merits and faults of Avadon) at all. It's about the dangers of artists insta-publishing online while they're feeling emotional - and, indeed, the problems of responding to critics.

Mr Vogel really isn't meeting criticism head-on. He's bemoaning his own audience very publicly and with fairly obvious emotional attachment. If he'd wanted to meet his criticism head-on, he might have written a blogpost saying, 'Why the demo is what it is, and why I still think that's a good idea' and left it at that - assuming we take 'meet' to mean 'deal with and analyse' rather than 'lob retaliatory mud'.

But rather than just drinking half a bottle of Laphroaig and cursing all Codexers to eternal death in his living room, then waking up the next morning and setting himself the challenge of trying to figure out if there maybe was a way the demo could have been more exciting, he:

a) declares on his blog that an online community which, relative to most games it discusses, does indeed support his efforts, and whose members presumably do make up a number of his audience, is full of people who hate him and even hate the fact that he's alive.
b) quotes extensively (and, indeed, selectively) from feedback he's read there, what reads like lazy criticism from a few individuals and picking it apart in more detail than it deserves.
c) as members of this audience in question rush to his blog (unsurprising) and, one or two morons aside, defend their position and their criticisms calmly and maturely (perhaps surprising), he begins to quote more and more examples of when individuals from that community have been rude about him, revealing how much he really does take this stuff "to heart".
d) Finally, despite the - generally - perfectly fair level of discourse in his comments section, he says that the 'RPG Codex crowd' are simply too impatient to enjoy his game if they're only willing to play 15% of it before losing up - again, in response to a single poster - claims he'll never visit it again, and closes down the discussion.

Sorry, rant over. But instead of taking his own advice - not taking unconstructive criticism to heart, mentally sidelining malicious or silly individual feedback in favour of useful individual feedback, and keeping it all at arms' length - he's let himself be upset by what a few individuals have written about him online and paraded his sensitivity in public while slagging off a lot of people who like his games. It's just a bit silly, really, it's quite a good example of how you shouldn't respond to critics, and I do feel for him.
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May 6th, 2011, 12:09
Why must "hardcore" be about difficulty level?

When I lament streamlining - it has very little to do with the actual challenge of the combat.

It's about the level of investment required to get the most out of it. It's about being rewarded because you care about the mechanics and because you play tactically. It's about finding cool stuff because you explore, and because you look for secrets.

It's about getting the sensation that the person behind the game loves games, and every decision made is for the game - rather than to make it appeal to the most people.

Streamlining is not necessarily worse for the actual game, but in my experience it's pretty much always about appealing to MORE people, rather than appealing MORE to the established audience.

Whether that's necessary for "survival" or not, is another matter. I, personally, have no intention of supporting casual indie games. Not because I have a problem with them, but because I would be fighting against my own interests.

Oh, and I've yet to form my final opinion about Avadon - since I only spent an hour or so with the demo. But it sure seems bland and streamlined to me.
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May 6th, 2011, 13:08
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
You're the map comment guy, are you? Honestly, move on - Spiderweb games just may not be your thing.
It's doubtful I'll buy another game from spiderweb but if I limit myself to commenting only on developers I like and are still active I won't have much to say.

But the real thing I take issue with is his treatment of criticism. If you opened up LOTR or Silmarillion the maps were something a child could draw yet they were enough to add a lot of life to the world. So I think it's a valid criticism. That doesn't mean he has to do what every guy with a complaint says but instead he dismisses everyone's criticism as if it's simply wrong. But worse than that it's obvious his real agenda with this post is other than what he claims, which is often true of developers but in this case the dishonesty is pretty blatant.
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May 6th, 2011, 13:31
Taking your critics on like that, is a critical mistake.

It's pretty much impossible to be objective about your own work, and he's begging for trouble.

Even if Avadon was absolutely perfect, there would be people bitching endlessly about whatever they were in the mood for.

So when you make an indie on this level and you try to appeal to a broader audience, you can be DAMN sure you'll face some backlash.

There's a reason the vast majority of developers NEVER engage in such pointless activity - and why most people in the entertainment industry stay FAR away from reviews, especially user reviews. It's nothing but pain.

Brad Wardell recently demonstrated that while you might think you're nearly infallible - you're not, and if you have a large ego - it can be almost fatal to open your eyes and ears to the general public when they respond to your latest miracle.
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May 6th, 2011, 16:12
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Taking your critics on like that, is a critical mistake.

It's pretty much impossible to be objective about your own work, and he's begging for trouble.

Even if Avadon was absolutely perfect, there would be people bitching endlessly about whatever they were in the mood for.

So when you make an indie on this level and you try to appeal to a broader audience, you can be DAMN sure you'll face some backlash.

There's a reason the vast majority of developers NEVER engage in such pointless activity - and why most people in the entertainment industry stay FAR away from reviews, especially user reviews. It's nothing but pain.

Brad Wardell recently demonstrated that while you might think you're nearly infallible - you're not, and if you have a large ego - it can be almost fatal to open your eyes and ears to the general public when they respond to your latest miracle.
QFT
Couldn't have put it better.
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May 6th, 2011, 16:13
I think we got two threads with almost exactly the same title and topic as this one? time for a merge? any mods here ?
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May 6th, 2011, 17:50
Jeff sure makes a lot of "critical mistakes" that have apparently somehow proven "fatal" (in what way, lol?) according to his critics yet continues to tell us Avadon is selling pretty well. I wonder who I should believe? That you personally don't like the game doesn't mean shit to anyone other than yourself, as the fact I, so far, like it, doesn't mean anything to anyone but myself. Trying to push a single opinion as the de facto standard proving anything about the objective quality of whatever is, quite frankly, delusional. Also, critics don't like it when they're criticised themselves and try to point out how wrong it is to do such, big surprise!
Last edited by Al3xand3r; May 6th, 2011 at 18:05.
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May 6th, 2011, 19:59
Sticking to the stream that a weak RPG (or a game that is not a RPG) is forcefully a bad game is beyond my ken.

People might want to play good games, no matter the genre.

Portal 2 is two fingers close from being labelled a RPG by convenient standards. It probably sells well. So what? Are good sales turning it into a RPG?
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May 6th, 2011, 20:56
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Why must "hardcore" be about difficulty level?
Good question, good question.

I guess someone sometime defined it as such - an everyone copied this philosophy from then on.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 6th, 2011, 21:23
"Hardcore" is all about investment if you ask me. A game can be as easy as drinking water but still be "hardcore" if it requires a lot of investment to learn it, play it and win at it.
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May 6th, 2011, 21:39
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
"Hardcore" is all about investment if you ask me. A game can be as easy as drinking water but still be "hardcore" if it requires a lot of investment to learn it, play it and win at it.
No Avernum requires that, only the game duration would be hardcore but Avadon seems quite long too or I am very close to the end.
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May 6th, 2011, 23:17
Originally Posted by Al3xand3r View Post
Jeff sure makes a lot of "critical mistakes" that have apparently somehow proven "fatal" (in what way, lol?) according to his critics yet continues to tell us Avadon is selling pretty well. I wonder who I should believe? That you personally don't like the game doesn't mean shit to anyone other than yourself, as the fact I, so far, like it, doesn't mean anything to anyone but myself. Trying to push a single opinion as the de facto standard proving anything about the objective quality of whatever is, quite frankly, delusional. Also, critics don't like it when they're criticised themselves and try to point out how wrong it is to do such, big surprise!
Recognition drives sales especially when you are virtually unknown, and people tend to buy based on the last game you made. If 1 in 1000 people who play games buy his game it will be a HUGE improvement in sales, to put things in perspective. Posts like this seem to be geared at attention whoring to stir up controversy/free publicity more than anything.
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May 7th, 2011, 02:17
Originally Posted by ManWhoJaped View Post
It's doubtful I'll buy another game from spiderweb but if I limit myself to commenting only on developers I like and are still active I won't have much to say.

But the real thing I take issue with is his treatment of criticism. If you opened up LOTR or Silmarillion the maps were something a child could draw yet they were enough to add a lot of life to the world. So I think it's a valid criticism.
For what it's worth, I think it's one of the most peurile complaints I've ever heard in my life and not worth serious treatment.

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May 7th, 2011, 02:48
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
For what it's worth, I think it's one of the most peurile complaints I've ever heard in my life and not worth serious treatment.
Well you haven't ever been to an official game forum if you think that. It's a good thing you don't make games I guess, you can expect a million dumb comments for anything great but it's a joke to come out and say your critics are wrong.

It's not a major criticism but he chose one that's a great standin for what's wrong with many of his game features, that they are halfassed.

But here is what he is really saying:

I have more criticism than ever, even from diehard supporters.
Let's cherry pick a few criticisms to address.
All of them minor or totally wrong!
Let's avoid mention of simplification and dumbing down to sell out, the real complaints.
Then go on to say that because I'm making more money I'm right.
And ignore of course this ties right in with the accusations of selling out.
Now I've stirred up some more controversy, heh heh, more free publicity, troll style.

So you see how it works? People say he is selling out and dumbing down, and he counters by saying he is sticking to his guns, that difficulty is the same as hardcoreness, and that the fact he's making more money proves he is making a better game even though he is getting more complaints than ever!

By that logic bethesda is the best RPG ever by a factor or like ten, so why have indie RPGs at all?

It's called lying. He's a liar, all there is to it. If I thought he believed the BS he spewed I'd be more lenient but it's obvious what's going on here.
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May 7th, 2011, 03:54
There's a whole bunch of things wrong with that, starting with the Codex being "diehard supporters" (now who is bending the truth?). I clearly remember getting exasperated with the attitude in Spiderweb threads at the Codex in 2004 or so, so this revisionism doesn't work for me. Anyway, leave you with it.

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May 7th, 2011, 04:39
It's not as easy than just listening players and design and make a game by listening them. In no way this can work, and even less from any comment coming from such community like codex.

If those players with plenty certitude about designing games was that good in game design, they just need start make games. They could be "good" at playing game, or even be good at critic games but all chance they are incompetent about designing games. Also as a non codex member, sharing nothing with opinions that community could have, I can only urge any RPG game designers not listen the crap coming from here.

But the main point is that the critic is easy but the creation and building process is another matter. Jeff point of view in this blog post is from the developer point of view to other developers, or to himself. And that point of view need be different from what a player point of view could be.

Let take an example, I think the game first parts doesn't grab the player strong enough, so my critic would be, the demo isn't fun enough. Great but pointless from a game building point of view. Do you think Jeff on purpose tried design a boring demo? Can any codex member provide him plot building advices, writing advices, gameplay advices to ensure his next game beginning is quite better? No they can't and I can't too.

Should I really develop more? Most (all?) codex post crap Jeff comment in this blog, are just that, critics. That is good but pointless from a game design and building point of view.

About the more precise comment, some are just idiot stuff like the comment about the map, lol it's fun Jeff choose quote this, it's the more fun part of this blog post.

So ManWhoWhine, take yourself by the hand and make games if you are that good at design games, but please don't try give game design advices to Jeff, you are just a player, not a brilliant game designer. Jeff didn't suck your ass and that's fine no player worth that.
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May 7th, 2011, 07:24
Originally Posted by Dasale View Post
It's not as easy than just listening players and design and make a game by listening them. In no way this can work, and even less from any comment coming from such community like codex.

If those players with plenty certitude about designing games was that good in game design, they just need start make games. They could be "good" at playing game, or even be good at critic games but all chance they are incompetent about designing games. Also as a non codex member, sharing nothing with opinions that community could have, I can only urge any RPG game designers not listen the crap coming from here.

As for making my own that's better I have a free weekend coming up, shouldn't take longer than that.

But the main point is that the critic is easy but the creation and building process is another matter. Jeff point of view in this blog post is from the developer point of view to other developers, or to himself. And that point of view need be different from what a player point of view could be.

Let take an example, I think the game first parts doesn't grab the player strong enough, so my critic would be, the demo isn't fun enough. Great but pointless from a game building point of view. Do you think Jeff on purpose tried design a boring demo? Can any codex member provide him plot building advices, writing advices, gameplay advices to ensure his next game beginning is quite better? No they can't and I can't too.

Should I really develop more? Most (all?) codex post crap Jeff comment in this blog, are just that, critics. That is good but pointless from a game design and building point of view.

About the more precise comment, some are just idiot stuff like the comment about the map, lol it's fun Jeff choose quote this, it's the more fun part of this blog post.

So ManWhoWhine, take yourself by the hand and make games if you are that good at design games, but please don't try give game design advices to Jeff, you are just a player, not a brilliant game designer. Jeff didn't suck your ass and that's fine no player worth that.
Hey dumbasswhotalksshit, I never gave him any advice at all.

If you had some basic reading skills you'd see I am not telling him to listen to critics. Fine, ignore them if you know better. However the reality is the critics are obviously making him pretty uncomfortable by rightly pointing out the direction he's going alienates any hardcore players, if they could get anything out of his games as it was it's destroyed with the release of avadon.

But the issue here is not critics at all, any more than difficulty is the issue people are supposedly raising. No one wants him to double the hitpoints of monsters as he claims. He is making up BS in order to make excuses. Excuses for dumbing down his game and getting more criticism. Then when he draws more criticism he claims he's right because he is making more money. So yeah he's full of crap and you even more so for your ridiculous defense of this guy.
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May 7th, 2011, 08:02
Calm down people; let's attack the issues, not each other!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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May 7th, 2011, 08:04
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
It's not off-topic but we've been here before and I'm tired of it. I think the blog entry is interesting in terms of responding to some criticism, hence I posted it, but I'd rather discuss that aspect than have another tiresome forum war as we descend into a "Codex sucks" thread and then they come over to defend it and on and on.
Too late asshole.

I only have one thing to say though. If you look at those threads of ours that he linked to and then the quotes he responded to in his blog, you'll see that he cherry picked the least thoughtful and shortest of the comments and conveniently left out the posts that were actual well-thought out criticism. Have a look for yourself; you'll see it's true. That basically means he's a whiny little bitch. Sad but true.
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May 7th, 2011, 08:52
"Whiny little bitch" isn't the same "liar". Try to to keep up with the discussion.

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