How much do EA listen to us? Well, that’s a question that has been asked on Fifa forums around the world since the dawn of time it seems. The signs this year however are great and EA have made a huge effort in emphasising just how much they value constructive community feedback.
But with Fifa11 looming, what can we do as a community to support EA to make their lives easier when it comes to rooting out and solving problems?
Well new FSB Team member Tom Mills (T-Mills-85) has his own ideas on how we can help EA, to help us.
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Help EA, to help us.
I’ll try not to make this a rant, but one thing that really bothers me whilst making my daily rounds of Fifa related forums, is a concept that I see thrown around time and time again:
EA don’t listen to us.
Now, it’s clear to me, and any other reasonable person, that this isn’t the case. Yet I see it almost daily.
Lets look at an example.
One of the huge problems in Fifa10, discussed to death on various forums, was ping-pong passing. Taken back to the very root, ping-pong passing became an issue because of the users. Sure, the game code allows you to play that way, but it doesn’t really encourage it, it’s just unfortunate that it’s as effective as it is and became gamebreaking for many users online.
What did encourage people to employ ping-pong passing, was the competetive nature of humans and the “win at all costs” attitude. I’m not saying I go into matches wanting to lose, but I do go into matches with the rule of playing how I play, and the outcome, is what it is. Unfortunately a large portion of the online userbase don’t see things this way. They play the game, rather than football. The most effective way to play Fifa10 is to get the ball up the pitch as quickly as possible, ping-pong passing was a way to do that.
Where am I going with this? EA could quite easily have taken the stance that it’s not a problem with the code, it’s a problem with how people play it and left it at that. However they didn’t, they went away, and came up with an answer, and a mighty fine one at that. Pro passing. A deep solution that addresses and negates the issues of ping-pong passing. It’s gone. Dead. R.I.P.
I’m not going to explore the benefits or mechanics of pro passing because I couldn’t write it any better than Dave did recently, but I wanted to use it as an example of how EA take issues raised by the community seriously and fix them.
We have a dedicated community manager, who reads the official forums and passes on GOOD feedback to the development team.
This is an area where we as a community need to improve. To me, good feedback is well thought out with as much detail as possible. If you find a bug, don’t just post it. Post how it happens, replicate it, explain how you replicated it, provide so much detail that it’s tiresome to read. This is how things get fixed.
I’m not a developer, but one of the biggest points I must stress, which can be applied to all walks of life is that the quicker you understand a problem, the quicker you can fix it. It might seem like I’m asking the community to do EAs jobs for them, and I guess in some ways I am, but with a game that’s on a tight development cycle such as Fifa, the users will always be beta testing in one way or another.
So rather than writing ranty posts (oh the irony), think about the problems you are having, try to understand them and how they happen. Then use the forums to pass that information on to the people who can, and will, do something to rectify it. Treating the forums as your own personal soapbox to complain about (and even threaten) EA, will only result in them not visiting and interacting with us in the way they currently do.
EA have already done one event this year, where community members were invited to get hands on early code and provide feedback from their play time. There is another lined up with early Fifa11 code being taken on a tour of the UK. Forum members have gone to EAC and have been face to face with the developers, who sat and listened to the issues players were facing. I can’t think of many other companies that would take this approach.
We should be grateful that we get these opportunities to have a say in how the game is built and what changes are implemented. People complained about the lack of customisation. We get creation centre. People complain about PES being miles ahead in terms of personality and individuality. We get Personality+. This has been the case in recent years, and I hope it will continue to be that way.
If you think that EA aren’t listening to you, then you aren’t doing the right things to make your voice heard.