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Feb 02 2009 -
Customer Feedback
or a company like CipSoft and for a game like Tibia, collecting player feedback is very important. Feedback from the community should be the base for decisions that will affect the community. To develop Tibia further and to improve our work, it is important for us to find out what you, our players, like or dislike and what you would wish for in the future.

Of course, not all players have the same opinion on all topics, which can be seen in many player discussions that you can find in our forum. So no matter which decision we make, which changes are carried through, there will always be some players who think that we did a good job, others, who are not satisfied with our actions, and yet again others who do not care at all about a certain topic. When collecting and evaluating player feedback, we always try to determine what the majority of the community thinks. We often get criticised for our ways to use player feedback, so we would like to tell you about our process of collecting and evaluating player feedback in more detail. We would like to show you where our ears and eyes are, how your feedback reaches us and what we do with it.

A very direct way to tell us what you think is using one of the feedback forms. Sometimes we ask for your feedback on special topics there, topics that are currently discussed internally, or which will be discussed internally shortly. Often the evaluation of your feedback from such a feedback form raises new interesting points, or influences an ongoing discussion. If you do not find a feedback form on a specific topic, you can still use the general feedback form to inform us about whatever you feel is important. The general feedback form is restarted every month and your feedback is summarised on a monthly basis. All comments are read, opinions are categorised and counted. To give you an example, in October, November and December 2008, most feedback we received through the general feedback form concerned our rule enforcement, especially our ways to deal with cheaters were criticised. Other topics that players wrote about dealt with the vocation balancing, or lags and kicks, for example.
A similar, but more simple way to learn about the community's prevalent opinion are our weekly polls. On our discussion board you can also find a poll discussion thread which we read with great interest.

We also listen to your opinions and your suggestions on the proposal board. This board is checked by a community manager on a regular basis. All your proposals are read and interesting ideas are collected, summarised and discussed. Popular proposals are rated and added to the Proposal Rating List. Detailed information on the rating categories of proposals can be found in the Proposal Board Rating announcement on the proposal board.
If time allows it, the reasons for the decision about the rating of a proposal are stated in the discussion thread for that specific suggestion. For example, many players supported the idea of a retro server on which you could play Tibia as you did a couple of years ago. After a discussion with the product management, the proposal was rated as rejected and the reasons for the rejection were stated by Mirade on the proposal board.

Several of your proposals have made it into the game already after they had been forwarded to the responsible departments, for example, the soccer field, buying supplies in backpacks, or werewolves.
Proposals are re-evaluated after some time, so you do not have to worry that we will forget something. If the internal rating of a proposal has changed, the proposal rating list will be updated, as well as the post in the respective proposal thread.

Several factors determine whether a proposal will be implemented or not. The most important factor is of course, whether a proposal really makes sense, and if it is accepted and supported by a great part of the community. The next step is to determine if a proposal is feasible from a technical perspective. Sometimes it is not as easy as it seems to be because of the way Tibia is programmed. Moreover, the proposal must fit into the general concept of Tibia. A proposal that does not fit into the concept is to bring back the old outfits, for example. They would not fit into Tibia's graphic style any more. Moreover, along with the graphical adjustments on outfits, we enriched the possibility to individualise characters further by introducing addons, which the old outfits did not have.
However, there are other proposals that receive much support from the community, that we consider as promising ideas. To give you examples, a second promotion or Tibian Marriage are ideas that will be discussed sooner or later.
For the decision if a proposal will be implemented, it is also important to decide how relevant and urgent the idea is, or if there are other topics that are more important and should be implemented first. The general player feedback we receive gives us hints about the relevancy of certain topics. If only a few players talk about a certain topic, but many thousands of players talk about a different topic, that different topic appears to be more important.
Another factor that influences the decision whether or when a proposal will make it into the game is the amount of time needed to implement it, and whose time is needed for it. That is one of the reasons why a soccer field can be implemented easily and rather quickly, whereas something else that seems more important to some players takes much longer. Usually, there is always a shortage on programmers time, so if the implementation of a proposal requires lots of programming, it needs to be a pretty urgent topic in order to be worked on quickly.
Of course the time needed is not the only factor that plays a role when deciding about the future of a proposal. For example, changes on the rule enforcement system will have a much larger impact on Tibia and the community than a soccer field. So in order to change the rule enforcement system, a lot more analysis and discussions are needed to decide which would be the best changes and what is the best way to introduce the changes.
Further, various departments are responsible for proposals from different categories. So while it is possible that the programmers are busy with the implementation of one idea and do not have time for anything else for that reason, the content team can create a new area, several items and new quests, for example.
These are the reasons why sometimes less important proposals can be implemented for an update, while something else that seems to be a lot more urgent still takes some time.
Another important point is that sometimes proposals contradict each other. So while both are nice proposals, and both receive support from the community, we need to make a decision in which direction we would like to go. For example, there are several players who wish for more information about other players, on the other side though, there are also several players who wish for more privacy.

Another way for us to ask you directly for feedback is our discussion board. Here you can participate in discussions with a community manager about our news and about the featured articles, for example. You will also find discussion threads on certain topics there on a regular basis.

We are aware of the fact that not all players submit their feedback on our website, be it for language difficulties or just personal taste. For this reason, we also read the forums of our supported fansites to gather feedback. This is a rather difficult task, since we community managers simply cannot speak all languages. So just like many of our players, we use translating tools to grasp the topic and the general tone of a player post.

Another source of feedback are our voluntary helpers. Especially the gamemasters inform us about difficulties and hot topics in the community.

The collection and evaluation of player feedback is a daily task of us community managers. We forward your feedback to the responsible departments, and participate in discussions using your arguments and stating what is on your minds. We also try to inform you in return about the responses we receive. We try to be as frank and as detailed as possible in our replies, but please understand that sometimes there is information that a company does not wish to share. Another reason why we sometimes cannot give you a clear and direct answer is that a general decision simply has not been made. While we are still in the progress of discussion, it is sometimes impossible to give you an answer to a question that appears to be rather easy. If we do not know the answer yet, we cannot give it to you.
Also, unfortunately, we do not have enough time to address all topics that are currently discussed in the community simultaneously. So we have to choose one topic after the other.

In order to be able to work with your feedback, the quality of your statements is important. Most certainly you will understand that if we read a sentence like "CipSoft sux" or "worst update ever", or any other form of pure ranting, we cannot know what it is that you are upset about. All it tells us is that there is something that you do not like. If you clarify though what you do not like, or for which reasons you think an idea is either good or bad, or which doubts you have, it helps us a lot more.

Not only we community managers collect feedback. Often, colleagues from other departments also check some threads in our forum and some fansite forums, especially if they find a discussion there that is of great interest to them. For example, you will usually find responses from somebody working in the content team and responses from a programmer during testing and update time on our boards, as well as on several fansite boards.

We are really grateful for your feedback, so if there is anything that you would like to share with us, you now know different ways to do so. General feedback about just any topic can directly be submitted in the feedback forms. If you state your opinion in different discussions on the different boards, you will also be heard. Further, such discussions are also a good chance to test your arguments. Maybe another player notices some weak points in your arguments and together you can then create a really strong argument. If you have a proposal that you would like to submit and discuss with others, the proposal board really is the best place for that.

We want to thank all of you who have already given us feedback on all kinds of topics. We hope that with this article we were able to show you a bit what we do with your feedback, and why sometimes things are done differently than you would expect or you think would be best.

Please continue to let us know what you think!
Your Community Managers

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