Blizzard Hosting European Fansite Summit + Drama


Blizzard hosting European Fansite Summit in their Paris offices, and they’ve invited a number of fansite operators and streamers from the EU region to attend. Given where we are in the beta for Reaper of Souls I can’t imagine any *new* info that will come from it, and I only mention it in the news here since 1) you never know, 2) there’s a huge, QQ-filled thread about it on B.net with many Blue replies, and 3) since I was an attendee at a fansite summit at Blizzard last summer I have some first hand insight.

Here’s my article about the event from last July, and we also talked a about it on Diablo 3 Podcast #97. My main take away from the event was the value of direct, honest, face-to-face conversation with the community managers and developers, and I think the EU streamers will benefit from that as well.

Looking back at at my Fansite Summit article now… it’s informative, but oddly-obsessed with “will we see a big D3 patch in the next couple of months?” At least that seems odd now; at the time that’s all people wanted to know so I was mostly acting as the mouthpiece for the community. My predictions from the start of that piece turned out pretty well too, though at the time they were the main reason Blizzard didn’t promote my article very intensively.

Anyway, here is Lylirra’s post from start of the new thread about the upcoming European fansite summit.

It’s a community summit, wherein in fan sites and influencers from all of our different Blizzard communities (SC2, WoW, D3, and HS) based in Europe are invited to the local office in Versailles to come hang out, meet other players, meet the EU community team and learn a bit more about how they operate, and provide feedback about what the EU community team could be doing better. Our EU community team does this on the yearly, and we’ve had similar summits here in the US as well. (To my knowledge, this is actually the first year that the EU team has invited players who aren’t directly affiliated with fan sites. They’ve hosted these summits for something like 5 years now, though — which makes me wonder why this year’s summit is suddenly causing concern.)

It’s not a press tour or anything of the kind, particularly it since includes fan sites/influencers from all of our games, not just D3. It’s more about getting some members of the local community together, understanding how everyone could work together better, and generally facilitating mingling among like-minded people (“like minded-people” = fan sites and influencers from all of Blizzard’s different gaming communities).

There are *lots* more, as she adds more details and quickly begins trying to argue down a fair number of, “why are those streamers getting to attend but not me!?!” complaints. Down the rabbit hole you go:

Understanding how everyone could work better to do what exactly?
How better to serve the community.

A summit like this gives the EU community team a chance to say “Hey, this is who we are and what we do. Here are our main goals and challenges. And here are some ways we could work together to better serve the community.”

In turn, it gives EU fan sites and influencers (people who serve the community as well in their own way) a chance to say “Hey, this is who we are and what we do. Here are our main goals and challenges. And here are some ways the community team can help us better serve the community.”

As noted, this is something that the EU community team has been hosting for years now and all the gaming communities are represented, not just D3. The summit itself is not really about giving game feedback, though (since we have a lot of channels for that already); it’s about improving/building relationships with members of the community who are also supporting the community itself and figuring out ways that we can help each other do what we do better.

So….Only streamers and youtuber’s are community?
Not at all. They’re just one part of it (albeit typically a part that does that whole “members of the community who are also supporting the community itself” thing).

If you have an issue with who specifically was invited, that’s fine. I can absolutely pass that info along to our EU community team.

Either you are insulting our intelligence or are just really naive.

This is nothing but a lame (albeit effective) way for Blizzard to earn some quid pro quo with people who have influence on others opinions about the quality/buyability of a product that your company just so happens to have for sale.

Sincere question: You think it’s better that we (we = community managers) don’t meet with or otherwise try to work with fan sites and other influencers to figure out how we can better support the player community?

If your answer is “yes,” that’s cool. We’ll just have to agree to disagree. But I’m curious why you think that kind of relationship and outreach isn’t actually meaningful or worth the investment.

Speaking on behalf of the US community team, we think our fan site owners (like Diablo Fans and Diablo IncGamers), YouTubers (like RedTeamGaming and Quelric), as well as lot of streamers (like Archon, DatModz, MadMori, and cdxliv) — just to name a few in each category — have done a lot and do a lot to build and support the D3 community. It’s important to us to in turn support that as much as possible, since it helps a lot of players in a very real way. Summits are just one way to do that; for EU, I think summits work out well due to how many fan sites and influencers there are in Europe itself across all the different game communities, and getting everyone in one place at one time is helpful (or at least has proven to be useful in the five previous years they’ve done this kind of thing).

I sincerely hope you don’t believe this. I’m not trying to troll you, this is just insanity. These guys aren’t talk show host, they have people who watch them play video games. Many people don’t even care to hear commentary, they just want to watch them play the game, and majority of the time that’s all it is.

Wow this planet is messed up.
I do believe it, and if that makes me a little mad in your mind, so be it. I’ve certainly been called worse. 🙂

I think streamers including, but not limited to MadMori, Moldran, Archon, Jaetch, DatModz (plus the folks at IncGamers, Reddit Diablo, and Diablo Fans who stream) can do a lot of good for a community — not only because they often aim to help their viewers, but also because they provide entertainment. And, of course, players enjoy it.

They also frequently interact with other members of the community and, more often than not, generate a ton of constructive feedback. They get players talking about things, which helps us gather the information we need to pass on. Essentially, they’re information brokers without really realizing it.

Sure, it’s somewhat self-serving, but given how much time some of these guys (and gals) dedicate to streaming, I’m glad they’re able to get something out of it.

honestly with bliz sending out beta keys to these bozos and not to the ppl who still play the game is just shameful and not this?
Just an FYI, another 3k+ beta keys went out last Friday to active players (1k to NA players, 1k to EU players, and 1k to Asia players), bringing the opt-in total to about 20k at this point. On the flip side, individual keys have only gone out to about 500 players worldwide, many of which were just your average nephalem who we noticed providing great feedback here on the forums, on Twitter, in-game, and on other community sites.

As we noted earlier when it launched, Closed Beta is incredibly small and will remain small throughout its duration, but proportionally opt-ins absolutely dominate the invite list. That’s intentional.

What does any of this have to do with making great video games?
It’s about building and supporting a gaming community. That’s what community managers work to do. That’s also what many fan sites, streamers, YouTubers, bloggers, MVPs, and — heck — even some players who’ve accrued large followings on Twitter work to do, as well, and we want to support that endeavor. In fact, there’s lots of great posters here that work towards that same goal, though may not even realize it.

If you can build and a support a gaming community, that leads to great discussions and feedback, which can in turn help with making great video games. Similarly, if you can build and a support a gaming community, that also (in many cases) leads to a better overall experience with game itself — for some players, at least, certainly not everyone.

I also cab understand that you invited them, but how many,?
That’s not a question I can answer. I’m not a participant in the EU community summit nor have I had any hand in planning it personally. You’d need to reach out to the EU community team. 🙂

I’m only speaking as someone who’s participated and hosted similar summits in the US.

It sounds like Blizzard is actually having a twerp party. They will pick the two biggest geeks and escort them to this party in Paris and win the bet they are having.

What better choice than a couple of Youtube Yahoo’s.
You may just be trolling (I honestly can’t tell), but if you’re not (which may totally be the case), I just want to clarify that Moldran and KingKongor are not the only individuals invited. They’re just likely the only individuals who’ve made videos about it. I imagine that many of the fansites listed here are also invited. There may also be some English sites invited, depending on where they’re geographically located.

There will also be fan sites and influencers from all of our gaming communities in EU in attendance, not just D3.

Or you can just focus on making a great video game and the community will grow around that organically
Yes, and that’s what our developers are working toward. Meanwhile, the community team is working toward building and supporting the community around that game. They’re definitely not mutually exclusive goals and actually go hand-in-hand (which you’ve suggested).

Hosting a summit doesn’t hinder the first goal and directly supports the second. I understand some players may take issue with the idea of summits, and I can totally respect that. If the summits continue going well, though, I imagine the EU community team will continue to host them, as they have for about 5 years now. I also imagine they’ll continue to explore other community events which include a wider audience — like hosting get-togethers at Meltdown bars and even having open round tables at gamescom (which I actually had the opportunity to participate in this last year).

For those who may have missed it, here’s the actual goal of these summits:

A summit like this gives the EU community team a chance to say “Hey, this is who we are and what we do. Here are our main goals and challenges. And here are some ways we could work together to better serve the community.”

In turn, it gives EU fan sites and influencers (people who serve the community as well in their own way) a chance to say “Hey, this is who we are and what we do. Here are our main goals and challenges. And here are some ways the community team can help us better serve the community.”

As noted, this is something that the EU community team has been hosting for years now and all the gaming communities are represented, not just D3. The summit itself is not really about giving game feedback, though (since we have a lot of channels for that already); it’s about improving/building relationships with members of the community who are also supporting the community itself and figuring out ways that we can help each other do what we do better.

I noticed some posters assuming something different, so I just wanted to clarify. I know some blue posts are easy to miss. 🙂

can you blues reply to the other MORE important threads?

this thread is so useless and pointless lol

please use your time more wisely…

thank you.
Like which ones (i.e. what do you personally define as important)?

Also what resource barriers did you run into?
People barriers. 🙂 Our team was only 3 persons strong at the time, including myself, and we just didn’t have enough man power to maintain the project + all the other baseline tasks on our plate. AtD is what got cut, unfortunately. I’d like to bring it back before RoS ships now that we’ve got Nevalistis (yay!), starting with finishing off the itemization questions. The developers have certainly been interested!

i’m not saying that reflects poorly on you,
Nah. This one can legitimately fall on me. We’ve got a strong team and had I managed our other projects and timelines better (i.e. managed the resources better), it likely would have been fine. Not trying to fall on my sword or anything, just trying to place fault where it’s due.

Lesson certainly learned and respected on my part.

Why didn’t you tell us you cut the program until now?
Pretty sure we’ve posted about it here and there, though granted not on the front page — which, yeah, it probably should have gone. Not sure if it’s worth making a post now, but it’s something I’m totally happy to consider. We’d like to bring it back AtD back either way, at least to finish off the itemization questions, if not then continue it, but maybe in a different format based on feedback we got from participants.

Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you got any additional suggestions, btw!

How does a team of 3 people including yourself constitute a “strong” team? that sounds downright understaffed to me
Strength isn’t always related to size, though we’ve definitely staffed up since that point. (Also, note that each gameplay region — US, LatAm, EU, TW, and KR — has their own community team, and each of those community teams is totally dedicated to supporting players in their respective regions. There’s a big ol’ network of us, even if we don’t all work in the same office.)

I spent time reading and voting on questions for ask the devs only to be told now that they cut the program with out telling us.
I’m done here.

Have a good day.
I respect that completely, thanks for being honest like that. I’d certainly like to make that up to you and players who feel the same way by completing the last round before patch 2.0.1/RoS ships (noted this earlier, but you may have missed the post). Would you be willing to email at [email protected]d.com, like I offered before, and share your personal thoughts on what you’d like to see from AtD and how you’d like it to grow?

(That offers open to everyone, btw.)

Lylirra, not trying to kick you when your down but, there are plenty of good ideas out there regarding communication.
I know, and I’ve probably seen most of them. Or many of them, at least. My post doesn’t invalidate those at all and was more to encourage Boges specifically to share his thoughts.

Ms. Lylirra, how come you guys need to meet these cyber celebrities (that’s all they really are) in person to understand what the community wants for this game? I really don’t get it.
The summit actually has different goals than that. Did you read my earlier posts, out of curiosity? If not, I can link.

PS – You never bought me a beer at BlizzCon like you promised. 🙁

I read your previous posts and my takeaway is the summit is primarily aimed at serving the community better.
Yup, that’s the gist. Not just the D3 community, either — but the SC2, WoW, and HS communities in Europe too (and maybe HOTS, but not sure; might be a little too early for that).

Anyway, all that said — I’ve made note of all the feedback here and will be sure to pass it along to our EU counterparts. You can always reach out to them directly by posting in the EU forums, if you’d like, but I’m happy to act as the conduit if not.

I’m not sure if people asking, “why invite fansite admins and streamers with thousands of viewers instead of me random forum poster?” are serious, but I think that’s pretty obvious. Yes, it’s sort of a reward for people who spend their time promoting and discussing the game, but also those people are self-selecting with their interest and time, and they are pretty good bets to know what’s going on in the community and game, and perhaps most importantly, they can communicate the event to a larger audience.

We did get to talk to the devs and bounce around some game ideas at the fansite summit I attended, but 1) everything we said they’d already considered at length, and 2) that’s not really what the event is about. It’s a “Fansite summit” which is by definition largely about community relations. I suppose it’s possible that a gaming company could invite a bunch of 5000+ hours played fanatics to an event just to brainstorm new game ideas and fixes, but 1) that’s not a fansite summit and 2) almost by definition, the issues of greatest importance to super hardcore players aren’t going to be real impactful on the experience of the vast majority of players.

That’s kind of the eternal conundrum of ongoing video game development and fan interaction; the people who speak out the loudest are often those who play the most and are thus only concerned with a very narrow range of end game topics. And those squeaky wheels get the grease, it’s why most patches post-release tack on added end game content without making any major changes or revisions to the overall game. (For better or worse.)

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Blue Posts, Community Relations

Comments

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  1. Thanks for sharing this, Flux. I hadn’t seen it on the official forums, so I’m glad you pointed it out. It’s interesting to see how the community managers at Blizz (and probably most game community managers) do their jobs.

  2. Flying KK to Paris, way to go!

  3. Wow, those comments and QQ in that thread really shows what a bunch of morons the diablo community is.

  4. “there’s a huge, QQ-filled thread about it on B.net”

    *headdesk*

  5. This may be a new record for “stupidest thing online fans got angry about”, which is really impressive cuz people have gotten mad over some really really really stupid things.

    Kudos to Lylirra for maintaining her cool in the face of such overpowering idiocy when I’m sure she really just wanted to put her fist through her monitor so she wouldn’t have to continue coddling all these endlessly whiny, spoiled children.

    • “Kudos to Lylirra for maintaining her cool in the face of such overpowering idiocy”

      Lylirra (and all forum CMs) is a payed employee of Blizzard Ent. From their blue answers it is pretty clear that:

      1. They know that the state of the game is terrible but they are saying what they are paid for

      2. The know sh*t about the game and they think that they are saying the truth

      3. Combination of 1. and 2.

      • And from the white questions, it is pretty clear that Diablo fans are a cesspool of slime that don’t deserve a fraction of the effort Blizzard puts into trying to placate them.

  6. If you put some “spoiled children” posts aside, there are many contructive posts that are clearly being ignored.

    Q:
    “can you blues reply to the other MORE important threads?
    this thread is so useless and pointless lol
    please use your time more wisely…
    thank you.”
    A:
    “Like which ones (i.e. what do you personally define as important).”

    I mean really? There are tons of constructive posts in US forums that are being ignored and CMs are (immediately) replying to posts like “what monster would you like to have as your pet” or similar stupid thing.

    Q:
    “Or you can just focus on making a great video game and the community will grow around that organically”

    No, they need to invite few youtube so-called-celebrities (which are using exploits and bugs to their advantage on live streams) which will promote their subpar game. To me, best way to promote your game is to make it GREAT… and people will come (Dark Souls). Or maybe just playing their own game?

    • “I mean really? There are tons of constructive posts in US forums that are being ignored”

      What do you mean by ignored? The fact that CMs don’t reply to any of these thread? What should they say?

      “No, they need to invite few youtube so-called-celebrities”

      They can’t invite every single people to these summits, so the best they can do to improve community relations is to invite people whose streams and videos are watched by the most people. They are the best candidates for community ambassadors and chances are they read a lot of comments every day about the game on the channels.

      • Please, HR, don’t dignify this mess with attempts to reason with them….

      • “They can’t invite every single people to these summits”

        Are you a Blizzard employe? You are using the same logic. If someone says do “more than one” thing, they say that they cannot do “all” things (one extreme to another).

        “…best they can do to improve community relations…”
        The best way to do this is by answering the freaking question about the state of the game (design issues).

        @yovargas:
        Yes, let’s stick your heads to the sand and pretend than no problems exists. Or let’s make another “Ask the developers” session, they are so awesome!

        • “Are you a Blizzard employe?”

          No.

          “You are using the same logic.”

          Because it makes perfect sense to me as well.

          “If someone says do “more than one” thing, they say that they cannot do “all” things (one extreme to another).”

          You are right about this. But then tell, who should they invite and why? Why do you think that the people who stream the game for hours everyday, while reading fan questions and comments about the game shouldn’t be the ones to get an invite?

          “The best way to do this is by answering the freaking question about the state of the game (design issues).”

          Travis did that recently. I’m sure he’s very happy with the reaction he got.

          Again: *headdesk*

          • I you read my comment carefully you will notice that I am not saying that they should invite someone. They need to improve communication on daily basis (not just answering useless questions), not inviting youtube exploiters to boost the game hype.

            “Travis did that recently.”

            He said that everything is fine. Then some players were raging because the legendary-find frame was few times bigger that Travis said it should be (possibly a bug). But then he said that they will increase the drop rate by 100% (2x). So if the bug still persists, nothing will change.

  7. Blizzard’s community managers are really bad. Mostly they don’t know anything about the state of the game but they keep speaking on the forums just to mark activity. All they are saying is nothing but bullshits. I am totally disappointed from the game, from the community managers, the marketing department forcing the developers to cut good ideas so they can sell more and more expansions. BLIZZARD, YOU SUCK!

  8. This event thing is just the trigger Blizzard invite people who can give publicity. Care?

    People are probably reacting, not due to this even itself, but because they feel Blizzards communication is not very good.
    Just look at the focus in the above thread, on the canceled Q&As.

    Leading up to RoS there is next to no feedback from Blizzard.
    That isnt about Blizzard going into every thread and responding to players, but it should be about targeted responses like the one we saw on droprates. It should be blog posts. Developers posting about the vision and direction of the game.
    That is not really the CMs job, the CMs are just around to gather feedback and facilitate a “friendly environment” on the forums and such (talk about an impossible job).

    Tell people about the game you are making. Tell about your visions, your reasons for doing this and that.

    • “Tell people about the game you are making. Tell about your visions, your reasons for doing this and that.”

      It is pretty obvious that they have no visions or scope of the game and they proved it many times already. Maybe that’s why are the silent about every major issue.

      • At this point, they have been very vocal about nearly every major issue and about their ideas for how to solve them.

        • Like itemization (main stat issue) or character development? Because if they think Loot 2.0 (legendary gimmicks and +1000 main stat) or Paragon 2.0 (+0.2% crit. chance) will solve that, then God help us all.

  9. QUOTE

    Tell people about the game you are making. Tell about your visions, your reasons for doing this and that.

    They pretty much explain every damn thing they do. If you’re a regular reader, you probably know the rational behind nearly every significant decision.

  10. Have to disagree that Blizzard has been vocal about what they have done and what they intend to do.
    Just some examples where silence is more prevalent than blogs:

    – Difficulty. HP, more HP and some more? Is that the vision?

    – Density. I dont think it is an issue and are happy to see it lowered. Blizzard have been quite silent about it though.

    – Sockets/gems? Working as intended?

    – Single resists vs AR? Working as intended?

    – Crowd control affixes? Do they consider RoS to be living up to previously stated goals for combat?

    – Trifecta and stat balance? Well, they have said a ton about this over time, but is that still their vision, and if so, do they think they have reached their goal in RoS?

    – End game plans?

    – Survival bonus?


    @Cmelda. Actually yeah, they should do more ‘Ask the developer’.

    • Lylirra said that they want to bring back AtD now that they have Nevalistis helping them. At the very least they want to do the promised update on the itemization before the release of the expansion. It’s even quoted above, although it’s lost among the many useful feedback the community provided about the summit.

      “Sockets/gems? Working as intended?”

      Travis touched on this topic at the last BlizzCon in an interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrS_th5AI00&t=593

      “Survival bonus?”

      It’s already on the PTR, although it’s barely noticeable. You can randomly find Pool of Reflections. They look like health shrines at the moment, but with a yellow color. They grant you 25% bonus experience for 10% of your total XP bar. The bonus stacks in a way that after 10 pools you’ll have the 25% bonus until you level up. The bonus is only lost on death, not on logout.

      It’s kinda the reverse of the D2 SC death penalty in a way, although it provides much less incentive for the players to avoid death at the moment. I would increase the bonus a whole lot or change it to something else.

      As for the rest, you really should ask about these on the official forums. I’d be very interested in hearing their thoughts as well, you would definitely have my upvote. 🙂

    • Ah, well, yes, they don’t always get into the nitty gritty details of things that are a work in progress because….they are a work in progress. But based on previous history I’d expect posts on half those topics when they have something to actually say.

  11. QUOTE

    It's already on the PTR, although it's barely noticeable. You can randomly find Pool of Reflections. They look like health shrines at the moment, but with a yellow color. They grant you 25% bonus experience for 10% of your total XP bar. The bonus stacks in a way that after 10 pools you'll have the 25% bonus until you level up. The bonus is only lost on death, not on logout.

    I know its in beta/ptr. But another example of implementing something (that tbh seems close to useless) without talking about the goal.

    This isnt really about asking them. People spam their forums each day about any imaginable and unimaginable topic. That is rarely answered. Nor should it be. The forums are a mess.
    Blizzard should just be more communicative on their own.

    The stuff Travis has done with droprates, adding lengthy posts on how it works, why it work like that, and what the goals are. That was great.

    • “Blizzard should just be more communicative on their own.”

      I agree. Reading Travis’ and Wyatt’s detailed posts always gave me hope that we’ll see more of that in the future, they were awesome. I’d really like to see at the very least monthly “state of the game” type blog or forum posts from the team, about every area of the game (art, sound, UI, code, game design). What are they working on in those departments and what are they trying to achieve?

  12. CM’s job is not to reply to every thread out there. They do reply to some threads and mark them as more important and also ask for more details and opinions & thoughts about the topic.

    Their main job is to spot some good feedback from the forum and forward it to developers&designers. Of course we don’t know how much and which threads they forwrd to developers.. which also means that it is pretty much useless to comment about.

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