Unintended Behavior (of developers)

Thanks, it feels really good to read this article and you’re exactly on the ball. I don’t think people on this forum realize how hard we at Trendy work to make this game for you guys. Many of us have never personally been paid and have been living off of our own savings (of which are almost nothing, since we’re so young) to make this game. We often put in over 70-80 hours a week and more. Yes we make mistakes (that much is clear), but we are not setting out to nor are we setting out to take anyone’s money.

And I can’t comment about our financial issue, but I’d implore everyone to remember… Steam, Epic, D3, Reverb, Contractors, Investors, et. all get cuts from the game and its DLC. We’re putting in all this extra work and putting out all this extra content and patches because we want to and we want to have a product you enjoy playing. Dungeon Defenders was never intended to be a game that people played as much as you all have played it (especially not as much as an MMO) and we’re working really hard to get you more content and more gameplay out of the content you have.
Pmasher, Trendy Entertainment

What I’m wondering is how the game came to be one that encouraged and supported playing that much. (I’m not sure much “that much” is, but you can imagine it’s pretty high for forum-dwellers, presumably 100-200 hours already for people playing it at an MMO rate.) It seems easier just not to support the development direction they took, with many patches and ongoing development. You need some ongoing development if you want to sell DLC, but I never heard anyone complain about Orcs Must Die! for not being an MMO. (Although I have not heard more than 2 or 3 sentences about Orcs Must Die!, so either it is not getting much buzz or I’m just reading the wrong things. Active development does fuel ongoing discussion.) I think of Runic Games, which seems to have taken suggestions and plugged them into Torchlight 2 rather than extending Torchlight 1. Once development stops, you can love or hate the game for what it is, rather than what you still might wish it to become.

I can see several reasons why development is continuing post-release, but the patches are increasingly supporting long-term, heavily dedicated play. You could take it in a different direction, one where you say, “You beat the game. Congratulations!” and move on, maybe visiting every couple of months to check out DLC. (Add a player notification option there, some way to call people back.) Instead, the direction seems to be one that is putting increasing demands on Trendy without generating a lot more revenue. Maybe future DLC will add some revenue, say release another four-pack of maps every two months for $5-$10 with an “ongoing story,” although the story is not “going” much to start.

Runic also took the path of encouraging modding, rather than running an official server. That reduces control but limits the unending commitment to maintaining a service after you have sold the game. I have no idea how much effort TrendyNet involves, but there are still enough hardcore Diablo II players to support gold- and item-selling sites for that today. If the fanbase is unpleasable now, imagine if the official server goes away.

: Zubon

5 thoughts on “Unintended Behavior (of developers)”

  1. I think this may be an example of being too eager to please the player base. Not only are they listening to the most hardcore and vocal members, but they’re also tossing aside any business rationale in their pursuit of making those players happy. It’s an easy trap to fall into; I’m about to release an app for the iPhone and I can already feel the temptation to change it based on feedback I don’t have yet!

  2. I saw that Dungeon Defenders had a lot of emphasis on co-op play and gave it a pass. If I wanted to put up with other people, I’d play WoW. I grabbed Orcs Must Die! and haven’t regretted it for a second. Awesome tower defense gameplay.

    1. For the most part I agree with the avoiding pugs — I still haven’t joined a pug to this day in Dungeon Defenders.

      However there’s a lot to be said for a game you can pick up and play with your friends. That pushes a good single player game over the top.

      I would agrue that Dungeon Defenders is an excellent single player game (especially since you can swap out heros and combine defenses with ease). In many ways it’s best to play solo.

  3. Ah, the dark side of “live” games. I kinda like it when games are just “publish and move on” instead of “keep mutating the silly thing”.

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