There are very few things you can count on here at DDOGamer.
Hard-hitting journalism? Hah.
Cutting edge commentary? Umm … no.
Any sort of quality whatsoever? As if.
But there has been one constant: when we get a new DDO Producer Letter, we are all over it. Detailed, line-by-line analysis, every word weighed against every other, a desperate attempt to glean what will be happening in the upcoming year from reams of text issued by people who generally, do not really want us to know what is happening in the upcoming year.
It becomes a game; a sort of dance. The producer gives out hinty little bits hidden by obfuscation; there is only enough information to let the same producer look back on the year later and say he (or she, although Vyvyanne was only our producer for a handful of months) delivered what he/she “promised”, all without really letting us know anything of consequence.
But not this time. The new Annual State of the Game Producer Letter is out, and there is nothing to analyze. No obfuscation. No hinty bits hidden amongst billows of prose. Apparently our latest producer values his words so highly that he has chosen to keep them all to himself. Calling it “terse” would be a severe understatement. There is, essentially, almost no letter at all. It is the opposite of a letter; a non-letter.
But don’t take my word for it. Look for yourself. I’ve included the entire thing in that image you see along the left side of this article. You’ll need to click the image to see the expanded, readable version, but no amount of clicking will apply content. Because there isn’t any. It is the most content-less State of the Game letter in the history of State of the Game letters.
“Ah but perhaps you are being unfair, disappointed that you don’t have enough grist for your bloggy mill”, I hear you saying that, or something similar, although I suspect you omit the flour mill metaphor.
And there is some truth to that. After all, we are not entitled to hints and clues about what is coming. There is no DDO bill of rights promising any of this, for that matter, we are not really entitled to any sort of State of the Game address.
Which is good since apparently we aren’t getting one.
Severlin is not playing coy. No hinty bits. No veiled clues. He is telling what is what in plain English. And apparently he is just not willing to do that any further down the road than the next update.
It is refreshing to see simple statements of what is coming. But it is very disappointing to see so little about the rest of the year. Update 31? 32? 33? Will these even exist?
The forums are discontented, but that is always the case, nothing useful to be gleaned from forum angst. There is speculation about the lack of information, including, perhaps inevitably, doomsayers suggesting that we are getting no information about the future because there isn’t going to be one.
That is just silly. Turbine is recruiting a new Player Council. Why go through all the trouble to recruit, filter, and seat a focus group if there won’t be any game development to vet?
I am sure there is nothing to the doomsayers, I am sure that Severlin is releasing such an abbreviated letter for the exact reasons he states; he wants to communicate more frequently. He wants to be able to change his plans based on feedback from us. Or at least I imagine those are genuinely some of the reasons behind the change; even someone as frank as Severlin has been is not going to show us his whole hand.
But still. So little new information. So little.
I broke it down mathematically because I do that kind of thing. There is less new information than there is anything else in the letter:
The gnome art is fun, but was shown to the Player Council last October. Not new. None of that is new. Gnomes themselves are not new, Severlin hinted about them all last year, and made it official four months ago.
There are exactly 71 words of new information in the whole letter. 71 words. He might as well have released the State of the Game address as a tweet.
I like knowing that there is an over-arching strategy laid out for the upcoming year. I like knowing something about what might be coming. I like Severlin’s forthrightness, but I think this is a forthright step too far. We need the rest. We need a full State of the Game letter.
Severlin, releasing a full letter does not prevent you from updating it every quarter, or communicating more often, or responding to player feedback. The letter is not for you. It is for us.
Come on Severlin, where’s the rest of the letter?
🙂 😀 🙂
p.s. In case you are counting, this article is more than twice as long as the producer letter. And every bit as informative.