One big Bungie change that I would love for Destiny 2... (Destiny)

by Korny ⌂ @, Dalton, Ga. US. Earth, Sol System, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 15:02 (9 days ago)
edited by Korny, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 15:16

In anticipation of tomorrow's huge reveal, and with the positive reception of the recent Bungie Podcast, I've been thinking about how much I love getting insight from devs, and how little Bungie communicates with players (if you were to filter out their "Community Focus" posts, you'd end up with hardly anything besides the Weekly Updates, which often consist of little more than a few paragraphs promising info on actual content "Soon™"). It's one of the biggest differences from "old Bungie", where it felt like the Weekly update was a look into the minds of the studio and the content that we were getting.

You'd think a changing game like Destiny would make something like this even more of a priority, but we hardly ever get anything besides a few streams when a major bit of content is dropping, and otherwise the rare ride-along which is the closest thing.
So what do I propose? I would love for something as "simple" as a once-a-month dev stream, where a handful of the devs could join Deej or Cozmo to discuss aspects of the game development (RIP ViDocs). There's even great existing examples of how Bungie could do it.

Now, I want to stress that this isn't a "typical" Warframe post, but as I've praised them before, nobody that I know does Streams quite like Digital Extremes. They have at least three streams every single week (one where they play with PS4 folks, one where they play on Xbox, and one every Thursday where community managers Rebecca and Megan play together and do things like giveaways, contests, highlighting fan art and community members, and filling players in on any news that they might have missed), and every other week, they have a special Dev stream where a handful of the studio leads get together to communicate with fans. And they not only chat and discuss the game's development, but their streams are hugely entertaining in their own right, and full of actual information and peeks behind the curtain.

I want to highlight their newest Dev stream as a great example of what Bungie could do, both in formatting and content:

2:12 -- Start

It's where the stream starts... I can really only nitpick that Bungie never seems ready for their streams, advertising a specific starting time, but almost always taking 10-15 minutes to get started. It sucks that most all of their streams are around lunchtime, so it just bothers me that they take forever, especially when they cut off the stream at a certain time (a more cynical guy would say that they're just deliberately burning time).

3:00 -- Housekeeping

"Housekeeping" is performed, which the devs use to fill in players on any current events and activities. As the game always has events going on (with specific Gift of the Lotus events every dev stream), this is a good way to fill players in on what is currently going on in the game world.

Unfortunately, Destiny has really long stretches with no activities going on besides the weekly reset events, which I hope changes with Destiny 2. Regardless, it's nice to fill in players on what activities are planned for the week/month, as well as some quick troubleshooting and other info that helps players get situated. As it stands, the Weekly update is essentially a Housekeeping, letting us know about Iron Banner dates and loot, as well as Destiny Player Support. It's sometimes informative, but it's all stuff that can be covered in a few minutes.

3:58 -- News

Info on content coming to the game, as well as general news outside of the game world, such as info on current contests and upcoming events (their yearly convention is coming up, so that's a big part of the news).

Bungie could use this to highlight their own "Community Focus" articles, as well as stuff like upcoming events, if they were to host any in D2, and essentially as an extension of the Housekeeping. As it stands, Bungie's "News" section is pretty much just "Unite The Clans" "Community Focus" and "Weekly Update".

5:50 (20:40, 28:10, 40:45 & 54:50) -- Giveaways

A great way to draw players to the streams (leading to a more informed playerbase, and giving folks incentive to stick with the stream), DE does multiple giveaways throughout the stream, including a pretty huge final giveaway on par with giving away a copy of a new game (in terms of value).
Bungie could do something similar with giving away a series of Exotics (complete with Ornament), Silver, or emblems and special emotes. Something to keep the spice flowing, and folks coming back every week/month.

7:57 (& 9:38) -- Teasing upcoming content.

In this instance, it's the new issue of a webcomic, new enemy weapon, and a WiP of a new enemy type that uses the aforementioned weapon.

Bungie likes to keep hush about everything, without ever dropping so much as a hint of what's coming. Remember when they'd give us a rotating QT of a new asset, or an audio clip of a new weapon? Nowadays it's nothing but vague promises, and occasionally dedicating three entire streams to show off content updates and balance tweaks. It's underwhelming to say the least.

9:00 -- Answering player questions/ dialogue with the audience.

A significant chunk of the stream is dedicated to answering questions from players, explaining design choices, and generally just having a discussion about the direction of the game or the state of promised content. They even take suggestions from the stream chat into account, which often leads to decisions being made during the stream (such as a great one where they noticed that many people in the chat wanted to play with a pretty huge bug (mutated pet fusions with broken character models) that they said was already squashed, and they decided to "unfix" the bug to give folks more time to enjoy it).

This is a pretty huge one that Bungie simply tends to avoid. Sure, Destiny Player Support has the rare question and answer, but that's mainly for troubleshooting. I'd love to see a Bungie that has a dialogue with players, and acknowledges issues or design choices. Sure, not everyone will agree with what they have to say, but at least folks will know that they're being heard, and it's easy to respect a studio that doesn't hide behind PR BS and statements that are just vague and deflecting (like a certain curator of one of Bungie's old franchises).

22:58 -- Showing off fan-made content/implementation of fan requests.

DE highlights a piece of fan-made content that is being added to the game. Fan-created stuff is regularly added to the game (Whenever someone buys their creations, those fans receive a cut of the sale, and with a playerbase in the millions, it can be a great way for modelers to get some recognition and profit), which helps add a bit to the sense of community (I've bought a handful of things to support those artists and the devs). They also show off an upcoming change that increases player choice and customization, as it was one of the biggest fan requests, and they discuss further changes in the Q&A portion of the stream).

Bungie has the Community Creations, sure. But none of that has ever directly led to anything. Fans have made some truly great concepts and artwork, but I've never seen anything in the game that was inspired by any of it (well, there was that one time...). I think it's a real shame, and while you can totally end up in some legal gray areas, I'm sure fans would love to know that they have some positive influence in the game world (instead of just knowing that they are one of the reasons for the closure of a loot cave, or the nerfing of a weapon).

24:48 -- Showcasing the WiP content that is close to release.

In DE's case, it's another example of fan-requested content. In this case, it's the addition of multiplayer to the game's Photo Mode. I just want to make that bold, because of how awesome that sentence is. Imagine being able to hop into Photo Mode with your team at the end of a Raid, and then sharing the photos that you all took of your new loot. I just... Dang.
Oh, and they also show off the new Inquisitor-themed Warframe, bugs and all.

If Bungie would show off some of the exotics, maps, and/or events that they're working on, it would lead to some great discussions, and likely contribute to some changes in the game that would make more people happy. It would also help people get an idea of what they could look for in the future, which ideally would make them want to hop back on.

42:00 -- Answering chat questions collected over the stream.

Again, dialogue with the playerbase is important. By this point in the stream, folks may have some new questions about the things they've seen, and the devs spend the rest of the stream addressing those questions.

It really just speaks for itself, but the vibe I've always gotten from Bungie's streams is that they're eager to get out of there. They show off the handful of things that were specifically chosen for the stream, and then they book it. Combine that with the fact that they take forever to even start the stream, and it just feels like not a lot of energy goes into the streams. I'd like to see a bigger dialogue. The fact that DE takes two different opportunities to have a dialogue is huge, and I think Bungie could at least try to do it once in a stream.

53:00 -- A telling moment.

Rebecca remembers that a new feature for the game's chat has a working build, and she (almost literally) jumps at the chance to show it off (don't fall in love). This is a very telling moment. Rather than putting it off until it's completely ready, DE is eager to show off what they're working on.

This is all a rough recap of the stream (a dedicated fan always makes a quality recap video every week, amplifying the entertainment levels, while still being very informative. You should watch them, she's a low-brow comedic genius), but it essentially gives you an idea of the effort that these guys put into communicating with their players. 3-4 streams a week is a tall order, but DE's been doing it for ages. Once a month would not be impossible for a bigger studio like Bungie, and hopefully Destiny 2 can be a fresh start in a lot of ways.

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