On Wednesday January 22, 2020 at 10:02 PM EST, berezaa posted the following message on the Discord server’s announcement channel:
This was followed (preceded? I don’t know the order of event here) by seemingly the removal of the sneak peeks channel from the server. However; as people soon discovered the sneak peeks channel was not removed from the server, instead it became a booster/tester/content creator/moderator/gamemaster/contributor/developer only visible room. Because that list is difficult to read, here is a list of people who can see sneak peeks in actual list format:
- Nitro boosters on the Vesteria discord server
- Person of the Hour
- Content Creators
Of course, there might be some ranks I’m missing, but I think that’s about it.
Now this change has caused some uproar in the community (as any change does), which can be seen through this topic named “Vive la RESISTANCE, VIVE LA REVOLUTION!”. But today I am here to provide a different outlook into this matter. I believe that there is good reason for the sneak peeks channel to have been moved and to stay moved into exclusive user territory. There are a few overarching reasons, and I will also provide reasons why each role should be allowed to see it.
For starters, let’s go over some general reasons why moving sneak peeks to an exclusive area is important for the growth of the game, the sanity of the developers and the community as a whole.
To begin with, let’s go over why moving sneak peeks was a good call in order to help the growth of the game. It’s a pretty simple reason. Whenever a sneak peek was posted to the public, it essentially meant that that sneak peek became a promise to be delivered in the next update, and any dates that were posted for an estimated release date became fact in the communities eyes.
Now, of course this didn’t mean that everyone though this same way, but a good chunk of the community did truly believe that if a sneak peek was posted, it was going to be in the game 100%. But that’s not how game development and balancing works. You might think you have a really good idea up until the point where it actually needs to fit in with the other pieces, and then all of a sudden your good idea doesn’t look so great. Because of this, you may need to scrap or re-work certain things in order to create a better final product.
Unfortunately, let’s say you already “sneak peeked” those things to the community. When they don’t appear in the final release, then you can expect a good number of people to call you out on that. Even if you try to explain that it’s for the best that it wasn’t in the game, people wont listen because it’s very hard to change opinion with facts.
The same thing goes with dates. Let’s say that you give an estimated release date. That release date becomes a hard deadline in the community’s eyes. If you say “oh, we hope to have this done for tomorrow”, all of a sudden that becomes translated to “we will have this done for tomorrow, 100%”. I’m guilty of this personally as well, hyping up something that ends up being “late”.
In reality, many of these “delays” are actually not delays, but instead just the team not meeting their estimates. Maybe they decided to add something else, re-work something or fix some new bugs they found, and because of this they were later finishing the update than expected. Even though the final product is better as a whole, people don’t see it that way. Instead, they see it as delayed, and use every bug you may have missed as proof that the update was hastily thrown together and rushed.
These two points make up one central argument: By showing off or by saying things that “probably” will be in the game or that something will “probably” be done by a certain time, it creates a deadline that people expect you to hit.
Of course, when you don’t hit those deadlines people get upset. The general public gets upset, specifically. So here, berezaa made a smart move: Only let the most dedicated of fans see what the dev team is working on and get estimated dates, so that way in the case that they can’t make those things work or they can’t make an estimated release date, the people who expected those things are going to be more likely to be okay and complain less about them being not met.
Think about it like this: Who is the most likely to boost the server? People who are heavily invested in the game. And it’s a smaller audience. Less people to disappoint should something not happen. These two things combined means that nitro boosters are more likely to look at the final product as a whole, not at individual sections, constantly nitpicking like the general public is more likely to do.
So that’s one argument for why the sneak peeks channel should be exclusive: People who have shown their investment in the game and who the devs can trust not to get mad should something not go as planned are the ones who get to see the stuff they’re working on that might get into the game, whereas people who haven’t, and people who just “play the game” and aren’t actually invested heavily into the game don’t get to see it so they wont get mad later on.
Let’s move onto my second point: The sanity of the developers. This sort of ties back to the previous argument about how it’s less people complaining.
Allow me to take you back a bit. November 2019. Mushtown, the main chat section of the Vesteria Discord server gets shutdown, possibly permanently. Why did it get shut down? Because of this simple reason alone:
“Mob mentality” was a word thrown around a lot for why Mushtown was shut down. A lot of people just absolutely hating on berezaa and the rest of the development team, and for what reason? Minor bugs, minor balance issues, a few changes to gameplay. That was it. That was what people got mad about out.
Let me bring out another example: The term “delayzaa” comes about any time an update is delayed. This is a direct attack on berezaa. There’s no other way to get around this. Sure, you can call it a joke, but an insult is an insult, you can’t just say it’s “funny”. Besides, it’s not all that humorous, and it’s developed to become a direct attack against the development head, so that’s another reason.
Now what do these two things have in common. Simple. People are trying to gets under the dev team’s skin. People want the game done in their image, and their image alone, no matter how many good ideas need to be trampled on. I am, for one, glad that stamina and death penalty became so upsetting to so many people because it shows that the dev team and berezaa specifically are taking the bull by the horns and bearing through the negativity in order to create a good product made in their vision.
Vesteria’s vision hasn’t changed, but people have changed the way they interpret it. It’s still meant to be open to everyone, casual and hardcore players alike. Don’t want to die and incur the death penalty? Fight lower level mobs. It takes a while longer to level up, but it prevents you from dying. That’s the causal person’s playthrough. Want to move through the game faster? Fight higher level mobs. It’s riskier, but there’s more benefits. That’s the hardcore player’s playthrough.
In reality, the death penalty provides a light version of what I was hoping for with permadeath, where you could speed through the game if you wanted to be extremely risky, or you could take it slow and be at no risk at any time.
But for some reason, a lot of people misconstrued this as being a direct attack towards casual players. In reality, it just opens the game up for an entirely new audience, while still retaining the ability for casual players to play, well, casually. It’s just that now casual players can’t take massive risks or die constantly until they level up.
This is an example of what I’m talking about. If you look passed the death penalty as an individual concept and look at the game as a whole and how it has developed since the death penalty was added, you can see what I’m talking about. Basically, by not focusing on individual features (like the average player who isn’t all that invested in the game would do) and rather focusing on the game as a whole, the game has steadily been improving.
Now, for my final overall reason why moving sneak peeks to be exclusive to actually good members in the community is a good idea. It encourages players to be more active, kinder and more helpful in the community.
What do I mean by this? Well, there’s two main ways to look at this.
For starters, the players who already have access to sneak peeks through boosting or being testers have no restrictions (as far as I’ve heard and seen) to post those sneak peeks to the forums or in Mushtown. There’s no real incentive to post in Mushtown other than from the thanks you might get, but on the forums it’s a different story. I am willing to bet that players who are willing to post sneak peeks to the forums will be able to get likes really easily. It’s almost a form of trade. You post sneak peeks, and others give you likes.
This, of course, leads to a problem which I’m sure many of you see off the bat: “AnswerRemoved, wont that just lead to people making low-effort topics in order to post leaks to gain likes, thus leading to a situation similar to Megami but tenfold in terms of like-baiting topics and posts?”. To an extent, you’re correct, this might be a problem. However, this is why we have moderators. If a post is low-effort, no matter who posted it, it will be taken down. Megami’s posts were not low effort, but they were like-baiting. This is perfectly fine, as long as you aren’t specifically asking for likes.
People who provide leaks would also have to provide additional information in order to not have their topics be classified as low-effort. This would mean more posts which encourage discussion, thus leading to a “second golden age of the forums” (the first being permadeath, when over 100 people were on the forums regularly).
On the other hand, people could also post in other threads, perhaps a sneak peek megathread which could eventually be created or the Vesteria image thread. This, in-turn, would boost whoever’s thread it is and their stats quite significantly.
Now, of course, no booster/tester/mod/gm/contributor/dev is obligated to post sneak peeks to the forums. But like I said before, I think you’ll see that when the first few people start to post sneak peeks to the forums and bring in a massive amount of likes, you’ll see a good number of people start to post sneak peeks as well.
Now, the second way to look at this is by considering what non-important members of the community would do to be able to access sneak peeks. Already, we’ve seen a large number of people boost the server in order to get access to sneak peeks.
At this point, I’d like to go off on a small tangent, somewhat related to this point. Nitro boosting a server does not get the creator of the server any money, it just allows them to do cool things for the server. People saying that sneak peeks is “pay to see” are downright wrong. There is no monetary incentive for the developers to change sneak peeks to be exclusive to boosters.
Now, back to the main point. I’ve already covered how a good number of people have begun to boost the server in order to get access to sneak peeks, but what I haven’t covered is how players might begin to look towards other roles which have access to sneak peeks, specifically being “Content Creator” and “Tester”
For starters, having new Content Creators is always good for the growth of the game. More exposure on other platforms means that the game will attract new players faster. It’s essentially free advertising. Of course, you’ll probably see a lot of people start to create Youtube videos, or even channels dedicated around Vesteria, as well as Twitch channels (or just start streaming Vesteria in general). It’s a win-win for everyone.
To get the Tester role is a lot harder. Right now, it’s pretty much inaccessible since the dev team does not need new testers (as far as I know of). Basically, whenever tester applications open up is the opportunity for people to put their best foot forward and become a tester.
Because of this, a lot more people will most likely apply for the tester role, and because of the fundamentals of “more things = more likely that one of those things has a certain attribute”, then it’s likely that you’ll see many good tester applications pop up, thus allowing for better quality testers in the tester program as a whole.
To sum up my point, you’ll most likely see a bunch of new content creators making original Vesteria content, thus driving up player counts without a single penny being spent on advertising, and when tester applications happen next you’ll most likely see a bunch of amazing testers come up.
Overall, there are many reasons why switching the sneak peeks channel to be booster/tester/content creator/moderator/gamemaster/contributor/developer only is a good call. These are only a few reasons, but I feel like they best sum up the main arguments I have for this point.
And let’s face it. 5$ a month isn’t that bad. Average monthly wage in the U.S is $4,893, according to Wikipedia and UNECE. Nitro is 0.1% of the average person’s monthly income.
Anyways, moving away from general argument, let’s go into specific reasons why each role that can see sneak peeks should be allowed to see sneak peeks, starting with most important to least important:
Developers: Obviously need to be able to see sneak peeks in order to post sneak peeks in the first place.
Contributors: Without sneak peeks, it would be nearly impossible to contribute relevant assets to the game provided they actively contribute to the game and even if they don’t actively contribute and have instead done things in the past for the game they clearly have shown their dedication to Vesteria and would understand how development works on these sorts of things.
Gamemasters/Moderators: They are specifically picked by berezaa, and therefore are extremely trustworthy and reliable community members. They are extremely unlikely to complain if an update is delayed or something doesn’t work out.
Content Creators: This one is easy. For starters, they have shown their dedication to Vesteria by creating original and quality content for the game, but also because by using sneak peeks they can make new videos to create even more hype to attract even more people either to the game for the first time or back to the game.
Testers: Obviously in order to see what they may need to test in the future, and provide relevant feedback on how certain things look.
Also, one small tangent about people complaining about testers. For those who are complaining about who the testers are, allow me to ask you this one simple question: “In that case, why are you not a tester yourself?”. Testers are some of the best, most active players in Vesteria.
I know what you’re thinking though, “a lot of testers are inactive”. In order to prove this untrue, I’d like to refer to a document I made a few days ago for a different reply to a post that ended up not going anywhere.
Now I know this is kind of hard to read (especially the names, which isn’t actually all that bad) but you really just need the colours. To explain this spreadsheet, let me explain what each of the columns represents:
To start, if the box is red, it means “no”, if the box is green, it means “yes”.
The first column is names of testers. Self explanatory.
The second column is if the tester has the game.The white boxes are people I couldn’t confirm having the game due to having a private inventory.
The third column is if they have a discord account in the Vesteria server which is not banned.
The fourth column is if they have a forum account with at least one post on it.
The fifth and final column is a bit special. It represents if the tester has talked in a public chatroom or on the forums since at least a month ago.
Of course, because tester chat exists and I can’t access it, the fourth column might not be accurate.
In general, you can see that at least half of the testers are still active, testing new updates. So don’t complain about testers not being active, because they are.
Now anyways, back to my main point. Testers should be able to see sneak peeks.
Person of the Hour: This is pretty self-explanatory. The Person of the Hour role is only given out by devs occasionally, typically for answering just a random question. Because it’s only for an hour, it essentially functions as a sneak peek to the sneak peeks. You’re able to see them for a bit before your role gets removed. Overall, not a huge deal, and most people who get Person of the Hour wont really be complaining about delays or removed features.
Nitro Boosters: This entire topic is basically dedicated to covering why Nitro Boosters deserve to see sneak peeks in length. See the first argument for more information.
So in conclusion, making the sneak peeks channel exclusive to only the most dedicated community members was a good call.