An appeal to Frontier...

Dear Frontier,

The following is said from a place of respect and of love for the game, its community, and the talented and lovely people at Frontier Developments. With a desire to see Elite Dangerous improve as a game, and to see Frontier-Community relations to be as harmonious, vibrant and strong as possible.

I would like to draw attention to widespread serious concerns about Frontier Developments lack of communication with the Elite community, of Community Management. Especially in connection with the exploration community in the game.

Background

Let's set the scene with some important facts and information.
  • Elite: Dangerous is Frontiers most prestigious and profitable game
  • The Elite gaming community is widely recognised as probably the best full stop, even by fans of other games
  • Elite community events provide FDev with masses of free content
  • Community generated content is largely what keeps people playing Elite, especially with the large gaps between updates
  • Event organisers and staff spend a massive amounts of their own time doing what is in essence a full on extra job
  • Like their Content Creator colleagues, Events staff ultimately contribute to Frontiers profits

Central points

  1. Frontier did virtually nothing to cover the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Anniversary. Which for a space simulation game is strange, verging upon the inexplicable. It's unimaginable for say a Football game not to cover the Football World Cup in any meaningful way.
  2. The Apollo 11 Expedition was not covered once by Frontier CM staff. Even though it was by far the biggest event in game at that time, being the third largest expedition in the games history (behind only Distant Worlds & DW2). It had 670 participants, across all platforms, and was open to everyone. Including many who were delighted to have their first exploration expedition experience with us. Its gaming media coverage included: ObsidianAnt, Lave Radio, Distant Radio, Sagittarius Eye and many others.
    We were not asking for the 'Moon on a stick'. Just even a small amount of coverage maybe via Galnet, or a quick mention would have been excellent.
    So many members of the expedition have said to me how shocked they were that despite our high profile nature we were not talked about by Fdev.
    The same expeditioners were even more taken aback by not being offered a commemorative ship decal for the expedition.
  3. The Community Management staff at Frontier are dedicated and genuine people. However the scale of the failures to communicate with the Elite community would indicate a failure of systems, policy, and/or resources for CM by Frontier. The Frontier model of CM works well for games like Planet Coaster, and Jurassic World, but it's just not sufficient for a game of the scale and complexity of Elite: Dangerous. A CM recently linked a PC Gamer magazine article that described a CM role as 'embed yourself in the community, serve as liason between publisher and community'. This is exactly what CM activity should be about. At the moment, to the great majority of Elite players, it feels often very surface...very distant.
  4. Content creators are rightfully acknowledged by FDev for their contributions to the community. But with the exception of Distant Worlds 1&2 events staff and their events have been treated either poorly, or ignored totally. This is not helpful to the community in putting on and advertising these events. And makes event organisers question whether they want to put on future events too.​

    The efforts needed to put on such large and complex events may not be well known or understood, by Fdev. Including preparation time it can run into more than a thousand hours per expedition over many months.The amount of calculation and planning to get hundreds of CMDRs thousands of light years, all to the same point that simulates the Earth-Moon system, all to simultaneously land...to the second (50 years exactly after Apollo 11), in a window of daylight so short that it allows for no margin of error at all.​

    Now, after all that frankly extraordinary gut-busting effort by all the Apollo 11 Expedition organisers to do work for this community...it's both painful, and insulting to be ignored to the degree we have by Frontier. So many of our participants have told us that they feel the same way, about the expedition being ignored.​

    Ultimately, this appeal isn't just made on behalf of A11X, but on behalf of all the events staff and participants on virtually every major expedition that was ignored. And of all the events that were also ignored across the game, in every major play style too. To give such a small amount of attention and effort to these events would be easy for Frontier Developments, but reap rich rewards in not only better community relations, but that in turn is better for Frontiers long term business too.​

CMDR Yanick

Lead organiser: Apollo 11 Expedition (A11X), Lightning Strike Expedition (LSE), Minerva Centaurus Expedition (MCE), Mercury 7 Expedition (M7E)

links:










 
I think part of the reason why it received no actual in-game coverage (Galnet, etc) is that, in 3305, it isn't the "50th anniversary of the moon landing" - it's the 1336th anniversary of the moon landing. There's no particular reason for people to make a big deal of the moon landing anniversary in 3305, at least, no more reason than making a big deal out of it in 3304, or 3301, or 3306 would.
 
I doubt that is any part of the reason. I take the point that it would make little sense to have a celebratory splurge in Galnet, because in role-playing terms there was nothing special about the date, but Frontier and its game playing community know what reality they inhabit, and Frontier needs to engage with its players every bit as much as the Pilots' Federation, etc, need to engage with their commanders.

The lack of interaction between the two is far more extensive than just A11X, and from what I have seen the disengagement is one-sided. Players are very willing to dedicate time to major events, that could really be enhanced with a relatively small degree of reciprocity from Frontier. Of course, it would be unreasonable to ask for a big development effort to add game features specially for a player initiative, but it is not unreasonable to ask for acknowledgement that the player community has something to contribute, in the areas of large events, plot development, and proactive testing of patches and new features, for example.
 
So, let me start by saying that I've done community organising and projects in this game and I'm not disputing in any way the huge amount of effort required to organise and run a major event, or trying to detract from the achievements of A11X and its organisers.

[*] Elite: Dangerous is Frontiers most prestigious and profitable game

[*] The Community Management staff at Frontier are dedicated and genuine people. However the scale of the failures to communicate with the Elite community would indicate a failure of systems, policy, and/or resources for CM by Frontier. The Frontier model of CM works well for games like Planet Coaster, and Jurassic World, but it's just not sufficient for a game of the scale and complexity of Elite: Dangerous. A CM recently linked a PC Gamer magazine article that described a CM role as 'embed yourself in the community, serve as liason between publisher and community'. This is exactly what CM activity should be about. At the moment, to the great majority of Elite players, it feels often very surface...very distant.
These two points I believe are strongly connected. Elite Dangerous has at last released data 3 million sales (and likely over 3.5 million by now). It has hundreds of thousands of regular players, carrying out a vast range of activities in many communities, languages, approaches, etc.

People talk about Elite Dangerous - to each other, or attempting to get Frontier's attention - in hundreds of forums, discords, subreddits and other channels. Just keeping up with all of that, and summarising it in a useful form for the rest of the company, will take a substantial amount of their time.

It's probably inevitable - when our "fair share" of CM attention is maybe a minute a year each (I spent mine on complaining about the bug reporting tool this year, I think) - that to any individual the activity does feel very distant. But conversely when they used to talk more closely with certain individuals for the vast majority of us the activity still felt very distant - and there were inevitable complaints from people who thought they should be listened to instead, and not always a clear answer to "why them and not me?"

I think we also underestimate how much effort is required for something like a Galnet article - it not only needs to be written (and if about a community event, checked a bit [1]) - but also translated into all the supported languages. Frontier have already cut back on how much Galnet writing takes place because they need the writers and translators to primarily work on 4.0.

[*] The Apollo 11 Expedition was not covered once by Frontier CM staff. Even though it was by far the biggest event in game at that time, being the third largest expedition in the games history (behind only Distant Worlds & DW2). It had 670 participants
Without in any way detracting from the massive effort required to run it, that would only make it the second biggest event in-game at the time, being beaten by some margin by the over 3000 participants [2] in the "Enclave" Interstellar Initiative series of events which ran from 28 June to 1 August (with an extended epilogue to 5 September). The clash of timing may well not have helped, of course.

I think this is where the scale problem really comes in. You had 670 participants - which is a lot of people, but a tiny fraction of the total player numbers. If that's big enough to get a Galnet article and a commemorative decal ... there are tens of squadrons in the 300+ member range. Should every major event they run - and certainly every joint event with another big squadron - get similar treatment? We all only see tiny slices of the full Elite Dangerous communities - and it's very easy to think the bits we see are the entire iceberg. But there's a lot going on out there that we don't see ... even in exploration, this community is only a small part of all the exploration going on.

To be clear, I think it would be great if Frontier could triple the size of its writing team, hire a few extra artists, add on ten more community managers, etc. so that community-driven events can get more official recognition in a fair and equitable way. There is a lot going on in Elite Dangerous - a lot of which for language barrier or community structure reasons doesn't get into community news efforts like SagEye either - that would be great to hear about. But it's clearly not going to happen - the game is profitable, but not that profitable.

...and even with ten times the team, we'd still just be one of a few million players, and unlikely to receive much in the way of personal attention.

I think we have to have expectations that if we run an event the recognition will be from the participants in the event and potentially in the nearby bits of the wider communities. Frontier might choose to publicly recognise them, occasionally, and go beyond that recognition to include some sort of in-game element in exceptional circumstances, but I don't think we can reasonably expect that they should.


[1] A11X would almost certainly have been fine, but likely one of the reasons Frontier stopped taking regular player submissions of Galnet articles was because of the way they could present the perspective of one player group on a 'contested' situation without really giving the other side any right of reply. There's being embedded in the community and there's knowing the ins and outs of several thousand player groups well enough to use Frontier's official stamp fairly.

[2] Likely a bit more than that, given its scale and scope, and depending on how participation is defined, but 3000 is a minimum just from CG participant numbers.
 
This sounds an awful lot like you are a bit miffed that your event didn't get into the newsletter. The "facts" here seem for the most part a lot like speculation

Yes it's effort to run events squadrons and such. No Frontier don't owe you anything for doing it. Do it, or don't do it... but please can we as a community lay off with this "frontier are awful for not giving me exactly what I want" vibe.
 
As a participant in this Community Event I think @Yanick and the teams did an absolutely fantastic job! I had a lot of fun, fond memories and met wonderful people. I look forward to new adventures with this amazing community!

I appreciate the opportunities this game community provides. In my years of experience with gaming, moderating and managing large communities, when a community can become self actualized to where it generates it's own community engagement and entertainment is a rare and special thing. Especially where that engagement is mostly positive and less about competitive or feudal meta game politics.

In all honesty I'd like to keep it that way.

@Yanick has my respect and admiration! I understand he's coming from a place with a desire for things to be better. That is a mutual common goal for all of us including FDev.

I personally appreciate the acknowledgment from the Fdev Community Team and Developers when it's offered.

I've worn both hats as a member of a community and manager of a community. Although goals can be mutual, actionable items and content deliverables are ultimately decided by the management for the betterment of the game or where it adds value to the community as entertainment.

Yes, Fdev's acknowledgment for our event would have been wonderful. For whatever reason it wasn't on their list of content or engagement and I have to accept that.
With all due respect to the @Yanick I'm a little confused as to what the goals of the thread are.

Is it a statement and request for change?

I'm all about solutions based problem solving and community/developer relations. So perhaps presenting the requests for change in a format the FDev community management team can present to the FDev management leaders. A clearly defined plan is what results in achieving a successful end goal. Look at it as a value added proposal that Management can assign FDev community team members actionable items as tasks that they can execute.
 
I think part of the reason why it received no actual in-game coverage (Galnet, etc) is that, in 3305, it isn't the "50th anniversary of the moon landing" - it's the 1336th anniversary of the moon landing. There's no particular reason for people to make a big deal of the moon landing anniversary in 3305, at least, no more reason than making a big deal out of it in 3304, or 3301, or 3306 would.
From 3305 going back to as far as 2014, there are no records of a similar expedition.
This was the 1st of it's kind, and possible because every cmdr has acces to today's FSD tech.
Jumping from star to star is something that only became available around 3270....before that, we basicly were still stuck on the long and dangerous journey, like the one that took Apollo 11 to the Moon surface and back.
And so, that should be remembered.
 
Now, after all that frankly extraordinary gut-busting effort by all the Apollo 11 Expedition organisers to do work for this community...it's both painful, and insulting to be ignored to the degree we have by Frontier. So many of our participants have told us that they feel the same way, about the expedition being ignored.
Oh get off it. You're a dude (presumably) playing a computer game with some other folks. Can we stop with the absurd hyperbole about how 'painful' and 'insulting' it is when other people don't acknowledge your 'extraordinary gut-busting effort' of playing a computer game?
 
When I'm playing ED, I'm not exactly organizing an ingame expedition for over 600 players at the same time.
Try that, and report back here, Skippy :p
You are free to do what you want, just make sure you enjoy it. :) Expecting praise for organizing a play session with other people in an MMO is just bizarre though, IMHO. Presenting it as making a massive sacrifice for which one needs to be duly commemorated is even weirder. People organize events to have fun with other people all the time in all aspects of social life. At the end it is polite if the participants say "thank you, that was fun". Expecting other people to do so is just so odd. Expecting the very people who created the entire context for you in which you could even organize anything to thank you, rather than you thanking them, is also rather peculiar .Outright saying you've been 'treated poorly' because one didn't get special attention is just really, really off. Presenting oneself as some kind of victim of mistreatment when all that happened is a number of people playing a computer game in their leasure time without getting attention is something I find, frankly, borderline immoral.

To each his own, of course. Personally I would recommend to OP that if he really craves positive reinforcement so incredibly much he might best not spend his free time playing computer games. There are plenty of viable ways to contribute constructively to society and getting recognized for it beyond playing a computer game.
 
Being proud of an event / group you created I absolutely 100% get. ut the thread here just feel a little weird. Publically demanding attention months after the event is just not a great look.

I get that a lot of work goes into events and communities. How much work it is, how unforgiving it can be, and above all how thankless it can be. It's natural to be a bit miffed when you put in a butt tonne of hard work (and I'm not saying you haven't) but then shouting about how nobody noticed all yoru hard work and seemingly blaming a development team for it is a little off.
 
I do not know enough about youtube, but I would assume, hope I am not totally wrong, that the OP is running his channel as a business, cash for clicks, hence creating financial rewards for his content. Would that be right? I came to that conclusion due to his "about section" on YT where it states:

For contacting me business or otherwise do use Twitter or E-mail! I'm open for colabs & sponsored content (though this one I'm very picky about).
If true, then I find it a little tacky to link all the videos in this "appeal" here, it feels like sorta "click bait" to me therefor. I stand to be corrected.

That aside, I can only talk for myself here, but this statement
  • Community generated content is largely what keeps people playing Elite, especially with the large gaps between updates
certainly does not count for me at all, nada, zilch, nulis!

Further, I can not imagine that statement to be so ultimately representative of players as it claims to be, I highly doubt it is.

Personally, I find this "look ma..." attitude coming from someone who usually displays a rather adolescents alluring edge in his videos irritating, but that's just me. Is it not the second open complaint in short succession, the first with a video just three weeks ago?

Taking all this into consideration, well clearly ;), The "Yamocks" must be a russian asset!
 
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P.S.
Ultimately, this appeal isn't just made on behalf of A11X, but....
I speak not only for myself, but for the many, if not all, hmmm, on a second thought, make that humankind!

To give such a small amount of attention and effort to these events would be easy for Frontier Developments, but reap rich rewards in not only better community relations, but that in turn is better for Frontiers long term business too.
You better look at me now, it is better for your long term business!

Why that reminds me to a certain orange skin cartoonish character brute, I don't know.
 
P.S.


I speak not only for myself, but for the many, if not all, hmmm, on a second thought, make that humankind!



You better look at me now, it is better for your long term business!

Why that reminds me to a certain orange skin cartoonish character brute, I don't know.
Do n't be a tough guy! Don't be a fool!






Call you later.
 
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