Community update: week 43 & 44

Hello again,

Welcome to our bi-weekly community update, lovely community people. Here are the most recent news:

Forum layout changes active on beta forums

The new forum layout has been activated on the beta forums and is now up for testing.

We’re looking forward to your feedback, especially on any bugs you may find, and will roll out this new design for all other language forums as soon as the final tests are concluded.

Pandora’s Box featured on InnoGames TV

Our game designer Bernard has recorded a short take on our upcoming event, Pandora’s Box, for InnoGames TV. In this clip he shows you video footage of the event and explain what it’s all about.

In case you can’t wait to learn more about the event, you can still check it out on our beta worlds until November 8th or read more on our game wiki.

v2.150

The update to browser version 2.150 took place this Wednesday, followed by the mobile release on Friday.

On browser side, we continued the refactoring of the command overview to make it perform better and fix several bugs that are directly connected to the command overview sometimes missing information. We are already looking forward to roll these changes out as soon as our internal tests confirm that the overall functionality is not impeded.

Furthermore, we implemented a new special unit icon for transport ships, which describes the special role these ships play in battle and fixed a lot of bugs related to Pandora’s Box that we could only find due to diligent bug reporting on our beta worlds. Thanks for your help in improving the game for everyone!

Next version preview

The development work for the sprint to version 2.151 is about to be finished today.

In this version we of course continued the work on the command overview but also looked into functional improvements for our players. First of all we honored a community request to improve how the farming village overview works. Before, when checking any of the timing options while the farming villages were on cooldown, the resource prediction would simply show +0 resources due to the cooldown. After the update, the preview will provide you with an estimate on how many resources could be gained with each timing option once the cooldown time has passed.

Furthermore we added a population reference to unit and unit effect tooltips in order to give more information about the population these units (will) use once they were recruited or generated through the effect.

The current update schedule for v2.151 is as follows:

Wednesday, November 14th: NL, SE and SK market
Wednesday, November 15th: international roll-out

As always, you can already start testing most of the new features on our open beta environment. For more information on daily updates, please follow the daily changelog on our beta forums.

Weekly stats

The following statistics represent activity between October 19th and November 1st:

New tickets Answered tickets Av. resp. time Rated tickets Av. rating
Week #43  2587  2403  3.21  546  4.12
Week #44  2260  2065  3.04  517  4.26

Bugs

Status Browser Mobile All
Open  18  4  22
Reported  30  1  31
Solved  31  0  31

Have a wonderful weekend and see you around!

Steffi
About

As Lead Community Manager and passionate gamer, Steffi knows of the importance of transparent information sharing while keeping an eye on the needs of both players & development team. She takes community feedback and makes your voice heard at InnoGames!

Posted in Community Updates
13 comments on “Community update: week 43 & 44
  1. Avatar T. says:

    For what it’s worth, I think council could really benefit from some sort of direction to go for what kind of suggestions that you would like from them.

    According to the recap that we got from council, basically all of the suggestions that most players agree with are the BIGGEST ISSUES, developers shut down immediately – i.e. issues with mod support, spamming, and botting. These are some of the most frequently claimed reasons for people quitting your game and the causes of the constant decline of players that we see. If those are not supposed to be the sort of suggestions they come up with, what kind of suggestions do you want?

    Do you want to actually fix the problems that ultimately are causing players to quit or are you just trying to add a layer in to get extra feedback on new events that eventually no one will be left to play?

    Whether or not you would like to admit it mods are a severe issue for grepolis. So is spam. The entire grepolis player community just came together and told you so – those issues are so bad that they were the things players immediately brought up throughout all servers – things that council thought was so important it needed to be done immediately. Saying that coming up with a new system for mods isn’t ‘player council’s job’ is just ridiculous. The job of player council seemed to be from the start to try and give players a way to tell developers what needs to be changed.
    Transparency of mods needs to be changed. No one knows why they’re banned, why their ban is a certain number of days, no nothing. Whether you would like to admit it, mod bias is a thing even in minimal cases. This isn’t exactly a hard fix. Make banning standardized, and make the infractions more dictated. “You were banned because of a complaint” gives the player absolutely zero to work with on getting a ban removed, and in some cases can get them kicked out because someone thinks they are cheating. Not to mention certain players getting one ban and other players getting an entirely different sentence for the exact same thing.
    Spamming has caused who knows how many players to quit. Entire alliances in various words are ghosting because their computers are physically freezing from spam.

    If you don’t want player council to actually tell you what is wrong with the game, then what are they there for in the first place?

    You don’t need to respond to this thread or publish it but I have no other method of vocalizing my opinions directly to developers because apparently you won’t listen to your player-elected communication base anyways.

    • Steffi Steffi says:

      Hey T.,

      As you may already know, we had our first official Player Council event last Friday, November 3rd.

      During this Skype call, we informed the Inner Council members taking part in this call (members from EN, FR, GR, NL and RO language versions) about the development processes in the Grepolis team, as well as how community suggestions are processed internally.

      After this introduction to the inner workings of the project, we started some general discussions on select topics already, some of which being the endgame, the mobile app and how the Player Council members can help us ensure that we pick the right content for our continuous updates.

      Some of the player council members mentioned that they have been contacted with requests to depose select team members from their positions or have specific support actions revoked. Therefore they have been instructed to answer to such requests and outline that support decisions and personnel decisions are not within their expected scope of work and that they should rather focus on game features and how the game can be improved in the future. Support decisions and HR related topics are already within Community Manager’s and Lead Community Manager’s responsibilities.

      We understand that there may be some feedback in regards to more general topics, e.g. the wording of game rules. These are still related to the way the game is experienced by the player base as a whole and sets the common ruleset that everybody should abide to. Such topics have been mentioned in a general overview by placer council members and will be looked into.
      However, more specific support topics and personnel decisions should not be the main topic for the player council, as there are already other feedback channels in place for us to learn about potential feedback regarding our support teams and complaints about specific team members. Through these channels we can react in a more timely and adequate manner, rather than involving even more parties. Should we find any mistakes or wrongdoing in actions performed by administrators or Community Managers, appropriate action is of course taken.

      In regards to spamming, we barely got to touch on the topic within our 1.5 hour time slot and hence no final decision/information has been given, as we would still need to discuss the specific issues in more detail and elaborate on potential solutions. While certain attack volumes are still considered normal and within the game rules, we are aware of technical complications that can arise if such attack “spam” is (ab)used in a specific manner. Long story short: Further discussion is required before the topic is off the table and we definitely did not rule out further discussions as of yet.

      As for the information that has been shared by now, please know that this information is preliminary and does not necessarily present the opinion of the Player Council as a whole, as the official summary of the player council members is still pending. Seen as there is a non-disclosure agreement in place to prevent ambiguous information or confidential information to be shared, InnoGames will sign off on the written report first before it will be published to prevent inaccurate information transfer or misunderstandings such as this one. The report itself, however, will be formulated by Inner Council members only.

      Cheers!

      • Avatar Rachel.L says:

        Steffi-
        would it be possible to discuss some dev issues and inno issues with you offline, i.e. not posting? working on some things in the externals and knowing your capabilities would help us direct which parts of an idea to push and which to toss.

        thanks, r

        • Steffi Steffi says:

          Hey Rachel,

          Sorry for the delay in response.
          I’m afraid we won’t be able to offer more channels to share feedback about the game development and our teams than are already in place with the Support system, the forums, player council and the DevBlog.

          As it stands right now, I would either suggest to talk to one of the player council members for your market or the members for the English/International market respectively if it is a development topic or just sharing your feedback in a support ticket if you prefer to keep things quiet. Either way the suggestions and concerns should reach us.

          If there is something else that should be treated privately, you may also comment on here and request the comment not to be published and we will find another way to get back to you. However, this is obviously not the most comfortable way to handle things and others may be preferable, depending on what kind of information you would like to share.

          Cheers,
          Steffi

          • Avatar Rachel.L says:

            Steffi-
            I appreciate you reply, tho delayed. My desired to talk without blog post was not a matter of personal detail for me but for you, inno’s security. This is not about feedback.

            I have already been working with both the gpc and mods. They have many of the same questions I do. However, I thought that by working with devs directly, knowing what restrictions you have, it might make it easier to shape a project.

            Since you are unwilling to talk to me directly, there is no need to reply further.

            -r

      • Avatar Kal Gordon says:

        Dear Steffi,

        Thank you for that informative post. I do have a question to ask though.

        The reason that players are trying to put forward requests through the Player Council about changes to the moderation system (increases in transparency, changes to the mod roster, etc), is because the current system that you named (talking to the Community Manager) is not working. The EN market’s Community Manager and Co-Community Manager have both had cases of ignoring players’ concerns about moderation when addressed via private message on the external forum, and the Community Manager is currently ignoring a support ticket about a moderation concern and has been for almost 6 full days now (after he agreed to discuss my concerns if I told them to him).

        So, my question is that, if the current supposed method of making moderation-related complaints and requests is not being carried out, would Inno be willing to discuss moderation-related concerns with the Grepolis Player Council?

        Again, thank you very much for your clarification on some of what happened with the player council as we are still waiting on the report to get any actual news, because the early comments from one of the original council member where deleted/edited by a forum moderator.

        Yours sincerely,

        Kal

        • Steffi Steffi says:

          Hey Kal,

          Apologies for the delay in response. Since you already got in touch with us through other, more private means, I would like to continue the communication through these channels rather than sharing all the personal details here.

          To answer your questions about the responsibility of the Player Council, however, it is not within their field of duty to report moderation related complaints and discuss them in detail. Frankly this wouldn’t even make much sense as they do not have the full picture about each individual case and may not learn about these details either for data protection reasons. So even if they would address a topic, which they may, obviously, if their perception of the situation leads them to see a reason to act, they would not be able to give satisfying feedback to players or come to a full conclusion. Thus we handle moderation and support topics with the affected players only and have asked the player council to focus on topics concerning the game and its features first and foremost.

          As for the summary of the council event, we are planning to publish it later today. So stay tuned. ^^

          Best,
          Steffi

  2. Avatar Lord Hyperion says:

    Okay… I have some math for troop costs. If each mission in Pandora’s Box cost 100 troops and it stayed constant, it would take 28000 troops to complete the entire event assuming you succeed every time. How is this even a fair event? Realistically, New players can’t do this at all and experienced players would struggle to get to the end. Most would give up simply because the cost isn’t worth it. The decreasing success percentage and increasing troop costs make this impossible. The overall troop costs would be over 100000 which is impossible for EVERYONE. I hope you consider how unbalanced this event actually is.

    • bernardgra bernardgra says:

      Hello Lord Hyperion,

      I understand that for new players the event might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but there are a lot of other factors that influence this calculation, recruitment powers, multiple cities, event shop powers, and so on. Also, this is the first time this event is being run, and of course there will be room for improvement, that includes balancing. We are also working on making the rewards more valuable and thus the challenge to get them needs to be a bit harder.

      Cheers

      • Avatar Lord Hyperion says:

        Here’s the thing… We lose ALL of our troops and can’t replenish them due to world speed/lack of resources. The low amount of dust gained results in the troop buffs being virtually worthless. People who are already about halfway through the event find this to be quite difficult and not really worth crippling their armies. The costs to complete this event are simply too high, especially if you are in a war. While the rewards look nice, there simply aren’t enough troops in our cities to get them all without putting ourselves in extreme danger.

        • bernardgra bernardgra says:

          I can understand the challenges but that is how the event was designed, making hard choices and finding the right strategy for you should be part of it. One thing you can be sure about, this first run of the event will generate enough data for us to make it better and fairer for every player.

          • Avatar Lord Hyperion says:

            One thing I would like to suggest is to not have our troops die every time. If we are able to succeed, could at least some of them survive? That would really help with the event as troops would not be depleted quite so quickly.

          • bernardgra bernardgra says:

            That can be considered, but not for this iteration. After the event is done, we will look through all the data and feedback and see how we can improve it. But this could be an option, yes.