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New Blog Post About Deathwatch - Fantasy Flight Games Gets It


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#1 CelticTony

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 03:35 AM

 I just put a new post up on my blog about how FFG is handling the promotion and release of Deathwatch.  You can read it HERE.  Comments and feedback are appreciated!



#2 Razseal

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 04:30 AM

I would have to agree of all the game systems I've used over the years and companies that produced them FFG seems to be most in tune and support of the customer base. They actually take a role in the forums and are just names hovering over the main page with the title moderator, they really present a feeling of approachability.



#3 Meph

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 05:19 AM

Spot on I'd say. It is refreshing to see such a high-tempo passionate approach to these RPG's, and with a slick interface to boot. Accessible and comprehensive, with consitent and awesome artwork throughout. A lot of gaming companies out there would benefit greatly with a setup like FCG.

Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed that the flood of books filled with high quality content and artwork doesn't peter out too quickly, or at all. I mean, with the depth of the 40K universe in mind, FCG has to aim for at least the quantity of books like the RIFTS RPG, but then on FCG's standard of quality of course... ^^



#4 Adam France

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 05:33 AM

Honestly, I have to disagree with the statement that the FFG staffers are much of a presence here in the forums. I could go over to the Paizo boards with a question or directed comment and get a response from their staff right up to Erik Mona almost immediately, certainly within a day or two at most. I've absolutely not seen the same thing here. Also Erik and others actively take an active and often unsolicited part in forum debates ... aside from Andy Hoare, I can't recall that being the case here.

 



#5 RenoDM

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 07:04 AM

@ Adam.  You know I'd much rather think that the FFG staffers are spending more time developing exceptional products than spending time on the message boards.  In fact I think that you can completely destroy a good thing by listening too closely to the internet because unfortunately the loudest people also tend to be the most negative and least likely to buy products anyway.

Although most people on these boards are positive, there are always a few that are never going to say anything of value; they just lurk around the boards and ***** about this or that and try to convince the rest of us that they are somehow authorities on the subject.  Hopefully FFG is smart enough to realize who these people are that they do not represent a majority.

 



#6 CelticTony

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 07:18 AM

Adam France said:

Honestly, I have to disagree with the statement that the FFG staffers are much of a presence here in the forums...

Be that as it may, the topic of my blog post was about how FFG is promoting and supporting their RPGs with the new media and not about how often they are posting on their forums.  I realize that a forum presence is part of that but that was not the primary focus of the post.



#7 The Wyzard

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 07:33 AM

If you want to know why the staffers don't hang out here, read some of the thread.  I wouldn't bother to interact on the boards when so many of the "fans" apparently show up just to ***** about every. single. thing.

 

Honestly, there's a place for complaints, but I have never seen a forum which is so relentlessly negative about the topic of its enthusiasm.  The White Wolf boards were pretty bad back when I hung out there, but they weren't this bad.



#8 Razseal

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 08:00 AM

Either way whether you agree or disagree about the amount of involvement of the Staff on the Forums, the original point of this post was one person trying to express their appreciation for the way that a company is handling the development and implementation of a product. While most of us probably agree to at least some extent with him, (otherwise we really shouldn’t be here ) we shouldn’t turn this into an argument about to what extent the staff involves themselves in the forums. If you agree with me on it great, if not that fine also your entitled to that opinion. Honestly if people want games like these to continue to be handled and developed in good ways they should show their appreciation to those involved more often. I'm not just talking about them getting paid because you bought a book, but an honest show of respect for the time and dedication that went into bringing a product to you that for the better part is very well executed.



#9 Timberboar

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 08:10 AM

The Wyzard said:

If you want to know why the staffers don't hang out here, read some of the thread.  I wouldn't bother to interact on the boards when so many of the "fans" apparently show up just to ***** about every. single. thing.

 

Honestly, there's a place for complaints, but I have never seen a forum which is so relentlessly negative about the topic of its enthusiasm.  The White Wolf boards were pretty bad back when I hung out there, but they weren't this bad.

 

This place is positively tame compared to most of the boards I frequent.



#10 H.B.M.C.

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 10:02 AM

Yeah, this board is very tame.


As for the small piece in the OP, yeah, FFG gets it. They're the anti-GW really. They show off, preview and hype up their products, where as GW flat out denies their existence until they are physically incapable of doing so any more.

BYE 


Matt Eustace. Contributing Author Credits: Church of the Damned, The Lathe Worlds, The Lathe Worlds - The Lost Dataslate, Only War Core Rulebook, Hammer of the Emperor, Shield of Humanity, Tome of Fate, Tome of Blood, Tome of Excess and Tome of Decay.

The views expressed in this post are my own. I do not speak for or on behalf of Fantasy Flight Games.


#11 Kage2020

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 12:19 PM

With regards to the relative aggressiveness of the forum, I think that for as many individuals that are thought of as "haters" (people who negatively criticise the game?) there are an equal number of "sycophants" (those willing to protect it at all costs).  In between there seems to be a varying degrees of individuals that are willing to offer up discourse on the topic that they "love" (40k RPG).  Of course, these are the forums for the official 40k RPG but... Well, forums about 40k hobbyist forums seem to attract people with widely divergent interests, from wargamers to roleplayers, to people that are interested in one or the other or both, and those that just like the 'fluff.'

I won't comment on staff involvement, be it that they're not involved enough or that they shouldn't be involved because they are producing "quality games" (quotation because it was an, erm, quote).  I just don't think that it's really that relevant.  I will, however, say that I have been overall pleased with FFG's approach to "community" (e.g. the new website, even if it's not great on usability, the forums, etc.), their Designer's Diaries, and their overall marketing strategy.  The production values seem to remain of the highest order.  While I would love to see a bit more to their community outreach efforts, and that they should continue to challenge their approaches and remain self-critical?  Again, overall, kudos.

Do I think that this approach is overall that "special?"  Well, not really.  Okay, they've got a few more bells and whistles going on, and again kudos for that, but I don't believe that it is truly unique.

AnthonyRobertson said >>>

You didn't manage to get a physical copy from your FLGS?  No problem.  You can download the PDF right HERE.  What?  You just want a web version to read on your laptop or fancy new iPad?  Try the version HERE.  Fantasy Flight Games gets it.

Other companies produce free materials, so I don't think that this is particularly astounding.  Just check out DriveThruRPG and the huge quantity of materials that are available for free as a means of engaging and otherwise drawing in the customer/fan base.  Other companies get it, too.

AnthonyRobertson said >>>

Let's say that you are interested in Deathwatch but want more information.  That's fine, FFG has posted a short, professionally produced video HERE that gives you an overview of the game from the designers and some glimpses of what's in the book.

I'd be more impressed if I could actually view it.  Of course, that might just attest to the popularity of the video.   It does mean, however, that I really cannot comment on the degree of professionalism of the video, nor the nature of the "glimpses."  Perhaps it might have been better had it been submitted to iTunes, made freely available on Amazon.com, or a number of other ways.  Of course, I understand that marketing and communications departments get a bit persnickety when it comes down to control of their content on other sites.

On the other hand, this just comes back to their marketing strategy.  They did the same for WFRP 3e, though a part of this might be because they were going outside of what might be considered the "comfort zone" of pencil-and-paper gamers.  Similarly, the concept of roleplaying Space Marines has been hotly debated for quite some time.  Rather than a "freebie for the fans" it is really some more spin doctoring. 

Regardless of the intent, the result does as explained before head in the right direction.  I just don't feel that it is entirely unique to FFG.  Again, other companies get it, too.

AnthonyRobertson said >>>

Is all this not enough for you?  Do you want a FAQ for the game?

These are also freely available from other games-producing companies.  One more, other companies get it, too.

AnthonyRobertson said >>>

Previews of the rulebook?  Try the game's website HERE.

Something that other companies also do.  One thing that I would love FFG to do is something that another game company does: associate each product with a free PDF download that shows the covert art (front/back), the ToC, and at least the Introduction.  I have to wait to get my hands on a copy to see what the heck is in the book and, therefore, how they might have handled certain topics, the quantity of rules "crunch" (sorry, NH) vs. the 'fluff' (ditto), and so on.  There are certainly products that I would not have purchased had I been given something other than one or two pages or extra characters.

AnthonyRobertson said >>>

Why don't other game companies spend this much effort promoting and raising their customers' awareness of their new games?

Again, I'm not entirely sure that they do not do this.  I would be willing, however, to admit that maybe FFG is pulling more threads together than many companies, but I think that it is a stretch to think that the others don't get it.

With that said, again please note that I say "kudos" to FFG on their efforts.  They might not all be great, but they all seem (mostly) honest.  Kudos.

<dons fire retardant clothing>

Kage



#12 Decessor

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 01:07 PM

I don't recall most companies bringing out FAQs for games that quickly (as in along with the release of the PDF).

I think the positive comments in the OP's post are warranted. FFG may not be immune to mistakes but IMHO they've done a good job of creating content and keeping the fanbase interested and engaged.



#13 Kage2020

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 01:40 PM

Decessor said >>>

I don't recall most companies bringing out FAQs for games that quickly (as in along with the release of the PDF).

That might be true.  My knee-jerk reaction based on the nature of the FAQ is that it merely illustrates that mistakes appeared in the product and, given the nature of the product (free adventure for RPG day), they tried to fix these quickly.  You can see the sweets or the sorrows for this.  On the "sweet" side it is as you claim: rapid response to fan questions.  On the sorrows?  They do appear to be somewhat basic things that could arguably have been addressed in the original publication/PDF.  (One could also look to the missing character "square" that shows up in the tables, etc.  Of course, you can always say that you get what you pay for... )

On the other hand...

Decessor said >>>

I think the positive comments in the OP's post are warranted. FFG may not be immune to mistakes but IMHO they've done a good job of creating content and keeping the fanbase interested and engaged.

I would say that we can look positively on those comments, but the idea that other gaming companies "don't get it" are clearly unwarranted, or at least not proven.

Kage



#14 Cifer

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 11:31 PM

 My knee-jerk reaction based on the nature of the FAQ is that it merely illustrates that mistakes appeared in the product and, given the nature of the product (free adventure for RPG day), they tried to fix these quickly.

The existence of an RPG generally illustrates that mistakes appeared in the product - at least, I've never played one that couldn't have done with an FAQ or Errata. Whether those have appeared then is another question.

 

I would say that we can look positively on those comments, but the idea that other gaming companies "don't get it" are clearly unwarranted, or at least not proven.

I for one don't know a company with a presence comparable to the one outlined in the blog. The biggest German RPG for example hasn't managed to publish an Errata on the magic sourcebook which is among the most failure-riddled rulebooks I've read yet. Oh, and it appeared in early 2008...



#15 Kage2020

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 07:17 AM

Cifer said >>>

The existence of an RPG generally illustrates that mistakes appeared in the product - at least, I've never played one that couldn't have done with an FAQ or Errata. Whether those have appeared then is another question.

Well, this is rapidly turning into a red herring.

Cifer said >>>

I for one don't know a company with a presence comparable to the one outlined in the blog. The biggest German RPG for example hasn't managed to publish an Errata on the magic sourcebook which is among the most failure-riddled rulebooks I've read yet. Oh, and it appeared in early 2008...

Just as with the opinion posted in the 'blog, just because that is your experience doesn't necessarily infer that "Companies other than FFG just don't get it."  The production of FAQ and errata, while perhaps not common, is a thing that is seen in other gaming companies.  Please don't misunderstand, FFG needs to be lauded for their specific combination of "community/marketing" efforts.  Using the specific trappings as evidence that they're awesome and other companies suck doesn't really hold any water when it can be shown that other companies do engage in similar activities.

About the only thing that springs to mind that I have not experienced with another game system are the explanatory videos.  Then again, both of those videos are for what might be considered "contentious" games.  As indicated above, these are: 

  • WFRP 3e.  Regardless of the exact nature of the game, the perceptions of the fans seemed to be that it was basically a merging of pen-and-paper roleplaying with the kind of boardgames that FFG produce.  That efforts were taken to try and dispel this was not surprising.
  • Deathwatch.  The general sentiment for "roleplaying Space Marines" has in the past few years been through the wringer and back.  Even advocates of the official 40k RPGs held reservations about the game.  Thus, I for one don't find it surprising that they pull out the video blog/podcast.

Again, though, this is not questioning the purported professionalism of the vid-cast (which I still haven't seen).  It is also not criticising FFG's good efforts, but rather suggesting that they're not quite as unique to FFG as the original poster, and the 'blog posting in question, seems to be suggesting.  Indeed, again other than the video (and this probably because I don't look to too many new systems), I'm fairly sure that one could find example of where other gaming companies are doing a better job than FFG, at least in a specific method of outreach/marketing/communication.  For example, Evil Hat did a great job with their Dresden RPG 'blog (the cynics would point out that they certainly had the time to practise!).  Steve Jackson does better with their previews (and in keeping the Errata down to a reasonable page or two).

FFG are doing a good job.  Let's just not overstate it, though.  There is always room for improvement.

Kage






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