Product Management/Team

Dear New World Team.

I will preface this post by saying I am aware of the rapid pivot from PvP to PvE in the roadmap up to its launch. What you implement, is ultimately your roadmap, your choices, and your road to fame or your grave you dig. While I certainly have grievances with the latest updates and your content (or lack thereof), they are not the purpose of this post.

What I want to highlight, is the much deeper concern of a coherent product direction, and involvement with your own community. No game can survive without good product management. Good product management at its core, is connecting with your user base, and involving them in your journey. All of which feel starkly absent.

Yes, I am an avid gamer in my spare time. In my day job, I manage a global team and a portfolio of enterprise products - so I can relate to this game on many levels. I care, because I actually enjoy the game, but I would not promote this to anyone else in its current state.

I feel that the game has a lot of potential, and I certainly want to see it succeed. No one sets up am ambitious project with failure in mind. I think to get there though, your team needs a fundamental shift in how the product is being managed, and fast.

  1. Transparency. What decisions are made and how. I understand that there are facets you don’t want the public to see. However, the community deserves to see what you are prioritising on, and some degree on how this decision is made. What are the biggest community problems? What do clients want to see most? The latest ninja changes are really hurting your reputation.

  2. Direction. Roadmaps aren’t always the answer, they’re a necessary evil. That is not to say though, you can’t give better clarity of the future with your player base. What are the themes you are structuring development on? What are the player base concerns you plan to systematically address, or is this ad-hoc? How will this bring value to those who have invested their time? This is currently not well laid out.

  3. Accountability. Mistakes are made, no one is perfect. I’ll even get over how basic transactional handshakes are overlooked (dupe glitches, I’m eyeing you). What you should seriously consider, is making post mortems public. I also strongly urge you to look up how to run blameless post mortems for the sake of your team. This will build confidence in your dwindling use base that you are seriously committed to learning from mistakes made. Right now it does not feel that these big screw ups are being treated seriously enough.

  4. Involvement. The job of a product manager is to be the advocate of their clients. To be involved in the nitty gritty of the community. I see that this is quite lacking. Sure there are some staff posts here and there, but there’s no sense of ownership and engagement.

Ultimately I don’t have your internal insight, I am not on your team and perhaps relieved I am not. I don’t have to be a helicopter pilot though, to know that someone dun goofed when it’s upside down in a tree. There are many good books I have bought from Amazon book store that have helped me in my career. I can only recommend that you direct your product team to some of those resources. Again, I will say that I want to see this game succeed and hope you will place some serious attention to what is good product management.


I like this topic.

As an avid gamer with 20 plus years of software engineering experience, I’m finding many issues:

  1. Systematic failure of quality control and assurance. It just does not seem like the processes are in place to prevent future failures. They may fix the major war lag tomorrow and reintroduce it 2 weeks from now. It just does not seem like they are following basic principles to insure a sound product goes out. And, that would be a systematic failure from design all the way to final test of either fixes or new functionality. That requires not only major leadership decisions but also ‘how’ they do things changes,… anything from workplace culture (i.e. encouraging personal accountability) to a redesign of how they do their product.

  2. A buddy of mine is an avid pvp’er. He’s married with kids and can commit maybe 6 - 10 hours a week to play. He likes to be competitive. By my calculations, it would take at least 5 months before he would even qualify for outpost rush, join a war and he would be so outmatched by gear score that his only choice would be like rolling for 90% of playtime. This game is just not an option for him.

  3. It costs you to do higher level missions solo. They are not worth the rewards in comparison to death/gold coin repairing. And, provide little to no satisfaction as end gamer nears.

  4. The constant tweaks to rng and gameplay while introducing new and old issues. That just sounds like very immature product development. You have a burning ship and think that placing a colorful sail on it might make it go faster before it sinks.

What is disheartening is the way that the dupe issues were handled. I don’t mean the time it took them to take action, the bans, or the uncaught items (they were problems, but a different topic). Rather, the nature of the dupe itself and how this managed to get replicated in other parts of the game (the treasury, then the furniture). It was rather embarrassing to watch.

Interestingly enough, we used this scenario as a case study and it was kind of astounding the simple checks that could have gone in, had this scenario been taken seriously enough. What could have been a grace saver at this point, was some reassurance this was being handled systematically.

It’s the lackadaisical response to these types of problems that leaves a very amateur feeling about the capabilities of the team behind this massive project.

The disconnect between the priorities of the player base and the team is further evident in the changes that were undisclosed in the patch notes. It’s hard to believe these things could have gone through a release process unchecked. If indeed it was on purpose, then it just highlights poor management and transparency. Either way, it doesn’t give the client base any confidence they should invest further time into this.

I’m going to bump this with the string of production server reboots and unannounced maintenance windows during prime time as really poor form.

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