Nov 04

Is Out of Touch?


Recently on we released an article about the new proposal from Sports Interactive and Sega to form an FML Council, and the responses were not only dramatic but based on the general consensus we got this one wrong!

Were we out of line?

Is there a line drawn which we shouldn’t cross when posting or writing articles about the game? Is there an opinion that we shouldn’t express?

It’s an interesting concept, and one which (to be honest) I hadn’t considered before, is ours – or is it Jordan and Millie’s (semantics) the point here is I write articles about areas of the game that I want to. No-one tells me what to write about, no-one tells me how to write them. But nothing is ever so black and white as that!

A key factor in what makes the best FML fan site around is the unequalled access that Sports Interactive and Sega give to our correspondents, whether through access to the full range of forums and all game worlds, through the time they find to participate in the podcasts, the links they post to many of our articles on the official website or simply through the timely responses and access we get to all individuals involved in the project through emails, MSN or any of the other means of communication we utilise.

Quite simply we could not provide the detailed information our readers expect if it was not for the huge support we receive from everyone on the FML team, whether Sports Interactive or Sega – For that we are always thankful!

Where did we get it wrong?

I have a huge passion for this game; I think nearly everyone who comments on it does. I know Jordan does! We devote huge amounts of time, thought and energy to promoting, discussing and assisting the development of the game wherever we can. But, and it’s an important BUT – In nearly every aspect of our discussions on FML there is at least a small difference of opinion, we generally agree on principle’s and it’s part of why we work together – but we have differing approaches to how many things should or could be done.

One thing we don’t differ on though is this – FML has the potential to be a huge global success – FML could be the number one global MMO – and there in one simple word lies our error of judgement – Global!

The team around FML have more realistic responsibilities to the game than we do, I’m not suggesting they don’t see the global potential of the game – in fact I’ve had prior discussions with some of them on exactly that point. But realism means gradual development, and it is with that firmly in mind that they choose the areas of focus and the approach to game development and growth that they do.

Unbridled Passion

We are passionate about this game, if your still reading this article then it’s likely you are passionate about this game – and there’s no doubt about the passion those creating the game have. But if your going to report something, if your going to review something even if your going to complain about something that passion needs to be tempered with respect.

That is sadly something we did not do, we got carried away by our passion for the game and our view of where it should be and where it should be going. We failed to respect the views of others; we failed to respect the sensibilities of others. Not just at Sports Interactive and Sega – but of our readers as well. And for that we wholeheartedly apologise!

Instead of producing a thoughtful and incisive debate on the value of the proposal at hand we threw together a sensationalistic tabloid like response.

Were we wrong?

In the way we went about presenting our side of the issue, yes we were wrong – we crossed the line.

In terms of the content, the reasoning behind what we were trying to convey – NO.

It’s not a bad idea, we never said that (although it might have been implied), any new approach to improving the level of interaction between customer and developer should have been applauded as a step forward. The creation of an FML Council is an interesting proposal and one worth watching to see how it develops, at the very least it as an attempt to further promote the levels of communication between SI/Sega and the customers.

The issue at hand was the nature of that communication, reference above to the global perspective and “face to face” meetings are not something that can effectively be used with that in mind.

The Global Perspective

FML is a UK based game, whether we like that or not is irrelevant. For now the level of support, communication and marketing that SI/Sega are prepared to devote to the game is around building a solid base in the UK market and if we keep in mind the financial costs of those elements it’s a sensible and reasonable decision.

How the processes put in place today may affect the future growth of the game is an unknown, but it is this aspect of a reliance on “face to face” feedback that raises concerns.

Are we out of touch?

To suggest we are off with the Fairies might be a more relevant comparison, but I think regardless of the difference of opinion on subtle aspects of the game we share a view for the long term opportunities of the game with not only our readers, but those developing the game as well. The fact is the biggest and best fan site about FML shows that differences in time zones and global location do not need to be barriers to successful communication. The necessity our locations force upon us to utilise such tools of communication is definitely a factor in our acceptance of them.

Everything else aside, the original article had one of the highest response rates of any article we have produced here at GW1. Yes many of you disagreed with it, and hopefully that’s an encouragement to SI, but the important fact is it inspired you enough to respond. And that is as much as anything else what we are for. If we can raise the issues and address the concerns that effect or inspire the community then we continue to serve our purpose. That we did it in a fashion that was both out of order and out of character is a faux pas that we regret, but it was done out of a passion for you, for the game, and ultimately for those who develop the game.

*In no way do the articles of this writer reflect the views of all correspondents at GW1, in fact the diversity of opinion is something we will continue to embrace amongst those contributing to in order to match the diversity of opinion in our readers.

Written By Mark Burton
A moderator since May 2008 in a number of beta worlds and now GW Fowler, he strives to highlight the community aspects of FML and inform new & experienced users about future game development.
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  • T-Bag

    I don't have any issues with more casual type managers at all, they are an important part of the game and free to play it however they wish. I have no problem at all playing against their AI.

    It's just we have a lot of vocal members who don't really play that much and are commenting on issues I think are hard to understand unless you play more frequently and invest more time.

  • Mark_Burton

    You do have a point and it's certainly one of the reasons why we are always looking for more people to contribute to gameworldone.

    Generally speaking i would be one of the more hardcore members of FML - but the more i write about it the less time i actually have to play it - so it's a bit of a catch 22 :)

    I do think however that the areas we tend to write about generally are the areas that those writing know best - and not always specifically related to actually playing the game "live" (ie. Game Development or Tactics).

  • T-Bag

    --this comment isn't aimed at anyone specific--

    There are a lot of people who spend more time talking and writing about the game than they do playing it. I listen to some podcasts and wonder how on earth people can have valid views on certain points when they barely even play the game. (no I don't want to be a guest :p )

    I don't think the site is out of touch though and most articles are a good read.

  • :-)

    We do play the game - just not as actively as some. That's out choice, and personally we enjoy the things to do with FML outside of playing matches. This isn't a view that a lot of people can get their head around, but that's just the way we choose to play.

    Surprised you don't want to be a guest, though T-Bag. You're so good at ranting in text, I thought you would want to put your money where your mouth is. :p

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