A critique of the idea some in the community have about the summit

In something akin to a Mr Bean film, our hero has mistook a trip to give feedback as an invite to be the company’s CEO. Bean is ready to set it on the right path and be seen as a saviour. He dreams of basking in glory, yet is equipped with ideas that are guaranteed to make you laugh and he is going to make a total tit of himself . Welcome to this week's Destiny Community Summit.

There are plenty of people going to the summit who have great insight and a genuine passion for Destiny and Bungie, but there are also hints of serious derp which instead of my usual tweets I want to explore in a blog post. Most of what I have to say comes from the perspective of working on large software products. Sure they are not games, but games are made out of software. Also Bungie shows all the signs of being a standard organisation, albeit one with the rare ability to nurture and support highly creative staff, while delivering a complex product. Which is to say I don't see why this summit would be anything unusual to ones I have seen myself.

So what hilarity have I seen?

“why are you bringing these people out here, are they deciding the future of the game?… I think the easy answer is yes…. I would hope the goals of the summit are to drive goal sets for teams that have not had their man hours allocated yet… like helping with design decisions”

Let’s unpack this as I don’t recognise it as a way any company works. It presupposes that Bungie have no idea how to design their own game and that they see the solution is to get a bunch of people in a room for 2 days. “Hey I know we pay you big bucks to work here, you spent years getting an education and a decade building industry experience, but shelve that and just do what these people say”. If this really is the case lets face it Destiny is fucked. 

More likely people are just confused about what is meant by feedback and listening. For example I have spent my whole life eating. I know what I like and have eaten at many restaurants. If I have a meal I don’t like I think my taste is valid and I might chat with the chef. I doubt they are going to tell me I was wrong to not enjoy it. Maybe my comments lead to some thought about if they overdid it with the salt. But if I whipped out a menu I created at home, I wouldn't expect them ditch theirs and use that. That would be fucking nuts.

On products I work on I am guided by the idea that everyone can judge a product (was the meal tasty?), but few people can come up with a well designed and engineered product (be a chef/run a restaurant). I follow Bungie because even though some aspect of their games are far from perfect, when they deliver it is such a fun game. One I sink a ton of my spare time into it. Hell it inspired me to even make an item manager. My own experience is that ideas are dirt cheap. They are almost never original and often speak more about peoples limited experience and imagination. People confuse their own inability to see better solutions with the idea that no others exist. Which is why so many community ideas are little more than asking to make the game like Destiny 1. As time has gone on this hasn’t just passed as the absolute way to improve Destiny, but it has become a parody of itself, where now even levelling up your weapons and armour via collecting materials is seen as a good thing, as opposed to the boring waste of time that only a kid stuck in 1990, with no other games, would consider a fun grind.

I really struggle to imagine there is much time for Bungie to evaluate your new ideas. No matter how deeply you thought about them or how many people upvoted them on your twitter poll. Maybe you are not as important as you think? However companies sometimes want to share ideas about the future and see if someone on the outside has some insight into if they sound interesting or ring some alarm bells. However don’t expect a veto because *sigh* that would be bananas (like really, maybe you are not that special). Nor would it be counted as not listening. The way the world works is if you think someone has the skills to make a product significantly better you hire them. You don’t bring them in for a 2 day event. This should not be news.

I know plenty of people are collecting info for topics Bungie should care about. But it seems unlikely that Bungie doesn't have internet access. The idea they have not been busy reading tons of feedback strikes me as bonkers, and if they don’t know how to read the notes being collected won’t be any use when you hand them over. So again if you don’t get to share all these topics it might be less about Bungie not listening and more they have people that can handle a web browser.

I just want to comment on an issue raised that this summit is just a marketing ploy. People going shouldn’t get suckered into being used to promote the DLC. Bungie need to re-earn trust and be held to account. Who will do this? Self appointed Destiny cops. Uniform not included. I know personally when I turn on the news game developers are in my current top five people I worry about due to integrity issues. Come on! People are getting to meet the developers. This will be a huge group and even if you consider XP throttling and Eververse to be genuine outrages (I don’t) it is absurd to think everyone was responsible for that. These are people whose main concern will be building an awesome strike, giving our guardians kick ass motion and sounds effects, as well as writing epic lore. I am a fan of Bungie, I love Destiny, but one problem is there was a period of silence after D2 shipped and that left the loudest (dumbest?) voices to fill the gap with a story that Bungie doesn't listen and suck. Here is Bungie opening their doors, arms outstretched and saying they want to build bridges. This is an opportunity to get to know some people there and have a conversation. I cringe at the idea of people seeing themselves as Destiny Cops who are there to enforce the community law and make sure people are trustworthy. Get over yourself. 

For those going have fun. I could only dream of getting to visit Bungie and will be both jealous and excited of all of you. Don’t worry about representing everyone. You got selected no doubt because of your views and passion for the game. Go build some bridges and come back with some real news to replace the speculation of some cynical twat on reddit. Also please, don't make a fool of yourself.