KMS Detailed Notice About the User Advisory Group Activity

Discussion in 'KMS Updates' started by Orange Mushroom, May 12, 2021.

  1. Orange Mushroom

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    Another notice about the user advisory group, with some more details and answers to questions that users had. Also I separated the important posts section on the sidebar into updates and notices because of the sheer number of them being released now lol.

    Hello, this is MapleStory.

    After the previous [User Advisory Activity Group Begins notice], we have identified various concerns about the future activity. Since this is our first attempt at activity like this in MapleStory, we decided that there were areas which were not sufficiently considered, so we have reviewed the user advisory group activity again. We decided that it was necessary to explain the content to players in more detail and give more information about the significance of the user advisory group and their activity plan.

    1. User Advisory Group System’s Significance

    • Why is the user advisory group needed?
    • Why were the customer conference representatives made into the user advisory group?
    • Why are Nexon employees leaving necessary work to the user advisory group?

    MapleStory is a game that has been in service for 18 years, and an unkind game environment still remains from maintaining content and settings which were developed a long time ago. Therefore, the core task of the development team for this year is to provide a more pleasant environment for enjoying the game through rapid improvements. In doing this, we think that it is essential to move away from developers’ perspectives and towards players’ perspectives.

    Although we receive various opinions from players through the discussion board, its current structure is functionally limited, and it is still used for users to confirm their opinions on what things they feel uncomfortable about rather than actual discussion. We will hurry to reorganize the discussion board for smooth discussion with players.

    However, to come up with solutions to the various problems in the game more quickly in the current situation, efficient discussion is required. In this case, we decided that we needed to urgently find a group composed of people who know MapleStory’s current situation well.

    The 10 representatives who participated in the customer conference each have high game understanding and play experience in various fields, and we confirmed that they did their best to listen to the opinions of as many people as possible and understand the current situation when collecting the various game problems and improvement plans for the customer conference.

    Since the issues which currently require the most urgent improvements are related to the content discussed at the previous customer conference, we decided to organize the 10 participants from the customer conference representatives and quickly begin the user advisory group’s activity.

    2. User Advisory Group’s Role

    • What work does the user advisory group do?
    • I don’t think it’s good for the game if certain users can influence the development direction.
    • I hope that the user advisory group will simply collect user opinions and deliver them to the development team.

    The user advisory group’s role is to share their opinions to the development team to improve the game. If necessary, improvement opinions will be presented based on development information, and opinions will also be presented after in-depth discussions through things like occasional communication with the developers.

    If the role of the user advisory group is narrowed down to the ‘deliverers of opinions’ collected from the discussion board or community, we think that it would be difficult to have effective discussions based on users’ voices. We would like to create an environment where we can hear and discuss more in-depth stories from the users’ point of view.

    Finally, the development team will determine the development direction based on discussed information from opinions gathered by the advisors as well as the opinions of many players from things like the discussion board and the customer centre. The detailed development direction will not be determined only by the user advisory group’s activity, and for the detailed development direction and schedule, the user advisory group will get information at the same time as players, when a homepage announcement or release note is updated.

    3. What development information will be shared with the user advisory group?

    • What kind of information will the user advisory group receive?
    • Why can’t the information be released entirely?
    • Wouldn’t there be problems in the game if the information is shared only with the user advisory group?

    Going forward, the topics to be discussed with the user advisory group will be the 11 topics mentioned in the [User Advisory Activity Group Begins notice], and if there are any additions or changes, we will share them through another notice.

    Basically, in the user advisory group’s activity, it will take place with only known information for areas where sharing development information is not required. However, in situations where we need more in-depth opinions, information may be shared in limited situations where we think decisions should be based on development information.

    The information that will be shared with the user advisory group is recent or past statistical information related to the topic being discussed. Future update plans or specific directions for in-game improvements will not be shared, and even for past information, we will not share sensitive information which could be used to pursue benefits in the current game economy.

    <Examples of Shared Information>

    1. To have more direct opinions on the topic of ‘alleviating character growth difficulty’, we would share statistical information based on past and present data on the ‘past level up difficulty alleviation’s improvement record of speed when achieving level n~k’.
    2. We will not share data or update directions related to things that have personal benefit such as ‘value of held items’ or ‘expansion of held assets’ which have little impact on the game.

    Nevertheless, the reason why the same information cannot be shared with everyone is that basically, development information must be guaranteed with corporate confidentiality. If the information was publicly released, it would spread to not only MapleStory users but also externally. MapleStory’s long accumulated data and development know-how may be leaked, so we are approaching this with caution. The user advisory group’s confidentiality agreement is also more focused on the aspect of leaking development know-how, and we would like to say that the reason why it would be difficult to fully release this information was not only considering the impact on MapleStory’s game environment or economy.

    4. It is possible that the development information given to the user advisory group could be abused, what security measures are there?

    • There aren’t enough safeguards for the user advisory group receiving information before others.
    • Even if they receive information about past situations, they will be discussing the future so there is room for information abuse.
    • To prevent information abuse, it is necessary to introduce a method that shared the user advisory group’s activity in real-time.

    Since the information provided for discussions with the user advisory group is based on past data, we decided that the possibility of abuse from sharing development information is very low. Nevertheless, as said in the previous notice, we have prepared safeguards through confidentiality agreements and monitoring the game activity of the user advisory group.

    Through notices which include the content of our discussion with the user advisory group and the type of information shared, we will make sure that all users can keep track of the progress on a regular basis. Related notices are expected once every week or every other week, based on the user advisory group’s activity.

    The discussions with the user advisory group and the development team will be mainly asynchronous. We are planning at least one online meeting per month, but it is not efficient to have all discussion in one place, and it is also difficult when considering the schedules of the user advisory group members. Therefore, when the asynchronous discussions have progressed to a meaningful level, we will consider a notice schedule to share with players.

    During this process, if we determine that there is something that could cause damage to players when information is released or not, we will notify you as soon as possible through a separate notice.

    And as explained before, we will not disclose detailed development directions during the discussions with the user advisory group. For the detailed development direction and schedule, the user advisory group will get information at the same time as players, when a homepage announcement or release note is updated.

    In addition, while it may be a positive thing to disclose the user advisory group’s activity in real-time or without any processing to reduce the ‘information gap’ that various players are concerned about so that everyone has the same information, there is also a disadvantage where there would be difficulty due to the expected ‘effect of in-depth discussion’ that we wish to get from the user advisory group. In this case, the user advisory group would have no choice but to be reduced to the role of ‘opinion deliverers’ who simply deliver the most popular issues, and even the development team may be limited in the things that can be covered in public discussions. We would appreciate your understanding that this was decided not to keep our discussions with the user advisory group a secret or to give special authority to them, but to create an environment in which it is easier to have discussions.

    6. What are the channels to communicate with multiple users?

    • It would be better to enhance communication methods such as the existing discussion board instead of the user advisory group.
    • Will only the user advisory group’s opinions be delivered to the development team?
    • I’m not a member of the user advisory group, how can I share my opinions with the development team?

    Like before, we are constantly looking at opinions given through the discussion board and customer centre and will continue doing so in the future. Finally, when deciding on the development direction, we will balance the various sources such as the user advisory group and the discussion board without being biased towards one of them.

    In addition, as mentioned earlier, we are preparing to reorganize the discussion board so it can be used more meaningfully, and the first reorganization is expected to be released around June. To briefly talk about the direction of the discussion board’s reorganization so far, were have created a way to set discussion topics so that you can have more in-depth discussions about specific topics. The subjects will be chosen by the development team and will be set based on the opinions of players. We will continuously notify you about this.

    6. I am curious about the operation of the user advisory group.

    • Are there any plans to select additional user advisory groups?
    • Will the user advisory group’s activity continue in the future 2nd and 3rd groups?

    As mentioned earlier, we are not currently selecting additional user advisory group members so that we can start our work on improving problems in MapleStory more quickly. However, after this group’s activity, we will look for more developed plans for both advisory group member recruitment methods and rational overall operation.

    We are well aware of players concerns. The development team will, above all, try our best to eliminate situations where information provided to the advisory group could be abused.

    Since this is our first beginning activity, there will also be trial and error. But instead of sticking to the decided content until the end, we will respond flexibly even during the activity so that we can operate in better ways. Rather than just trying nothing because of expected problems, we believe that need to improve the game environment quickly right now while making every effort to minimize the risk as much as possible.

    In the future, the development team will continue many attempts to help the future of MapleStory, and we will try our best to provide satisfaction and trust to players by showing how the game is improving step-by-step.

    Thank you.

    Source: Orange Mushroom's Blog