If you haven’t thought about Gwent for a while, that’s not surprising. In fact, it’s practically the plan for CD Projekt Red, and while that’s not a bad idea from a development standpoint, it’s making the player base nervous.
CDPR previously announced that it wouldn’t have much to say while it retooled the game for “Homecoming” and launch later this year. Understandably, fans are starved for information, and they were expected to get some during the stream of a recent tournament.
Instead, that didn’t materialize and, as Kotaku put it, the Gwent community manager, Pawel Burza, had to apologize and “confess my sins” in front of the camera for not being able to deliver any news or even adequately explain why that would be the case, as he had promised on Twitter.
When I first wrote about Homecoming, I said that “new content during these six months — or longer, because these kinds of things always take more time than they’re supposed to — will be limited.” The “longer” part of things is probably going to come to pass, and if that’s what’s needed to make the game better, fine, but CDPR might be shooting itself in the foot with regards to its communication. Kotaku lists several random people, most on Reddit, who are concerned about the game’s long-term future, and when that happens, you need to act quickly to make sure you don’t lose your most passionate fans.
Maybe you can’t reveal cards, straight-up, but there are all sorts of other things you can do. Having only barely sampled Gwent and not obviously not knowing what changes are being made, I can’t really attest to what exactly should be communicated, but there’s always something. I was the CM (and part-time designer) for a CCG company for two-plus years, and I produced some story, about something, pretty much on cue three times a week. Also, I just read a great Twitter thread this morning that explained everything a CM should be doing to keep interest in his/her product high. It can be done, even if you don’t have anything earth-shattering to announce. I liked to call it “saying something without saying anything.”
Naturally, this requires the highers-up to agree to reveal at least a little information; contrary to popular belief, community managers don’t hate players and want to hold information from them. They’re rarely the ones making the decisions, though, and if developers and project managers don’t want something getting out to the public, it won’t. There’s something to be said for a careful approach, granted, but if your PR plan for six months is “just promote our esports and don’t mention game development at all,” you’re not doing anyone any favors.