It’s not often you’ll see a producer’s letter for an MMORPG go over so badly that the producer feels compelled to apologize for it the next day. That’s what happened with TERA and En Masse Entertainment this week, but, if I might say so, I really like the end result.
In Wednesday’s letter, Senior Producer Matthew “Denommenator” Denomme informed fans about TERA’s wildly successful 2015 and dropped a few details about its 2016 plans, including a build coming in March that would revise several pieces of content. That long of a wait didn’t go over well with fans, who railed against it on the TERA forums for nearly a hundred pages.
The result of that rancor was a follow-up from Denomme yesterday where he went into greater detail about the schedule and why it was set where it was. For the most part, it was because of the complex interactions between En Masse and Bluehole Studios — which is undergoing an “internal re-organization” — and that En Masse would bring this issue up again with Bluehole, even though it was unlikely anything could be done.
Here’s what I really love about this second letter: While maintaining politeness and a certain distance, Denomme explains a little of the “behind the scenes” decision-making that goes into determining what gets launched when. He admits that his first letter was a little “vague and generic,” the kind we tend to hear from companies all the time because they don’t want the customers to learn too much about how the sausage is made, so to speak. Hearing a little bit about internal communications and exactly why seemingly unpopular decisions are made is a great way to keep your hardcore fans in line. Nearly all of them work for a living, too, and realize they can’t always just do what they want at their jobs, so telling them why you can’t either helps them understand the situation a ton better. It’s a great move by Denomme and En Masse, and one that I wish more companies would copy.