C&C3 Support Apology

A post to the Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars Website by EALA's Mike Verdu addresses the upcoming patch for the PC edition of the Kane's Wrath expansion for Command & Conquer 3 (thanks Voodoo Extreme), calling the update to fix desync issues (story) "long overdue." He says this and other post-release support issues have inspired the formation of a "live team" dedicated to RTS issues, and while it may take time for this to take effect, the intent is to serve their customers better going forward:
We are finally on the cusp of releasing a long overdue patch for the PC version of Kane's Wrath, the expansion pack for C&C3. This patch addresses desync and balance issues that should have been fixed months ago, and I apologize again to our customers for the long delay. The wait for the Kane’s Wrath patch has been a low point in our product support for the last few years, and I take full responsibility.

As General Manager of the studio that makes Command & Conquer games (as well as the Battle for Middle series), I care a great deal about our product quality and support.

I am very proud of our games and the teams that made them. From C&C Generals to the two Battle for Middle-earth games to C&C3, I feel like we have brought great RTS experiences to millions of people who have spent tens of millions of hours playing the games and having fun. That's what I live for… it's why I'm in this business. I can’t think of a better reward than to know that we have built games that people are spending time with and enjoying. I know that some in our community may dislike certain products or aspects or features of the games overall – and I'm humble enough to realize that we can always improve and do better – but in my heart I believe that we’ve made some good games that have delivered value to our customers.

I am not as proud of our record in supporting our games after launch. In fact, I'm downright unhappy with that aspect of our business. There have been some bright spots: For example, our community manager's passionate advocacy on behalf of our customers, the huge patch 1.05 for Battle for Middle-earth II that was a labor of love between our team and the community, and our fast response to some initial problems on C&C3. But overall, the level of support has been lacking. We tend to put out a limited number of patches for our products and in many cases those patches take longer than they should to finish, test, and release. It’s been a chronic issue for more than four years, and we need to fix it.

Our support woes are not the fault of the line developers who work here. We have some of the most talented people in the world on our RTS teams here at EA Los Angeles. The basic issue is the tension between developing new products and supporting our older products. Creating a patch requires hundreds – and in some cases thousands - of man-hours invested by an interdisciplinary team… as well as close coordination with our quality assurance department and other parts of our company. Our teams and leaders have the best of intentions and desperately want to continue supporting our games… but we find ourselves constantly trading off between new development and support. It’s very hard to juggle this work and there are often dependencies and complexities involved that wind up hurting both the new project and the patch efforts. Our issues with support are not a matter of being greedy; believe it or not we have actually spent seven figure sums supporting each of our products for the last few years (if you added up the effort invested and money spent on patches and support for Generals, the BFME games, C&C3, and their expansion packs, we could have built an entire new product). It actually boils down to a matter of logistics and management.

We've been wrestling with the logistics of support for a long time and we need a new approach. After all, some of our competitors have been providing a high level of post-launch support for years, so we know it can be done...and done well.

I’m happy to announce that we have established a live team for our RTS products. Its mission is simple: To protect and serve Command & Conquer – the C&C community, the individual C&C games, and the C&C universe. The live team is starting small, but over a period of many months it will be staffed with a number of developers who will be dedicated to support. Over the next year, more and more support activities will be carried out by the live team instead of by the teams that actually build the games. Red Alert 3 will start out supported by its development team and will transition to live team support a few months after release. The live team’s laser-sharp focus on support eliminates the inherent conflict between new development and patching/maintaining our legacy products.

I am not going to say that this initiative is going to instantly solve all of our support issues – and I don't think we have the credibility with our customers to make that claim anyway. In fact, it will take considerable time to get this effort spun up and working well. But over a period of months and years, I believe the benefits of this new approach will be evident. My hope is that the community will be able to look back on this period and say, "this was the low point – and then things started getting better".
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27 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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27.
 
Re: ...
Jul 6, 2008, 21:34
27.
Re: ... Jul 6, 2008, 21:34
Jul 6, 2008, 21:34
 
i have to agree that ra3 looks rather cartoony. some of the units are a bit ridiculous.

it went from being an alternate reality war game to just, saturday morning cartoon craziness.

26.
 
Re: ...
Jul 6, 2008, 17:37
26.
Re: ... Jul 6, 2008, 17:37
Jul 6, 2008, 17:37
 
Oh come-on, that's bollocks and you know it. Sure it's more light-hearted than C&C3 but cartoony? Please. And nothing I've seen so far suggests tongue-in-cheek.

Have you actually seen anything of it? The units look like toys. All the colors are bright and vibrant. Proportions are completely overblown. You can shoot armored bears out of cannons. The Japanese side has giant mechs that shoot lasers out of their eyes.

I just know that I gave it a real go when it came out and found that is really didn't appeal to me.

So there no particular reasons why you dislike Generals' gameplay. It sounds like you simply couldn't get past the politics of the game.

Do I need to provide an essay as to why I'm allowed an individual opinion?

No, but opinions should be supported by logic, fact and reason. If you dislike something, there should be specific reasons why. You haven't provided anything specific about the gameplay so I can only assume that you don't like Generals for superficial (non-gameplay related) reasons.

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25.
 
...
Jul 6, 2008, 17:02
25.
... Jul 6, 2008, 17:02
Jul 6, 2008, 17:02
 
I disagree. All games should be judged by modern standards, otherwise what's the point of having standards?
Gaming is about the experience you take from it at the time you play it. C&C was revolutionary at the time and completely blew away the games that had come before it - Generals felt flat, unoriginal, overly political and with graphics that were worse than the 2D-with-3D-elements games that came before it. You can't compare a game over a decade older with a modern game and come away with anything meaningful - however, you can compare the experience and evaluate it in relation to the games market of the time.

RA3 is even more cartoony and tongue-in-cheek.
Oh come-on, that's bollocks and you know it. Sure it's more light-hearted than C&C3 but cartoony? Please. And nothing I've seen so far suggests tongue-in-cheek.

Any particular reason why you didn't like the gameplay?
I couldn't tell you. I just know that I gave it a real go when it came out and found that is really didn't appeal to me.

So I don't really understand why you're looking forward to it..?
I played C&C3 and enjoyed it (even if it wasn't revolutionary), while the videos I've seen of RA3 look great. I think it looks enjoyable. Do I need to provide an essay as to why I'm allowed an individual opinion?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Founder of the "I Hate Smiley Fitz" society

Remember: Riley has autism. He has trouble communicating, and in an overstimulating
environment, he can get frightened and run away, leaving his parents frantic. - Auburn
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
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24.
 
Re: ...
Jul 6, 2008, 14:38
24.
Re: ... Jul 6, 2008, 14:38
Jul 6, 2008, 14:38
 
Setting, story, style and graphics are important - much as gameplay is - and Generals failed in all those.

Any particular reason why you didn't like the gameplay?

Oh please, they have to be taken in context - otherwise you could claim Crysis is better than Doom II, which is clearly ludicrous.

I disagree. All games should be judged by modern standards, otherwise what's the point of having standards? Was Doom a great game? At the time, yes. Is it still a great game? Not so much. That doesn't make it any less important, though, and it's still a classic. There are many older games that stand strong today. Deus Ex, System Shock 2, Fallout, Planescape: Torment, Baldur's Gate... while these titles are obviously behind the curve in terms of presentation, their gameplay is still largely unmatched.

So RA3 isn't like the original C&C but like the original RA.

It doesn't seem much like the original RA to me. The first RA was basically C&C with Russians. The style of the game was very much the same. RA2, which you listed as one of the inferior games in the series, had a much more cartoony and tongue-in-cheek attitude. RA3 is even more cartoony and tongue-in-cheek. So I don't really understand why you're looking forward to it..?

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23.
 
...
Jul 6, 2008, 11:57
23.
... Jul 6, 2008, 11:57
Jul 6, 2008, 11:57
 
What are you smoking? Generals was better than C&C3 in every respect.
I didn't like the theme (too political, unrelated to other games), graphics (3D graphics were more busy that the clean 2D graphics of previous games) or the gameplay (I simply didn't find it enjoyable). It certainly didn't deserve the C&C name.

When was the last time you played the original C&C? I played it within the last month and needless to say, it doesn't hold up well.
Oh please, they have to be taken in context - otherwise you could claim Crysis is better than Doom II, which is clearly ludicrous. I absolutely loved the original Warcraft and it's the most enjoyable and well balanced RTS I've ever played, yet it doesn't hold-up to today's games.

Based on your completely illogical praise of C&C3 and hatred of Generals, I can only assume that your preferences revolve around things like setting, story, style, etc and not actual gameplay.
My enjoyment of a game is based on the package as a whole. Setting, story, style and graphics are important - much as gameplay is - and Generals failed in all those.

With that said, how is RA3 anything like the original C&C?
I count C&C / Red Alert to the be the glory point of the franchise. Red Alert didn't update the graphics engine or the core gameplay mechanic but the theme and the storyline were very enjoyable - so while it was a cash-in from a business point-of-view (which I assume was the confusion) it was actually a very good game. So RA3 isn't like the original C&C but like the original RA.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Founder of the "I Hate Smiley Fitz" society

Remember: Riley has autism. He has trouble communicating, and in an overstimulating
environment, he can get frightened and run away, leaving his parents frantic. - Auburn
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
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22.
 
Re: Long overdue?
Jul 6, 2008, 11:24
22.
Re: Long overdue? Jul 6, 2008, 11:24
Jul 6, 2008, 11:24
 
What's long overdue is some kind of standard industry-wide approach for supporting legacy code in general, not just recent releases.

Personally at this point in my career I'd -prefer- to work on existing Stable code instead of beating my brains out in yet another round of desperate crunchtime madness trying to get new code working at all.

Hire me!

somebody hire this man!

21.
 
Re: Long overdue?
Jul 6, 2008, 10:39
21.
Re: Long overdue? Jul 6, 2008, 10:39
Jul 6, 2008, 10:39
 
What's long overdue is some kind of standard industry-wide approach for supporting legacy code in general, not just recent releases.

Personally at this point in my career I'd -prefer- to work on existing Stable code instead of beating my brains out in yet another round of desperate crunchtime madness trying to get new code working at all.

Hire me!

20.
 
Support and Securom
Jul 6, 2008, 10:13
20.
Support and Securom Jul 6, 2008, 10:13
Jul 6, 2008, 10:13
 
Do they ever support their games... and they want us to support them with their new 3 activation limit c&%^. I hope EA dies a horrible death.

19.
 
Re: No subject
Jul 6, 2008, 09:48
19.
Re: No subject Jul 6, 2008, 09:48
Jul 6, 2008, 09:48
 
for the record i thought c&c3 was quite good. but as dev said, that is solely from a single player point of view.

the general consensus seems to be multiplayer was shot in the head before it got out the door and was never resuscitated.

18.
 
No subject
Jul 6, 2008, 06:05
Dev
18.
No subject Jul 6, 2008, 06:05
Jul 6, 2008, 06:05
Dev
 
Jerykk: Speaking only from a single player standpoint, C&C 3 is much more fun to play than Generals. It felt like they were trying to return to the roots of the classic C&C and felt like they succeeded, it was one of the more fun westwood games to play (again as SINGLE PLAYER) since red alert.

I've not played C&C 3 as multiplayer.

17.
 
Re: ...
Jul 6, 2008, 02:29
17.
Re: ... Jul 6, 2008, 02:29
Jul 6, 2008, 02:29
 
I thought C&C 3 was a step in the right direction, particularly after the abomination that was Generals.

What are you smoking? Generals was better than C&C3 in every respect. The builder system was fundamentally superior to the construction yard system and offered far greater flexibility and tactical depth. Generals also had a much more robust and balanced upgrade system. Individual units could be upgraded on an individual basis but many upgrades had their own upsides and downsides, making you think carefully about which upgrades to apply. In C&C3, upgrades are applied universally and have no downsides. Both games have special "powers" but the Generals tree-based system had much more depth than C&C3's "pay-per-use" system. Finally, "strategy" in C&C3 ultimately boils down to tank spam regardless of what side you use. In Generals, every side had very distinct playing styles.

If the only reason you dislike Generals is because of its theme and setting, that's pretty stupid. Gameplay always takes precedence and in that respect, Generals is the best C&C game.

To be fair it was only the original C&C that was great

When was the last time you played the original C&C? I played it within the last month and needless to say, it doesn't hold up well.

RA3 looks to restore the franchise to its former glory.

Okay, this I don't get. Based on your completely illogical praise of C&C3 and hatred of Generals, I can only assume that your preferences revolve around things like setting, story, style, etc and not actual gameplay. With that said, how is RA3 anything like the original C&C? From what I've seen, RA3 is extremely cartoony and tongue-in-cheek, something the original C&C was not.

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16.
 
...
Jul 6, 2008, 01:39
16.
... Jul 6, 2008, 01:39
Jul 6, 2008, 01:39
 
The franchise has sucked since Westwood deceased.
I thought C&C 3 was a step in the right direction, particularly after the abomination that was Generals. To be fair it was only the original C&C that was great - Red Alert took the same engine and put it to a different theme (in other words: cash in) but wasn't anything radical. Tiberium Sun, RA2 and Generals were below average, while C&C3 was simply good. RA3 looks to restore the franchise to its former glory.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Founder of the "I Hate Smiley Fitz" society

Remember: Riley has autism. He has trouble communicating, and in an overstimulating
environment, he can get frightened and run away, leaving his parents frantic. - Auburn
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
Avatar 22891
15.
 
Re: Long overdue?
Jul 5, 2008, 23:12
Ant
 
15.
Re: Long overdue? Jul 5, 2008, 23:12
Jul 5, 2008, 23:12
 Ant
 
JohnBirshire: I never liked Blizzard's RTS games for their themes. I like military themed games. Hence, why I love C&C games, World in Conflict, etc.

Move along people, it is just EA's typical goofs. No surprise.
Ant's Quality Foraged Links (http://aqfl.net) & The Ant Farm (http://antfarm.ma.cx / http://antfarm.home.dhs.org).
Avatar 1957
14.
 
Long overdue?
Jul 5, 2008, 22:56
14.
Long overdue? Jul 5, 2008, 22:56
Jul 5, 2008, 22:56
 
You know what's long overdue? Balancing the multiplayer. Since day one every competitive player has been using the same faction, builds the same units, and does the same thing. WTF?!

I give up on their games, not even exited about the new Red Alert. The franchise has sucked since Westwood deceased.

Stick to Blizzard's RTS games, at least they give a shit about theirs.

13.
 
Re: No subject
Jul 5, 2008, 22:39
13.
Re: No subject Jul 5, 2008, 22:39
Jul 5, 2008, 22:39
 
i never understood why its such a big deal for them to patch their recently released games.

blizzard still patches their games from 10 years ago.

12.
 
Really?
Jul 5, 2008, 22:30
12.
Really? Jul 5, 2008, 22:30
Jul 5, 2008, 22:30
 
As General Manager of the studio that makes Command & Conquer games (as well as the Battle for Middle series), I care a great deal about our product quality and support.

You care a great deal? How about fixing those fucking game.dat issues for Battle for Middle Earth that prevent thousands of legit customers from actually playing the fucking game, Mr. Cares-A-Lot?

Fucking EA.

Creston


Avatar 15604
11.
 
Suprise?
Jul 5, 2008, 22:10
Ant
 
11.
Suprise? Jul 5, 2008, 22:10
Jul 5, 2008, 22:10
 Ant
 
Is anyone even surprised? EA should never announced a released date!
Ant's Quality Foraged Links (http://aqfl.net) & The Ant Farm (http://antfarm.ma.cx / http://antfarm.home.dhs.org).
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10.
 
Re: No subject
Jul 5, 2008, 20:35
10.
Re: No subject Jul 5, 2008, 20:35
Jul 5, 2008, 20:35
 
Yup, that's what happens when EA takes over C&C. Sad a franchise falls into the hands of them because WW would have released a patch as soon as a problem was found. I can only fear for Red Alert 3 =/

Avatar 16605
9.
 
Re: Wow
Jul 5, 2008, 19:31
Prez
 
9.
Re: Wow Jul 5, 2008, 19:31
Jul 5, 2008, 19:31
 Prez
 
"The wait for the Kane’s Wrath patch has been a low point in our product support for the last few years"

Where has this guy been? This isn't even close to the low point.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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8.
 
Re: Wow
Jul 5, 2008, 19:03
8.
Re: Wow Jul 5, 2008, 19:03
Jul 5, 2008, 19:03
 
Just take a chill pill and go play outside for a while. The patch is almost here.

I think people are justified in their outrage if the game they purchased isn't working as advertised.

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