WHAT IS THIS?
This originally started out as "5 Things That Are Hot and Not About Destiny" and was our regular weekly segment here at the YOUR Destiny website and meant to be a column on what has been going on, either, in Destiny generally, or in the head of the columnist specifically. It has now developed into an informal space for various reflections on Destiny from the perspective of the resident writers at YOUR Destiny. Here we deal with anything related to Star Wars Destiny.
The opinions presented here are obviously just opinions - you might disagree, heck, we'd almost be disappointed if you don't disagree! Feel free to participate in the discussion on our Facebook Page!
SEPTEMBER 4, 2019.
Read OUR PREVIOUS COLUMNS!
5 THINGS REGARDING THE DELAY OF COVERT MISSIONS!
Written by CLAUS STAAL
As I prepared this article, I left this space open, in case an article dropped from Fantasy Flight Games, which they promised us in their latest AMA, Ask Me Anything, but it didn't come.
Today, I'll be discussing some things in relation to the delay on Covert Missions, and I'll approach this from both the positive and negative. Maybe I'm too harsh, but I feel the game is at a crossroad and that it's imperative that we let Fantasy Flight Games know of the precarious situation. This is my small contribution. It's not much.
1. DON'T LEAVE THE GAME:
Alright ... ALRIGHT ... admittedly, my initial reaction was exaggerated, but sometimes exaggeration is needed to make a point! Let me now beg forgiveness: "DON'T LEAVE THE GAME!" ... well ... or to modify it a bit: Don't leave the game because of the announcement that Covert Missions is delayed!
A REASON TO LEAVE THE GAME is if you want for Star Wars Destiny to become a truly competitive game. That is, if you want Star Wars Destiny to be first and foremost about high level competitive events with prizes worth traveling around the globe for. That's not going to happen. EVER! But honestly, that's never been Fantasy Flight Games' intention either. This might have been a fickle hope harboured by a relative small group of players and teams, and while these players and teams are often the loudest, myself included, we are by no means the benchmark that this game should aim for.
ANOTHER REASON TO LEAVE THE GAME is if you hope "things are going to improve" and you sticking with the game depends on these things to improve!? What things am I speaking of?
- Accurate release schedules!
- Timely information regarding prizes for various events!
- Timely announcement of various events!
- A near constant flow of articles and information from FFG!
- Local Game Stores to enjoy a high degree of support from FFG!
BUT THERE ARE PLENTY OF REASONS TO STAY, of which the most important, is the amazing community surrounding this game, and mind you, I include the many dedicated Fantasy Flight Games' employees, who are working their a**es off daily to maintain good rapports with everyone involved in this game, in the community! Many of them are my friends and I understand what a fine line they are constantly forced to walk! It's not easy being boxed in between a gaming community and a corporate body! I know.
AND THE FINAL REASON TO STAY is that Star Wars Destiny still is one of the best damn games that I've played. It's highly complex, challenging on your decision making processes throughout a game, rewards skills and yet is relatively easy to get into. Sure, the dice are a pain in the butt to store, but I can play countless hours of Destiny and still not get tired of it!
2. THE CASUAL PLAYERS:
Last weekend I posted my short article explaining my disappointment with the announcement to postpone the release of Covert Missions, and while it was admittedly written in a quite hastily manner, I still stand by every single word I wrote in the article, but I also think the responses to the article were AWESOME, and I welcome every single one of them ... especially the ones that are critical towards the article, because they stem from the one thing that will save this game, one way or the other: The deep rooted sense of community and loyalty from the players engaged in the game.
Maybe the single most important thing underscored from a selection of comments is the negligence of many content creators, YOUR Destiny definitely not excluded, to properly care for the large group of "kitchen table players". The group of players who for whatever reason will not or cannot attend the large competitive events and when they do often do not attain the fame of the established competitive players in the community. We cannot all be the Joe Colons, Mike Gemmes, Mads Utzons or Drew Warrens within this game, and some of us don't even want to! Some players just want to sling lightsabers and blasters at each other once or twice a month ... and for some buying millions of booster packs every third month is just way to expensive.
Let me immediately state that my original post was aimed at the competitive gamers ONLY! And I agree that a slower release rate, which would hopefully also lead to more comprehensive and thematic sets, would be nothing but a benefit to the casual players, which at the end of the day is the bread and butter of the game! The economic argument btw. is one that I wholeheartedly symphatize with!
There's a very fine line to be struck between accommodating for the casual player and the competitive players, without the former the competitive scene would die out in no time, while the latter constantly shows up the ceiling of the game and provides for a unique development of the game.
3. HOUSE RULES:
Maybe the most obvious solution to the challenges posed by the rather fortuitous releases of expansions to Star Wars Destiny is that it blows a door widen open for the implementation of various HOUSE RULES. The longer the period between expansions, the more house rules can be implemented within different local gaming communities, tailored to the individual play groups, and while I'm not a big fan of House Rules myself I can definitely appreciate how it can make a gaming community come alive AND stay alive despite the efforts of Fantasy Flight Games ... (sorry, just had to be salty for a moment).
House Rules includes everything from banning certain characters, creating your own restricted list or even changing the points cost of different characters.
You could even go as far as customising casual tournaments to include penalty points or lower scores for wins with certain decks, i.e. x0.8 multiplication factor for wins with Gauntlet decks or do tiered first and second round match-ups, i.e. Gauntlet decks always face off against each other in the first and second round of a tournament.
The possibilities are infinite and while I encourage all such initiatives, I'd also like to warn that once we go down that path there's no turning back. Once Fantasy Flight Games give up the prerogative of defining the major lines of the game and instead leave that to the community, there's really no take backs. Give power to the people once and they are not likely to give it back!
I don't think that anybody expects the Fantasy Flight Games' design team to be better than the collective hive mind of the internet, but we can expect them to be ahead of the development ... if for no other reason than they are the actual developers of the game.
4. COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE ...
While the vast majority of players in the Destiny community tend to agree that Alex Watkins, Global Director of Organized Play, and his team both in the US and Europe is doing a pretty dope job in relation to Organized Play bar the few mishaps with late delivery of Season Kits, communication from Fantasy Flight Games generally leaves LOADS OF ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT! If you haven't seen the original announcement in relation to the delay of Covert Missions, then just spend 25 seconds of your life to watch this:
You didn't think that anyone would be asking this question? I mean, Star Wars Destiny isn't the largest game in the portfolio of FFG, but it isn't exactly the smallest either (I'm just guessing here), and you made yourself available to questions from viewers AND you decided to publicly answer the question on the release date of Covert Missions AND you didn't have an answer ready ... hmmm ... I was honestly thinking ... I S T H I S H A P P E N I N G.
I'm assuming now that you've seen the excerpt from the FFG Live Stream (linked above) and wouldn't you agree that from a strictly communicative point of view, putting aside our feelings regarding it, that it's an UTTER CATASTROPHE! I'm not going to pretend that I have any insights on FFG communication strategy, but come on ... that has to be one of the worst go-at-its that you've witnessed? That cannot be how FFG wanted this to go down.
The gentlemen in the video by the way aren't just your average Joes, the "guy" answering the question is Andrew Navaro, Head of Fantasy Flight Games Studios. If I had employed either of these two people, I'd kindly ask them to step into my office and explain themselves.
5. WHY IS COVERT MISSIONS IMPORTANT:
There are many different reasons why Covert Missions is an important release, but I'd like to start off by explaining why I believe the postponement of the release of Covert Missions is incredibly damaging to the game.
Throughout the relative short history of Star Wars Destiny it has been marred by shortcomings. All the way from the product shortage after the initial release of Awakenings, the first expansion to the game, to the failure to do simultaneous global releases. Players have generally been very lenient in their judgement of Fantasy Flight Games despite the many problems. I'm honestly surprised at how loyal the following of the game has been, through thick and thin. It's a testimony to how good the game actually is.
And for a while there things actually looked as if they were improving ... communication improved slightly, particularly the employment of Matt Holland as Community Coordinator, exciting plans were unveiled and attendance at events were breaking records. It actually felt as if the ambitions of the company were aligning with those of many of the players financing the business. But with the failure to provide any explanation to the postponement all that is left are the tattered remains of what could have been so beautiful. Unambitious and an utter disrespect for the customers that provide them with an income. Don't forget that! We are not at the mercy of Fantasy Flight Games. They are at ours.
Covert Missions is important because it was going to prove that Fantasy Flight Games had ambitions for Star Wars Destiny. They clearly don't. It was going to underscore the point that they've been trying to convince us of, that they are a trustworthy company. They clearly aren't. I don't even care about the excuses and there probably are valid ones. I don't care about intellectual property. I don't care about Disney. I'm first and foremost a consumer and a consumer scorned is a pretty bad thing for a company that lives off my money.
I already said in a previous article, some 6 months ago, why I would NEVER play KeyForge, even if it ends up being the best game in the galaxy, just like I'm not going to play the new Marvel game, or buy any other Fantasy Flight Games' product. I just cannot justify throwing more of my money at this company. I've (also) stayed with Destiny, so far, as a way of protecting my sizeable investment already made. It feels like we are at an important crossroads and I'm eagerly awaiting the article to drop ... as promised ...
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