Do Developers Play

The short answer is yes, the longer answer is where I am going here.

Some artists (and yes I consider developers to be artists) dislike looking back at previous work as it ‘distracts from the now’ to quote Edna. Others play to see what the players have done with and to their creations.

As is my pattern, in this series of posts for the month of August, I am going to do the ‘rotation’ through a few games and contrast and compare. Let us start with ESO. Now I have seen devs for this game in Podcasts or to show off some new thing coming up (spoilers, sweetie) but not on a day to day basis. They support streamers to do the daily showing off but I do not often see the devs labeled as such in game. Now this is not to say that they do not play but they do not play as ‘officials of the game’. At least, not as far as I have seen but then I have only logged . . . /me goes and checks . . . 1.5 k hours in game (on this acct) so maybe I just have always been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Then again? Maybe not.

Champions online the Devs have been running a themed Costume event once a month and then using Dev powers to turn the lucky winners into temporary monsters for the rest of us to bash and bring down. This is streamed was 11 days ago, for example. I have not seen them at other live events or big battles but hey, things can get chaotic out there. So this is an example of interaction and of a bit of power thrown about at the same time that the devs have and players do not.

Lastly (for this small piece) we come to Eve Online. Now I know a lot of complainers in r/eve say that eve devs never play their own game and likely, for some that may be true. But I also know that the devs that they have hired from the pool of players have to ‘hand over their mains’ so that they do not show too much favouritism with the new powers that they have. This partially goes back to the T20 incidient that in turn lead to the creation of the CSM. To put it briefly? T20 was a dev who influenced events within the game to favour his buddies in a specific corp.

Now Eve actually has people in the company who watch the devs and even people like myself who have a bit of an inside edge on information to make sure that we do not ‘take unfair advantage’. And yes the devs can and do play ‘undercover’. I am really bad at faces and names but voices tend to stay with me better. I have been in fleet with someone who was a dev, I did not say anything because they were, as I said, playing incognito and I thought it best to leave it that way. When the devs do play ‘publicly’ it is an event, they might have a Live Event with political shifting of the npc factions or give-aways in the form of flying big ships with lots of goodies inside, a loot piñata.

Me? I welcome the devs to come, have fun in the thing they have made. I have a backyard and I put a fair amount of sweat equity into it but I also like to just sit and take it all in. Enjoy. The sad thing is? No matter how good the dev, how good the game, there will be players there to complain, abuse, stream snipe.

this is the way

fly it like you won it


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2 Responses to Do Developers Play

  1. bhagpuss says:

    In several mmorpgs I’ve played the devs defintiely do play. Sometimes they play openly with a company tag. ANet employees in Guild Wars 2 do that quite a lot, especially in world vs world, where they have their own guild and sometimes take and claim structures under the name.

    Usually, though, if a dev is visibly showing company colors it will be for specific reasons related to promotion or general PR. When devs play for their own entertainment they generally keep their identity secret. What I have very frequently seen them do, though, is reply to questions in interviews or on forums by saying they are in guilds and do play regularly but not letting it be known which guilds. I’ve seen some say they play every day and some confirm they are regular raiders for example.

    Of course, you have to take their word for it but it seems likely to be true. I work in a bookstore and every day customers ask me if I’ve read this or that book. Sometimes I have, sometimes I haven’t but it would be very odd indeed if I was working there and I didn’t read any books for pleasure at all. Devs may play their own games or other devs games but it would be weird if they didn’t play games, period.

  2. mikeazariah says:

    I have not played GW2 in a long time. But that is kind of cool, thanks.


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