Quote Originally Posted by Celestrata Bloodsong View Post
Quote Originally Posted by sobin View Post
Can you explain what happens when you 'follow up with the team and XL' on topics? Do you leave a sticky note on someones computer monitor that gets blown away when a door is open? I see you say this a lot, but i'm not really sure what it means. Do you personally email XL every time a topic comes up on the forums that you leave that response for? Do you always hear back from XL about everything you bring up? Who is the 'Team'? Does this 'Team' include XL or is it just the folks at trion who have no impact on the game? (except quill & socke)
I know y'all don't see me that frequently anymore as most of my work is behind-the-scenes these days, but hi! I can explain all of this because this is pretty much my job anymore. And as much as I'd like to put a sticky note on someone's monitor, that would take a 14 hour trip to Korea. =P Would be a pretty expensive, time-consuming sticky note. So our communication with the guys over at XL takes a few forms, and sometimes that form depends on what's being discussed. For larger issues, like heavy critical issues that need to be fixed really quickly or major blocking bugs that impede progress, we'll actually use more than one of these methods. 1. -- JIRA/Bug Tracking -- The first and most common way we communicate with one another is through a shared resource known as JIRA. Some of you more tech-savvy folks may know Atlassian's JIRA first hand, but this is the shared program we use to directly communicate with our counterparts at XL. Various members of the Trion team here, like our QA, Translation, Production, Marketing, and Community teams all have access to this program and can see what's being discussed. From the XL side, it's their Project Manager (my counterpart at XL who I'm in daily contact with) the NA/EU Content Lead, NA/EU Marketplace lead, and other key members of their staff. XL has two divisions -- one is the guys who exclusively work on our versions, and the other is the core ArcheAge team that works on all of the ArcheAge version across the world. New additions that are coming up in a specific version of the game, localization changes that are being made for our version, and bugs are all dropped into JIRA for mutual tracking. Updates are then popped back and forth between us (barring time for translation into English and Korean), as well as core game documentation. JIRAs are also marked with a priority number, so you can tell what really needs to be worked on versus what could take a bit longer. We have to make these distinctions because the team's time is limited, as all of our time is, and some things may need to be more important than others. (Adjusting a slight graphical glitch on a costume vs. fixing a broken quest.) An example of a common JIRA topic would be something like, "We're changing how Copper, Silver, and Gold chests drop items, here is an overview of the new functionality." Documents are then attached and we have a discussion there on if anything should be changed, if everything looks good, etc. These entries are very specific, and usually they are organized into a list of what's coming in a particular version. (For example, everything for the June update is listed together, everything for the July update is listed together, etc.) 2. Team Emails -- The second common method of communication are emails. When a subject is broader than a very defined thing, or when we need to discuss some high-level matter or plan schedules, we use email. These emails are again translated into both English and Korean, and primarily bounce back and forth between myself and the XL Project Manager. The difference here is that these emails go to a broader audience than a JIRA. A JIRA is usually assigned to specific people while our emails are more general and can be read by the key members of both teams. An example of an email topic would be, "Let's discuss the development and publishing schedule for next month's update" or "here are the winners of the recent art contest." 3. IM -- For those items that may need real-time communication or questions, there's always the good old reliable IM. Again, the XL Project Manager and I, as well as other core members of the XL and Trion teams, sit in a chat room with one another. Mostly these are used late at night (USA time) and early in the morning (Korean time) when both teams are awake. These are used for extremely critical situations (I.E. we noticed an error come up during an update) or when we just need to discuss something together quickly. We ping one another here pretty regularly too if something needs to be looked at, which can result in myself or Tinen or Merv being awake at like 10 AM - 1 AM our time while the XL team arrives at the office and can discuss things together, or when we're updating and the XL team stays late at their office to help support the update. (Btw, my wife hates the soft glow of the iPad at 1 AM and usually hits me with a pillow, lol.) 4. Regular Meetings -- Finally, we do have regular meetings with our core ArcheAge guys from XL, and the core production team here from Trion. The frequency of these meetings via video conference depends on our update schedules or other business needs, but they usually have set agendas and allow us to discuss matters more quickly than an IM. But, these meetings are usually less critical than IMs are, as they're frequently about game discussions or other operational matters. So that's the general gist of how communication works between the Trion team and the core XL team. Now, to answer your questions. Do you personally email XL every time a topic comes up on the forums that you leave that response for? Yes, except replace "email" with "JIRA." If you see Muzzy pop a note on a thread, or a major issue comes up that players are talking about, you can bet it's been entered somewhere in JIRA. I'll give you a direct example -- we're discussing the core drop rates of Hiram Guardian gear and possibly improving them in JIRA right now. That may sound familiar. Do you always hear back from XL about everything you bring up? We absolutely try to, but there are times things fall through the cracks. Most emails always get a response, as well as IMs and Business Meetings, but there are times some JIRAs are put on a backlog because reproducing the exact bug isn't working, or the team may not have time right at that moment, or another reason. And, sometimes an entry is just missed because a larger, more important thing popped up that everyone needed to rush to resolve. We're all human, it happens. To help counter this, we do try to frequently look back through the system to see what hasn't been resolved yet, and see if there's any new progress on a specific issue, or see if we can re-open something or re-schedule it for a version. Who is the 'Team'? As noted above, it's the core Trion production team plus the core XL team that is devoted to our version that frequently sees the bulk of the discussions. But that doesn't mean discussions can't go beyond that. A good example is the Hiram Guardian Gear's release timetable. Our discussion of which month the gear should be release ended up including the core ArcheAge team (as they had to support it) as well as Jake Song himself (he wanted it released earlier for NA/EU versus the later timing they had used for Korea.) The result is that the release of that gear was moved up. Hope that answers some stuff for ya.
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