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There was a discussion about Larian's possible reasons for their no-communication policy the other day on the Larian Discord, so I figured I'd poll the forum.

In your opinion, what are the possible reasons that explain why Larian decided to go for their policy of nearly non-existent communication ?

Precisions.

  • Larian's communication includes one-way news updates in the form of Patch Notes and Panels From Hell, once every 4 months or so. It excludes any engagement with the community. For short, I tend to alternate between calling this policy "no communication", "near-zero communication", "nearly non-existent communication", etc. We all know what the policy is, but I feel that describing it as "the low communication policy that they've been implementing since the beginning", while technically correct, is a bit long (also, it didn't fit in the title, due to the limit on the number of characters).

  • What this thread is NOT about
    • What you feel about this communication policy. Maybe you think it's a very poor one. Maybe you think it's very fine. This discussion is another topic, and not the one I'm interested in here.
    • How well received this communication policy is. Maybe you think it does not help with their goal "maintain a healthy relationship with those who take the time to provide feedback" (as Larian claims in the Steam EA info section). Maybe you think players are happy with it, save for a vocal ultra-minority.
  • What this thread is also about.
    • "How you would have designed their communication, if you had been the person in charge of crafting Larian's communication policy ?"
      I feel that, while this is not my question, it is relevant-enough. Because if you put yourselves in the shoes of the person(s) at Larian who designed the current communication policy, and you come up with Policy B, you probably have reasons for this. That is, you considered the advantages and/or drawbacks, and you think this is the better choice. The point of interest here is not the Policy B, but the advantages/drawbacks of Policy B could be drawbacks/advantages of Larian's Policy A, i.e. possible reasons that explain why Larian decided to go for Policy A.
    • While I tend to assume that some people at Larian crafted and deployed their communication policy, you are free to argue that this policy was not consciously chosen, but instead somehow happened. That is, that there are external reasons, that things happened the way they happened, and the emergent result is the communication policy that we witnessed.


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I feel like their current communication would have been fine with their initial release plan. Too bad Covid and the repeated floods delayed it past the patience limit of some people.

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They think they have nothing to gain from letting us in. They wanted input on the game, but they don't want backlash when someone's precious game mechanic doesn't fit in with their plans. If they acknowledge any feedback it sets up an unrealistic expectation for any type of feedback. That's my guess. I think the scope and tenor of the EA really changed after the pandemic too, so who knows what effect that had on it.

I found it interesting whenever Swen would tell us that certain game mechanics where being worked on, such as when they changed how initiative worked, or when he off-handed will mention a debate around such-and-such spell/ability/mechanic going on. If they made more clear what they were and weren't really interested in changing, the things that are key to their design ethos as opposed to the things that are just the best idea they've had so far, a lot of energy spent on dead ends here could have been avoided.

Last edited by Sozz; 05/11/22 07:30 PM.
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I think that the reason they chose to design it this way is at least in part to focus on the big panels from hell and make those as flashy as they could because they felt those were more important.

If I were in their place, I'd have deemphasized panels from hell and made them smaller affairs. Still with streaming and such, but not as much of the extra pomp and circumstance. I would have focused more on smaller communcation in between patches. I don't think I'd have insisted on a presence in the forums, but I would have would have, when information was as reliable as possilble, given out some info on what aspects of the game we were definitely changing and which ones we were definitely keeping as is. I also would have arranged for posts going into the lore of the Forgotten Realms. Races, places, classes, talking about some of the factions or weird things we might meet in the game. Maybe even a bit of info about things like history or events from the prior games. Stuff that people who care about the setting or series would be interested in, as well as people who are new to the setting and want to know more going in. Like, I'm sure a lot of casual D&D fans have no idea what the Githyanki are and would have loved to learn more about them.

Basically, I wouldn't have increased direct communication a whole lot, but I'd have increased it, and kept a steady trickle of information about the setting going out that would hopefully create an illusion of more communication than there really was.

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Personally I think they may have had the best intentions at the beginning, but the diverse and clearly split fanbase with highly varied opinions on what the game should be is what may have ultimately made them reconsider any direct communication and instead rely on PFH streams to show their progress. Which to me is perfectly fine.

Because in terms of fanbase there are;
  • The fans of original Baldur's Gate games who look fondly on them and wish to have the same feeling as the previous games due to nostalgia
  • The DnD enthusiasts who expect a true and hardcore conversion of tabletop RPG into a videogame, where any sort of deviation is considered a heresy and an insult to TTRPG genre
  • The Larian fans who love their games and simply want more great RPGs to play
  • DOS2 fans who expected DOS3


So they are receiving wishes, suggestions and feedback from at least 4 highly different fanbases, because;
  • The first group wishes BG3 to be exactly the same as the predecessors
  • The second group wants a true hardcore DnD tabletop experience, but in a videogame
  • The third group just wants a Larian BG3
  • The fourth want BG3 to play like DOS2


I personally cannot imagine how anyone would be able to communicate with 4 different groups wanting 4 different visions for the game, so I think that's why they're most likely not directly communicating. To me it's perfectly fine and it's better that they're following their own vision on what the game should be, than trying to be like other games out there.

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I do not want to be the person who always ruins all positivity. But none of those reasons have anything to do with why they do not reply directly. The answer is simple and complex, MONEY and liability. Here is why responding is always a bad idea.

1) it creates gossip and causes in-fighting amongst communities which are cult like. We see this with MMOs [got 40K hours in them so I know personally]. Pissed people will dominate other pissed people to prove their right in their heads = lost sales.

2) them promising something and then not delivering = false advertising. SJWs will always take a piss out of any game, giving them ammunition to torpedo a project is the last thing any company will do.

3) A lot of Larian is owned by Tencent games-30%. China is a large environment for games, making China mad and causing an internal war can loose confidence or have their games black listed. Who knows what angers Winnie the Pooh, so it’s better to not say anything.

4) to moderate all discussions and feedback requires more people. People need to be paid. Larian is not WoW they can’t pay people in store mounts.

TLDR: larian’s policy is not their own. It was forced onto them by the hand of fate.

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They are communicating in summary every 4 odd months & it covers player feedback every time.
It’s their vision, their game, their money & reputation.
I have no issues with the communication todays.

Last edited by Tarorn; 06/11/22 04:52 AM.
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I think the only reason some people think there hasn't been good communication is because the game has been in Early Access for so long.

If Larian made a mistake it was underestimating the amount of work that they had to do in order to complete the game... or not understanding the impact of external events on their development cycle. If it was in Early Access for around a year or eighteen months I don't think anyone would be bringing this stuff up.

I also get it though. I am a pretty patient person and I also want the game to be done before I get to play it... but at this point I am getting to the point where I am kind of like "Alright already - it has been over two years... when do I actually get to play this thing?"

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Larian were overwhelmed by the early access launch and didn’t have the personel to do everything they wanted. Has anyone noticed there are way more posts in the BG3 section of the forum than in the sections dedicated to earlier games? I’m assuming the same holds true for other communication channels.

My guess is that every available body was set to work on processing feedback and whatever communication efforts Larian had planned were scrapped until further hires could be made (which seems to have happened a few months ago).

That’s just a logistical reason, though. If it’s a positive decision on Larian’s part, other posters have made fine points. I would add this: if their plan was to starve their fans of information in order to have their attention when marketing for release rolls around, it worked. I’m definitely curious, along with other emotions OP has asked not to mention.


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the simple fact is "feedback" isn't really helpful at this stage of Dev

Bugsfixes are always helpful but Larian had to fix this forum just to allow people to sign in so the number of bugs reported has gone up since then

if the game doesn't do a Funkpuck 2077 bellyflop on launch then BG3 will make Larian a 3A company with lots of scope to bring out dlc or whatever else so as long as they get it stable enought to actually run on Windows or Mac [Stadia is tits up] i don't beleave they need any feedback from the public


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Yoda: That is why you failed.
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Originally Posted by Ussnorway
the simple fact is "feedback" isn't really helpful at this stage of Dev

Yup. Unless the game is coming out in Q4 of next year or something (which seems like it would be crazy if that was the case) - then I doubt they are going to be making any major changes to systems moving forward. People need to accept that the 'feedback' portion of Early Access has passed for the most part.

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Communications/PR seems to be just about the only function that Larian isn't looking for on the main site "Careers" page. I'm wondering if PR strategy isn't outsourced, and Larian takes their cues from that outsourced company. Which mean they (PR company) might opt for an option that will be cheap for both them and their client (thus not spending lots of work hours here on these forums), but instead focus on rarer, but (in their hopes) also more informative major dumps of new information. So, instead of feeding us little snacks more regularly, we'll get more impressed when we suddenly see a major feast decked out for us after a long time of growling stomachs.

The one-way style of PR, is something I've seen while working at a fairly large, multi-site/exhibits (historical) museum. There were multiple curators and archaeologists at the museum, spread across the whole of our designated region, and those curators all had exhibits they wanted to communicate to the media or the public about... but that HAD to go through the PR manager, who unlike the curators and archaeologists, was part of top management. And frequently the curators and archaeologists desires to get something advertised in the papers, or a find shown.... was simply shut down. The PR manager wanted full centralised control and thought that it was good enough that we simply advertised these news on FB and via newsletters to the people who had signed up for those. Mainly because that was cheaper. Her biggest contribution was an automated Google review reply to comments that went: "Thank you for leaving a review. We regret we cannot answer it, but we appreciate you taking the time to read it. Be assured we read all reviews." Nothing says appreciation like robotic messaging...

Anyway, point is PR may have persuauded upper management that they're really, really professional - which sadly doesn't always mean that they're good at what they do. And then upper management will let them carry on doing their thing, and will go along with it because they looked at their resumes, which looked fine.

A focus on mainly one-way communication might also simply mean that management is worried that (non-PR) employees might inadvertently divulge spoilers, new races/classes, or other features or news Larian wants kept secret so far. This ought to be possible to manage, but I am not sure about the culture of Larian studios. Some work cultures are, as a result of the country's culture that the company is based/originated in, very top-down hierachical (French, Anglophone countries), some are almost the excat opposite (Scandinavian).

I think I'm leaning towards worrying that regular Larian employees might divulge information Larian wants kept secret. Not neccesarily because they "distrust" their employees, but because they believe it "sends a message" of the company not being seen/thought of as really in charge, if PR isn't handled in a top-down one-way manner.


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Because they were understaffed and didn't know what was going on themselves. They've been drowning the large part of this project.

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Originally Posted by Crimsomrider
Because in terms of fanbase there are;
  • The fans of original Baldur's Gate games who look fondly on them and wish to have the same feeling as the previous games due to nostalgia
  • The DnD enthusiasts who expect a true and hardcore conversion of tabletop RPG into a videogame, where any sort of deviation is considered a heresy and an insult to TTRPG genre
  • The Larian fans who love their games and simply want more great RPGs to play
  • DOS2 fans who expected DOS3
Also AAA rpg fans who want a great, modern rpg to play but haven’t played other Larian games before BG3.😊

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Originally Posted by Icelyn
Originally Posted by Crimsomrider
Because in terms of fanbase there are;
  • The fans of original Baldur's Gate games who look fondly on them and wish to have the same feeling as the previous games due to nostalgia
  • The DnD enthusiasts who expect a true and hardcore conversion of tabletop RPG into a videogame, where any sort of deviation is considered a heresy and an insult to TTRPG genre
  • The Larian fans who love their games and simply want more great RPGs to play
  • DOS2 fans who expected DOS3
Also AAA rpg fans who want a great, modern rpg to play but haven’t played other Larian games before BG3.😊

I find it weird that there would people who would play BG3 but not DoS2 before considering how praised it was in mainstream media. Is this an Elden Ring situation where a new game in the genre gets an immense boost of popularity all of a sudden?

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I bounced off of D:OS2 HARD, but enjoyed the first one and, for all its shortcomings, I don't mind BG3 that much. It's probably not gonna be a favorite game, but I'll finish it.

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Originally Posted by snowram
I find it weird that there would people who would play BG3 but not DoS2 before considering how praised it was in mainstream media. Is this an Elden Ring situation where a new game in the genre gets an immense boost of popularity all of a sudden?
I love cinematic dialogue and that is one of the reasons I got BG3.😊

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Originally Posted by snowram
I find it weird that there would people who would play BG3 but not DoS2 before considering how praised it was in mainstream media. Is this an Elden Ring situation where a new game in the genre gets an immense boost of popularity all of a sudden?
Why? Many games get praise from butt-kissing reviewers. Doesn't mean everyone should consider them all to be awesome. I personally prefer to use my own brain to decide what is or isn't a great game and *not* go by what some idiot reviewer had to say.

As a huge fan of the original BG games I *want* to like BG3 and be able to enjoy playing it. And as much as I have been disappointed by BG3 thus far, I still remain open to eventually playing it someday. But I will never ever even consider playing D:OS2, as I consider it a poor game and don't at all care what other people have to say about it.

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As others have said here, I think they not only underestimated the scale of the project and the IP but they misread the room in terms of attempting to bring what they were known for (ie. DOS) to a new IP, thinking that alone would be enough. Swen said as much in an interview, that their plan was to use the BG IP to reach a larger audience, in essence piggybacking.

I can imagine they had plans to be more communicative but when it became apparent they had no plans to or were unable to implement/remove some of the much requested features/criticisms, they kept quiet rather than deal with the inevitable fallout of categorically ruling out certain things.

In retrospect, they would could have alleviated things somewhat simply by periodically sharing concept artwork, behind-the-scenes stuff, short developer diaries..literally anything of that ilk would have better than the months long periods of silence followed by the cringey Panels from Hell.

Originally Posted by Icelyn
I love cinematic dialogue and that is one of the reasons I got BG3.😊

I understand why people find it appealing but it is also responsible for the lack of dialogue options available to our PCs. Sadly, it is a very obvious case of style over substance.

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I think they chose this model for two primary 'reasons.' One, issues/timing with CMs and changing CMs. Two, this game is more polarizing than their previous games have been. I said it very early on and was mostly ignored, but they've chosen to take on two new target audiences with BG3, and the three audiences they cater to are unlikely to have any unanimous agreements. Simply, point two is that they feel they can't get work done if they just place themselves in the crossfire. It's a double edged sword, but players aren't to fault for their choice to take on the BG IP.

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