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AoC Social Media and Marketing Department

LinikerLiniker Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
edited May 12 in General Discussion
Hi, I'd like to make a suggestion and ask other members of the community what is your opinion on this. I'm starting to get frustrated with the social media and marketing team for all their daily posts that only showcase exclusive skins that people paid $250 or $375 to get and are no longer available for new community members.

I don't understand what's the reason behind this decision, you are not "saving the good stuff" for launch by not showing an in-game obtainable lion mount, and only showing off the cool-looking black and purple lion. This only contributes to the "Ashes of Cosmetics" meme and I keep seeing people being misled commenting on these posts assuming they will be able to get what they think are mounts/pets/armor.

I've also seen people commenting stuff like "will your game have X mount/pet?" and your twitter account replying yes with an image of some exclusive skin misleading the person to believe that you are showing an actual mount/pet that they will be able to obtain.

I want to believe intrepid when you say these skins help you build the models for the variations and stuff, so please, instead of your posts being 99% skins and 1% in-game stuff, make it 90% in-game stuff and 10% skins, or, if for some reason you just don't want to show as many in-game mounts/pets even tho you already show the models as skins, just stop making daily posts with images and videos only showing these expensive skins, or at least make it clear that those are skins and you will have in-game variations but you don't want to show it.

I also hope that for Alpha 2, you don't the same as in Alpha 1, where most of the mounts and armor sets were exclusive skins that people can no longer obtain, especially because Alpha 2 will be a big showcase, and will be up and running for a long period of time.
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Comments

  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I feel like Ashes' social media and marketing strategies aren't targeted at 'us'? The backers, people here, etc.

    Daily posts are a good way to keep attention and get people who aren't tracking as carefully, to see activity and not feel like the project and team have 'disappeared' without them having to watch full videos.

    Showing too much ingame stuff would be a return to a level of transparency that probably isn't optimal right now.

    Sure, I'd love to see just about anything else, but art departments carry these sorts of projects while the backend stuff is being tweaked and finalized. I feel like one has to be fairly 'into' Ashes as a whole to 'care about' or 'understand' the situation relative to the mounts and cosmetics.
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  • LinikerLiniker Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited May 12
    Azherae wrote: »
    I feel like Ashes' social media and marketing strategies aren't targeted at 'us'? The backers, people here, etc.

    Daily posts are a good way to keep attention and get people who aren't tracking as carefully, to see activity and not feel like the project and team have 'disappeared' without them having to watch full videos.

    Showing too much ingame stuff would be a return to a level of transparency that probably isn't optimal right now.

    Sure, I'd love to see just about anything else, but art departments carry these sorts of projects while the backend stuff is being tweaked and finalized. I feel like one has to be fairly 'into' Ashes as a whole to 'care about' or 'understand' the situation relative to the mounts and cosmetics.

    My point is not that they Should be showing all the in-game stuff, I also think it's to early for that, but if they are not ready to show in-game stuff just don't show anything or just post something else - I don't like that they are making daily posts with images and videos for years now, only showing off skins, and with that they are misleading people that as you said, aren't us, the backers, and don't know that everything they show off are skins from $375 packs that are no longer available. I think that's just a dirty way to do marketing.
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  • JustVineJustVine Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Liniker wrote: »
    Hi, I'd like to make a suggestion and ask other members of the community what is your opinion on this. I'm starting to get frustrated with the social media and marketing team for all their daily posts that only showcase exclusive skins that people paid $250 or $375 to get and are no longer available for new community members.

    I don't understand what's the reason behind this decision, you are not "saving the good stuff" for launch by not showing an in-game obtainable lion mount, and only showing off the cool-looking black and purple lion. This only contributes to the "Ashes of Cosmetics" meme and I keep seeing people being misled commenting on these posts assuming they will be able to get what they think are mounts/pets/armor.

    I've also seen people commenting stuff like "will your game have X mount/pet?" and your twitter account replying yes with an image of some exclusive skin misleading the person to believe that you are showing an actual mount/pet that they will be able to obtain.

    I want to believe intrepid when you say these skins help you build the models for the variations and stuff, so please, instead of your posts being 99% skins and 1% in-game stuff, make it 90% in-game stuff and 10% skins, or, if for some reason you just don't want to show as many in-game mounts/pets even tho you already show the models as skins, just stop making daily posts with images and videos only showing these expensive skins, or at least make it clear that those are skins and you will have in-game variations but you don't want to show it.

    I also hope that for Alpha 2, you don't the same as in Alpha 1, where most of the mounts and armor sets were exclusive skins that people can no longer obtain, especially because Alpha 2 will be a big showcase, and will be up and running for a long period of time.

    This is certainly one of their core audience communication problems. As Azherae pointed out a majority of their social media communications is not directed at us, their already captured audience, but prospective people who don't know anything about the game. They need to maintain attention, focus and impression of consistent progress in order to keep the support revenue up, essentially. They continue to claim they don't need our money, but as it stands they are a lot more behind schedule than they want to admit. The longer they keep that revenue stream going, the less they need to implement bad pr options.

    Therefore from that perspective, the reason why they do this is simple, it's an easy way to make people aware that progress on the game is happening and that it's not just purely vaporware. Due to a variety of skill gap issues they are still working on filling, the main focus of the dev team in terms of what they feel comfortable showing is those very same cosmetics. And again as Azherae points out, they have moved further away from purely transparent development into a more opaque model, which limits stuff they can post that is more so 'in progress' by quite a lot.

    You bring up very reasonable concerns relative to consumers being mislead and has been something I have been fairly critical of as a marketer myself. But they really do have very few alternatives for frequent posts on social media. There is a relative level of complexity their shop cosmetics show in terms of skill and technical capacity, that more plain cosmetics that are a core part of the game, will not. Steven also has a misguided (in my opinion) tendency to 'want to keep secrets for launch,' which is valid for some things, but not armor and mounts. These two guiding factors along with the skills gap in their systems team combine into the outcome you see here.

    Alpha 2 is a much bigger milestone for them, and they will have to do as you said show more in game obtainable stuff by then. I wouldn't worry about it though as that was always the plan to my knowledge (feel free to correct me though.)

    Overall I hear you and am very empathetic to your concern, but they only have so many options without repeating older content or closing more of their skill gaps. Once the UE5 switch over is complete I would expect it'd be a reasonable and good idea to repeat content with these model updates of more 'in game achievable things'. I think that will be a return to much better content social media wise.

    Over all an alacarte support structure would be better over all and assuage some of your concerns I feel. But for now they continue to keep those prices, essentially 'because Steven said so as he wants us to feel he doesn't need our money'. We can't do much about that other than call for such a feature to be implemented until he gives in unfortunately.
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  • TyranthraxusTyranthraxus Member
    edited May 13
    Your point is half-moot, since the team has let us know that the VAST majority of cosmetics will have in-game, obtainable variants.

    Steven Sharif is an experienced gamer himself, and doesn't want the best-looking stuff to be bought-only.



  • MybroViajeroMybroViajero Member
    edited May 13
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    It' s understandable your point of view about SM, it's a bit annoying and sometimes boring to see how more mounts and exclusive skins are shown every 4 or 5 days on social networks than game stuff, however you also have to understand that things are not done overnight, the SM team of intrepid are qualified professionals for something they will have that schedule/programming on their social networks.

    Maybe they can't show more in-game stuff because it's not approved or maybe because they don't even have them yet, but I think we all understand that AoC is still in an Alpha state, recruiting more developers for AoC to have a more fluid, solid and better development, so it's understandable that right now Intrepid are focusing on some stuff and not others and that's why there will be sectors/departments/stuff of the development that are not ready to be shown.
    Probably that SM schedule and programming on social networks will continue for months because that is what they have to use (for now) and what Intrepid allowed to show the SM team (for now).

    When Intrepid has more things ready and approved to show the SM team will be able to have more tools, as it happened with the CC, races, UE5, etc.

    It seems to me that many of Intrepid's SM releases are other things than exclusive mounts and skins, so don't generalize as they also try to do a good job with the material they have.


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  • LinikerLiniker Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Your point if half-moot, since the team has let us know that the VAST majority of cosmetics will have in-game, obtainable variants.

    Steven Sharif is an experienced gamer himself, and doesn't want the best-looking stuff to be bought-only.




    As the first person commented, I also don't think that their social media and marketing strategies are targeted at us, backers, we see the cosmetics on their livestream and discord.

    This is targeted to the general public - and they don't know that information, have a look on their twitter comment section and you will find people saying things like "oh I can't wait to get this mount when the game launches" and in none of their social media posts they say that the stuff shown is a just a skin from an expensive package that will never be available to obtain. That's the problem.

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  • LinikerLiniker Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    JustVine wrote: »

    Overall I hear you and am very empathetic to your concern, but they only have so many options without repeating older content or closing more of their skill gaps. Once the UE5 switch over is complete I would expect it'd be a reasonable and good idea to repeat content with these model updates of more 'in game achievable things'. I think that will be a return to much better content social media wise.

    Over all an alacarte support structure would be better over all and assuage some of your concerns I feel. But for now they continue to keep those prices, essentially 'because Steven said so as he wants us to feel he doesn't need our money'. We can't do much about that other than call for such a feature to be implemented until he gives in unfortunately.

    I appreciate your input, you bring some good points to the discussion. I understand the importance of maintaining your audience engaged and capturing the attention of new members, however, I feel like if they don't have anything else to show besides cosmetics, maybe it's a little too early in development to even have a social media manager + marketing lead + content creator specialist and be pushing all these daily posts.

    I also feel like it harms the project when new members of their community find out about the game by a post showing off something that came in a $375 pre-order pack that they can't even get, and that's pretty much the majority of their daily posts.
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  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I enjoy the daily twitter posts.
    Some of the questions that go along with them help me envision how I want my characters to behave in the game.

    It's not always about cosmetics that can be purchased. There are tweets about the Character Creator. There are tweets about biomes and villages, etc.

    Tweets about cosmetics don't entice me to purchase cosmetics that I don't like.
  • edited May 12
    As someone who works in both paid + organic social and brand marketing, i think it is okay for them to showcase these on their social account. The game is not launched yet, so consider these posts as "hype" posts or "fluff" to give users a glimpse of what they can expect in the world of Ashes. From what i'm seeing on their social handles, they are not actively telling people to go shop, but only showcasing on the type of cosmetics that will be available in the game once it's launching (both for purchase and obtainable in-game).

    And again, the game hasn't launched, so their social team is probably struggling to keep their social account active and interesting without showing anything that can give away plots/storyline etc.

    I can assure you, their social accounts and what they post will look a lot different once it's launching or when the pre-launch marketing begins.
  • JustVineJustVine Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Your point if half-moot, since the team has let us know that the VAST majority of cosmetics will have in-game, obtainable variants.

    Steven Sharif is an experienced gamer himself, and doesn't want the best-looking stuff to be bought-only.



    The truth about their current stated policies is more complex than what you have stated as your understanding of the policy. Here is the main window into the current policy:

    350px-steven-cosmetic-variants.png

    Notice how first of all he is referencing the fact that there won't simply be 'the same set in a different color'. He mentions things like texture changes, recolors, and having individual pieces be incorporated into different armor sets. That is not equivalent to 'there's going to be the same costume but in a different color' by any stretch.

    Texture is a huge part of what makes a costume feel a certain way. Layer on a complete change of context, that will almost certainly require minor tweaks to fit the sets over all presentation and you have a possibly radically different looking piece. He himself even states in this same post that 'it may be difficult to tell at a glance', so I am pretty sure he and I are on the same page in what he is saying here.

    I would therefore argue that based off this core guidelines that no, 'obtainable variants' are neither guaranteed nor something you should expect. You might get something similar, you might get something radically different. Either way they get to rightfully try to sell you on the idea that a 'retextured, recolored, recontextualized and possibly tweaked version' is equivalent because it's a bad pr look to not do so and they've been very honest and transparent about their approach as stated above.

    No one is arguing, on the other hand, that the best cosmetics won't be obtainable in game. He states that as part of his guiding policy. We have no real reason to disbelieve that. The community will speak out on release if it's not true, and it will be something that will gradually be fixed over time because there will be incentive to make that true. So for now I'll take Steven on his exact word. You know why? He's consistent.

    350px-steven-cosmetics.png

    Nothing here contradicts my assessment and only reinforces the exact points I am making.

    350px-toast-creature-variants.png

    Notice how here Toast is referring mostly to creatures, and how Steven has consistently mentioned NPC's as a major place you will see these 'alternatives', not exactly player obtainable versions of the sets. Because mobs and mounts are all one coherent 'skin', I think animal husbandry enthusiasts and mount lovers as whole will be the more obtainable 'color alt' scenario, but again that is still a might. So far I haven't really found quotes equivalent to this that support the same for armor and costumes, on the other hand.

    I'll leave you with this last bit of footage https://youtube.com/watch?v=JH-sX1aFljM&t=3509s clip starts at time stamp and goes to 1:01:37

    He makes it clear in this clip that his idea of how the shop will work down the line is that you will get something exclusive and that it and I quote "I want to incentivize purchase, by offering limited items; limited time, limited quantity. So that you have confidence when you purchase them they wont be offered later down in some other way." - Steven Sharif Pax East 2018

    Even if these initial monthly cosmetics now have some alts, the policy in the long term is not just stated perfectly clear here, but in a lot of other quotes from Steven as well. The guiding principle, is the Steven sees cosmetics as something that shouldn't be repeated. Alt colors of a costume is definitely not what he means by 'equitable alternatives'.

    So to me this is a person who has been very up front with his policy, and that leads me to believe he will go for the more radical shift of 'recontextualized, retextured, recolored' more often than not unless people put enough pressure on him to change his mind (which I don't even know is possible or not as he tends to not like changing approach or stances quite a lot.)

    If that somehow still wasn't enough evidence for you, I welcome bringing more clips and evidence to the table here.
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  • JustVineJustVine Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited May 12
    Liniker wrote: »
    JustVine wrote: »

    Overall I hear you and am very empathetic to your concern, but they only have so many options without repeating older content or closing more of their skill gaps. Once the UE5 switch over is complete I would expect it'd be a reasonable and good idea to repeat content with these model updates of more 'in game achievable things'. I think that will be a return to much better content social media wise.

    Over all an alacarte support structure would be better over all and assuage some of your concerns I feel. But for now they continue to keep those prices, essentially 'because Steven said so as he wants us to feel he doesn't need our money'. We can't do much about that other than call for such a feature to be implemented until he gives in unfortunately.

    I appreciate your input, you bring some good points to the discussion. I understand the importance of maintaining your audience engaged and capturing the attention of new members, however, I feel like if they don't have anything else to show besides cosmetics, maybe it's a little too early in development to even have a social media manager + marketing lead + content creator specialist and be pushing all these daily posts.

    I also feel like it harms the project when new members of their community find out about the game by a post showing off something that came in a $375 pre-order pack that they can't even get, and that's pretty much the majority of their daily posts.

    A marketer can bring a lot to the table at early stages of development as they tend to have the skills for and are largely in charge of gauging player feedback and making sure a product is actually marketable in the first place. Additionally the type of grassroots style content creator program brings them a pretty huge signal boost and you need someone like Margaret for that type of thing.

    So while I'd agree with part of your sentiment, that it's hard for a marketing team to be effective in this scenario, there isn't a shortage of work to be done relative to that role, especially with an indie game like AoC that is a lot more dependent on possible player sentiment then a big company that can afford to be a bit less perfect in their design choices.

    Also AoC started out with a lot more systems oriented content than they are currently aiming for and only recently lost one of the main people capable of keeping a systems focused edge to their marketing content (Jeffery). Once they have a replacement for him I expect certain types of content to return. There is a lot more to share that probably needs some finalization and spot checking from the person who will eventually take Jeffery's place, and to move on without them on board would make it harder to integrate the replacement.

    It's just an awkward spot really. I do agree that it is likely hurting their image somewhat, but I think that it's hurting their image a lot more with the people already invested in their project's morale, than it is people who don't know about them yet. But other than things I've already mentioned they could change, there isn't much else they can do at times like these. You can't not have your social media team you've been training for years and simply let go because a vital cog left. The amount of retraining later would be staggering.

    Over all the company is just a bunch of humans trying to do their best with their current limitations. So over all, pretty fair critiques from you. I just hope they aren't taking it and the situation too personally (other than Steven who really should just make the alacarte change to shop support.)
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  • BalanzBalanz Member
    edited May 13
    I uninstalled Facebook and would never touch Twitter or Instagram, but seeing how the store I work for uses social media, I can see how it could be useful for publicity.

    As I understand it, it is impossible to have substantial discussions about complicated subjects on social media.

    That is what this forum is for.

    I don't care about cosmetics, I am focused on the game.

    But the superficiality of social media would appear to me to be the ideal venue for purely cosmetic issues.
  • LinikerLiniker Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Balanz wrote: »
    I don't care about cosmetics, I am focused on the game.

    But the superficiality of social media would appear to me to be the ideal venue for purely cosmetic issues.

    I agree that they definitely should be using their social media for that, as I really want this game to succeed and I want them to make money with their cosmetics.

    I just feel like the way they do it It's a little too much for how early it is and how little they have/want to show from the game, perhaps they could focus more on community stuff, some behind the scenes, some events, some AMAs, maybe give some love to the Discord as well - and when they do show off the cosmetics make it clear for the general public on each post that those are just skins but they will show off more in-game stuff in the future.

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  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited May 13
    I mean...the last couple of tweets were about pets that aren't part of the monthly cosmetics.
    They we cute - and had me thinking more about what my friends and I want on our farm.
    The current tweet is a fun ad for vacationing at a Verran lakeside campgrounds.
  • Liniker wrote: »
    Balanz wrote: »
    I don't care about cosmetics, I am focused on the game.

    But the superficiality of social media would appear to me to be the ideal venue for purely cosmetic issues.

    I agree that they definitely should be using their social media for that, as I really want this game to succeed and I want them to make money with their cosmetics.

    I just feel like the way they do it It's a little too much for how early it is and how little they have/want to show from the game, perhaps they could focus more on community stuff, some behind the scenes, some events, some AMAs, maybe give some love to the Discord as well - and when they do show off the cosmetics make it clear for the general public on each post that those are just skins but they will show off more in-game stuff in the future.

    But they need to be posting something. They can only share bits and pieces of items and key art since the game is pretty much under tight lips until further notice. IG/TikTok is the most powerful tool in the world for brand awareness for any new brand/company. And if you don't have those, you don't exist.

    EX: There are over 5 BILLION views of Elden Ring content on TikTok. That is a HUGE amount of exposure. More than any discord, twitch, youtube platform can give.
    Ashes currently have close to 300k content views on TikTok. So staying active on social platforms, even post launch is important. So they are posting what they can :)
  • tautautautau Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Isn't the time for a significant ad campaign the six months or so prior to release? Now is the time to maintain a low buzz of interest throughout the appropriate part of the gaming community, which is exactly what they are doing.
  • tautau wrote: »
    Isn't the time for a significant ad campaign the six months or so prior to release? Now is the time to maintain a low buzz of interest throughout the appropriate part of the gaming community, which is exactly what they are doing.

    Once a customer can pre-purchase the game they'll start spending money on media and ad placement.
  • CROW3CROW3 Member
    edited May 14
    Just my opinion: I wouldn’t start talking about a product on social media until I’m within a reasonable range of that product being released.

    For one, the social media headspace has such a short memory and once you jump on stage you have to continually wave your hands around even when you have nothing to say to stay ‘relevant.’

    Two, at some point you have to put up or shut up or risk losing an audience - and the time difference between those two can’t be forever.

    Third, the risk of being shot down in ideation is quite high. You could be dead before you even had a chance and relegated to an uphill climb to regain attention instead of dedicating that attention to heads down product dev.

    I clearly appreciate the transparent development that Intrepid has embraced (since I joined this community 3 years ago), yet I think this could have been done more organically without monthly/weekly/daily marcom blasts.
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  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Yes. Right now, the daily tweets are just some fun interaction with IS.
    They ask some questions about what we would like to see and we answer.
    I never think of the tweets as ads for the monthly cosmetic store.

    And, Steven will say that they aren't really ready for a true marketing push, yet.
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