How you and I are going to change the world

A tutorial on how to give great comments

and feedback 

that send out big, world-changing waves

by Stan Faryna

New Featured Item: The Galactic Herald Iso-8 Jewel (Fan-made)

Marvel Avengers Alliance: Galactic Herald Iso-8 Jewel

How to save the world

This is a demonstration of how social media has changed how business is done.

It may also be a demonstration of how people can make change in the world through online community and action. The latter depends entirely on you and, yes, everyone else within the online reach and attention of these words. If you want to change the world for the better, you have to collaborate with others to make it happen.

You have to take personal responsibility and ownership of the desired change. You can’t just sit it out and hope for the best. And if you don’t have a pressing cause that you are personally motivated to see happen today, you can help someone else who has a cause that needs your support.

Michael Jackson, They Don’t Really Care About Us

Make change happen

One answer to the problem that Michael Jackson addresses in his song is that the they do not hear us. The responsibility to be heard belongs to us.

That’s why the most obvious way to drive change is to comment and give feedback. Comment and feedback helps us to measure how and what we are doing and whether or not it is meaningful to others. Comment and feedback can help us grow, improve, learn, and correct error. Good comments and feedback encourage or challenge us to do and be better.

Great comments and feedback help us see what we can do better. They often show us what we are doing wrong. But if they define a problem, they must also suggest a solution. Without a thoughtful solution, it’s just a complaint.

And, we all know, complaints will often go unheard.

Help me make change

If we see and know that we have effected a change, the more changes we can effect. One triumph fuels ten thousand victories. Perhaps, even more. If  and only if we help each other.

Today, I’m asking you to lift my voice so that it can be heard in the C-Suites of Disney, Playdom and Marvel. You can help me in several ways. You can rate this blog post, subscribe, make an encouraging comment, and/or share a link to this post on Twitter, Facebook or G+.

OR if you play the Marvel Avengers Alliance Facebook game, you can share a link to this post and submit a service request to Disney-Playdom with a link to this blog post and a simple message such as:

We want Disney to do better. Make the Marvel Avengers Alliance game a game worth paying to play. Read this: http://wp.me/pbg0R-Wr

Just remember, all big things begin small.

A Social Game Model

The Marvel Avengers Alliance Facebook Game, like other Facebook games, is a game that millions play daily. It always starts out like that – especially for games published by Disney-Playdom and Zynga. The problem is that the content and game play rarely provides compelling entertainment beyond one to six months – this depends on the player. Considering the stake and value of these companies (hundreds of millions of dollars or, perhaps, billions), they need to get out of this rut of short-term engagement. They need to increase retention and revenue or they’re going to go bust. The last thing the world needs is more big companies like Disney and Zynga going bust for lack of a sustainable business model and relevance.

I propose that the goal of a social game, Avengers Alliance or other, should be to retain a minimum of 20 percent of it’s player registrations across a two year period.

I also propose that such a goal does not have to break the bank if the game development is sustained through crowd-sourcing, evangelists and community collaborators.

In fact, I believe that the more involved the fan base gets in the development of a game, the more game-related revenues and other opportunities will be generated by such.

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Note:

The remainder of this post addresses the specific challenges of the Marvel Avengers Alliance Facebook game. If you don’t play the game or you never intend to play it, please skip to the comments and help me with your encouragement and support to make a change.

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Marvel Avengers Alliance

http://apps.facebook.com/avengersalliance

The Marvel Avengers Alliance Facebook Game is a game in which you recruit classic superheroes (Captain American, Thor, Hulk, Spiderman, Wolverine, et al.) in order to defeat the dark rites and schemes of some of the most fearsome villains of comic book history (Loki, Magneto, The Green Goblin, et al). The game has a great story going on. Much thought too went into the core game play such as creating character balance among the superheroes. However, there are several challenges to be overcome if this game is going to be a clear winner a la Farmville.

Farmville was never a great game, but Farmville was the first social game to hold the most attention of social gamers for the longest time of any of the social games.

The most obvious problems of the Marvel Avengers Alliance are as follows:

1. Content

2. Game Play

3. Customer Support

New Featured Item: Loki’s Bag of Tricks I (Fan Made Content)

Loki's Bag of Tricks I

Loki’s Bag of Tricks I

Content

Content can mean many things. I see revenue-generating opportunities to improve Marvel Avengers Alliance in the following content:

a. New Gear, etc.

New gear and decorations should be offered every three days (or rotated in offer)

b. Agent Uniforms

Character individuation: hat, coat, shirt, pants and shoes

c. Decorations

Decorations for stores and apartments

d. Player Generated Content (Agent Stories accessible in Agent’s Store or Apartment)

e. Multi-media enhancement of story with selected voice-overs and video

New Featured Item: Iced Venti Six Shooter Latte (Fan-made)

Iced Venti Six Shooter Latte
Iced Venti Six Shooter Latte

Game Play

a. It can’t be all about fighting

Disney-Playdom made a big mistake by making this game only about the fights. Doing so, it lost millions and millions of paying and community-building women players. Therefore, I propose the addition of crafting, player-managed stores and apartments to encourage the kind of rich player interaction and world ownership that women gamers seek in Facebook games.

b. Chapters, Special Ops, and Team Ops

Ideally, there should be a new chapter, special op “chapter”, and 3 team ops every month. Team ops would be where three players can work together through a “dungeon” challenge.

c. Agent and Hero Development

Presently, levels do not signal much. Worse, the current level maximum of heroes signals the end of game play.

d. Player Generated Missions (Danger Room)

Allow Agents to create missions with their heroes, supplies and purchased traps – missions that their allies can play.

e. Encourage Player Interaction

(1) Reward for every flight crew request answered. For example, 30 Silver.

(2) Reward for every ten Gift Requests answered. For example, one Shwarma.

(3) Reward for 20 distress calls to you used by your allies. For example, one Command Point.

(4) Player stores where items can be sold, bought, upgraded, and repaired.

(5) 200 Shown Allies and Maps

(6) Receive number of gifts equal to number of allies

(7) 3 S.H.I.E.L.D. points for every ally invitation accepted in the message box

(8) Remove an ally from the menu (not game) and find/select a specific ally to be on the window

d. Discourage Cheating

Allow players to report a cheater when a fight has been concluded. Three reports of the same player escalates to a human investigation. If a cheater is verified, the reporting players get 2 Gold each. This will not effect the economy in a negative manner.

Loong is a cheater – caught red-handed, exposed and pwned

Marvel Avengers Alliance Cheater

Marvel Avengers Alliance Cheater

Customer Support

Customer support has gotten better for Marvel Avenger’s Alliance in the last 30 days. But only in terms of response time. The response, however, remains, lackluster. The pressure should be brought to bear on the development team. The development team’s failures result in retention failure, however, the relationship must be made more direct and obvious to the C-Suite.

Here’s some suggestions:

a. Put a button in the game interface that takes you directly to the support request form.

b. Immediate automated reply for a submitted request (ticketed issue) should include a link to free pack of 10 energy. This will not effect the game economy whatsoever.

c. Verified bugs and missing items will automatically result in the following reward in addition to resolution of the problem:

5 Gold
10,000 Silver
12 Team Restore III Supplies

d. Unresolved technical problems will automatically result in the the following reward:

100 Gold
100,000 Silver
20 Team Restore II Supplies
60 Energy

e. False reports will be issued a warning. A second false report will result in a five day suspension of account.

None of these customer care perks cost real money to Playdom-Disney. Nor does such customer care discourage future purchases. In fact, free Gold can stimulate future purchases – a long-established practice of Casinos that groom a community of players to become bigger spenders. Duh!

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As I mentioned earlier, you can help me in several ways. You can rate this blog post, subscribe, make an encouraging comment, and/or share a link to this post on Twitter, Facebook or G+.

OR if you play the Marvel Avengers Alliance Facebook game, you can share a link to this post and submit a service request to Disney-Playdom with a link to this blog post and a simple message such as:

We want Disney to do better. Make the Marvel Avengers Alliance game a game worth paying to play. Read this: http://wp.me/pbg0R-Wr

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Stan Faryna
27 June 2012
Bucharest, Romania

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6 Responses to How you and I are going to change the world

  1. Betsy Cross says:

    When I played Castleville for a bit I remember getting great ideas to make it more interesting because it bored me so quickly!
    It seems to me that it’s one thing to create a game for an audience, and another to collaborate (or even be open to collaborate) with that audience in order to grow. I wouldn’t know if that’s happening or not, or if there is even the capability to do that with online games (to be heard by the creators).
    It takes a “what’s in it for me” (and an open-mindedness attitude) to get some people to listen. Most creators aren’t open to change or collaboration ’cause there’s ego involved. IDK. Just a feeling I get. But things are probably VERY different in the gaming world.
    Good luck!

    • Stan Faryna says:

      Recently the COO of EA Games explained with some trepidation that the whole gaming industry is struggling to redefine a relevant game model or they will fall like dominoes. On the one hand, Facebook games have created a whole new market and revenue stream. On the other hand, both new (Playdom and Zynga) and long established game companies like EA have to hustle and rethink everything about gaming. Or go bust.

      Thanks for the 5 stars and Tweet!

  2. Hi Stan… can you tell me how Agent Loong is a cheater… how can we see whether player is the cheater..

    • Stan Faryna says:

      If you look at Agent Loong’s attack and defense bonuses, he has outrageous numbers. Looking at the multiples of the item in his PVP bonuses, most players can figure out that the cheater could not have farmed that particular item or that number of that item for his level. Also the cheat that Loong used only allowed him to put cheated gear into the PVP bonus as opposed to him being able to equip the item.

      Myself, I have reported over 50 such cheaters with screen shots. Loong is among them. [grin]

  3. billdorman says:

    Can’t help you bro, I’m a lover not a gamer…………:).

  4. Stan, I think you know how I believe we can “Repair the World” as I like to call what you’re writing about here…ONE person at a time.

    Too many people look at the problems of the world in a BIG way that can be overwhelming. Try just helping a friend or family member in need. Write to a soldier abroad. Do little things.

    Later, if so motivated, go for the bigger stuff!

Speak from your heart!

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