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Please Read The Patch Notes

You know, I’ve sat here contemplating how to word this one, but the truth is that there’s only one way to word it. People really need to read the patch notes for games, or anything else. This rule doesn’t apply just to games either; sometimes a company will put our a major announcement, but then people will still be surprised when said announcement, whatever it may be, comes into effect. The truth is that people don’t spend enough time sitting back, trying to digest the information they’re given. This is, I guess, partly due to the immediate nature of the internet – and also partly due to overall laziness.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

I live and breathe all that is an MMO done right, so when I was introduced to Elder Scrolls Online, you bet I got pretty invested. So when I log on and see my guildies, they’re working hard at being guildies, I expect they have a bit of appreciation for the game as well. It’s only natural that they’re there as they’re interested in the game, not just because it’s something to do to kill a little bit of time – Especially if people are willing to drop some money into the game. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that’s always the case.

On Monday, ZeniMax Online Studios dropped some Downloadable Content for ESO, dubbed Wrathstone. This was a bit of an overhaul, giving some much needed TLC for the races. Furthermore, there was a few new dungeons added, along with dungeon sets and even an overhaul of how the zones work, at least in terms of how it displays progression. There was also a change to the way the guild stores worked – A huge productive DLC, which meant that people had to download a 3.1GB file, which turns into a 30GB+ install (which is effectively checking over all the other files and writing whatever it needed to).

We booted up, got gaming – All was fine. But we saw a player ask why some points had been refunded. The patch notes had stated that there was going to be a refund of all racial passive skills, as ultimately there were some big changes to the races. Okay, answered, let’s move on. Someone else pops up and asks why they had been given race and name change tokens. Well, okay, this wasn’t in the notes, but it was pretty implicit due to the race changes. Okay, fine, let’s carry on. Someone else comes along “they are lying, my points haven’t been reset” – Only for them to look at their racial passives…

This went on for the better part of a couple of hours. This is something that can be utterly avoided if only people would read; but I mentioned at the start of this article, this isn’t exclusive to video games. Indeed, there have been numerous occasions when a company makes an announcement. Here’s a weird one for you, did you know Google are closing down Google+ profiles and pages? True story, but unless you seriously go digging around, it’s likely that you wouldn’t have known this. Nevertheless, this is part of the problem that many companies face today – and they’re not the only ones.

I believe information should be shared freely, but I think the way we share informatin needs to change. Relying on a couple of Facebook posts, an off Twitter remark, or a patch note hidden behind a button that no one ever looks at – Frankly it’s not good enough in this day and age. One thing I’m going to do from here on is try to be clearer about any upcoming changes to anything. I mentioned at the start of the week that there needed to be some changes – You can expect to hear about them as and when they happen. I won’t hide behind a manual, I won’t hide behind a patch note – You’ll hear it all as soon as it happens.

But what about you? Do you like to ‘RTFM’? Do you think patch notes are good in games, or are they outdated? Do you think enough people pay attention? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or hey, if you have any examples of someone not paying any attention to a patch note, which led to either an annoying or funny moment. Feel free to drop us a line over on Facebook and Twitter as well.


2 responses

  1. I think information needs to be clearly given to consumers but consumers need to make sure they read it (or just not complain when caught unaware). That said, if there is no clear sign that anything has changed and the change is hidden in pages and pages of notes, then there is a reason to question how hard they tried to inform you.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 27, 2019 at 10:46 am

    • Definitely – I believe there’s fault on both sides. With the example of ESO, there are clear patch notes, which had been discussed for weeks in the lead to the changes. However, I think some companies need to do more to make people aware. I think emails aren’t the best format going forward either.

      Blogs are, in my view, the best way to update folk about changes to products… But I think companies don’t draw enough attention to their blogs either.


      February 27, 2019 at 10:49 am

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