I must admit that I’m on the fence about this whole player council thing Turbine is rolling out.  A part of me thinks this is a good idea for Turbine to have a more structured way to get feedback and guidance from the community.  However, I also think there’s the distinct possibility that this will just be another avenue for Turbine to ignore.

On the positive side, there’s quite a bit of detail to the makeup and roles of the council.  Also the timing seems good as they’ll be able to interact with the team pre-alpha which should be early enough to actually make changes.  It also seems like the council will more or less be the funnel for the community to really focus attention to the areas Turbine needs to pay attention to.  The size of the council (30 to 50 members) should certainly be good enough to get a good cross section of the community and also not overly task any single member.

However, I think the biggest issue will be the lack of feedback from the Council to the community.  Again, this is another NDA protected avenue such that even though we’ll know who’s in the council, we still won’t be able to get an idea of what the council is actually doing.

This will then be just like the current Palantir Program in that there’s no understanding form the community of what the results from this effort have been.  For instance, I’ve commented and have been concerned by lack of polish coming to Bullroarer but we have no insight into whether or not Palantir provided feedback to make it better or if the same issues persisted through that program.  While I’m sure the folks involved in Palantir are doing a good job and trying their best, we have no clue if they’re not doing their job or if it is just Turbine not provided them an option to do much.  Over the past couple of betas I’ve been disappointed in the amount of changes that have been made despite all the feedback, but again we have no clue what things looked like upstream of that to know if Turbine actually makes changes or just pushes through what they want.

My other concern about this program is how receptive Turbine will be to criticism.  Personally I feel that they have become very defensive and not even willing to answer questions that they don’t want to talk about.  What will happen if you’re on the council and you speak out, will they have the same policy there as they have been accused of having on the forums?

I really want this new council to do well and help Turbine continue to produce a game that people enjoy playing for many years to come.  Personally I have invested a lot of time in this game and would like to see my enjoyment of it continue until we reach Mordor, or even Gondor for that matter ;)  I highly recommend interested folks submit their applications and try to make the council what they want it to be as that will then help move the game where you want it to go.  Not that I expect to be accepted, but I will follow my own advice and will be applying.