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CoH3 failure? New employee review

15 May 2020, 05:11 AM
#1
avatar of SturmtigerCobra
Patrion 310

Posts: 881 | Subs: 11

Relic bureaucracy & CoH teamwork failures?
From Glassdoor new Relic employee Review (allegedly/rumor).
For unknown reasons the review is currently not visible (maybe deleted?) so below is the backup/cache source (I saved a copy from the original source);
https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:jW-seasgjscJ:https://www.glassdoor.sg/Overview/Working-at-Relic-Entertainment-EI_IE533032.11,30.htm
Archive:
https://archive.vn/f2F6H
Original Source:
https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Relic-Entertainment-Reviews-E533032.htm

"Losing its battle against bureaucracy"
I have been working at Relic Entertainment full-time
Pros
- some great people who still keep the company afloat
- good salary and benefits
- good work/life balance
- top management seems to be trying to enforce a great culture

Cons
Despite top management's efforts to build a company of a great culture, on the local (team) level there are enough people of certain highly competitive backgrounds, whose "culture" includes avoiding responsibility for their mistakes by blaming others, backstabbing, hypocrisy, nepotism, dumping new ideas in endless discussions and bureaucracy (again, to avoid personal responsibility), tightening the development process (which is already incredibly complicated) instead of [obvious solutions], being too important to be on time, having cut-throat mentality to strive to make it to the top of the hierarchy (or at least keep the job because of its benefits) no matter what it takes. It's not good for other people and it's not good for the games in development. Also, some of the normal good people are too conservative - resistant to ideas and practices that are new to them, even when these ideas and practices are de-facto standards of the industry.

Basically, the company is losing its battle against bureaucracy and people who joined it just for benefits, status/title, and just being part of Relic.

Advice to Management
Flatten the hierarchy to some extent to stop attracting people who are born and raised to just climb hierarchies, make a company attractive to team players instead. Let actual contributors do their work. Understand that currently a hell of a lot of time is wasted for nothing - not because of the complexity of the games, but because of some people you rely on who are not interested in changes.


According to Phil Spencer the AoE4 team (former CoH2 leads) is ahead of schedule/'making good progress' so this employee review might be related to the new CoH team(s) throwing money into a black hole? :(
Wasteful spending?
Relic growth spread competent leadership too thin?
liability?
Talk is cheap, which Relic team will walk-the-talk?

Relic teamwork failures?:



EDIT:
Updated with https://archive.vn/f2F6H
15 May 2020, 06:09 AM
#2
avatar of ShadowLinkX37
Director of Moderation Badge

Posts: 3764 | Subs: 1

If AoE4 is as successful as AoE2 DE, we still may very well see CoH3.
15 May 2020, 06:30 AM
#3
avatar of SuperHansFan

Posts: 833

That quote from the former employee complaining about the "old guard" resistant to "new ideas" seems worrying to me

We all know what such "new ideas" took the direction of DoW3 and gave us a poor MOBA clone. Hopefully Sega keep the CoH formula and these newbies don't turn the series we love into a WW2 themed clone of whatever is flavor of the month like battlefield did with battle royal.

As such "new ideas" in corporate speech is looking at what makes the most money in the market and trying to get a cut of that action by copying it and screwing as many of your returning players as possible.

I'm actually really worried about CoH3, coh2 was a complete mess with DLC on release. SEGA have been messing up total war for a while now too
15 May 2020, 06:56 AM
#4
avatar of Sander93

Posts: 2566 | Subs: 4

SEGA have been messing up total war for a while now too


How so? Three Kingdoms was a huge success and Warhammer II is ridiculously popular with a very positive community and great DLC/FLC. Arguably Rome 2 and Atilla weren't as great but they seem to have really turned it around in the last 3 years. Before that Shogun 2 and FOTS were also great games.
15 May 2020, 07:21 AM
#5
avatar of Hannibal
Senior Moderator Badge

Posts: 1383 | Subs: 1



How so? Three Kingdoms was a huge success and Warhammer II is ridiculously popular with a very positive community and great DLC/FLC. Arguably Rome 2 and Atilla weren't as great but they seem to have really turned it around in the last 3 years. Before that Shogun 2 and FOTS were also great games.


The Total War series is by far nothing like it has been 10+ years ago. Empire and Shogun2 were the last games that I felt had some effort put into it because CA wanted to make a good game. But both games failed due to their Warscape engine in the gameplay department (Shogun2 was very polished though and could compensate that way, although the battles have suffered a lot).
Now take what I say with a grain of salt. I stopped playing after Rome2 because this game was a frickin mess and still is up to this date and I don't care about Warhammer. But ever since then the series has turned into a DLC cash cow were the base game is super shallow and lacking and you need to buy DLC to keep things not boring (interesting would be too much). Just look at the amount of DLC these games receive, many of it day1, some of it was already included in one of the predecessors. And many games of the series got backlash due to shitty DLC practices.

Now obviously this is a matter of personal taste, but I don't care about Total War anymore. Either CA or SEGA make the games shallow to play, and their engine is horrible.


Now to the actual post:
I am not sure how much to say about one single person complaining about people in their team because this happens every time and in every company.
The only thing that is a bit "worrying" so to say is how Relics productivity seemingly has gone down in the last years. They used to launch a new game/expansion almost every year with some projects being worked on in parallel, but ever since CoH2s release there was not much to show for. DoW3 that failed quite heavily, two cancelled games, and AoE4 in the making for years now without any information to the public. So either they go for a strategy of not showing much and keeping secrets to build hype on purpose or they really don't have much to show for.
15 May 2020, 08:01 AM
#6
avatar of Sander93

Posts: 2566 | Subs: 4

Now take what I say with a grain of salt. I stopped playing after Rome2


Well there's the problem. Their last two games (Three Kingdoms and Warhammer II) have been excellent. Warhammer II is a great casual game with dozens of highly unique factions and a good DLC/FLC flow that the community really seems to enjoy. The latest DLC (hitting next week) currently has the community absolutely hyped. Three Kingdoms is really high quality and polished, making some big advances (like diplomacy), the only issue is that its setting (civil war in China) makes it a bit repetitive to play because almost every faction has the same units and culture.

As I've said Rome 2 was a bit of a mess and Atilla wasn't that great, but both Three Kingdoms and Warhammer II have been received very positively, and definitely show CA/SEGA seem to be back on the right track.
15 May 2020, 08:46 AM
#7
avatar of Crecer13

Posts: 1657 | Subs: 2



Well there's the problem. Their last two games (Three Kingdoms and Warhammer II)


I did not like the Three Kingdoms. Very poor interface, although they had an excellent interface (Rome 2, WH:TW 1,2), A very stupid and inappropriate system with commanders and the fact that one commander can command only 4 squads. Uninteresting time period. The main success of the Three Kingdoms is success in the Chinese market, making the game as correct as possible (Hello Company of Heroes 2 campaign). Although I liked very nice little things: when civilians worked in rice fields and run away from your troops.
15 May 2020, 09:15 AM
#8
avatar of SuperHansFan

Posts: 833



How so? Three Kingdoms was a huge success and Warhammer II is ridiculously popular with a very positive community and great DLC/FLC. Arguably Rome 2 and Atilla weren't as great but they seem to have really turned it around in the last 3 years. Before that Shogun 2 and FOTS were also great games.


I agree with you that Shogun and 3K were good additions

Personally I just hate how much wasted potential exists with the series, after Napoleon most players (me included) just wanted that layer of polish with Empires scale and possibilities. Sega and CA certainly have the ability and resources to make that happen.

Instead we got that whole Rome 2 mess and milking the players with DLC (not talking about FoTS, more blood DLC and factions that should have been in the game at launch) and reused assets for Attila etc. Then SEGA brought the warhammer licence and focussed on fantasy titles in a series that is about history.

I can understand fantasy fans happy about that (I like 40k myself), but it should be it's separate IP away from TW with its own separate team.
15 May 2020, 10:50 AM
#9
avatar of Stug life

Posts: 4343

That quote from the former employee complaining about the "old guard" resistant to "new ideas" seems worrying to me

We all know what such "new ideas" took the direction of DoW3 and gave us a poor MOBA clone. Hopefully Sega keep the CoH formula and these newbies don't turn the series we love into a WW2 themed clone of whatever is flavor of the month like battlefield did with battle royal.

As such "new ideas" in corporate speech is looking at what makes the most money in the market and trying to get a cut of that action by copying it and screwing as many of your returning players as possible.

I'm actually really worried about CoH3, coh2 was a complete mess with DLC on release. SEGA have been messing up total war for a while now too
instead of focusing on new idea they could improve on old ones , make front rear and side armor, make flanking more rewarding, make ability more engaging (planes) , add more factions and units type , destructive environment like iron harvest, etc
15 May 2020, 12:03 PM
#10
avatar of Hannibal
Senior Moderator Badge

Posts: 1383 | Subs: 1



Well there's the problem. Their last two games (Three Kingdoms and Warhammer II) have been excellent. Warhammer II is a great casual game with dozens of highly unique factions and a good DLC/FLC flow that the community really seems to enjoy. The latest DLC (hitting next week) currently has the community absolutely hyped. Three Kingdoms is really high quality and polished, making some big advances (like diplomacy), the only issue is that its setting (civil war in China) makes it a bit repetitive to play because almost every faction has the same units and culture.

As I've said Rome 2 was a bit of a mess and Atilla wasn't that great, but both Three Kingdoms and Warhammer II have been received very positively, and definitely show CA/SEGA seem to be back on the right track.


Might be, I don't know. Good for the people who like it, but from the videos I have seen (not sure if it was three Kingdoms or the Brittania game though) the Warscape engine still seems to have many of the issues that it had back when it was first used in Empire. Additionally the AI has been next to brain dead in the whole series and I highly doubt that they have generally reworked it while pumping out a new game every year in very different settings.

For me, the last good game was Medieval2 although it had many flaws. Afterwards it went downhill. The advertisements for Rome2 were a huge lie. But the most glaring problem was the AI and their Warscape engine (which they used from Empire onwards) which made the game a disaster from a design stand point while simultaneously trying to rip off customers with DLCs. I don't trust these companies because I have no reason to, and al long as they don't switch to a decent game engine I do not care much anymore. Which is quite a shame because the premise of this series is very good. But frankly I can spent my money elsewhere.
15 May 2020, 17:51 PM
#11
avatar of KoRneY

Posts: 380

Rome 2 was a disaster at launch. It's largely fixed now, though.

The Warhammers are a lot of fun for me though.
15 May 2020, 19:28 PM
#12
avatar of elchino7
Senior Moderator Badge

Posts: 7485 | Subs: 1

If AoE4 is as successful as AoE2 DE, we still may very well see CoH3.


I would put a higher bar. Not from a commercially point of view but rather polish and features.
16 May 2020, 01:14 AM
#13
avatar of Tobis
Senior Strategist Badge
Donator 11

Posts: 2227 | Subs: 4

This reads more to me like a bad employee ranting than a legitimate critique of the company.

Relic has always been super forward thinking in regards to new technologies and ideas, to a fault even. CoH1 was full of interesting new design elements. Then you had CoH Online, a foray into a F2P before F2P even blew up. DoW3 was trying to blend new moba ideas with the strategy genre and failed spectacularly, but atleast they were trying something new. They've also been doing a ton of research and ideas to bring the games to consoles and other platforms. The mobile release of CoH1 just came out, and a damn boardgame version is coming this year. This makes me think it's a bitter employee who gives his own ideas more credit than they are worth.

And seriously, who says, "I loved corporate management, it's my coworkers I hate."
21 May 2020, 12:45 PM
#14
avatar of SturmtigerCobra
Patrion 310

Posts: 881 | Subs: 11

The only thing that is a bit "worrying" so to say is how Relics productivity seemingly has gone down in the last years. They used to launch a new game/expansion almost every year with some projects being worked on in parallel, but ever since CoH2s release there was not much to show for. DoW3 that failed quite heavily, two cancelled games, and AoE4 in the making for years now without any information to the public. So either they go for a strategy of not showing much and keeping secrets to build hype on purpose or they really don't have much to show for.

I agree with this and new CoH2 expansions canceled in 2015/2016 (source Linkedin).
After DoW3 failure Relic said they wanted to become more transparent with community consultation and early play testing etc..

Relic Quotes 2018 | Communications Manager (now former) | Benjamin Boudreau
https://www.linkedin.com/in/benjaminboudreau/
https://community.dawnofwar.com/discussion/15995/well-relic-q-a/p5
*snip*
Your points about betas and players as part of our process have been a huge point of discussion in the studio. I can't get into much detail here but even before the launch of DOW, the AOE team has been working very differently to make user research, early play-testing, and community consultation a much bigger part of how we make games.

*snip*
The root of the disconnect that we've focused on is iteration without player feedback. One of the biggest risks in making games is that you don’t fully see how a title will really play and feel until you’ve hit a point where it’s difficult to switch gears. From where we're sitting, bringing that early and ongoing player validation into our process is a big priority so well-intentioned decisions don't go long without feedback.

*snip*
We're pouring all of our lessons learned into our other projects knowing that making them great is our best way forward. We'd love to share more on how that change is coming to life in the studio when we're able to talk more openly about those projects.

*snip*
Hey guys, I'm trying to be as transparent as I can here but I can't reveal new info on upcoming projects. What I can tell you is that both are being developed very differently for Relic and there is a lot of positive change afoot specifically around community consultation, user research, and early playtesting.

*snip*
there's a lot of pressure on our next releases and we're changing up how we do things to make sure we deliver. You'll have to wait and see but we're looking forward to sharing more about those changes as the projects progress.

*snip*
The role of user research, early play-testing, and community consultation in our process has been a big focus. Even before the launch of DOW, our other projects have been introducing new ways of bringing this into the fold. We're looking forward to giving you more insight into that process later down the line but for now we're staying focused on the work itself.

*snip*
The focus now is on the work ahead of us and making our next projects great. Once we cover more ground on that front, we can think more openly about sharing more. We don't want to skip steps, you know?

*snip*
There were lots of people across the development and community teams working to bring your voices into the studio and challenging us to be more transparent from the start. The conversations they started then are the reason you're seeing this now, and why you'll be seeing a different approach moving forward. Credit where credit's due.

*snip*
Work continues, conversations continue. We know we have something to prove and the teams are determined to prove it.

*snip*
We've also been working really hard with the game teams to determine how we can create more space for player feedback, early testing, and open dialogue in our process moving forward. Like I've said in some other comments, we're seeing promising results but we can't share much more than that until the projects are further along.

Sega closing Relic won't happen as long Microsoft money keeps them afloat.
Unfortunately, this could create a conflict of interest as Microsoft/Phil Spencer is happy with CoH development failing so they can buy the studio for a much lower price.
But throwing money into a black hole is not a winning strategy to improve productivity and Relic's return of investment that will keep Sega happy.

Elon Musk productivity quote;
- 0:59
"Let me just break it to the fools out there: if you don't make stuff, there is no stuff." (games)



I am not sure how much to say about one single person complaining about people in their team because this happens every time and in every company.

This new employee review describes a corporate culture of "yes men" or "suck-ups" that will say anything to get ahead.

Your Inner Circle: Beware of Suck-Ups and Yes-Men:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2012/02/28/your-inner-circle-beware-of-suck-ups-and-yes-men/
Do you surround yourself with suck-ups? C’mon, be honest.

It’s perfectly natural to want to be with people who agree, support and praise you all the time. Let’s face it -- it’s comforting to have people who are always in our corner, no matter what the issue or circumstance.

Suck-ups make us feel like we’re curled up with a warm blanket. Everything is okay, even cozy. We feel safe with them. We trust them.

These are the people we often consider to be our most loyal friends because they help us feel like we’re right. Validated. Vindicated. Smart.

Well, we may be all these things at one time or another, but we are not all these things all the time. And if you find that your trusted advisors are indiscriminate in their praise, it may be time for a gut-check.

These people may make us feel good, but they’re not always good for us. In fact, we could be a pawn in their game; an unwitting accomplice in helping them achieve an unhealthy degree of power and influence over our decisions and actions.

Or, maybe they’re a pawn in ours.

Are you the kind of leader who punishes people – overtly or oh-so-subtly – for speaking up and telling you things you don’t want to hear? Do you seek out people who affirm your decisions and actions?

No one wants to admit that they do this, but a quick glance at organizational life indicates that it’s the norm, not the exception. We’ve all seen it: the leader is isolated from reality, surrounded by a small group of people who deliver the good news and hide the bad. His entire worldview is distorted, controlled by those who are feeding his perceptions. He thinks these people are protecting him. Watching his back.

Or, he simply doesn’t want to hear the truth, so he rewards the peddlers of feel-good information and punishes the purveyors of truth.

In either case, it’s a dangerous position for any leader.
*snip*




EDIT: Updated Elon Musk source vid
21 May 2020, 12:49 PM
#15
avatar of Katitof

Posts: 15996 | Subs: 7


After DoW3 failure Relic said they wanted to become more transparent with community consultation and early play testing etc..

I don't think they are doing particularly good job here :snfPeter:
Do we even know when AoE4 is supposed to be released?
22 May 2020, 23:09 PM
#16
avatar of Valeran

Posts: 45

To be honest, I lost my hope in good coh 3 from relic at all, dow 3 was so bad that tanked all series and was so big hole, that all relic vets left studio after such hole, also aoe 4 looks like absolute pile of dog mobile clash of clans crap for android, it's not AAA-quality game and absolutely not old relic quality. So I will be surprised if coh 3 from them will be good, but let's be honest it won't feom current relic, dow 3 and aoe 4 approves their degradation.
23 May 2020, 01:28 AM
#17
avatar of Napalm

Posts: 1571 | Subs: 2

Baseless speculation about CoH3? Awful thread.
23 May 2020, 17:35 PM
#18
avatar of Tobis
Senior Strategist Badge
Donator 11

Posts: 2227 | Subs: 4

jump backJump back to quoted post22 May 2020, 23:09 PMValeran
To be honest, I lost my hope in good coh 3 from relic at all, dow 3 was so bad that tanked all series and was so big hole, that all relic vets left studio after such hole, also aoe 4 looks like absolute pile of dog mobile clash of clans crap for android, it's not AAA-quality game and absolutely not old relic quality. So I will be surprised if coh 3 from them will be good, but let's be honest it won't feom current relic, dow 3 and aoe 4 approves their degradation.

I believe Relic is not designing the gameplay, they are in charge of building a new engine and graphics. There are multiple large studios working on AoE4. I just hope when Relic finishes the engine they can use it on CoH3 and it doesn't just become property of Microsoft.
23 May 2020, 19:11 PM
#19
avatar of Crecer13

Posts: 1657 | Subs: 2

I saw today that Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is the most popular strategy today, 40-50 thousand people play it every day. And it’s really cool, it shows that people want a quality AAA strategy. And I hope that Relic and Sega will see this, will do the work on the errors of CoH2 and will release a high-quality and interesting continuation of the Company of Heroes of the series.
23 May 2020, 19:46 PM
#20
avatar of Osinyagov
Senior Modmaker Badge

Posts: 1338

Here is the thing, which confuse me. CoH 2 is one of (if not the most) successful game from Relic. But for some reason it was abandonned in terms of technical support. I mean, no engine upgrades, no optimization, no new tools for work with for observers, modmakers and players. Creators of Total War releasing official patches for their games, even in time, when new chapters of the franchise were released.
At the same time, DoW III is fully dropped short after release, and CoH 2 didn't get any technical and content updates since 2015. That just sad.

I am sure this game deserve some kind of remake/rework just for polish and technical optimization, since Essence Engine got updated with DoW 3 and, probably, will get more updates for AoE IV (correct me if AoE IV using different engine).

At the same time, there is some of balance changes, which were made for reason, but didn't get proper voicelines, models and animations and have to use what was available. There is also lots of broken stuff in the game, which cannot be used or have restrictions and need attention, like model of german tank commander or soviet rifleman model and etc. Not even speaking about removed elements like Blizzard or weather effects due to technical issues.

Game just got a huge number of "agnails" since the release. Even if hard work of Andy and balance team will be taken into account, there is still a lot of things to work with.

If there will be CoH 3, i really hope, that the new game will be systemized much-much better and get proper technical and UI support for all units, abilities and effects. And no issues with text strings please

Updated: Added pictures of mentioned german tank crew and soviet rifleman and one as bonus. Credits for screens goes to Kasarov and my mate "Поскребок Паша Квадратные Галифэ".
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