Addressing the Recent Influencer Communication Controversy on the Forums #InfluencerGate

Most of you who regularly read my content and/or follow me on Twitter likely know that I am a Bioware (SWTOR) Influencer. The program was started around the start of 2017 and I got into the program in November 2017. Back then I was Blogging on my old Website Xam Xam Says.

So what is the Bioware Influencer Program? Basically, it’s a program that recognises SWTOR Content Creators and gives them access/goodies. So what do we get exactly?

  • Exclusives/Early Access to Info
  • Easier access to developers (via private forum/email)
  • Promotion of our content by SWTOR on social media
  • A quota of giveaway codes
  • Occasionally free t-shirts

What are the requirements?

  • Our content has to comply with the game’s PG-13 rating.
  • No infractions on our SWTOR accounts (suspensions, ToS violations etc.)
  • Signing of NDA’s and strict adherence to said NDA’s.
  • No association with or use of data mining.

If you’d like to know more about the program, Swtorista (arguably the most well-known Influencer) did a YouTube video talking about the Influencer Program a while back.

So what happened this past week? An Influencer broke NDA. They shared a screencap from our private forums with someone who then posted it publicly on the forums.

Musco responded to the incident publicly and explained the context behind the screencap.

However, his response was not entirely satisfying to the forum community. They took what he said at face value and came up with some quite frankly bizarre assumptions. Most forum responders were furious that there was a secret private forum they didn’t have access to that they assumed the devs communicated in more regularly than in the public forums. This lead to some ridiculous theories and assumptions ultimately leading some to even blame the Influencers for the state the game is in.

Unfortunately, as I am under NDA I cannot directly counter their accusations/concerns without breaking NDA. But I will say that a lot of the things we’re accused of being responsible for are simply not true at all. Again, I can not elaborate further or point out specifics. However, Musco did a couple of follow-up posts that broadly describe in more detail what we get up to.

First, to address Musco’s final comment. He is very much correct. We (the Influencers) are not happy either. If there’s anything I want you to take away from this post, it’s that. We share the player’s frustrations about communication and honestly a lot of other things too.

I will also say that Musco is also correct in saying that communication with us via the private forums is quite sporadic. Just because we have a means of easier communication with devs doesn’t mean it’s utilised. Beyond that, I can not comment further.

Yes, we are conduits for feedback. We take the feedback and comments we see and send it to the devs as well as give our own feedback on things. They still look at feedback from other sources (and we look everywhere too). As Musco said, we just give them a snapshot of our communities.

Another misconception I saw a lot from players on the forum that I wanted to briefly address was who is or isn’t in the program. Most of the main YouTubers (Swtorista, SWTOR Central, Boomy etc.), a few Streamers (KogAss, Aviriia, Taelios) and most Podcasts (Bad Feeling Podcast, Ootinicast, SOTOR, The Usual Podcast) are all a part of the program. And there are others who dabble in a variety of content as well such as Vulkk (YouTube, Website), Sechari (Twitch, The Council Podcast), Kidlee (YouTube, Twitch) and PeterTheSelkath (runs SWTOR Central) plus others (note I mainly listed active Influencers). Then there’s me who runs this silly little website. As for content creators who aren’t in the program, they either do not want to be, haven’t applied to be in the program or do not meet the guidelines we have to adhere to.

And finally, as Musco said, sometime in March, there will be an article going up on about the Influencer Program and introducing the community to us. Since SWTOR hasn’t done the best job at promoting us or making the community aware that we exist (beyond Dev streams here and there), I feel this is a good initiative and look forward to seeing the community’s feedback once that goes up!

But now let’s get to the part you all care about the most. How do I feel about the game?

Those who follow me on Twitter or pay attention to my content know that I’ve barely been playing SWTOR for quite some time now and have been giving another MMO my full attention. I am not happy with the state of the game (especially PvP) and refuse to participate in horrible gear grinds. Galactic Command is an absolute disaster and as long as it exists and we don’t have separate PvP gear, I can not in good faith give the game my full attention. Here’s a full list of things I’m not happy about.

  • Lack of separate PvP and PvE Gear
  • PvP gear – give us back a legacy commendation system and cheap, easy to get PvP gear that encourages us to gear and play our alts (think 4.0).
  • D-sync in PvP
  • General combat in PvP – too many slows and snares and limited means of getting out of them making combat slow and stagnant.
  • Cleansing – in PvP needs to be reworked so we can cleanse anything regardless of the type (force, tech etc.)
  • Galactic Command – absolute trash gearing system that has dumbed down the player base (ie. players rely too heavily on gear and don’t bother to learn how to actually play their class). You should not be able to get gear from doing whatever you want. Have one tier easily accessible to everyone but gate higher tiers of gear by content ie. do Ops to get PvE gear and PvP to get PvP gear (think 3.0-4.0).

And yes, I’ve conveyed my concerns to the devs. Does it mean they’ll listen to me? No, because they listen to the collective. However, since there are a lot of people unhappy with the state of gearing, perhaps we may see changes to gearing in the future.

But anyway, that’s about all I’m going to say for now least the NDA hounds get released on me. If you have any further questions about the program, feel free to ask! Comments are welcome too! I’ll respond as best I can.

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