With AOE turning into a SAAS model of improving the product, with consistent releases of “updates” (eg. Lords of the West), on the same platform, there has been less of a need for “insiders”. Many of us @Age_Insider helped with the betas, played through bugs, provided input, etc. and are still very dedicated to the game. Sure we get a newsletter, but this didn’t even have the news of the “Lords of the West”. With the lack of activity in the insider channel, clarity of messaging as well as any perks of helping with the game development, I am beginning to feel the organization has less need for us and would like more clarity on the intention moving forward.
Look, while steam gave me the notification of the LotW, I was watching a TG with the viper, daut and hera, and when in chat they write it they seem genuinely surprised (they made me laugh off the chair).
The lack of communication was a severe critic that I often made here. And it seem that it’s still a problem.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t that helpful on that side, but that’s because most of the time the notice was too short. I mean, people work and study, I already have little time for playing…
If it wouldn’t be for my smartphone I wouldn’t be able to be active here on the forum either…
@DoctBaghi It kind of blows me away that they (theviper, Hera, and Daut) were not notified as well as the beta community. You would think that the @Age_Insider would be able to trial run the new civs to promote them amongst the greater community. That is the whole premise behind social media marketing. As for participation, everyone has to find a balance, however, I still believe that being an insider shows dedication to the betterment of the game and the community.
You may or may not receive an official reply here. The insider program is just a fancy name for beta program. It is and has been about Microsoft’s needs more than our own since the beginning. I would love and have suggested many times that insiders be invited to beta test updates like in the days when AoE II: HD and AoM: EE received regular updates but that requires extra effort on behalf of the team to make it work even though it is technically possible.
The next major opportunity will probably be for Age of Empires IV. I would also love to receive regular updates about this game as well over time like Microsoft did with Sea of Thieves. However, with another year going by without any further info on Age of Empires IV, I am starting to have doubts that regular updates will become a reality.
My advice is to keep expectations low for the insider program going forward so that you are pleasantly surprised when unexpected good things happen.
I too was watching TheViper when I heard about it, and saw the Twitter Link in the Chat. I too was surprised.