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GTG Project Status Update - December 2015

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Powerhound_2000
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Foote wrote:

I love >G. I love the folks in >G. You could call me a pretty big fan of them as people. I count them all as friends. Especially you Craig. winkWith that said, I tend to agree with Matchstick and Silver in their general arguments. Communication has been sliding slowly for a long time now*, thats just the fact of the matter. Are there good and defendable reasons for it? I know there are. But lets call it what it is. Whether you are content with things as they are or not, I believe their concerns are more than valid and shouldn't be dismissed so easily.*I attach all blame to Craig for this.

Just because I disagree doesn't mean I'm dismissing them.  In general more communication would be nice but I am ok at the same time with the updates we have gotten.


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phantaskippy
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Matchstickman wrote:

 

phantaskippy wrote:
Okay, but what if they can't gaurantee that timeline?

 

I don't understand what you're getting at. They would do the exact same thing they would if the 3-5 week estimate is wrong. We would just have more information on what they thought the individual parts of the 3-5 weeks was going to be.

So you want them to give more detail about things they don't have more detail to give?

Or do you want them to spend a bunch of time updating us on every step of the process, instead of actually working on that process?

"We want more information, even if it is wrong!" sounds to me like a huge waste of time.  As much a waste of time as sitting down to calculate when various steps of the process might or might not be done so you can give increased information that is increasingly likely to be incorrect.

I spent 10 years of my life in shipping for different companies, and the stuff people want them to know and communicate is stuff that you either are highly unlikely to know, likely to be inaccurate, or take up time to estimate.  Why would they engage in practices which would make the process more confusing and take time away from what we actually want them to do, which is ship the game.

Would you be okay with more information if it delayed you getting the game by 2 days?  I wouldn't, and I prefer less information to less accurate information.  

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They have given us an estimate of 3-5 weeks, unless they are pulling that figure out of their arse (which I doubt) they have a rough idea of how long they think each item on the list is going to going to take. With all of your experience can you explain to a layman like me why giving us this breakdown is so difficult/damaging? I genuinely want to know what I am missing.


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Matchstickman wrote:

They have given us an estimate of 3-5 weeks, unless they are pulling that figure out of their arse (which I doubt) they have a rough idea of how long they think each item on the list is going to going to take. With all of your experience can you explain to a layman like me why giving us this breakdown is so difficult/damaging? I genuinely want to know what I am missing.

My guess is that at this point, they have materials, they are just boxing everything up from the Villians half of the pre-order.  They probably have a person or two working on the backordered villians cards, and most of their team working on the boxing up of Villians preorders, with one or two people printing out shipping labels about as fast as they can to keep up with the people boxing items.  it's hard to break down this into smaller chunks, when they know they can ship X a week, and have 3-4X units to ship (with some slack room built in for printers to die, tape to run out, small plagues, etc.)

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I'm annoyed, and disappointed. I love >G and the things they stand for, like many of you I've met both Christopher and Paul (still waiting to collect my "I've met Adam" badge) and they are really lovely people for sure. I appreciate the efforts being made to play things down, and I've always preached calm myself when people shoot off about the company, but the reality is that >G are operating a webstore and failing to meet some of the basic requirements of doing so. Just because we're all super nice and putting up with it doesn't change the situation here. The thing to bear in mind is that this isn't a bunch of people making a knee-jerk reaction over an isolated incident. It's regular long term supporters of the company who are fed up with the persistent problems with shipping and communication, and which really ought to be addressed rather than rebuffed. I don't claim to have the solution, but I certainly believe that there are problems here which are only going to get worse now that the business is bigger and continues to grow.

Villains aside, I still haven't received any news on the order I placed a month ago for the promo groupbuy I'm running. Zip, nada, not even an update on the order status, which is especially galling as there are around fifty people waiting on that order. The minimum expectation of placing an order with an online store, even a small one, is that you are notified when it is processed and again when it is dispatched, with the tracking number attached if there is one. If there is an unexpected delay of more than a few days then you would expect to receive a communication about it, even if it is just an impersonal standard circular. There is no such thing as too much communication or too much detail here. I'm just waiting patiently as I know it will come through eventually, but the way it's being handled is not a good way to run an online business.

I'm also annoyed with this whole thing about who ships first on Villains, even though I'm trying not to be. The international shipping of Wrath was really messed up - we were told that everything had been dispatched when it hadn't. We then couldn't get any clarity on what was going on for a number of weeks, until eventually the truth about problems with the third party came out. We were promised that we would get shipped first the next time to make up for this, except we now find out that another product was used to fulfil this promise, one which the majority of the people who got stuffed on Wrath did not even buy, and now it'll be up to two months including transit time that we have to wait for Villains. It's easy to tell people that it isn't a big deal, and we are putting up with it (mostly with good grace), but it's damn frustrating and we can't just switch off being fed up about it.

 

 

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Hopefully this thread opens their eyes a bit and they can give folks more updates as that seems to be the bigger consensus even if I don't agree.   I am also surprised that EU shipping isn't happening first since I imagine most folks who preordered Wrath not have been involved in any KS campaigns which shipped.  I really agree on the Xmas promo shipping as I shouldn't need a FedEx account to tell me it's shipping.


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Mezike wrote:
Villains aside, I still haven't received any news on the order I placed a month ago for the promo groupbuy I'm running. Zip, nada, not even an update on the order status, which is especially galling as there are around fifty people waiting on that order. The minimum expectation of placing an order with an online store, even a small one, is that you are notified when it is processed and again when it is dispatched, with the tracking number attached if there is one. If there is an unexpected delay of more than a few days then you would expect to receive a communication about it, even if it is just an impersonal standard circular. There is no such thing as too much communication or too much detail here. I'm just waiting patiently as I know it will come through eventually, but the way it's being handled is not a good way to run an online business.

Paul wrote:
All of the preorders placed as of yesterday have gone out. Some were shipped via FedEx, and some via USPS, depending on the size of the order. Unfortunately, due to how these orders were processed, many of the orders will not have their status updated in your account on greaterthangames.com (i.e., they will keep saying "Payment Received" forever).

Shipping companies are very slow over Christmas and New Years, but if you have already placed an order and do not receive it by the beginning of 2016, definitely send an email to and we'll sort it out!

https://greaterthangames.com/comment/122312#comment-122312


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What point are you trying to make there Pydro? Is a Preorder the same thing as buying Promos/Products from the sale? Even though they have the same first letter I certainly would not equate the two!


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jediunter12
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if i chose fedex home delivery and my package is right now fedex smart post is that the same shipping method 

Mezike
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I don't understand the point you are trying to make either Pydro, or even the intent. I'm well aware of that post that Paul made. >G need to address the way they operate their online store and all that quote does is prove my point.

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It isn't difficult, it takes time and effort.  Things better spent on actually getting the games out, rather than doing work so you can tell people what might be happenning.

GtG isn't a two man show, they can't afford to sit back and complete a project entirely before moving on to the next game.  They can't afford to do that.

They also don't have an executive running the company.  Who is telling Christopher he can't go to PAX because if he doesn't finish that deck this week the game is going to fall behind schedule?  Who is cutting a new project or delaying it because they need to catch up on older stuff?  That is all in the hands of the people who create the games.

Creative people generally don't police themselves very well, but I doubt you are going to see Christopher hire someone to be his boss anytime soon.  That's why you start your own company, so no one can tell you those things.

I don't know what people expect.  We want them to work on the game we are waiting for like it is their only product and life's work, keep schedules like they are a well organized larger company (who also struggle to keep schedules), and communicate like they have a PR department instead of Craig, who while he is in charge of communication also packs boxes, playtests, works conventions and probably does a hundred other little tasks.

Paul is probably your best shot at someone who can gather that information and communicate it, and his status updates are great, but those aren't things he can reliably put out, and they aren't enough to satisfy some of us when he does.

I understand that the preorder gave a date, but that preorder was crowdfunding.  It wasn't advanced sales, where the product is done and ready to be sold, and the only question is can the trucks get the finished product to stores.

Again I go back to Wrath of the Cosmos, they thought they had a timeline, the printer was done early and the product made it back and they shipped it all really early.  There is no way to accurately predict delivery unless you control the product, and once they control the product they start packaging it up and shipping it.  They let us know that the process was starting, they let us know the holidays would interfere with the process, and they let us know when they started shipping.  More than that they are again stepping into things they are less certain about.

 

Pydro
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Mezike wrote:

I don't understand the point you are trying to make either Pydro, or even the intent. I'm well aware of that post that Paul made. >G need to address the way they operate their online store and all that quote does is prove my point.

Sorry, on my phone and it is a pain to select a few words from different people to quote. I really had no point to make or a side to choose, only provide information. I remembered reading that the packing method that GtG was using did not change the status online.


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Hey all, I just got an email from FedEx that my shipment from >G has been "tendered" to them, for an expected delivery by 7 January 2016. (I live in Massachusetts.)

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phantaskippy wrote:

I don't know what people expect.  We want them to work on the game we are waiting for like it is their only product and life's work, keep schedules like they are a well organized larger company (who also struggle to keep schedules), and communicate like they have a PR department instead of Craig, who while he is in charge of communication also packs boxes, playtests, works conventions and probably does a hundred other little tasks.Paul is probably your best shot at someone who can gather that information and communicate it, and his status updates are great, but those aren't things he can reliably put out, and they aren't enough to satisfy some of us when he does.

What people expect is a bit more transparency on why certain delays come to pass and why certain choices are made. Paul's updates are a significant improvement from earlier, but they provide a limited transparency, which seems to have been building up with a number of people. For example: we, as "preorderers", would like to know why the product has not been delivered at the time it was expected, while as "crowdfunders" we'd like to know how our money has been reallocated. These are valid questions for any customer, let alone those who invested money. I really like the enthusiasm of the >G team during the preorder campaigns and during the tournaments, but as soon as those are over it generally becomes very quiet and not just relatively.

How to adress these points is up to >G and this topic could well serve as positive criticism. Perhaps, during the time a project is in development, slightly more detailed updates and revealing bits of finalized art and/or mechanics on a regular basis can satisfy some people (this is already being improved on to some extent). Of these, based on the topic so far, I think the most constructive would be the more detailed (transparent) updates.

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phantaskippy wrote:
It isn't difficult, it takes time and effort.

OK. So learn from that now and apply it for next time. Pack 10 boxes, find out how long that took and next time when you know how many boxes you have to pack multiple it out, add in extra time for delays and unforseen problems at their end and give a very rough estimate of how long it will take for them to pack it all up and send to the shipping company (I had assumed that is what they were doing this time around). I understand that once it leaves their hands that the shipping company and the whims of fate are things they can't control, I'm not asking for that to be factored in when they give us an estimate.

phantaskippy wrote:
I understand that the preorder gave a date, but that preorder was crowdfunding.

Really? Then they shouldn't market it as a Preorder. I think there would have been a lot fewer sales if it had been clearly marked as "Kickstart our new expansion without using the kickstarter site".


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I know that I for one am happier when I back a Kickstarter which gives regular useful updates. And yes, I totally count "well we planned to be shipping this week but the product's not arrived yet so our estimate's definitely out, we're not sure when you'll get it but it will be as soon as possible, sorry" as a useful update, which is a million times better than no update.

Lack of communication is worrying, and I think it's extra worrying for international customers (many of us are paranoid after the EU shipping problem we weren't notified about for weeks last year) simply because it takes so long to get a replacement product if something goes wrong, like if an order is processed incorrectly or gets lost in shipping, or some components are damaged or similar. We're already waiting for weeks after US folks get theirs. Without shipping notifications, how do we know how long should we wait before we assume something's gone wrong?

You guys know how much I love >G and their products, and every single one of the team that I've met has been a joy, but you can add my name to the list of people who aren't happy with the communication right now. And that sucks because I'm usually first in line to defend then but I'm getting more and more reluctant to do that.


Just assume I'm always doing that.

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That's cool Pydro! It did seem like an odd post from you, so no worries.

I think Bas has the right of it here. We all love >G and are trying to offer some constructive feedback, nobody is bashing Christopher, Paul or Craig, so there is no need for so much defensiveness in this thread. There are problems, mainly with communication, that need to be taken seriously now that the business is growing. Look outside of these forums and opinions about this part of their operations have not been as polite as they are here. There is a post from someone in the votm shipping thread that highlights the problem:

darkstar1484 wrote:

I would love to find out about my order, I was supposed to be contacted when it would be shipped and have sent several emails but have literally heard nothing and am getting increasingly frustrated.

I don't believe that this is the sort of opinion that >G want to foster in their consumers! But it's becoming a common complaint, even from people who have otherwise been ardent supporters of everything they do. That isn't a good sign, and therefore becomes something that Paul ought to look into.

Paul says it all in the post that Pydro quoted: "due to how these orders were processed" and as a result there is inconsistency with some customers getting dispatch notices, and others hear nothing. It's either their systems, working practices, or personnel, but whatever it is they should still do the minimum of either emailing consumers or manually updating order status on their system. With something like the pre-order a blanket communication along the lines of "we are crazy busy and only a small business" is fine, but for regular webstore orders it definitely needs to be better. For additional context, the non-US people who are annoyed about the votm shipping are generally feeling that way not because of having to wait a few extra weeks (we're used to that), but because it feels like the rug has been pulled from underneath us. We all had the distinct impression that the promise that came after Wrath applied to Villains as it was after all the 'next pre-order' that we all bought into. Going last and having to wait a few weeks isn't really a problem, but expecting to go first and then finding out that the queue is in fact, after all this time, facing the other way, is a bit of a shock wink

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Matchstickman wrote:
phantaskippy wrote:
I understand that the preorder gave a date, but that preorder was crowdfunding.

Really? Then they shouldn't market it as a Preorder. I think there would have been a lot fewer sales if it had been clearly marked as "Kickstart our new expansion without using the kickstarter site".

Were you in any way deceived into thinking that things you hadn't begun to playtest were finished products ready to ship?  Christopher gave updates on the state of playtesting this summer, and Paul's updates clearly show what they are working on in that regard.  A preorder is simply spending money to reserve a copy before it can be bought.  That is what happened here, preorders can take on many forms.

We didn't get an update post in October, We got one on November 16th (six-week gap during conventions) saying the printer said it would be shipping on the 17th.  Then an update that the ship was delayed to the 20th.  Then a month later we got the December update on the 23rd, saying they were starting shipping, the order of shipments and the expected 3-5 weeks to finish.  Then on the 28th we got the blog post update that Villains was now shipping.

We have a 6 week gap over conventions and a one month gap between November and December.

 

I guess an update in early december that it was on the boat or going through customs could be added in.  I don't see the point in that, but apparently others do.  We got those updates for Wrath, which made sense because things went faster and they had less on their plate at that time.

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*carefully sidestepping the ongoing "discussion"*

 

I pre-ordered pretty early in the initial pre-order period and also have a FedEx account, so here's some data:

12/18 shipping information sent to FedEx

12/29 (just before 8pm) package received at FedEx facility in St Louis

12/29 (just after 10pm) package left above facility

1/7/2016 (by end-of-day) expected delivery in San Jose, California

 

--Michael


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That sounds more like something from the Christmas sale not the VotM and Broken City/For Profit preorders. 


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Powerhound_2000 wrote:

That sounds more like something from the Christmas sale not the VotM and Broken City/For Profit preorders. 

if it helps I have had the shipping label made on the 18th but that is all according to fedex so will have to wait and see


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Powerhound_2000
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I guess the labels could have been made in preparation for their sorting.


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As an EU-based pre-order-er, I'm very disappointed that >G's promise to ship EU orders first to make up for the Wrath debacle didn't apply to Villains: I appreciate they didn't specifically state this would happen, but like a lot of people I guess I just assumed that as the issue was with a SoTM product it would relate to the next SoTM preorder (ie Villains) rather than the next thing they did overall.

That said, i don't really mind when it shows up.. however... as it's a pre-order, my basic expectations are Villains arrives (a) before it hits the shops here and (b) not more than roughly a month or so after US pre-orders are received. Given those are what happened with WotC, and that >G acknowledged it was a mess, I don't think thats too much to ask.


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Powerhound_2000 wrote:

That sounds more like something from the Christmas sale not the VotM and Broken City/For Profit preorders. 

 

Nope. Christmas sale items were shipped to me via USPS and arrived about 10 days ago.  Also, the weight listed on the FedEx shipping info is consistent with 2 copies of Villains + 1 oversized villain card pack.


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I get that already this thread and the other.  I already said in this thread that they must started printing labels as they were sorting things.  


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No oversized villain cards in my order

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Well I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I am super pissed about this.

The complete cock up that was EU Wrath shipping is happening again. To send out the non-US stuff last is just ludicrous.  They may well have 'made it up to people' by sending some other game out in a different order, but why on Earth would you then revert to the 'screw the EU' model of doing things?  All this tells me is that nothing was learned from last time.

I have no idea when the holiday promos I ordered will arrive.  I have no idea when Villains will be with me.  Santa Guise should have been organised so it was with people before Christmas... its a Christmas themed card!!

I am fully ready for Villains to be availble for me to buy here before my preorder arrives, just as happened before.  If this happens, and I really hope it doesnt, then thats my goodwill gone.  I am complete on this game, I've got every expansion, mini expansion and promo card available.  I love this game, but if its in the stores here before my preorder has arrived then I simply wont bother pre-ordering the final expansion via GtG.  I'll buy it in a store, save a small fortune on shipping and pick up an exclusive stuff off ebay in the fullness of time.

Really makes me sad to be saying this, I'm an easygoing guy and give people the benefit of the doubt more often than I should.  A year ago I was shouting praises about GtG and thier games to anyone who would listen to me.  Even after the Wrath shipping failure I was prepared to let it go.  But seeing that situation repeat is just plain sad.

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MightySi wrote:

Well I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I am super pissed about this.The complete cock up that was EU Wrath shipping is happening again. To send out the non-US stuff last is just ludicrous.  They may well have 'made it up to people' by sending some other game out in a different order, but why on Earth would you then revert to the 'screw the EU' model of doing things?  All this tells me is that nothing was learned from last time.I have no idea when the holiday promos I ordered will arrive.  I have no idea when Villains will be with me.  Santa Guise should have been organised so it was with people before Christmas... its a Christmas themed card!!I am fully ready for Villains to be availble for me to buy here before my preorder arrives, just as happened before.  If this happens, and I really hope it doesnt, then thats my goodwill gone.  I am complete on this game, I've got every expansion, mini expansion and promo card available.  I love this game, but if its in the stores here before my preorder has arrived then I simply wont bother pre-ordering the final expansion via GtG.  I'll buy it in a store, save a small fortune on shipping and pick up an exclusive stuff off ebay in the fullness of time.Really makes me sad to be saying this, I'm an easygoing guy and give people the benefit of the doubt more often than I should.  A year ago I was shouting praises about GtG and thier games to anyone who would listen to me.  Even after the Wrath shipping failure I was prepared to let it go.  But seeing that situation repeat is just plain sad.

The problem with the Wrath pre-order wasn't that the international stuff shipped last, it was that they used it to test a new shipping method that is now faster and cheaper for international buyers and things weren't set up in time.  In fact the only reason why the international orders are below US orders on the list is because they most likely ship out all international orders on a Friday rather than trickle them out through the week.

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Just one question I am trying to get answered. I have two diffrent orders, one for just villians and the oversized villian cards, and one with villians, the villian cards, and tactics items. Am I going to have to wait until the tactics items complete before the second order ships, seeing how tactics is still at the end game of playtesting?


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Th second order containing tactics won't ship until tactics is available.   It was listed here https://greaterthangames.com/content/the-villains-of-the-multiverse-batt... under Shipping section. 


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Kiric
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And I suppose there isn't a way to pay the extra shipping to have them sent seprate now is there?

I do understand delays happen, but my concern is now that having preordered both, it will be several months before I get my copy of VotM while Tactics is finished. I had ordered them together understanding the plan was for them both to be completed at roughly the same time. Now again, delays happen and that is understandable.


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You would have to contact GtG to see if things could be changed for shipping.  

While I had hoped they might get both done by the end of 2015 they made it pretty clear VotM and Broken City would be released at least a few months apart.  


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I went from excitement when realizing these were being shipped to disappointment when I realized I won't be getting mine ANYTIME soon because it won't who until the Tactics stuff does snf that stuff isn't even at the printer yet.

shammarr
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Just want to say thanks GTG for splitting the shipments because of the delay.  This really makes me feel better about it.  Your awesome.  Will the oversized villain cards be shipped with the villains of the Muliverse preorder,  did not see that part if it was.  Thanks again.

much0gust0
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This whole topic is kind of a back and forth about the validity of giving regular updates...but I was curious if we could have another? It's been about 6 months since a State of the Shippings, and I'm curious if we have any headway on certain stuff. I'm particularly excited for my copy of Spirit Island to get here...=)

Thanks in advance!

morph147
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will have to echo much0gust0 comment. its been a while so just a quick status of where everything is at would be great.


My wife thinks Sentinels is ruining our marriage. I think she doesnt know what shes talking about because she wont sit down to play it

DrScott
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I also just realized that I have yet to see the Tactics expansions.  The last I heard they were due Q4 of 2015, we're now halfway through Q2 2016 and no recent word.


"You've got to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight." B. Cockburn

Powerhound_2000
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Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

 
DrScott
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Powerhound_2000 wrote:

This got posted in January about that https://greaterthangames.com/content/battle-for-broken-city-status

Ah, excellent.  Thank you.  Here's hoping once they tweak it they go back and provide an update for the first set.


"You've got to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight." B. Cockburn

Chaosmancer
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Not sure if there as been any new news on this front, but based on the old news shouldn't Spirit Island be arriving within the next few months?

 

It was heading to the printers early this year, so my assumption is that we would hopefully be getting it sometime after Gencon.

 

Also the "Season 2" of Tactics (Broken City and For Profit) is slotted for early 2017, around the same time Oblivaeon is scheduled to reach us I think, while the Foil Cards are arriving within the next month for those of us who pre-ordered them.

 

Am I forgetting anything? This is quite a bit to keep track of I'd imagine. Keep on trucking GTG

Arcanist Lupus
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We should be getting a new Kickstarter update for Spirit Island a week from tomorrow, assuming that Craig doesn't have problems with posting it again.  The posts so far indicate that finishing up the art has taken a little longer than anticipated, but there is no word on how that will affect final delivery time.


"Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?"

- Terry Pratchett, Going Postal

dpt
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The BackerKit for Spirit Island currently has an expected delivery date of December 2016, which seems plausible.

Chaosmancer
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Thanks for the replies.

 

December is later than I was hoping for, but I'll take it. So many good things coming out all at once, they've bitten out a lot of stuff.

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