/r/pathofexile's current direction and how we want to change it

Hello everyone, we’re back with another post to gauge your thoughts on r/pathofexile and so you can help steer the future of the subreddit. Specifically, we wanted to have a discussion about negativity and toxicity within the sub and how it impacts new users, old users, GGG employees, and the way our sub is viewed by anyone else. We’re not here to necessarily introduce more rules or to make your life here more difficult. However, we do want to push the sub into the healthiest direction possible and would like your help to do so.

To make things perfectly clear about how serious this discussion should be, the toxicity of the subreddit has gotten bad enough that we get modmails on a near-weekly basis about it, we have had GGG employees message us about the fatigue they feel any time they visit, and we have even had prominent community members post videos on it. We have been told by multiple sources, be it content creators or redditors or GGG employees, that they outright do not visit the subreddit anymore due to its growing and constant negativity. It has to stop.

With that in mind, we are going to have two separate posts about this topic, this one and another one perhaps a week from now. This post will focus on what we see and what we’d like to do about it. Next week’s post will be a recap of what the community has said along with what our future actions will look like. Additionally, next week’s post will include a number of ideas we have focused on subreddit participation and improvement beyond the usual item posts, bug posts, and so on.

To get right into it, r/pathofexile has a problem with negativity, something not particularly uncommon with larger gaming subs but something we cannot let fester before it’s too late. As I’m sure many of you would find relatable, Path of Exile is a game we’re extremely passionate about and we want to see it at its absolute best. It’s not fun when developers make mistakes, however egregious they may be, so we’re often pretty damn vocal about the problems we have with the game. This is not an issue at its core, nor do we want to censor those who have a problem with parts of the game or its development.

Rather, the problem we are currently facing is that over the past year or so, the subreddit has gotten worse about escalating how issues are talked about and taking it past a civil discussion and into a vitriolic pissing contest between anyone who comments, no matter their viewpoint. This is what we cannot let happen anymore. And to be completely open and frank with everyone, our team is certainly not an innocent party in this matter and we should’ve taken steps to curtail this long ago. But we cannot be the sole driving force here, we need to act as a community to turn this around.

So what exactly is meant by escalating issues?

To keep examples recent, let’s look at the debacle with the Blight, Metamorph, and Delirium stash tabs. GGG released these tabs and the community pushed back hard, saying that these tabs are silly purchases and should’ve been integrated into our current ones. There is nothing wrong with pushing back here and the initial threads on the matter were kept fairly civil (relatively speaking). Take a look at this thread’s comment section in particular: https://www.reddit.com/r/pathofexile/comments/heqok2/chris_wilson_at_exilecon_stating_that_ggg_doesnt/

The discussion in this thread is exactly what we’d like to see when these events happen. This thread was an extremely active set of discussions which included laments, suggestions for the future, a few memes, and everything in between.

Duplicate / Similar Threads

The first step to this being taken too far was our allowing far too many of these posts to rise to the front page. We’re not in the business of censoring users. The problem at hand is not that there are complaints but that there are twenty threads of complaints beating the same topic to death. So in events like this, would the subreddit have any problem with our being much stricter with the duplicate thread rule?

Our difficulty in using this rule as it currently stands is that identifying similar threads is subjective, as is deciding which to remove. Do we remove the one with the least amount of comments? The one posted last? The one with the least comprehensive body and title? For example, here are some threads of this nature we have seen over the past couple days:

As you can see, all of these threads are heavily upvoted, have a good amount of comments, but are saying essentially the same thing. We understand and appreciate that everyone has a unique voice but there were easily ~100-120 threads removed during the first 24 hours of the stash tab debacle which were all some variation of being disappointed in GGG and wanting tabs to be consolidated, whether it be via pouches, league tabs, or something else. The point being that occurrences of duplicate threads are not uncommon and often result in their drowning out everything else.

To be more specific, we are normally fine with similar posts submitted within a few hours of one another if they aren’t huge threads (often just standalone questions) or if the topic hasn’t been beaten to death already. When the rule needs to be escalated, we’d like to remove any thread which:

  • Is a standalone thread which could be a comment in one of the threads already on the front page OR

  • The thread is solely a complaint or insult without a solution/suggestion/or otherwise constructive speech

Expansion of Rule 3

We would also like to get your feedback on expanding the language in Rule 3 to include threads and comments which are solely complaints or insults without substance. In this way, users would still be completely free to complain about a balance issue, show exasperation over a bug, or almost anything else so long as it was paired with constructive feedback on the topic at hand. For example:

  • Harvest is bad! - Not ok

  • Screw Harvest. I dislike the amount of seeds dropping and feel like there are too many filler crafting options and not enough exciting moments. -Absolutely ok

The idea here is to shift how we as a community give feedback to GGG through Reddit. There is little to no use in threads saying “X is bad” whereas there is immense value in threads with “I dislike X because Y and Z". We, as the mod team, would still need to be careful with the amount of these threads being posted, as per the above prior section, but as a whole this would lend itself to a more positive and constructive discussion.

EDIT: Changed the examples. What was meant here is to show the difference between solely a complaint and a complaint with constructive feedback next to it. We're not asking users to solve the problem, just explain the problem they see.

Use of Flairs & Bug Reports

We’re looking to replace the default “Fluff” flair setting to one of several possible strategies in order to enforce proper flaring. Currently, threads are submitted by default with a “Fluff” flair and users are encouraged to report threads with incorrect flairs. Outside of our manual correction of flairs when we see them and removal of item showcases without an explanation from the poster, we do not have any real requirements for flairs but this is something we could easily change, especially based on the feedback we saw here: https://www.reddit.com/r/pathofexile/comments/hie581/can_we_1_add_a_criticism_tag_to_the_forum_and_2/

An option that was brought up, which we can manage, would be a strict requirement for the use of flairs. The workflow for how this would work is that when a user submits a thread, we would have a bot respond to the thread with a simple “Does this thread have the correct flair?” message (it would be a bit more comprehensive but that’s the idea) and the poster would be required to respond to it with “yes” or “flaired”. Once the poster responds to the bot, it will approve the post, making it visible to everyone else.

This process does three important things:

  • It makes previously unaware posters aware of what flairs are and how to use them. The bot message could easily include a link to a guide on how to flair their posts.

  • Makes it easier for users to filter posts they want to see/ignore

  • It keeps low effort posts down as those users will often submit something and then ignore it for half a day unless we remove/correct it.

For bug reports specifically, we wanted to entertain the idea of having a bot reply to the poster with a message directing them to the official forums and real means of reporting bugs. The subreddit is not a great place to report bugs and gets far less visibility than reporting in-game or on the official forums but that doesn’t mean these posts do not deserve some amount of discussion. Please let us know what you think of either idea here or if you have ideas of your own.

Personal Attacks

As a closer, we would like to address the use of GGG employees in memes, complaints, and other threads. The sheer volume of negativity in the subreddit has unfortunately caused posts to tip-toe their way into attacking named GGG employees such as Bex and Chris. This is completely unacceptable and should never happen in any way, shape, or form. You are free to disagree with every single one of their decisions and criticize the game but the moment it evolves into a personal attack, the line is crossed.

The use of GGG photos in memes should follow the same thought process. For example, using Chris in the famous nerfhammer gif is perfectly allowable. Using Chris in an inflammatory meme about him running away with bags of money throwing out excuses is not. This line of thought will similarly be extended to GGG teams. Replacing “Bex” with “the QA Team” does not make an inflammatory post any less of a personal insult. Simply put, take a moment to look at your meme before posting. If it is a personal attack or insult towards someone, don’t post it. Making and/or spreading images/gifs like that can have much farther reaching implications than just some Reddit karma.

If we start to see comments heading in a bad direction, we are going to start being stricter with locking threads. We do need your help with this though because we are just a small team and do not have the bandwidth to read every single comment which gets submitted. If you see something which you think breaks the rules, report it. Reporting gets it on our radar immediately, making it much more likely to be removed in a timely manner.

So with that said, these are our base level thoughts on the matter and a hopefully simple solution to help the problem. We’re a few volunteers who do this in our downtime though so we’re more than open and happy to take on suggestions or direction from the community if you think it will help make the subreddit a more positive experience.

EDIT: Changed the examples in the Rule 3 section. What was meant here is to show the difference between solely a complaint and a complaint with constructive feedback next to it. We're not asking users to solve the problem, just explain the problem they see.

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[Image] Embarrassment Is the Cost of Entry

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Never give up

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She is too powerful

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Queen T H I C C

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I think I'm about done.

So, last wipe, I thoroughly enjoyed the game. I struggled until I got to about level 35ish, but eventually I got my bitcoin farm going (not full 50 GPU) and my booze generator going, and I was making some decent rubles.

I could buy decent gear, the scopes I wanted, the ammo I liked (which was rarely m995,7n37, or m61, btw). And then I could go in raid, do my quests, find items, kill players, take their stuff and leave. Or, I could die and lose all my gear, and it would sting, but not break me. But when I did raids, I almost ALWAYS stayed until <10 minutes remaining, sometimes even getting out with spare seconds left. Yes, by about level 45, I eventually started making more money than I could spend, but ONLY after 50 GPU's in the BC farm and booze generator combined.

Now this wipe, instead of enjoying the raids, I'm getting frustrated trying to find progression halting items. Then, when I do find them, I'm STRONGLY encouraged to turtle up, hide until the coast is clear behind counters or in bushes, then extract at 10:01. I'm also having to buy expensive weapons like SVD's to finish quests, which I had to do last wipe too, but my rouble flow was much much higher.

I can kill a 3 man squad, and make 200k, because their armor was zero'd out and too high cost to repair and their guns with all their fancy attachments are worth 75k. Or, I can die and lose about that much. There is no real risk/reward any more.

Then, when I'm having a particularly bad day dying, I can't even lean back on looting stuff like factory keys and fuel conditioners now, AND WHAT LITTLE BIT OF FIR I SELL HAS ATROCIOUS FEES. I sold 3 packs of bolts for 14k ea and the fee was 12k.

It's like BSG isn't even trying to micro adjust the game to dial back the ruble flow. Instead it's full on scorched earth. Only the people with the absolute best combat skills or the most time to rat around have the ability to make any decent money.

On top of that, I'm level 33 and JUST got my last FIR flash drive. I have crashed against the rocks to the tune of MILLIONS trying to get a LEDX and 3 FIR graphics cards from Interchange, thanks to RNG. I can't even start Shooter Born In Heaven, and I would be 3/4 done with it by now if I had it 10 levels ago.

I'm sure* 3/4 of the subreddit will come by to tell me to quit crying, git gud, it's hardcore, roubles are easy to make, its a BETA, etc..

Well here's my Beta feedback. The game isn't fun when I lose every ruble I scrape up trying to do quests with specific gun/armor requirements and finding FIR items in hotspots, and hiding to avoid losing those items, all while BSG -heavily- deflates the economy and punishes rule obeying players in the name of stamping out RMT.

*Left out a word.

Edit: let me just say, I don’t mean this as a personal attack towards Nikita or the other devs. It’s simply just my experience, and my thoughts. I don’t have answers on how to make the perfect balances and compromises, or fixes on RMT etc.

I just wish it had been publicized ahead of time, something like “Okay guys, next wipe we’re gonna experiment with making it real hard.”

Also I’ve gotten a lot of responses saying “you’re not supposed to run the best gear every raid.” And my reply is, my standard kit is a Vepr KM, 6B23 armor, a Ratnik helmet, and comtacs, with self made BP ammo from the hideout. I’ve just recently started adding TV10 armor rigs into the mix. I’m not a META player who has to have iglonik or M995 every raid. I’m not trying to say I want to do that either.

For one CONSTRUCTIVE bit, I feel like items should have two different FIR tags. One for flea/resell, one for quests, and the quest one staying if you died with it. That would make life better to me and to a very large population of power players.

Also, between FIR changes, reduced loot spawns, increased flea fees, reduced trader sell prices, any 1-2 of those are survivable but all of them together, with more to come I'm sure, are crushing. That's all I'm saying.

EDIT Again : I just saw what Jaegers giving for guns. THAT is nice. That makes up a little bit for the stuff like fuel conditioners.

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Latvian Police making a guy remove "FUCK THE POLICE" sticker from his car

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Heart feel thing, thing good.

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Nobody should be proud of their skin color

Why? Because it doesn’t fucking matter. Every race has done awful shit and have also been subjected to awful shit. ALL I see are people dwelling on the past instead of actually trying to progress and move forward. This victim mentality is fucking ridiculous and no race deserves to have their assess kissed. Shit happens. That’s human nature. Holding grudges and filling stereotypes is getting us nowhere.

Let the shit storm begin. I’m just so tired of seeing all of this ridiculous shit on the news. Killing and hating each other over race and religion. Humanity is a fucking farce of what it could be. Is this all you get when you have intelligent beings? Hatred?

What we should be proud of is being human, but that will never happen because as intelligent as we are, we lack the ability to to simply just accept one another.

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