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2016 World Championship and US Top 4

By Gnomercy April 24, 2016, 21:23:54

Hello everyone, I'm the US National Champion of 2015, Thomas Crombie.
I'm bringing this up here because my emails directly to Ankama have gone unnoticed.

In March 2015, at the end of the previous World Championship, via Twitch stream Dewit announced to the world that the next location of the Krosmaster: Arena World Championship would be the USA. For over a year, that was the official word of Ankama.

Later that year, in preparation for the US National Championship, Japanime Games, then the official distributor of Krosmaster in the USA, announced that players would be competing for an all expense paid trip to the World Championship. Just as we did in 2014.

All participants travelling to Texas in Nov 2015 did so under these assumptions. It is because of these announcements that the tournament attracted so many competitive players from around the US. The cost of travel (plane tickets), purchase of hotel accommodations, Board Game Geek Convention badges, and other misc expenses added up. But when you considered the wonderful prize being offered; The chance to compete at the highest level against the best players from all around the world, it was worth it!

Unfortunately, it appears we were had.

Ankama denies that they ever offered up the same trip as they did previously. Everyone competing in a National tournament under this assumption was incorrectly led to believe so. Even if it were implied, or in our case, flatly stated.

When questioned why this was, Ankama had this to offer:
Effectivement, les dépenses ne seront pas prises en charge par Ankama, et c'est assez surprenant de notre côté que les joueurs l'aient pensé: Cela n'était affiché à aucun moment sur les lots, or si nous avions prévu de l'offrir, cela aurait évidemment été précisé car c'était une super pub pour faire venir plus de monde sur ces championnats nationaux.

Nous ne pouvons pas payer ces dépenses cette année, la réalité est là. La non-sortie des produits due aux problèmes de production a diminué les budgets sur le reste


Google translate has led me to understand basically this: "Ankama is not funding anyone, and we're surprised that anyone was led to believe this, because we published a list of prizes. If we WERE offering this, it would have been great to help market the National tournament and increase participation. Ankama cannot help with expenses due to production issues, and not having any new product which reduces our budget."

Well, I have to say that I disagree with this statement. Americans were indeed led to believe our trip would be funded. Not only that, but we were basically lied to. Not only about that, but about the location as well. Personally, I think the USA would have made an excellent host country for the tournament, and I for one am extremely disappointed and even offended that it was changed to Spain without even an explanation to the reason why.

It is for this reason that I have chosen to boycott this years World Championship. The cost for my plane ticket alone to Spain exceeds $1,900. Higher than any other single qualified person for the tournament. To ask me to bear the burden of this expense is laughable. I already traveled to Texas to compete at great expense to myself. I believed it would be worth it for the chance that I was being offered. But to have that taken away from me due to "production issues" is not something that I can ignore. I have been an extremely large supporter of Krosmaster: Arena. Online, in game stores, and at conventions with the former distributor Japanime Games as a member of Team Japanime. But due to recent events, I see very little reason for that to remain true.

Ankama, I sincerely hope that you will read and respond to this. I very much love the game of Krosmaster, and would like to participate in Spain. But asking US players to pay their own way after we were promised that we wouldn't have to is unfair to not only the Top 4, but every person who participated in the US National Tournament under false pretense.

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If possible, do you have any links to the sources for your claims? I see no reason to disbelieve you, but this sort of statement is a lot more powerful when you can also provide hard evidence to back it up.

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Anyway, the thing is... (that's just my personal point of view, and because of that totally soggettive)

If you own a game's rights, and you lead organized game (and that's THE ONLY WAY for spreading a game and fidelizing your customers) with a World Championship you should see this event as a great marketing opportunity and not just as a cost. It's a marketing's investment.

Gather players from all around the world, streaming matches online, supporting and doing marketing for your brand elevating its visibility to the higher number possible of people.
With a commercial planning, you could make teasers about your other products, release dates, cross-marketing, and so on.

It's not important where they choose to fix the location, because they should pay the costs for their community's best players that put passion and devotion to their game.

Ankama sure got a hard period and a lot of expenses and missing profit; I understand that.
Expenses due to the production of the Dofus' film and to the third Wakfu tv serie.
Missing profit due to the lack of new products, and the delays of many others that sure created a hole in the buisness' continuity.
I'll not give faults to anyone (because correct people already know their own responsability) for this situation but this hole can't be carried by players.

There should have been many solutions to this situation, instead of the actual problem.

1) Easiest one. Ankama could have delayed Worlds to 2017.
2) Ankama could have manteined location to their HQ in Roubiax, using their commercial conventions to offer travels and motels to players, saving costs carried by the location.
3) At least Ankama could have given a Ticket of a fixed amount to players, helping them to cover costs about travel and sleep (ideally different if inside or outside Europe).
4) Admit less people to Worlds, let's say 2/3 for countries instead of 4, covering their travel/sleep costs; this will be more cheap and the event will be more exclusive (pushing competitive players to their limit to have access to this exclusive event).

The actual solution is very dangerous for the game (sure, if they got still an interest to continue with the physical game) expecially in this delicate period.
I think that casual players will not feel consequences for this problem, but competitive players will... And this players usually do very much things to promote and support the game.
Losing their trust is the real danger here, because Krosmaster is a game that needs players to make more players.

I'm playing Krosmaster Arena (and I admit that I like the physical game more, disliking the online for many reasons) since the beginning of Season 1, and I think that is a GREAT game with a GREAT potential for the future.

This needs attention and passion mainly from the producer, spreading their passion to the players' community.
In this particular moment I feel that "something" from the producer is missing, but this doesn't change my passion for the game.

Like Thomas, I've been very active for the community, doing demos in shops, organizing 4Fun, collaborating with the local publisher, suggesting ideas and written projects to them (hoping they will reach Ankama one day). I became judge and helped in many events (IT Nationals too), hoping to be useful to the community. I've been very active on the IT Forum too, helping and suporting players (expecially new ones) with Analysis on many single miniatures and K4N, a weekly appointment talking about pieces in free rotation. I have understood Ankama's gameplay changes, and helped people to accept them and continue playing.
I've fought to push people in using the Official Forum paired to Facebook (since they are two very different instruments, both with its flaws and merits). I've always seen Krosmaster as an international game, with an international community, and because of that things must be equal in all countries (excpecially Rules!) and tried to take that direction.
That's not to put myself in evidece, but just to give an idea of my passion and will to do about Krosmaster Arena.

Even if I found many obstacles on the way (in ALL ambients), I'm still here playing Krosmaster Arena and putting passion in it... Honestly I'm a little bit less active than before, waiting to see the evolution of the game after 2.0.
Many things must change, and first of all Ankama MUST give a strong signal about the interest they have in this game.

I'm not saying that paying the costs for this WT is the signal that we need, but for sure we need a position from Ankama about Krosmaster Arena, to be sure that our passion and trust until now has not been wasted... That we've done the right thing... That our efforts will be repaied, with the continuity of the game.

Until now Ankama showed us the great passion they have in the whole Krosmoz Project, and their will to make all aspects of this universe at disposal for their customers. This is undeniable.
Anyway many things gone wrong recently and the situation is at a real crossroad... Ankama should choose between two paths:

- Assuming their responsability about the game, with all concerning profits and costs, and take Krosmaster Arena to another level; the game GOT potential and it should be taken to an higher level.
This mean recognize Krosmaster Arena as an intenrnational collectable game; planning new releases, new products, new rewards for the organized playing, a whole R&D department made from passionate and expert players from all around the world (a few selectioned ones, of course), a Fidelity Program for customers and publishers, and many other things. First of all attending to their own words, and cancel the delays (delays kill customers' trust).
Probably there's a lack in the physical commercial managment and production, but there are numbers and the potential to make GREAT things with this game. It's just a matter of will.

- Assuming their faults about the game, and admit an interest more in the digital/media camps than the physical game (movies, mmorpgs and tv series) where they have a point of strength. This sadly means focusing just into the digital market, and leave the physical one to others. This will be a great waste of potential, but no one can be good in everything... Choosing a way instead of another is part of leading a company.
If Ankama will choose this path, maybe they will sell Krosmaster's right to another company that will take profits from the potential of the physical game.

That's just my 2 cents, and I'm open to any critics (if costructive).
That's the spirit I tried to follow in this post.

Have a nice game! Matt.

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OneBigHullabaloo|2016-04-25 01:40:09
If possible, do you have any links to the sources for your claims? I see no reason to disbelieve you, but this sort of statement is a lot more powerful when you can also provide hard evidence to back it up.

A lot of this has been public knowledge for a while now, but I will do my best to show links to prove what I've stated above.

The announcement made by Dewit stating that the location of Worlds 2016 would be in the USA was done live over Twitch stream. I cannot find a link to the video, it's no longer available through the twitch page. I'm sure he will not deny saying this though.

Japanime Games post regarding the paid trip to the World Championship.
Click here

I can't post a direct link to the quote in French from Ankama, because it was in a secret forum only certain people have access to. Here is where you can see more information about their response publicly though.
Click here 
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Warning: Rant incoming...

I have followed this topic since the first worlds championship has been announced, and I sincerely hope that someone from Anakama will read this, because I have had about enough.

First of all, a few facts:

1) I have my own personal beef with Ankama, so some of this anger comes from that, so...

2) Unfortunately for us consumers, the post referred to in the previous comment's first link is Japanime's. AND it says very clearly at the end: **All subject to change, please email op@japanimegames.com with any questions**... meaning not only can Ankama wash their hands of it (which they seem to be doing with regular habit) BUT also Japanime clearly said: "Hey guys, here's what I think I'm doing today... don't count on it ACTUALLY turning out this way... I may change my mind."

3) Ankama has a cash cow called Dofus... and it's shown time and a again to give less than a rat's escrement to anything that is not it's prize product (I am being diplomatic here, since profanity is not the way to get anyone to listen)

That being said, I am sick and tired of how Anakama is treating this game. They have a marvelous product, that bridges the gap between online play and board games, and they are managing it worse than a 5 year old manages a hedge fund... I mean King Geoffrey from Game of Thrones did a better job of managing his subjects!

And before I go on, I'm not one of those guys (no disrespect to those who wish to boycott) that says "Oh I'm never playing this game again" and then continue to play. I clearly am saying: "ANKAMA, I love this game and will continue to play because I do, but start cleaning up your act."

To that point:

a) you organize a world championship? you have to at least facilitate players coming to where you want them, otherwise you are nothing but a greedy, lazy, couldn't-care-less-about-my-customers company, and that has what a good percentage of your client-base has understood from all of this (or, at best, you only care about French players, and that would be so stereotypical of a French company that it's barely worth mentioning);

b) You have production problems? Well, as a wise man once said:" I'm a player son, I got 99 problems, but production ain't one." Production problems are YOUR problems Anakama, not ours. Here's a thought: restructure your Production Department and fire the people responsible for putting you in this mess to begin with., otherwise you look like: see bottom half of point a);

c) Start communicating with us! I know that your relationship with your distributors is far from perfect, but at least in some countries (like Italy) there is a sort of balanced dynamic chaos that works most of the time and the players know what's going on, when it's going on and how to participate... Start talking to us clearly and more frequently. The Letter to the Community was a good idea... but we aren't interested in what's new in Dofus (in the Krosmaster Community), when you're not giving us REAL information (not the commercially padded crap) about Krosmaster. Again, speak up lest you look like what I described in point a)

In conclusion, not really caring if anyone from Anakama reads this or not (hopefully there is someone who cares about this game that works for you), I can't help but feel for guys like the American National champion. What you have done, Ankama, and how you've managed this fiasco is irresponsible, immature and plain outright disgusting. If you cannot bring yourselves to better your image in this regard, I will actively play your game (because I'm an addicted nerd) but I will also help those efforts to undermine your player base, and ultimately send this wonderful game to the graveyard.

Oh, and by the way... MMO's don't last forever... take care about the future.

A worried and annoyed fan

Astolphe

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I totally agree with Gnomercy and Astolphe1981. As said in the other topic, this wolud be my second wolrd championship... even if my trip from Italy to Spain is not so expensive, the real problem is that I feel ridiculized by the behave of Ankama...

The US Players have all my support... and I hope they won't pay a huge amount of money to play a puppets' game (even if it's the best puppets' game).

It'm more tha a week that players from all over the world are writing about this.. on facebook, on Double Critical Forum, on this forum... the most irritating thing, even more than the fact they won't pay/help is that no one is aswering anything from ankama...

Very Very sad... as I sad in other topic or other forums, this is like a killing blow for the game... because demotivating the best player of each country I don't think will be a great idea...

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Astolphe1981|2016-04-25 19:16:19
2) Unfortunately for us consumers, the post referred to in the previous comment's first link is Japanime's. AND it says very clearly at the end: **All subject to change, please email op@japanimegames.com with any questions**... meaning not only can Ankama wash their hands of it (which they seem to be doing with regular habit) BUT also Japanime clearly said: "Hey guys, here's what I think I'm doing today... don't count on it ACTUALLY turning out this way... I may change my mind."

You're absolutely right. But when you're told something in March (date of post), and it doesn't change all the way up until November (date of tournament) you tend to believe it.

Ankama cut ties with JAG shortly after this, and then said that was all on them. It really is a poor excuse on their part, but sadly I'm starting to get used to them.

If Ankama or CMON would step up and agree to help out the US players reach Spain, I'd me more than happy to attend. It would restore my faith in the company.

Like you said Astolphe, players have the power to send something like this to the graveyard. I don't want to see that, and Ankama certainly doesn't either. But if something doesn't change soon, it's going to happen.
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So they created an on-line version of Krosmaster, which plays more or less identically to the live game, why can't "Worlds" be an on-line tournament that literally everyone could participate in?

No travel expenses or fancy high cost facility required.

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Hey everyone.

I just wanted to point out that we are aware of the situation, and that your feedback is carefully forwarded to the team. We understand that this is an issue very close to your heart, and we're taking it very seriously.

We're working on bringing you a news with a more complete and comprehensive view of the World Championship. You can expect it in the next few days.

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Score : 55
Dewit|2016-04-26 16:00:38
Hey everyone.

I just wanted to point out that we are aware of the situation, and that your feedback is carefully forwarded to the team. We understand that this is an issue very close to your heart, and we're taking it very seriously.

We're working on bringing you a news with a more complete and comprehensive view of the World Championship. You can expect it in the next few days.

An announcement is coming "soon" is unfortunately the very same thing I've been told since November for my many inquiries into this. Eventually, I stopped getting responses altogether. I'm going to risk speaking for others, and assume that's the sort of response they've been getting as well.

Travel arrangements are the most time-sensitive thing, where literally 24 hours can be a several hundred dollar difference. I'm loathe to bring this up but how many times should we expect to be told to continue to wait? And how many times should we believe it?
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Thank you for your quick reply Dewit. I, along with others from the community I'm sure, will hold you to your "you'll get news in a few days". I urge you not to make this another infinite quest to get answers.

Sincerely,

Astolphe

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Dewit|2016-04-26 16:00:38
Hey everyone.

I just wanted to point out that we are aware of the situation, and that your feedback is carefully forwarded to the team. We understand that this is an issue very close to your heart, and we're taking it very seriously.

We're working on bringing you a news with a more complete and comprehensive view of the World Championship. You can expect it in the next few days.
Is the announcement coming today? The due date for responding to Ankama with a pledge of attendance was Saturday April 30th. It's safe to assume that some players were waiting to read such announcement before committing.
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Hello Onefivetwofive,

Of course we are aware that players were waiting for these informations, and consequently we will extend the limit a bit.

Domdorro

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Domdorro|2016-05-02 17:28:16
Hello Onefivetwofive,

Of course we are aware that players were waiting for these informations, and consequently we will extend the limit a bit.

Domdorro

The news Dewit mentioned has been announced.

Click here

Sadly, it still does not address any of the issues players are faced with that I mentioned previously. I will continue to wait for official answers to those problems I've addressed in my original post.
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