Bethesda the thin-skinned giant

So I’m a rather insignificant person in the world of gaming, but I’d like to think think that I have left my little mark on it, however small. I have a rather ravenous following of fanatics and a great group of people who have flocked to help make my creation even better because of their excitement over it. However I am feeling rather disheartened at the moment due to the company which makes the platform by which I express this great creation with: Bethesda Softworks.

Back when Skyrim Special Edition’s Creation Kit was released for beta testing, I submitted my application to test it out and help out and I never received any response, not even a confirmation e-mail that suggested they had received my application for it. I eventually wrote it off to their website not liking firefox as I later had issues submitting another form, and explorer seemed to work fine.

Next enter the most recent Creation Club. I decided to apply and see what it was all about so I filled out my application, the site said it was submitted but I never received any kind of confirmation message stating that it had, or any followup info. A week and a half later, still nothing. I decided to contact Bethesda at their general contact e-mail since the creation club program appeared to not have one that I could see. So I e-mailed to info@bethsoft.net and very calmly and professionally inquired about my application and requested that they confirm if they had received it, etc. A short whole thereafter I received an auto generated response from an Elder Scrolls Online e-mail which in itself confused me which stated that my e-mail ticket had been closed because it was a duplicate. I immediately thought ‘well that’s not right, but maybe their system accidentally forwarded it to ESO by mistake and ESO simply closed the one they received erroneously. That’s probably it right?’. So I gave it a few more days and still nothing. I then replied to the ESO response expressing that I was highly confused why I would get a message from ESO and why my ticket would be canceled as a duplicate when it wasn’t. Response; nothing.

So another several days passed and I e-mailed again this morning another professional sounding but more concerned message about how I had still not been acknowledged and would appreciate a response and what do I get? another ESO response stating the ticket was closed due to it being a duplicate.

My only logical assessment can be that Bethesda has internally blacklisted me from communicating with them. I can’t know for sure of course because Beth is behaving in a rather immature and unprofessional way and choose to behave like an ex who broke up with you via text and after gives the silent treatment. Now I know I have ranted and raved and cussed in frustration at Bethesda publicly many times before, but the burden of professionalism falls on them, not me. They should be compelled to a level of customer service that at least acknowledges their decisions and actions rather than this pathetic silent treatment. If they lurk around like a stalker within the community and search like a paranoid ex for mentions of their name on other community forums, then well that’s just pathetic. There are MANY MANY people who rant and rave and get pissed about Bethesda all the time, do they waste their time and energy blacklisting all of these people? no wonder their games get released with so many bugs.

Now I could be completely off base and end up with egg on my face and this turn out to be some ridiculous technical bug but I seriously doubt it is. So why ban me? If the prior is taken out of account, what do they have to base their action upon? My only other actions consist of:

  • I once sent a letter to Bethesda urging the support of a patronage system after the paid modding fiasco:
Good day,
My name is Travis Brown (Icecreamassassin on the Nexus). I have long been a fan of Elder Scrolls games since the release of Arena back in the mid 90’s and have been a modder for various games including Morrowind, Oblivion, and now very heavily in Skyrim. For over a year and a half now I have been developing and supporting a massive DLC-sized mod entitled “Legacy of the Dragonborn” which has been received amazingly well, had numerous exceptional reviews and thousands of positive comments. I have loved the experience of bringing this mod to the public and still enjoy refining and expanding it today.
                When Steam and Bethesda announced that paid modding was going to occur, I was pretty ecstatic about the prospect of being paid to do something I love. However, as the public response began to grow, and the reality of how it work came to light, it became evident that it was very ill received, not in concept necessarily but in execution.
                The Nexus has long had permission from Bethesda to allow voluntary donations to modders who users enjoy the work of, and I’m grateful for the support, but there is great room for improvement both for the modder and for Bethesda.
                In ages past, artists, both visual and musical, had patrons who supported their efforts by way of sustained support. They were in effect allowing the artist to continue their work, whatever it would be by financially supporting them. A patron was the different between a street performer laying out his hat and playing a tune for a few coins, and a composer who could sit in their apartment and work tirelessly, knowing their needs would be met.
                I want to be that composer, working hard to create content that people enjoy and knowing that my basic life needs are being met, but right now modders are being confined to the category of street performer, relying on occasional kindness in the form of random one time donations from grateful users. Don’t get me wrong, I am very appreciative of their contributions and am grateful that Bethesda does not contest it.
                I do think there is room for improvement here however. It has been asked of Bethesda by a few Nexus users as well as Robbin Law himself about where Bethesada stands on allowing Nexus to integrate some form of sustained contribution system, and the response was that Bethesda is against such a feature. What if however, the donation feature at the Nexus could be converted to a donation/subscription system that Bethesda managed via its own site? The button would link to a simple process that allowed mod users to set up recurring or one time donations from which Bethesda and Nexus could get a small cut from and allow the rest to go to the modder? Perhaps 50% to the modder, 40% to Bethesda, and 10% to Nexus?
                The key differences from this system and the attempted paid mod fiasco is that it is still entirely voluntary, modders get a fair cut for actively producing content, and Bethesda still gets a revenue source that they otherwise wouldn’t have had before, and at no cost to Bethesda other than maintaining the donation system.
                I realize that Skyrim is an old game, and why introduce a new system like this at this late point when the modding “hay day” for Skyrim is over the hill? Well it would allow you the opportunity to see what the reception would be to the public and get the bugs worked out before applying it to a launch title in the future; a sort of testing ground. The system could of course work for any community and not just the Nexus, exactly in the way that the pay pal system works.
                Allowing modders to earn a bit off their work produces enormous value to Bethesda. Not only are you receiving a cut of the contributions and not having to actually create content yourselves, but highly developed mods drive continued sales of the official DLC’s. I have received many comments that a user has only started playing Skyrim again because of my mod, and others have said that they have purchased the DLC’s in order to play it (as it’s required in my mod), sales that were likely never to happen if it weren’t for mods.
Contributions are also purely voluntary meaning it is given after the user is satisfied that the mod is worthwhile as opposed to the paid mod system which forced payment up front for products of questionable quality; true you could get refunds but that system was messy, and an extra step.
Ultimately I am asking you to work to help support those people who are continuing to support and drive sales for your game, and to profit from it. Thank you for your time and consideration.

To which I received the standard cut and paste brush off response.

  • I spoke out pretty strongly on a few Nexus forums concerning the paid modding system and Bethesda’s apparent lack of support or regard for modders.

Beyond these two points I suppose it’s just more of the prior. So if their choice to ignore me without the common decency to say why, has to do with these two points, shame on you Bethesda; I expressed my thoughts in these cases very professionally and clearly and while they may cast you in a bad light at times and been stern, tough cookies, that’s the reality you have wrought with your own decisions. They are taking a North Korea approach to people who speak anything negative about them, tempered or not.

If the choice is because of my other frustrated rants, then I suppose that’s on me and the thousands of other people who do the same, and I have to assume that any evil empire of gaming is going to lurk in the shadows and surveil it’s fans. It’s sad.

If Bethesda had the decency and professionalism to simply reply to one of my numerous contact attempts of late and simply explained to my face that my theory above is true, I could at least move on and realize that even in the mass platform of overly strong internet opinion, one should watch what they say even in, especially in, frustration. But instead they choose the cold shoulder technique which makes me question if I want to even continue supporting their products. I really enjoy the elder scrolls world, and I love making things and sharing them with people, but the honest truth is that Bethesda benefits from that and I have to now think long and hard if I want to continue doing that unless they actually have the balls to contact me directly and clear this misunderstanding up…

And with that Diablo 3 v2.6 with the Necromancer is now playable, I’m off to play a game that has never once crashed on me…. (drops mic)

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