• On AoU Quality Control

    This will be our only post on this subject; we hope that you will keep your commentary just as constructive. Please remember our community rules.

    We at The Reserve Pool are very grateful to WizKids. They make a game that we love. We have had the opportunity to meet many of the staff, and I had the chance to discuss gaming with company president Justin Ziran while at Origins Game Fair this year. They've been gracious enough to send us review copies of some of the starter sets so that we could get information out to the community. We essentially offer them free publicity, and we're happy to. We'd do this even if none of the above were true.

    We like WizKids and we hope that they like us, and we really like the Age of Ultron set, too. Friends, though, must be honest with one another, so all of that is to preface two statements that should be put out there:

    1) Given everyone I've met and the conversations that we've had, every single person at WizKids cares a lot for gaming.
    2) Two sets in a row with misprints is a problem.

    You can have the second and the first at the same time, even if you believe otherwise. There's no one that I've met who hasn't been as friendly and concerned as you would want. Justin's discussions on what makes Dice Masters great compared to other CCGs (if you're wondering, it's the shared tension and equal but opposite reactions at the results of a roll - you rarely get that with the flip of a card, though there are notable exceptions) are spot on.

    That said, we need to see results. There are problems with the errors and what they could mean. The missing common rarity stripe is of little consequence, and the numbering is negligible in most circumstances. However, If Star Lord can have an incorrect energy logo tagged on his cost, who is to say that Hulk Out is actually supposed to cost 2?

    That Gobby was actually supposed to cost 3?

    The fact that WizKids acknowledged the issues well in advance of set release is a good step. However, we need to see these things change for the long haul with the release of War of Light.

    And the truth is, we'll never know why it happened. Were the files sent incorrectly? Was there a proofing issue? Was there a problem at the printer (it's known that the Chinese companies who manufacture most of the world's boardgames are pretty overloaded)? Maybe, with the game already hampered by delays in it's early days, they were unwilling or unable to cease the production run and get corrected items put together in a time frame that they felt was appropriate.

    We don't know. We won't know. It would be easy to get mad and call every possible reason an excuse, but few of us know how the sausage is actually made. As an employee of a customer-centric organization myself, I know that what people think it's like and what it's actually like are two very different things.

    I'm not going to speculate or anything here. This isn't the place for that, nor is it productive. Complaining to no end about it is not productive either. This article is to say - Hey WizKids - we get it. We're sure you're not thrilled with it either. Just please, take the steps to improve it. And fellow Dice Masters - we get it - a few missteps in DC following the visually stunning D&D set was forgivable, but where one is a mistake, two is a trend. The sixth set should not have these errors.

    In the end - Age of Ultron still plays great. It still looks great. The dice rock, and there were some wonderful art choices in this set, too. There are some awesome abilities that we'll talk about, and lots of drafting and deck building to be done. I, for one, am looking forward to the deep discussions that we have in this community about a game that we enjoy.
    Comments 25 Comments
    1. Facie's Avatar
      Facie -
      Yeah, I couldn't agree more. Love the game and I'm sure WizKids is trying, but this is beyond silly. Very disappointing quality control.
    1. geneaber's Avatar
      geneaber -
      I wholeheartedly agree with the tone and substance of the article.
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      Love this game and only want to see it succeed in the long run. Great post representing my sentiments as well.
    1. chalos13's Avatar
      chalos13 -
      judging a rainbow draft tomorrow, just so I'm sure Starlord's energy type really is?
    1. bahamut7's Avatar
      bahamut7 -
      As a long time Munchkin Player, I have felt that wizkids quality issues are pass the point of shrugging it off. Let's face it, a lot of the mistakes that have been released should have been caught with some play testing. It makes us, the consumers, wonder if play testing is occurring and how many people are in charge of quality. I love Dice Masters and feel that wizkids have made a fair and balance game, but if they keep trending what we have seen, remain quiet on their forums (the occasional response is welcomed, but should be more frequent), and don't test new cards in an unlimited format, I worry for the game.

      So if wizkids would ever hear us and listen to one thing, it would be this: "Take your time with new sets, up the quality, and play test; otherwise fantastic job!"

      Edit: I love the Underwear Inspector Picture from Pete and Pete!
    1. GRider10's Avatar
      GRider10 -
      It's odd that the energy type didn't carry over from the other cards. Oh well. I still love the game ,errors and all. Even if they have trouble spelling, most of the misprints don't effect game play.
    1. Wargfn's Avatar
      Wargfn -
      I really like the Age of Ultron set, so many things that have improved on this set that letting one card misprint that could affect game play and missing rarity stripes get all the attention. Issue acknowledged, now can we please focus on that the wording is 1000x better than UxM / AvX and the affiliation interactions have come into their own now, several archetypes have clearly been added to the game, along with some juice sneak peeks (Electro and Gladiator)?
    1. Shin76e's Avatar
      Shin76e -
      I work as a print production associate. So I know how it can get with time crunch of a job needing to be out on time. That being said. The level of mistakes were not only bad but, almost firable. I know if I had gone to print without double and triple checking the file I sent, I would've "talked to" by my boss. With all that said I love the set we had a event last night at our local store and had a bigger turnout than expected. I just hope Wiz Kids listens to some of the critiques and corrects these issues going forward. If they want to keep people coming back they have to show they care not just say it.
    1. timbowyer's Avatar
      timbowyer -
      It's not just dice masters... as an attack wing player I can confirm that quality control is about the same in that game as it is in dice masters. Words incorrectly spelt (multiple times through the same pack), wrong faction symbols being printed on some cards etc.

      Like yourselves, I love that wizkids not only make one game I love, but two. The games are great and I hang on every new release. But the continued seeming lack of quality control is beginning to become an issue for me.

      As you point out there are multiple possible sources for this. But in reality none that should be insurmountable. If its in house, it's a relatively easy fix with a little more support. If these mistakes creep in at the manufacturing side then they either need to find a new manufacturer or insert penalty clauses to cover this.

      As you say once is a mistake, twice is a trend but when you see it across multiple product lines in multiple releases in a time period of over a year it starts to look like a more serious issue.

      Wizkids, I love you guys. Really I do. But its getting increasingly hard to explain these mistakes when I'm trying to talk new people in to trying one of your games. Which sucks because I want people to enjoy and love your games as much as I do . You have one of the best communities I've come across, with patient and tolerant fans and customers. But no matter how patient, no matter how tolerant, good will has its limits. Don't make the mistake of looking at the sales numbers as tacit acknowledgment that we will continue to buy your products even with these mistakes. Because over time, we won't. Seriously hoping that lessons have been learned from this, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And ill be looking out for the next set (or even the one after as I accept that any lessons learned here may already be too late to implement before say, the spiderman set) with hope that things will be better.

      Oh and whilst we really appreciate you letting us know about these problems, you know what would help even more. Saying sorry. Saying "hey we know you'll be disappointed with this, but so are we. even more than you. And we'll work very hard to make sure it doesn't happen again. We really do appreciate your continued support and thank you for bearing with us"

      A small sorry goes a long way to keeping that good will flowing.
    1. RJRETRO's Avatar
      RJRETRO -
      Quote Originally Posted by chalos13 View Post
      judging a rainbow draft tomorrow, just so I'm sure Starlord's energy type really is?
      Same as common/uncommon. They did post the rare's energy was wrong.
    1. Scorpion0x17's Avatar
      Scorpion0x17 -
      Really well written article, @Dave .

      Everyone that has ever done any kind of job knows that these kinds of things happen from time to time.

      We are all human and we all make mistakes.

      Nobody is immune to that.

      So, what is important is not that mistakes were made but what processes are put in to place to catch those mistakes in the future.

      And the point about the Star-Lord error is a very good one - one of the things I thought about when they stared that it was an error was "well how do we now know that there aren't more, less obvious, errors in the sets? Like all those multi-affiliation characters - are the affiliations on those correct?".

      We will probably never know, unless WizKids chooses to produce a comprehensive errata of all mistakes.

      So, for me, other than having processes in place to catch these mistakes before they make it in to print, that, a comprehensive errata, would be the main thing I would like to see going forward.

      And for it to exist in one place and one place only.
    1. pk2317's Avatar
      pk2317 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Scorpion0x17 View Post
      So, for me, other than having processes in place to catch these mistakes before they make it in to print, that, a comprehensive errata, would be the main thing I would like to see going forward.

      And for it to exist in one place and one place only.
      They have actually updated the Errata post on their forums with AoU, so good for them on that.
    1. chalos13's Avatar
      chalos13 -
      Quote Originally Posted by RJRETRO View Post
      Same as common/uncommon. They did post the rare's energy was wrong.
      Thanks RJ
    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      The real question here is whether or not anybody understands what the picture is
    1. Flexei's Avatar
      Flexei -
      While I find the misprints disheartening, I find the rancor and ire they seem to be generating in some players more disheartening. Does a shield mistakenly being placed on rare Star-Lord's card really affect anyone's enjoyment of the game at all? "I'd be having fun here, but i can't without rarity stripes on all my cards."

      Yes, the mistakes suck, but I love this game (probably an unhealthy amount) and instead of getting angry about it, I find myself more wishing there was something I could do to help to make it a better product. I want to see the game thrive. I would love if there was some sort of fan-sourced beta/proofing system and would volunteer in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, that would likely also be a legal and logistic nightmare for WizKids.
    1. RJRETRO's Avatar
      RJRETRO -
      Quote Originally Posted by Flexei View Post
      While I find the misprints disheartening, I find the rancor and ire they seem to be generating in some players more disheartening. Does a shield mistakenly being placed on rare Star-Lord's card really affect anyone's enjoyment of the game at all?
      For me, yes. I don't like having to try and explain how it shows one energy, but should be another. What bums me out more, is the way some people are bringing up this issue to WK. We don't need to be jerks about it.
    1. Zauriel's Avatar
      Zauriel -
      Hi WizKids! I hope you read this!
      I love grammar! I'd be happy to proof-read the file for you before it goes to print!
      I'll work for free, on a tight deadline, and happily sign an NDA so as not to spoil anything for other players.
      I just want you to know I'm willing to help you release a GREAT product!
      Cheers!
    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Flexei View Post
      While I find the misprints disheartening, I find the rancor and ire they seem to be generating in some players more disheartening. Does a shield mistakenly being placed on rare Star-Lord's card really affect anyone's enjoyment of the game at all? "I'd be having fun here, but i can't without rarity stripes on all my cards."

      Yes, the mistakes suck, but I love this game (probably an unhealthy amount) and instead of getting angry about it, I find myself more wishing there was something I could do to help to make it a better product. I want to see the game thrive. I would love if there was some sort of fan-sourced beta/proofing system and would volunteer in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, that would likely also be a legal and logistic nightmare for WizKids.
      I can't agree more! We each control our reactions to it.
    1. Trevor W.'s Avatar
      Trevor W. -
      I think what bothers me the most about this is that they've had time to fix the errors. They delayed the release of the product by almost two months, and it's been in development for even longer. Even if they hadn't found the errors before they had already begun printing, like you point out, it's now the second set in a row with these kind of mistakes.

      I know nobody is perfect, and I know they're a small development team, but these kinds of repeated mistakes are unbecoming for a game that is otherwise so much fun. And they aren't even all the mistakes! I spotted two more just in trying to organize my collection tonight, although both only appear on the card checklist (Bucky's common has a typographical error, and the common Captain Marvel's subtitle isn't even close to what the actual common Captain Marvel's subtitle is). I know it's only something minor, but it's not a great way to show people that you're dedicated to putting out high-quality product. It just all seems too rushed, too incomplete, and that's pretty disheartening to see. It makes me fear for the line later on, even if it's all just minor.

      Then again, maybe I'm just upset with the distribution in my GF, lol. I just feel like this set was thrown together really slapdash, and it doesn't quite feel as polished as previous sets. Maybe my feelings will change after I get to play around with it, but I'm just not impressed. Their quality peaked with D&D and hasn't yet recovered.
    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Trevor W. View Post
      Then again, maybe I'm just upset with the distribution in my GF, lol. I just feel like this set was thrown together really slapdash, and it doesn't quite feel as polished as previous sets. Maybe my feelings will change after I get to play around with it, but I'm just not impressed. Their quality peaked with D&D and hasn't yet recovered.
      I can't agree with that. We are seeing more consistency in wording of mechanisms, more use of symbology in ability descriptions, better description of when to pay generic energy (see Wasp global) and that sort of thing. There is some great use of tribalism in this set and so far the draft format looks like a winner.

      There are some major steps forward here as well, and that's getting lost in the kerfluffle.