After a tumultuous year of backlash from the community and general miscommunication from Digital Extremes, the two parties have finally agreed to make an effort to repair their relationship. Starting in January 2017, Digital Extremes and the Warframe community will begin relationship counseling together with a specialist from the industry.
Theodore G. DuMont has over 10 years of experience of working with video game communities and the developers to repair and reinforce relationships. His portfolio includes clients such as ArenaNet, BioWare, Twinbeard Studios, and Blizzard Entertainment with the Diablo 3 community. It is rumored that Hello Games has inquired for a consultation, but DuMont declined to comment on the nature of what was discussed at this time. With DuMont’s experience, Digital Extremes and the Warframe community hope to rekindle the flame which has slowly petered out over the last two years.
“All relationships struggle over time.” said DuMont as he consoled the two parties sitting uncomfortably in his office. “It’s only natural that friction will occur, but how we react to that friction and how we communicate with one another is what drives the relationship forward.” Digital Extremes, sitting hunched over the couch with nervously clasped hands, had been avoiding eye contact with DuMont since the beginning of the session. “This is a safe environment, DE. We want to give you the opportunity to express your feelings and be heard.”
Digital Extremes looked to the floor before responding. “Well, I feel like nothing I do is ever good enough.” The Warframe community scoffed and rolled their eyes toward the door. “I feel like the community doesn’t appreciate me, even when I do something they wanted and asked for.” Digital Extremes locked eyes with DuMont, trusting that the promised ‘safe environment’ would not be broken down within the first five minutes of this attempt to heal.
“Warframe community, do you acknowledge Digital Extremes’ feelings?” asked DuMont as he struggled to regain the attention of the obviously disinterested party. “It’s important that both of you are heard and acknowledged.”
“Yeah, I guess.” muttered the Warframe community.
“Then please let Digital Extremes know that you have heard and acknowledged their feelings.”
“I have heard and acknowledge your feelings.” sighed the Warframe community toward Digital Extremes. Then, returning to Dumont, “But it’s not like they’re the victim here.”
Digital Extremes glared at the Warframe community. “Oh, and you are?”
“I never have a choice when you want to do something! It’s always what you want and then all I can do is react to it. I feel like I’m your hostage because I’m stuck with you in this relationship.” said the Warframe community, emphasizing the last word with air quotes.
DuMont calmly interjected, “Digital Extremes, do you acknowledge the Warframe community’s feelings?”
Aghast, Digital Extremes turned back toward DuMont. Without speaking, they seemed to ask “Oh, so you’re on their side?” through their glare. DuMont, understanding the gaze, reassured them. “I’m on both of your sides. It is important that both of you acknowledge each other so that we can build ourselves up with communication.”
Looking somewhat defeated, Digital Extremes matched the intensity of the Warframe community’s earlier response. “I acknowledge your feelings.” they muttered.
“Thank you both for sharing and acknowledging your feelings. The first step can be a painful one and sometimes things will surface that you meant to keep locked away. Just keep in mind that you both agreed to come here to heal and to learn. This is and will remain a safe space. Now, I’ve only known you for a few minutes, but you have the advantage of having known each other for years. Let’s talk some more about your history together”
The first hour-long consultation, in which DuMont would assess the current state of the relationship and plan out a course for therapy, served to show both parties clearly how a gap had grown between them. Though they might have become upset at times over the course of the session, Digital Extremes and the Warframe community recognized that they had room for improvement with how they communicate with one another.
“It’s a unique process for every relationship.” said DuMont as he spoke to TCN’s Senior Relationship Analyst. “When the Warframe community says ‘You called us losers in front of Kojima! KOJIMA!’ they don’t mean they’re angry at Digital Extremes for making a mistake, they’re just trying to communicate that they feel hurt. Likewise, when Digital Extremes says ‘It was just a joke, you weren’t supposed to actually RIOT!’ they’re really just trying to express that they felt like they were being attacked for admitting to a mistake. Right now we’re just trying to explore what causes friction in the relationship and how we can heal.”
It remains to be seen what will come of the therapy, but both sides are reportedly optimistic that they can repair the relationship and have expressed that they want to stay together. At press time, sources report that Digital Extremes and the Warframe community were working on renewing their vows for 2017. Digital Extremes vows that 2017 will be the “Year of Community” and players can look forward to improvements to Clans, Events, Chat, and Matchmaking. When inquired about their vows, the Warframe community responded “2017 is going to be the year of also – RIOT.”