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reddit Something is very, very wrong with the Clash Royale team

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Red flag after red flag tells me that there's some kind of critical issue with how the Clash Royale team is operating on a day-to-day basis. I know there's a lot of frustration right now, particularly with Drew, but I strongly doubt that Drew is the direct source of any of our woes at the moment. Here's what we know:

The recent update's release date

Month after month they kept pushing back release date expectations. Then finally, in August, they starting saying that the update was "coming THIS MONTH!" All the memes predicted that the update would land on the 31st of August, which the team refused to admit until, what, a week prior?

This is not how a normal dev team works. They don't wait around for months without giving definitive updates, then say that the update is "coming this month" without a specific date, then putz around until the very last second. This indicates some level of dysfunction to me - either a lack of leadership, or a lack of accountability, or something else.

The lack of content in the update

As many people have noticed, there's almost nothing of note in the update aside from Clan Wars 2. And Clan Wars 2 does not bring a revolutionary amount of content to the table, although the boat battles are certainly the most unique thing we've seen since Touchdown mode. This took... over a year?

It's clear that this game is incredibly popular, and is making an incredible amount of money. But at this rate of development, it would seem that Supercell may have actually scaled down their investment in the game. That, or it's related to the aforementioned dysfunction - lack of leadership, lack of accountability, etc... Again, this is not how normal dev teams work.

Bugs and testing issues

This post outlines a pretty severe bug where a player appears to have won the 1v1 duel, but is then awarded a loss for no apparent reason. The top comment hits the nail on the head and explains the programmatic issues that led to this bug.

Bugs are hardly an indictment of a dev team. But this particular one is egregious because it indicates poor programming practice, and it's not the first of its kind with this game either. Fundamentally, a 1v1 duel functions identically to a normal 1v1 battle. But this bug shows us that duels have been implemented in some strange different fashion "for some ungodly reason" (quote by u/DragTheChains). This runs counter to how every other game mode in the game has been implemented, and for no good technical reason. Put simply, this displays a lack of code reuse and/or general incompetence, which supports the dysfunctional dev team narrative.

Apparent lack of communication between Drew and the dev team

This, right here, is the single biggest red flag to me. Drew is the target of many complaints for his lack of communication with the community, but if the dev team is not willing to communicate with him, then how is he supposed to carry out his job?

We've seen a lot of evidence lately indicating that this may be the case, but I think this is the biggest smoking gun. If you haven't seen that post yet, basically Drew promised a new feature nearly half a year ago. When the update came around and the new feature was absent, even Drew was surprised - saying that "it was in the build until very recently".

This is very, very revealing, and here's why. Normally, in a healthy work environment, this is how a community manager would operate and communicate new features:

  • Dev Team tells Community Manager what new features the community can expect.
  • Community Manager relays that to the community.
  • If something goes wrong with a new feature and the Dev Team has to remove it, they tell that to the Community Manager, who again relays that info to the community.
  • Update is released and everyone remains on the same page.

Based on this latest debacle, here's what actually seems to be happening:

  • Community Manager (Drew) sifts through the latest commits by the Dev Team.
  • Community Manager finds a cool new feature in a commit, and relays that feature to the community - without ever talking to the Dev Team.
  • If something goes wrong with the feature, Dev Team removes it from the release - without ever talking to the Community Manager.
  • Update is released and no one is on the same page.

This is not how a normal, healthy team works! Somewhere, the line of communication is breaking down, and we can't know where exactly. Either Drew is refusing to talk to the dev team, or the dev team is refusing to talk to Drew - or the dev team lacks the leadership to commit to a feature set for the upcoming update and prevents anyone from being in the loop. This, once again, supports the dysfunctional dev team narrative. Plus, this sort of unsupportive working environment would help to explain some of the strange turnover that we've seen at the Community Manager position.

This is not a Supercell-wide issue. This is a Clash Royale issue. Something about their team is very, very wrong.

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