i know this has already be done

Inside Choices: Growing from “Rant Ahead, Be Aware”

While looking through Tumblr posts this week, one of the longer response posts caught my eye. The post was well written and though titled “Rant ahead”, was a well reasoned commentary on things that bother the post’s author. Since the post brought up many points that other players have also expressed, I thought replying as a blog post so everyone has a chance to see the response would be appropriate.

Thank you to lauraotaku2234 both for your thoughts and for permission to share it in our blog. The post is bolded below.

From the Tumblr post “Rant ahead, be aware”:

I just love how Pixelberry reblogs fanart and nice messages about the game. But when fans are actually pointing out errors and mistake the game has done… they just ignore it. They have decided to close a bubble to them.

This is a very fair point. Our team really does read a lot of the feedback generated by our players. But even though we may be working on fixes or things that address the critiques, most of the time people on our  team don’t give a firm answer for fear of making a situation worse or suggesting something that might end up not happening in the future. Because I lead the team, I have a lot more latitude in responding to critiques, but I’ve been focused on a lot of different projects which means that I haven’t responded as often as I should.

I hope this post helps to provide some more light on many of the below issues.

Now, there is a difference between the: “We want more diamond options” and the “James situation”. Here’s why:

On the diamond thing, I doubt PB will change that, mainly because they get their money from us buying diamonds, the more options we get, the least money they make. So its understandable. Yet, the money they make is supposedly to get better staff and equipment so the game can improve and be better. A year has already passed and I still can’t find what the improvement is or was.

You’re correct, it is harder for us to change the diamond economy. We have been experimenting with different options that try to balance our ability with making money and giving players a better experience. As a player, myself, I totally get the complaints. I don’t have anything new to announce right now, but we are working on different features and will see if things like rewarding diamonds for watching ads will help in providing that balance.

It also makes sense that you and other players can’t find what improvements have been made. But I’m hoping that is partially because we’ve been slowly building and rolling out improvements over time and that you’ve gotten used to some of those changes.

One of our most popular requests is launching more weekly content. And in the past year, the biggest change we’ve made by far is expanding from 3 books at launch to a much more robust library. When we first launched Choices, we had about 10 people writing with two new chapters per week. We now have over 30 writers and sometimes release as many as 6 new chapters a week with other new series in production, too. Along with all these writers, we’ve added more artists, producers, testers, and other roles to increasing our capacity for weekly storytelling.

It’s something you can’t see, but when I walk through the doors into our offices, I love hearing the buzz in our office and seeing all the people working together on Choices. And when all the writers assemble for their weekly “Writer’s Meeting,” I still get the chills seeing so many writers gathered around a long table talking about how they can improve their craft together.

So, I hope you really do believe we’ve been investing a lot in growing our team because we treat the future of Choices very seriously.

(As an aside, some people on the team have suggested maybe doing a Fan meet-up in the office - in the Bay Area in California - or maybe sending writers to different book conferences next year, so that maybe some of you can see that growth in person, too.)

Now… The James thing. PB common, you can do better than that. I wouldn’t be upset if you they gave us an actual reason as of why. Also, we need an explanation about what “other characters” means. Will the rest of the character change too? Will it only be a few one’s? I’m replaying every single finished book to find what other faces may have been changed. It has to be done, I don’t want to play The Royal Romance to find you changed Hana’s character appearance just… because.

You are right. We should have told you about the change ahead of time. Also, I wish I could go into more details about the change, but in my previous post, I tried to say as much about why we made the change as I already could. We know this really upset many of you. We understand. It’s our bad for disappointing you.

In regards to “other characters”, we have not rolled out the changes yet, but our Tumblr fandom is pretty clued into what other characters will likely be changed. We will make specific references to those characters when it happens. We will not be changing any other Love Interests (LIs), so Hana and others are safe.

The only book I’m not replaying is ROE, why? Because is a waste to my keys and time. The storyline got old really fast. It was actually a really good story, and I remember the First Book Finale actually left people with their mouths open, but they ruined it when they brought a third book, and now a fourth. I mean, it’s a plot that can be solved with a Snap. Adding more tasks as a way of length[en]ing the story was a stupid move and only brought fans rage. Most fans agree with me when I say: Endless Summer should have as many books as The Freshman, The Crown and The Flame shouldn’t have ended in the third book, The Haunting of Braidwood Manor should’ve been longer, Most Wanted deserves a second book, and even tho The Freshman is my favorite series, The Sophomore plot isn’t going anywhere, it’s like Love Hacks at its beginnings and it’s tiring.

As I mentioned before, Most Wanted 2 must happen. It’s the book every fan is waiting for, including me. It has an amazing storyline with amazing characters, yet, they decided to shut it out, and even erase it from their AppStore/PlayStore menu.

It’s pretty clear that much of the Tumblr fandom has the least love for Rules of Engagement (ROE.) But we have other fan groups and other people who really like this series. Just as we actively try to promote diversity in our characters, we do try to balance the resources we put into genres for various fandoms and individuals playing through our stories. We aim to have something for everyone, and all of our writers pour their hearts into everything they work on.

As the RoE series wrapped up, the writers of ROE moved on to a “mini-book” that would tie the series up in the right way. The book will probably finish too quickly for fans of ROE and not fast enough for fans of other series, but this book length fit the purposes of the story arc. Also because we have such a wide variety of writers, each with their unique storytelling talents and skills, continuing a romance series such as RoE doesn’t actually affect some Tumblr fandom favorites, like Endless Summer or Most Wanted.

Part of what we’re trying to do with Choices is to try new series and genres which is why we sometimes will end, or pause a series faster than fans want so that we can try new things. Most Wanted didn’t do as well financially as our other two launch series, so we moved that team onto Endless Summer and LoveHacks, where they could excel at leading new projects. One of those writers, Andrew, has moved onto managing another project. But Luke continues to be a part of Book 2 and 3 of Endless Summer (which we are aiming to start releasing in December.) And Owen is working on a secret new project, now that LoveHacks has completed!

I really do hope and think that when it makes sense, we will start work on Most Wanted 2. But it will be a matter of the right timing in terms of having one or more of the original team ready and balancing the start of Most Wanted 2 versus other new series we want to start. Dave and Sam will eventually return.

I respect Pixelberry as a company a lot. But with these changes and empty storylines, I just wonder where the old Pixelberry went. It seems like they just ran out of imagination to make stories, so they just continue old ones and create new ones with similar plots but shorter books that in the end everyone likes.

Thank you for respecting us. It’s clear in the thoughtfulness of your “rant” and in the praises and critiques of our fandom. Even when you think we’re ignoring you, we hear many, many of the messages. And I admit that some of the critiques really hurt and sometimes the ones that hurt the most are the ones that ring the most true. But we also recognize the strength of the critiques often is also a measure of how much our fandom cares.

I really, truly hope that as we release new chapters, books, and series that you’ll see that the creative wells of our teams has not run dry. And when a writer is being blocked, a designer is confused by the path forward, or a tester doesn’t know how to reproduce a problem, the creativity of the fandom often breaks that block, clears the path, and helps us keep moving forward. Whether it’s beautiful art, all the “Jomes” jokes, Brian’s Ask Blogs, the many forms of Cetus, faceclaims (yes, it’s okay to keep doing them), and other posts, your creativity motivates us.

As you continue to share on Tumblr or Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, we’ll continue reading, digesting, and modifying our plans. But if you have specific problems or want to ensure we hear what you have to say, I encourage you to contact us directly via our in-game Help. Or if the game is down, reach out via Contact us via our website. We have experienced Player Specialists who listen, solve, tally, describe, and share your thoughts with the right people on our team. They are the first to alert the rest of the team to major problems and Trina, the leader of that team, also shares motivating, poignant, or key messages to the whole studio. Also you can tweet story related questions to @PlayChoices. Jessica will often check with individual writing teams to see if it’s something they can answer.

To all of our fandom everywhere, thank you for your love. We understood that love isn’t just fun and compliments, but it also comes with teasing and obstacles. And the best love comes with hard talks, accountability, and growth. When we stumble, we promise to honor our side of the relationship by continuing to learn and grow. And we hope that you will continue to rant, tease, and grow with us.

On behalf of our whole team,

Oliver

  • Seventeen @ ISAC: ayo scoups heres the baton man
  • Seventeen cooking breakfast: ayo scoups heres the bacon man
  • Seventeen at war: ayo scoups heres the cannon man
  • Seventeen losing the hiphop team: ayo scoups heres the vernon man
  • Seventeen in kindergarten: ayo scoups heres the crayon man
  • Seventeen on Tumblr: ayo scoups heres the anon man
  • Seventeen watching movies: ayo scoups heres the popcorn man
  • Seventeen doing chemistry: ayo scoups heres the proton man
  • Seventeen in Game Of Thrones: ayo scoups heres the dragon man
  • Seventeen in the jungle: ayo coups here's the amazon man

HEY

i just wanted to say that I am getting your name asks, but I’m also in uni so I don’t have as much time to do stuff like this all the time

SO maybe don’t send your name twice? I know I’m not answering them as fast as I should/could be, but it just clogs it up the asks even more, which, no one really wants to wait for longer to have their name done if they don’t have to

and if I’ve already done your name (either cause you’ve sent it before OR *gasp* someone else has the same name as you), I’ll just answer with a link to the ask that already asked with your name. yeah, y e a h

i’ll tell you when i’m nearing the end, so you can send it in again if le tumbles did eat it up

so yeah, hope that all made sense, I will try to get through them as fast as I can, but there are 200+ and yeah, kinda stressful (and idk, want to make them unique and thoughtful, and idk, i’m weird with this stuff)(like, maybe it shouldn’t matter as much as I make it out to be)(maybe i hsould just speed through them)(but then that just seems too fake for me and then i feel bad)(idk)(i just love y’all and appreciate everything and idk, wanna show it)(AHHH)(idk)(yeah)(soz)

Someone has probably said it already, I’m sure of it, but I wanna say it again. Please?

It’s about High School Story and who hijacked the news thingy. It was obviously Isa. She wasn’t happy with the way Hughs was running the school, she has a superiority complex and really really wanted to become principal. Because of her being vice-principal she wouldn’t be suspected and after becoming principal she got the power to take all suspicion away from her.

Again, I’m sure someone has said this before and even if they haven’t, I think that most of us have been thinking about it anyway.

Why DeckNine’s portrayal of Victoria is disappointing

So as much as I love what DeckNine has done with Amberprice and Rachel/Chloe’s characters individually, I do wish they did more with some of the characters we already know in LiS. I haven’t done a full, comprehensive playthrough of BtS yet, but so far, I’m actually pretty pissed at what they did with Victoria. As another user said, they “did her dirty.”

I think how they’ve portrayed her as less dominant, less confident, more socially awkward is actually really on point and solid. Like, it’s illuminating and it gives context for how bitchy and cliquey Victoria is in LiS because it’s obvious that she had to claw her way to the top. 

That being said, they make Victoria more of a laughingstock most of the time. A little too clueless, which doesn’t make total sense given how calculating and composed she tries to be for the most part in LiS. The chemistry mishap was one thing, but the drugging Rachel thing? Realistically, this actually COULD be something Vic would do, if you write it properly. But she’s just sooo ditzy and laughable in BtS. Largely one-dimensional… too often used for comedic effect. 

I do like that they’ve made her attraction to women obvious though, and it is refreshing to see Victoria off her game. But it’s just a bit too much, without other layers to balance it out.

I mean, I haven’t really seen what Ep 2 looks like if you let Rachel take the blame and have Vic play Prospera, but regardless, the criticism still stands.

general li mulan

okay so i LOVE mulan okay. as far as i’m concerned it’s a Perfect Movie and doesn’t need any fixing. but i was thinking today and -

- what if mulan didn’t go to war to save her father?

say her father is dead, okay, killed by the previous war. so she’s raised by her mother and grandmother, women who’s complacency and softness has been worn away by necessity. she needs to marry well, for her family’s sake, because her mother has refused the hand of every man who offered. but mulan is even more rough around the edges than before, is educated not only in books (her mother said men wouldn’t find smarts attractive and grandmother pointed out that men aren’t always around and off to school mulan went) but in the sword too, taught to her by her classmate, ping.

mulan is considered in the lower end of the upper class, coming from a family of military men and scholars and successful merchants. ping is near the top, the son or nephew of an advisor to the emperor. his family is very rich and very important, and the reason they become friends is because mulan manages to notice something about him that he’s been hiding from everyone else - he’s going blind.

not totally blind, enough to get around, but blind enough that reading is difficult and swordplay is even worse, although once he has it down he has it. ping is no fool, he’s not weak or bumbling. his eyes just don’t work. so mulan notices and confronts him about it. she promises to keep it a secret, and hey, she’ll even help him with his assignments by reading the books out loud and helping him study. but in return he must teach her the sword, must teach her about military and tactics. he agrees.

ping and mulan become very good friends and there’s some raised eyebrows about it but they are TOO far away in class for it to be inappropriate, so they make tutting sounds and disapproving faces and let it go.

then the draft happens. ping can’t go to war, he won’t survive it. not with his eyesight like it is. so mulan offers him a deal - she’ll go to war for him, in his place. in return, if she survives, he must marry her. if she dies he must take care of her family.

ping can’t make this kind of family decision on his own, so he goes to his mother and tells her everything, about the eyesight and how he’ll die if he goes and mulan’s offer. his mother says he must keep it a secret from his father, but agrees - if mulan fights in her son’s place and survives, a wedding will be arranged. either way, mulan’s family will be taken care of. ping will be sent to live with some cousins in the meanwhile.

“you’re not in love with me, are you?” ping asks, helping mulan saddle her horse in the middle of the night. she scoffs and rolls her eyes, “not even a little. but marrying you will make my family happy, and besides, you’re my best friend,” she says, smiling, “better you than some grabby old man.” he smiles and hugs her and says, “i’m not in love with you either. but don’t die out there. we have a wedding to plan.”

so mulan goes to the camp, pretending to be ping, and she’s a little bit less lost but things still go as they go. she’s educated and trained, so it’s not hard for her to pass as ping. shang is keeping a special eye on her, thinking that she’s the son of an advisor, one of his father’s friends. and he sees how easily she excels, how quick thinking and smart she is, and starts giving her more and more responsibilities. by the time they’re called out, shang considers ping ie mulan to be his right hand man, and possibly his best friend.

he’s also a little bit in love with ping, and he’s long known he’s attracted to both genders, so he watches ping laugh and smile and the crease between his eyes when he frowns and does his best to let his feelings chase away the best soldier he has. every time shang looks at ping his heart clenches and he things to himself: i wish i could have you, i wish this was a time and a place where one man could have another, i wish you were a girl, is wish i was a girl - i wish we could be together. he’s literally a step away from doodling ‘li ping’ with little hearts over his battle plans. 

so the battles happen. shang and ping lead their men together, respected and loved. they each get promoted, and promoted, and promoted. it’s been years, and it comes to a point where they’re both generals in their own right. they trust each other, care for each other. and are both secretly in love with the other.

mulan is so conflicted. because she wants this war to end and to go home and settle back into life and become ping’s wife, so she can have an easy life spent studying and learning with her family taken care of. that’s what she’d wanted. but now what she wants is shang, her best friend, her brother in arms, her fellow general. she wishes to be everything to him, aches to be the woman on his arm and in his bed, but knows it’s the one thing she can never be.

then that final battle happens. mulan’s quick thinking saves them all and ends the war - but she’s injured.

shang finds out the ping has been a girl all along. he demands explanations - so she tells him everything, that she traded places with ping to save him, to become his wife.

and the lies should sting the sharpest, but they don’t. she’s still the same person, after all. it’s that she’s promised to another man, for one second he’d thought he might have her, but no. so he agrees not to reveal her but he’s furious and furious at himself for being furious and they’re not the same now, broken and splintered and neither of them know what to do.

the war is over. they leave. mulan returns home, and thanks to her ping is now known as a respected general. she’s done her part and survived, and now she gets her reward - ping’s hand in marriage.

but she sees ping for the first time and flings herself into his arms and starts crying. she tells him everything, because he’s still her friend, her very best friend besides shang, the man whom she lied to and betrayed and loves. and ping listens and takes her by the shoulders and says - i’ll uphold our bargain, if that’s what you want. you can be my pampered wife, you’ve more than earned it. but if you want to go to shang, i won’t blame you. you deserve your happiness.

and mulan goes back and forth, but ultimately she decides she has to try. if shang rejects her she’ll return and marry ping and uphold her family honor. but if shang wants her - he’s not as high up as ping, but he’s high up enough to satisfy her family, and also she would love him and want him if he was no more than a farming peasant so it doesn’t matter much anyway.

she rides to the capitol. she finally meets ping’s father, running into him while looking for shang. “ah mulan,” says this man who was never supposed to know of her until she became his daughter-in-law, “i didn’t expect to see you here. how fortuitous. walk with me.” she does, wary, and that’s how she discovers - he and the emperor had discovered her deception a year in, but at that point she’d already proven herself too skilled and valuable to lose. he tells her that he will uphold his son and wife’s deal and gladly welcome her to his household - but that she’s earned her rank as general, and that he and the emperor have no problem with letting her keep it.

she says thank you, shocked and joyful, but that she has to talk to someone first. “ah, yes, young general li,” he says, eyes twinkling, “i do believe he’s around here somewhere.”

she has no idea how he seems to know everything, but she finally tracks down shang who’s ecstatic to see her and hates himself for it. she confesses - says she loves him, that she’s engaged to ping but willing and able to break this engagement for shang. who is dumbfounded and elated and says yes, of course, finally and forever.

and mulan accepts her rank and marries shang, and they become the literal power battle couple of the general li mulan and general li shang. ping becomes a scholar and marries a very nice young woman who loves reading and is happy to read aloud to her husband with his failing eyes.

and they all live happily ever after.

Humans are Weird

So, I just thought of my own humans-are-the-weird-ones thing. What if humans were the only race to develop clothing and other things that are used simply to change our appearance. The other races don’t use clothing for protection from their home environments, and use vehicles for exploring non-native environments. Armor exists, but in a non-ornamental way, and generally doesn’t do much to change appearance, or is at least non-individualized. Makeup and nail polish are unknown, though tattoos and piercings are known to be used by some cultures for ranking and identification purposes and are not used ornamentally by any race other than humans. Hairstyles are not unknown, but are all generally for practical (keep it out of the way! I need insulation! I need shade!) reasons.

At first, aliens just think that there are a lot more humans than there really are, that humans that look alike with small differences are just family members, and that humans just naturally tend to be known solely by their family name. (Like, Alien “Ralph” meets Human “Bella Tailor” one day, sees her the next day in a different outfit, and thinks that he/she is meeting a relative of the human he/she met earlier, and that their family name is “BellaTailor.”)

Humans, at first, just thought that aliens were terrible at matching faces and names… and that they were apparently all nudists, but hey, who cares? Different cultures and races and all that, you know.


“Hello, BellaTailor. My name is Ralph. I believe I met your relative the other day. How is she doing?”

“I do not have a sister, Ralph. You must be mistaken.”

“That cannot be! She looks just like you, only more… pink, I believe is the correct color-word… and has your name! You must be relatives! It would be too much of a coincidence for you to not be related!”

“Where… exactly… did you meet my ‘sister’?” 

“Oh! We were on the same shuttle together. I must admit I am surprised; I thought that there was only one human on the ship’s roster.”

“Ralph, I am the human you met there. Remember how we talked about how uncomfortable those one-race-fits-all shuttle seats are?”

“But… no… you are different colors and patterns! This is a terrible joke. I wouldn’t suggest trying it on anyone else.”

“Dude, all I did was change my clothes. It’s not like I’m a whole ‘nother person, despite what commercials and such would have you believe.”

“Clothes?”

“Right… nudist… um… let me just… show you?”

Bella precedes to take off her top (not like they’ll care, they’re nudist anyway, right? eep, here goes nothing, really hope this is okay). Ralph thinks she means that they’re a race that sheds their skin, though he’s put out and puzzled over how no one mentioned that fact to anyone. After all, shedded skins can really clutter up an area, especially at the rate she seems to shed, though it could explain a few things. Bella, frustrated, puts her top back on, takes Ralph to her quarters, and shows him her clothing (which was still mostly packed due to limited storage space). Ralph finally sort-of understands, but the idea is totally trippy and weird to him.

“What did you think I brought so much luggage for?” 

“Well, I didn’t really want to pry, and your planet is… a bit… cluttered…”

*sigh* “Dude, I can’t… I just… urgh! WHY ME?!?!?!”


After many misunderstandings the aliens are brought to understand that humans can change their appearance in many ways, practically at-will. 

Then the whole issue of “camouflage” comes up. By this point, humans have developed advanced camouflage that automatically mimics the wearer’s surroundings. The other races react in various ways. Some are rather neutral about this discovery. Others are afraid. But many desire to obtain the art and secrets of “camouflage” for themselves. The earth and humans are now at the center of a conflict that borders on war - Intergalactic war. Because we’re the only race to have actually thought of camouflage. Thankfully, the other races begin to catch on before full-blown war is unleashed, but it is a very close thing.


@howtotrainyournana @crossroadsdimension Look! I came up with one! :D YAY for tired-brain-creativity! WHOOO (don’t really feel tired now, but I should be, and I know I will be when I have to wake up in four hours. :/ why does the coffee only seem to work when you actually want/need to sleep?)