2014 Huddle Year in Review – An Obsessive Look At The Best and Worst Pt 3: Awards

Since September, I have been heavily involved in all aspects of Huddle. Trading, points chase, collecting, and writing this site has been a part of my daily life for the last months like never before. Football is my main jam, which is why I was so much more invested in Huddle over other apps.

This series is a review of some of MY major threads from 2014, and I will obsessively breakdown anything and everything I can muster.

Part 3 – Awards

With the exception of yesterday’s subject, I dont think there was any more controversial aspect of the game this year. The payout of the different types of awards was always a hot button topic, and to this day, many users still take issue with the way it was handled Week 1 through the end.

There were some major successes along the way, which I also want to discuss, as I believe that massive amounts of credit should be heaped on the victories the Huddle team had. Yet, with every victory, we saw some struggles along the way, and for some, it drove them away.

The Good

If there was one thing that was constant throughout the season, it was that the team ALWAYS came through. It may have been a little late, or a little wonky in the way it was delivered, but it always happened eventually. Even better, when any real issue went down, they made up for it somehow some way.

The best day, each few weeks, was the day reward cards were delivered. I always looked forward to it every single time, and made every effort to complete as many of the weekly sets as I could. Huddle delivered in spades with each go around, even though sometimes it was late. The second batch for weeks 6-10 came about two and a half weeks late, but they were also delivered as 5x Boosts to make up for it.

When the season long chase was paid out, I almost freaked out. Not kidding. To see that each card was gold foil and had a 15x boost was insane, easily some of the coolest cards of the year. It made everything worth while, all that effort, all those trades, all that coinage. It was delivered very close to the time-frame expected, which was the cherry on top of the Sunday.

Additionally, we saw that coin payouts on collection chase cards increased exponentially as the season progressed. This was likely to help reward the people that were spending the coins to acquire the cards, as we saw odds get longer to match the rewards. More coins is always better, even if it takes more to get the cards. I know some wont agree, but this is bigger than people think.

The Bad

I think that there was a lot of questions at first – especially after the big transition week 2. With Huddle running at full speed to get their game turned over, awards were literally pushed to the back burner. I understand why that was the case, but it caused one of the largest situations in the course of the entire season. From weeks 3 to almost week 5, rewards were not given out.

For a very long time, users were left to question whether the payouts were ever going to come. On this site, I tried to reassure people that things were a complete storm of items that needed to be completed, but people rightfully wanted their coins and cards.

As I mentioned above, everything was eventually paid out. In fact, there were a few surprises too, as the Bowman set, 1984 set and others were provided action shot cards as the last to ever hit the sheet for the whole year.

On other occasions during the year as well, we saw issues with awards coming late. Even though we all knew things were busy and the payouts had to be done manually, people became extremely impatient. Ants were literally crawling into people’s pants, causing a lot of friction between the team and the community.

The Ugly

Its really a funny thing that the awards became such a point of contention through the whole season. Because of a shift to one time payouts, it almost made the job of paying things out harder than it had to be. There was no reason to take away the instant payouts, other than ensuring that fewer coins were floating around. Obviously that’s actually a pretty damn good business decision, but at the cost it presented Im not so sure.

The worst part of this WHOLE situation was not the lateness or anything like that. It was that the users had no information as things were happening. That was bad. To be late with updates from the team would have been tolerable for much of the community. They wouldnt have been happy, but they would at least have been without any questions.

Transparency was a fault through the whole season, even though Huddle was easily the most detailed of any of the three apps. I know how meticulously every post was planned out, just so that questions could be minimized. I appreciate that to no end, but it cant be a substitute for leaving people in the dark.

Customer service across all apps has been a black eye that many within the team will even acknowledge, and one of the main reasons an investment of additional producer roles have been added. With the award situation what it was, there needed to be a calming voice sounding the “EVERYTHING IS OKAY!” alarm more often. It didnt need to be obnoxiously over-present, but enough to calm people down.

I have an unpopular perspective on a lot of things when it comes to the amount of work that I know the team puts in regularly. TOPPSMARC has to be one of the most insanely busy people I have ever communicated with. He is always on, as is the rest of the team – 365/24/7. They have a lot on their plate, so I am more forgiving than the average user. However, with some of this stuff, I have to light them up. They need to do a better job, and I know they would be the first to admit that.

The Future

I think we are in for an interesting year next year, as they have grown on a very fast pace over the course of the year. With the Huddle team being newer to the community to start the year, they have had an education during the last few months. We can point to the growth, as things that they didnt find important before are now top priorities. That’s a good thing.

Similarly, I am confident that the team in place right now has all the right pieces. They are more in tune with the community than one could imagine, even though they seem absent.

Next year, I would love to see instant award payouts come back, with elements to please both sides of things. Keep it a one time payout for each card, but make it instant upon pulling the insert. Basically, tie the coins to the card instead of to the person. If the card’s coins are paid out – its done. If not, it can be traded to someone who wants it. Should be a nice compromise and remove most of the back end work that has to happen with each release.

Stay tuned for the next installment of this series tomorrow!

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One Response to 2014 Huddle Year in Review – An Obsessive Look At The Best and Worst Pt 3: Awards

  1. nomadfromcincy says:

    It is hard for me to comment on Huddle because I was mostly a free-to-play player; however, it seems pretty similar to Bunt. And that is the problem. Topps digital employees may be working hard, but they aren’t working smart. It is pretty clear that revenue is way more important than customer support. The main issue I saw in Bunt (and it sounds like it is the same issue in Huddle): they sweep everything under the rug and rarely owned up to their mistakes.

    While I understand they work hard, these apps are producing more than enough revenue to hire people so that they are not working 24-7. Perhaps this problem is a management issue where they aren’t committing the right amount of resources… but it is still a problem. Adding one more person is not going to solve the problem.

    What is strange is that up until recently, Kick was different. They seemed to be able to maintain balance and meet customer needs almost every time. Perhaps it is a smaller user base, or perhaps the revenue goals are more modest.

    Your posts are great but you are cutting them too much slack.

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