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Blue Posts Round-up: Dec 12

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Topics discussed today are reputation improvements for alts, fixes to tab targeting and communication standards.

Reputation Improvements

Patch 7.1 made dungeons gated behind the Nightfallen reputation account-wide. Players share their thoughts, mentioning the Pandaria reputation system as a solution to "the problem". If you haven't played during MoP, there were items such as Grand Commendation of the Shado-PanGrand Commendation of the Shado-Pan that increased the reputation gain on your entire count with a faction once you've reached Revered. Lore mentioned this was discussed during Q&A, but the developers need to know what "the problem" is before making any solutions. What are the items your alts need that are gated behind Legion faction reputation? Profession recipes? Wouldn't that just make professions less valuable if all your alts had access to them?

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In Mists, we have an awesome system where you could send tokens that doubled the rep earned for alts. Im not asking more than that. Just something, the system even already exists.

Please, dont make alts more harder than it already is. (and rerolls too)

We talked about this idea briefly on the Q&A the other day, but I'm interested in hearing more feedback. What do you feel you need access to that's locked behind a reputation for your alt? Most of the "big" unlocks - e.g. World Quests, access to Suramar dungeons - are now account-wide.

So, let me clarify my thoughts a bit, and why I asked for specifics:

Quite often, we see feedback that focuses on the solution instead of the problem. That's not a bad thing (in fact, it's quite natural and in many ways polite for someone who's trying to be helpful to suggest a fix for a problem), it's just that it occasionally means we have trouble tracking down what the actual core issue is that's causing you to present that solution.

Looking specifically at this topic: many of you are suggesting the MoP-style rep tokens as "the right fix." And maybe it is! But if we were to implement something like that, we need to know what it's fixing, because we might have a better way to solve the same problem. Or maybe we don't see it as a problem at all.

To use a dumb analogy, because I love analogies: say your roof has a leak, and every time it rains, water drips down through your ceiling and your carpet gets wet. You could keep a pot nearby that you put under the drip when it rains - that'd certainly solve the issue of damp carpet - but it's kind of inconvenient, and the leak is still there. It'd be a much better solution to fix the roof, so the leak stops happening entirely.

Or, you know, maybe you're actually in a gazebo and the carpet is supposed to get wet because it's weather-resistant and... okay, so this analogy isn't perfect. But hopefully I at least illustrated why I asked for specifics: maybe the solution is that the thing you want via rep should just be account-wide. Maybe it's already supposed to be account-wide, but there's a bug. Or maybe having to gain the reputation on your alt is an intended part of playing a second character.

This is mostly just me musing - there's some great info in this thread already that we can definitely talk about - but I thought it might be interesting or helpful to clarify.

(Source)

Fixing Tab Targeting

Tab targeting is definitely an issue in Legion and in Patch 7.1 it was reverted back to the same logic used in Warlords of Draenor. If you're experiencing any issues, there's an interesting thread about tab targeting on reddit.

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I know I am not alone in thinking how terrible tab targeting is in this expansion. And no, I don't think tab targeting is the best way to target in all situations, but it certainly is great to have a reliable version of tab targeting in many situations.

Why do we have to hit tab 3945828597109 times before the game finally gives in and (reluctantly) targets our intended target? Obviously that's exaggerated, but sometimes it does feel like it takes an eternity.

I took a break from the game starting in early WoD and came back shortly after the Legion launch, so I am not sure if this was an issue last xpac. But can we please have the MoP (and earlier xpacs) version of tab targeting? It used to be so much more efficient.

So, in 7.1, we actually reverted the tab targeting logic back to what it was prior to Patch 7.0. It should be functioning now exactly like it did during Warlords. I've personally found it much more reliable; if you're still having issues with it, did you have similar issues during Warlords?

(Source)

Standards of Communication

Patch 7.1.5 brought a lot of class changes, but there were no words from the developers. With tweaks to secondary stats, players have found themselves less powerful than on live. Since then, PTR communication has been a great topic of concern. It was discussed during the last Q&A that developers will be communicating more with the community regarding future changes, additions and more. We should expect the next Q&A somewhere during the first weeks of January around the release of Patch 7.1.5. This posts talks about means of communication and feedback. Twitter character limitations are both a curse and a gift, live Q&As aren't a good way to answer most of the questions and Lore admits the team's overall forum presence isn't the best and it's something they're trying to improve upon as a team. I entirely agree there should be more interviews. Do you think communication between developers and the community is more transparent in other games like HotS or Overwatch as opposed to WoW?

Blizzard LogoLore

On Twitter: Disagree that it's always the wrong approach, but it's definitely not always the right approach either. 140 characters is a blessing and a curse - it's harder to get a complete point across sometimes, yes, but it also forces things to be presented more concisely, which is great for certain types of feedback. We're not going to stop using Twitter, but we're continuing to learn about when it's not the right platform.

Also just as an aside, every account other than @WarcraftDevs should be treated as someone's personal account and not as the correct place to provide feedback or look for answers. That also means that it's completely their choice if they decide to mute or block someone. 

On the Q&As: I agree that the experiment in the last one to answer more spec-specific questions didn't go well. I honestly don't think the live Q&As are a good way to answer those questions at all. Even if we were to somehow narrow it down to only "legitimate" questions (aside: what criteria determine "legitimate" anyway?), there's far more to answer than we can possibly fit into one Q&A, so we're always going to leave something out.

Secondly, it's important to remember that not everyone follows fansites closely, or saw the BlizzCon panels, or even the other Q&As. AK alt catchup is a great example - despite all of the other places we talked about what's happening in 7.1.5, it was still one of the most-asked questions. I'm glad that you had already heard about it, but clearly a lot of others had not, which made it absolutely worth answering.

I do agree, though, that the Q&As work best when we either stick to broader topics, or focus the entire thing specifically on one topic (like we did with the Professions, PvP, etc. Q&As a few months ago). As a whole, it's a format we're still experimenting with. I can't promise they'll all be great, but I can promise that we'll learn from when they aren't.

On Interviews: Mostly agree, although it depends on the interviewer. You're not likely to see the hard-hitting questions coming from a major gaming publication, but you might from a community site, podcast, etc. Personally, I actually think we need a lot more interviews with those community sites, especially those that focus on more niche playstyles - it's a great way to get answers to those people without "wasting" everyone else's time.

On the forums: I actually completely agree with you here. Our forum presence sucks. It's a big issue that we're working to fix. That's part of why I'm here, posting this, and will continue to be around these forums as much as I can. Resolving this issue will take some time - if it can ever be completely resolved - but we're working on it.

It's worth mentioning that part of the issue - the general lack of dev posts - has been because they've been focusing as much of their time as possible into working on the game. Part of trying to keep patches coming at a good cadence means we need all hands on deck to get the work done, which means less time for the dev team to spend on the forums. That in turn means that, when the devs do get time for the forums, they spend the vast majority of it just reading, so they can absorb as much feedback as possible. So, the community team (including myself, but many others as well) need to step in to fill that gap, in a way that doesn't make you go "Ooh, a blue post! Ugh, it's just a CM." We haven't been, but we're going to.

On Reddit: I also like AMAs, and agree with your thoughts here. I do think that there are some topics where they might work much better than the Q&As, and while I don't want to say what those are for fear of over-promising, it's a cool idea that I'll circulate around.

On Patch Notes: I think a lot of the issues with patch notes are actually symptoms of some of the above issues. The designers' notes are definitely a good addition, but those are intended as little snippets of explanation for the player who doesn't really keep up with fansites, interviews, forums (well, when there's posts on them), etc. It shouldn't, whenever possible, be the first place that the person reading this thread heard about something, unless it really only needs a couple sentences to explain. If we need to give more detail, we should be doing that ahead of time and just referencing that explanation in the patch notes.

We've also heard loud and clear that you guys want PTR Patch Notes back. It's a tough situation for us to solve, though I don't think it's an unsolvable one. The PTR, especially under Legion's development structure, is much more experimental and incomplete than it's been in the past. Having official patch notes makes each individual change - any of which could be reverted at any point - feel a lot more "final" than they really are.

Our approach for 7.1.5, then, was "let's focus on what it'll be when it's done" - that was clearly the wrong choice. Official PTR Patch Notes might not be the answer we need, but we definitely need a way to keep you more informed of what's happening, especially for class changes. Even something as simple as "Class Notes for PTR Build ABCXYZ" might fill the gap.

At any rate, thanks for this - it's given us a lot to think about. I know there's a big difference between saying we'll do better and actually doing better, but threads like this really help us actually improve things.

The one thing I should really say about this is the fact that you have ONE twitter account for EVERY form of feedback and question.

Why don't you like, delegate it out a bit? 
@WarcraftDevs
@WarcraftHunters
@WarcraftDK
@WarcraftPvP
@WarcraftRaid
@warcraftdungeon
@warcraftuselessquestionsthatpeopleonGDforumsaskoverandoverandover
you get the idea

I think this would just get confusing really quickly, and lead directly into one of the issues the OP mentioned which is needing to follow too many channels at once.

I have an idea for your Q&A that should get you the questions that people want answered most

Make a thread about the Q&A first and specifically state that the most upvoted questions in this thread will be adressed/responded to in the Q&A when it happens. Do this everytime you have a Q&A, that should help people get the questions they want to see and hopefully the answers they want to see
.

We briefly debated this early on but decided against it, for a few reasons:

1) We don't always have an answer for something - if a highly-upvoted question is going to get "I don't know" or "We're not sure yet" as an answer, is that acceptable?

2) Sometimes the answer lies in something we're not ready to talk about yet; for example, if "When will you add Demon Hunters" got a ton of upvotes prior to Legion's announcement, how do we handle that? Do we dodge the question (which says just as much as answering it)? Do we lie and say we have no such plans? There really isn't a good outcome there.

3) It's pretty easily abused - if I want my question to be answered, it makes sense for me to ask all of my friends/guildmates/etc to upvote my question and downvote others, even if they don't care about the answer.

4) It heavily favors playstyles or classes with the highest overall representation; it's likely for there to be entire aspects of the game we never talk about again just because there are going to be fewer people upvoting those questions.

Because of the above (and probably a couple other reasons I can't recall right now), we decided that our best approach was to just ignore upvotes/downvotes entirely.

Yes, not only is it acceptable to say, 'We don't know," or "We aren't sure yet," but that kind of transparency is absolutely necessary for quality feedback and communication. Those are great jumping off points to get good feedback from the community. Of course, hopefully you would give us more than just those statements. Hopefully, you would explain why you haven't been able to come to a decision yet, what you perceive to be the pros and cons, and why it is so difficult to make that particular call and then MAYBE the community could help you actually make the decision. 

Even if our feedback won't help make the decision easier, understanding your thought process will make it easier to accept the decision once it is made.

To be clear: I agree that "we don't know yet" can be a good thing to say. I don't think a time-limited Q&A is the right place to do that - would rather spend that time on a question we actually have an answer for.

(Source)

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