Starym

Upcoming Dev-player Communication Improvements

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Lore talks about upcoming and already implemented improvements to dev-player communications.

 

In response to some more complaints about poor communication (specifically regarding no word on class tuning for the weaker specs after the holidays) Lore has posted a lengthy explanation of how the previously announced "improved communication" has been and will be implemented. Considering the recent (and quite sudden) arrival of Tomb of Sargeras raid testing, after only 3 guilds have cleared Nighthold Mythic and the complaints over that from the competitive raiding community, it's good to hear that communication will be further improved still.

Blizzard LogoLore (source)

We've been working extremely hard to improve communication. I'm sorry that you're not seeing all of it, so here's a short off-the-top-of-my-head rundown of what we've done in just the past month:

1) Increased Blizzard presence on the PTR forums at least 10-fold compared to 7.1.5
2) Added the Class Development forum to discuss changes that aren't necessarily tied to the PTR
3) More than tripled the frequency of responses via @WarcraftDevs compared to the 7.1.5 timeframe
4) Re-introduced the PTR Patch Notes
5) Started posting PTR Development Notes to give insight into what each build is bringing
6) Made significant changes to Community team structure, and formed a team dedicated entirely to developer communications (on the PTR and Class Development forums, that's Kaivax and me)
7) Revamped several of our internal feedback delivery processes to make sure that when you post something, the developers see it
8) Significantly increased the rate of communication between our Community and development teams, so that CM's can be much more informed on the changes to the game (and take on more of the burden of communication ourselves)

On the list to still do in the next month or so:
1) Significantly increase CM presence on the forums, now that we're more able to answer questions ourselves
2) Begin posting more direct requests for feedback, as 7.2 development has begun to reach a state where we're testing more than just stability (I'll be posting a thread asking for 7.2 Artifact Trait feedback later today)
3) Dramatically increase the rate of live developer Q&As as we get closer to 7.2 release (similar to what we did leading up to Legion launch)
4) Explore new methods for communication, especially for complicated topics like Class Balance or often-overlooked topics like RP, both of which don't fit well into a standard live Q&A
5) Improve our internal knowledge tracking resources so that everyone posting in blue text is on the same page (this sounds a hell of a lot easier than it actually is at a company the size of Blizzard)

Again, I'm really sorry and disappointed that the work we're doing isn't always coming across to you. I'm confident that things will continue to improve, especially as we grow more accustomed to our new processes. A huge part of this is also identifying pain points - you're absolutely right that there are several specs that deserve answers, and we haven't been doing enough to say "yes, that's an issue, we'll talk about it" or "no, we disagree, for these reasons."

I just wanted you to be aware that this is absolutely a priority for us, for the WoW development team, and for Blizzard as a whole. We've been working our butts off to make it happen. I'm sorry it hasn't happened as quickly as all of us may have liked, or possibly in the way that everyone was expecting, but I do think we've improved fairly dramatically since 7.1.5, and we will continue to do so.

 

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I have been a long time blizzard gamer and I have gathered a whole damn ton of complaints about them over the years but recently, especially since late WoD and Legion they have shown to have improved in several aspects. It seems new age gaming (as I like to call it) has finally caught up to some old standards they've been using for a long time.

As an Overwatch player I can attest that there is no lack of communication from that department. WoW has been a very different story. It is good to not only see they are improving on means of making changes more known to us, but also on letting us know about their methods and thought process. Especially number 4 and 5 were actually noticed by me over the last months.

Thanks Blizzard for taking steps in the right direction

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When their idea of communication is like listening to a White House press secretary give non-answers to all questions, you can understand why the player base is sick of how they are treated.

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It's not only communication but also reaction to player feedback. Very often players spot issues way back into beta or ptr and warn: blizzard, if you do X it'll result in Y, which is bad for the game. Blizzard insists it won't, launch it like that, X results in Y, months later they make movements to fix their mistake.

I've seen this happen so many times.  Sometimes it's understandable, when it's a controversial case, when the outcome is not so certainly predictable, when something new it's being tested. But sometimes it's just neglect or arrogance.

It's funny because the community has evolved so much and sometimes it (by it i mean the knowing part, not the masses) offers good analysis and insights that can help make the game better. This is basically free labor, and it's more often than not ignored. This attitude is not only bad pr but also quite dumb for a game developing company.

 

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Maer, I disagree with some of what you're saying.  The populace in WoW isn't always right.  Even if they feel they are.  Sometimes we are.  But Blizzard is also a company managing major games and millions of subs.  They are doing things behind the scenes that we don't know about.  Releasing things to live servers is a way for them to test results on a much larger population, which in turn will give them more accurate results.  

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