Jump to content
FORUMS
Sign in to follow this  
Stan

How Devs React to Unsubscribing?

Recommended Posts

TbytCT6.jpg

Did you know that unsubscribing because of a design change is quite rare and developers don't take any actionable feedback? Ghostcrawler talks about subscribers, how the developers maintain the game fresh and more!

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street was the Lead Systems Designer for World of Warcraft before he joined Riot Games and now he's the design director on League of Legends. Even though he no longer speaks for Blizzard, he often gives insightful responses related to game design and this time it's no different.

The subject today is how (and if) developers react to players' unsubscribing as this is the only way to share displeasure with the game. Do they make any changes? Does unsubbing have any direct impact on developers' choices?

  • The devs care why you stop playing their game, but for games like WoW and LoL the reasons can be narrowed down into two:
    • Players have less time to play the game.
    • Players stop playing, because their friends don't play anymore.
  • Dropping a game because of a design change is rare, so for developers it's hard to take actionable feedback.
  • The best way to express your concerns is to discuss an issue on the official forums to make yourself heard.
  • In games that have lasted for so many years (Age of Empires, World of Warcraft, League of Legends) there are times when you gain and lose subscribers over the course of months or years.
  • If you lose to many players the main reasons why they quit is because they are getting bored and the developers need to be bold and innovate, but at the same time, they can't change the game too much to make it confusing for returning players.

Many similarities can be seen between Legion development and Greg's statement. Legion has a lot of TBC nostalgia (Illidan, Tier 20 Sets, Kil'jaeden, Isle of Quel'danas aka the Broken Shore) and many catch-up mechanisms to help returning players (Artifact Knowledge catch-up, increase of item level drops across dungeons etc.). One of the best things of Legion is you always have something to do, players aren't getting bored that quick and patches add a lot of content. For example, Patch 7.2 is the biggest content patch ever introduced to the game. The developers are successfully avoiding content drought in this expansion.

Blizzard LogoGreg "Ghostcrawler" Street (Source)

“Unsubbing is often seen as the only ‘real’ way by players to express their displeasure in a way that affects the devs. However, one thing I’ve never known is how devs themselves react to this. Do you double down? Scrap plans? Abandon the game?”

There are a couple of different ways to answer this.

Developers do care if you stop playing their game and they want to know why. However, for games like WoW and LoL, the answers are almost always “I have less time to play now (job/school/family” and “My friends don’t play anymore.” (I’m basing that on having seen a lot of data - it’s not super open to debate.)

Dropping a game because of a specific design change (despite what you might read on forums / Reddit) is actually pretty rare. I know it happens, but if you’re stack ranking the reasons why people quit, those specific responses end up being so far down the list that it is hard for a development team to take actionable feedback. It’s really rare you see “Wow, that change we made cost us 10,000 players. Let’s revert it!” So overall, I would not advocate boycotting a game as a way to make a statement, especially if deep down you still love the game. You’re just not likely to drive change as a result.

(As an aside, the best way to drive change is still to try and clearly articulate your concerns in some public forum and hope that the developers take it seriously. I have talked to plenty of players to know how frustrating that answer might be, because at the end of the day, there just isn’t some kind of magic key that you can use to 100% guarantee that you will unlock that lock. Nevertheless, it’s still the best hope you have.)

Now, there are long term trends in the lifespan of a game. At the end of the day, I have really only worked on three games (Age of Empires, World of Warcraft, and League of Legends). All three are games that have lasted for many years, but there are macro trends of engagement, meaning sometimes you’re gaining players and sometimes you’re losing players over the course of a few months or a few years.

And it’s interesting. When you see a lot of players leave over the course of say half a year, it usually spurs two diametrically opposed views on the development team. You will get one faction of “Players are getting bored - we must be bold and innovate!” You get another faction of “We are changing the game so much that we’re losing our soul! We need to get back to basics!”

Like with so many things, it’s rarely so cut and dried that you must pick one of those directions over the other. Often the answer ends up being that you need to innovate in one direction, while still making sure the game is easy to return to, and perhaps even getting back to something familiar or even nostalgic in yet other designs.

My perception has been that the players and developers in the “We’ve changed too much!” camp tend to be those who are less engaged with the game than they once were. Losing track of change usually happens to players who once played every day and are now playing once a week or once a month. They remember being super engaged with the game and knowing everything that was going on, and so the dissonance of that no longer being the case for them is really striking, perhaps even alienating. On the other hand, players who are still really engaged are the ones most likely to need something fresh and new so that they don’t run out of stuff to do. 

Overall as a developer, I tend to advocate being bold and innovating. This depends a lot on your business model. Some games really want to create new players as a fast as they can because they can’t hold on to current players for very long. (That’s not a holistic criticism - it’s just a different model.) But a game like League tends to be more reliant on keeping current players than it is on attracting new ones. (Example: if you’re a young man in Korea, chances are you either play LoL or have decided it’s not for you. There probably isn’t a young man in Korea who has just heard of this new LoL thing and wants to try it out.) For League, we weigh most of our decisions on resonance with active players. Yes, it is entirely possible to change so much that you drive players away, but we think the risk of stagnation is greater. So for League, the answer is usually double down. YMMV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

" The developers are successfully avoiding content drought in this expansion. "

 

So far, at least. As has been traditionally for expansion packs. The drought always starts once teams are shifted into making the next expansion:

 

During WotLK: Drought after ICC is finished.

During Cataclysm: Drought after DS is finished.

During MoP: Drought after SoO is finished.

During WoD: Drought after HFC is finished.

(expected) During Legion: Drought after N'zoth raid is finished.

 

There have been "mild" droughts as well in some expansions in between raids, but that's definitely more polished in this xpac.

But stating "The developers are successfully avoiding content drought in this expansion." 100% remains to be seen. It's more of a "until now." which they have been successful in in the past as well (With some big dips such as the selfie patch and the voice comm patch)

 

Very bold statement by the moderator :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rather than simply quitting the game for good, I just take a small (1-2 Months) break from the game. When I get back I have the entire Suramar (part 2) questline & Nighthold to go through.

What many people are currently facing is to not get burned out from the constant AP/WQ farm and progression raiding. 

What mostly got me this expansion was my desire to switch mains from mage to druid, in the end I played both of them which burned me out even faster.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Stan
      With the introduction of mount equipment in Rise of Azshara, Water Striders will lose their innate passive ability to walk on water. What exactly does that entail?
      If you haven't been following the official Patch 8.2 content preview, each mount is getting an equipment slot in Patch 8.2 which grants the mount perks, such as water walking, parachute, and daze prevention.
      The item which grants water walking is called Inflatable Mount Shoes. As a result, all Water Striders will lose their innate ability to walk on water, but Blizzard will be mailing Inflatable Mount Shoes to every player who unlocked the mount through the Anglers reputation. Additional Inflatable Mount Shoes should be affordable on the Anglers vendor for 40 Gold right now.
      Death Knights (Path of Frost) and Shamans (Water Walking) both have water walking, so they don't need the item at all.
      They're comparing Water Striders to Sky Golem's innate herbing passive, and some ask the Water Strider's ability to be designed in a way to ignore mount equipment, but the Engineering mount won't be losing its passive, because it's apparently not as powerful as water walking itself.
      TL;DR
      Water Striders will no longer be able to walk on water in Patch 8.2. The water walking ability is transferred to an item which can be applied to mounts of your choice, resulting in more variety. If you earned a Water Strider and farmed the Anglers rep, the item will be mailed to you at no charge. Additional items can be purchased from the Anglers vendor. What's your opinion about Water Striders in general? Do you think they should keep their ability to walk on water, or do you not mind the nerf at all? Let us know in the comments!
      Blizzard (Source)
      Yeah, but now you’d have the ability to use a mount, besides the Water Strider. I dunno about you, but being stuck using only one mount forever sounds absolutely boring as hell
      That’s one of the goals here. There are a lot of mounts out there and it’s strange to have a “wrong choice” when out running around. You’ll easily be able to keep the ability just as you have it now but there will be other options that you (the player) can make if you prefer something else. How you about the world, where you often go, and how fast you like to escape from things could all contribute to what works best for your playstyle.
      There are a few extra notes so like Death Knights can do waterwalking via Path of Frost (and Shaman with Water Walking). That should help empower these classes a bit and help make them feel a bit more unique.
      I’m not sure what the price of the waterwalking shoes will be offhand, but it should be pretty affordable on the Anglers vendor. We’ll have the PTR up soon™ and look forward to hearing your feedback on that.
      Would it be possible to have the water strider be like the sky golem. It can have innate water walking but is not effected by mount equipment?
      I will check but my personal opinion from my play experience is that the water strider ability is just much stronger than the sky golem herbing. We nerfed the water strider once and if we leave it with the ability there then it’s more in the line of getting everything and less of making a choice for what you want. We want there to be a choice based on your play and interests. If herbing on the run provides too strong of a benefit then there might need to be changes there but currently I don’t think that’s the case.
      Brave soul.
      I commend you for stepping into this thread on the Monday evening preceding the drop of 8.2 on the PTR. However, this price you speak of not knowing offhand is what will be a determining factor in many players decisions. Personally, I’ve stuck by/accepted/dealt with the changes made over the years to keep the gameplay from just becoming a static habit. But having spent my money and time acquiring the rep required to gain the reward, only to have it removed and then require it to be re-purchased…no. That’s the line. I’m sorry to sound like I’m giving an ultimatum because it’s not. It’s a decision made based on honor, or the lack thereof.
      EDIT - and to be perfectly fair, yes, I agree and have so for many years that Blizzard has the right to change content at their discretion at any time. But this is one of those times I won’t be agreeing with it.
      Just something I’d like to get your perspective on, if the character who earned the Anglers reputation along with the mount gets the water walking item for free, what would a fair price be for the alts to get it? If that character who earned the reputation and mount has the option to water walk (but might choose something else), do you feel that alts should have every single thing that the other characters have?
      Also, just out of curiosity, how often would you estimate that you have you used the water strider mount in the 6+ years it’s been available?
      Thanks folks for chatting!
    • By Stan
      Recently, Blizzard's CDN (Content Delivery Network) has been updated with a new Classic Beta build and according to Blizzard, they've begun a phase of internal employee alpha testing and have no announcements to make right now regarding Beta.
      The only thing we know about WoW Classic right now is that Blizzard employees have begun internal testing. The game, scheduled for release later this summer, is currently still in Alpha and it does not look like they're planning to announce Beta testing any time soon, leaving the company with less than 4 months of testing prior to release, granted that Classic won't be delayed.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Hey folks! I’ve got a small update here to help quell some of the rumors and let you know where we are at for WoW Classic. We recently began a phase of internal employee alpha testing. The new build data that many of you have been discussing over the last few days is simply part of this process. Phases like this allow us to test out the game content along with other functionality that will be used in the live game, like logging in through the Blizzard Battle.net App.
      Aside from that, we don’t have any announcements to make at this time. I know all of you are very excited about this game and we thank you for your patience as we continue to develop it. More information will be coming soon!
    • By Stan
      The maximum item level of world quest and emissary rewards is going up next week with opening of Mythic Crucible on April 23.
      World quests will now reward gear up to item level 370, emissaries up to item level 395, and Azerite Armor from emissaries will be increased to item level 400. Rewards from the "Against Overwhelming Odds" (PvP world quest) will be up to item level 395. The change should be live after the weekly scheduled maintenance in your region.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Raid Finder (and Mythic) difficulty for Crucible of Storms will open next week, April 23. Similar to Battle of Dazar’alor, you will need an average item level of 350 to queue for it. To help ensure players get raid ready, we are increasing the maximum item level for certain World Quests rewards. This will include the following:
      World Quest rewards will go up to ilvl 370 (from 360) Emissary equipment will go up to ilvl 395 (from 385) Emissary Azerite Armor will go up to ilvl 400 (from 385) Against Overwhelming Odds (when available) will go up to ilvl 395 (from 385) Once the update is live it will affect active rewards like the Emissaries, so you may want to plan for when you will turn those in.
    • By Stan
      It seems Alliance players will finally be able to get their hands on Bee mounts come Rise of Azshara.
      Patch 8.2 datamining revealed four new factions that may be related to Bee mounts datamined back in Patch 8.0.1. The new entries include:
      Hivemother Drone Queen Honey Bee While we don't have any additional details to share at this time, it seems the Alliance is one step closer to receiving their Bee mounts, teased back at last year's BlizzCon. Maybe it's time to start looking for new secrets in Stormsong Valley when Patch 8.2 goes live.
      PH Bee Mount

      PH Bee Mount (Black)

      PH Bee Mount (Red)

      Fly Animation

    • By Stan
      Zandalari Moonkins and Raptors were missing their dance animations when they were first implemented in Patch 8.1.5 and in Rise of Azshara, Blizzard added both. Check them out!
×
×
  • Create New...