I wholeheartedly appreciate the way you've come onto the forums over the past several months and voiced your defenses to issues in what feels like a truly personal tone. It felt like something changed after the RealID situation where your posts in particular never seem to sound like just a company line anymore. Regardless of which side of an issue I've been on, your candor is welcome, and I'd always hoped to feel like the Blues are discussion/community participants with more insight, rather than a just a hollow voice representing a company.
For instance, I support the portals being removed and I've said as much on these very forums long before their removal was even announced. I also supported the zombie invasion and said as much on these very forums. I would personally love to analyze message traffic statistics from chat and forums logs to identify which players belong to which groups of supporters through keyword extraction, because I feel there is probably significant clustering of players behind groups of issues (a multi-party system, just not about politics).
To be frank myself, I understand that this game can't actually be everything to anyone, so the "good design choices" will come with some "bad design choices" from everyone's point of view. I do sometimes worry that you're designing for too broad a spectrum of interests, though. And while that may be an excellent business plan, it does feel like it diminishes a sense of theme within the game. Regardless of where I stand on each issue, things like a loss of city portals but instant teleports and short dungeons seem like they clash on a thematic level. Although I have to give you props that solutions you've designed to fix inherent difficulties (like the LFD tool in general) have been overall pretty spectacular.
I sometimes wonder if the Blizzard offices are filled with the same thematic arguments as the forums. Like if a portion of the Blizzard team gets up in arms about a change or design decision utilizing the same reasons that people on the forums echo in this chamber. Then I wonder which changes get called reactionary by the another percentage of the Blizzard offices the next time around. Anyways, I support the decision to remove portals, but I wasn't a fan of the decision to make the expansion invasion less invasive; I like moving PvP ratings back into battlegrounds, but I can't say I like Varian and Garrosh much. I wonder what commonalities I share with statistical percentages of the audience and how that audience is grouped behind separate issues?
So I was rambling; I think the obvious point of this post though, is that I appreciate your recent community interactions a lot.
Thanks, I actually do appreciate that. After such a long absence on these forums (I had gone to a strict support of Diablo III for some time since being Drysc) that since my return I've felt that there's been some amount of people that have taken my tone as an insult, and I had been on a course of thinking that they'd perhaps prefer a yes-man that only nods and thanks them for their suggestion. That's certainly not my role, not our role as community managers, and while it's not to incite a riot either I feel like the task of interacting as a fellow player (and maybe more importantly human being
) trumps any potential unpleasantness it may cause in having a company representative (which I reluctantly admit I'll always be) actually question or refute the customer requests and desires. It's certainly not a retail experience, and that's a good thing.
I do enjoy my job, and on that note I do like to have fun. Maybe that's interpreted as flippant, but I believe this to be a forum dedicate to a game, and I play games because I enjoy them. Not all issues are fun, but while I'm working I try to inject it where I can. I will also admit I have not made the best judgment calls as to when it's appropriate to joke, but I say what I think, and for that I cannot apologize.
I want people to enjoy the game. I think that's what we all want. Not as some sort of corporate shill looking for retention percentages based on customer satisfaction or some such, but because I enjoy the game, and truly love the company I work for. I know if I can help relate some inside knowledge and understanding of the intent that I can help relieve some of the pressure, some of the aggravation that comes with not knowing why things are done the way they're done.