Regional FlagRofl @ improved communicationSource
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Darkfist
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#1 - 2017/01/04 10:25:00 PM
It's always interesting to me how posters swarm any thread with a blue post. This is because any blue post at all is like a drink of water to someone dying of thirst in the desert. That's how desperate players are for dialogue and yet we are nearly always disappointed.

The MM feedback thread on this forum is the perfect example. There are nearly 1300 posts on that thread at the moment and the only 3 blue posts are hyperfocused on haste breakpoints and the increased proc rate of Vulnerable. There is ZERO actual engagement with the questions and concerns the Hunter Community has, despite an overwhelmingly constructive thread with loads of great feedback. As the patch nears and continued concerns are met with absolute silence, the tone of all posts becomes desperate, frustrated, and angry. This is the fault of the devs. This is what happens when you starve your player base of communication. This is completely avoidable if you would just bother talking with us.

The very idea of "improved" communication is laughable. It's like they are just multiplying by zero. We get NO real communication. I honestly cannot remember the last time I felt like any dev was actually talking with us instead of at us. We never get a back and forth with the devs. At most, we get a series of calculated press releases that barely scratch the surface of the issues we care about. These amount to "announcements" rather than dialogue. The only blue posters who ever even pretend to have anything resembling a conversation with us are community managers, and those conversations are never substantive because they aren't the ones actually making the decisions that affect our classes.

You can't keep multiplying by zero. I don't care if you have to hire one full time person whose entire job is making sure developers and players are constantly on the same page. In fact, why on earth hasn't Blizzard already done this? Why isn't there a dev or two who basically represents the voice of the players in dev meetings and constantly communicates what is going on with the community? With official forums as active as this one, why are we ever in the dark on what is going on?

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Community Manager
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#3 - 2017/01/04 11:14:00 PM
Most people are still returning from the holiday break, so the appropriate players needed for this to happen are only just now getting back to work.
01/04/2017 02:25 PMPosted by Darkfist
We never get a back and forth with the devs. At most, we get a series of calculated press releases that barely scratch the surface of the issues we care about. These amount to "announcements" rather than dialogue. The only blue posters who ever even pretend to have anything resembling a conversation with us are community managers, and those conversations are never substantive because they aren't the ones actually making the decisions that affect our classes.
It it part of our job and the role of a community manager to relay what the developers say and think, as they don't necessarily have time to do it themselves. We don't see it as an issue for us to communicate for them at all (in fact, that's the point), so we disagree with any sentiment surrounding that. This is what Lore has been doing on these forums prior to the break.

Aside from that, before there break, there was a good amount of back-and-forth on numerous topics - maybe not ones you directly care about, but that doesn't change the fact. We are still moving forward with improving our channels for communication, and we are obviously not where we need to be yet, but I do see us getting to a better state before long.

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Community Manager
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#25 - 2017/01/05 12:15:00 AM
Most people are still returning from the holiday break, so the appropriate players needed for this to happen are only just now getting back to work.
<span class="truncated">...</span>It it part of our job and the role of a community manager to relay what the developers say and think, as they don't necessarily have time to do it themselves. We don't see it as an issue for us to communicate for them at all (in fact, that's the point), so we disagree with any sentiment surrounding that. This is what Lore has been doing on these forums prior to the break.

Aside from that, before there break, there was a good amount of back-and-forth on numerous topics - maybe not ones you directly care about, but that doesn't change the fact. We are still moving forward with improving our channels for communication, and we are obviously not where we need to be yet, but I do see us getting to a better state before long.


The problem is the barrier between devs and the playerbase. Community managers shouldn't be speaking for the devs or for the playerbase to the other parties. There needs to be a direct line of communication here now more than ever because the majority of specs are just not correct at all. It's not a numbers thing that gets fixed with flat %buffs and nerfs like what we're getting in 7.1.5 for multiple classes/specs, it's mechanical changes that we need to make specs not play and feel like garbage. It's feedback on specs that has been put forth SINCE ALPHA AND BETA that would have made specs play well, but communication has just been nonexistent on Blizzard's end because the devs want the CMs to pick and choose info for them to read. At what point will the devs look at their 2nd or 3rd monitors and READ THESE FORUMS THEMSELVES? When enough people quit the game or a spec has almost no one playing it that they realize that maybe they need to actively listen to the people playing the game?

We're happy that Bliz wants to increase communication, but so far it's just been another of Blizzard's "Soon™"s that we have to suffer through. We want to hear from the class balance devs, not the CMs. We want to hear their reasoning behind changes. We want to understand why the things we say and the feedback we give always fall on deaf ears. We respect the CMs wholeheartedly for being the punching bags that they have become, but when you look at any other game developer they have people from multiple departments engaging with the community, talking about the game, looking at opportunities for improvement, and hyping the players up with news on future outlooks. All we get is Community Managers who have to relay messages and deal with entire forums of angry nerds all day.
I have to disagree with your first note, especially when looking at it from the point of a game as large as WoW is, with teams as large as ours are. We CMs aren't a "barrier", by any means. None of us are reading feedback and saying "Oh, thats stupid, let's not send that over." I think that would be extremely dangerous and false to our roles here. We are simply collating feedback together and handing it off, while the developers work on making changes as they see fit based off of it. Those changes are passed back to us, since most of us specialize in communication, and know when and where to be soft and/or heavy-handed with such things (patch notes vs. forum conversation, for example). On the opposite side, we also do represent the player-base to the developers. Some older titles for community management were called "Community Representatives", and its still very much true for the team today in that our goal should ultimately be to represent the desires of the community to the rest of the development team, while acting as a source of information as to the sentiments of the greater community.

I understand that people may have feedback that they feel they would be resolved by mechanical changes, and that feedback has been sent to the development team and I don't necessarily disagree with the sentiment. But class changes are an iterative design process, with 7.1.5 a part of that overall iteration.

And yes, issues have been mentioned time and time again since Alpha and Beta, and we have, as said previously, slipped up on these things - which is why we've made so many changes with 7.1.5.

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Community Manager
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#50 - 2017/01/05 01:38:00 AM
01/04/2017 05:15 PMPosted by Crítter
I hardly feel the need to quote or reply to these threads, but.... THIS IS PURE GOLD AND SPOT ON! Great post. The CM's just continue to dig a deeper hole every time they try to justify their existence.

Please give the CM role to a true fan of WoW who is willing to do the proper research, and spend the time needed to address the issues of the community.
And I hardly know how to respond to this, but will out of principle. If you think we aren't all fans or the game and we don't research what's going on here, you're sorely, sorely mislead. Looking only at Lore, for example: he is one of the biggest fans of the game. His work on TankSpot and Gamebreaker with Legendary is pretty universally known, and most of the team has played WoW since its inception, myself included.

I appreciate your underlying sentiment in that "we should care more", but we all do care immensely about WoW, and this isn't the way to carry about a constructive conversation with us.

01/04/2017 05:06 PMPosted by Huvud
01/04/2017 04:15 PMPosted by Ornyx
I have to disagree with your first note, especially when looking at it from the point of a game as large as WoW is, with teams as large as ours are. We CMs aren't a "barrier", by any means. None of us are reading feedback and saying "Oh, thats stupid, let's not send that over." I think that would be extremely dangerous and false to our roles here. We are simply collating feedback together and handing it off, while the developers work on making changes as they see fit based off of it. Those changes are passed back to us, since most of us specialize in communication, and know when and where to be soft and/or heavy-handed with such things (patch notes vs. forum conversation, for example). On the opposite side, we also do represent the player-base to the developers. Some older titles for community management were called "Community Representatives", and its still very much true for the team today in that our goal should ultimately be to represent the desires of the community to the rest of the development team, while acting as a source of information as to the sentiments of the greater community.


Okay, no, actually, I'm not done. I want to address this too.

You, the person behind the Ornyx account. The other CMs. ANY blue type that posts on these forums. I ask this genuinely, without trying to be catty: what good are you doing? If the answer to dozens of pages of feedback, hundreds of player hours spent testing and calculating and theorycrafting and testing some more, and a list of THOROUGHLY researched bullet points of the main issues with classes or specs, all from people who have spend hundreds if not thousands of hours with their class or spec of choice, is merely just "handed info on Point A to devs, will post back with news. they're aware of complaints"? If THAT'S all you can provide, then....

Why are you here? What good are you doing? Do you honestly think you're helping? Are we supposed to be satisfied with that? Are we supposed to be satisfied with another PR politics handbook reply of "design is iterative"? Are we supposed to be happy that we have ONE relatively active representative talking to us, who can't be bothered to maybe spend an hour researching BM hunters and why the belt nerf is so harmful and what their complaints are?

You know what I want, more than anything else, in regards to WoW? If one experienced, knowledgeable person from every class and spec could have one on one time, in face, personally, with the devs of the game. No Watcher to feed us ex-lawyer [email protected]#$ about "we're baking in mandatory talents to add more interesting choices". No Lore to make huge TL;DRs absolutely FULL of ridiculous claims and utterly false facts about Shadow Priest mechanics, and then backpedal completely when this was pointed out. No CMs to feed us canned responses we've heard dozens of times just this expac. Just a few minutes to ask the devs, "what the %^-* were you thinking?" with legendary balance, performance disparities, design oversights, feedback going completely and utterly ignored since ALPHA, and a whole host of other problems.

I'm not trying to insult you or disrespect you, Ornyx. I'm saying: this isn't good enough. It never has been and it never will be and the "communication improvements are an ongoing effort" excuse isn't cutting it anymore.
I would much rather hear from the players directly what their problem is, rather than inferring it myself and possibly being wrong (happens more often than you think). There's nothing wrong with asking questions and admitting we may not know - which is what I did. I understand that generally BM has issues with focus, but I disagree that the belt should be the solution to resolve that issue, and, instead, we should be focused on the design of the spec's given skills to resolve that.

In terms of "what good do we do", a lot of that if its not here is behind the scenes, so it makes sense that you would insinuate that you think we aren't helpful. Aside from having daily conversations with developers, we work on tons of other projects that may or may not ever be attributed to us, from blogs to videos to social media to events to the forums - the list goes on and on. People have asked for us to pop into threads and say "Thanks for the feedback, we are looking into this - its been noted", and that's what we've done in a few places recently as sometimes we have nothing to share (various reasons for that, maybe changes are in the work, maybe we haven't heard back yet, etc. Its super case by case and there's nothing we can ever do or say that can make everyone universally happy).

In regards to your last point, I'd be fine with a system where we could have some sort of class representatives or something that could have those honest conversations with the developers in the open (in fact I created such a system in a previous life). It does help to have that one singular voice to talk to instead of 100,000, heh. But the community agreeing on who that person would be sounds like it would be a very difficult task - maybe something to think on.

I'm not insulted by any of what you said - its true in its own regard. I'm just trying to lay out the ground work and reasons behind some observations. As said, we have had communication failings over the last couple of months, and we are working on addressing that in the now.

--

<Edit: Leaving for the day, have a good one all!>

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Community Manager
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#61 - 2017/01/05 01:53:00 AM
01/04/2017 05:49 PMPosted by Talby
In regards to your last point, I'd be fine with a system where we could have some sort of class representatives or something that could have those honest conversations with the developers in the open (in fact I created such a system in a previous life). But the community agreeing on who that person would be sounds like it would be a very difficult task - maybe something to think on.


I cant speak for other classes but we've been using Discord for the Monk community for over a year now. "Voting" for a class leader or some sort of representative isnt something that really needs to happen. There have been times where Celestalon hops in and says a few things openly about design changes, it was during beta actually, but it was open and everyone was free to contribute. Discord rules are still enforced and the Peak of Serenity puts a lot of value in the fact that we're one of the more level headed communities. It wouldn't take much except for two willing parties.
Of course, I'm a silent member of all of the class Discords, and I read them often - so I know they are helpful and I know a couple of devs jump in and out from time-to-time. But confronting certain developers with that is daunting, and I don't think there are too many that can handle that kind of pressure. :P

01/04/2017 05:51 PMPosted by Darkfist
If you want to cuss out the devs, please make your own thread, or better yet, just turn off your computer. That kind of garbage is what gets these threads locked.
And echoing this just in case: we will remove any posts against the Code of Conduct. If this thread gets out of hand it will be closed. I won't let this thread turn into a witch hunt against us or against any of our players.

It may also be helpful to note that we do edit posts shortly after we post them sometimes, so always good to refresh and reread a couple of minutes later if you see changes. People aren't perfect, ya know?