Regional FlagAn open letter to GhostcrawlerSource
Target Source
#1 - 2011/03/10 10:00:00 PM
Dear Dr. Street, Dr. Spectral Crawler, Ghost Brachyuran -

I miss you.

When you started posting so prolifically during the Wrath era, I was enthused that we the player base were able to get such valuable insight into the minds of developers. To see a developer so ecstatic about the game that they would take the time out of their day and life to share them with us, your (mostly) humble consumers and players. It was something I had never expected to see from any gaming company on any level, much less one so colossal and influential as Blizzard.

And then you disappeared. And suddenly the game, the forums, everything felt a bit emptier. There was no rumbling of new changes except in chance encounters spaced rather far apart. There was the same discussion among players, but it was mostly about current features and less about what the future holds. I continued to play the game, of course, but I couldn't help but wonder about your mysterious silence.

And then I realized in the middle of a dungeon run. A player was complaining about an upcoming class change, and another player said "yeah that's GC for you, screwing up good classes in the name of "balance" (aka homogenization)". I realized then how vile the community as a whole had been to you. I realized then that no matter what sort of news you posted, no matter what changes you brought to the community, you were met with at least some noteworthy degree of hostility. Who would want to constantly put themselves out for a group of people like that? Certainly not I, and I do not begrudge you for doing so.

So I started to wonder. Did people ever say anything but hostile things to you? It is too often with this community that the contented are silent while the angry are vocal. I'm sure you knew at the time that the entire playerbase was not against you, but did anyone ever take the time to say it? I know I certainly never did, and I feel bad for that. For all the good your posts did me, I never spoke up saying "Thanks!" or even "That's an excellent change!" And I regret that.

So, with all of my heart: Thank you. Thanks for giving us a view into the development process, and an ear for our voice. Thanks for caring enough to read, listen, and impart.

I do not ask for you to resume posting, not even to this thread - I simply want you to know that I was incredibly thankful for your posts during the Wrath era, even though I never said it.

Community Manager
Target Source
#16 - 2011/03/11 12:54:00 AM
These forums have always been about players talking to players. We don't want to foster the expectation that it's going to get a blue response if someone tries hard enough (lol I'm replying to a thread calling for a blue). While GC added a lot to these forums (and I say 'these forums' because he only posted in the North America forums) we think we can reach more players, particularly those in other regions, more directly through the blogs, or concerted Q&A's. Blogs also tend to be a better medium for getting the message out there loud and clear, but does have downsides that it removes the conversation that we know is appreciated quite a bit.

While forum posts do lend themselves to that conversational approach, they actually have a lot of downsides to them from our perspective of attempting to get clear and clean information to the players. They aren't very visible is really the first and maybe biggest problem. You can liken forum posts and the information given in them to some of the displeasure surrounding how hotfixes are communicated. I may reply to a thread 20 times and in my #13 reply I say something really important regarding class balance. Who is going to see that? How quickly will that knowledge actually permeate? Will the message be kept clear? Will my clarification in post #17 that explains what people are misunderstanding in #13 be seen by everyone that read #13? People tend not to read past the first blue post in a thread, or skip around and don't read them all, so if you have a correction/addendum to the first post, or just expound upon a thought, it's generally lost on the majority of readers. Blue trackers can help with this, but we're generally not having to explain that "post #13 wasn't the end of the thought and it's being taken out of context" to people who just go to blue trackers. Forum posts also tend to be fairly quickly written by one of us without much in the way of peer-review, and anything written off-the-cuff like a reply to a thread can tend to be more precarious than a more substantive outlet that has an official process of review and correction before its posted (like the blogs). Much to the dismay of many forum goers I'm sure, there's just an infinitely smaller chance we'll say something stupid or mess up in a fully published blog post.

As with anything we do, we never believe we're perfect. There's always room to improve. The blogs may not be the best outlet but we're continually working to improve upon the content we're delivering, and have some pretty exciting stuff planned. We're also working to make the comment system for the blogs a bit more like the forums so conversation can be held there more easily, as well. Of course you've no doubt see we're running a recurring global Ask the Devs Q&A. It's one way where we're hoping to fill that gap of direct developer interaction that the blogs probably just can't hit. We think the Q&A's are going to be extremely popular and fill a big part of what made GC's interactions on here so useful. And we’re going to continue collecting feedback and posting when appropriate, but we'll also be trying to come up with additional ways to facilitate the communication between the developers and players.

Also GC wanted me to let you know: "It's Dr. not Mr., get it right." :)

Community Manager
Target Source
#43 - 2011/03/11 02:43:00 AM
I appreciate everyone's feedback, it's actually been pretty helpful and I think we can incorporate more of what you're looking to get out of the blog into future features.

The blog launching was really a shock to the system for us, and in many ways we're still adapting to it and trying to find out how to best leverage it. But the world keeps turning and the tasks keep renewing themselves. We're not going to stop though, and will hit all of our communication intentions one way or another.