How feedback works and why it matters

100 Human Paladin
14600
"How feedback works and why it matters" via WoW Insider


Amazing read.

Bookmarked it, because I will be quoting from this article a ton in my replies on the forum.
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100 Blood Elf Hunter
21420
Usually the only things that bother me about the game are things that are obviously bugs or stuff not working as intended, like Wintergrasp demounting you without warning these days if you so much as skim the side of it. Or that golden lotus quest where you go into the water and it forces your camera angle underwater every time you get close to the fish on the surface you have to click on.

Should probably send those to the bug report forum or at least see if they're there, come to think of it... But I'm so lazy. Any chance bliz could implement a device that reads minds and picks up on bug reports automatically?
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MVP
90 Worgen Warlock
10465
I won't quote it again and spam up this thread but I think Torvald brings up some very good points. I've been trying to pinpoint why the dailies felt forced to me and I think that nailed it. Overall it was a feeling of, "I'm not really enjoying this but if I don't do it now, I will have to do it later anyway." But sometimes it's hard to express that without the, "well they're not mandatory" argument being thrown in my face.

So yeah, well said. Lots of good feedback in this thread...which I guess was the point.
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87 Undead Rogue
5235
That article is a joke (but it's WoW Insider, which makes a habit out of creating columns out of tripe). Yes, obviously feedback matters. Obviously they listen to feedback. But that doesn't necessitate any applause. When they discount feedback (even after listening to it) that was well reasoned and highly supported, they should offer better explanation (if they want to keep their community feeling like communication is valuable). They should be judged based upon the context of the time, and right now the context does not look good.

The statement in the article about Blizzard not following the directions of people who shout the loudest on the forums is a strawman argument (and one that, sadly, Blizzard reps and Blizzard fans like to fall back on). No one thinks that they bow down, or should bow down, to the wishes of the guy who posts in all caps and with cursing about how his class needs to be buffed. But obviously that's not the issue people are identifying as "failing to respond to feedback," and to act like that IS the issue reveals a discrediting bias in the writer (again though, not surprising, since it's WoW Insider, where the bloggers LIVE for those moments that they gain enough favor to interview Blizzard staff).

Forum trends are just not that difficult to spot. And the large trends tend to be pretty representative of the in-game opinion. As much as people like to talk about self-selection, more often than not the "vocal minority" is only a minority because they're vocal, not because their opinions about what is good or bad are out of sync with the general population - that is to say that the opinion which appears to be the majority on the forums is often the majority in the game, and the minority on the forums are also the minority in the game (again, this is talking about large forum trends). Probably the only area in which self-selection has a highly skewed result is class balance arguments, for obvious reasons. Outside of that, the skew is minimal, and failure to act on widescale feedback is worthy of criticism.

The two best examples of that are recent: CRZ's and dailies. In the case of CRZ's, the article makes the extremely unconvincing point that CRZ's were a feature developed based on player feedback. Well, no, not really. It was a feature developed to save money on server costs, but spun to the playerbase as being a positive feature to make the world feel "alive" again (cue eye rolls over the people who think "alive" means smaller chance of getting rare mobs and loss of nodes for professions while people continue to not group up for quests because it's faster to just solo the solo content most of the time). The problem? First, the "feedback" about how the world was too empty was never a notable trend on the forum to begin with. And the ones who did complain about that tended to see server merging rather than CRZ as the appropriate response. The best you could say about Blizzard's reaction to feedback here was that they used it to determine how best to make a cost-cutting measure sound like a positive development for the game.

That decision made the player communications even more irate. The players thought their task was to convince Blizzard that their feature was not fun and detracted from the game, and became pretty certain that feedback was useless and ignored when the surge of negative feedback for weeks resulted in nothing but comments about bug fixes and vague promises of upping spawn rates. Was it useless? No. But it didn't carry the weight that common sense would tell you it should carry if the subject under discussion is what is fun rather than what is cheap.

Dailies are another prime example of course of this same trend. A decision by Blizzard motivated purely by the belief that creating chores for players to do every day makes it more likely they will stick around in their subscription. It's not about fun there, it's just about tying a reward to a grind that slowly - extremely slowly - gets done on a day to day basis. They're hoping that the joy of the reward will make players stick around longer than they otherwise would. Of course the game has always had grinds, but the level of reward and the tying of grinds to solo content has never been at this level, and it kind of stumbled over that line from, "hidden grind through enjoyable gameplay" to "boring grind where players are all too aware they are in a grind and can't wait to get the reward so they can never do that boring content ever again."

Lots of negative feedback again. And the response? Silly "gotcha" comments from Blizzard supporters about "dailies not being required" with some nodding from the blues. Oh yeah, that definitely makes feedback seem worthwhile. Again, I don't think the feedback is useless or not being taken into account in some fashion.

There have times in WoW's history that I have actually held them up as an example of doing a good job in providing steady communication with players and taking feedback into account. In many ways, Mists of Pandaria does that. But I view that as their response to feedback on other issues that was probably delivered a year ago. People who wanted more challenging dungeons got challenge modes. People who wanted something between dungeons and solo got Scenarios. When looking at the questing structure (NOT counting the daily quests), you can see how they split up storylines a little more to give more flexibility to player travel across zones (something I saw many people supportive of in the past, though some linearity is still good to have and players like to have arcing stories).

At present, however, it's difficult to be anything but critical of how they are handling the feedback on dailies and how they handled the CRZ feedback (I use the past tense because CRZ is something that was pretty well set in stone). Everything should be judged based on how long it would reasonably take to respond to the issue raised by the feedback. With dailies, it really would take almost no time at all, but instead we are waiting for it to be addressed in 5.1, and even then only in a half-hearted way that has not dulled the negative sentiment from the players much. (A token to increase rep gains after revered means little to people primarily complaining about how long it takes to get to revered, not to mention that the complaints also strongly center on the inability to gain the rep outside of dailies; and the double rep gains for alts has not removed the dread players feel at working on all those rep grinds with their alts - account wide reputation for alts being the far more sensible solution, with a restriction for Horde and Alliance only reps only translating to other Horde / Alliance characters and a few notable exceptions made for neutral factions opposed to each other such as Oracle and Wolvar or Aldor and Scryer).

Anyhow, I've rambled, but to sum up, it really comes down to two things. Does feedback matter? Yes. The article is right that it does. And should Blizzard be criticized for how they have discounted feedback in their actions recently? The article seems to take a very defensive stance for Blizzard, and I think it's just not correct in that stance. I think Blizzard is well deserving of criticism lately for that. (Though the criticism chiefly belongs to the decision makers, not the forum representatives of Blizzard).


This is the article people should be reading because it clearly sums up the real issues with Blizzard and Feedback.

Thank you Torvald.
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90 Goblin Death Knight
6265


Well, considering that CRZs are pretty obviously the first step in what is a long-term vision, perhaps it might well be.

The larger point is that players simply do not have the information on every aspect of the game to be able to state that their feedback is not being listened to. That being listened to, and being acted upon, are two separate things.


They have evidence of inaction. Talk to people who were there in the beta before Pandaria was released, how well they think their reports about problems were dealt with, and the fact those same issues emerged in live.


I was in the beta. I participated less extensively than some, but considerably more than many others, and one of the features on which I gave the most feedback was the initial implementation of CRZs.

My main concern was how the fact that lower-pop realm determined the status of the zone, which meant that the beta's PvE server was essentially transformed into a PvP server outside of Pandaria because the PvE server was much high pop than the PvP server, and CRZ was turned on for all zones but the starters and Pandaria. This, I and others knew, besides being a PITA for leveling, would grind all meaningful testing of the CRZs and other leveling features to a halt because the majority of PvE-oriented players would not want to level up while flagged. This is in fact what happened. I stopped leveling my lowbie monk after getting ganked a couple of times. You cannot beta test effectively while getting corpse camped.

But when Ghostcrawler himself addressed the concerns with (to paraphrase) "If you can't deal with these problems, perhaps you shouldn't be in a beta environment", I knew that CRZs were something that this company had massive interests invested in, and they were going live no matter what. And they did. I have criticisms for how this was handled, but I have also worked at a large software company (not a gaming company) and I understand how long-term vision and development works, so I can sit tight and see what they have planned.

In other words, I can act like an adult.

Now if a year or a year and half goes by and no significant changes or improvements to CRZ tech has emerged, then you may see me joining the clamor. But until then, I am among those who feel very bad for Zarhym and the other CMs who have to take what amount to personal attacks from the likes of you on a daily basis. Yes, I know they get paid, but all I can say is that I hope they get paid very well, because it's not a job that I would personally care to have, at all.

<3 Zarhym
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100 Blood Elf Paladin
8790
That article is a joke (but it's WoW Insider, which makes a habit out of creating columns out of tripe). Yes, obviously feedback matters. Obviously they listen to feedback. But that doesn't necessitate any applause. When they discount feedback (even after listening to it) that was well reasoned and highly supported, they should offer better explanation (if they want to keep their community feeling like communication is valuable). They should be judged based upon the context of the time, and right now the context does not look good.

The statement in the article about Blizzard not following the directions of people who shout the loudest on the forums is a strawman argument (and one that, sadly, Blizzard reps and Blizzard fans like to fall back on). No one thinks that they bow down, or should bow down, to the wishes of the guy who posts in all caps and with cursing about how his class needs to be buffed. But obviously that's not the issue people are identifying as "failing to respond to feedback," and to act like that IS the issue reveals a discrediting bias in the writer (again though, not surprising, since it's WoW Insider, where the bloggers LIVE for those moments that they gain enough favor to interview Blizzard staff).

Forum trends are just not that difficult to spot. And the large trends tend to be pretty representative of the in-game opinion. As much as people like to talk about self-selection, more often than not the "vocal minority" is only a minority because they're vocal, not because their opinions about what is good or bad are out of sync with the general population - that is to say that the opinion which appears to be the majority on the forums is often the majority in the game, and the minority on the forums are also the minority in the game (again, this is talking about large forum trends). Probably the only area in which self-selection has a highly skewed result is class balance arguments, for obvious reasons. Outside of that, the skew is minimal, and failure to act on widescale feedback is worthy of criticism.

The two best examples of that are recent: CRZ's and dailies. In the case of CRZ's, the article makes the extremely unconvincing point that CRZ's were a feature developed based on player feedback. Well, no, not really. It was a feature developed to save money on server costs, but spun to the playerbase as being a positive feature to make the world feel "alive" again (cue eye rolls over the people who think "alive" means smaller chance of getting rare mobs and loss of nodes for professions while people continue to not group up for quests because it's faster to just solo the solo content most of the time). The problem? First, the "feedback" about how the world was too empty was never a notable trend on the forum to begin with. And the ones who did complain about that tended to see server merging rather than CRZ as the appropriate response. The best you could say about Blizzard's reaction to feedback here was that they used it to determine how best to make a cost-cutting measure sound like a positive development for the game.

That decision made the player communications even more irate. The players thought their task was to convince Blizzard that their feature was not fun and detracted from the game, and became pretty certain that feedback was useless and ignored when the surge of negative feedback for weeks resulted in nothing but comments about bug fixes and vague promises of upping spawn rates. Was it useless? No. But it didn't carry the weight that common sense would tell you it should carry if the subject under discussion is what is fun rather than what is cheap.

Dailies are another prime example of course of this same trend. A decision by Blizzard motivated purely by the belief that creating chores for players to do every day makes it more likely they will stick around in their subscription. It's not about fun there, it's just about tying a reward to a grind that slowly - extremely slowly - gets done on a day to day basis. They're hoping that the joy of the reward will make players stick around longer than they otherwise would. Of course the game has always had grinds, but the level of reward and the tying of grinds to solo content has never been at this level, and it kind of stumbled over that line from, "hidden grind through enjoyable gameplay" to "boring grind where players are all too aware they are in a grind and can't wait to get the reward so they can never do that boring content ever again."

Lots of negative feedback again. And the response? Silly "gotcha" comments from Blizzard supporters about "dailies not being required" with some nodding from the blues. Oh yeah, that definitely makes feedback seem worthwhile. Again, I don't think the feedback is useless or not being taken into account in some fashion.

There have times in WoW's history that I have actually held them up as an example of doing a good job in providing steady communication with players and taking feedback into account. In many ways, Mists of Pandaria does that. But I view that as their response to feedback on other issues that was probably delivered a year ago. People who wanted more challenging dungeons got challenge modes. People who wanted something between dungeons and solo got Scenarios. When looking at the questing structure (NOT counting the daily quests), you can see how they split up storylines a little more to give more flexibility to player travel across zones (something I saw many people supportive of in the past, though some linearity is still good to have and players like to have arcing stories).

At present, however, it's difficult to be anything but critical of how they are handling the feedback on dailies and how they handled the CRZ feedback (I use the past tense because CRZ is something that was pretty well set in stone). Everything should be judged based on how long it would reasonably take to respond to the issue raised by the feedback. With dailies, it really would take almost no time at all, but instead we are waiting for it to be addressed in 5.1, and even then only in a half-hearted way that has not dulled the negative sentiment from the players much. (A token to increase rep gains after revered means little to people primarily complaining about how long it takes to get to revered, not to mention that the complaints also strongly center on the inability to gain the rep outside of dailies; and the double rep gains for alts has not removed the dread players feel at working on all those rep grinds with their alts - account wide reputation for alts being the far more sensible solution, with a restriction for Horde and Alliance only reps only translating to other Horde / Alliance characters and a few notable exceptions made for neutral factions opposed to each other such as Oracle and Wolvar or Aldor and Scryer).

Anyhow, I've rambled, but to sum up, it really comes down to two things. Does feedback matter? Yes. The article is right that it does. And should Blizzard be criticized for how they have discounted feedback in their actions recently? The article seems to take a very defensive stance for Blizzard, and I think it's just not correct in that stance. I think Blizzard is well deserving of criticism lately for that. (Though the criticism chiefly belongs to the decision makers, not the forum representatives of Blizzard).


This post sums it up perfectly. Blizzard won't comment on it of course. I'd love to hear a blue's thoughts on this.
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90 Night Elf Druid
13785
11/15/2012 03:00 AMPosted by Torvald
When they discount feedback (even after listening to it) that was well reasoned and highly supported, they should offer better explanation (if they want to keep their community feeling like communication is valuable). They should be judged based upon the context of the time, and right now the context does not look good.


The premise of your post is flawed in that you cite intangible goals right off the bat.

1 - Answers need to be more satisfactory
2 - Time between feedback and answer/action is meritorious enough to make non-response abhorrent and delayed action horrid

Neither of these are qualified/quantified, just "Do better" which is nice to hear but hardly worthy feedback. Furthermore, the "Do better" is incorrectly attributed to the wants of the person seeking an answer and considers nothing of internal testing and communication that need not be spread to the player base.

11/15/2012 03:00 AMPosted by Torvald
The statement in the article about Blizzard not following the directions of people who shout the loudest on the forums is a strawman argument (and one that, sadly, Blizzard reps and Blizzard fans like to fall back on).


This is an exceptionally disingenuous beginning to a point to be made. You go on to talk only about the ranters and capslock heroes and ignore those that give vocal and verbose feedback as even remotely being part of that group. The "loudest wheel" analogy fits perfectly because if I or someone else makes a long post (hey look at people block quoting you and nothing more) that sounds decent overall, people just sorta dog pile on and that's that. A long and well written post does not amazing feedback make, so trying to say its a strawman because it only applies to Y BLIZZ BRAKE MAI GAME?!1 posters is wrong.

Forum trends are just not that difficult to spot. [...] Probably the only area in which self-selection has a highly skewed result is class balance arguments, for obvious reasons. Outside of that, the skew is minimal, and failure to act on widescale feedback is worthy of criticism.


Incorrect. You either ignored everything you learned in sampling/poll statistics are do not know better. Sample sizes are miniscule if only forum based and self-selection features heavily when so many people have oodles of fun just jumping into hot button topics. Take any topic over the years that was based around some change that sorta thrust itself upon the players and you will see a myriad of posters coming in and saying "WTF" only to be followed by more posts of the same that get trolled and occupied by bored individuals. You should see how fast Tanking forum regulars go on the attack or simply post to dismiss threads that feature "We should let X tank!" or "Dear Tanks... you should do X better..." and the like.

11/15/2012 03:00 AMPosted by Torvald
The two best examples of that are recent: CRZ's and dailies.


Your premise that CRZ was not influenced by feedback is horribly dismissive and incorrect. Countless suggestions have cropped up for literally years about low population servers and the like, and more often than not the most common of suggestion was the only vehicles by which players were familiar: free-server transfers or server mergers. While both are solutions, both are not exactly ideal solutions so instead more seamless tech was developed to allow you to quest in a world with people in it rather than all by your lonesome. Your comments about rare mob camping and node farming just show your bias and selfish nature of really not caring about the complaints about dead servers and only caring about how your personal gains are impacted. The rest derives from that selfish point of view taken as fact and universal.

As for dailies, you are simply following the complainer's tagline that somehow this time (but not other times) Blizzard has transparently put in place a treadmill carrot-on-a-stick rewards system that gets us doing certain content repeatedly over a period of time. Instead I suppose you'd rather do other treadmill carrot-on-a-stick rewards systems? Literally all examples from Vanilla to MoP are forms of baiting us into playing for increasingly better rewards: from bosses in raids to dailies to currencies to ranks to the very leveling process. It is ALL a treadmill and a grind and you outright lie that the grind this time around as at an all-time high and that people are just more happy about other grinds. I personally HATED farming the 5mans over and over again for points, especially in Cataclysm. Doing a series of quests was far more fun and relaxing than dealing with PuGs ever was, and if you notice I've done hardly any 5mans this expansion but I'm nearly Exalted with all relevant factions.

Again you surmise that because you and others greatly dislike dailies and have avoided questing for a long time that the rest of us are likely in the same boat. This is flat out incorrect. I saw far more people in those questing hubs doing dailies that still haven't set foot into a "real" raid (just like me) than those desperately grinding it out to get VP rewards for Server Firsts. Either the casuals are just masochists or... we actually don't mind or *gasp* ENJOY doing quests.

11/15/2012 05:10 AMPosted by Brunilda
(Though the criticism chiefly belongs to the decision makers, not the forum representatives of Blizzard).


You could have saved a lot of forum space and just said this while adding "I personally do not like the decisions Blizzard has made, both in what they are doing and how long it is taking them to do it."

Most of your argument is based on personal appeal without looking at the entire spectrum and you even try to justify that by using fallacies (ironically in one case to disprove a supposed fallacy) or completely incorrect information. You also pretty much ignore anything on the side of Blizzard as well and take the common stance of "Just get it done, its your job" without minding anything that actually is required for that to happen.

It is both sad and very ironic that this post is getting blind bandwagon appeal given the nature of your reasoning for why the forums are more accurate than we give them credit.
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/sigh

It would appear as though there are some incredibly stubborn individuals in this thread that will take up arms against "the Man" at the slightest provocation.

For those people: re-read the article and try to understand how it applies to you.

Take care
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28 Orc Warlock
0
Good article, though I wish it had given a little more attention to how disastrous the lack of feedback can be as well.
Edited by Samfisher on 11/15/2012 8:43 AM PST
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100 Goblin Mage
18175
/sigh

It would appear as though there are some incredibly stubborn individuals in this thread that will take up arms against "the Man" at the slightest provocation.

For those people: re-read the article and try to understand how it applies to you.

Take care


Ad hom, followed by "re-read it until you share my opinion" is a very helpful contribution to the thread.
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100 Blood Elf Paladin
12270
Since you're talking about WoW Insider and their really good articles -- I'd like to point out to their podcast where they talked about how bad dailies and rep grind is -- Which included Matthew Rossi, the guy you're praising.

http://wow.joystiq.com/2012/10/25/the-wow-insider-show-episode-266-on-rep-and-dailies-in-mop/

Just to be fair.
Edited by Klaudandus on 11/15/2012 9:05 AM PST
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90 Night Elf Druid
13785
Having a Chris Griffin WHHHATTT moment...

**I'd call CRZ a lot of things but seamless is not even on the same planet.


Compared to server transferring or merging... yeah its seamless. Contextual comparisons aren't strong in you...
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86 Undead Rogue
6300
Blizzard keeps overlooking a VERY IMPORTANT bit of the feedback cycle. that of the creator back to the consumer.

"We changed it because we felt it needed to be changed."

This simply does not work. Patch notes are written this way. you can append ", because we felt it needed to be changed." to the end of every entry and it wouldn't feel out of place.

To use the recent shaman changes to totems on the PTR forum as an example. The patch notes announcing the change has stirred up quite a bit of activity asking 'why' where they will never get a response of any kind.

Blizzard reps in staid tell us and insist that "they are using the best most intense internal testing to determine what changes need to be made and the amount they need to be changes" leaving us out in the cold. Where as if they told us how they made the tests the community could test it for themselves by running the tests.

It wont matter how compelling the reason to change shaman totems or buff mages or nerf warriors, they could the most compelling reasons ever, but they don't matter a lick because no one outside of blizzard internal testing knows about them. In staid were given the "because we felt like it" reason and that in and of itself is not a compelling reason to believe it.

"Do X!"
"Why should i do X when i don't want to?"
"Because i said so!"
"What authority compels me to do what you say?"
"Mine!"

This lack of feedback twoards the community leaves us in the dark about why and will continue to cause uproar when the community feels wronged by changes or other announcement. They lack context and people run out of patience for the circular logic of "because i said so, why? because i said so" arguments.
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90 Orc Warrior
4380
"How feedback works and why it matters" via WoW Insider


Awesome. Reminds me of earlier in a thread someone made about how proud they are of the community for providing feedback and I was all like "...what feedback?"

Perfect article for people to see... thanks for pointing players towards the information they need to help you help them.
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90 Human Rogue
11855
11/14/2012 08:35 PMPosted by Artaean
Unless of course it's Rogue feedback from beta.
Edited by Carroway on 11/15/2012 9:52 AM PST
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