Topic Good Feedback: Tutorial.gid
Edited by Velora on 11/5/10 9:50 AM (PDT)
1) Intro and basic theory.
2) Questions, good and bad, with reasoning
3) Example feedback.
4) Wrap up and cheatsheet.
This guide is for players who wish to improve the game by way of giving effective and useful feedback, by helping the devs recreate and understand the process behind a problem, instead of simply stating what it is. I will touch lightly on basic game design theory for the purpose of helping you understand how your feedback will be used, progress into some basic questions varying from "should be asked" through "right idea, wrong approach" to "Don't bother with", and finish with a few examples.
This is long(nearly 3000 words), so I have provided a summary check list at the end - I still recommend you read the good to bad questions, to understand the logic behind them.
Please note, and this is important:
I do not represent Blizzard in any capacity, I am an independent fun engineer, proud gamer and slightly insane. The purpose of this guide is the same as yours: Improve the game I love.
Games come on many platforms, not being restricted purely to the digital variety - board, card and verbal are all valid platforms. Games invoke many feelings - joy, anger and even fear. Games teach you - math, problem solving or social skills. So what is a game?
A game is a set of rules that deliver an experience of some kind. A good game is one that succeeds, even if you don't enjoy it, in delivering to its target audience. You aren't playing a body doing repetitive motions on a multi-buttoned input device, you're playing a powerful master of the arcane, a peaceful caretaker of nature, a harbinger of death or maybe an easily distracted bearer of the light - these are the experiences. Slaying a thousand year old beast, returning a little girl to her parents safely, wreaking destruction upon unsuspecting townships and protecting your herd from invaders are all experiences too.
So, your feedback is going to be from the point of view as a participant of these experiences - one, but often many - and will be used to further shape them towards what the developers goal is. From your feedback, the dev team will hopefully take not only what you did, but how you felt, why this happened, and where you personally fell short in some department. This last point may seem odd.
Basically what happens is designers come up with how they want the play to go - do x, move to y, kill b, loot c, rez k and t yet again. So by giving a detailed and concise description of your plan will let them compare quickly and easily. By telling them how you felt, they can gauge how effective the flow state(read this elsewhere, too much for one post but the tl;dr is "ideal player state". You want to in it.) was. By expanding on this with whys', they can see patterns - which goes back to helping the refinement process. Personally failings are hard to admit, but hugely helpful. "I couldn't___" gives a vastly different message than "Its too hard".
Okay, so they have all this feedback from millions of players, analyzing it and figure out the next steps, deploy the build and we do this all over again, until it's peferct. Yeah, right - design isn't science, it's a craft. There is no spot on goal, whatever it takes to get the experience across is the goal. The perfect game is a myth, but we, the players, are critical to amazing games - not because of the money, but because we have either the quit option, or take advantage of the game rules and win(Not always according to plan, either).
Edited by Velora on 11/5/10 9:53 AM (PDT)
Now, lets get into the questions - we can talk the finer points of play later. Answer these, truthfully. I will highly the question, explain it a bit, then give two ends of a 1-10 scale, of approx worse and best cases for the item in question.
These are questions that developers wish they had time to ask you personally.
Was it enjoyable?
Did you enjoy yourself? You probably didn't spend the whole time in europhic bliss, and the rest of your life will be a let down from here on out(the mind can't actually take too much of an intense emotion), so was it good? Frustrating? One of your favourites? Where did the feelings ebb, what elements excited you?
Scale: "I am very aware I am playing a game right now" <-> "*blinks* oh, real world again :|"
What was your overall plan of action?
This may or may not apply. It refers to what strategy your group used, without going into detail unless integral to the strat. "Tanks swapped at 3 stacks" is important, "The boss tank used the rotation of..." is not. Did it work?
Scale: "So complex I have a headache" <-> "Was able to be quickly explained, with minimal confusion"
What was your personal plan of action?
This will always apply, but may be so obvious it's not worth mentioning. What did you do? What was your role? What class tricks did you use? Did any seem like they should work but didn't, as compared to "maybe it will..."? What variants did you try? How obvious was the most successful idea? Was it a fun use of your class?
Scale: "I felt useless the whole time" <-> "Involving enough I had to pay attention, but not stressful."
These are questions that sound good on paper, but are normally not important - nine times out of ten, they'll not be the root of the problem, or caused by said problem.
Was it too hard?
Don't confuse this with "Frustrating" or "stressful"(and on the other end of the scale, "fun" or "relaxing". Difficulty is really easy to balance - it's just numbers. By comparing the plans used, they can figure out if something needs balance tweaks, or if it's just right for where they want it to be. This last point is really important; if you aren't ready for the fight, you will find it too hard and they want this to occur. "But I'm geared" type data is easily pulled up for balance.
Does X class has it easier than me?
Probability suggests to be the case, for every fight in the game. This isn't exactly sought, but it isn't discouraged completely either. Ideally, each raid will have no significant advantage given to any class or spec. It will, instead, favour a good player over a bad player, by letting them do the job with the tools they have. This is why theory crafted data is rarely important - it requires pefect execution, pefect play, perfect gear, and perfect RNG. Untill all those are inplace, more influence will come from the player choices and reaction than the class/spec itself. If this is an issue, the internal data logging processes will show it, and the reason is normally obvious, even if the solution takes time to be made.
Was I best for this task?
Class will play a role here, but so long as you don't either a) Absolutely require said class, or b) gain a massive advantage by using said class, if all appropriate classes can perform the task, this is an intended question based challenge - they want to avoid "have to have a mage" like gruul but "Which player is best for harpoon duty?" is encouraged.
These are worse than no feedback. not only do they bring nothing of use to the developers, they have a negative social impact on the community and bring everyone down which just makes the process harder. Normally, these aren't even questions.
Did it sux?
"OMG IT SO BAD FIX IT" does little to tell them *why * you feel this way, and as such, they can't fix it. Answer questions like "What exactly frustrated you?", "Why?" or "What did you do to try and over come it?" instead.
Nerf CLASS_Y, buff CLASS_Q!
This is almost always a case of a player failing. Players will normally look at the other classes and see band-aid fixes to singular problems - such as "give me ms!" - and not consider the overall of both classes. A better question to ask is "Where do I feel like I have no options?", "Did I play at my complete best?" "Was the other player more skilled than me?", or "Are there bosses in previous content I can use to prepare for this sort of challenge?"
What would I of designed?
While this can be useful to read, I strongly recommend you don't include it, as you mostly likely aren't looking for a solution to the problem, you're looking to bring in a soultion to a different problem. Creative answers to the actual problem are good, but make sure they aren't just "pali charge" or similar copying.
Edited by Velora on 11/5/10 9:55 AM (PDT)
"The melee killed the adds while they were tanked where they spawned and the ranged nuked the boss when the tank had him against the wall"
Okay, they know what you did but it's as detailed as a bit of paper. A blank paper.
"Warrior tank on the boss, at the wall. Paladin tank on the adds where they spawn. Melee hit the adds from the back while the ranged and healers stacked just behind the tank, which let everyone but the boss tank be in range of group heals, so nobody was in danger. We didn't have to move in this setup, as the adds don't have aoe or cleaves. Fight took about 6 minutes, with 7-10k dps per person. Saw no enrage timer, did not feel like we would fail once we sorted adds asignment out and have named it "Lootshipv2"".
This tells them what the plan was, why you chose it, roughly how close to being under/overgeared you were(by way of dps) and how entertaining it was. From this, they can compare to what they want the fight to involve - maybe the adds are meant to be enrage timer, and should be cc'd tanked while everyone dps's the boss. Maybe you're meant have to balance time on boss with time on adds more. Maybe this shouldn't be possible and a core skill isn't being triggered(bugged on transfer from internal to beta builds).
Tips for added awesome:
*- Take a screenshot of the area, use paint to draw the positioning with minimal notes. Humans are highly visual and tacticle based - a picture is worth more than a thousand words.
*- Include an attempt diary - go in blind, note what jumped out, any hints you saw, what confused you. Take screenshots if you can!
"Can't hold group threat like I used too. Dying too fast. Dk are easier. Quitting forever and kicking my dog."
Can't hold threat? Against what? Is is possible the dps aren't controlling their own threat? When do you die too fast? What did you do to try and combat it(maybe the spells or talents are bugged)? Why is the DK easier? Why is your dog responsible?
"Threat significantly down, having large issues holding against 2-3 separate burn targets, single is tighter but I maintain an average 20% above similar geared dps with a 3 second ramp up time, aoe threat is impossible without lucky grand crusader procs. Pulling with Av, using on cooldown with holy wrath and judgement as fillers, with cs/hotr taking second priority and 3stack shor on the burn target most important. AW is too long a cd for reliable group threat boosting, though I've had some success with a 3 stack word of glory. Large jump in damage vs 3+ targets, very hard to handle without cooldowns - most trash is painful in this respect. Boss threat is fine if I pull with av, glyphing focused shield works but only for about half a tier above me. "
Guess my spec! Seriously though, this level of feedback tells them what your doing, when, gives them variables to set in a sim(target numbers, cooldown statuses, gear levels) and probably most importantly, gives them situation the problem pops up in(Trigger happy dps on aoe pulls).
*~ Include spec choices! Hallowed ground is remarkably underwhelming - if you run that instead of reckoning, you loose a large amount of threat. By comparing your choices with other paladins, they can see common factors - if all the threat-issue having paladins have this setup, it's pretty obvious where the issue is.
*~ Make a wanted poster for specific mobs: Not only does this give an amusing chuckle, it allows them make sure it's not a bugged mob, or a specific group set up. If all tanks are getting wtfganked by a specific mob, chances are looking at the classes is the wrong angle.
*~ Only make one or two changes between tests: Occam's razor is a rule of thumb, that allows the tester to advance the test while introducing as few possibilities as possible - while this is time consuming, it's incredibly effective when it comes to finding answers.
"new potion system sucks! you have to use a potion to kee mana up! we'll go oom to fast. fix yer <murloc> blizz!"
This is bad for a couple of reasons - one is not only is it useless, it's abusive. Additionally, and this is hopefully obvious, that sort of glaring oversight would be easily fixed or recovered in some manner.
"I worry about the change. Obviously, they will ensure we don't go oom too fast without the potions, but while they're balancing or in the transition phase between expansions, it could lead to the content being so demanding we require overgearing to complete, or worse, it's simply impossible.â
This is pretty hard to top, really - it's concise, lays out the concerns and reasoning behind them out in an addressable manner, is non-abusive and provides the time frame so they can address specifics easily.
Okay, that's huge. Summary time:
How you feel(without comparing to other classes) and the choices you make are more important than the exact numbers. Concise and objective data is easier to understand, and more valuable. Don't try to design the game, just report on it.
Answer these with a scale of 1-10(1 is bad, 10 is good):
Did you enjoy the fight/playing the spec/running the instance?
What is the summary of the groups strat(for each significant challenge, trash or boss)?
What is a more detailed summary of your personal role within the group?
Did you feel tested, but not strained(A challenge sweet spot)?
Avoid asking feedback like:
It's too hard, buff/nerf me/them.
X class is better, they're the only option and I'll never get taken!
It sucks!(with no added detail)
I would of made this boss/challenge event instead...
Use paragraphs, grammar, numbers, pictures, logs and anything you can to make the point as clear as possible. Your goal isn't the design the game, it's to test it and tell them how close to the goal they are. If small changes often, complete reversals and, sometimes, completely impossible challenges upset or frustrate you to the point you are considering quitting, stop, have a shower and youTube baba yetu for a while(Also don't get a QA gig, trust me).
Most importantly, keep in mind great things take time, and there is no way the developers hate any aspect of this game - it's a baby to them, they want it to be as awesome as possible. Help them, don't abuse or hate them.
Look at the timestamps.
Edited by Monmonn on 11/6/12 10:26 AM (PST)
Oh of course. Ancientdemon this thread is from 2 years ago. Please do not necropost, it keeps actual new player questions off the front page. Not to mention you bumped it to say something completely pointless.