The Problem With 'Constructive Criticism.'

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I would really like more communication.

The less they say, the more I can't justify waiting for fixes, balancing, and new content (like Allied Races).

I'm not waiting a year for the possibility of stuff that should have been settled in the first month or two of release.
Listening to feedback means just that... listening to it. It does not involve actually doing every little thing demanded of them by this so-called "community".


When one of my customers sent me a letter, I didnt solve that issue right away.

I didnt do what they asked in some cases.....I. sent some of them on, some of them were issues we already knew about..but when they sent feedback or a complaint or an enquiry....I NEVER failed to acknowledge it.

We are asked for feedback and what do we get? Silence

it should be a surprise to absolutely no one that they aren't as communicative as people would like.


When the last CM response in a forum for an entire region is dated April 2017...thats not communication at all.
09/13/2018 06:47 AMPosted by Forums
09/13/2018 05:48 AMPosted by Almaqah
You very clearly didn't listen to feedback that players on beta were giving, or else live wouldn't be this insanely buggy mess.
No, it's not that they "clearly don't listen", it's the fact that these forums have a definition of "listen" that is worlds apart from the real one.

Listening to feedback means just that... listening to it. It does not involve actually doing every little thing demanded of them by this so-called "community".

There are many reasons why Blizzard may or may not make a specific change. And given the responses they get from people, it should be a surprise to absolutely no one that they aren't as communicative as people would like.

First there is the thread-hijacking that Cyouskin mentioned above. Then there are the attacks on the changes themselves. "You just hate {{class}}!" or "Horde Bias!" and other such infantile nonsense. And finally, there are the personal attacks "Ion's just a teenager...". Some charming individuals even had the nerve to send threats against a Blizzard employee over something in-game. And it wasn't the first time that threats have been made and Blizzard has offered security off-site to certain employees.

There certainly are a lot of BS threads on here, there's no denying that. They shouldn't bend over backwards and adjust every little thing, but there's a difference between those BS threads and the core issues. If you see threads on here and Reddit for weeks with a very high amount of upvotes, likes and comments, that should speak volumes about whatever the topic is, so while I agree with what you're saying, there are some issues that are driving people away right now that any sane studio would be focusing on if they got the same volume of responses, but that's just not happening here.
Beautifully written, OP. WoW can be so much better than it is right now and I want to see that happen.
09/13/2018 06:55 AMPosted by Luxanne
WoW can be so much better than it is right now and I want to see that happen.
The blue's would have to actually read feedback on the official forums first, no matter how negative it maybe. Feedback isn't going to be 'positive' and blindly obeying blizzards judgement as they've been wanting all feedback to be.
Heres the rub

Im going to use a sentence from an article I once read.

Working on things and not communicating with your customers is like winking at a pretty girl in the dark.

You know what you are doing.

Problem is: no one else does.

Half or more of the "anger" and "toxicity" of the forums can be sheeted home to one factor and one alone:

Pure and utter frustration.
09/13/2018 06:17 AMPosted by Cyouskin
Knowing that, BFA needed a few more months for development.


A few more months, its already been 1 month and they dont even realize theres a problem. Wait, JUST WAIT, for the next Q&A with Ion's smarmy face saying, "The positive feedback were getting about expeditions is really encouraging" And other word diarrhea...
09/13/2018 06:17 AMPosted by Cyouskin
09/13/2018 05:48 AMPosted by Almaqah
But you don't get 'constructive' criticism most of the time. Do you know why that is, fellas?

Because you don't communicate with us. You just... do things.

Of course, discussions with players should be a thing. Though, most conversations are derailed immediately -- "When are you going to address Shaman issues?" (while posting in a Priest thread). It's not a matter of ignoring a few off-topic players, it's a flood of useless comments similar to that.

Designers are very busy, so they can't just read every single post (I'm sure we agree on this). Every class discord has some sort of back-channel for theorycrafting where the best and most knowledgeable players can go hardcore into numbers and such. If Blizzard wants feedback, they go directly to that community these days (usually discord).

Normally, things are pretty good. Sometimes you get disagreements and those end with designer's choice. But the point is that Blizzard doesn't want to wade through a bunch of useless feedback. (And yes, most feedback is useless/bad.) Good feedback is never ignored. They don't act on everything, but they don't ignore it outright.

For what it's worth, I don't find it acceptable DPS Shaman and Shadow Priests "weren't finished in time for BFA." To me, that's insane for Blizzard to make that claim. Balance Druid was in that group for a while, and we salvaged the spec on the 11th hour. (I know they care, but it's really not as simple as "just fix it." Development takes time and iteration. It's just how it works.)

Knowing that, BFA needed a few more months for development. They keep trying to push for ridiculous launch schedules. "Cut your losses" is unavoidable and happens with every studio and company, sometimes you just need to move on. But knowing how some things work behind the scenes, BFA must have had some issues during development. (No specifics, but bugs going unfixed as long as they did is not normal.)


All through vanilla you would have conversations with Devs on the forums all the time. Especially Tigole on R&D. It was really fun watching and partaking in those as things moved to BC. Of course as the game grows it becomes harder as the player base expands and the Fans turn into true fanatics over any particular system.

Dev posting became something that was used as a weapon, though at this point we still saw Jeff Out there making videos about Overwatch. Still i remember hearing how bummed he was about the reaction to certain aspects.

BFA is fresh but the lack of communication thats coming from blizzard is astoundingly light. Now the lack of communication is going to do one thing and that is allow players to come up and propagate half backed ideas. Of course those ideas probably have no merit.

I get that blizzard is busy with the live team, content team, and whatever future expansion they are now starting to write up. Though i cant feel that the fear of talking to players is something that palpable from Developers at this point. It has almost turned into a zero sum game but leaving open for the players to write the narrative is not going to do anyone any favors.
There definitely seems to be a lot of complaints this expansion, more than I can remember in recent years. We're talking constant threads for several weeks. WoD was bad, but this expansion might just be worse when it comes to complaints of gating and bad design. It is surprising that the devs don't seem to overly care. They have these scripted statements when they go live, they avoid the most pressing issues or acknowledge them then force feed that their vision is so and such.

Constructive criticism sometimes leads to big, needed changes, at least for most other video games. Take Fortnite for example, the devs are very active on reddit and make changes based on the sheer quantity of complaints or suggestions they come across, but for WoW, that's simply not the case. One can say that it is the case, but it isn't and it's clear that a dev's vision supersedes everything else around here.

There have been some major, very thorough points made in recent weeks but I never see a blue acknowledge these points, even if there are hundreds of likes, even if reddit has a post mirroring a post on here, with hundreds if not thousands of upvotes.

World of Warcraft is in an extremely weird place these days. Each expansion the wheel is being reinvented, gating is more prevalent, almost exponentially so, in a blatant attempt to get people to sink more hours. Meanwhile other games are tailoring the experience so as the content is enjoyable so either way people are going to sink in a hell of a lot of hours. This game is doing the opposite in ways.

When it comes to bugs and issues, it's upsetting to hear that people from the beta warned Blizzard of many of these issues. It says a lot when even those trusted to scout out the issues and report them are being ignored to some degree.

The bolded part of this quote hits to the heart of it. Time metrics, etc--these are not something that need to be worried about if players are enjoying the content. If a player's loving the game, they will level their main. Then they will level their thirty alts as well [okay, slight exaggeration, but you get my point]. The fact that the time gating has become so blatant is evidence that the content is lacking--no one needs me to tell anyone that.

Make great content. Stick to making great content. And for pity's sake: if you are another middle-range company, for the love of IP don't partner with either Activision or EA Games. They will nickel-and-dime your franchise into the ground until it dies.
09/13/2018 06:17 AMPosted by Cyouskin
09/13/2018 05:48 AMPosted by Almaqah
But you don't get 'constructive' criticism most of the time. Do you know why that is, fellas?

Because you don't communicate with us. You just... do things.

Of course, discussions with players should be a thing. Though, most conversations are derailed immediately -- "When are you going to address Shaman issues?" (while posting in a Priest thread). It's not a matter of ignoring a few off-topic players, it's a flood of useless comments similar to that.

Designers are very busy, so they can't just read every single post (I'm sure we agree on this). Every class discord has some sort of back-channel for theorycrafting where the best and most knowledgeable players can go hardcore into numbers and such. If Blizzard wants feedback, they go directly to that community these days (usually discord).

Normally, things are pretty good. Sometimes you get disagreements and those end with designer's choice. But the point is that Blizzard doesn't want to wade through a bunch of useless feedback. (And yes, most feedback is useless/bad.) Good feedback is never ignored. They don't act on everything, but they don't ignore it outright.

For what it's worth, I don't find it acceptable DPS Shaman and Shadow Priests "weren't finished in time for BFA." To me, that's insane for Blizzard to make that claim. Balance Druid was in that group for a while, and we salvaged the spec on the 11th hour. (I know they care, but it's really not as simple as "just fix it." Development takes time and iteration. It's just how it works.)

Knowing that, BFA needed a few more months for development. They keep trying to push for ridiculous launch schedules. "Cut your losses" is unavoidable and happens with every studio and company, sometimes you just need to move on. But knowing how some things work behind the scenes, BFA must have had some issues during development. (No specifics, but bugs going unfixed as long as they did is not normal.)


You bring up some interesting points here that show the strength and weakness of Blizzards chosen avenues to take in feedback.

Concur that discussions that start about a single point get derailed almost immediately if a Blue posts hoping that the Blue will move over to the other players point.

Discord is an interesting topic and place to discuss things. As you identify though it is also a small percentage of the player population focused on almost pure numbers. To an extent I couldn't care less about numbers beyond wanting a certain amount of output balance, but I care a lot about playstyle thematics and synergies between classes. There really isn't a Discord, or other feedback mechanism for those topics, that I've been able to find other than the forums.

All of which ties into a bigger issue. Blizzard seems to have areas where they take in and respond to feedback on very narrow focus, small level subjects. What they don't seem to do is discuss their vision of the game as a whole and major systems and components. Granted it is much more difficult to describe those issues in a concise manner because they are broad and multi-faceted with impacts on almost every other system.

For example if a player wants to offer feedback and have discussion on why Blizzard has moved to a model where major game systems and reward structures are single expansion only, and not simply turned off but physically destroyed come the next expansion there really isn't a place to do so.

R,
Solaria
09/13/2018 06:42 AMPosted by Mvura
09/13/2018 05:48 AMPosted by Almaqah
Because you don't communicate with us. You just... do things.


Because the feedback isn't 'constructive' - i.e. its not useful. Its never been.

[/quote]

That's just an incredibly ignorant statement.
09/13/2018 06:17 AMPosted by Cyouskin
When are you going to address Shaman issues?
I like to know!
09/13/2018 06:35 AMPosted by Hellsçream
09/13/2018 06:17 AMPosted by Cyouskin
...
Good feedback is never ignored.


HAH


The problem with the statement that "good feedback is never ignored" is that we have absolutely NO reason to believe that to be true. Blizzard responds and communicates so infrequently that the members of GD and WoW at large have turned to spending their time attacking each other. It is only way to get a response or discourse. If Blue's don't really provide info. because they really don't have any, that is a failure on the part of Blizzard in communicating with their Blues.

The number of "issues" that have popped up that were pointed out in Beta but not acted upon gives me no reason to believe anything on the forum (constructive or not) is read or considered by the WoW team.

I don't care if the response is "just because they don't respond directly does not mean they don't review comments on the forum." I DO NOT BELIEVE IT. Blizzard has left me in a position where I am beginning to just not care. About the game, about the forum, about any of it. I am just ambivalent. And I am sad that I have gotten that way with it. I just don't believe Blizzard really cares, so I don't really care now.

Blah.
I agree with most of what you wrote, but in Blizzard's defense they DO deal with a lot of hysteria, aggression, and flat out bad suggestions. We need a way to prevent the unhelpful voices from speaking out and poisoning the well of discourse lol.
The entire Azerite system is an amalgam of GD talking points about Artifacts, Legendaries, Tier sets and the Netherlight Crucible.

In fact, it seems almost like Blizzard designed the Azerite system solely based on GD feedback, with like a list of clickbaity thread titles being the key points.

I made a quick list yesterday :

09/12/2018 04:23 PMPosted by Beraaht
- "Legendaries are too hard to get! Too necessary! No way to target them!". Boom, azerite gear is a known quantity, and where it drops is know.
- "Some legendaries are utility! Others are throughput! UNFAIR!". All Azerite gear is throughput and utility rolled into one.
- "Netherlight crucible can mean a BiS relic becomes awful!". Well Azerite gear is static. If a piece has a name, pieces with that name will always have the same traits.
- "AK is bad! Why do I need to research AK!". Well there you, automatic roll over every week.
- "AP tokens take up bag space!". Insta added to neck
- "AP grinding is tedious!". Levels so long with rewards so little outside of weekly/daily capped content, grinding is a waste of time, and people who did are barely ahead of those who didn't.


I can add quickly :

- "AP numbers are too big! What's 2.1 BILLION!". AP cost is reduced and while that requires to take away raw AP from your current level to balance and makes it seem like you're never leveling faster as the tokens always reward the same, there we go, 300 AP today, 300 AP in a year.
09/13/2018 06:17 AMPosted by Cyouskin
Designers are very busy, so they can't just read every single post (I'm sure we agree on this). Every class discord has some sort of back-channel for theorycrafting where the best and most knowledgeable players can go hardcore into numbers and such. If Blizzard wants feedback, they go directly to that community these days (usually discord).


You know that it's not just the classes that have issues, right?

Maybe that's the problem, the devs are so focused on the theorycrafters they just don't give half a turd about anything else, like ensuring features come out ready to play, ensuring whatever they transposed from Legion is updated and ready to work without glitches and bugs, ensuring world quests don't screw up with dungeons, and other stuff.

Honestly, your response is ridiculous considering the enormity of the scope encompassing the issues with BfA, man. Please tell your bosses that while they're sucking up to the theorycrafters, EVERYTHING ELSE is falling apart.

Just like we warned back in Alpha and Beta.
09/13/2018 06:17 AMPosted by Cyouskin
- "When are you going to address Shaman issues?" (while posting in a Priest thread).


Maybe that's because the Shaman threads were ignored? A super rare posting in a thread almost invites those who have had multiple,massive threads for their spec to try to reach an actual live person for some sort of response?
Very little feedback is constructive here.
09/13/2018 07:18 AMPosted by Dalles
Maybe that's because the Shaman threads were ignored? A super rare posting in a thread almost invites those who have had multiple,massive threads for their spec to try to reach an actual live person for some sort of response?

I feel you there, the same seems to have happened wrt my spec too. But that doesn't change the fact that tainting a spec-specific thread to draw attention to another spec isn't the right avenue. And doing so will likely only cause anyone who reads your post to gloss over it.
???

Most of the threads complaining about things are actually well written and calm. Blizz is making it seem like everyone is wielding torches and pitchforks.

But yeah, we're the villains.

Every single week BfA has gone through has had something break, or a new exploit discovered. Class balance is the worst it's ever been. All of the new 'content' feels extremely incomplete. You put too many eggs in the Mythic dungeon basket. No new PvP content at all, and no, War Mode does not count.

I'm just going to flat out say it: WoD, after it's initial week meltdown, is INFINITELY better than BfA. Cata is infinitely better than BfA.

This is easily, far and beyond, the worst expac released, and Blizzard's 'hand-off' approach is comical.

And it's certainly not our fault.

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