Ghostcrawler commented several more times in the “Cheeseburger Dilemma” thread started by Otsego regarding hunter class changes and complexity.
- – -
Ghostcrawler: I think there are a couple of points here worth addressing that either came up since my initial post or I missed the first time.
I think part of what the OP is asking for is alternatives to the hunter (IIRC) rotation with fewer buttons. That’s a reasonable request. We tried in the talent trees overall to make sure there was always a passive option for every tier so you didn’t need a button. The level 60 tier has 2 active buttons and one that is somewhat reactionary, and the level 75 tier has 3 active buttons. We like the hunter tree overall and are unlikely to change it at this stage, but I think it’s a fair criticism for players who like fewer buttons.
Second, there is a lot of supposition that we somehow baited and switched players by changing the game. We have to change the game. Many of the rules and mechanics in vanilla wouldn’t be acceptable to players these days. So I think we’re just arguing about degree of change. Some warlocks are saying their class changed too much and some rogues are saying their class didn’t change enough. Those are all valid opinions and the kinds of things we try and take into consideration when we’re deciding on class changes going into an expansion.
I hope you take my word though that every change we make, even the ones that end up not working out again, are made because we are ultimately trying to make the game more fun for the players, and not because we’re bored designers trying to entertain ourselves by experimenting with your characters. We weigh every change. You still may not agree with them all, but I want to reassure you that they aren’t made on a whim, and nearly every one began with player feedback at some point.
Finally, it has been mentioned a few times in this thread that when most players feel a certain way, that the developers should absolutely take action. I’d generally agree with that statement. The main problem with that strategy is that we don’t really have any idea what most players want. (And no, you can’t just extrapolate that if 4 forum posters feel one way, then 400,000 non-posters must as well).
Instead, we fall back a lot on logic, common sense, professional experience and a lot of gut instinct. We do use a lot of ways to capture player feedback, and the forums are one of those tools. They’re good for pitching ideas or points of view, but bad for trying to figure out how many other players agree with you.
What happens nearly every time is some group of players advocates position A and another group advocates position B. What sometimes happens after that is the A players try to argue that they are smarter, more experienced, or more important players, therefore their opinion should count more. :) As you have all experienced, it can escalate into an argument quickly. We try to take both positions under advisement, consider what A or B would mean for the game, maybe try some things out internally, and eventually come to a conclusion. Sometimes we do A, sometimes B, sometimes nothing, and sometimes C. None of that means we ignore player feedback. It definitely does not mean that we ignore these massive groups of sensible players who are unified on a given position that is so self-evidently correct that we’re obviously derelict in our jobs for not implementing their changes immediately. Those scenarios just don’t exist. It would make our lives much easier perhaps if they did. [link]
- – -
Capstick, a hunter: Just my 2 copper here but in my opinion the problem is not the analogy so much as it always feels like anytime GC responds to any criticism over the years he consistently degrades the “way” you post be it bad analogy or “not constructive” etc. I may have missed a few posts over the years but he always seems to find a way to deflect from the intent of how a critical poster “feels” about an issue and rarely ever acknowledges that a critical post could have merit.
I do wholeheartedly agree with his sentiment that he wishes guides had more optimal rotations for the average players. Wonder why instead of wishing that, Blizzard doesn’t just make their own. The Blizzard class guides are basically worthless to anyone not day one new to the game.
At the end of the day for me it “feels” like the devs build the game for themselves rather than for “us”. That being said I think they make a great game overall and would probably be happier if I just quit reading all of GC’s condescending and adversarial posts. [link]
Ghostcrawler: I do that a lot because it’s in our (the developers’) best interests to have clear, concise and specific feedback. Improving the tone of the discussion pays far larger dividends to me personally that turning the forums into an ask the devs Q&A. I don’t personally (and neither does Blizzard as a company) have the bandwidth to answer even a fraction of the questions we receive. Therefore, trying to get the community to understand how to improve the efficiency of their messages can in turn improve the efficiency of our game design. [link]
- – -
Madcapmcgee, a rogue: [...] Sometimes C just doesn’t make sense. Literally, no sense. Example: What was the reason given for “homogenizing” Rogues? To paraphrase: “We wanted Rogues to feel like Rogues, and not have 30+ classes in the game to balance.” After which we see Monks with three separate specs, Druids with four (4!!!), and even a complete change to one of Warlocks. Sub was gutted, and Mut pretty well ravaged. [...] [link]
Ghostcrawler: In this specific case, it’s because rogues are a pure class with 3 DPS specs. If for example Combat had superior damage and Subtlety had superior control, then one is the PvE spec and one is the PvP spec and Assassination is probably dead. We thought the only reasonable way to let rogue spec be a choice was to share the utility and the damage, and make the spec choice about the way you do damage. Warlocks, mages, hunters and even the DPS specs of warriors and DKs follow a similar pattern. [link]
Madcapmcgee: I’m sure they must have statistical tools.
- How many people spec X v. Y v. Z?
- How many people use glyph A, B, C…?
- How many people talent D, E, F…?
- How many people use ability G, H, I…?
- In what parts of the game do they use A-Z?
- How do spec/glyph/talent choices and ability use correlate with time played in game?
I’ll bet it gets much more in depth. [link]
Ghostcrawler: Yes, we do all of that. I’d wager we collect more information than most players realize.
What it doesn’t provide us is context. Do more players spec X because the guides tell them to? Because X does higher damage? Because it’s harder to screw up the X rotation? Because X has prettier spells? Because X is more fun? Because they’ve just always played X?
Even more important, how much change would it take to get some players to go Y? How much change can we risk before everyone goes Y? We’ve caused that several times, and I hate it when that happens. It’s a failure on the part of me and my team when it does. [link]
- – -
Shylena, a priest: A question to consider: Is there any real evidence on Blizzard’s side that the majority want their chosen playstyle changed so much each and every expansion that they essentially have to relearn it? [...] [link]
Ghostcrawler: We can’t measure majorities for the reasons I mentioned above. Instead, we look at what players are complaining about, and try to evaluate the passion, legitimacy, and logic of what they say. To use just a few examples, players complained that warlock rotations were convoluted, that rogues had too many ramping mechanics, that rage was too boom or bust, that hunter minimum rage sucked, that mages had to be Frost for control, that totems were just group buffs with too many drawbacks, that Presences didn’t match spec, and so on. Those are just a few examples, and I know not every player agrees with them.
As I mentioned before, you also have the cases (I see this the most with rogue and maybe shaman) that while the rotations aren’t necessarily broken, the players are just tired of them and want something new. It’s very hard to balance “Give me something new” with “I like my character exactly as they are.” [link]
- – -