We’re making some significant changes to many specializations in Patch 7.1.5, and this has understandably resulted in some concern and confusion, particularly from players who may be less familiar with our PTR and development processes. So, we’d like to take a moment to explain what’s going on and how it pertains to what you’re seeing (or haven’t yet seen) on the PTR.
For a long time, especially during Pandaria and Warlords, my biggest single complaint over how ActiBlizz did their business was wrapped around how change was communicated to players. There’s been a long term and systematic attempt during the last 18 months to not only clarify the processes behind game construction, but demystify what exactly the people behind the curtains are doing at any given time. What is now apparent is that the company are beginning to understand that if you want less people to react, there needs to be explanation in place to assuage them. Hence, we have a Blue Post here to remind people that however much they may think the sky is falling, everything is under control.
There will be those reading this however who will be wondering why such wholesale change is even required at this point in proceedings. After all, did people not give extensive feedback in Alpha over what worked and didn’t? Did the designers simply not grasp the issues at play? This is a good point, over your morning coffee and french pastry of choice, to pull out the wisdom of a few years watching process, and explain a few things about design from a player viewpoint that some of you seem to forget, every single time this happens. Also, everybody loves a list, I’m sick, and this is easy.
- You Don’t See Everything Going On
I know you said your spec was broken back in Alpha, and then I remember the 325 Tweets you made that same day explaining EXACTLY what was wrong. Remember when I told you the best way to communicate that was either a Blog or Forum post? Even Storify would have been a better bet, because the Devs cant read every piece of feedback unless it’s in a place they normally frequent. However, your religious zeal over making the point is only part of an enormous picture that, unless you play every class, you’ll never understand. Balance isn’t just about your concerns, it is EVERYTHING WORKING TOGETHER, and believe it or not that is not a five minute task.
2. The Designers have a right to Design, THEIR WAY.
This is quite important and is overlooked every single time class balance becomes an issue. Would you tell a bus driver the best route, a chef how to cook a better signature dish, or a writer what they should write for their story? No. You accept that when people ‘make’ or ‘do’ certain things, that’s their decision and not yours. So when these guys decide to create ‘class fantasy’ and add abilities to match that, they won’t initially change their game plan until there’s enough game data to support that. The fact that every single Hunter complained about losing traps for utility was enough of an indicator to the Devs that they screwed that up, but we will need a second paragraph to explain why that wasn’t changed during Alpha.
Amazingly, even with ‘the right people’ testing before a product goes live, the only way the Devs will know they called it wrong is when the whole game suffers, or everyone complains. The fact that Hunter complaints seem to have gone unheard until a week before launch doesn’t mean your perception was at fault, and it also doesn’t necessarily mean the Devs bottled it either. What we outside don’t know is what the priorities were internally, and if they missed this? It happens. If you’ve never been on the inside of a project and not grasped that sometimes, you just miss shit, you’ll never understand. When you have a plan, inevitably there’s summat that just gets overlooked. Everybody fucks up.
3. Making stuff takes TIME.
You honestly think this stuff makes itself? Oh yeah, if they’d have designed it your way to begin with, none of this would have happened. If we could just look past that for a second and be realistic? Getting here took and requires further time and effort. You don’t just lift two blokes overnight, come on. That takes application, focus and dedication, but it’s the time thing that remains most important. You want to know ActiBlizz are working on change, and you need to see it, and then complain when it turns up on the PTR that it’s not what you want and it’s not fast enough, so they show you EXACTLY how they’re approaching the process and YOU CAN SHUT THE FUCK UP NOW. I don’t care that it’s your Twitter, give the guys a break, just go and do something, anything else and JUST WAIT FOR THEM TO SORT IT OUT.
I know how frustrating it is for those people who believe that Blizzard fucked their class. I watch angsty exit post after exit video. I listen to people complain sometimes for years afterwards that their enjoyment was destroyed because someone else made their spec bad. This is your scheduled reminder that you’re the problem, not the designers. They’re not here to keep you happy, but to try and allow as many people as possible an enjoyable play experience. Once you accept that? You’ll be amazed at how much easier so much of the rest of your life will get.
I know, you’re not listening. That’s fine.