Thoughts on replying to comments

Thinking with a cool head this morning, which is ironic since it is going up to 95 F today with a heat index of 105-110 F, that’s 35C with it feeling like 43C for those that chose not to fight the system like those of us in Murica. :p

One thing that Blizzard does well is try to communicate with their players. However it is a double edge sword, when you walk into town to talk to people, sometimes they will talk back. Some conversations may be positive and a great sharing of thoughts and ideas, and other times it is opening an angry hornets’ nest with villagers grabbing their torches and pitchforks ready to storm the Anaheim castle.

Greg Street took to twitter last night, you remember the crab, the man that promised us a pony, which was ironic too in that to do the job he did as well as he did, he really needed a thick shell for protection. Not many people could do the job he did with the level of hatred directed towards him on a daily basis. Getting the occasional compliment may help at times, but in the long run I feel he did a job that many of us would have run screaming from. But I digress, anyway he made a comment,

Greg Street ‏@OccupyGStreet

My point was that if players beat up devs for talking about things that change, the answer will be less talking, not no change.

 

And he is absolutely correct. I can only imagine what anyone in the development department has to sift through in the course of a day in addition to their normal job. I like to think that I am fairly skilled at skimming through comments, following 2000 people with 1400 followers on Twitter and managing a Facebook group with over 500 has given me some skill in browsing comments, but no way I could keep up with the general forums, let alone all of the others, I am sure there are thousands of comments made hourly, some funny, some insightful, many nasty, but to have to wade through that everyday would overwhelm many people. So when there is a reply from a Blue, to any subject it will immediately draw in a mob to see what has caught the attention of them. The one thing that GC did well was elaborate on a statement. If he said something, he was ready to come back to discuss and give more in depth reasoning and would address legitimate questions or comments. And I think for some that have stepped up to fill the shoes this is a crazy place. When GC started Twitter was not the big thing like it is today, especially with the WoW community, not only have we taken to this format, but also the Dev’s and it has given us access to them that feels more personal than posting on characters on the forums. GC had an opportunity to grow into the position, I am sure he had his fair share of forums aggravation, but there you have some power or control over what is said, and the power to lock topics that are not healthy discussions. Also you have the ability to be more in depth in your statements. Twitter is limiting in that you get 140 characters, and once you start adding people in to statements the answers become shorter and vaguer, not even looking at how sub tweets can branch out further and further until it is near impossible to track the original topic of conversation. So when brief comments are made in the forums or on Twitter we read them and immediately jump to conclusions to the ramifications. I myself have read something and thought of replying but I tend to go back and re-read the comment to make sure I have read it correctly. Many times it seems to be one statement, but looking closer at the wording and going back further to read the context the statement was in reply to can alter the meaning of what is said.

My advice for those any that may read this. Before you jump to conclusions about something you read and reply, go back and read it again sentence by sentence, look up to see what it is a reply too, find the context. Be happy that these people take time during their day working or after work on their own time, to shoot off a reply to a question, or give us a heads up to something coming or uncovered before they were prepared to talk about it. Be polite; think through your replies or questions back to them. Less

ZOMG IMMA QUIT WOW FUR REASONS CAUSE THIS IS GAME BREAKING GIVE ME WHAT I WANT NOT WHAT YOU THINK I NEED, STOP BREAKING MY CLASS, OH AND NERF ALL THE HUNTERS

Because yes, we are like that, a lot of the time. And if we continue to take that attitude then eventually we will not get comments or replies. Changes will be made to the game; our opinions good or bad will not be seen or acknowledged. We need to start discussing things rationally. An example. Removing the cash bonus guild perk, and the comment that it is not a large amount of income for a guild. I could have said OMG this will destroy my guild; we won’t have money to fund repairs, doom and gloom. Instead I took a look at our final weekly totals, and determined that at least for us it is around 30% of our weekly income or more if we do not max out guild challenges in a week. That is a significant amount, however for a guild ¼ the size of ours it may be 10% or less. It will be difficult for us to lose, but I am hopeful that giving accurate data and explaining our situation will hopefully enlighten them to potential issues with just reacting to a problem. I am sure we are the exception, not many guilds grow beyond a few hundred. We will adapt and survive. The key is to inform and enlighten those in the position to adjust decisions, not yell at them and call them names.

I would request of those from Blizzard that do make comments in reply to please bear with us, we have grown accustomed to reacting quickly to things said.  Like I am suggesting for us, I would ask of you also, take a moment to see what you are saying, it is great that you are, and we do appreciate it, but before you fire off a quick reply on your way to a meeting, take a second to look at what you are about to say, and be prepared to elaborate on it to clarify the reasoning.  We know we outnumber you thousands to one, please don’t feel like it is an all out assault on you personally, we do not have the benefit of knowing all that you do and the reasoning behind decisions that may have been discussed for weeks.

For those of us, the players, I guess in the end, would you talk to someone that was berating you for a comment made the way many of us do to them?

And for those Blues that interact with us everyday, thank you for tolerating us as well as you do, but please look past our hasty replies and explain to us the why behind something if it generates a big backlash.

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3 thoughts on “Thoughts on replying to comments

  1. (Putting this here as a warning) P.S. I can write a lot very easily. Sorry. This ended up as nearly a blog post of a reply, lol.

    Thanks for not involuntarily including my name there. But because this is a somewhat important and interesting subject, I’ll out myself. I was the one he was replying to.

    The first thing I want to get out of the way: I am not saying you thought I was one of those people that just blindly rage at devs. You never made a direct reference, and I actually doubt you even care about what I said on Twitter.
    I don’t want to be in the spotlight, and I won’t pretend I am in it. I’m just giving you even more perspective on what may have inspired you.

    Now then-

    To begin, I do sincerely believe this change of the expansion’s faction capitals is like none other that’s happened in previous Betas, and I do feel passionately about it. This isn’t some “nice to have” feature like Path of the Titans or Dance Studio.
    It’s much more important because this is something that pervades the entire game at max level, and so we’ll be constantly reminded of a very poor decision.
    i say “entire game” because for all intents and purposes the current expansion at a given time equals WoW for that expansion’s lifespan, and I do view each expansion like a different game.
    Anyway, the problem is that other cut or changed features had understandable and logical reasoning, but this current change has none of that. I could go into why it’s a poor decision, but this post will be long enough, and the subject is about communication.

    Now, Ghostcrawler has, of course, not been a Blizzard dev for a long time, so it’s expected he wouldn’t know the deeper details of what’s going on. I was trying to give him a summary. I wanted to show him what I think is the direction of the argument and the emotions people are feeling.
    I shouldn’t speak for people, but I think it’s too easy to be misled as to what’s infuriated people with just a cursory look because there are a lot of people flying off the handle in fear and rage without realizing what it is they’re upset about. I see now I may have made myself appear to be another one of those very people I’m denouncing.

    However, that brings us to Twitter itself. Oh god, do I hate Twitter, but that’s another rant. What’s relevant here is that trying to create a succinct package of thoughtful emotions that also is informative ranges from difficult to impossible. Twitter messages can be read so many different ways (as you noted), and that’s one reason the communication format is horrible. It’s like being choked while trying to talk.

    What it comes down to is this: I know I was being a little overdramatic, but I was trying to get across that this is not like just any other “Something changes in Beta; players get mad” thing. I’ve seen that countless times, and this is different. However, trying to get that across on Twitter was…a bad idea, heh.

    In general, yeah, beating up devs for every little change is ridiculous. When this change was first let out (Mumper likely didn’t think it would be that big of a deal), immediately someone started spamming Twitter replies, all saying roughly the same thing. No matter how bad something is, that is certainly not a good way in any format to talk with game devs.

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    1. I understand completely. And I am guilty of my own advice it seems about reading the prior context. I was not directing my comments at anything you had said prior, only at the statement he made

      if players beat up devs for talking about things that change, the answer will be less talking, not no change.

      My whole line of thought came from earlier when they were talking about merged auction houses, and how trying to read into what Watcher was really saying, Specifically the portion of their post.

      unified between factions on a given server

      A given server. Now so many immediately jumped in cheering yay!!! joint AH for all, but I tried looking deeper at the statement, because too often, especially recently they have pointed out, that’s not what we said. So I was running through possible meanings in my head and realized how quickly we seem to jump to conclusions and immediately take to the forums to cheer or condemn.

      I was not directing any of what I said at you. The faction capital thing I do see is a very passionate topic for many. For me it would have been interesting to see it in one of these restored cities, for some reason it is not something they are able to make work, be it some design issue, or their interpretation of how the story unfolds, or just their own internal testers saying it ended up being a piece of crap. In the end it was their call, however, they could have done a little better at explaining the why, I am sure, this was one of a long list of things they said they would like to do, heh, I recall saying prior to Mists release that I was excited about the possibility of raiding, and the news about flex made me feel this was something I could actually do current tier. In the reality of now, I don’t particularly like Siege. It is not grabbing me so I don’t raid that often. Possibly it was similar for the capitals, they looked at it and saw it did not make sense, or did not have the right feel to it. If they had delivered the capital, but it was crap, we would have been all over them for making a sloppy product, or that the lore did not support the way it looked, or that we had hoped for all of the Black Temple to be done and how dare they only give us a small portion of the city.

      They point out all the time that they will listen to sound statements using facts and details. They have an advantage over us when it comes to the story line since they are the ones writing the story. Who knows what will happen in the next few months of testing, maybe they will revert it back, maybe it will be something we get in a later patch after a huge victory. Expressing our disappointment is good. We just need to be civil and constructive.

      Thank you for replying. I hope what I just said made sense, its not even 7am yet here. 🙂

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  2. thought I would add this in relation to the faction capital part. Just something that comes to mind reading this comment of GC’s

    No, I’m serious. All designers have bad ideas. Good designers recognize them faster.

    And perhaps the capitals is such a case. A bad idea they recognize now at this point in development. They were full speed ahead up to a point and slammed on the breaks. Why they did we could probably both toss around ideas for days I am sure. End result something happened, and their call was to halt it. I can only speculate moving forward would have been a worse call, be it a delayed release, bad design, something. I believe someone from WoW Insider mentioned the quest chain feels wrong ending the way it does now, so obviously that all has to be re-worked too. So it is not something as simple that they just decided ok, we are not going to do this.

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