Are we choosing the right influencers

There was some hub bub the other day, apparently there were some major issues with the Raid testing on Alpha, which it does state in the notes, there may be problems.  And some people got very upset, and from what I understand made a few none to kind remarks.  One, from what I read someplace was considered an influencer because they had 30,000 subscribers.  And I guess that is a considerable amount.  Surprisingly, I have no clue who they are or what they stream, I presume on Twitch.  I don’t really pay much attention to Twitch.  It’s not what I consider watching when I want to read up on my class, or see how a raid fight works.  But I guess considering a number like 30,000 for one person, it must be a format many enjoy.

And I got to thinking, all of those notice’s I receive several times a day, @soNso has followed you, Oh, wow, they follow thousands of people, ok, I will follow back, which usually results in an automated Direct Message, “Hey, check out my Twitch stream and subscribe, KTHNX”.  Or something to the effect, which quickly gets an Unfollow from me.  But it’s like the old tale, a scammer sends out 10 million emails that you have won a million dollars, send me your personal information to collect.  If only 0.1% do, that is still 10,000 people.  So how many of those 30,000 are active viewers.  I cannot imagine what a Twitch stream chat box would look like with even 500 people online, let alone 30,000.

But is it just raw numbers that make them an Influencer?  Kylie Jenner has 15.3 million followers, and said to the effect people follow her to see what kind of make up she is wearing or her hairstyle of the day, obviously not WoW related, but if she played, would she be considered an influencer.  @FoxVanAllen with over 5500 people following was a huge influence in helping me learn to play Shadow surely he is an influencer?  I could cite quite a few other examples.  But you get the point.

I think we need to ask ourselves, what kind of influencers do we “Need” in Alpha testing, in Beta.  Obviously we need people that are focused on actually testing the systems, trying to break things, to put every aspect of the expansion through its paces.  But why should more value be put on a person that may have the skill to play to a high level, yet has no problem bashing issues with the game, putting down other players, be worth more than a person that is working to build a more friendly community, where helping others is a primary focus.

I’m not sure what point I am trying to make, or if there is some magic solution to how things appear to be in the Alpha testing.  To me, Alpha was always in a barely playable state, full of issues, requiring a great deal of testing on all fronts.  Even Beta is not perfect.  Playable, but requiring fine tuning.  Why so much information is out there, this early in development, is really odd to me.  Maybe a choice was made to try a different approach, maybe things have always been this way, and I am just noticing things more.  One thing for sure, to me at least, just because someone has a great deal of followers in any format, does not make them an influencer to me, if I have never heard of them. I follow people and interact with them, because of the way they treat others.  And how they are making an effort to improve the game.  Not just to be a personality because they fill a niche in playing a video game that appeals to a large group of people.


One thought on “Are we choosing the right influencers

  1. Yeah, I had a similar reaction over this little flap. Honestly, since I rarely follow Twitter on anything more than a weekly catch-up basis, and since I never spend time watching someone else streaming game play, I really did not even know about the “flap” until a couple of bloggers posted about it.

    You have an excellent point about who should be the game’s influencers. I believe in general Blizz does usually try to get many points of view from various types of players, but I also believe that they were trying an experiment with Legion alpha, and that we normal players will pay a price. That is, I think they weighted the testers too heavily with elite players (self-styled or otherwise), by letting the foundation of the expansion be shaped mainly by the 1% or less of the player base. For example, if you intend to make new raids accessible as end game play to non-pro players, why do you issue mass alpha invites to all successful Mythic teams? This sways comments on raid structure heavily towards making them more complex, making them require exquisite teamwork of the type not available to most 4-hr a week raiders, and so forth. Similarly, it can greatly influence early shaping of class and spec balancing to make it pleasing and useful to the elite player, but possibly cumbersome and clumsy to the regular player who may take weeks to level and many months to fill out spec talents and artifact trees.

    Similarly, by giving extensive and early access to the “influential” streamers, you are ensuring that your expansion will reflect the play styles of people who play 8-12 hours a day, not necessarily the ones who can only long on for an hour or two every couple of days. And since activities such as herb gathering, archaeology, and the like do not make for exciting viewing, very few if any of these privileged early testers will be motivated to explore these aspects of the expansion.

    I am trying to give Blizz the benefit of the doubt here, but I cannot escape the idea that their decision to do an extremely limited alpha prior to any kind of larger (we hope) beta was based not on ensuring useful feedback, but rather on helping the streamers to maintain revenue flow and giving the professional guilds plenty of time to figure out their world first strategies (and thus their profits via endorsements and the like) for Legion. And in the process, Blizz gets to keep a certain amount of buzz going on the new expansion while not having to put out much if any info themselves.

    Unfortunately, by the time we get to a beta, most of the foundation for every aspect of Legion will have been carved in stone, and it will have been done by an extremely small percentage of the player base. It most certainly will not have been optimized for the vast majority of players.

    Liked by 1 person

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