Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
since you've left, Greg, the devs have gone silent. It's like...idk...they don't think we're worth talking to.
I really doubt that is the case. It's more likely a policy thing not lack of motivation or desire. (OccupyGStreet
From what I've read you seem like a pretty cool dude. For those of us who don't know, could you fill us in on your past at Blizzard? Why all the hate on you?
I was the lead systems designer on WoW for several years. My team did class, item, encounter, combat, PvP, UI and really most things that weren't level or quest design.
Riot tries to encourage all Rioters to be out talking to players, but Blizzard had more of a spokesperson policy where very few of us were out there on forums or other social media. One big downside of the way that works is, for better or worse, you might be the one name players know, and they might project anything they like or don't like about the game onto you.
While I would say on the whole that players appreciated the attempts at communication, there were some who blamed me personally when their class was nerfed or they thought dungeons should be easier or they thought dungeons should be harder or... you get the idea.
It's a nuanced discussion because as a lead I am still fine with players wanting to call me out on things they don't like. I was and still am partially accountable for the design quality of the games I work on. So if you have a complaint, I am fine to hear it. Feedback is great. But that does *not* mean that I personally made every change myself. If I really nerfed your warrior because I was beat by a warrior the night before, then I would be a petty asshole and would deserve to lose my job.
The same is true of League. There is no way I would be able to ninja in a change to a champion that the team wasn't behind. I couldn't dumb the game down unless for some reason that was the direction Riot wanted to go. (Spoiler: it isn't.) I have opinions on things but it's not a company of dictators. We work collaboratively towards certain values.
But all that said, if you have a concern or complaint about the game, please let me know. I don't have context on everything going on but I can usually find the right person or team and make sure they hear the feedback.
Thanks for asking.
In your experience, what factors typically tend to dissuade or discourage game developers and companies from more open communication with players? Is this something playerbases in favour of communication can help to remedy?
There are - by far - three concerns that keep developers from communicating with players.
One is fear of saying something wrong. This could be accidentally leaking something or saying something that comes across as an insult. There ultimately isn't any real fix for this problem except experience. You can ask a coworker to proofread, but if the communication has to go through too many levels of editing and approval, then it's inefficient at really having a discussion with players.
Second is the fear of getting sucked into an endless conversation. This happens on forums and Reddit easily. Players are interested in having debates and asking additional questions, so a developer post that is intended to be quick and dirty ends up going back and forth and suddenly it's 2 AM, but if you try and pull out, you risk sending the message that you lost interest or don't care. This isn't as big an issue as the others.
The third is that it takes very thick skin. Players are mean. Period. You can argue that they have a right to treat devs however they want. But the truth of the matter is that a lot of developers do get chased out of the conversation because they can't stand the negativity and it makes them hate their job. I have been doing this a very long time, so it doesn't affect me, but I know it affects a lot of the people I work with now or in the past. I've had bosses that told me directly "Don't read forums," because they know what a productivity hit it can be to get torn down all the time. (I didn't listen to them, but people do.)
As far as what players can do, it's pretty obvious. Don't be toxic. When someone is there to have a conversation with you, have a conversation. You don't have to be a white knight. But it does help to be professional. If you have a disagreement with someone at work or school or with a friend, you are probably equipped with conflict resolution skills that help you handle those situations without creating a permanent enemy. Use those skills online. Don't view forums etc. as your personal venting space (again, if your desire is to have developers participate in the conversation). Don't take things out of context. Don't mock them. It's fine to be passionate, upset or angry, but you can convey that without name calling.
Again, I'm not telling anyone how to act. I'm offering suggestions for how to act if your desire is to see more game developers (from any company) talking to players in a way that doesn't come across as uber-polished marketing speak.
I know you don't like talking about wow but I feel you always have good answers. Honest opinion on Legion :P?
Looks great to me. I like how they are being adventurous with classes and items. (OccupyGStreet
Artifact weapon in legion, AWESOME! or Meh? Also, is that a recycled Path of the Titans that comes with the Artifact weapon (Trait Tree)?
Seems cool to me. I don't know how consciously the team chose to follow the Paths of the Titans design, but I agree that the intent seems similar. I'm glad for it to see the light of day in a situation where players can really experience it as a fully-developed feature.
What do you think about the new Honor system for Legion? If I remember right, you we're kind of against splitting ability for PvP and PvE.
*I* was not against it. Blizzard was against it, and it appears they have pivoted on that philosophy at least to some extent. The PvE and PvP had already diverged pretty significantly with regards to gear, trinkets especially, and some PvE abilities that just didn't work on players or did less damage.