Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
How do you think players should provide feedback on games that’s useful for developers? Do you find player change suggestions useful, or should they focus more on explaining their problems instead?
So there is this (somewhat insulting) maxim that gets floated around that players are supposedly great at identifying problems and terrible at suggesting solutions. I don’t like repeating it, because it has this unhelpful implication that players are stupid.
Players aren’t stupid. They just don’t know the whole code base. I don’t know the whole code base. The tech director probably doesn’t know the whole code base.
Usually, the actual issue is that in software development, it’s often really hard for people not intimately familiar with a specific part of the code to predict how easy or hard an idea will be to implement. You get better at it of course, but I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years now, and I still get surprised when solution X takes 4 months to implement and nearly-identical solution Y takes 10 minutes.
Players are about as far removed from the code base as one can be, so often the solutions they come up with aren’t feasible, sometimes for very pedantic reasons.
There are other reasons the suggestion won’t work. Maybe it just feels wildly inconsistent to the rest of the game. Maybe it would cause a lot of bugs. Maybe it would be easy to exploit. Maybe it would cause weird player behavior.
So, yes, strictly speaking if you want to be as efficient as possible in your feedback, focus on explaining the problem. State the problem very clearly. Don’t assume the reader, even a dev, understands your shorthand. You might end up talking about two totally different things. Then state the consequences for the problem. That’s it. Suggestions on how to fix it are probably most useful as a way for us to reverse engineer what the specific problem is, but again, it’s more efficient just to state that clearly in the first place.
As an aside, I’ll risk making another sweeping generalization here and opine that player feedback is nearly always too long. There must be this other maxim somewhere that the length of a post is somehow proportional to the strength of the post, but that’s just not true in my experience. Players love bullets. Posts with lots of bullets get upvoted, as if the writer must certainly be an authority on a topic if they can come up with so many things that are busted or so many reasons why something being busted is bad. But longer isn’t automatically better. Longer is automatically less efficient however. You are probably burying your good stuff in a sea of words.
We are busy. You don’t want to make us digest a wall of text just to distill out the really critical information. You want to write like Hemingway: use just enough words to get your point across, and no more. (Source