Wrote this on the Beta forums; reposting because I think it would be a great idea if it gained some traction. Provide some feedback, tweet it at someone, read it while you're on the shitter.
I have been thinking for awhile now that Blizzard would do really well to hire Class Specific Community Managers to work with the development team.
In fact there are a number of people who would do it for free, but don't let that confuse you. This should be a serious, in person job, with actual implications on the direction of design. At least as important as the in-house QA encounter testing teams.
Their job would include:
1.) Understanding the class at both a top end and a casual level.
This is more important than it sounds because it means you have to understand what concepts newer/casual players may not immediately grasp and what is important to both.
2.) Gathering consolidated feedback from the players.
Following forum discussions, both on the official forums and other popular mediums (MMO-C, Icy-Veins, SentryTotem), understanding trends; what players are doing, current direction of theorycrafting, and general thought process of players. What they do and don't like.
Designers simply do not have the time to do this on their own for each class.
3.) Relaying that information to the designers.
Having actual meaningful discussion with the designers on the direction of the class, what the community is/not happy with, enjoy/dislike and want to see more of. Keep in mind these guys should be top tier players, so they should have a deep understanding of the class and know what is actually important and what is hyperbole. Obviously this will take some determination as to what constitutes important enough to address, but it is fairly obvious that things like "I think Wild Strike should be off the GCD" is neither helpful nor an actual fix to the issues plaguing Fury at the moment.
4.) Relaying information to the class.
These representatives would answer questions, highlight issues and give feedback for the designers. Getting feedback from someone who actually plays the class is always better.
This would take significant pressure off of people like Celestalon who do everything themselves while juggling their own actual work (remember, tweeting is not Celestalons job, nor the job of any designer).
5.) Provide moderation on class forums.
Taking pressure off of CM's who obviously cannot patrol every forum by themselves.
6.) Ability to disassociate personal desires.
Everyone likes their class. Obviously some would worry about bias considering these people would be arguing for their class; but there needs to be some amount of perspective over what you personally like and what is good for game design.
Now, why is this important?
No offense to the designers. I've met them in person and I have great respect for them and the work they do, even if I don't agree with their decisions; but I also know they only play most classes long enough to make sure an ability works, then they are off to the next project.
They simply do not have the time to explore the more subtle effects, or the intimate understanding of what changes can do when put into practice (ie: PvE encounters/PvP).
World of Warcraft desperately needs someone who can sit down and argue for or against changes, and engage in constant dialogue with the player base. The designers don't have this interaction and no matter how good their intentions may be, they simply are not able to do this for every class and spec on their own.
I cannot imagine the amount of tweets that Celestalon, Holinka, Watcher, etc get every day. I know they don't have time to read them all, much less respond to them or keep up to date on the forums. The only way I know they'll hear something is if a website goes up and gets 50k unique hits in one day.
The biggest advantage is that this would give players someone specific to talk to. The players need to know who to communicate with and that their concerns will get read, and will be responded to.
Best of all, they know the person they are talking to has will know has similar experience with the class. They don't have to be prominent theorycrafters, but they should be experienced players; with the same qualifications that are sought after for QA analysts. They need to understand how things impact players not in theory but in practice.
This would heavily mitigate the amount of stress and distractions designers have to deal with, while giving the players someone specific to communicate with who understands their concerns and can consolidate feedback to make life better for all involved.
The key to Blizzard has always been passion and they have a steady supply sitting on their doorstep. Take advantage of it.
If that isn't worth minimum wage, I don't know what is.