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  1. #1
    Pandaren Monk Archimtiros's Avatar
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    Class specific Community Managers

    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.
    http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/to...08086?page=1#0
    -------------------------


    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.

  2. #2
    Mechagnome Ashtwo's Avatar
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    No.1 is crucial to this working, they have to have an understanding not only of PvP but PvE as well.


    I think this is a good idea, sorta like a glorified MvP on the official forums but... A real job. I like how you used the word community because it implies this person would spend a lot of time communicating with players and in all honesty would be a gateaway between players such as yourself, Collision and the other theorycrafters as well as the guys on other websites like IV and EJ (although EJ is a bit of a circle jerk...).

    Having someone with enough understanding of the class to be able to pick out the important shit from the playerbase and be able to relay it in a formal and descriptive manner would be almost crucial to every single beta and patch.



    +100

  3. #3
    I like the idea Arch, but I foresee one big issue. With a person dedicated to just one class, it's very easy to miss the big picture. The result could very well end up being 10 people arguing against eachother for specific improvements on their class. Ultimatly this could lead to classes being designed good/bad depending on this community managers ability to sell his ideas to the developers.

    I'm not saying it won't work, but its a dangerous system to implement. These people still need a very good understanding of the overall picture, the game and how the classes compare to eachother.

  4. #4
    Just because you specialize in a specific class doesn't mean you would necessarily be oblivious to the others.

    I say demote Celestalon to Custodian/Janitorial Services and implement Arch's idea.

  5. #5
    I can see one of two things happening in the long run.

    a) Way to much effort invested for way too little results, or

    b) things going utterly haywire as a result of putting together a multitude of different designs philosophies that aren't made for that.

    It's a nice dream but as most of those it's not practically doable.
    Last edited by The Kao; 2014-08-12 at 03:38 PM.
    There are too many design flaws in your game. As a result, your customers' game experience may be degraded. Fire or replace the failing developers if you don't want to see this message again.

  6. #6
    Ideally this would be great, but the burden would be way too heavy for one person to bear. Only a fraction of players truly deserve to have their feedback heard by the higher ups, yet the public forums are filled with pointless garbage posted by unreasonably angry players who are only interested in sharing the complaint part of feedback.

    If a handful of qualified pre approved players could report directly to an official class overlord and discuss things among each other on some kind of MVP forum, quality of life improvements could be put into motion at a much faster rate than they are now.
    Last edited by Strafir; 2014-08-12 at 04:11 PM.

  7. #7
    Field Marshal Nitromonger's Avatar
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    It's been a bit since I've been really active in SWTOR, but they have or had something similar to this. The class reps primary function was to serve as an official voice between Devs and the playerbase. I can't remember exactly the process but I think there was an application process and then player voting to determine the reps. It seemed like a good idea and likely helped the Devs sift through the voices/concerns. It would be a job someone passionate about their class would likely love to have. Solid suggestion in my opinion.

  8. #8
    Stood in the Fire Eranthe's Avatar
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    i suggested this a while back and got no answer. maybe it's because of the volume of suggestions they're getting but either way, all we can do is keep giving feedback and hoping they take it into consideration.


    If you want to talk to me about wow theorycrafting or anything really: Eranthe#1639

  9. #9
    Pandaren Monk Archimtiros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eranthe View Post


    i suggested this a while back and got no answer. maybe it's because of the volume of suggestions they're getting but either way, all we can do is keep giving feedback and hoping they take it into consideration.
    I wouldn't bother with that kind of feedback at Celestalon, I'd talk to someone with a little more seniority.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Strafir View Post
    Ideally this would be great, but the burden would be way too heavy for one person to bear. Only a fraction of players truly deserve to have their feedback heard by the higher ups, yet the public forums are filled with pointless garbage posted by unreasonably angry players who are only interested in sharing the complaint part of feedback.
    Don't get me wrong, I understand completely. I also understand this would never happen because it isn't a financial requirement or gain for the company; doesn't mean I can't fantasize.

    Though yes, perfect world, this kind of job would require oversight and a "heavy hand on the tiller" so to speak, mainly in the form of the class designer that plays overlord.

    If a handful of qualified pre approved players could report directly to an official class overlord and discuss things among each other on some kind of MVP forum, quality of life improvements could be put into motion at a much faster rate than they are now.
    Unfortunately they've already tried this and it is a failure. There are forums that fill this role but most of the players involved do not contribute and the ones who do often don't have their ideas heard, much less implemented. I am not part of them, and I don't know what kind of prerequisite there are, but I know enough to say for certainty that they are not as effective as they should be. Whether this is the fault of the players involved or the designer; I can't say.

    Edit: I should clarify. The reason I count it as a failure is because nobody can see it. We all know that class development is influenced by players, but the development team likes to hide it; because they are afraid that if players are seen influencing the game, they will take that to mean that players make all the decision and it doesn't have to be such an extreme.

    Instead of hiding player and designer collaboration, they should embrace it fully and turn it into a complete collaboration. This doesn't mean players make the decisions; it simply means that players get a voice, that voice is recognized and heard, the ideas are consolidated and decided upon by designers. The designers still have the final call, because they get the direction from their higher ups and they have the vision of where classes should be, how they should work.

    This kind of interaction is is good for everyone involved.
    Last edited by Archimtiros; 2014-08-13 at 08:53 AM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Archimtiros View Post
    Unfortunately they've already tried this and it is a failure. There are forums that fill this role but most of the players involved do not contribute and the ones who do often don't have their ideas heard, much less implemented. I am not part of them, and I don't know what kind of prerequisite there are, but I know enough to say for certainty that they are not as effective as they should be. Whether this is the fault of the players involved or the designer; I can't say.
    Isn't the current iteration of forum MVPs more like subforum moderators rather than links between devs and the common man? And aren't they recruited for making whitty forum posts/being active in general, rather than get suggested or granted access for giving valuable feedback and data?

    I wholeheartedly agree that you should dream big when it comes to stuff like this. Blizzard is like google and if there's a company that has the resources to establish some new age user-dev-user style of making games, it's them. Increasing communications between professionals (people that work for blizzard) and regular old mouth breathers is that you have to be overly polite and reasonable with people that have borderline retarded ideas because your livelihood depends on it and it makes the company look bad, but an outside part like you for example could be stone cold and stop the problem at its roots rather than have to deal with gradually over time. It may be a little harsh, but anyone who has worked with stuff like this knows how much more you could have gotten done if you could tell that certain someone to go fuck themselves and hang up (lol).

    This should work well as a trainee program for future developers who have a knack for making sense of numbers and creating functioning abilities from vague ideas.
    Last edited by Strafir; 2014-08-13 at 12:05 PM.

  11. #11
    Pandaren Monk Archimtiros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strafir View Post
    Isn't the current iteration of forum MVPs more like subforum moderators rather than links between devs and the common man? And aren't they recruited for making whitty forum posts/being active in general, rather than get suggested or granted access for giving valuable feedback and data?

    I wholeheartedly agree that you should dream big when it comes to stuff like this. Blizzard is like google and if there's a company that has the resources to establish some new age user-dev-user style of making games, it's them. Increasing communications between professionals (people that work for blizzard) and regular old mouth breathers is that you have to be overly polite and reasonable with people that have borderline retarded ideas because your livelihood depends on it and it makes the company look bad, but an outside part like you for example could be stone cold and stop the problem at its roots rather than have to deal with gradually over time. It may be a little harsh, but anyone who has worked with stuff like this knows how much more you could have gotten done if you could tell that certain someone to go fuck themselves and hang up (lol).

    This should work well as a trainee program for future developers who have a knack for making sense of numbers and creating functioning abilities from vague ideas.
    I didn't mean MVPs, I meant the development forums which are intended as a link between top players and the designers.

    The MVP is nothing more than a system to show random players that the poster isn't a random troll and is a "respected and intelligent" member of the community, they have exactly zero feedback on development.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Arbiter View Post
    Just because you specialize in a specific class doesn't mean you would necessarily be oblivious to the others.

    I say demote Celestalon to Custodian/Janitorial Services and implement Arch's idea.
    Celestalon is a programmer, not a community manager. He's not even a class designer, team lead, or anything like that.


    On one hand, It isn't a bad idea, they sort of used to do this in vanilla. The problem was that pinning a face to the woes of a class quickly became antagonistic, and for example the shaman community essentially threw Tseric out the door.

    The community seems to have this habit of making a mountain out of a molehill, and generally like to paint the community team in a negative light whenever they try to help; Like your (frankly irrational) hatred for Celestalon.

  13. #13
    Stood in the Fire Eranthe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackblade View Post
    Celestalon is a programmer, not a community manager. He's not even a class designer, team lead, or anything like that.


    On one hand, It isn't a bad idea, they sort of used to do this in vanilla. The problem was that pinning a face to the woes of a class quickly became antagonistic, and for example the shaman community essentially threw Tseric out the door.

    The community seems to have this habit of making a mountain out of a molehill, and generally like to paint the community team in a negative light whenever they try to help; Like your (frankly irrational) hatred for Celestalon.
    our dislike of celestalon is warranted. he took the time to tell us to at least give wild strike a try before we bash it. so we did, and when we still hated it, he ignored out feedback (and still is) in every public forum. additionally, the 1 guy i've ever seen giving positive feedback on wild strike gets retweeted. the guy only gives attention to people that happen to agree with him.


    If you want to talk to me about wow theorycrafting or anything really: Eranthe#1639

  14. #14
    In a bubble I think the retweet was just a harmless jab at us to be honest, I don't mind the idea of community interaction not always being 100% sterile shop talk and I think it's fine to a degree to get snippy with people who are coming at you the same way. That said, it was a jab I might have appreciated more if he had a back and forth with our community that wasn't mostly negative. Or more accurately lately, if he'd even had a back and forth period. He hasn't necessarily bought himself a lot of leeway for people to have a chuckle when that problem and a dozen others still remain unacknowledged.

    Or he could just legitimately think they're on the right track with that ability. It's not like the beta builds are rushing to disprove that angle.

  15. #15
    I would go a step further and say they need to hire a lead Dev for each class.

    I think some of Blizzards most boneheaded designs are a result of too much group-think. Too many chefs. There needs to be one person who has an overall idea of what all the decisions add up to. The buck doesn't stop anywhere. Everything is everyones job.

  16. #16
    Pandaren Monk Archimtiros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackblade View Post
    Celestalon is a programmer, not a community manager. He's not even a class designer, team lead, or anything like that.


    On one hand, It isn't a bad idea, they sort of used to do this in vanilla. The problem was that pinning a face to the woes of a class quickly became antagonistic, and for example the shaman community essentially threw Tseric out the door.

    The community seems to have this habit of making a mountain out of a molehill, and generally like to paint the community team in a negative light whenever they try to help; Like your (frankly irrational) hatred for Celestalon.
    Celestalon has a programming background but his job is class design, specifically his job is balancing though the entire class development team has a hand in it.

    I know they did it back in Vanilla, but it was poorly handled, also at the time we had much less balance and well.. design, than we have now; so I think revisiting the idea would be warranted.

    Another part of it would be that those managers should be competent players as well, which historically they have not been. One of the biggest problems when this was tried before is that the Managers didnt play and were not in tune with the communities feedback.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by blackblade View Post
    Celestalon is a programmer, not a community manager. He's not even a class designer, team lead, or anything like that.


    On one hand, It isn't a bad idea, they sort of used to do this in vanilla. The problem was that pinning a face to the woes of a class quickly became antagonistic, and for example the shaman community essentially threw Tseric out the door.

    The community seems to have this habit of making a mountain out of a molehill, and generally like to paint the community team in a negative light whenever they try to help; Like your (frankly irrational) hatred for Celestalon.

    I think you meant to say Threw him Under the BUS(shock)

  18. #18
    A good idea, but unlikely because money.

    That would be 11 extra people on staff at (the very least) $7.25 an hour, 40 hours a week, for a grand total of an extra $12,760 being allotted to payroll costs every single month, or $153,120 a year.

    Yeah, yeah, they're rolling in dough or whatever people will counter with, but they have no incentive to do that other than the fact that it sounds like a good idea :/

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Earthbound View Post
    ...but they have no incentive to do that other than the fact that it sounds like a good idea :/
    losing a million subs every year sounds like a good incentive, imo
    Don't make funny of me, If you don't understand what I said.
    I'm just a guy with poor studies, that don't have english as first language

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Diograo View Post
    losing a million subs every year sounds like a good incentive, imo
    This won't help much though. Only a handful of players actually read developer twitter/forum posts, and even fewer go into dialog with the Blizzard team. A system like this would affact (satisfy?) a very small fraction of players, atleast until the point where they make some unpopular decision and the whole community blames them (and bring out the pitchforks)

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