Monday, 17 August 2009

Frustrations with the Developers

At what point does community feedback sink in? When is the tipping point where the Blizzard developers go “Okay, I can see the point these guys are making, let’s take a look into it”? I am understanding of limitations of the development team to cater to everyone playing every class at every skill and gear level, but there has to be enough of a movement to prick up some ears at the Blizzard HQ at a certain threshold.

There is a reason I bring this up. Recently there was a post by everyone’s favourite designer, Ghostcrawler, which grazed a nerve for me (the post I refer to can be found here). Now, this was not aimed at elemental shaman by any stretch. It is a general message posted in the Damage Dealing forums as a ‘sign-on-the-wall’ style notice to let everyone know that being annoying and kicking up enough dirt is not going to get Blizzard to succumb.

I took particular aversion to this because I believe that, for the most part, us elemental shaman have done most everything right. Obviously, like every other spec in this game, there are those who act inappropriately and think that they deserve something bestowed on them for whatever reason. Some classes/specs (*cough* mages *cough*) more than others, but it is certainly present to some extent across the board. However, for the most part we have been very cooperative with the manner we have conducted our complaints in. My particular focus fell on this paragraph:

"Here is how the process should ideally work: If you have an issue, bring it up. See if other players agree with you. If they disagree, don't shut them out. Once you've explored the issue a little bit, you've done your job. You don't need to keep starting new topics on the same issue nor bumping those already so long that no reasonable person is going to read them (though I try to)."

There are some genuinely great players that have put forward well constructed, technically sound ideas about changes that can be made to our spec. I will not name these people for the fear of retribution from the ones I will inevitably forget to name, but those who frequent the official forums on a regular basis are familiar with them and their work. These ideas have been presented to the community. They have been agreed upon, as a general consensus. They have been analyzed, debated over, tweaked and finalized until they are a polished suggestion that, if instituted, could genuinely improve our class.

And they are ignored.

Now, this claim may be a bit unfair. I cannot claim that Blizz ‘ignored’ them. The developers may have read them and even given some consideration. However, Blizzard has chosen not to respond to them. Not even acknowledge them for the most part. The latest patch with our grand total of zero spec specific changes proved that pretty boldly.

I am aware that elemental is not the biggest spec around. I am aware that we do not hold a lot of weight in the grand scheme of WoW, simply because our population just isn't there. We are a small, relatively menial class. The “forgotten casters”. But does that really justify us being the hotfix junkies? Because we aren’t popular we can't earn a dynamic change?

Our DPS by comparison is slipping at the cutting-edge levels, our population is declining and there are still no changes in sight. Magma totem is still our viable AoE. Totem of Wrath is still our unique selling point. We are still the only caster with absolutely no scaling ability from our base stats. Our itemization is still laughable.

The shaman forums are a barren land in regards to blue activity. To the developer’s defence, they have stated they will not post in class forums for the most part. That said, even our Damage Dealing forum posts are without blue contributions. It has been 6 months since GC’s posts here and here. This is a thread where GC’s first post commends the quality of the thread; (I quote) “We could use many more posts like this in this forum. Thanks!” and he himself goes on to agree with and list these issues which even back then had been known for a long time. His appreciation? Yes. Actively following up on his points and answering to the community? Still patiently waiting.

Ghostcrawler needs to stop lecturing on how he ‘ideally’ wants us to contribute. Instead, start commending those who are doing the right thing and actively contributing. If not, there hardly seems inclination to do otherwise. The proof is staring right at them and has been for a long time.


Edit: As a follow up, I would like to draw attention to this thread that is currently active in the DD forums. GC has given this thread recognition by posting in it (twice), and in the second post he says "Good data make stronger argument than opinions or anecdotal observation..." when discussing how to make an impact in the community. Funny, coming from a thread that starts with an intellectual gem like this.


  1. /Agree

    Gettings really tired of no love and no changes.

    Really tired of it, however we are stuck at the mercy of these guys, and they obviously don't think there is anything wrong with us :(

    -Schmylie of Nocturnal (Aman'Thul)

  2. now now its not all bad. Ele is a good hybrid dps class. In recent patchwerk test by premonition (I am not sure if you have seen them) ele performed closely to its counterparts (boomkin, spriest).

    But I do agree that we need some changes . My biggest problem is how we dont have aoe spells. Sure you can use magma but that is a bigger dps loss raidwide. ToW should be a water or earth totem or something.
    "Magma totem is our best single/multiple mob dps totem"
    How lazy is blizz atleast make searing totem better. This just shows that they just dont care about ele.

  3. /disagree

    I really hate all the people who think they're entitled to a blue post on every thread they create.

    Also, the blatant contradictions and steps back you make in your post are abhorrant. "They simply get ignored. Well, that claim may be unfair." THAT'S PROPAGANDA.

    Put yourself in GCs shoes. Do you have the answers to all the QQ posts on the Damage Dealing forums? All the class forums? All the general forums? All the Dungeon Forums? All the PvP forums? You don't? Then if you were GC, why would you post on them all? Why would you expect to get a response, even if there were good-hearted intelligent discussion, instead of flamewars?

    I shake my head every time somebody makes a post entitled 'GC look here!' or 'Blizz help we're broken!' You talk like if a blue touches your post it turns it to gold. It just turns it into a guaranteed 11-pager.

  4. I respect that you disagree with my opinions on the matter. However, I do not think you understood the point I was making.

    I do not agree with those who simply "fish for blues". It doesn't get anything achieved. The point I was making is that there have been many, many good threads with solid discussion that have received no recognition where I (and others) feel it is due.

    I am not instilling propaganda. I make a statement like the one you quote because these quality discussion threads (I refer to one in the links included in the post) which GC himself commends are then not followed up on. I felt I made that clear in the explanation. I was aware of how I structured the post, and do not feel like I am contradicting myself. Just using a literary styling to portray my point more sufficiently.

    I am not asking for GC to post on them all. I am not asking him to commend those 'GC, look at me!' threads. I am asking him to give more credit to the well thought out posts that follow his new 'blueprint' for a good thread, and to also follow up on threads he has commented on with some actions. If he did actively follow up on quality threads and continued to ignore QQ, then we would see a shift to more of those quality threads because we would be safe in the knowledge that quality=recognition. At the moment that is not the case.

  5. NOTE: I have recently made an edit to help further explain my point. It highlights the kind of threads that get GC attention; the ones I have a problem with.

  6. (me again)

    Noted. If GC were to take the stance to applaud good posts then perhaps everyone would be more inclined to make them. But that's not his MO.

    "And they are ignored.

    Now, this claim may be a bit unfair. I cannot claim that Blizz ‘ignored’ them."

    BUT THATS WHAT YOU JUST SAID. It's propaganda because you're propping up your agenda to get GC to post on everything, even though you recognize it's an incorrect assessment of what the devs are doing.

    I'll quote GC from the same post you quoted.

    "Complaining about which threads Blizzard posters respond to will likely result in your post being deleted and the poster being banned. Sorry to be so negative but there is just too much of this going on.

    Hint: discuss class mechanics, not Blizzard mechanics."

    It's not GC's job to police the forums, even to the effect of giving good forum posters a pat on the back, or bad ones a slap on the wrists. He does it occassionally, with examples like you gave or the more recent quoting and banning.

    The forums are for player-to-player discussion, not player-to-developer discussion.

  7. Thankyou for returning, I appreciate you following up.

    You are taking it far too literally. The paragraph where I say I cannot claim that I continue to say they have given us no response to our valid postings. THIS is why I claim it is being ignored. They are ignoring it in that they are doing nothing to acknowledge the work the community is doing. That is not propaganda. It is not false information or lies. They did not make a SINGLE spec specific change in the last patch, and therefore I consider it ignoring the community's work.

    I agree with you that it is not GC's job to police. I do NOT agree that the forums are ONLY for player-to-player discussion, otherwise none of the Blizz developers would have forum posting accounts. GC would not exist. He certainly has a role to relate to the players to some extent, and my issue is that he is not doing that in relation to our spec.

  8. Likewise on the followup.
    I understand your PoV better now. The only thing I could stress or counter to Blizzard's favor on the topic of ele shamans is that:
    a) We're certainly not unplayable or unviable now(remember 3.0 at 80?), although we may be straggling.
    b) Blizzard has priorities when making changes in major patches, so a ton of changes went into the new raid, more into the new pvp changes and the new BG, more into druid forms, more into fixing (or trying to fix) the instance servers, wintergrasp changes, Paladin changes, etc etc. GC has stated our long term goals and diligently bulleted the most commonly stated problems with Elems. They'll get to them.

  9. I agree with you, for the most part. I think I just needed a good QQ post because I am sick of seeing rogues and druids getting all the attention and us hanging on to 6 month old promises.

    I do agree that we are viable at the moment. We are slowly slipping away though, and I get the looming feeling that when the time comes that we have fallen notably behind and they decide they have to boost us they may just slap on another boost to Lightning Overload or another hotfix buff and forget about all this good stuff the community is producing.

    I appreciate you reading and being willing to disagree and argue about it a bit without trolling. Keeps things fun.

  10. Bravo gentlemen. Bravo. Point - counterpoint - point - counterpoint - and all without reducing yourselves to angry flamers. I found this Blog a few days ago, because like many Elemental Shaman we move to the internet in the hopes that we will find some silver lining in our somewhat overcast gaming of late. I find it akin to standing on the edge of a cliff and belching forth a primal scream of WHYYYYYYY! I love this class. I've played every other one to some degree and I have always returned to this one. I've healed a bit and still do on occasion, and I've even picked up two beat-sticks and tried swinging away. I always return to this class and this build because, well, I love it! I can't tell you how angry I was when I read and re-read the patch notes to 3.2 hoping against hope that I would see a real significant change to our class that would improve our sustained dps. Yes we can burst a bit, but that's hardly unique. Perhaps at some point it was, but now we are simply in a group of classes that can lay down the burst pain. We buff the raid well, and thank goodness we can, or I'd not have a raid roll, but we do NOT in any significant way set ourselves apart. I don't want to be the number one dps in the raid, we have pure dps classes that can fill that roll. I just don't want to be at the bottom any more. I freely admit that I'm not the most skilled person playing this class, but I do my homework. My build, gear, gems, enchant, everything I can think of are in good order. I sadly watch my friends, Rogues, Hunters, Paladins, Druids, all of them, consistently stay ahead of me on the meters. I would truly and sincerely like to Blizzard address this issue. They admitted it once, that our dps was low. I was surprised at the time that admitted that they also didn't know why. The whole discussion seemed to end there. I cant bear it, but I think at some point, I'm going to have to join my brothers and pick a class that wont render me depressed at the end of a raid night.

  11. i believe that they hold some grudge over how much hell we raised in the past, thats the only thing i can think off, and how in the past people have blown things WAY out of proportion , so developers might think that our concerns are those of a population just making it seem worse than it is...

    i SERIOUSLY believe , that no one that makes the final decisions on class changes plays a shaman at latest endgame , not elemental spec anyways, it seems that they see our rants and go " but why? we keep giving you all that haste and mp5?" seeing as they only want us healing, ( if you have been here since vanilla you know this is the secret attitude behind the scenes towards ouor raid roles)

    you all make good points, sadly ive learned to stay away from wow forums , b/c they have brought little good to the shaman community in general , and unless you have seen this for the past 4 years you wont fully grasp this..

    i was thinking that jsut adding the totem of wrath efect to all our fire totems and freeing us to use other fire totems (not stacking with flametongue of course) and would give us dps on mobile fights and a way to use our aoe more freely, why do i ahve to pay 51 pts for a stick that actually hurts my dps capabilites is anyones guess...probaly the same person that thought giving rougues an aoe that silences, poisons and snares all at the same time was a good idea....


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