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How feedback works and why it matters

How feedback works and why it matters
Lately I've seen some forum posts that confuse me. Perhaps it's because these posts themselves seem confused. Posts like this one, where Librily the worgen mage accuses Blizzard and World of Warcraft's development team of soliciting feedback that they don't actually look at. I find this especially odd on a forum where community managers regularly engage with posters, and I wanted to address what feedback is, how it works, and why it matters now and going forward.

Frankly, it is impossible to look at the design of Mists of Pandaria and not see how much player feedback has influenced the design of the expansion. The 85 to 90 game is everything Cataclysm was not -- it all takes place in a seamless new land, it removed flying in order to provide player immersion, it works the Horde/Alliance conflict into the storyline. It is in every way the result of player feedback being constructively weighted and utilized responsibly. By that, I mean that the game's developers clearly looked at what players were saying they liked and disliked and worked to find ways to address player concerns.

What they didn't do -- what they have never done and cannot ever do -- is simply go to the forums, see who yelled loudest, and give them everything they wanted. That would be absurd design by mob, it would produce an unplayable game full of broken classes and most importantly of all, it would not be fun to play. Games require a ton of work to produce, especially a game like World of Warcraft, and the amount of effort behind the scenes to bring what we get to see and experience does not allow for that kind of design even if it were desirable, which it is not. Game design is not about giving the players everything they say they want, nor is it about doing everything they say as soon as they say it.

Let's talk about how good feedback works, the difference between opinion and fact, and why taking the time to make a well constructed argument is worthwhile even if you don't see any signs of it changing anything.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Mists of Pandaria

Using the new ingame Aggro Warning

Today's patch will bring with it a long awaited feature: an ingame Aggro Warning. Almost since launch, addons like Threatmeter and Omen have warned raiders and other folks that mobs are incoming (pulling aggro means that you've attracted the attention of some monsters by doing a little too much damage or healing), and the functionality has been so widespread that Blizzard has finally implemented it in the official UI.

According to what we saw on the PTR, it should come default whenever you head into an instance, but if you want to see aggro all the time, you can go to the Interface options, and flip "Display Aggro Warning" to always. Checking "Show Aggro Percentages" will give you a little percentage at the top of the target frame, showing just how much aggro you're getting from whatever you've got targeted.

If you've used a threatmeter before, you know that if you do pull aggro, you'll want to a) stop healing or doing damage immediately, and b) pop any aggro-reducing trinkets, abilities or talents you happen to have, like Feint or Disengage. Of course, if you have used an addon like Omen in the past, odds are you shouldn't get rid of it -- the ingame Aggro Warning is pretty thin, so odds are that your guild will still require Omen anyway for high level raiding. But as a simple heads up when you've got monsters about to come your way, the Aggro Warning does its job.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Add-Ons, Instances

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