World of Warcraft

Saying, “Classes are never complete,” is such a cop-out answer

wow6 - Saying, "Classes are never complete," is such a cop-out answer

From Ion's BfA Post-Mortem interview on Forbes in October:

Hazzikostas: I came out in a couple months ago and said, "We know that there are elemental shamans, we know that there are shadow priests who have some concerns with the state of your current talent tree, the state of your class. But at this point those are going to have to wait for a major content update." That's just a question of us drawing a line at some point, because we could continue iterating forever. And it's not the same as saying those specs are unfinished, or we're shipping without them complete. Because the reality is they're never complete. That's the nature of World of Warcraft. Nothing is ever truly finished and even when we make those changes to, say, elemental shamans in an upcoming patch, are they done then? Does that mean there are no further changes to make to that specialization ever? Of course not.

Ultimately, steering the massive ship that is World of Warcraft towards a release date, and getting content into players' hands, we're always striking a balance between the core of the game, the quest content, the zone, the dungeons, the raids, the PVP systems and so forth. Those all need to be ready, we need to be happy with them and we're not gonna release those until all that is in place. We've tested it, we think they're fun. But at some point beyond that when it comes to polish, when it comes to iterating and tuning, we're not doing a good service to our player base as a whole if we say, "Okay, we're gonna hold back this entire expansion for millions of you just so that we can spend extra time responding to concerns with this one specialization." Concerns that may, in turn, lead to and require further iteration because we're not perfect and we're not gonna necessarily get it right on the first try.

Sure, there is always going to be iterating on classes. That much is a given. Ignoring thousands of players' feedback and their passionate explanations of how their classes were failing to meet their expectations deserves a much better answer than "classes are always unfinished."

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When we talk about the lack of communication, it's easy to point to examples like this. It fits the pretexts of communication, but nothing substantial is being said. I'd go so far as to argue that this reply in particular was worse than having no communication. Sub-par content is being excused with the pretext that it doesn't have to be good now, because it's subject to change some time in the unstated future.

What makes you think people would want to stick around and wait for only potentially good content in the future when the content we have now is dissatisfying? At least take some personal responsibility here and address players' concerns, or if it's beyond the scope of your expertise, have your employees do it. This level of poor communication and the company's constant stream of lies–saying they want to improve communication, but failing to act on it–is unacceptable.

Listen to your players and communicate with them, or you may not end up having them for long.

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