I remember your 5/20/80 rule and it was an awesome post to put perceived vocal audiences into perspective. I wonder if you'd be willing to revisit that idea from a different angle. Let's say the playerbase actually wanted to gain the ear of you/a gamedev to get something changed. What would be a meaningful way to get that to happen? I'm sure writing an angry message on my exit survey when I unsubscribe wouldn't be on the top of the list. Is there a way?
Sure there is. Devs love getting feedback, but we often have to sift the useful stuff from stuff that isn’t particularly useful. That’s one of the reasons we hire community managers. So here are some guidelines to making your feedback useful to us. Some of this might feel a bit counter-intuitive, but I guarantee you that this sort of feedback is the most useful to us.
#1. Speak for yourself
Don’t spend time telling us what the majority of our fans think. You really don’t speak for them and we have the data to prove it. But that’s ok! You don’t have to speak for everybody. Just tell us what you think. Believing you represent everybody else might make you feel like it carries more weight, but it really doesn’t unless you really do represent everybody. You’re already posting on a forum or social media or whatever, which already statistically excludes you from representing everybody. So just tell us what you think. I promise that we’ll listen.
#2. Speak honestly. Avoid hyperbole.
No, this feature did not give you cancer. No, this weapon is not the worst in the game. No, that other class is not our favorite pet class and we do not give them everything they ever wanted. The problem with parsing hyperbole is that it is basically hiding a grain of truth inside a ball of lies. When we have to sift out truth from the lies around it, it makes us grumpy.
#3. Speak about problems. Don’t propose solutions.
Players giving feedback often skip straight to their own proposed solutions and it doesn’t help very much. It isn’t that players who give feedback are bad or stupid - most of the hardcore players who provide feedback are very smart and analytical. The problem is that their proposed solutions often lack crucial context to make an informed decision. You don’t know the limitations we have to work within or the resources we have available. Just because some other game did it doesn’t mean we can do it too. It’s really hard for someone to come up with a feasible solution without knowing all of that information. Just tell us what you don’t like, why you don’t like it, and leave the solutions to us. We made the rest of the game, after all. Give us a little faith.
#4. Speak to a comrade, not an enemy
Remember that we all have something in common - we all like and believe in the game. We all want what’s best for it. Lashing out in anger isn’t going to make us more likely to do what you say. Threats are also not going to work. Threats to quit especially don’t work - the actual rate at which people who threaten to quit and follow through is so miniscule that it is almost unnoticeable. We are not trying to kill your family or destroy everything you hold dear. We want what you want - what’s best for the game. We are not your enemy, even if there are choices we made that you don’t agree with. We know that not everyone will agree with every decision we make, but nobody reacts favorably to being called names and told they’re stupid or incompetent.
#5. Speak with brevity
Refrain from posting enormous dissertations. Keep it simple and short. If you cannot explain the problem with a handful of sentences, you probably haven’t isolated it. This point tends to be related to #3 - usually, articulating a problem isn’t that difficult to get across in a sentence or three. It’s the solutions that tend to require a lot of explanation. Here’s the biggest issue with walls of text - the feedback will be distilled down by the community managers for the devs anyway. They’ll condense it all down to a list of bullet points and give it to us. So why not cut out the middle man and make it easier on them? They’ll certainly be happier if you do them the courtesy.
#6. Speak without expectations
There is nothing you can do to guarantee that we will do what you say. You cannot argue us into doing what you want. You cannot force us to do what you want. You cannot “logic” your way into doing what you want. It is very likely that we won’t always acknowledge you individually, because there’s so many of you for each one of us on the forums that it’s just not particularly feasible. Also, don’t take dev or official responses to indicate the only posts we’re reading. The feedback that gets collected and passed on to us isn’t only gathered from those posts that garner official responses. The majority of the useful feedback won’t ever get an official response -most of us believe that the best way to acknowledge your feedback is to through the game itself (even though it is likely that changes are weeks if not months away… patches need to pass testing and cert, after all).
And that’s basically it. I know that the fans that engage with the game’s community and developers are super passionate and only want what they feel is best for the game. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t reach out. Believe me when I say that we devs feel the same way. Please believe me when I say that well-written, concise, and honest feedback is far more likely to reach us than anything else. I swear that’s the best way to get your feedback heard and considered.
Got a burning question you want answered?