Blizzard Forms World Of Warcraft Community Council To Solicit Player Feedback

Blizzard Forms World Of Warcraft Community Council To Solicit Player Feedback
Image: Blizzard

Blizzard announced yesterday that it will be forming a new player organisation called the WoW Community Council. It’s aiming to help the MMORPG’s developers get more detailed feedback on all aspects of the game, from players of different backgrounds and playstyles. The move comes as the game has faced a mountain of criticism amid recent design decisions and revelations of abusive behaviour by some associated with the game.

“This program will add another venue for communication between players and WoW developers,” the game’s community team wrote on its website. “These may take the form of live chats between Council members and WoW devs.”

Players who want to join the council will send in an application, sharing their areas of interest and expertise. After they’re selected, they’ll be added to a new forum that’s visible to the public, but where only WoW developers and council members will be able to post. The council will also facilitate private conversations between members and developers to “encourage direct interaction between members.” One year into the program, Blizzard says it will open applications back up to install new members from the community on the council.

Eve Online has a similar system called the Council of Stellar Management, where the only big difference is that members are elected by the player-base instead of chosen by the developers. “If the people who are selected are knowledgeable, and are able to articulate their points with clarity and the devs actually listen, it can go very well,” wrote Reddit user SGC-Alf in a recent post about the news. “In Eve, we’ve seen any number of changes over the years that have been the result of CSM discussions and suggestions.”

While still the envy of many other games, WoW’s player-base has been steadily declining over the years. This exodus came to a head earlier this year as some big streamers departed the game for rival MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV, in the face of frustrations over certain loot mechanics and monetisation decisions. The initial success of Amazon’s recently released MMO New World likely added to the tension, and as with many other diehard gaming communities, segments of the WoW player-base have occasionally trended toxic rather than being constructive about their concerns.

Adding to the recent headwinds against WoW have been the allegations of widespread sexual harassment and discrimation across Blizzard and parent company Activision Blizzard. The allegations, first surfaced in a California lawsuit in July, included previous key developers on WoW among others, and the team currently behind the game has been hard at work scrubbing all developer references and sexualized content from the game, in an effort to rebuild trust with the community.

WoW’s latest patch, 9.1.5, for its Shadowlands expansion goes live today, bringing along a number of big changes to the game, including the much requested feature to freely switch between Covenant allegiances at will. ”The reality is, the way people play the game has evolved,” director Ion Hazzikostas said in a recent interview. “What was the right answer for the WoW player base and for the game 15 years ago may not be today.”

Comments

  • Blizzard has not had a great history relating to its community, it will be interesting to see this successed.. but it really depends on who they invite and if they listen.

    Cause who is Blizzard really fooling, they already have decided who to invite… they are just waiting for them to submit a form.

    Every Blizzcom they invite every influencer and wow strwamer/youtuber they give a damn about, give them the VIP treatment, give them backstage pass and camera time… so they can get thrown softball questions.

    Are they going to invite their harshest critics, or the beta testers who deep dive spec tests and then get ignored when big reporting.

    • Creators like Preach, Bellular, etc, have been pretty brutal (for good reason) towards Blizzard in recent months regarding the pitiful state of WoW, even before the investigation of ActiBlizz and whole harassment of employees shitstorm.

      So if any of those guys get an invite I’ll be utterly amazed, but I suspect it’ll be mostly yes-men, probably described as those who “stuck with them through the worst” or such nonsense.

      Even then, they actually have to listen instead of just going “We hear you.” and proceeding to do absolutely nothing as per usual.

    • I dont know if it blizzard has trouble relating to its community or that the fans made the official forums the biggest cesspool of juvenile teen fandom angst, even back in early WoW days, there is no way they could ever hope to get a rational gauge of feedback it.

  • The fact it took the majority of the player base leaving the game for other MMO’s for them to plan to actually start listening to player feedback is very telling.

    This won’t amount to much though, This already existed on the forums. There was a secret forum for popular streamers and content creators where they could directly interact with the developers but it never worked because the developers ignored them.

    The current dev team is incapable of listening to feedback or admitting they fucked up. As demonstrated by the dev team repeating the same mistakes expansion after expansion and taking months to fix issues that should take days to fix.

    • I think its less about ignoring them, and more to do with poor time management and planning.

      They run on such tight schedules the moment they announce a change its already too late to reverse it… cause they got no alternative or solution. which is dumb.

      But nothing about this announcement says they fixed their production problem that causes them to ignore feedback… wven though they promised each expansion to do better.

      • Blizzard has the PTR so people can test upcoming patches and provide feedback.

        Many times players have provided feedback about something being wrong MONTHS in advance of the patch being released but blizzard does nothing about the issues. From the start of the Shadowlands beta several streamers/YouTubers highlighted issues. Some of these issues were some of the most popular threads on the beta forums. Yet the devs still ignored them and let these issues go into the live game.

        This is not about poor time, The devs just do not care about player feedback anymore. They look down upon the players with disdain because they don’t kiss the feet of the developers.

        • PTR used to be like that… but it changes when it’s a new expansion.

          They changed their production pipeline for BFA and that’s when they just ran out of time. Don’t read feedback, only squash bugs and move on, already set a launch date CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH. It’s usually not until after major patch 1 do they start listening o ly to ignore players again for the next expansion… again.

  • Yet another token gesture from Blizzard to “listen to the community” while stacking things with a bunch of yes-men and easily bought streamers/YouTubers. World of Warcraft has died over the last 2 years (or more, depending on who you ask) and the majority of the player base has moved on, never to return.

    • Yeah they won’t bring on any of the YouTubers/ streams that have given them criticism in the past.

      I would be really surprised if we saw Bellular, Preach or Asmongold in this group. They will probably choose people who have given them the lightest of criticism but still suck up to them.

  • Thier latest patch is a joke, no major improvements at all. Just as well I didn’t bother my 6 month sub again. We’ll see if they fix anything before the next exp (highly unlikely).

  • Blizzard used to have something like this, but after 5.2 (Throne of Thunder) Blizzard basically abandoned it. I believe it still existed until the lead up even into Legion.

    Getting good feedback has not been the problem; it’s been Blizzard’s ‘I know better than you’ dismissal of feedback and slow adaptation to policy/design failures.

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