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Are the Diablo 3 Community Managers “Noobs?”

Posted 11 Nov 2012 by

A fan asks to see the Battle.net profiles of the CMs and starts a thread that turns into a referendum on how much the CMs need to play in order to have valid/informed opinions about the game. The whole thread is long and covers several issues, so here’s a quote of the meaty part and you can read the whole thing in order if you click through.

How many chars do you have? Do you play hardcore? Do you use the Auction house (gold or $) or play with self-drop? At which paragon level are you with your best char?
Grimiku: I have four characters, but I am mostly focused on my main who is a Witch Doctor. I also have a 60 Barbarian, a mid-30′s Demon Hunter, and a mid-20′s Hardcore Witch Doctor.

I use the gold auction house with my main, but my alts use nothing except self-found items. And all the gold I get goes to my main who is Paragon 16 for now.

Without being condescending, hateful or confrontational I will like to point out that you will be considered a noob , not a high profile player. I will also like to think that you DO NOT have an input in class balance meetings , I hardly think you can make correct suggestions with your limited playing experience.
Lylirra: We’re community managers, not developers or testers. Our job is to relay community feedback to the developers, ensure that they’re aware of the latest trends and hot topics, be a voice/advocate for the player whenever possible, and (in return) communicate information from the development team back to you. There are a myriad of other responsibilities, too, but those are the big ones.

Whether or not we’re “noobs” in your mind is irrelevant to our ability to perform our jobs well.

My personal experiences don’t represent all players, though. And that’s a very important realization when it comes to being a community manager. While knowledge and awareness of the game is critical (since it provides context to the feedback we’re seeing), we can’t let our own opinions bias what we pass on to the development team. We can politely disagree, of course, but we keep that to ourselves. :)

Our goal is to pass along information to the developers that will allow them to make informed decisions — ones that they feel will benefit the long-term health of the game — not further our own personal agendas as players of Diablo III.

The community managers have a lot of responsibilities, with all sorts of press and PR interactions, meetings, interacting with media, working at press events and demos, etc. And they’ve got to keep up with all of Blizzard’s games, not just D3. I think some fans imagine their work day with D3 on one monitor and B.net forums on the other, with the only interruptions coming when it’s their turn to take Jay Wilson a fresh coffee. Not so much.

The real kicker I kept waiting for one of them to drop into this thread… is that (most) game developers don’t play their games either. Especially not post release. I’d call that a dirty secret of the industry, but I didn’t actually think it was a secret?

Devs obviously have to keep up on the latest issues, and see what fans are liking/hating, and they’ve got server stats to refer to, and there are testers who do play all day to test problems and communicate those to the devs, but the devs are like, busy. They’ve got real lives and families and outside interests, and after spending all day working on a game, do you really think they’re going to rush home and play another 4 hours of it that night? Even if they did, they don’t have 40 hours a day to play intensively enough to be expert in every character/style/build/technique/etc.

Thus it’s a fairly universal truth that a month after release, every popular game has vast legions of players who are FAR more expert/experienced at playing the game than anyone actually working on it. So no, as Lylirra said, you don’t have to be expert in play experience to have useful input and design ideas about a game. Though you’d be wise to take input and advice from people who are playing those kind of hours.

The full thread is below:

Can the CMs add a “view profile” feature to their forum posts? Whenever Lylirra, Grimiku, Vaeflare, etc talk about your chars I always wish I could see them. Would be nice.
Grimiku: We may not be able to provide you with links to our profiles (largely to help prevent against possible harassment issues), but if you have questions about our Diablo III play experiences you can always ask us. We’re usually pretty open about what we’re current playing or experiencing with, and we love to chat about that kind of thing with fellow players whenever we can. We also tend to talk a lot about our play experiences on Twitter, so free to follow us: @Lylirra @Grimiku and @Vaeflare

How many chars do you have? Do you play hardcore? Do you use the Auction house (gold or $) or play with self-drop? At which paragon level are you with your best char?
Grimiku: I have four characters, but I am mostly focused on my main who is a Witch Doctor. I also have a 60 Barbarian, a mid-30′s Demon Hunter, and a mid-20′s Hardcore Witch Doctor.

I use the gold auction house with my main, but my alts use nothing except self-found items. And all the gold I get goes to my main who is Paragon 16 for now.

You guys uber Blizz geared? “Sword of a thousand truths” <== South park reference
Grimiku: We do not get special items or treatment as employees, and with that in mind I would say my gear is pretty average. My main character rarely sells items on the gold auction house, so most items are bought on a small budget. The most expensive item on my purchase history only went for 2 million gold and is a 914 DPS ceremonial knife.

Without being condescending, hateful or confrontational I will like to point out that you will be considered a noob , not a high profile player.

I will also like to think that you DO NOT have an input in class balance meetings , I hardly think you can make correct suggestions with your limited playing experience.
Lylirra: We’re community managers, not developers or testers. Our job is to relay community feedback to the developers, ensure that they’re aware of the latest trends and hot topics, be a voice/advocate for the player whenever possible, and (in return) communicate information from the development team back to you. There are a myriad of other responsibilities, too, but those are the big ones.

Whether or not we’re “noobs” in your mind is irrelevant to our ability to perform our jobs well.

For example , do you really feel the wrath of Reflect Damage?
Lylirra: I don’t personally have a problem with the affix. It’s not my favorite, but I’ve learned how to deal with those Elite packs and I’ve got gear that supports it.

My personal experiences don’t represent all players, though. And that’s a very important realization when it comes to being a community manager. While knowledge and awareness of the game is critical (since it provides context to the feedback we’re seeing), we can’t let our own opinions bias what we pass on to the development team. We can politely disagree, of course, but we keep that to ourselves. :)

Our goal is to pass along information to the developers that will allow them to make informed decisions — ones that they feel will benefit the long-term health of the game — not further our own personal agendas as players of Diablo III.

(That said, I think the changes we’re considering to Reflects Damage are super interesting, and I’d love to see how they might be implemented.)

I simply want to point out that CMs need to play the game extensively to be an effective advocate for players.
Lylirra: We do. Quite a bit. We even make sure that we play together weekly during scheduled sessions. We may not all be Paragon 100 or have 80k+ Elite kills to each of our characters’ names, but we’re still experienced gamers and go out of our way to contextualize the feedback we see on a day-to-day basis.

As for your example, that was information provided directly from the developers, not something based in personal opinion.

The first thing he says completly ruins his point of it not being as big a deal as people are making it out to be.
Lylirra: No. I’m saying that just because my personal experience has been different doesn’t mean that feedback regarding the difficulty of Reflects Damage is any less valid. Please read the whole post and try to understand its context. =/

Wouldn’t it be better not to post comments that are disconnected from reality?
Lylirra: We know some players may not always agree with how the game designed, or why some changes are made. It’s not worth lying or purposely misrepresenting information, though.

As for Hellfire Rings, we didn’t want a single item to be a source of Brimstone farming. Even so, we’re currently evaluating what else we might allow the rings to salvage into.


Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Community Relations, Controversy, Lylirra