One thing I want to make sure of is that we very carefully hedge some of your expectations of this program. Our number one goal is to get your questions answered. We have known for some time that players have had Class balance questions, and it has been tricky to get them answered. The purpose of this initiative is to get those questions addressed as directly as possible. I want to make sure we stress the following things:
- It is possible, and even likely, that we could disagree with player sentiment towards something in relation to Class balance. Ex: Why does <insert class> suck at <insert thing>?! We may respond that we feel they are in a good place in our design goals and we will do our best to explain why.
- Attaching feedback to your top 3 in no way guarantees that it will be feedback that is actionable. The purpose is to allow a set dialog between our Combat Team and you here on the forums. Just because something appears in the top 3 provided by a representative does not mean it is feedback that will garner special treatment.
- Class Representatives are player elected and will not be granted any special access to the BioWare team. If chosen, you won’t have to sign an NDA or anything similar. You will be a player-elected forum user who assists your Class in formulating the top issues and concerns you would like to have BioWare commentary on.
- As with all things on the forums, please remain respectful. Please respect each other, your chosen Class Representatives, and the BioWare developers.
My biggest concern is that this could just be a way to assuage the QQers. It's understandable that you may not agree with our perspective, or that feedback isn't actionable, but sometimes feedback IS actionable and sometimes when you disagree with us it's because you're wrong.
What happens when someone like KBN or Kitru is selected as a class representative and brings in both the theory crafting and the actual parses demonstrating a major issue with Shadow tank spikiness, and you guys either say "our internal testing doesn't agree", even though we know you didn't originally test with shadows, OR you say "there is a problem, but there is nothing we can do", which reads a lot more like "the devs don't wanna be bothered to put in the actual work".
Now is it incredibly cynical of me to assume that you would select representatives to give the appearance of a dialog without ever actually doing a single thing to address our concerns except pay them lip service? It absolutely is. Keep in mind though that this is a cynicism that has been earned based on past performance. You don't spend over a year destroying peoples' faith in the dev team and then turn around and completely restore it overnight.
This is a nice idea, I approve of it as an idea, but in practice, whatever you may say about expectations and believe me I don't expect a lot right now, if this program doesn't lead to some positive changes on the class balance front, all you will have done with this is made myself, and others like me, even more jaded and cynical when it comes to the development team.
P.S. My cynicism towards the dev team notwithstanding, I should definitely take this opportunity to say that Eric and the rest of the Community team have been very diligent about doing their jobs, and while they aren't perfect, they have been doing a good job and I appreciate their efforts. This idea DOES help address one of their biggest weaknesses, and does so by engaging us and I approve of this 100% from that perspective.