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Gathering Feedback

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EricMusco's Avatar


EricMusco
02.22.2019 , 08:48 AM | #1 Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. Next  
Hey folks,

I wanted to kick off a thread and add some clarity on influencers plus seek out some feedback on… feedback (the influencer topic came up here). First, the clarity. I think there became a misconception that we are in constant communication about game updates or future content with the influencers that the rest of the players aren’t receiving, this isn’t true. Since they are under NDA there are situations that they may hear info earlier or be a sounding board for ideas, but it is extremely infrequent. A lot of our communications happening with them in their forum is logistical (sharing their content, etc). Second, is the feeling that we weigh their feedback more than other players, which is also not true. The influencers are a great source of a snapshot of their community, so they can give us a feedback from a number of players at once. However, this in no way means that we weigh the feedback that comes from them differently then the feedback we receive here on the forums, on reddit, from PTS, social media, or any other sources.

I definitely hear the genuine concern though that we, BioWare, are not gathering your feedback as much as you want us to be. This is something that over the past year or so we have really made a lot of strides to improve and so the question I want to pose is how we can improve further! Let me talk about the various sources that we collect and respond to feedback, and based on that, let’s talk about how we can get better.
  • PTS – This is one of the places we have put some of the largest efforts. This started in earnest with 5.9.2. Once an update goes on PTS the team has been fairly ravenous in grabbing any and all feedback we can get. This goes from bugs to general change requests. We can’t always account for all feedback and sometimes it may be at odds with design goals, but the team works to change as much as we can before we launch it. We have similarly moved away from announcing specific launch dates so that we can work with you during PTS to get the update to a good place before going live.
  • Forum posts – In some cases we either won’t have enough time on PTS to get meaningful feedback or it isn’t something that will go on PTS at all. In these instances we have been trying to make detailed forum posts to highlight exactly what you can expect, so we can gather feedback even without your ability to get hands on (think of the Guild Perks posts).
  • General feedback – This is a constant stream of feedback coming from you, the players, to us. This comes from a large number of sources but primarily here on the forums, Reddit, and social media.
  • Planned feedback sessions – These can happen in a few different forms. We used to more prominently use PTS in a closed environment under NDA, although we have moved away from it. We also will host focus testing sessions. Most commonly these are in Austin but we have hosted them all over the world. They are hand-recruited sessions under NDA, typically very early in the process.
  • Data – This isn’t feedback, but, data is very important in our feedback cycle as we will compare the information we are receiving from any sources to what we are seeing in the behavior of players.

With all of that out there… how can we improve? I know our feedback loop is by no means perfect, but being able to gather your feedback consistently for each update on PTS has helped us quite a bit in getting direct feedback from you. Share your thoughts!

Thanks all.

-eric
Eric Musco | Senior Community Manager
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Pacram's Avatar


Pacram
02.22.2019 , 09:13 AM | #2
Hey Eric, thanks for shedding some light on the current situation. The lack of communication between the BioWare staff and SWTOR community has been causing a lot of doubt and resentment in the community. Something I had personally been eagerly awaiting was the upcoming Roadmap. I feel it was the best way to convey the future goals, plans and ideas that BioWare has with SWTOR. It allows players to hold onto something tangible and gives us a sense of assurance, not that everything on the Roadmap is certain but that the game we love has a future. I myself as a growing content creator and owner of myexpanse.net have been rather worried about the future of the game, is all the effort I'm putting in going to matter if the game receives no more updates and dies off?

This is why I greatly held out for the Roadmap, until it was announced that we wouldn't be getting one and the information would come through in drabs on the PTS an Dev Tracker. A hugely bad decision in my opinion as it neglects a rather large part of the community, such as free to play players, those who don't visit the forums or have the ability to download the PTS. Aside from resurrecting the Roadmap I believe another great way of engaging with the community is to begin a "Weekly Recap", where you go through highlights of the week, ideas and changes to SWTOR, discussions of the future etc. Perhaps each week you could setup a different topic and allow players to debate on it, to share their different views on a wide range of areas, from PvP to Operations, Story, Classes etc. Once the weekend has ended, perhaps a final response from yourself or another at BioWare SWTOR in order to assure players that their voices are being heard.

Furthermore, I believe the Influencer Program is a great idea and I myself have been trying to get into it. However, I believe more transparency should occur between Influencers and the community. Such as, after a certain period of time, content on the private forums is released to the public forums, allowing players to look through and read.

Thanks for all your time and dedication Eric, all the staff, content creators and supporters of SWTOR. I've really loved the art direction this game has taken and hope to hold onto this experience for a long time
Lucy, 3D Artist & SWTOR Content Creator
The redesigned Expanse is published and ready to go live. Expanse will focus on displaying my Art as a 3D Artist, publishing game reviews, game art and SWTOR Articles. https://discord.gg/DmtYKnq https://www.myexpanse.net/

GrimTheGlutt's Avatar


GrimTheGlutt
02.22.2019 , 09:15 AM | #3
Hi

Put simply communication is a 2 way thing.

On numerous occassions feedback has been supplied yet totally ignored to the derision of the community providing that feedback.

Numerous posts on these forums alone go unanswered that quite frankly deserve a response/answer. Yes theres lots of chaff to get through, but there are still lots of important messages to convey.

If you want feedback, then engage with the community.

Jdast's Avatar


Jdast
02.22.2019 , 09:18 AM | #4
My biggest concern is lack of feedback on seismic shifts in game direction / mechanics. By way of example...

It was reported repeatedly on the PTS that mods / enhancements were slot bound to same gear types. Many of us, myself included, assumed (incorrectly) it was a bug. It wasn't until after the release that we got a one sentence statement indicating this was an intended change and that gearing as a whole would undergo big changes in the future. Couldn't this have been announced before?

Without revealing content spoilers, which I completely understand, it was a bit jarring to have this change thrust upon us devoid of a larger context.

Another example is Galactic Command. For all intents and purposes, GC is utterly useless now. As you may or may not know, I've been a pretty staunch defender of GC post November 2017 with Patch 5.6. This week is double XP / CXP week. I think it's great for those leveling, but I still did the exact same thing I've done for the past couple weeks since all my characters are at 70. I ran a few of them through Ossus and then stopped playing. Didn't do one other CXP-related activity.

Again, I understand you're not going to reveal content specific related information, but it seems you are already implementing these "big changes" in gearing, both with respect to slotting but also GC as a whole. I think it would have been wise to provide an overview of those changes and why.

Will some of those changes be unpopular? Of course -- but thrusting major changes on the player base absent a broader framework erodes confidence. The argument some make that it is irrelevant to know earlier may work for some, it doesn't work for me or my ability to persuade my guildmates to sign back up.

Dasty

rantboi's Avatar


rantboi
02.22.2019 , 09:20 AM | #5
It doesn't matter how or from where you gather the feedback when you ignore it all anyway

KendraP's Avatar


KendraP
02.22.2019 , 09:25 AM | #6
How can you improve? Ok, first you had a practical hiatus from any kind of forum posting... until you were accused of something and are now here acting all offended.

As a more specific example, the locked in slot change to gearing with 252/258 stuff. There are multiple threads screaming about it, your only response amounted to (1) its not a bug and (2) its not changing any time soon. Why did this change, and why refuse to talk about it?

As a less recent example, the gearing situation with 5.0. People (myself included) complained about total randomness before it ever went live. You ignored our complaints and pushed ahead anyway, released it resulting in a seeming mass exodus, and spent literal months refusing to acknowledge the problems (oh but you could certainly nerf any way people found to farm cxp). Yes, you finally got around to making a functioning system. It took too long, and you have now undermined that by adding another grindfest.

Which, as my lengthy post elsewhere states, made me personally very unhappy. I was going to suck it up and do it. Then thanks to the bugged world bosses I never got my lightsaber. Your refusal to do anything about it other than tell me it was a bug (which I already knew) ended my desire to continue to keep my guild on life support.

Back to the gear grind issue - if you're so good about feedback, what is the response to the criticism? You have made no one happy. Ops players aren't happy you can get it with non-MM content, pvpers aren't happy because there's no clear path to get it strictly via pvp, basically you pissed off everyone for no reason.

As another example, the conquest changes from a long time ago. These were made out to be rather minor things, resulted in a massive overhaul, and was ignored for a rather long while. You have been finally scknowledging it and attempting to fix it, but its not back to as nice as it was before you bothered in the first place.

And what gets me most about you guys is that you state some hokey reason for all these things that is ambiguous at best, create a massive stink, stubbornly refuse to acknowledge it for months, then attempt to band aid fix things that wouldn't have been broken had you never messed with them in the first place.

The recent gearing changes as an example:
+Stated reason: Mr Kanneg wants MM gods, but we can't make MM gods completable with 248s!

+As implemented: ninja-added a lock in slot to enhancements and mods, in addition to adding 2 tiers rather than 1.

+Problems created: non-gods MMs are effectively nerfed
because gear improvements with no recale, PvP community in flames from having to grind new gear, pissed off players who don't want to grind new gear

+Thoughts on your true intention: to force people to ossus so your "data" shows people playing it, implying they enjoy it, and your new system is a success, and those of us complaining are minority whiners.

And that brings me to my final point. I do not believe your stated intentions match your true intentions, or surely they would seem better thought out or incorporate player suggestions. I too, could manipulate data to make it support what I wanted. That would also be rather futless, as it would not benefit me to see what I want to see. The truth hurts sometimes, and you have to admit when you are wrong. And Musco, you guys suck at admitting you do anything wrong.

Finally, I leave with this. I have long felt my loyalty to this game was entirely unsubstantiated and unrequited. I have frequented these forums for literal years, providing advice to new guardians, getting into frequent flame wars in the pvp section, and gradually descending into a level of massive sarcastic jerk. The lack of communication underlies this sentiment. Why should I keep providing you constructive feedback, rather than at least get some semblance of pleasure or humor from being a sarcastic jerk, if you refuse to acknowledge it? Why should I continue to support this game when my loyalty means nothing beyond money to you?

Why should we continue to provide feedback just to get ignored, told thats the way it is and its not changing, or continue to receive ninja changes and misdirection?

SteveTheCynic's Avatar


SteveTheCynic
02.22.2019 , 09:26 AM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
I definitely hear the genuine concern though that we, BioWare, are not gathering your feedback as much as you want us to be.
I think the problem sometimes isn't that you aren't gathering it, but that you aren't showing any signs of doing so. Those potential signs *obviously* include making changes that reflect the feedback, subject to the real difficulty of reflecting *contradictory* feedback, where one group says "needs more" and another group says "needs less", especially when a third group says, "needs hammers".

However, sometimes, especially when there's a conflict with the design goals ("needs hammers"), it is important to do *something* to explain why the feedback wasn't taken into account. That is, BioWare's communications, whichever team member publishes them, *must* give this sort of information for widely expressed, but not used, feedback, otherwise you risk seeing that we, the players, treat you as if you are (deliberately) ignoring you.

Note: I'm not saying that you are, collectively, ignoring us, but merely that you need to take steps to counter that perception.
Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
We can’t always account for all feedback and sometimes it may be at odds with design goals, but the team works to change as much as we can before we launch it. We have similarly moved away from announcing specific launch dates so that we can work with you during PTS to get the update to a good place before going live.
Again, it's fine to see feedback and decide that it is not something you want to change, but there must be an explanation of why not. *Why*, for example, did you keep the current structure of how to acquire 252+ gear when people widely said that it was (in their opinion) the wrong way to do it? (Again, this is not an accusation, but a request for a response to our feedback.)
Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
With all of that out there… how can we improve? I know our feedback loop is by no means perfect, but being able to gather your feedback consistently for each update on PTS has helped us quite a bit in getting direct feedback from you. Share your thoughts!
As noted above, the most important thing is to show us that you have heard what we say, and that you are or are not going to change things based on it, and if not, at least some idea of why not.
Something you find difficult is a lesson on how to play better, not a punishment for playing badly.
To go to Belsavis, you must go to Belsavis.
Latest patch notes at http://www.swtor.com/patchnotes

casirabit's Avatar


casirabit
02.22.2019 , 09:39 AM | #8
Honesty, not sure if I really believe you anymore and that is sad for me to say for as long as I have been here. It's gotten to the point that my guild is enjoying playing wow more than here and that is sad as we are Star Wars fans and prefer Star Wars but we don't hardly log on here anymore .

We always been a fan of making sure everyone is heard and every play style is counted for but lately that is not true anymore so I don't think there is much for my guild to say except prove it. You can talk about being more open but that has been said so many times in the past that now you have to prove it.

Remember the tale about the Little boy that cried Wolf, well that is where you are. You have to prove it this time.

http://fairytalesoftheworld.com/quic...ho-cried-wolf/
A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous. A girl should also always be a lady even when arguing.

VaceDemon's Avatar


VaceDemon
02.22.2019 , 09:40 AM | #9
You want some feedback? Well here it is...

1) No one wanted this new Korean grindfest. No one. All of my toons are still in full 248s and I intend for them to stay that way. I will not PvE just to have better gear in PvP. I only did Ossus to get the datacrons and that's it.

2) Ban the cheaters and wintraders in ranked - permanently. If the account is found in violation once, maybe twice, then fine, go ahead and just suspend and reset ratings. But IPs and accounts that have been found seriously doing this multiple times should stop receiving chances. There's a reason why life without parole exists - these cheaters/wintraders CANNOT be rehabilitated.
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mentalmackem's Avatar


mentalmackem
02.22.2019 , 09:42 AM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
Hey folks,

I wanted to kick off a thread and add some clarity on influencers plus seek out some feedback on… feedback (the influencer topic came up here). First, the clarity. I think there became a misconception that we are in constant communication about game updates or future content with the influencers that the rest of the players aren’t receiving, this isn’t true. Since they are under NDA there are situations that they may hear info earlier or be a sounding board for ideas, but it is extremely infrequent. A lot of our communications happening with them in their forum is logistical (sharing their content, etc). Second, is the feeling that we weigh their feedback more than other players, which is also not true. The influencers are a great source of a snapshot of their community, so they can give us a feedback from a number of players at once. However, this in no way means that we weigh the feedback that comes from them differently then the feedback we receive here on the forums, on reddit, from PTS, social media, or any other sources.

I definitely hear the genuine concern though that we, BioWare, are not gathering your feedback as much as you want us to be. This is something that over the past year or so we have really made a lot of strides to improve and so the question I want to pose is how we can improve further! Let me talk about the various sources that we collect and respond to feedback, and based on that, let’s talk about how we can get better.
  • PTS – This is one of the places we have put some of the largest efforts. This started in earnest with 5.9.2. Once an update goes on PTS the team has been fairly ravenous in grabbing any and all feedback we can get. This goes from bugs to general change requests. We can’t always account for all feedback and sometimes it may be at odds with design goals, but the team works to change as much as we can before we launch it. We have similarly moved away from announcing specific launch dates so that we can work with you during PTS to get the update to a good place before going live.
  • Forum posts – In some cases we either won’t have enough time on PTS to get meaningful feedback or it isn’t something that will go on PTS at all. In these instances we have been trying to make detailed forum posts to highlight exactly what you can expect, so we can gather feedback even without your ability to get hands on (think of the Guild Perks posts).
  • General feedback – This is a constant stream of feedback coming from you, the players, to us. This comes from a large number of sources but primarily here on the forums, Reddit, and social media.
  • Planned feedback sessions – These can happen in a few different forms. We used to more prominently use PTS in a closed environment under NDA, although we have moved away from it. We also will host focus testing sessions. Most commonly these are in Austin but we have hosted them all over the world. They are hand-recruited sessions under NDA, typically very early in the process.
  • Data – This isn’t feedback, but, data is very important in our feedback cycle as we will compare the information we are receiving from any sources to what we are seeing in the behavior of players.

With all of that out there… how can we improve? I know our feedback loop is by no means perfect, but being able to gather your feedback consistently for each update on PTS has helped us quite a bit in getting direct feedback from you. Share your thoughts!

Thanks all.

-eric
Personally i think your influencer program is abit of a joke, i have played since beta and i have only known who 2 influencers were in that entire time. Those 2 influencers have been so out of whack with what genuine players want is unreal they pander to there streams which are normally between 40-120 watches which in a tiny tiny amount of your actual playerbase so cannot start to give you any real incite into anything, heck theres bigger guilds than viewer bases of these influencers so why are you not talking to guild leaders? they are the people who should be looking at being influencers.

Currently you have your influencer program set up to be full of yes men because heaven forbid someone should have a strong opinion that goes against biowares narritive.

Edit* To add some more feedback

1) Your new Ossus gearing system is a horrific grindfest nobody asked for and in some idiotic troll move to try and keep us grinding Ossus for longer you decided to bind things to weapon types so if i get 2 offhands on my operative i cant sent the mods on one to my smuggler because they are bound to a knife offhand only.

2) Ranked PVP is a mess its full of people wintrading, exploiting or just going afk to farm the new Ossus crystal and we report them and you answer tickets saying you cant tell us the outcome of your actions against them but we know you dont do anything because the ranked population is so small we see the same cheater, wintrader etc day in day out and if you had actually done something we wouldnt see them for a while.
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