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Career Officer
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 774
A long time ago, I had a "What is constructive feedback? We need guidelines!" thread. Of course it never received a reply from Cryptic.

I think it is time for such an endeavour again.

What is the grand idea for PVP? In which direction is this game moving?

Obviously there is no timeframe for anything pvp-related. I don't like it, but I accept it. But it is extremely hard to give meaningful feedback if one never knows if Cryptic is even interested in certain types of feedback or if it is utterly useless for them since they have decided long ago to go into the exact opposite direction with the game.

Is pvp in this game supposed to become the standard MMO grind-heavy gear progression driven thing? Or is there any intention of going into an esports-like direction with a level playing field and attempts at truly balancing the game?

An example:

If we knew for certain that the game was headed for the big gear progression, we could stop providing feedback about balancing problems with new abilities and items and instead start lobbying for a special switch in private pvp matches (or maybe even a sepcial queue) that allows "plain pvp" / ClassicPVP as a built-in game mode.

If Cryptic want constructive feedback then they can help by providing some broad ideas for the future of this game and steer feedback in a useful direction.

So far it seems hard to discern what kind of feedback beyond "your latest addition is the best!" they actually want to hear. Taking almost a year for even acknowledging the FAW issue doesn't exactly say "we value feedback regarding problems in the game, especially if it is supported by tons of data".

Originally Posted by mancom View Post
The complaints of the developers about a lack of constructive feedback from the pvp community and the response from said community that all their constructive feedback is being ignored leads me to conclude that Cryptic and the players don't have the same idea of what constructive feedback actually is.

The naive idea is probably that constructive feedback is something like this:
  1. Identify a problem
  2. Explain the problem
  3. (If possible) Explain the causes for the problem
  4. (If possible) Propose a solution to the problem / Explain what you expect from a fix
Maybe this is a description of necessary properties of constructive feedback (or maybe not), but this is most certainly not a sufficient condition for constructive feedback.

(Extreme) Example of feedback that adheres to this standard and is not regarded as constructive by Cryptic:
  1. Patches get released to the live server without proper testing.
  2. Feedback that is given on tribble regarding new patches does not prevent bugs from finding their way to the live server.
  3. The developers ignore feedback about obvious bugs and have done so repeatedly despite being told about this problem.
  4. Replace the current developers with better ones.

I think a major part of the problem is that Cryptic usually does not disclose what their goals and intentions are.

We simply do not know whether mechanical bugs are of any real importance to Cryptic. Abilties that have wrong values may be catastrophic in PVP, but maybe Cryptic simply doesn't care enough about things like FAW ignoring [Acc] modifiers to fix it in a matter of weeks and thus ignoring this issue is just a logical consequence of their internal priorities and not a failure to listen to what the PVPers perceive as constructive feedback. We simply don't know.

We don't know which solutions can be implemented by Cryptic. Historically, it seems that balance request are rarely adressed with more than a change to the cooldown of ability XYZ. So maybe proposing any solutions that go beyond cooldown or magnitude changes are impossible and thus not constructive? We simply don't know.

This lack of stated goals and intentions could also become a major problem for Gozer if he seeks constructive feedback (although maybe he will eventually put up a post that states these things). From what I have heard, he is only in control of the "outside of pvp", i.e. queue system, maps, game modes etc, but he has no control over the systems team and therefore does not have the power to address concerns about ability/ship balance beyond telling the systems team about it and hoping that they find a minute to squeeze his issues in. So maybe it is inherently not constructive to tell Gozer about bugged abilities and balance issue in general?

There is also one thing to keep in mind that is fairly specific to PVP-related feedback. Much of the PVE feedback is along the lines of "Wouldn't it be cool if Cryptic added XYZ so that we can do ABC?". Nobody expects Cryptic to add newly proposed systems / missions / content within a matter of days or weeks.
PVP feedback on the other hand is usually given on much more urgent issues. It's not about "Wouldn't a game mode XYZ be totally cool?" but usually about "You released another bugged ability! Please fix it asap! The game is almost unplayable.". Here it is important to know what the expected response time to pvp-critical bugs and balance issues is. Is it realistic to expect Cryptic to fix obvious bugs of one build in the next one that goes live? Is it even realistic to expect Cryptic to acknowledge reported bugs (and maybe even provide an approximate timeframe (days/weeks/months) for a fix)?

I feel that correctly communicating expectations and goals is at the core of encouraging constructive feedback. Just think about tribble testing of new seasons for a second. The tribble test weekend usually is perceived like this:

** lots of peple spend lots of hours on tribble -> people find lots of bugs -> cryptic pushes the build live without any changes

But I think it is fairly obvious that these tribble weekends are not intended to find bugs so that can be fixed before going live. They are meant to test whether the server crashes under heavy load. And once you keep that in mind, the testing usually goes like this:

** lots of people spend lots of hours on tribble -> the server does not crash -> cryptic pushes the build live, knowing that it is stable enough to have a chance to survive the load on the live server

And once you know about these expectations and goals, there is no reason to get particularly upset. The test weekend did what it was supposed to do: it ensured the stability of the build. And as an added bonus, it lead to many bug reports that may or may not be addressed in the distant future.