What do the Blizzard CMs do during Reaper of Souls Beta?


I hadn’t really noticed since we’ve been busy posting so much original content, but fans on the Battle.net forums have been growing discontent (are they ever not?) over a perceived lack of Blue community management in recent days. A thread of complaints/questions earned a few “Are you not entertained!?” replies of an explanatory nature.

Here’s an excerpt; click through for the full thread which is much longer and more detailed:

There’s a general misconception that our only purpose is to peruse and post on the forums every day, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

My personal primary focus lately has been gathering feedback. That includes a large amount of reading, writing, and compiling information from a variety of sources. Reports have (and continue to be filed) on over to our development team, outlining what you guys have to say. Occasionally, I also attend meetings with development to help clarify and discuss this feedback. In addition, I’ve been working on a bunch of blogs, both writing them myself and editing others for the rest of my team.

The devs stay busy dev’ing, and the CMs act in large part as their eyes and ears. Forum babysitting is only one of their many delightful daily chores opportunities! What do you guys think? Would your Diablo 3 experience be improved by even more regular forum posts by CMs? Given that the RoS beta has no NDA and there are a ton of fans playing, streaming, answering questions about it, etc, I don’t really see the need for more Blue input of late. Do words just sound better in that cyan hue?

Obviously the Blues can give some “inside” info from time to time, but they’re not going to speak of the beta in analytical or critical terms the way that beta testers will, which I think (obviously as I’m one of the ones speaking) is a better info source at this point.

Here’s the full blue thread about what CMs are doing or not doing of late:

Blue has been awfully silent the past few days… O_o

Big reveal inc?
Nevalistis: It’s been a busy time! We’re sorry for being on the down low so much this week. A lot of what’s been keeping us busy is related to the Beta testing that’s been going on.

At the extremely early stage of Beta that we’re in, there’s a lot of changes that are happening, and even more feedback pouring in from players to pass on. We go through blogs, videos, livestreams, e-mails, social media, and of course the forums to pass on as much as we can so our developers know what the community is thinking and how to adjust their development cycle in response. It’s a lot to take in, and we love how much constructive feedback we’ve been getting!

Unfortunately, that does mean we can get a little backed up from time to time. Sometimes we have to make a choice between fitting in a few posts vs. attending a feedback meeting or reviewing our massive Beta feedback inbox, all while balancing a slew of other responsibilities. Some of the things we’ve been working on are designed to get more information out to the community once Closed Beta starts, though, so as we get these projects wrapped up you should see us pop up a bit more frequently in your Blue trackers. =)

In other news, I really like the word slew. Sleeeeeeew.

Why didn’t the pc users get a patch to fix loot before console got “loot 1.5”?
Nevalistis: This is a topic we’ve covered before, but I’m happy to explain it again for those who haven’t seen previous responses. =)

In short, it’s because Loot 2.0 isn’t designed to be independent of the other features coming with Patch 2.0.1. The changes to itemization have been designed with other game changes in mind, especially Paragon 2.0 and much of the revisions to existing class abilities.

In addition, our console and PC teams have staggered development, meaning that they’re worked on independently and in different cycles. That can sometimes result in one platform receiving changes before (or after) the other, because an idea being worked on might be able to make one cycle, but not another.

PC is our lead platform, and it’s got a large package of changes on the way. Developing only a part of those changes as an independent patch would have not only taken away from the whole when it’s delivered, but also significantly delayed the release of the pre-expansion patch and the expansion itself.

LOL blue acts like they write code or something. So busy.. With what, please do tell?
Nevalistis: This is kind of a bigger question, as I get the feeling there’s a misinterpretation of what a community manager does. That’s okay – it’s a job title that sometimes has a different definition at other companies, so it’s more than worth explaining. There’s a general misconception that our only purpose is to peruse and post on the forums every day, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

My personal primary focus lately has been gathering feedback. That includes a large amount of reading, writing, and compiling information from a variety of sources. Reports have (and continue to be filed) on over to our development team, outlining what you guys have to say. Occasionally, I also attend meetings with development to help clarify and discuss this feedback. In addition, I’ve been working on a bunch of blogs, both writing them myself and editing others for the rest of my team. Bear in mind these are just some of the tasks I’m currently working on, and it’s just a piece of the pie that the Community team tackles. Feedback and blogging also aren’t tasks entirely exclusive to me – these responsibilities can shift around based on our expertise and available work load, as we all have different skills we specialize in. Some tasks might be better suited to one of us over another.

Some of the other things we work on, for example, include:

  • Social media work. We plan our strategies, write and schedule the posts, respond and interact with folks on those channels, and gather feedback.
  • Event and project planning. Stuff like the Design a Legendary project is time consuming and requires a lot of logistics. You’ll see some more about this later today. =)
  • Coordinating globally with our other community teams. Everything we do here is also being done all over the world in our other regions. We work together with our international teammates to coordinate blogs, announcements, posts, and feedback, to make sure every voice (in every language) is heard.
  • Asset creation and management. This includes but is not limited to content for social media channels, blogs, and videos.
  • We’re a big happy family over here, and work together on many of our tasks when we can lend assistance. Some things, though, we tackle independently and that can keep us all pretty busy.

    Didn’t Josh admit during an interview that these were not separate teams? It’s the same guys just switching hats.
    Nevalistis: Even in the context of that interview, this isn’t entirely accurate. It’s really an issue of semantics, and I see why there’s confusion. They are separate teams in terms of platform goals and resources, but they’re all part of the greater “Diablo team,” as they’re both working on the same IP.

    Comments

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    1. I just wish the CMs could see how skewed the data really is. It seems to me that the age old proverb about squeaky wheels is true. The only problem we have as Diablo players is that the squeakiest, whiniest wheels are the ones that sit under the forum bridges waiting to troll.

      I would bet that if you did a real vote throughout the whole playing diablo community (and not just a pole of forum posters) you would find that the AH was a blessing compared to trading in D2.

      But, the idea of giving up the AH an trading all together (With bound items) is going to be a very unpopular decision.

      but, they wont know until it’s really too late. Because, the only voices that get heard are the voices of the trolls.

    2. “Would your Diablo 3 experience be improved by even more regular forum posts by CMs?”

      No, posts by CMs has very little to do with it. It’s the Blizzard executives and the developers. They should change their mindset totally, gather and hire new people, and produce a worthy successor to the previous Diablo games.

      There’s been plenty of good feedback over the years, even from “trolls”.

    3. QUOTE

      but, they wont know until it's really too late.  Because, the only voices that get heard are the voices of the trolls.

      Right, people who want AH gone are all trolls 🙂
      Blizzard should just listen to their own good sense (if they have any), I’m sure that would make them conclude that killing Ah is a good idea.

      Pretty damn sure a poll among all D3 buyers would not be pro-AH though. Not that it should really matter.

      • Not in those words but…

        Would rather have a no-AH mode. And a AH mode. Go figure.
        (The argument of further fragmentation of player base is tottaly bogus.)

        Another question… what outwordly chain of events led from “we aren’t supporting self found”… “we are shoving self-found down everyones throat”.

        Does someone at Blizzard like to eat icecreams with their forehead?!?

    4. People piss and moan about literally anything. Please, do tell, what do you do all day? How they don’t tell these precious oinks to stuff it I’ll never know.

      • exactly. But, It’s there job to sort it. So, that’s what they do. I feel for them. But, as someone who loves the game, I feel as if I’m often the ‘lone nut’ in the crowd speaking against current diablo hate trends. And hoping that the CMs can pick out my voice in the crowd.

        I dislike some things that have happened to my favorite game. So, what else is there to do when you realize; by becoming anti-troll, you’re becoming a troll?

        I’m not a pretty butterfly. I’m a Monster. They’ll have to patch me in at some later point for other diablo players to kill. They can literally call us the voices of the court … fiends and trolls that stood by and cheered on the demise of Sanctuary. (I actually think the developers my really have a great time roasting the gamers like that now that I think of it! LOL)

    5. I, Clavdivs, The God, in divine wisdom, started an article regarding CM and devs few days ago, but opted not to finish it. But it will be rewritten now!

      CM is a ‘coffee maker’ for a developer. They are all rather young, they have little knowledge about gaming in general, forums, communication and managing of people in forums. So they spend most time making coffee. Why is making so much coffee important?

      Well, developers sit all day in the meetings, which is very boring. Huge amounts of caffeine are needed to survive a daily dose of meetings they have. Because there is so many things to discuss. They all speak at the same time (except those who are currently drinking coffee), so no one hears anything.

      Naturally, while serving coffee, a CM hear something now and then. Something undoubtedly very smart, because it was said by a developer. Notice the singular. One of them said something that seem like something (we need more uncertainty to describe situation in detail, so The God will add ‘somewhere’).

      Small portion of developer workday is devoted to ‘trying different things’ – some of which does and some of which doesn’t include CMs. Like pretending to be skilful planner and having it ‘all figured out in excel’ – on this point The God needs Snake’s cynical comment – The God will just add ‘badly’ and leave out the half-insane laughter of an real-life analyst who actually spots methods from the results, and calls them hopeless and ill-conceived.

      The part of CM job is browsing through forums, where they tend to visit and approve ‘most beautiful flower’-type of threads, posting vague compliments on threads which seem affirmative and have most posters agreeing. On something. Unfortunately, sometimes they venture into unknown and post on their own, usually reproducing more or less accurately the thing they heard of developer which wasn’t drinking coffee.

      Among people who left a mark on Diablo2 history is a person called Bashiok. Those who remember his pearls of wisdom, open lying and complete lack of… know what divine being is talking about. Yet, a mind like that made his career in New Blizzard. So CMs look at him in awe, and dream of glory – after Loot2.0, Skills2.0, Paragon2.0 – perhaps there is a chance of making Bashiok2.0 (The God has a bet on one person in particular)?

      But, what seemed like a dream-job in Sanctuary turned up to be nightmare-job in Hell. Instead of being respected, promoting good ideas, giving advices and learning from game-making professionals in game loved by everyone, or at least less-passionately hated by most, they got unexpected – most people around are older then they are. Most have more arguments of better quality then they have. Most are more eloquent and would eat them alive in impartial and correct discussion. It was nice while it lasted – the first four years – but become living hell after.

      Word of advice – leave now, it won’t get better with RoS for you. Nobody will give YOU any credits. Most of the passive playerbase already left forums. Changes in RoS are either radical or not good enough or both. Everytime you touch the keyboard, a forked tongue will came out of your screen spilling poison. And for good reason – leaving unfinished game unattended for a year or more was a touch of a master. It deserved ill feelings. ‘A mastermind’, of course, won’t post anything and take only passive blame. So, it is more of coffee making and keeping mouth shut. And hoping for glory of Bashiok.

      Potential that game has is still there – after all 14+ million copies sold, though not caused by awesomeness of game we got, rather legendary predecessor – yes, even minority who claim that likes D3 more was influenced and intrigued to buy it because undying glory of it. And excellent, but untrue, gameplay trailer. And fading glory of New Blizzard.

      But current ‘pool of talents’ working on game – on certain aspects, to be true – graphics and sound are mostly of expected high quality – is simply not able to produce good game. But they make up for it by arrogance and smugness – especially towards the game with hundred times more depth and better solution. Same arrogance (and smugness) lead to disastrous decision to make ‘revolutionary, rather then evolutionary’ game – mind it, nothing of most prominent D3 faults wasn’t known before 12-14 millions copies sold – no diversity, boring endgame, pay-to-win principle, unsatisfactory loot – all of which showed themselves few months after release.

      For a hit-and-run, D3 is an blazing success. The God doubts in ability of repeating that success – perhaps RoS will represent slow decline, but D4 won’t be pre-sold in millions of copies. Divine advice would be to start working on it immediately (quite doable – none of current ‘winning-team members’ is needed), and finish RoS-patch and whatever comes after as quickly and painlessly as possible.

      And for CMs? Change nicks. Perhaps a game, too. Learn to play it, so you may look competent while posting. And make high quality coffee.

    6. I agree Flux, coming here and reading cool guest posts from the IncGamers community in addition to getting my daily/weekly intake of D3 ROS news is great.

      Regarding the D3 CM’s… whilst it’s good to see into their development process and stand over them with a dagger and voodoo doll like many of us to really prod Diablo 3 in the right direction with the right quality, I don’t think the CM’s can post anything without confirmation of the features from dev’s themselves.

      The dev’s really need to improve the design of D3 ROS though, if crushing blow is broken upon introduction to get a feel for how it performs, then they need to compress the numbers of HP down. 20% of hp may not sound like a lot, but when you’re rocking a monster with 800k of hp it is, same for goes for damange skills, so I feed from what I’ve seen on the beta so far, the number scaling between mechanics only compounds the problems of initial design imo.

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