Blue Defends Blizzard’s Game Design Philosophy


A fan questioned Blizzard’s endless-iteration play testing method of design, and got a reply by Fisking via Bashiok:

At one point during a panel, someone on the Blizzard team says “Our testers kept picking the runes that had different art over others that were just stat tweaks”. I have to wonder what context these skills were picked in. To get true feel for what it would mean for the end consumer, the player would have to have developed the character a bit to make any kind of choice.
Ok, this sounds interesting. Continue.

It sounds to me like Blizzard is simply having their internal testers play through the game over and over.
DANGER

And personally, I think that is why D3 is taking so long to come out
There it is. Aaaaaaaaaaand…

If they want to really know how it would feel for an end user they should start the beta
BOOM SHAKA LAKA

Just because you like it internally and you get some support from the community doesn’t mean there aren’t better options to be explored

Oh sure, and I don’t think I ever implied it was some miraculous perfection. All I meant was that it wasn’t a one sided ‘the community agrees’ type of thing some people were touting. To clarify, I don’t believe it to be a non-issue because there are some people who like it, but because it’s a single head piece for a single gear look for a relatively small range of levels.

So how about it? Bashiok kind of ducked an actual reply by using sound effects, but what do you think? Two points: 1) It’s hard to argue against Blizzard’s method when it results in such good games, but 2) it’s hard to argue for Blizzard’s method when it takes so incredibly long. Could things be done better?

I don’t believe the OP’s apparent argument would be an improvement. What good would it do them to rush to a public alpha or beta test that would then drag on for 18 months while they rebuilt major portions of the game to fix the problems created by the very rush that got them to the early beta? Plus the testers would get bored with that; there’s a reason companies pay for quality QA workers; cause it’s often tedious and mind-numbing and yet essential. 

That said, the term “good enough” can sometimes be of use in this sort of thing. Not every change and redesign and revision is necessarily and improvement, and there are some design problems that are only revealed by thousands (or millions) of fans hammering away on the game

Since it reads better in one piece, rather than broken into quoted tidbits by Bashiok, here’s Grug’s full OP.

Just two things I want to say.

At one point during a panel, someone on the Blizzard team says “Our testers kept picking the runes that had different art over others that were just stat tweaks”. I have to wonder what context these skills were picked in. To get true feel for what it would mean for the end consumer, the player would have to have developed the character a bit to make any kind of choice. It sounds to me like Blizzard is simply having their internal testers play through the game over and over. And personally, I think that is why D3 is taking so long to come out, because Blizzard is being a little too meticulous. If they want to really know how it would feel for an end user they should start the beta so they have thousands of testers and opinions instead of a handful.

Second, Bashiok had a very presumptuous reaction to a thread complaining about the Male Wizard’s helmet from the recent gear preview. He said that “because the argument in this thread is so heated, I’m going to assume we’re doing all right”. This is folly. Yes, there are haters, but there are also Fan Boys. even if the fan boys and even neutral players like something you produce, they might like a different version more, one that’s more agreeable to the negative constituency. Just because you like it internally and you get some support from the community doesn’t mean there aren’t better options to be explored.

 

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard, Blizzard People, Blue Posts, Diablo 3 Beta

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