Couple of days ago I made a post in a thread that was being actively responded to by a CM, response and post are here. I wasn't very satisfied with her response, I think it dodged the issue quite a bit.
Systems of information distribution in WoW:
- Official Forums ("blue" posts)
- 3rd Party forums, news sites (MMO-Champion, World of Raids, EJ forums)
- Patch Notes
- Tidbits of info on the main WoW website or the launcher application
Problem: With the exception of patch notes, the systems of information distribution listed above do not come to the player, the player must go to the system. Any player who does not frequent the official forum or a 3rd party news site is never made aware of important upcoming changes relevant to their characters. Without specific information from Blizzard we'll never know for sure what percent of the player population actively uses the official forums, but I think we can all agree that it is some non-trivial value.
Patch notes are a bit of a special case I think. The CM response to my post was that patch notes fulfill the obligation of providing info to players. However, I think its fair to say that most players are going to take a look at the patch note window and immediately close it without reading it - its poorly formatted, frequently terribly lengthy
, and squished into a tiny box that requires frequently scrolling. The 2.0 and 2.1 patch notes are prime examples of ways to get your player base to not read the patch notes, due to the extremely long lists of items, quest changes, changes to mobs, etc. The average guy is not going to read that stuff.
Dilemma: Lack of relevant information leads to players making less than optimal choices for their class, which they probably wouldn't make if they were armed with the proper facts. Things like shaman still mixing Windfury ranks 5/4, not being aware of the 3 second WF cooldown, lots of people that think the Windfury totem change is coming next patch, to name a few that I see on a regular basis.
Possible solutions: So the challenge as I see it is that Blizzard really needs to step up their delivery of information to *every* player, not just those who visit their forums or some other sites. Why not generate an in-game newsletter that pops up in everyone's mail box with some of the latest information that was discussed on the forums? Patch notes that pop-up in-game, filtered to be relevant to your character class?
Would this not be a better model for reaching the player base? Are there better ways to accomplish this?
Greetings <Class>! We've changed the damage output of <Ability XYZ> in order to rebalance <Class> for PvP and PvE in the upcoming patch due to mechanics changes. Please adjust your gear and ability use as you see fit! Please press [OK] to dismiss this window!
Edit - For those just coming in, we're not talking about exposing inner mechanics of the combat system, the discussion has moved beyond that a bit. We're talking about correcting tooltips and making less ambiguous statements so that people can actually tell the difference between good and bad items/spells/effects. Give them the tools they need to learn about their class.