Blizzard’s Ion Hazzikostas has eloquently described the challenges developers face when trying to react to feedback from a huge playerbase.
Posting on the World of Warcraft forums in repsonse to a player complain, the assistant game director explained that the MMO’s community is actually made up of several minority groups rather than one shared fanbase, GamaSutra reports.
This makes it much more difficult to change and balance features of the game based solely on the vocal members.
“Almost every facet of WoW is an activity that caters to a minority of the playerbase,” he wrote. “That may sound odd at first blush, but it’s true. In a sense, that’s part of the magic of WoW. It is not a narrow game, but rather one that can be enjoyed in numerous different ways, by people with hugely diverse playstyles.
“A minority of players raid. A minority of players participate in PvP. A tiny minority touch Mythic raiding. A tiny minority of players do rated PvP. A minority of players have several max-level alts. A minority of players do pet battles, roleplay, list things for sale on the auction house, do Challenge Mode dungeons, and the list goes on. Virtually the only activity that a clear majority of players participate in is questing and level-up dungeons, but even then there’s a sizeable group that views those activities as a nuisance that they have to get through in order to reach their preferred endgame.
“And yet, taken together, that collection of minority groups literally is the World of Warcraft.
“If we decided to focus on a specific playstyle and elevate that portion of audience above the rest, then we could certainly visibly and consistently address clear feedback from that group, but WoW would become a far smaller game in the process.
“I know it often can seem like we don’t listen. We are – just to many, many different voices.”