On the topic of feedback, what do games do when they are receiving conflicting and mutually contradictory feedback? For example, group X says Z the game is too hard and complicated, while group Y is saying the game is too easy and not deep enough.

A lot of discussion and consideration goes into deciding what to do. The size of these groups makes a big difference in helping us put player opinions into context. For example, if group X is 40% of our player base and group Y is only 0.4%, chances are pretty good our leadership will lean towards group X’s opinion.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the majority always rules either - player opinions are only one factor in a big set of multi-variable equations. The players only know about what’s currently available in the game and aren’t privy to our plans for the next year or so. We don’t (always) make it up as we go. We usually need to plan out the next year or so of continued development in advance so that we have enough time to get things done, like schedule voice actor recording sessions, hire external contractors, and give ourselves enough time to build and test the new stuff. Even if we know Class X in Game Mode Y is underperforming, it might not be worth addressing if we’re already planning to introduce a whole new Game Mode Z as a replacement to Game Mode Y in a few months when the new expansion launches. It sucks for Class X players, but it’s more useful for us to put those development resources into building something that won’t get rendered obsolete when the new expansion launches.

That brings us to the cost issue to consider. If you ever ask a player whether they want more content or less content, they’ll always choose more. Realistically, we have a development budget - a maximum total amount of development resources we have to build the game - that we can’t go over. Building out feature N generally comes at the opportunity cost of building feature M - we can’t afford both, so we have to choose one. Higher priority features and content get built. Lower priority features and content get cut.

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