World of Warcraft is sending surveys to unsubscribed players for feedback

    
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oh noes a bitey scratchus

It’s hard to be certain that this is unprecedented, but it’s certainly unusual for World of Warcraft. A former player has posted on Reddit about a survey received from Blizzard covering Battle for Azeroth: whether it made the game better or worse, what was wrong with it, and what could be done to improve it. There was even a post-survey question about taking a Skype call to voice feedback for further understanding.

Of course, it’s one person posting this with no overall certainty about who receives this particular survey and why. (The follow-up about a Skype discussion is specifically noted to be with “select individuals.”) It still sounds like a very unusual move for Blizzard, which no doubt makes it sound a touch farfetched… but it also would confirm many theories about how far overall subscriptions have fallen and the general reception of the current expansion.

Or, to put it another way, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised if this particular expansion mirrors Warlords of Draenor’s patch cycle.

World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth Survey

Source: Reddit
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Ben Stone

Wouldn’t be a WoW article without a bit of doom-saying would it. Some people left, as they do every expansion cycle, this time they are doing a better job at market research. This expansion isnt even remotely close to the garbage Warlords which sent everyone packing.

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Sargonnax

Blizzard is confused because they somehow managed to design an expansion with the best feature being its ability to drive people away from the game.

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Utakata

…while nerfing all the fun stuff that made Legion great. /sigh

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Danny Smith

As if the “lock your sub in for 6 months for this boat that totally wasn’t the mount drop from the upcoming shrine of the storm raid!” thing wasn’t a sign the games probably not doing so hot huh?

Personally this feels like the first time Blizzard just kind of had a swing and a miss. Dreanor was a bad expansion because of the hasty redoes of places like Gorgrond so you get stuff like “Here i am what a villain!” “Here i am for the second time, i changed my mind im a hero now, oh and im dead!” level narrative salad. BfA meanwhile feels like they actually did give it the college try. The writing, the systems, the art. It all feels like on paper they thought it was a solid plan and followed it through to the letter and delivered on time.

But then you get to the live service and it just tripped and ate shit right off the starting line. They have had products with issues before like Diablo 3’s launch endgame being terrible, but they have all been somewhat ‘oh heres how you solve this issue’ fixes.

There doesn’t seem to be any fix they can pull without going “yeah this is entirely a failure of the design team and we cannot shift or deflect blame” and AAA developers do not like to do that. Compounded by them looking like they dont really know how to fix it without tearing out whole systems.

Thats really the longterm trouble here. WoD’s biggest issues were writing and garrison focus. Those are facets of the whole. Things like azurite, the neckpiece and the system as a whole are so integral you can’t really go “yeah this is killing sub numbers and player retention” without outright admitting you objectively fucked up and dont have a fix until the next expansion.

Honestly i have no idea how they fix this one, at best they count the expansion as a ‘loss’ so to speak and try to manage the damage while quickly ensuring the whole system is gone with the next expansion.

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Carebear

I would suggest WoW Devs go kill the world boss and whoever gets Artifact power on his bonus roll get fired from Blizzard. That would make good to the game imo..

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Mick the Barbarian

Not just that. The gold cost of bonus rolls is just dumb. 2K for 600AP.

Alex Js.
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Alex Js.

Lol, clueless developers using ancient, ineffective ways to gather a feedback, most likely because they don’t seriously care about what people think but just want to give an apppearance of caring…

If they REALLY cared about user’s feedback and about actually improving the game – all they had to do is visit places with large WoW community, such as certain subreddit or forums like MMO-Champion. There’s plenty of constructive feedback there, from all kind of players.

carnalforce1337
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carnalforce1337

I’ll hate to break it for you, guys, enjoying the downfall of wow and the low subscribers count, but I have receieved such surveys way before, I am talking WOTLK times, when the sub count had just hit over 10 mils. Surveys like these are hardly related to the current subscribers count as an indicator for something. And I am not even talking about the short survey that you get on canceling the subscription page. They also used to give free days and even free week few times for people that stayed unsubscribed for a long time (like 6 months or something like that). Were those free days playtime an indicator for low sub base? Of course not, they were peaking the hightest subscriber count in the genre of all times.

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

Cancelled my Wow sub recently and I didn’t notice any short survey at all.

carnalforce1337
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carnalforce1337

They knew you’re old and grumpy so they figured it’s not worth it. :)

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

That probably explains it :)

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Carebear

Denial is the first stage…

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Ben Stone

Yeah I also got a survey in WOTLK when I left for a while to play EQ2 instead. And not just the ‘unsubscribing’ one, I got it after being unsubbed for about a month.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

It’s tempting to infer from this that “Blizzard is worried,” given the context of general discontent voiced by players in various forums. But the fact that this survey was sent out just now probably is innocuous and merely coincidental given that they also recently removed the one-question mini-survey that used to pop up when you canceled a subscription.

My guess is someone on their UX team went to a seminar about effective means of gathering user feedback and learned that one-liner “what can we do to keep you?” polls at the point of disconnect generally are uninformative and useless, and a more detailed and focused survey, including some intelligently selected follow up live interviews, is a much more reliable way to produce reliable, actionable information about what users are thinking and why they’re using your product (or not). And this likely is just a routine move to improve the user feedback portion of their metrics gathering, not specifically related to BFA.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

I think we can also differentiate “worried” from “out of money and desperate…” I can believe that Blizzard is worried about BfA subscriber numbers, but not that they are somehow freaking out about it. This is a slow, measured response that in all honesty, people have been asking for more of an opportunity to give feedback.

*shrug*

I think it’s notable, but enough to start proclaiming WoW is dying.

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Paragon Lost

Nothing new really, they send those out all the time. I’ve received quite a few over the years when I wasn’t playing. My issue with their surveys is that they apparently don’t really take them seriously. Because they keep making the same errors. :/

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Doubleplusgood

There really is nothing blizzard can do to get me to play again. It is not just one thing, its the entire current game design that would have to change.
Give me an expac that is designed like WOTLK then me and my stable of Alts will return. An open world with different starting zones that I can freely explore that is not a linear story line with content gated behind faction grinds and world quest grinds. Completely get rid of the artifact gear grind system and have my characters gain levels again. While your at it, also remove the Diablo style random trait gear system. Make the game alt friendly again and not a giant chore to level up multiple characters. These are just some of the things that I know will never happen so I will continue to play other MMO.
But I am looking forward to Vanilla!

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Roger Melly

My recollections of vanilla WoW is it wasn’t alt friendly and I kind of liked that you really had to work on a handful of characters to get anywhere . Blizzard making the game alt friendly is partly what made the game too easy and that is what led a lot of people including me to leave .

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Doubleplusgood

I started playing in 2006 so I remember what the old game was like. I had a stable of alts then and it was only as the game became more linear with more grind did I stop playing multiple characters. It was difficult back then, but what they have done with the current version is replace difficulty with boring repetitive grind to extend the content and slow players down.

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Roger Melly

Things can’t be good if they are having to do this . In the 9 years since I have left WoW I’ve met countless people in other games that used to play WoW and it’s always the same reason they left , Blizzard have streamlined it to the point that it is just not fun anymore .

I think if the vanilla servers become more popular than the live game it should and hopefully speak volumes to Blizzard as to where they have gone wrong over the years .

I would love to see separate ( to the classic vanilla ones ) pristine progression servers that keep much of the original game features and challenge of vanilla wow but move it forward and apply it to all the the expansions . ( but the minute they apply group finders that teleport you into a dungeon on a pvp server then I would fast lose interest because it killed world pvp ) .