The Daily Grind: How much should fan communities influence MMO designers?

Yes, we're all very impressed over here.

The other day I saw a comment on an MMO subreddit that I quite liked; to paraphrase, it basically stated that the system designers don’t care how many upvotes you get on Reddit and will not change their design as a result. And this is true. If you make a topic on a subreddit saying that, say, your favorite class in World of Warcraft should get 10x the health of every other class? You can get all the upvotes, but that will not result in a sudden health buff.

The question, then, is how much fan communities should influence these mechanical designers.

If the unofficial Star Trek Online forums are filled to the brim with people posting threads about mechanical reworks to photon torpedoes, that doesn’t mean those threads have good ideas, but it does indicate that there are problems with photon torpedoes. Or it indicates that a whole lot of people are unhappy about something, which might even be a case where the previously too-powerful photon torpedoes are now jut a reasonable option among many. You don’t want designers making knee-jerk changes based on these threads, but how much should they matter? How much should these sorts of fan communities influence MMO designers?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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