A case for patience on the PTRs

Mike Schramm
M. Schramm|05.02.07

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A case for patience on the PTRs
You'll forgive me for trying to inject a little reason into a nerf debate (an impossible task, probably), but that's what I'm about to try and do anyway.

Yesterday, mages, warlocks, and shadow priests were up in arms about the changes on the test realm to the tailoring epic outfits. Blizzard was experimenting with adding ability stats to the armor while nerfing spell damage, and tailors went ballistic over the changes. And so, within a matter of hours, Eyonix announced on the forums that the changes had already been reverted and would not go to the live servers.

Now, yesterday I said the nerfs weren't that big a deal, and since then, I've seen some good points that say they were-- lots of people spent lots of time and gold getting just these recipes together (some even leveled tailoring for just these pieces), and it definitely presents a problem to make serious changes to gear that people have already sacrificed a lot for.

On the other hand, there were good reasons behind the changes as well. As even a few tailors have said, these crafted pieces matched up to the Tier 4 and 5 pieces, and I see problems with basically requiring clothies to be tailors to be competitive in the endgame. Many warlocks cried the most about the changes, but because +spell damage doesn't translate directly to most of their DOT spells, in many cases, they would actually be the least affected (Update: In hindsight, I shouldn't have judged how affected anyone was by this change. But that's not the point of this article-- read on.)

But my point now isn't to argue whether these sets should have been changed or not. What I want to point out now is that being outraged on the forums and yelling at Blizzard about something that's happening on the test realms will actually impede the developers' abilities to make good changes on the live ones.

Feedback is great, and I'm sure Blizzard's devs love to hear it, especially from the test realms. That's why they have those realms-- to put ideas into play about how the game might change, and (get this) test out their effects. If clothies really are beating melee in DPS with gear that's only available to tailors, there's something that needs to be fixed there. And nerfing these recipes might not be the best way to go about it, but if the reverting of that change announced yesterday was in any way brought on by the obnoxious whining on the forums, we'll never know.

I want the developers to make strange and crazy changes on the test realms. I want them to break the game, to jerk us out of the normal ways of doing things, and to make as many broad, sweeping changes as possible, even if those changes aren't good. It's fine for you to disagree with those changes (and there are certainly channels for you to do so, first and foremost the suggestions area on the official forums). But if players get all outraged every time the devs decide to mess around with a fundamental game mechanic on the forums, the game on the live servers really will devolve into something we've all played before.

I'm no Blizzard apologist-- I'll call them out when they've screwed up. And if a change like this went to the live realms, these tailors would have every right to be angry and tell Blizz that they screwed up. But as far as I'm concerned, they can't screw up on the test realms. That's what they're there for. QQing has its place-- everyone knows there's plenty to complain about on the live servers, and people do complain about it. Constantly.

But lay off on the outrage to changes on the PTR (at least outside of the normal channels of feedback). The more room we all give the devs to experiment there (whether it be with Tailoring recipes or shaman mana efficiency-- hint hint), the better the game we're all playing on the live servers will be.
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