That impulse still exists, and when devs try and address us with the facts as they see them, the rationale behind their decisions, it can still come forth. What's worse is, sometimes the devs are wrong - sometimes a decision doesn't work out like they'd hope, or they make a mistake in how they implement an idea (the Burning Crusade
version of rage normalization and the Cataclysm
healer revamp come to mind) and unfortunately when that happens the players often become suspicious and hostile when a new version of that idea is implemented. It's understandable, but that reaction prevents an honest dialogue. Does the good outweigh the bad?
I'd have to argue yes. To a degree, the players who will lash out and blame the devs for the game not being the way they want it would never really be satisfied - they're seeking an outlet for frustration. sometimes understandably so, sometimes not. Their reaction doesn't change the fact that for many of us, it's very helpful to know why changes are being made, even if just in a general sense. Knowing that changes are coming to itemization, that certain stats will be going away or introduced, knowing about the itemization squish is helpful
and it's a lot better than the old days when a stat like Expertise could just happen
and we were all left wondering what is this, what do i do with it
after the fact. Any player who lived through the days when the Edgemaster's Handguards
were the best gloves in the game for any raiding DPS warrior or paladin remembers how often in vanilla nothing
It's true that there are times when we get a lot of information we can't really process. To a degree I feel like the recent healing and health changes
fall into that ballpark - paradoxically, we learned just enough about the changes to upset and confuse us without learning enough about their context to provide us with a real idea of how they're going to work
. The Dev Watercooler could only give us half of the picture, and posters like Watcher didn't really make it that much more clear - it may just be the kind of thing we can only really grasp when we start to see it. The whole team did their best to explicate, but I don't think it helped. That's not to say they don't do a good job.
That doesn't mean it can't be done better. Right now I'm pretty hopeful for dev/player interaction, as the era of twitter has improved accessibility and damped down some of the trolling and vitriol, with multiple developer voices answering questions and explaining things in addition to the hard work of the community managers. The forums still exist and are still very useful for long-form posts and responses, but twitter's immediate back and forth has led to us hearing a lot more from a variety of voices working in various parts of the game's development. And that's all to the good - having a range of voices prevents the vitriol from accumulating around one target. As good as it was to have a person out there, having only one
person meant that he was the lightning rod for all unhappiness, even for things he had no real part of or control over.
I'd argue that we currently almost have the kind of transparency we'd want - multiple people talking about their various parts of the puzzle. What we need now is probably a touch more forthcoming, but you can't build things without taking the steps.