How do you make sure to keep your criticism constructive?
Even the games I love have things that I don’t like. World of Warcraft has the interminable class balance problem that it has always had (and probably will always have) magnified by player perception that if a class isn’t exactly as good at every aspect of gameplay as everyone else trying to do that aspect — yes, I’m looking at you, tanking — that said class is garbage and must never be brought to a dungeon or raid. In a different vein, Diablo 4 Seasons haven’t been as good as the excellent main campaign was and leveling to 100 feels somewhat arduous.
Now, it’s okay to not be absolutely deliriously happy with every single aspect of a game. MMOs like WoW are constantly in flux anyway, so there are always going to be parts you like and parts you don’t like as much. But a lot of the time when I see feedback to a game, it’s in the form of a series of angry whatever-we-call-tweets-now — and I’m sorry for the aside, but when someone names their child Tau Techno Mechanicus maybe it’s time to stop letting them name things — or an angry series of videos on YouTube. Or forum posts that repeat the same “I’m angry about PVP balance so I’m going to yell at a narrative designer to go fix it even though they don’t even work on PVP content” statements.
I recognize that toxicity is a real and ongoing problem in gaming in general and especially in video gaming, and I’m not trying to come up with some grand plan to fix it. But I want to make sure I at least don’t add to it, and so I’m always looking for ways to express what I like and what I don’t like without making it personal. For starters, I never attack people — I might say “This system feels disjointed” but I don’t find someone who works at Blizzard and send them a stream of angry invective about how broken something is. I don’t want a cookie for this; I’m more looking for tips.
How do you guys do it? Do you focus on just the aspects you’re looking to see improved and be as dispassionate as possible? Do you leaven your concerns with praise for what you do enjoy? How do you make sure you’re keeping your criticism from becoming invective?
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