Unearthed Arcana WotC Surveys: Implementation vs. Interest

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One thing that came to mind today with regards to the new psionics UA, is that WotC surveys seem to do a really bad job of allows us to express the difference between our level of interest in certain features versus our satisfaction with the implementation.

For instance, they gave us several UAs with a new Mystic/Psion class. The last iteration (months ago, not the subclass thing today) was a lot different than the previous ones, and they haven't done much with it in a while.

Apparently they kept changing it because none of the particular implementations were satisfying for a large enough percentage of people. That's good.

However, it appears they may have abandoned the idea of a full Psion class for the same reason. This is not good. Because there is a lot of interest in a full Psion class. If there was not, they would seen the tumbleweeds and abandoned it long before taking 3-4 full UA attempts at it.

I mean, maybe they just scour Reddit and stuff looking for discussions to determine the level of interest. But wouldn't it be nice if we had some way to directly let them know whether we like a particular implementation as well as our level of interest in the concept?

Since I don't run their survey department, I can't just add those questions to their surveys, nor can I expect someone else to. So how can we do our small part in the feedback voting community to make sure we give them valuable feedback on both implementation and interest?

[Edit: I want to clarify that I'm using the psion as an example, but I'm addressing the general concept. There are plenty of other surveys that could have benefited from the distinction.]


They are asking for our feedback. They want to know what we want them to make. But they aren't asking that one really important question.
 
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ad_hoc

(he/they)
I don't want there to be a Psion class yet I still fill out the surveys.

I think the Likert scale (1-5) does a pretty good job for them. It could always be more nuanced but they're taking in a lot of numbers. I think they save the more nuanced polls for their bigger picture surveys.
 

I don't want there to be a Psion class yet I still fill out the surveys.

I think the Likert scale (1-5) does a pretty good job for them. It could always be more nuanced but they're taking in a lot of numbers. I think they save the more nuanced polls for their bigger picture surveys.

So do I. Can they tell from our surveys whether or not we want <X>? That's what I'm concerned about.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Yeah, "looks fine" is completely different from "I totally want to play this and I care about this".

Indeed, people that dont care about a class and say something is "fine", is often damaging to the people who care about the class and know that it isnt fine because they are more informed about what the needs and concerns are.
 


GreyLord

Legend
In many instances there is a free fill area of a survey that you can basically fill with your comments...something to the idea of
...anything else you want to say
...or what do you like or not like
...or why do you feel this way or not

Where you can write down your idea of having it as a class or not.
 


I hate psion in my D&D. So I will occasionally try to shoot them down.

This is such an awful attitude. They're always going to be optional. There are tons of subclasses and races I wouldn't want in my game or setting, but I am always honest about the quality in UA, even of options I don't want, because they're just that, options. I could understand this if WotC were going to force you to include all classes at gunpoint but...
 

dave2008

Legend
I'm am not sure about every survey as I don't fill them out very often, but the new survey for the Class Feature Variants had lots of areas to type in comments. I imagine the subclass survey will too. That is where you should discuss implementation vs. execution.
 

pogre

Legend
I hate psion in my D&D. So I will occasionally try to shoot them down.

This is such an awful attitude. They're always going to be optional. There are tons of subclasses and races I wouldn't want in my game or setting, but I am always honest about the quality in UA, even of options I don't want, because they're just that, options. I could understand this if WotC were going to force you to include all classes at gunpoint but...
What if you really do not want to see a class/option in Adventure League? I think that is a legitimate reason to shoot something down.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I have never understood what the interest in a "psion" is, nor even what a "psion" is. Nor do I feel that the people who desperately want a "psion" have ever been able to explain what one is to me adequately. So I totally sympathize with any designer who, attempting to create a "psion" finds that there is no coherent definition of what a "psion" is, how it adds to gameplay, or even how it is different than a sorcerer or wizard.

Fundamentally, "psionics" in D&D have never been defined by anything but variant mechanics. And really, not since 1e AD&D has that variation had a clear and compelling reason.

In 1e AD&D a "psionic" character was one that had innate magical talent that was largely independent of the level of the character. This concept of innate magical talent that a person was just born with was tied by flavor to the attempts of mystics to reconcile their beliefs in magic with rational world of science, and as such it used a lot of modern language to describe very old superstitions in an attempt to clothe them in pseudo-scientific language. Of course, D&D got the language wrong, as for example the word "psionic" is a cognate of the word "bionic" and is meant to refer to a machine that grants abilities to the mind - a concept we'd now mostly think of in the context of cyberpunk such as installing modems in the brain to allow mind/machine interfaces. Still, at least it had some sort of coherent concept that made it different that a "Magic User" and anyone of any class could be a "psion".

Furthermore, psionic powers were novel mechanically in that they used mana points rather than spell slots. This incidental detail would be basically the sole defining trait of psions for the next two iterations. Psions were basically sorcerers with a slightly different spell list but critically using mana points rather than spell slots. It was as janky as heck, and I don't think really anyone could explain in this period what psionics were. Often a rather large percentage of the text was devoted to discussing what psionics might be without ever reaching any sort of definitive solution. Where they magic? Where they not magic? If they weren't magic, what were they? No one really seemed to know but there seemed to be pretty wide recognition that different tables had adopted different explanations or more often non-explanations.

Most of the attraction that I observed seemed to be focused on the mechanical difference. Some people really hated spell slots and really like mana points, and that was that.

So as an amateur rulesmith, I have no envy for the job of any designer that is supposed to create 5e "psionics". I recognize that there is a ton of interest, but the fact that no implementation makes a majority happy is not at all surprising. In prior discussions about psionics, I've only been convinced that psionics were always a bad idea with questionable implementations, however much they excited the imagination of a few.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
This is such an awful attitude. They're always going to be optional. There are tons of subclasses and races I wouldn't want in my game or setting, but I am always honest about the quality in UA, even of options I don't want, because they're just that, options. I could understand this if WotC were going to force you to include all classes at gunpoint but...
I DM Adventure League. Unless it goes to Eberron, as soon as the next hard cover non adventure comes out, it becomes a +1.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I hate psion in my D&D. So I will occasionally try to shoot them down.
If I may, this sounds like sour grapes. Because you don't need to let anything into your game. Artificers haven't magically been allowed in the non-Eberron game I'm running. Nor Kobolds and other monster races as PCs from MtoF even though it was out when I started my lastest. But I'm glad the options are there for those that want them.

Your self proclaimed action to repeatedly shoot them down because you don't want to play with them comes across as "Since I don't like them, NOBODY should have them!". That's ... rather petty I'm sorry to say.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
. But wouldn't it be nice if we had some way to directly let them know whether we like a particular implementation as well as our level of interest in the concept?

Yes... and no.

Surveying, as a science, is extremely complicated. While we might at first think that seeking ever increasing granularity might be helpful, the point of diminishing returns on that kind of effort often comes up really quickly, and phrasing the questions so that you unambiguously get accurate information may be difficult.

For example, you are assuming that general interest with he concept is easily separable from liking a particular implementation. Meanwhile, the reality may be that many players think they are uninterested with a concept until they see an implementation they like, and suddenly their interest skyrockets.

So, in the end, allowing you go give more detailed feedback may ultimately mislead them. They may be better off with a general "like or dislike" without probing into the details.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
If I may, this sounds like sour grapes. Because you don't need to let anything into your game. Artificers haven't magically been allowed in the non-Eberron game I'm running. Nor Kobolds and other monster races as PCs from MtoF even though it was out when I started my lastest. But I'm glad the options are there for those that want them.

Your self proclaimed action to repeatedly shoot them down because you don't want to play with them comes across as "Since I don't like them, NOBODY should have them!". That's ... rather petty I'm sorry to say.
Or you can take the current UA. OR homebrew, Or Third party version. And play it.
If it becomes an OFFICAL CLASS, I will be forced to be the bad guy when I say no.
BUT BUT jasper it is an OFFFICAL CLASS. MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF FANS WANTS IT.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Or you can take the current UA. OR homebrew, Or Third party version. And play it.
If it becomes an OFFICAL CLASS, I will be forced to be the bad guy when I say no.
BUT BUT jasper it is an OFFFICAL CLASS. MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF FANS WANTS IT.
So you're willing to lie to WotC because you don't want to be the bad guy to your players. Petty.

There's also a large quality difference between UA and published. UA is fairly early in the process because they don't want to spend time doing balance passes, multiclass check passes, and polish if it's not going to fly in the first place. This has been confirmed multiple times from the designers/developers. So UA versions will not be nearly as good. I don't know if that knowledge will affect your decision to give false feedback.
 

So UA versions will not be nearly as good.

Not nearly as good from a design/balance standpoint. Usually great from a powergamer's standpoint, because they seem to just throw in all the subclass abilities they think they might want and cut one or two later, presumably in part so people get excited enough to playtest it.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
So you're willing to lie to WotC because you don't want to be the bad guy to your players. Petty.

There's also a large quality difference between UA and published. UA is fairly early in the process because they don't want to spend time doing balance passes, multiclass check passes, and polish if it's not going to fly in the first place. This has been confirmed multiple times from the designers/developers. So UA versions will not be nearly as good. I don't know if that knowledge will affect your decision to give false feedback.
Development is zero sum. If WotC imay spending time and treasure on developing something I don't want, it is rational to try to sink tgat so they develop something I do want instead. Sour grapes would only apply if there was no cost for the unwanted development. There is a cost, so it becomes a rational option.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Development is zero sum. If WotC imay spending time and treasure on developing something I don't want, it is rational to try to sink tgat so they develop something I do want instead. Sour grapes would only apply if there was no cost for the unwanted development. There is a cost, so it becomes a rational option.
I ask you to follow your logic one step further.

From the number of different attempts as psionic characters, including multiple revisions of a full class, and player interest, the developers will be attempting to work on psionics. So future development time will be put towards it.

There are already sunk costs in what they have developed. Considering that they will be working on a psion, the short path to completion is one where they have already done work, instead of one they are starting yet again from scratch.

So with the reasonable assumption that the concept of psion will stay on the developer's plate, the rational option would be to rate it high so they have the least amount of work to complete, leaving more time for other projects. Sinking the current implementation will cause more future developer time to be spent on the concept as they start again from scratch.
 

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