So people have thrown around issues of transparency and other fun things, wondering what the point is of NOTD Discussion if the Black Ops exist. Well, I’m here to talk to you about that. WHAT IS BLACK OPS? Black Ops is the “super NOTD Discussion forum”, where the community members with sharp minds and a great deal of knowledge about NOTD are given a more private workspace so they don’t get lost in the sea of activity. It is the initial screening process for major reworks and concepts that the general community may not be ready for yet, or a staging ground for discussions about hackers or major exploits that we don’t exactly want to be public knowledge. Black Ops members generally know a great deal more about NOTD than your average member, and are more often aware of the reasons for certain balancing aspects of NOTD. For instance, many players view the Pathfinder as strictly overpowered, but have never seen him outside of an EC Recruit random where he racked up over 2,000 kills without effort due to the Gunslinger tree. Black Ops members generally disagree, having seen the Pathfinder in his native habitat much more often, and have also found him to be balanced for Nightmare difficulty, something that “the usual crowd” tends to shy away from. Many people have knee-jerk reactions to certain things, and Black Ops tends to avoid that because the members are (usually) more level-headed. WHY DO SOME CONCEPTS STAY IN THE BLACK OPS AND SOME DON’T? Some things, such as the massive list of class reworks and tweaks that NOTD is currently undergoing, are sometimes better left out of the scope of public opinion. I’ll be frank, not everyone is cut out to for game design and balance, and many believe that their ideas are good and will defend them to the death when in reality they’re not so good. The problem with running a game purely on public opinion is that you get skewed results – Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s right, or the only viable tactic. Many make suggestions based on how they want NOTD to be, or suggest class changes that will suit their specific playstyle, but do so without really thinking about how it will affect gameplay. A lot of the suggestions made to NOTD are based on what the person making the suggestion wants, and less on what would further NOTD as a game. DOES THIS MEAN MY OPINION MEANS LESS BECAUSE I’M NOT A MEMBER OF BLACK OPS? Not at all. Present a good enough argument and use sound logic and you can probably overturn any change. However, keep in mind, if you’re not making headway after making the best argument you can, there’s the possibility of you being wrong. Personal perception skews many things, a perfect example being the CP Rework fiasco where several members viewed it as “shitting on the little guy and nerfing the newbie” as opposed to a long-term incentive system to encourage veteran players to continue playing, which caused all sorts of problems. MANY CHANGES ARE MADE WITHOUT OUR NOTIFICATION OR KNOWLEDGE. WHY IS THAT? Black Ops tend to get first dibs on calling the shots, so to speak, because Black Ops members have a history of contributing positively to NOTD. NOTD Discussion, being the open forum that it is, can lead to anyone making any suggestion, and therefore is often unreliable. WHAT CAN I DO TO BECOME A MEMBER OF BLACK OPS? Contribute and you might get picked. It’s an arbitrary process, unfortunately, but when time rolls around to get more Black Ops members, we’re going to be looking for the people that have a history of sound logic and strong ideas, not the players that have 90,000 experience and think they’re important because of it. Being a good player and being a member of Black Ops generally go hand-in-hand, but it’s not a requirement, and certainly not a qualifier. Give good feedback, present strong arguments, and contribute to the community and you’ll be picked up soon enough. I FEEL THAT TOPICS MOVED FROM BLACK OPS TO NOTD DISCUSSION ARE OFTEN ALREADY DECIDED. WHY PUT THEM THERE IF THEY’RE PRACTICALLY ALREADY IN THE GAME? Because “practically already in the game” is not the same as “implemented”. The move from Black Ops to NOTD Discussion happens when Black Ops members are done discussing it and no longer have anything else to say, and submitting it to the public opinion means we can get more feedback on the whole. It’s a last ditch effort to see if we missed anything, and to see if anyone can come up with a decent argument to prevent the change from taking place. Again, the CP Rework topic is a fantastic example, as we went from 6 pages to 22 in 3 days when it was moved to NOTD Discussion as many members of the community had very strong opinions about the proposed changes outlined within the topic. If you feel that your opinion does not mean much, I invite you to check out the topic and see how basically nothing has been implemented, save for a few necessary balance changes that were nested in within the proposals. I hope that this was enlightening enough to help quiet some of the rumblings of discontent throughout the community. Please feel free to ask any more questions if you have them and I will respond as best I can.