First, thank you to every person who responded, taking the time to fill out either or both of the cleric surveys.
Whether you wrote a lot or a little, whether you explained problems or suggested solutions, whether you left comments I highlighted or whether you left comments I didn’t, whether I agreed or disagreed, I loved all of it.
(Yes, even you, the goofball responding as “Kaedra” who asked for bard nerfs. Nice try. :P)
It would be impossible to summarize everything that you all said without spending several weeks on it, but the responses were a constant surprise and in many ways beyond my expectations.
And I’ll reiterate that your feedback was passed along in full, unedited, to dev GMs. (Whether they’ll read it in full, I don’t know–though I hope so.)
It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been rewarding too and I hope that good things will come out of it.
While this page will soon bring us to the end of the cleric survey, at least until 2024 when it’s time for our five-years-later review (joking! …probably), in the future the TownCrier will definitely be looking for people willing to create, organize, and summarize similar surveys for other professions too.
(In fact, we have people lined up for two other professions already! A teaser, I know.)
Other thanks go to:
- Doug – As far as I know, somewhere around 2016 or 2017 he was the originator of the idea of collecting feedback on a profession–in his case wizards–and passing it along to dev GMs in a summarized format. The spark of a great idea!
- Luxelle – For being generally amazing, helping out with a few odds and ends, and maybe most of all for building the platform that made these surveys a possibility. Where the official forums and even Discord would have failed in allowing us to conduct this survey, the TownCrier channel delivered huge. I practically broke myself putting together these summaries in just over a week, but Luxie somehow pushes herself to extraordinary limits every day of the year to keep the TownCrier growing and I truly can’t imagine how she does it.
- Darcena – For her breadth of knowledge and incredible help with rewording and paring down the questions, making all the things that sucked stop sucking! (And if some things still sucked, it’s probably because I snuck them in at the last minute after she wasn’t vetting them anymore. Looking at you, First Aid/Survival question.) She also gave some guidance creating a cleaner presentation of these summaries. Lastly, thanks for convincing me to just release the survey, since we might still be waiting if I kept delaying a few weeks every time some festival, event, holiday, or change to clerics came up.
- GM Estild (and any other dev GMs reading) – Estild for encouraging the survey concept–for any profession–and promoting it on the official Gemstone Twitter feed. And, hopefully, any dev GMs who get any inspiration or ideas from the players’ thoughts. Without the hope that devs would actually be reading, I probably wouldn’t have had the motivation to go through with this project–but, even if I had, I doubt it would have gotten the response that it did.
The rest of this post is basically a director’s commentary with some insights into subjects like questions I removed and topics I didn’t touch on in the summary. If you’re interested, read on–and if not, I’ll simply say thank you again!
Hope to see some of you multi-character players for the next TownCrier profession survey, whenever it might be!
Niche Topics I Didn’t Summarize
If you took the survey and were left wondering why I didn’t say anything about the responses to questions X and Y that you remember… This was pretty much always because either:
- There weren’t enough substantive comments to dedicate a page or section to
- It seemed like too niche a topic to talk about or there was nothing actionable for dev
An example of not enough substance was society, which surprised me with how rarely people said anything cleric-specific. I expected comments like “Symbol of Seeking is so helpful for rescuing” or “319 works wonders to mitigate the downsides of spirit loss.” (Those aren’t real comments.)
While a small minority were like that, most responses were “generic” enough that if you read them without knowing the context, you’d have no idea what profession the person was. Just for fun, though, let’s look at the chart of which societies clerics join:
What is your cleric’s society?
Look at Sunfist barely beating out no society! As for what drives cleric players’ decisions on society, let’s see:
What influenced your decision on your cleric’s society? (If your cleric has been in more than one society, please answer based on the current one.)
There you have it!
Meanwhile, an example of having some substance to discuss but nothing actionable for dev involved the CONVERT mechanic.
Four–yes, four–players mentioned not liking that it’s restricted to a single Arkati. They’d made their clerics before converting existed and until then had roleplayed relationships with two Arkati or even a pantheon. Three of the four players reported either delaying converting for a long time or quitting the character over it.
It probably would have been a fun read, but there’s nothing for dev to do there without completely overhauling a system used by every profession.
By the way, if you’re curious, here’s which Arkati and spirits players reported following:
- 6 – Koar
- 5 – Ronan
- 3 – Charl, Eorgina, Imaera, and Ivas
- 2 – Cholen, Ghezresh, Kuon, Lorminstra, and Other
- 1 – Amasalen, Andelas, Gosaena, Jastev, Lumnis, Oleani, Onar, Tilamaire, Voaris, and Voln
- 0 – The rest!
Charl and Eorgina do stick out because they’re respectively a Liabo Arkati with Bane and a Lornon Arkati with a fire holy critical (regarded as one of the better critical types compared to other options available to Lornon Arkati).
Beyond that, I didn’t think there was much of note written about clerics’ convert choices.
One last example of something I didn’t devote a section to was why clerics hunt self-spelled or with outside buffs.
If I hadn’t included an “Other” option (lesson learned), I might have at least shown bar charts for these, but the way Google Forms shows this data made it not worth the effort to present to you since I didn’t find much that could generate discussion.
The only thing I really found noteworthy was that 14 respondents said it was “So easy to get help from my alts that I might as well.” That was only fourth place for why cleric players hunt with outside buffs, behind “Simply makes hunting easier” at 29 votes, “Blurs, mobiles, etc. help avoid maneuvers” at 23 votes, and “So easy to get help from friends/CHEs/MHOs/Dreaven that I might as well” at 17 votes…
…but it was also ahead of the top choice for why cleric players hunt self-spelled, which was “Keeps things simpler” at 12 votes. (“I don’t need anything more” and “I prefer self-sufficiency” tied for second with 11 votes.) Put another way, a good chunk of cleric players have alts on separate accounts.
I used a more traditional form of question to find out what types of outside help cleric players use, so we can at least look at that chart. Again, though, I didn’t really find anything worth discussing. This was in response to the question:
What types of buffs do you hunt with? (During everyday hunting, not uncommon situations like Duskruin and invasions.)
Questions on the Cutting Room Floor
Not every question in the survey got responses that attracted constructive discussion, but some questions never made it into the survey in the first place. These included:
- Armor (preferred endgame AsG)
- Group Hunting With Friends vs. Alts
- Stat Distribution (which stat tanked, set for power or growth)
All of these seemed too niche to deserve others’ time giving answers. (Or to use my time looking at them!)
- Defensive Spell Ratings
I asked people to rate their satisfaction with offensive spells and disablers, so why not defensive spells? Well… They’re set and forget, other than maybe 319 Soul Ward because of INFUSE SPIRIT, so I figured opinions probably wouldn’t be very productive. If it were a paladin, wizard, or sorcerer survey I would have left the question in because of the way those professions use lores, spell ranks, or the retribution effect of 712 Cloak of Shadows. In hindsight, maybe I could have included a question about 319 alone, asking how often people use the INFUSE SPIRIT option or if they even know about it.
- Divine Wrath
Speaking of asking about just one spell, at one point 335 Divine Wrath had a question to itself. I cut it because low level clerics aren’t casting it and I assumed high level clerics with opinions would find a spot to say things about it anyway. And they did!
- Favorite Hunting Ground
This one was a very difficult cut since I thought it had great potential for interesting discussion. The idea was to ask why people liked a hunting ground in the specific context of being a cleric, with a second part also asking if they’d hunted there as another profession and how those experiences compared and contrasted.
I thought it would be a lengthy answer for some people and I didn’t want push too hard or exhaust anyone even more than they might have been already. Still, I think there’s so much potential in the topic that I’m hoping one day it’ll be its own cross-profession survey.
(In fact, we’ve already discussed it among ourselves at the TownCrier. Whether it becomes a reality, we’ll just have to see! But I’d love to know how each profession’s interest in a hunting ground goes up or down based on factors like crittable enemies, undead, swarminess, skinnable enemies, and more.)
The very hardest set of questions for me to get rid of, though, were the last cuts made…
What’s the Point?
Originally, after the questions in Survey B asking about how often you cast/channel, bolt, or use weapons, I had profession-to-profession comparison followups along the lines of:
If you play another warding profession, why do you also play a cleric? Please share anything you’d like about how they compare and contrast, whether you prefer one over the other, etc.
Likewise for if you play another bolting profession and a bolting cleric, or a weapon-using profession and a weapon-using cleric.
Like the favorite hunting ground compare/contrast, I cut these questions because I thought they might take too long to fill out for some people.
In hindsight, I could go either way on whether I wish I’d left them in or not. I mean, Darcena even liked the questions, which is probably all the proof I need that they could have been good to include. And certainly one of the comments that made me most think I should have kept them was this rhetorical question from Part 8:
Clerics simply aren’t as good at warding as sorcerers. Can’t bolt as good as wizards. And can’t melee as good as empaths. So what’s the point? Other than being able to raise the dead for experience?
After all, since I didn’t include my questions that basically asked the same thing, we didn’t get to explore how people would rebut that. (If they would!)
Why does a person play a pure CS cleric while also having an empath or sorcerer? Why do they play a wizard but bolt with their cleric anyway? Why do they play a paladin or warpath or warmage only to also use a weapon with their cleric?
I don’t know about those last two, but maybe we at least uncovered the answer to the first question even without explicitly asking it:
The answer to that level 78 cleric’s question–“So what’s the point? Other than being able to raise the dead for experience?”–and the answer to why people play a pure CS cleric even if they already have a pure CS empath or sorcerer might very well be:
Raising the dead is the point. And the roleplay potential is the point and the utility is the point and the spiritual flavor is the point.
Put another way: hunting is a thing clerics do, but it’s not what clerics are in the eyes of the players. On the contrary… apparently, with the demographic of people who took the surveys, hunting is one of the least profession-defining things about clerics.
At least that’s the way things are now. But is that good or is it problematic?
I’ll conclude on that, leaving the one last open-ended question to you. After all, the point of the survey wasn’t only to find answers–it was also the value in searching for them.
Thank you for searching along with me.
(P.S.: You see that lonely vote where a single player selected warding-based disablers as one of their primary reasons to make a cleric? That was me. I know this survey summary has been long, but believe it or not, I’m very, very happy to wrap up. 😀 )