Salty’s stream was kind of gross. I think part of the problem is the devs aren’t really “players” in the same sense as a lot of us. What do I mean?
Salty was laughing at how nuts Doomskulls were the entire time. She seemed to have a lot of fun. Since she was doing PvP and some of the questline, it was all low-stakes. In that context, it is really fun (to some people) to have weird, explody matches where the world changes in an instant. This is how devs test the game: low-stakes matches where a loss only results in a tiny fraction of lost time.
She didn’t try to help her guild meet a Raid Boss or Invasion score. She didn’t try to get a winning score in Guild Wars. She didn’t try for the PvP leaderboard. She didn’t try for the Raid/Invasion/Bounty leaderboards. She didn’t try to beat a pet rescue in 10 minutes because she’s at work and had to wait for a break. She didn’t play in a situation where she only has 30 minutes per day and has to figure out how to meet trophy requirements for a guild. These are all scenarios that players face where “explody, swingy matches” are very frustrating, because even having a well-prepared team is not enough to make sure your very limited time/sigils are spent well.
If Gems of War was just PvP and just Explore, Doomskulls would be really fun and probably more well-received. But an increasing amount of GoW is competitive, and requires reliable wins to stay afloat. That’s the part of GoW the devs don’t experience and I think the increasing frustration in the playerbase is a side effect.