Tag Archives: Forums

Daybreak and Forums and Reddit

I have always been of the opinion that online games ought to have official forums.  There a costs, both financial and in political games, but those seem to me to be balanced out by having an area under the company’s control that services the percentage of the game population that wants a forum.

As we have seen, if you depend on a forum out of your control to support your game, it can quickly go toxic.  Your biggest fans, who are the type of people who would set up such a thing, can become your bitterest foes if they feel wronged.  Even Mark Jacobs, who was dead set against having official forums for Warhammer Online eventually relented.  And there was certainly no similar question when it came to Camelot Unchained, the forums were a given.

Of course, once a company has forums and a segment of their user base invested in them, there seems to be a strong temptation to simply use the forums for everything.  There is a receptive audience that will comment on anything you post.  I gather that it can start to feel like you’re talking to the whole community, rather than what can often be a very small subset of the community, in the official forums, so why not use them for announcements and such.

I sometimes feel like CCP is veering in that direction, though they will then put out a huge and detail Dev Blog or something else on their main site, away from the forums, so that people outside of the forums are at least aware that a discussion is going on.

SOE/Daybreak, on the other hand, has often felt over dependent on its forums over the years.  They have favored their forum followers with special insights, dev access, and used them as a primary form of feedback on many occasions.  To follow EverQuest II, for example, without spending time in the forums every day, you need a site like The EQ2 Wire.  You won’t seem a tenth of what you probably know if you depend on the news feed on the main web page.

SOE has, at various times, attempted to remedy this.  They have had dalliances with Facebook and Twitter and every so often they form some sort of partnership with Zam or Wikia or somebody to be an official news source.  These ventures have never really played out well, serving as more of a distraction and, of course, pissing off the long time official forum followers.  In the end, it has always been “back to the forums.”

Until H1Z1.

If you go to the main Daybreak site (which is still there under the SOE domain two months down the road) and look for forums, you will find links for every game… except H1Z1.

No H1Z1 forums for you!

No H1Z1 forums listed

There is actually a forum listed off of the actual H1Z1 site, but the emphasis since the game was announced has been on Reddit.

Smed started doing Reddit during PlanetSide 2, and when it came time for H1Z1 he and the company went full bore on Reddit, leaving the forums behind.  The General Discussion part of the H1Z1 forums points to Reddit and Twitch.  The forums are for news and support issues only.  If you want to talk about the game, the official place is Reddit.

Which isn’t the end of the world.

Well, until SOE starts pushing other game discussions towards Reddit, and then there is some wailing and gnashing of teeth.  It seems like the EverQuest II devs are now headed towards Reddit,  The EQ2 subreddit may soon be an official thing.

Never having been a part of the EQII forum community, I must admit to a wee bit of schadenfreude at their privileged position being assailed.  And, certainly, anybody who has complained about SOE’s moderation tactics, where the community team loads up the dread SOE MOD 4 to locks threads and delete posts according to some sort of Brownian motions as oppose to a clear pattern, ought to at least see some positive aspect in escaping that aspect of the SOE forums.

Not to mention being banned, as happened to Feldon of The EQ2 Wire

Not to mention being banned, as happened to Feldon of The EQ2 Wire

The thing is, here we are again at something I mentioned at the top of the post.  Here is a game company that has essentially outsourced their forums to a third party that they cannot control.

Yes, Daybreak can depend on the fanboy veto, the Reddit down vote, to hide the cranks and complainers and those who offend the true believers with their impertinence.  They were always there in the forums, fawning over every official statement, but now they have some power.  They can smite Daybreak’s foes by clicking that down arrow.

If they show up and if they click that down arrow.  Otherwise the leading topics might not end up being very Daybreak friendly.

Not all happy, supportive topics

Not all happy, supportive topics

When RadarX said, “What I can tell you is downvoting works most of the time.” I am not sure that is what he meant.  That is the site of a company letting go of control and finding out it might not be all that great.

While Daybreak has been trimming back their official forums, I am not sure they are destined for the scrap heap yet.  I certainly hope they are not.  There are long stretches of game history recorded only in those forums… because of that long SOE dependence on them that I mentioned previously.

What do you think?  Official forums?  Reddit?  Both?  Neither?

Addendum: Some of this lead to an open dialog on forum moderation and bans and such.

I was Ganked by Cheaters!

Does the word “Gank” mean anything anymore?

Cute Kitten Picture For Those Who Do Not Care About Ganking

“Gank” used to mean something back in the mists of time.

Or so I am told.

I am not big on PvP in MMOs, so for the most part I can only guess at the meaning of the word based on what I read.

And as far as I can infer from current usage I see about, the term had been reduced to meaning something like, “I got killed in PvP by an opponent who had an advantage in equipment or numbers, or who was totally cheating.”

Which can be reduced to “I got killed in PvP” about 99% of the time.

Cheating, of course, has always had a variety of meanings when people use the term.  It could be deliberate hacking of the game or the use of game mechanics to bestow an advantage.    Often though, it seems to mean, “The other side was more skilled, but there is no way I am admitting that in a public forum.”  You don’t win at smacktalk by saying things like that!

Given the above, I can pretty much summarize the majority of my MMO PvP experience with the title of this post, “I was Ganked by Cheaters!”

I certainly cannot recall a time when I was defeated in PvP where the above did not apply, and cheating (as defined above) is always at the top of the list, since I am massively unskilled at PvP.

But that is just my inference of the meaning of the word from the way it gets thrown around in comments and forums.  And, we know people say a lot of crazy, or at least ill-considered, things in comment threads and forums.

I am also convinced that one of the great lies PvP players tell is that they only want a fair fight.  Obviously this is not so, what with all this ganking going on.  But perhaps that is another topic.

But the word is now so tied in with MMO PvP that we cannot seem to mention one without the other.

So what does ganking mean to you?  Or what did it used to mean to you?

And has it lost all real meaning through mis-use?

Boardwalking with Van Hemlock

Van Hemlock, a long time member of the Ancient Order of MMO Bloggers and once certifiably ‘leet, has lately contracted console madness. This has lead to drastic changes, such as the renaming of his blog to Consoling Gamers, where MMOs definitely come in third place, and of course yammering on about console gaming all the time, with his partner in crime Jon, on their podcast.

Once a symbol of quality MMO something or other

But Van Hemlock has not forsaken MMOs completely it seems.

He has recently started up a new series of MMO related posts called Boardwalking where he visits the forums of various MMOs and reports back on the key issues that seem to be driving discussions.

So far he has tackled the forums for:

This series of posts has been both interesting and amusing as he has stuck to his guns and reported on the top non-stickied issues in each of these forums.

Hopefully the intrepid Van Hemlock will keep up his Board Walkabout and continue to visit where most sane people fear to tread.

World of Warcraft – The New Community Site

Blizzard has been working on a refresh of their community web site.  The current site hasn’t been radically updated in a few years, so I am sure somebody in Anaheim felt it was due for an overhaul.  (Somebody driving the Battle.net agenda, unless I miss my guess.)

This isn’t a big deal to me, unless Blizzard makes a mistake.  The current site is a bit busy, but at least I am used to it.

The site we've grown to know, if not love...

With the new site (here), they are updating the design with a cleaner look that is clearly pushing the integration with Battle.net.

A slick new view of WoW

Gone is the side-bar of a million choices.  Blizzard has discovered tabs and clean lines.

As far as I can tell, everything I am used to is still there in some form, on one of the tabs.  There will be some confusion I am sure, but that comes with any change.

I do, however, see one of my pet peeves and one thing I am sure they will live to regret.

The pet peeve is that there is still no RSS syndication button for game news.  You can find buttons for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and even a feed for their infrequent podcast.  But a simple RSS feed for news?  Not that I can see.

And the thing they will live to regret?  They are allowing comments on news items on the main page.

Comments, on news items?  On the front page?

Have they not visited their own forums?  Have they not seen what happens when you allow comments on things?  Have they ever really visited Facebook? Did they read the comment thread for EA Louse? (1,345 comments at this point.)

Because that is what they are asking for.

I am not one to stifle discussion, but there is a time and a place.  If it were my choice, I would put a link at the end of each news item that pointed to a forum topic under which people could express their opinions.  As Spinks posted, discussion is the primary purpose of the official forums, even if I do not agree on her desire to exclude the game devs from that discussion.

What you will get in comments, judging from what I have seen elsewhere, will end up being:

  • I like it! (for want of a “like” button)
  • I hate it! (often with a long screed)
  • What about my unrelated issue? (often mixed in with “I hate it!”)
  • Pertinent comment, on topic, helpful, and informative (as rare as two identical snowflakes)

And all of that is fine in the forums, but on the front page of your game’s main public site?  Maybe if you had a small fan base, but for WoW?

This is just going to become a new place that will need moderation, and all the more so for being on the front page.  And people just love when their comments are deleted, which just leads to more anger.  Better to not let thing fester out there on the main site.

Or that is my opinion anyway.  But I might have a more negative view of community than some.

What do you think?