Officially for(u)med

forumPart of the problem with starting a blog four months after release of a game, is feeling like you have to comment on all the big things that have happened in that time period so that you can claim relevancy and assure the masses that you have the right to talk about the game because, “You’ve been there man“. So, I’m trying to keep talking about current things, but some of the stuff might be of older or only semi-recent events. A prime example will be this post.

Mythic, via Mark Jacobs if I recall, announced that they will be launching an official forum for the game, at some later date. No official time frame was given that I remember, just the fact that they are going to do it, eventually. This is one of those things that people on all the various un-official forums have been clamoring about and begging to receive since before the game even launched. I have no idea why. I hate official forums as a general rule of thumb.

Internet gaming forums have strayed so far in practice from what the original intent of true forums (see picture) were supposed to be, it makes my soul cry a little in anguish every time I visit one. They are supposed to be gathering places of learned people, to discuss the far reaching concepts and ideals for whatever topic may be of interest. Like minded individuals having civil discourse to reach a more enlightened and understanding perspective of the vast sea of differing opinion. In theory, that’s what they are. Clearly labeled message boards split into various categories for the many different possible subjects pertaining and not pertaining to the game. If I want to say, look into different AA builds for a Shadowknight in EQ2, I should be able to go to their forums, maybe do a search, and look for the topic, or start my own. Once there, I could explain the various merits and draw backs of each skill and point put into them.

In practice, this succeeds to differing degrees. Everquest 2 was probably the most civil of forums I’d ever bothered to read through, but even a player hosted site was created for that game that became an official-unofficialsite of sorts. We all know or have heard of the abysmal state of affairs that Blizzard jokingly calls their forums for WoW. Maybe it’s just the people who play Blizzard games in general. If you’ve ever played any battlenet games, particularly DotA, you’ll know the caliber of person that frequents their products. This isn’t to say that all people who play WoW, or Warcraft, or Diablo, etc… are immature little twits (I have played all of the above), but it is endemic of the typical attitude you’ll find on the Internet as a whole.

Throw into this tasty quagmire the reality of the small portion of players who actually frequent the forums, and you have a whole lot of work for very little return. Yes, these people are probably the most passionate for your game. They’ll definitely be the most out-spoken, but Mythic has systems in place to see what is and isn’t working in their game as-is. They did in beta, and despite some of the problems they had after launch, it was still arguably one of the most polished games I’ve every seen on release day. If everyone who plays is as diligent about reporting feedback and bugs from the in-game tools, there isn’t a need for that portion of a forum either. All this and we have extremely active devs who go to the most activeof the various player-run sites, and have discussions with on a regular basis. Do we really want to hire moderators to chain themselves down to one site and have them stuck policing the hundreds of thousands of players who are going to think they’re voice will be more clearly heard amidst the vocal zerg?

The only benefit I can see for having an official forum, would be to have a concise location for out of game bug reports, maybe some live IT assistance for whatever reason, as well as a site where you know that other players will congregate to talk about our hobby. In all honesty, I wish they could just say, “Yes, is our official forums. If you want to bitch, go there, it’s where we’ll most likely be”. Done. Hands dusted. Of course for legal/financial reasons, I’m sure this will never happen. Lets just all hope that when they do finally start their forums, that the community will be more well behaved than a pack of drunken midgets.


About Shadow
Making serious business out of internet spaceships.

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