Syp over at Waaagh asks a fairly important question – how did Massively get such a scoop with all this recent information? How come Mythic isn’t sharing all this with all the press at the same time to get to a wider audience?
I may not have the whole answer to this, but as someone who used to dabble in viral marketing and communications on the internet, I may have a little insight into it.
Massively has an audience of dedicated MMO-players, not those interested in just one title. It’s a more honed in market than the traditional gaming press and general sites such as Gamespot. Which means there will be a fair number of people who play <insert here> MMO, who then can go back to their guilds/friends/neighbours/forums and pass on the information they’ve read about this new, upcoming game called Warhammer Online. There are other sites that could fill this function, but Massively sits well between the super-fans and the more generally-interested readership (from my own views on the site, no concrete evidence). So why the exclusives?
Well, one reasons could be to track the progress of news as it filters through the community. This is something I’ve done before and it’s a really interesting way to map out your community and have some idea who the opinion-makers are, those who can pass judgment on news and filter it through to another audience altogether. It works best with exclusivity and with a large central point to start the information chain off. If so, clever move. It would inform Mythic where other places to target marketing and/or news to reach audiences.
Or it could be because Massively asked nicely – and the information was ready to be spread. Also, because Massively isn’t necessarily one of the big sites people interested in Warhammer might go for this info (for me this would probably be any of the sites we have linked on the right-hand side of the page), so it doesn’t show favouritism. Remember, pre-launch you don’t want to directly piss anyone off!
Plus, Mythic do seem to gather questions for their grab bags from a circulating number of fan forums, and this shows they’re in touch with where large gatherings of fans of the game are hanging out. What they need, is to find where those who might be casually interested in giving it a go are. Or.. those who wrote it off a year or more ago for being a PvP game and to change their opinion with some nicely written easy overviews of the basic tenets of the game.
For whatever reason, I think it was a smart move. And I’ll definitely be interested to see where they take this next.