No to official forums – good call?

One of the things I loved about Dark Age of Camelot was the sense of community that RvR engenders. There was realm pride, realm envy, realm squabbles – but quite a lot of the realm I played had heard of one another at the very least, talked on IRC, chatted on forums. We had no official GOA-run community forums (bar a very short-lived one at the very start of the game that quickly disappeared), we used what is now Freddyshouse, IRC and also our guild/alliance forums.

There’s some talk about why Mythic and GOA have eschewed the official forum – after all, other games generally come with official sanctioned forums, but not Warhammer Online. Mark Jacobs has always had plenty to say on the subject (for example see here and here), and honestly, I completely agree with him.

There are a number of advantages this position has, from my perspective:

  • Each Warhammer Online community site has a distinct personality, and players will pick and choose those which fit best with their own thoughts and feelings towards the game
  • There do appear to be a few central community venues so it’s not that hard to find where a lot of people will be gathered to discuss the game
  • Current community sites cross-pollinate incredibly well, sharing information and not trying to one-up one another with exclusives etc (another reason I believe Massively was chosen for the deluge of info recently but one which I forgot to mention in my previous commentary on it)
  • Mythic and GOA staff can choose to comment at any community site out there, it’s not all centralised
  • The companies don’t have to pay extra staff to guard against libel or flaming on their own servers – that, in turn, leaves more money for development and GMs
  • It makes the community managers work a little harder, but not get as much hassle and it allows them to learn the community and where and how it chooses to congregate. (If you like the idea of being one of those hard-working community managers, Mythic are recruiting at the moment, as are GOA who are looking for Spanish and German community managers and GMs with various languages).
  • European, Oceanic and American players can all go to the same forums with the same level of availability to discuss their experiences (something I would really have liked both with WoW and with LotRO)

We’re still (on a positive estimate) over 3 months till the game launches. There’s plenty of time for more community sites to spring up, but I think we have a really good, friendly and positive foundation, I’d hate to lose all that for everyone to head straight to one official set of forums where some of the personality inevitably gets lost in the crowd.

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4 Responses

  1. I can see an argument for official realm forums, with restricted access according to the faction that a player’s account is associated with on that realm. No-one is in a better position to implement this than EA Mythic, but I guess determined spies will just buy a second account or something, so community created forums with access dished out by players aren’t likely to be much worse in that regard.

  2. The whole spy debate is tricky, and I think over-used sometimes by the naturally suspicious. Sometimes targets are fairly obvious, sometimes less so.

    I think your suggestion could work though, but I can’t see them implementing realm forums without the whole gamut of other ones.

  3. I guess my main concern about spreading the community out so much is how new players are going to know where to go for information and to find the rest of the community. Most players probably don’t use forums anyway but if you go to the developers site and just see a huge long list of community links, that could be a bit disconcerting.

    With DaoC, some de facto unofficial forums kind of sprang up. But it’s so easy to set up a site these days, there could be lots and lots.

  4. […] of Grudges digs around in the whole “no official WAR forums” pile. […]

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