Official sites – what do we expect?

I’ve heard a few people comment on how useful it would have been to have an official forum this weekend, in the light of recent announcements. Although it puts me in dangerous ‘fanboy/girl’ territory, I still firmly agree with Mythic’s choice to not have official forums. We all got the information posted on MMORPG.com and then TenTonHammer, and we all got to visit links to it on the forums and blogs we read.

How many of us then went to the official Mythic or GOA website to see if the news was true? I know I certainly went and dutifully checked the list of armies available to see if the Hammerer and Knight of the Blazing Sun had been taken out of the list. But no, they’re still there. A while after the original interviews, Mythic’s Warhammer page posted links to the article. A day or two later, last night, they posted an FAQ on the changes. But when I checked this morning, the armies page hadn’t been changed.

Then I hopped on over to the European site, because hey, I’m European.. maybe that should have been my first stop anyway. Hrrm, the last news is about Dreamhack. No link to the FAQ and no link to the MMORPG.com story. I’m sure that’ll change and I don’t believe in attacking websites that we’ve been told again and again are being revised.

So what do I expect in an official website? (and, for the record, I used to be webmaster for a Govt dept in the UK, so I have some experience of having embargoed press releases, and having to coordinate time-sensitive info).

From Mythic, I would have liked the links to the MMORPG.com articles to have gone live at the same time as the articles did. It would have given legitimacy to the articles in a split-second, though many won’t have doubted them anyway. Not everyone will head over to the Vault forums, or Warhammer Alliance, or to our blogs. Some will just read the story for what it is and head to the official sites before they need to look elsewhere.

I would have liked GOA to have the links at the same time as Mythic did. I do expect not to have to go to the US site when I have a European one available to me.

I’d also have liked the FAQ to have been posted on both official sites simultaneously. And new careers/armies pages ready and waiting for the big change. I know, it’s not always easy to coordinate across many sites, especially with time zones to contend with, so maybe even a short gap between them would have been ok, but basically at the same time when it’s something of this range and importance across the player base.

It didn’t affect my views on anything, of course. We’re still in pre-release and maybe the beta covers things like the websites too. But maybe it’s something to consider for the future and any future big announcements.

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14 Responses

  1. I agree, the different EU – US version of the sites were something that annoyed me endlessly with WoW. I also hope that we will have scheduled downtimes on at least the same day.

    But yea, it’s a bit horrible when fansites get the news out faster than the official ones. The EU one are weeks behind.

  2. I have already voiced my disquiet at the state of the EU website so not much more to say.

    Can but hope they sort it out soon.

    I agree with all of your points as I often do 🙂

  3. I suspect the reason for this is that they don’t have an official website team, but instead have a team of people who “also manage the webpage”…but currently their focus is the final steps of game dev and the current stage of testing.

    Without an official source, I agree it is a trick to find the info at all. I usually find it camping the forums, and there it seems its a combination of chance, business site news posts that people find, and posts from the Dev team itself (who spent much of their Saturday, all of them, addressing concerns the community had about the changes).

    There is one benefit to not having an official forum that I really enjoy. When a troll becomes a troll, they can ben eliminated without thought of rebuke, because it’s not a service they’re paying for. They did nothing for it. It exists soley by the virtue of a very cool group of people’s unrewarded effots. Well, they might be making some trickle money from ads or Mythic, or maybe – like we bloggers – the forum commanders are just down with it. They do it because they enjoy it. That is infinitely superior to a team of $12/hr college interns that hate their lives as they manage a sea of bitching, paying flaming trolls, no?

    I would like it though if they’d update their official websites. The EU website has fallen by the wayside, and the US one sees only a few more updates. Then again, I feel like I will forgive Mythic a great deal once OB opens. So they should do that. Like now. =)

  4. Fair point Thade but I think the community is fantastic to the point that technically competing forums etc generally share all their info around.

    I have always known fairly immediately from blogs such as this (plug) what is happening and where.

  5. I’d actually quite like there to be official forums. I’d a bit dim and can’t work out which of all the unofficial ones are best. I prefer to have the access to people who know what’s what and find it is a bit tedious to haul around ‘unofficial’ ones .. but I think I am in a minority – at the moment. But when the casuals turn up, I kind of think they might be more of my mindset…

  6. @cb I kind of agree with you. I like the idea of ‘let a thousand gardens bloom’ etc for websites but I think it’s going to be so confusing to any new players who just want to keep up with the news. (Even though we know most players don’t use the boards or any kind of web support at all when they play.)

    Ideally the official websites could be a bit more helpful. Because not everyone has time to trawl through several different websites. It may be that some will get known as ‘places to go’ but again, that doesn’t help the new guys.

  7. The news on the EU site is down to the Community Management team – me and my colleagues basically.

    There’s no news on our site about the announcements that Mark Jacobs made last week or the subsequent follow-up comments because for now it’s Mythic’s news and they are handling it themselves. It’s their decision to make and we’re letting them get on with it for now.

  8. The US site now has the army pages updated with the now defunct classes gone.

    EU has an update on the guild system. The first of many I think.

  9. I do appreciate that IainC, but to many people that site is the home for European Warhammer Online, and that includes the latest news from the devs. Maybe it could be done fairly easily by incorporating an rss feed from Mythic and signposting it as such.

    I do think the website is quite a big job to take on though, especially on top of other responsibilities and especially as the game goes to release and you have more community managing to do!

  10. “Mythic’s news and they are handling it themselves. It’s their decision to make and we’re letting them get on with it for now.”

    This is the problem, us and them, GOA and Mythic. Not a good portent for us in the EU. If they can’t even synch news articles what hope for patches?

  11. “This is the problem, us and them, GOA and Mythic. Not a good portent for us in the EU. If they can’t even synch news articles what hope for patches?”

    That’s not really fair. Mythic wanted to nail this down and be the sole conduit for news on this topic until the situation had been suitably clarified. We are abiding by their request. This is not even remotely the same as ‘failing to co-ordinate’ anything.

  12. Ah, that makes more sense from the GOA side at least. But, I think Mythic happened to be wrong to do it this way (esp. as well, MMORPG.com and the Vault and Warhammer Alliance were actually the conduits for the news before they posted the links on the Mythic page).

    Thanks for clearing it up though.

  13. Do I have false expectations about what should be on the EU WAR site? Does it not make sense that, as someone based in Europe, I would go to the official EU site for my WAR news instead of going off to Mythics site?

    Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a pop at GOA, Mythics decision in this instance was a poor one.

    EU players are keen to avoid the problems experienced with DAOC where there was a very strong feeling of being treated like second rate customers behind the US. If people’s first experience of WAR EU is a website that’s a pale imitation of Mythics one in terms of up to date content (and design, but that’s another debate) it does nothing to reassure them.

  14. I agree with the others, this is not GOAs fault, Mythic made the wrong decision in handling this issue. It’s vital for an international community to get their information at the same time. If you have a EU-site and an US-site, you want both to have the important announcements, such as the ones in the last days, ready for the community at the same time.

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