Why do I have to get my news from a fansite?

OK, so the game has gone gold and the preview weekend by all accounts has been a great success. Across the internet, a great flock of gamers has woken up and cried out for more information. Questions about the beta. Questions about what to expect in Europe. Questions about how the game plays now and what Mythic are planning to do before launch. Lots and lots of questions. But above all…

Why do we have to get our news from fansites?

It seems to me that Mark Jacobs prefers talking to random fans on bulletin boards to getting timely news updates onto his own site. GOA are the same if not worse. Oh, I understand why. You have to go through boring processes and boring other people to get a website updated. It’s a process and a hassle. With a bboard you just log in and post. And there’s an instant response from (a very very small subset of) fans either hugging you for showing up or chewing you out.

And cool as it is to have contact and feedback with developers explaining their design choices and what they’re working on at the moment, it’s no substitute for getting the news up on the site. (Yes, it is cool, and we do like reading what they have to say … but we don’t want to get our news from the fansites!)

So really, how does Mythic and GOA expect people to use their websites? We expect them to be a reliable source of news on the game. And news relevant to our respective regions. And to make it clear where to get other reliable information. I still think it’s fine not to have official forums but it’s important to be clear on where a fansite is different from an official site. A fansite is a place to talk about the game. An official site is a place to get news.

It looks sloppy and amateurish to have to trawl fansites for the news. And the vast majority of players will not read fansites!

What we expect of GOA

I’m not going to slam the site for being in flash, it’s a minor detail in the general scheme of things. But there’s no news. All they do right now is have a few fluffy articles about EU stuff. No mention of the game going gold, no mention of any of the reviews that are on the US site. (I’m not 100% myself as to whether links to reviews count as news but I’ll give it a bye since it’s interesting to visitors who don’t know much about the game. Obv would be better if they linked to our review but you can’t have everything.)

What they need is for Mythic to put their game related news on a different RSS feed from the US-specific stuff, and have it available prominently on the EU site. That would save people having to type things in twice and would ensure our news is up to date. Please do this.

Both sites also need to put links to the bigger fansites up more prominently. We who have been following the game for a long time know which the biggest forums are. A new player won’t. Do you really want to make them go through the whole list? At least put a brief description next to them. As of 18th Sept, their main job is to cater to their actual players. I’d suggest they’d be better served by a website designed to give them the news that they need.

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12 Responses

  1. I honestly think the RSS feed might be a quick solution. I have a feelng GOA want to post GOA-specific news, but as I’ve said before if I didn’t know better I’d assume war-europe.com was my one stop shop for Warhammer Online news in Europe. And it’s currently not that.

    I agree on the making the forums the devs and CMs post on a little more obvious in the list of community sites.

    Will see what happens tomorrow with the pre-order programme announcement and how things are handled wth we have to add our codes.

  2. I agree. To be honest, I haven’t bothered with the forums for ages. I’d have quite liked official forums though, not least for news and information. I don’t have time for three fora to be honest, and don’t know which one is the ‘best’ and ‘most official’ and until one can offer that, I don’t bother with any. As for news, well, I just read a few blogs and even then, my news sources are second-hand. I’ve only played a couple of MMOs before, namely WoW and LotrO which operate with official fora. Sure, it could work this way, but I’d like to see some information to cater to those who don’t really want to trawl! What else is the official website for?

  3. I don’t get this system of not having an official news.
    The GOA representatives on WA forums don’t have the permission to answer on many subjects and most of the answers are about things we already know.
    GOA doesn’t have an email for the community to connect them, their site use the best technology of 1998 and so many other issues.

    In the worst case we all find our self playing on the US version of the game (easymode with taking keeps /smile).

  4. RSS feeds would be nice.

    One on the GOA site, just to see that/if some news are posted.
    Another on about the Dev posts at various posts. WHA does have a RSS feed for that Dev posts and it wouldn’t be too much of a problem to direct new players to that RSS feeds. (points at the right column 😉 )

    The flash web site is really annoying as i’m used to use mouse gestures and tabbing of web pages. All of this is not possible with a flash based site.

    One last thing. It’s my impression that the Mythic site does not dramatically more often post “official news” than the GOA site. They have many more Review-links or Awards posted which gives the impression that they are more active. Both sites lack some services/news.
    I would like it if they would be more similar. Not only in news-stuff, but also in appearance.

  5. Haha, you’re right Zizlak. Arbitrary was commenting to me this morning that since we have RSS feeds on the right hand side for the US site, WHA dev posts and Massively that we’re more up to date on news than the official site is right now.

  6. Alrighty, I guess this is another one for me to field.
    Firstly our website will have a few more friendly features by the time we go live. An RSS feed for the news is one of the things on that list.

    Posting news on the site is something we try to do as much as possible but there are inevitable bottlenecks in that process whenever we need to prepare it for all five languages simultaneously. We try to keep the important stuff on the site and move more interactive stuff like question and answer sessions to fansites.

    When we are live we expect to be posting a lot of news on the site and this will be from all categories – technical, events, community and so forth. Obviously now we are only really posting event and community news for the most part. Communication is a big priority for us and we are always looking for ways in which we can reach the community better. We are going to have much stronger ties with fansite admins and have much more of an official presence on the greater internet at large.

  7. Yay, RSS feeds rock my world. Honestly, that would solve most of my website problems in terms of it as a news source.

  8. GOA is a strange beast! On one had they look like they really want to be a part of this game and on the other they loose all the steam half way. As you said one thing is the flash thing but the ammount of info and press releases or just important mile stones makes me think they are not being harrassed enough by EA or Mythic. I know that Mythic is busy finishing the game but If I was Mythic or EA EU I would make sure that the partners are 100% up for it with out doubt. This does both parties to be on par not just one of them. In my book Mythic or EA havent put enough pressure on them “telling” that if they want to partners “this” is what they have to live up to. I know its easy to sit here and type this but as a EU player i know i will be looking at the US site and not the EU for all my updates.. and that is kind of a sad statement. I even contemplated buying the US version.. and I still might if GOA dosent deliver a 100% service. 🙂 But ill give them a chance.

  9. @bleak:
    It’s too easy just to blame GOA. Most of the actual information gets spread around the forums, both web pages Mythic’s and GOA’s tend to be a little bit later with them. In some cases, e.g. CB for CE pre-order buyers, Mythic doesn’t coordinate their Information release with GOA. And Mythic’s done not much to make this clear in the community.. for a reason i don’t really now.

    You have also keep in mind, that GOA is just the publisher and Mythic afaik develops and publish the game. So they have a head start at informations and it’s their job to communicate it to their partners (i.e. GOA) before the community gets that information.

    Life and marketing is not so simple and easy just to blame GOA. I think that they are catching up on things..but the schedule until release should be better communicated by them. Otherwise this leads only to speculations when some information is leaked. And this means rough times and accusations if this leaks are right/wrong..

  10. Yup, I went through this line of thought a few weeks ago, although not from the GOA perspective. Mythic needs to be using the Herald a loooot more (although they have seemed to upped its use as of late), and perhaps put in a dev chat log or something to record those lengthy forum posts that Josh and Mark tend to do.

    Sorry GOA is such a pain… keep fighting the good fight!

  11. This is probably a result of the underutilization of the Herald. I am in support of “no official forums” for a variety of reasons, but the Herald needs to be used more for these types of posts as it is an official place for these things. James, Missy, or Robert needs to be in charge of posting those updates from Mark, too.

    While I’m sure we all enjoy Mark’s hands-on-attitude I can’t help but see if resources aren’t being used as they should be.

  12. And this is why I love Warhammer Alliance’s dev post tracker! I think all forums should serve an RSS feed of dev posts for user convenience!

    But yeah, Mark usually releases information on WHA or VN waaaaaaaaaay before we catch wind of it on the official site. In a way it’s really nice that they want the 1 to 1 interaction with the community, but it’s also a huge pain to keep track of.

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