Mark Jacobs is anti Official Forums

Mark Jacobs made a post on the Warhammer alliance forums yesterday making his position on Official Forums for Warhammer Online once again very clear.  We’re never going to see Warhammer Online official forums.  Here is his reasoning:

“Folks,

An unofficial timeline for official MMORPG forums:
What follows (for clarity’s sake) is the kind of stuff said by players/non-players on these forums.

T minus 180 days till launch

Life is beautiful, the devs are great, the birds are merrily chirping away, oh look, there’s a heretic who thinks that the game will suck, stone him, drive him off! The birds are merrily chirping away.

T minus 90 days till launch

Oh man, this game can’t launch, it’s not ready yet. Yes it is, no, it’s not. This game is gonna tank big time. The devs suck! No they don’t, things are still fine, the birds are still singing! Yeah, but they’re vultures you moron!

… 

That’s why I don’t want to have official forums. Whether it was SOE, Blizzard or us, official or semi-official forums are exactly like I described above for every successful MMORPG that I have played or watched from afar (and that is *most* of them). The unsuccessful ones were even worse. The problem is that most people who read the boards are looking for information and a reasonable number of people want to cause trouble, “grief” the forums or simply get their jollies by saying and doing things that they wouldn’t do in real life. As usual, a small percentage of people make life more difficult for everyone else…” – Mark Jacobs

I understand his reasons perfectly but I’m on the fence right now.  A few point-counter points:  Official boards are a great way for devs to communicate with the communitybut Mythic has the HeraldOfficial boards are a spawning pit of trolls/hate mongers/and all other forms of low lifebut some legitimate discussions, ideas, questions, and dev to community discourse occur.

Right now my only real concern that I feel hasn’t been addressed is the dev to community communication in a form other than the Herald’s feedback system (which was discussed many months ago).  Right now the Mythic peeps are very active on message boards.  Classic Case A with most games: Devs stop posting soon after launch.  Classic Case B: Devs pay attention to some boards but not others.  Looking at Warhammer Alliance vs. Other boards it’s very clear the latter has already begun.

So, whether we like it or not, WAR will have no official boards.

  • I kind of have to agree with Mark on this one. Just look at the cesspool that is the WoW forums. Unofficial forums are, strangely enough, frequently more civil because players aren’t crying out for attention from the developers. Plus, if things get too putrid, you just stop going there and try a different forum. An official forum acts as an almost irresistable magnet for both constructive and destructive posting but fails to build any real sense of community.

    A proliferation of unofficial forums more easily allows players to find friendly communities to hang out in and discuss the game. I still remember a DAoC forum I used to hang out on called ‘The Wall’ or something like that, with a strong community of Wardens trying to figure out how to make our class not suck. We never had to deal with enchanters dropping by to flame us and tell us how we’re a bunch of whiny babies and need to suck it up, etc. etc.

  • I agree with you. Unofficial forums do tend to grow strong and friendly communities. I’ve been part of the Vault Network’s large family since DAOC. Had there been official forums things would have been different.

  • WoW’s forums were the pits. I don’t think I ever read anything useful from a dev on them, they were just filled with trash.

    I also preferred the vault forums because they were strangely more civil. Which says a lot.. because they vault forums were awful for DAOC.

  • Unofficial forums tend to be cleaner and kinder than official forums because people feel more free to abandon them if the tone or community doesn’t suit them. An official forum is perceived as the most likely way to make one’s voice heard by the developers, so people are very reluctant to abandon that forum. So people with vastly different personalities, play-styles, goals, and concerns are all shouting over each other and drawing blood.

    If, on the other hand, there is no official forum, then people feel free to select the fansite that best matches their own individual tastes. They’re happier and more focused in their feedback.

    Fansites can also act like filters. If each fansite gets to regularly submit questions selected from its community discussions, then the developer can maintain contact with players without needing to constantly monitor each and every forum. That, and the very occasional dev post here and there, would be enough to keep most players satisfied that their voices are being heard.

    Vanguard’s community discussions were much more civil and clearer after the community spread out over several fansites.

  • It’s a shame that the dev’s have started to latch onto one fansite and ignore the others already.

    Especially since WHA has the worst community/moderators imo.

  • dontsleep,

    I disagree. WHA has one of the best team of moderators I’ve ever seen and their community is strong and growing (much more active than the vault). I don’t know how you come to the conclusion that they got the worst moderators/community? Unless you are a troll.

  • I would agree that WoW forums sucked. I would also like to see an avenue where voices will be heard by the devs and have that avenue available to all the players. So hopefully, Mythic will visit other sites as well!

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