World of Warcraft Classic CMs talk class balance while the forums melt down

It’s a really weird and interesting time to be a World of Warcraft fan. While the announcement of WoW Classic has revitalized discussion about the launch version of the MMO, it seems just about nobody can agree on what Blizzard should do when it implements the legacy servers.

For their part, WoW’s devs are still sifting through ideas. Two of the game’s community managers spent some time discussing class balance while the dev team continues to be formed. “Should class balance be left as it was, or should it be tweaked within a certain margin, or should it be constantly tuned and worked on?” one CM posted. “I’m not so certain that any specific one is the default, correct choice.”

It sounds as though Blizzard is trying to elicit feedback before it makes any decisions: “If folks want a true 1:1 Vanilla experience, then we want to see the discussion of that. If people think there should be changes here or there, then we’ll want to see that too.”

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Guild Wars 2 rolls out brand-new forums, grants amnesty to past ne’er-do-wells

Guild Wars 2’s forums have just gotten a massive facelift with all the standard bits and bobs you’d want from a forum in 2017: avatars, mobile responsiveness, badges, ranks, bookmarks, private messages, searching, and up- and down-voting, so you too can brigade whatever ArenaNet says!

Anybody can log in with a game account, and since it’s free, that means everyone can read, but you’ll need to have bought into the game to actually post – even if you’ve been banned before. “The forums will be visible to everyone, members and visitors alike,” says the studio. “Everyone with a paid Guild Wars 2 account in good standing can participate on the new forums. A game account holder whose forum privileges were terminated on the old forums will be granted one-time amnesty in order to rejoin the forum community.” Maybe try not to screw it up this time?

The downside is the studio isn’t importing anything but a handful of its own threads, so if there’s anything you need from the old forums, like guides or RP stories, grab ’em soon — they’ll be archived until the end of October before (we’re assuming) being retired to eternal sleep with the likes of Rurik and Scarlet.


Star Wars: The Old Republic explains how the developers listen to community feedback

Feedback is important for every MMO, and that includes Star Wars: The Old Republic. But where does feedback come from? If the developers never ask you about your opinion specifically, how will they actually collect your feedback? Community manager Eric Musco chimed in on the forums explaining where the development team looks for feedback and how his job involves filtering and synthesizing that feedback from multiple sources, all of which serves different purposes and offers different inputs.

The official forums and Reddit, for example, offer the feedback of particular narrows slices of the game with a big time investment; Twitter, meanwhile, has much more breadth of feedback but less depth on individual issues. There are also focus groups and specific influential players courted by the development team just for feedback and information. Check out the full rundown if you’re curious about how the melange of feedback gets passed along to developers; this isn’t necessarily how every game does it, but it is how it happens for SWTOR.

Source: Official Site via Dulfy


EVE Online updates to new forums

When you’re done wheeling, dealing, and backstabbing in EVE Online, the official forums are the ideal place to talk about all of that (while hiding the later dealing, backstabbing, and so forth that you’re planning for the future). So there’s reason to be excited that the game now has a new set of forums available, which boasts plenty of visual upgrades as well as notable improvements under the hood as well.

The new forums will allow posters to add videos, reaction .GIFs, and even polls should they so choose. It’s also marking an end to the usual poster bannings; if you’ve been banned in the past, you’re allowed to come back on and start with a fresh slate. This coincides with changes to moderation and posting rules, although those changes do not mean that all further sins will be forgiven. So check out the new forums yourself, or just take a gander at a preview and a comparison image just below.

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Massively Overthinking: The minority playerbases inside MMORPGs

Earlier this week, World of Warcraft Lead Game Designer Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas weighed in on a player thread about Legion’s in-game prices in a way the original poster probably didn’t expect: Hazzikostas penned a veritable essay on the nature of MMO playerbase feedback.

“Almost every facet of WoW is an activity that caters to a minority of the playerbase. That may sound odd at first blush, but it’s true. In a sense, that’s part of the magic of WoW. It is not a narrow game, but rather one that can be enjoyed in numerous different ways, by people with hugely diverse playstyles. A minority of players raid. A minority of players participate in PvP. A tiny minority touch Mythic raiding. A tiny minority of players do rated PvP. A minority of players have several max-level alts. A minority of players do pet battles, roleplay, list things for sale on the auction house, do Challenge Mode dungeons, and the list goes on. Virtually the only activity that a clear majority of players participate in is questing and level-up dungeons, but even then there’s a sizeable group that views those activities as a nuisance that they have to get through in order to reach their preferred endgame. And yet, taken together, that collection of minority groups literally IS the World of Warcraft.”

Consequently, he argues, any decision Blizzard makes that favors one minority is naturally going to find a majority of the others against it, meaning Blizzard must carefully navigate the feedback waters. “Ultimately, the approach we take is usually to tailor different content and rewards that can feel special to different groups, rather than trying to come up with a lowest common denominator that isn’t special to anyone,” he writes.

Let’s talk about Blizzard’s point of view. Is it right? Does it work in every MMO or just WoW? How does it apply to other MMOs, old or up-and-coming? Is there a better way to handle all the constituencies offering feedback in an MMO? Let’s hash it out in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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SWTOR ditches customer support forum, hands it off to EA’s Answer HQ

If you have a problem with Star Wars: The Old Republic, don’t head to the customer support forum after October 5th. BioWare announced yesterday that it is closing down that forum in favor of handing off the task to EA’s Answer HQ.

“This move from the existing customer support forum will allow players to help players in a better capacity, with EA employees monitoring replies and ensuring correct and useful information is promoted, in an environment where active and helpful players are rewarded,” the studio posted.

BioWare presented another potential upshot of this move: Non-subscribers will be able to receive web-based support through the new answer page.


Star Citizen changes forum permissions to combat harassment

Star Citizen is cracking down on forum abuse by instituting a new set of restrictions that went into effect yesterday.

CIG changed permissions so that only players who have financially supported the project or who have been gifted a game package can post across the entire forum. Those who do not meet these criteria can still read most of the forums and post in the new “recruiting station” subforum.

“As the project progresses we’re attracting more and more spam and harassment-only accounts, and this action will considerably curb that phenomenon, as well as alleviate much of the resource strain on our volunteer moderators and staff, and ultimately allow us to better serve the members of our community,” Community Manager Jared Huckaby explained.

Source: Official forums. Thanks to Cotic for the tip!


Reddit protest sees /r/gaming lock its doors [Updated]

Remember when you were in your first raiding guild, and it was nothing but drama from start to finish on your guild forums because no one had invented social media yet? Fast-forward to today, when Reddit is the global equivalent and the drama continues.

Apparently provoked by the firing of the Reddit employee responsible for AMAs (ask-me-anythings), the AMA sub locked its doors, leading to an avalanche of subs going private to protest the way Reddit’s admins communicate and do business. They’re calling it chootergate. I’m sorry.

Relevant to our interests: /r/gaming, /r/mmorpg (back up now), /r/swtor (back up), /r/wowcomics, /r/gaymers, /r/skyrim, /r/elitedangerous, /r/elite, and /r/finalfantasy are all currently hidden, but most of the bigger MMO subs (WoWGuild Wars 2, FFXIV, Elder Scrolls Online, WildStar, Diablo III, etc.) are fine at the moment. If you care about topics other than gaming, you’re even more screwed; /r/science, /r/books, /r/music, /r/history, /r/art, /r/movies, /r/videos… yeah, they’re all locked too.

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Crowfall locks down forums for backers only

If you still want to take part in discussions on the official Crowfall forums, you’ll have to back the game. The game has locked down its forums for all non-backers, giving new registrations access to a limited forum for 30 days for potential players who want a glance at the community. Other than that, if you want to talk, you have to pay.

All forums will remain readable for everyone, whether you’re a backer or not. The move is supposedly to lock down less than constructive comments from non-backers that have the potential to derail useful conversations. If you aren’t currently a backer but still want to remain active on the forums, you can either jump in at the $5 level or just wait until the game starts moving into its non-backer testing phases.


Perfect World Entertainment combining all forums into one setting

There are a lot of games under the publishing banner of Perfect World Entertainment, and the vast majority of them are getting mashed together. In forum terms, anyway – you will not be able to make your Champions Online character pilot a Star Trek Online ship through Jade Dynasty even if you ask nicely. This change will affect the forums of all the aforementioned games, though, as well as several others listed in the official announcement.

Players can look forward to a new forum with more extensive customization and greater ease of access compared to the existing vBulletin software running on the old forums. The change will not affect those games already running on the new forum setup, such as Swordsman. There’s no word on which old forums will be archived specifically, so if you have some threads you want to save it, would be astute to do so now.

[Source: Arc Games via MMO Fallout]


EverQuest Next ditches lore and general discussion forums

Assuming that there will be a wealth of lore and backstory in EverQuest Next, you won’t be finding out about it on the official forums.

Daybreak announced yesterday that it is shutting down both the lore and general discussion forums for EverQuest Next as part of its “corporate realignment.” This leaves the upcoming fantasy title with only three sub-forums on the official site: News, Style Guides, and Workshop, only the last of which allows players to start threads. Threads in the other forums have been temporarily archived until March 31st for players to copy if so desired. Two forums now reroute players directly to Twitch and Reddit.

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The Secret World is planning an ‘epic’ forum game

The next big thing coming for The Secret World won’t be in the game itself — it’ll be in the forums.

Funcom, which has had a long record of doing out-of-the-box activities for TSW, has been hinting that it’s preparing an “epic contest” for March. The studio’s already put out a call for cabals to contribute a prize package to the proceedings.

Massively OP reader Nordavind passed along a note from one of the game’s community managers about the event, who said, “This is not going to be a one-day event. This will not be in-game. This will only be in our forums. We even have super-secret forums already set up for this! When we say that every facet of TSW is represented in our contest, we’re talking about: PvP, RP, cosplay, audiophiles, fashionistas, social gamers, handcrafters, and even videographers!”

[Source: Official forums. Thanks to Nordavind for the tip!]