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.
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.
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.
“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 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.
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 (WoW, Guild 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.
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.
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]
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.
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!]