WoW Insider has recently become concerned with the mood on the official forums. If you've been reading my blog for very long, you'll feel the smug glow of superiority that we've always known what crap the official forums are. Almost every time I post anything there, I end up in tears.
It's asshat central.
I'm just sorry the asshats got bored enough to go after the devs once they'd driven off everyone else.
My husband says, worst case scenario, he doesn't think the devs will do anything worse than stop talking to the community -- which is still pretty bad, because I'd rather they just ban hammer the jerks than stop talking altogether. (Seriously, Ghostcrawler, if you're out there -- nobody likes those people.)
I think WoW Insider is taking up the mantle of "Defend the Devs!" and, while that's nice, it was just a matter of time before even the devs saw what a crap place their official forums are. Aside from MVPs and the occasional normal person able to keep a line of thought going, it's 90% trolls over there.
The problem isn't the trolls, though. It's Blizzard's admittedly lax policy on forum behavior. Trolls have been manning the guns on the forums for years now. New people are driven away instantly. But trolls pay for the game so they get to post on the forums and terrorize--I mean, "talk to"--whomever they want, right?
Blizz doesn't have a legal responsibility to let anyone abuse anyone else in the game or on the forums. I think they've let it go on for so long because the real problem cases tend to arise in the game and thus the game itself needs heavier moderation.
Personally, I hope they houseclean the forums and invite real human beings back to have real dialogues. If they don't, maybe the devs will realize their mistake in trying to talk to trolls and will look outside the forums for player feedback. Honestly, I'd be sad to hear it if they aren't scanning some of the better blogs out there (and by better, I do not mean me -- my feedback to the devs would be along the lines of "Moar PINK plz!").
Popular class blogs tend to be well-thought-out, and a dev picking the owner's brain in the comments would allow for discussion and keep everything civil, since the blog owner could delete troll posts. (Oh heeey, husband says this happens, but they post incognito.)
So that's a win.
I also wonder if there's a special MVP section of the official forums? That in itself would seem very useful for the devs, because even if the devs decided to avoid the trolls, the MVPs could still offer up the community's more substantial views.
So if there was one thought I could send out to the devs, it would be something encouraging with with the note that "You're doing your jobs just fine. Most normal players really don't care about change. For every whiner, you have maybe a hundred of us with no compulsion to say anything. If we do feel like saying something, we don't because we just can't survive in the official forum wasteland of negativity to tell you that. That's why we aren't there. It's not you, it's not the game, it's not us. It's them."
Cool and pertinent Ghostcrawler quotes:
Q u o t e:Someone at Blizzard reads every single post. We have an obligation to do so, if just to remove the offensive or illegal ones.
Ok I have a question, and that's what it is...a question- not sarcasm, just honest curiosity because I consider myself moderately intelligent and if I had what I believed to be a good idea I might post here. My question is: how much of these posts on your forums do "you guys" read? I guess I'm being a punk asking for a response from a moderator of some kind, but having read a good deal of anti-blue poster propaganda on your own forums I would like either a confirmation or a denial of some of it.
I used to read every single post in the three role forums. The volume has steadily grown though, so I fall behind now when I am super busy, travelling for work or on vacation. Even in that case, other designers read the forums regularly and our community team reads everything. They are fantastic and will let us know of particularly good threads, or new concerns that get brought up. This is particularly true for our non-USA forums, because I just can't read every one of those languages. Rest assured if you say something, we will get the message.
If you are assuming we didn't read your post because it was so obviously awesome that clearly we would have responded has we read it, well I'll let you figure that one out on your own.
If you are assuming we didn't read a particular post because it is the kind of thing that should be locked or deleted, it's likely the moderators just haven't seen it yet, or else they were feeling particularly lenient. Leniency should not be interpreted as the policy is now "anything goes."
I don't think anyone hates anyone over issues that when compared to the injustices of the real world are pretty trivial overall. It's a game. In the real world, people die or suffer for stupid and preventable reasons all the time. That is worth getting worked up over. WoW is not.
Q u o t e:
And it's not that they hate GC specifically, and he knows this. They hate people who tell them no.
When some people think you don't hear them, they yell louder. Hyperbole is a popular tool on the Internet, and I certainly use it myself. It's a way of getting you voice heard over the roaring surf.
It also typically doesn't work. Our decisions are affected more by one really good argument, even if it doesn't come from a lot of players, and even if the players making the arguments aren't Gladiators or Tribute to Immortality players. But even in that case, you can't set up a situation where "If we just do X then Blizzard will do Y."
I promise we'll make informed decisions, and you guys can use this forum to help inform those decisions. That is the only way this deal is going to work.
This says to me that even if you want to post about changing the game's name to World of Pinkcraft, someone will listen.
But yeah, from what I can tell the devs aren't really in emergency "OMG, I'm so upset" mode. GC said he's "tanking" the people who want to discuss this stuff so the normal class threads can keep on point, and he seems to be doing it effectively with a solid dash of good humor. While WoW Insider is right to support the devs in this, and to chastise immature players for showing inappropriate anger, I don't really think the devs need that much support. GC seems to be handling it fine.