Forums – Who needs ‘em

…players do actually, but more on that in a second. The guys over at Stargate Worlds are starting to wonder if they need them as well. Ironically, they are turning to their community…on their fourms…to ask the question (…ummmmm…) :

Mark Jacobs of EA recently expressed his opinion that official forums were not necessary and therefore won’t be created for Warhammer Online *.

Here at Stargate Worlds we feel Official Forums for the game are an important part of the developer-player relationship, not only during development but through beta, launch and far beyond.

What do you think? Are Official Forums necessary? Do they attract the worst kind of trolls and ultimately scare off the serious posters and would-be community builders? Or are serious fans able to weed through the chaff and find what they need to sustain a healthy relationship with the dev team?

Let me know what you think!

..guess what most of the community is saying.

This whole thing was brought up by Mark Jacobs who seems to be leaning in the direction of no forums. I must say, I don’t disagree with the main thrust of his argument against them:

From my perspective, I’m not as concerned with the cost in terms of dollars (but the players should be) but rather what I will have to put my people through to run those forums. If WAR is as successful as we hope, we will have more users than any other MMORPG other than WoW. If that is true, we will be flooded by good users and bad. When things turn ugly, and they always do, my people will be insulted, yelled at, cursed at, threatened and told the vilest things possible.

..fine, then here is the solution: ban the little bastards. Suspend their account. Cancel their account. If it comes down to it…delete their characters and refund their money. Much like if I went into a store and started cursing and swearing at the cashier, what would happen? At best, I’d be kicked out. Worse case, Police would be called and I’d be taken away or “asked” to leave and if I’m lucky I won’t be tasered. Do the same to those jerks who think that the vale of the internet is a license to be an ass. Hmmm…what’s the online equivalent of a taser??

That being said, I still think official forums are the best way to go. You can’t let a couple of ass-hats ruin the community experience for the good mannered majority. You also have to consider the huge advantage of centralizing your community. Sure, community websites are fantastic…but they’re all over the place and information can sometimes be hard to find. In an official forum, at least people have one place to go to to find the information they need and the community can web out from there.

Me? I’m waiting for the time where a MMO company has a zero tolerance policy towards abusive players…both in the game and in the community. Personally, players like that can take their $14.99 somewhere else. Do that a couple of times. Splash the headline “Belligerent player’s character deleted” all over the internet and I guarantee you’ll see a change in behavior overnight.

D out

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