Friday, November 5, 2010

A cataclysm is coming to the official WoW website

It’s still just a preview and all functions aren’t in place. But from what we’ve seen so far, you could summarize my first reaction to Blizzard’s incoming new official community site with one word: Squee!

It’s not one day too early that they make something about it. As a matter of fact Blizzard’s community site has been more or less useless as a source of information for years.

It’s not only that it’s messy, with an incomprehensible logic for navigation, which makes your eyes bleed; it’s also pretty badly maintained. Blizzard has had a hard time to keep up with the changes to the game and there’s quite a bit of information that became incorrect years ago. New players who want to figure out how to find a party will be advised to use the LFG and LFM tools, since the dungeon finder hasn’t been invented yet.

Lore section
A quick glance at the incoming site tells me that this will be something entirely different. It’s not only that it’s less clotted. Apparently they’re also remaking the content. They won’t lazily move over thousands of pages into the new format without looking at it. They’re reworking it from the ground.

One area that has been particularly neglected in the past is the lore. The current information is pitiful, consisting of an encyclopaedia, which they obviously put in the trash bin after TBC but forgot to remove from the website, and handful of random texts, like the one about murlocs. There's nothing wrong with the article as such, but there isn't any context. And as the cream on the top it’s ugly as hell.

Now they’re announcing that there will be an entire section dedicated to warcraft lore, where we among other things will find out whatever happened to Falstad Wildhammer. Did we just see another wink to the Red Shirt Guy? (On a side note, he just got his Invincible thanks to Blacksen's guild Imperative - his fame is still spreading!)

Forum changes
Apart from the website, they're also making changes to the forums, even if the Real ID requirement for posting was ditched (thanks God for that!)

I’m not quite sure yet how the changes will pan out. Maybe it’s for the good. I’m just a little bit sceptical to the vote system where you can up- and down-rank posts from others. I’ve seen it in action at WoWinsider and I haven’t been too impressed. Good comments tend to be downranked until you can’t read them since they’re all black, while horrible comments will be highlighted. Perhaps I’m just a cynic; perhaps I’m underestimating the maturity and intelligence of the forum visitors. But I tell you: the majority isn’t always right.

All in all, I see a lot of potential in the new community site. It's not only that it looks better; I think the new format also will be easier to work with and more inspiring to the community managers. News will be produced in the form of blog posts, which players can comment on. This is an improvement from now, where the news on the website will disappear in the general mess, while the blue announcements drown in the forums.

We're going to see a more communicative Blizzard come Cataclysm. Way to go!

I can't wait to see this come alive!


Syl said...

I'm pretty excitable at the moment (it seems I go from intense periods of boredom to euphoria quite frequently, oh well!) and the pre-expansion preparations and new looks everywhere really make you feel it coming closer, don't they?

makes me want to play Cata so much more now, we're almost there, yay! =D

Nils said...

What I really do not understand is why the developers themselves do not give points to good forum posters.

I mean, they claim to read it all .. if that's the case there is no reason to not just give or take a point after reading a post.

And even if they did not read it all, it would still be superior to trusting the judgement of the masses.

JohnG228 said...

I guess its about time they made a new website. I'll just have to see what the final product is before I pass judgement.

I don't care for the forum changes. The rating system is just dumb. I hate the way they do it at wowinsider. I want to read all of the comments, not just they ones that a few people want me to read. I also think the rating system just make forums of clique, than anything else.

SpiritsRex said...

Well, the proposed new WoW website looks great! I also like the proposed "l2play, nub" guide they have included. The forums? Meh, I'm not sure there is any cure for some of the rubbish that habitate there and am generally opposed to the rating system as well.


(Spiritus hands Larisa an almost unreadable note which looks to have been scribbled upon a pub napkin)

My Dearest Innkeeper,

It would bring me great pleasure if you would be kind enough to please start keeping track of my drinks and reserve me a room at the Inn for the night as I may be more than slightly tipsy by the time I'm done here this evening. I, of course, will pay for them all in due course.

You see, Phlegger, my hunter cousin, finally succeeded in becoming a Kingslayer by killing the former crown prince of Lordaeron, Arthas Menethil, last evening. In addition, my warrior cousin, has now succesfully fulfilled her destiny to become a Seeker. So, as you might expect, I'm in the mood to celebrate the recent good fortune bestowed upon the Rex family.

Thank you for your understanding as I commence to get slobber-knockered.

Fondest Regards,

Shpiritush Rexsh


Larísa said...

Rexsh: oh, we have adventurers visiting us tonight! That's indeed something worth celebrating, so let's bring out some drinks for the party! I'll watch out for you, and more than that, I'll wrap a blanket about you if you happen to fall asleep in the armchair.

I hope you're not too tipsy already to listen to my Friday night ramblings though, there's another little post incoming in a couple of hours.


SpiritusRex said...

@ Larisa

For you m'lady, I'll do my best to stand steadfast...wait, that almost rhymes. I'm now a drunken half-poet!

BigFire said...

Well, the forum avatar is now your actual character, with your actual gear. I was kind of surprised that my Tabard of the Lightbringer actually shows up.

Jen said...

The new site is a bit cluttered for me... then again, I'm not a big fan of change and I'm sure I'll get used to it.

What I wanted to say is that, for me, the WoW Insider comments are 99% accurate for me: most of the time, I do like the green/blue ones and I think the black ones are dumb. I hope it works out on the WoW forums as well.

spinksville said...

@BigFire: Incoming wave of people logging out without any clothes on their characters so as to show up naked on bboards ;)

Shintar said...

Hmm. I'm not a fan of this type of layout at all, what with the boxes in the corner that highlight different articles and having to scroll down to actually see the blog posts and meh! I actually find the current layout much easier to navigate. :/ But who knows, maybe I'll get used to it.

Otherwise I agree that rebuilding the website and updating it is a great idea, and I don't mind the rating system either - to be honest I found that it works reasonably well for me on WoW Insider.

Larísa said...

@Syl: I just hope they'll make the new site in time for Cataclysm, getting rid of the under-construction page. Hopefully they've got more in their sleeves.

@Nils: Well, they tend to do a little of this already, choosing to comment on sensible questions, ignoring the posts that border to trolling.

: I've never understood the idea about that either. A couple of bloggers have tried thumbs-up-thumbs-down rating for comments as well, but it never clicked with me. At all.

@BigFire: I haven't checked that out. Hm... means that I need to have a special logout dress I suppose.... in case I'm posting on the forums, which I actually don't do very much, thinking closer about it.

@Jen: I think it's a lot about habit. When it comes to WoWinsider, I've been blackened myself. I guess it got me a bit grumpy about the entire system...

: Oh dear... I'm afrid you're probably right.

@Shintar: Again I think it's a matter of habit. I appreciate that there are less graphical elements around, the current one just discourages me.

Perdissa said...

After seeing the new armory, it just makes the old armory seem so.. I don't know.. Windows 3.0 or something.

Everything looks a lot more sleek, but I dislike having to log into my to look at my toons' armory pages.