A Discussion of Community

UPDATE: As a follow-on from this very discussion, there will be a Guild Wars 2 Community Roundtable this upcoming Saturday, March 28th, at 1PM GMT. RSVP through the email address at the right!

The Spark

Every worthwhile discussion starts with a spark, a statement that gets everyone thinking. For this discussion, it was this tweet:

I believe the current @GuildWars2 PR issues stem from a feeling of them giving preferred treatment to select favorite players. #perception – @Clouded_Chimera (5:41 PM)

What followed was a multi-hour discussion by over a dozen people, well-known representatives of the community (and me). I’ve attempted to distill the overall message in the following post, but the full discussion is available on this timeline.

(I apologize for the really hodgepodge nature of the timeline. Twitter does not behave as expected when adding tweets to a collection)

Focus on One, to the Exception of Others

The first major point of the discussion was the amount of promotion given to Twitch and YouTube fan channels, while other forms of fansites (blogs, news, fan fiction, etc.) get very little.

@DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera .. Is it? Other than a badly worded email they’d been doing well lately. – @rwfrk (6:34 PM)

@rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera There is a focus on supporting a very specific part of the community while ignoring all others. – @LadyVerene (6:36 PM)

@rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera They used to support ALL aspects of the community – creators of all sorts of content, not just vid. – @LadyVerene (6:37 PM)

@rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera It pretty much stopped overnight, and frankly it’s frustrating as hell. – LadyVerene (6:37 PM)

@LadyVerene @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera is that simply a lack of bandwidth with all HOT previews ATMS? No poi lately either – @rwfrk (6:38 PM)

@rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera No, this has been the case for a good year and a half now. – @LadyVerene (6:39 PM)

@LadyVerene @rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera it feels as though the only metric that counts is yt/twitch subscribers. – @CeleOOKIE (6:51 PM)

@CeleOOKIE @rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera Yeah. And that really bothers me, for so very many reasons. – @LadyVerene (6:52 PM)

@CeleOOKIE @LadyVerene @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera I didn’t even know fan sites other than dulfy ever got ls previews. – @rwfrk (7:05 PM)

@rwfrk @CeleOOKIE @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera tons did. Dulfy is pretty new as far as gw2 fan sites go, really. – @LadyVerene (7:53 PM)

Special note should be given to the perceived focus on Twitch and YouTube channels:

@CeleOOKIE @rwfrk @LadyVerene @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera They embraced the artists, lore writers, fan sites. Now it’s all yt/twitch. – @ShiverpeakOwl (8:20 PM)

@ShiverpeakOwl @CeleOOKIE @rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera Yeah. YT/twitch is important, but not to the exclusion of all else. – @LadyVerene (8:35 PM)

@LadyVerene @CeleOOKIE @rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera Yep, too many fan sites put in a lot of effort for little acknowledgment. – @ShiverpeakOwl (8:44 PM)

@LadyVerene @CeleOOKIE @rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera It’s a real shame. A lot of MMOs would kill to have a community like this. – @ShiverpeakOwl (8:44 PM)

It Used to Not Be This Way

The second major point, that intertwined with the first, is that this change in focus is a recent change. A change effected since the original release of the game.

@Clouded_Chimera Agreed. The relationship they used to have with the entirety of the community is sadly long gone. ~Tilion – @DragonSeasonCom (5:59 PM)

@LadyVerene @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera what kinds of quanifiable[sic] changes do you want to see? Curated by whom? Presented how? – @rwfrk (6:42 PM)

@rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera Honestly? Just go back to how it was before. Acknowledge the fansites that still exist. – @LadyVerene (6:43 PM)

@rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera Support the people who create content that ISN’T simply streaming a game. – @LadyVerene (6:43 PM)

@LadyVerene @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera How did it work before? Im trying to picture more than the pois I’ve seen – @rwfrk (6:46 PM)

@rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera POI is completely unrelated. I’m talking just simple stuff like RTing a blog post. – @LadyVerene (6:47 PM)

@rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera Posting links to facebook. Stuff like that. We don’t even get that much anymore. – @LadyVerene (6:47 PM)

@rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera I’m not even talking the big stuff we used to get, like fansite previews of LS stuff. – @LadyVerene (6:47 PM)

@rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera Beta key giveaways, CE giveaways. Just any attention again would be nice. – @LadyVerene (6:48 PM)

@CeleOOKIE @rwfrk @LadyVerene @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera They used to do a lot of neat things, like “design a weapon” contests. – @ShiverpeakOwl (8:15 PM)

Further, this change in focus was very abrupt. Longtime fan sites were left out very quickly:

@LadyVerene @CeleOOKIE @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera yeah but that illustrates how few got it at the time – @rwfrk (7:57 PM)

@rwfrk @CeleOOKIE @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera but it wasn’t a few. It was most larger active sites. – @LadyVerene (8:34 PM)

@LadyVerene @CeleOOKIE @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera any names you could give as examples I might know and have forgotten – @rwfrk (8:36 PM)

@rwfrk @CeleOOKIE @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera myself, GuildMag, KTR, I think DS, are the ones still around that come to mind. – @LadyVerene (8:36 PM)

@rwfrk @CeleOOKIE @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera people who’ve been a major part of the community for many, many years suddenly left out. – @LadyVerene (8:38 PM)

Fansites are Closing Because of the Focus

The third point is that the lack of acknowledgment drives apathy in fansites themselves. People lose their interest because they feel unappreciated and would rather spend their limited time with something that does make them feel appreciated.

@rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera Tons of fansites have shut down in the past year and a half because we’re just not cared about. – @LadyVerene (6:43 PM)

@rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera My blog used to be very prominent, now I hardly ever update because I no longer have an audience – @LadyVerene (6:44 PM)

@rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera Even DS [Dragon Season] was dormant for a long time. There’s no support if you don’t stream/youtube. – @LadyVerene (6:45 PM)

Guild Wars 1 Community Involvement was Good

After these initial points of discussion, the conversation moved to note what would be good, rather than simply talking about the existing problem.

@DragonSeasonCom @rwfrk @LadyVerene @CeleOOKIE @Clouded_Chimera @ShiverpeakOwl I so much hope for a return to GW community involvement. – @Ollannach (10:03 PM)

@DragonSeasonCom @rwfrk @LadyVerene @CeleOOKIE @Clouded_Chimera @ShiverpeakOwl Not that everything was perfect then, but it was better. – @Ollannach (10:04 PM)

Focus on Twitch and YouTube Crowds Out Other Outlets

On the other side of the coin, specific statements of the problem with going forward with the present perceived Twitch/YouTube focus were made:

@DragonSeasonCom @rwfrk @LadyVerene @CeleOOKIE @Clouded_Chimera @ShiverpeakOwl I also feel like they’re making a self-fulfilling prophecy. – @Ollannach (10:05 PM)

@DragonSeasonCom @rwfrk @LadyVerene @CeleOOKIE @Clouded_Chimera @ShiverpeakOwl If you only support YT/T, you’ll end up with only YT/T. – @Ollannach (10:06 PM)

@DragonSeasonCom @rwfrk @LadyVerene @CeleOOKIE @Clouded_Chimera @ShiverpeakOwl There were so many fansites around release. Look at them now. – Ollannach (10:06 PM)

The Disappearance of Critique

I’ll confess to being a self-interested lout when I finally entered this discussion. I do critique. That’s my entire modus operandi on Tough Love Critic, so I forked the discussion to talk about the just-as-present lack of acknowledgment of critique.

@Ollannach If praise is all you reward, critique vanishes. @DragonSeasonCom @rwfrk @LadyVerene @CeleOOKIE @Clouded_Chimera @ShiverpeakOwl – @ToughLoveCritic (10:07 PM)

@ToughLoveCritic @Ollannach @DragonSeasonCom @rwfrk @LadyVerene @CeleOOKIE @Clouded_Chimera @ShiverpeakOwl If critique was all they stopped=irony. – @rwfrk (10:08 PM)

Reflecting on the Discussion

As you can tell by the time tags, it’s been 4 hours running on this discussion with no signs of stopping and new people joining all the time. This triggered a bit of “whoa”:

I’m pretty sure I’ve had one of those earth shattering realizations about the power of a single tweet today. Great discussion all around. 😀 – @Clouded_Chimera (10:09 PM)

Don’t Want to Stir the Pot

The discussion feels like it’s long overdue, with me thinking “why hasn’t anyone said anything sooner?” As it gets bluntly put, people didn’t want to stir the pot for no good reason. Also at this point, the discussion moved toward the treatment of specific fansites and outlets, rather than generalized formats.

@Clouded_Chimera The discussion is valid though. Too less[sic] has been said about it in hopes of it getting better. – @Ollannach (10:10 PM)

.@Clouded_Chimera More attention needs to be brought to inattention. Relying on one source of promotion is very dangerous. – @ToughLoveCritic (10:10 PM)

@Ollannach @Clouded_Chimera Even participating in it, I don’t know if I saw it all. I do see simple things ANET could do if it reached radar – @rwfrk (10:15 PM)

@rwfrk @Ollannach While they may not hear directly, by just talking about this there’s an impact on the direction the conversation will go. – @Clouded_Chimera (10:17 PM)

.@Clouded_Chimera @Ollannach @ToughLoveCritic Gotta cut through the Expansion hype and other Signal-to-Noise ratio though. – @rwfrk (10:18 PM)

@rwfrk @Clouded_Chimera @Ollannach @ToughLoveCritic The treatment of certain fan sites has been something I’ve noticed, but never talked…

…about because I don’t have a site and I didn’t want to stir the pot if no one…

…else cared. But trust me, even as a fan and not a site owner, it was visible…

…so seeing others discuss it openly is something that helps the dialogue, even if…

…it doesn’t necessarily reach the devs right away. – @ShiverpeakOwl (10:20 – 10:24 PM)

@ShiverpeakOwl @rwfrk @Clouded_Chimera @ToughLoveCritic Exclusion is the biggest way you can notice those things. Some fansites def deserved[…]

[…]more than what they got (if they got anything at all). – @Ollannach (10:23 – 10:24 PM)

@ShiverpeakOwl @rwfrk @Clouded_Chimera @ToughLoveCritic One thing for sure though. The fansites currently around genuinly[sic] care for the…

…game and continue even though Anet is unsupportive. It’s great to see that. – Ollannach (10:24 – 10:25 PM)

Drawing Comparisons

Due to the fact that the MMO genre has been around for a while, drawing examples and comparisons from other games is a good way to frame the overall tone of things.

Maybe I am just so used to how fansites/podcasts/etc were treated by Turbine for so long that I don’t see the ‘neglect’ many claim w/ GW2 – @cithryth (10:18 PM)

@cithryth You got to GW2 later than I did. And..don’t get me started about the not quite 100% turn around Turbine did. – @rwfrk (10:19 PM)

@cithryth There was apparently a pretty major drop off right before I started playing [Guild Wars 2] serious a year ago – @rwfrk (10:19 PM)

@rwfrk Oh yeah, there’s still quite a lot to be desired with what they’re* doing. It’s a tiny baby step in the right direction I guess. – @cithryth (10:20 PM) *[Ed note: I’m not sure which “they” is in view here, Turbine or ArenaNet]

I mean, when we started GWPN, it got re-blogged by the official GW2 tumblr, and that was a pretty good boost for us. – @cithryth (10:22 PM)

Compare that to the small handful of re-tweets I got of my LOTRO video series that last over a year… – @cithryth (10:23 PM)

@rwfrk @cithryth I remember the multitude of fansites around when GW2 launched. Eventually players got bored, left for new hotness games. – @Moxiedoodle (10:31 PM)

@rwfrk @cithryth I actually prefer the fansite scene a year or 2 into a game – fansites at that point are run by people who love the game… – @Moxiedoodle (10:33 PM)

[…]not people who are trying to make the new wowhead or mmochampion. – @Moxiedoodle (10:33 PM)

@Moxiedoodle @cithryth That’s another problem. There’s a whole swath of players who left basically at end of S2 waiting for the expansion, – @rwfrk (10:33 PM)

@Moxiedoodle @cithryth Everyone wants to be the next ‘big name’ on the internet, that means YT/T now days =/ – @rwfrk (10:34 PM)

Visual Promotion Focus

I’ll confess to again being a self-interested lout, but I’m also a fan of concrete examples to reference. So TLC itself is a good portion of this part of the discussion, even as we talk about how visual promotion appears to be the chief focus of PR and engagement.

@Ollannach I know that my site has been viewed by people at ArenaNet. I’m obsessive about referrals. @ShiverpeakOwl @rwfrk @Clouded_Chimera – @ToughLoveCritic (10:27 PM)

@ToughLoveCritic You are not a traditional fan site though. Not by a long shot. @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera – @rwfrk (10:28 PM)

@rwfrk @ToughLoveCritic @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera But exactly this is, I think, the reason for Anet to focus on YT/T. – @Ollannach (10:29 PM)

@Ollannach Free, visual hype on a visual-based game. @rwfrk @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera – @ToughLoveCritic (10:29 PM)

Metrics vs. Quality

The discussion moved again to speak of the push and pull between quantitative, metrics-based feedback and qualitative statements. Lately, metrics have been the go-to, but it’s starting to shift back toward qualitative feedback.

@ToughLoveCritic @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera might have to do with quality/vol of user conversion.Any have industry metrics? – @rwfrk (10:30 PM)

@rwfrk I don’t have metrics, but I know that my work gets tens of thousands of views. @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera – @ToughLoveCritic (10:31 PM)

@ToughLoveCritic @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera I’d have to ask a few other company Cms for thoughts, but delicate subject – @rwfrk (10:32 PM)

@rwfrk @ToughLoveCritic @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl Currently the CM field is evolving to emphasize quantitative metrics less over qualitative. – @Clouded_Chimera (10:34 PM)

@Clouded_Chimera @ToughLoveCritic @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl Yup, via things like referral links. – @rwfrk (10:34 PM)

@Clouded_Chimera Thus the sheer level of traffic I draw lends weight to it. @rwfrk @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl – @TouchLoveCritic (10:34 PM)

@rwfrk @ToughLoveCritic @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl numbers don’t translate to success as much as quality involvement. – @Clouded_Chimera (10:35 PM)

@ToughLoveCritic @Clouded_Chimera @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl Contrast it to ‘impressions’ by any person they took to ANET. – @rwfrk (10:35 PM)

@ToughLoveCritic @Clouded_Chimera @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl bang for buck. Still, if its group setting preview like other companies. o.O – @rwfrk (10:36 PM)

Back to Critique

One thing I perceive myself is a seeming imbalance between positive hype and negative critique. Positive hype gets reinforced based on the current sources being directly invited by ArenaNet, negative critique regardless of uptake is never acknowledged.

@Ollannach I know that my site has been viewed by people at ArenaNet. I’m obsessive about referrals. @ShiverpeakOwl @rwfrk @Clouded_Chimera – @ToughLoveCritic (10:27 PM) [Ed. Note: duplicate from above]

@Ollannach But any direct acknowledgement[sic]? Nada. @ShiverpeakOwl @rwfrk @Clouded_Chimera – @ToughLoveCritic (10:27 PM)

@ToughLoveCritic Yours isn’t the sort I’d expect to see acknowledgement[sic] in current climate. @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera – @rwfrk (10:28 PM)

@rwfrk @ToughLoveCritic @Ollannach @Clouded_Chimera Any company that is afraid to acknowledge criticism does so to it’s[sic] own detriment. – @ShiverpeakOwl (10:30 PM)

@rwfrk @ToughLoveCritic @Ollannach @Clouded_Chimera We all see the flaws. Pretending they don’t exist just adds another flaw to the list. – @ShiverpeakOwl (10:30 PM)

@rwfrk That’s the core of the problem. One can drive high engagement, numbers, uptake, but it’s+ @Clouded_Chimera @Ollannach @Clouded_Chimera – @ToughLoveCritic (10:43 PM)

@rwfrk + not fanboyish hype and adoration. It’s critique. @Clouded_Chimera @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl – @ToughLoveCritic (10:43 PM)

@MMOINKS I suppose my point is that critique isn’t unpopular with the community. @rwfrk @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera (10:51 PM)

@MMOINKS It’s freakishly hard to gain enough traction to do it, but it CAN be done. @rwfrk @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera (10:51 PM)

@MMOINKS And if the community can handle and accept it, why not ArenaNet? @rwfrk @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera (10:52 PM)

@ToughLoveCritic @MMOINKS @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera I’d argue that the views you see show they can accept it – @rwfrk (10:58 PM)

@ToughLoveCritic @MMOINKS @Ollannach @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera They just can’t figure out how to deal with it publically – @rwfrk (10:58 PM)

The Definition of “Press”

With the recent visits to ArenaNet (or NCSoft’s office in Brighton), it can’t help but be observed that specific outlets were chosen and others were not. Far and away the invitees were Twitch and YouTube streamers, which begged the question, “what is the press for Guild Wars 2?”

(Note: This overlaps with a side conversation dealing with the invites to the first beta stress test. I am deliberately culling most of that conversation because it isn’t pertinent to the overall discussion of the community. It is present in the timeline)

@ToughLoveCritic @rwfrk @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera But there has been no reason (for them) to enlarge that pool of ‘press’. – @Ollannach (11:02 PM)

@Ollannach Aye. That’s what makes me arch an eyebrow. Expansions are rare. @rwfrk @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera – @ToughLoveCritic (11:04 PM)

@ToughLoveCritic @Ollannach @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera And don’t get me started on their ‘press’ metric. – @rwfrk (11:04 PM)

@ToughLoveCritic @Ollannach @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera I can come up with rationals[sic] for not even wanting all press in round 1. – @rwfrk (11:05 PM)

@ToughLoveCritic @rwfrk @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera GW2s beta community support was also staggered. Some got on board early. – @Ollannach (11:05 PM)

@Ollannach But the vast majority of the names I know are in at the start. @rwfrk @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera – @ToughLoveCritic (11:07 PM)

@Ollannach I don’t mean to sound whiny, so I apologize if I do, but it looks odd. @rwfrk @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera – @ToughLoveCritic (11:07 PM)

@ToughLoveCritic @rwfrk @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera Trust me, that was also not the case back then. I’ve been there. – @Ollannach (11:08 PM)

Involving More Fansites as “Press”

The previous topic immediately shifted back to consider the fansites that feel left out due to the Twitch/YouTube focus of the current PR efforts. How do you involve them?

@ToughLoveCritic @Ollannach @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera Its a tough call&more casual sites may not want spoilers personally. – @rwfrk (11:09 PM)

@rwfrk But does never offering and allowing them to decline really give them an option? @Ollannach @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera – @ToughLoveCritic (11:10 PM)

@ToughLoveCritic @rwfrk @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera Don’t you think it’s too early to say ‘never’ though? – @Ollannach (11:10 PM)

@ToughLoveCritic @Ollannach @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera Nope, but if you go through the effort to ‘select’ them,you want ’em to – @rwfrk (11:10 PM)

@ToughLoveCritic @rwfrk @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera Don’t get me wrong, I know where you are coming from. – @Ollannach (11:10 PM)

@Ollannach Agreed. Never is a strong word. But consider same crew since HoT’s announcement. @rwfrk @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera – @ToughLoveCritic (11:11 PM)

@Ollannach @ToughLoveCritic @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera As hyped as I am, there’s a number of people I’d hand my spot over to. – @rwfrk (11:11 PM)

@Ollannach @ToughLoveCritic @MMOINKS @ShiverpeakOwl @Clouded_Chimera because I think it’d do the community more good, but not an opt wo/keys – @rwfrk (11:11 PM)

Back to the Start

Drawing off of one of the early tweets in the discussion, everyone circled back around to the impression that fansites are being ignored in favor of Twitch and YouTube.

@rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera Even DS was dormant for a long time. There’s no support if you don’t stream/youtube. – @LadyVerene (6:45 PM)

@LadyVerene @rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera That’s pretty much how I feel ever since I’ve taken over CoT. ~Jal – @ChroniclesTyria (11:11 PM)

@LadyVerene @rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera At least, I got an awesome team of writers that keep me going and lets me hope that.. – @ChroniclesTyria (11:29 PM)

@LadyVerene @rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera …something could happen in the future. ~Jal – @ChroniclesTyria (11:29 PM)

@ChroniclesTyria @LadyVerene @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera @ToughLoveCritic I think that’s what we all want. Improved future. (11:30 PM)

@ChroniclesTyrai @rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera whereas I’m basically solo and am limited in time. Don’t really feel like… – @LadyVerene (11:49 PM)

@ChroniclesTyria @rwfrk @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera …spending a lot of it doing something that is unnoticed and unappreciated. – @LadyVerene (11:50 PM)

@LadyVerene @ChroniclesTyria @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera @ToughLoveCritic This is why I keep saying ‘no’ to stepping into that arena – @rwfrk (11:51 PM)

The Bottom Line: Things Have Changed Drastically

At the very end of the discussion, an old link from the Wayback Machine (thanks, Internet Archive!) got posted: Building Community by Martin Kerstein, dated March 15th, 2012.

@LadyVerene @rwfrk @CeleOOKIE @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera anet’s philosophy on fansites has changed since this [link posted above] – @dulfycleric (11:44 PM)

@dulfycleric @rwfrk @CeleOOKIE @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera yyyyyep. They did a complete 180. And it was almost literally overnight. – @LadyVerene (11:48 PM)

@dulfycleric @LadyVerene @CeleOOKIE @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera Philosophy or standard of ‘fansite’? – @rwfrk (11:45 PM)

@rwfrk @LadyVerene @CeleOOKIE @DragonSeasonCom @Clouded_Chimera Maybe we are in the video age now, everyone make vids or gtfo lol – @dulfycleric (11:51 PM)


Ultimately, a lot of well-known people in the community feel left out of the overall community. A bias toward streamers and YouTube video makers is evident in both the promotion of the upcoming expansion and previews of Living World material before that.

This perceived bias does nothing but harm the community, either depriving others of unique and important viewpoints as people lose interest, or putting undue weight on an opinion purely due to its format. I will hold off on my full thoughts for now, but expect them very soon.


3 thoughts on “A Discussion of Community”

  1. I don’t know what those other people are saying but they’ve always been pretty bad with blog communication. there were a few favourites and then, by and large everyone else was ignored.

    And they’ve always ignored critique.

    They only good thing was the community and how much everyone spread around blogs and posts quite regularly.

    With the twitch and Youtube focus I think that’s just a sign of the times, the analytics do indeed show that the better investment for advertisements are those sites at the moment, and the get a higher viewership than blogs tend to. Of course there are a few that buck this trend but by and large it holds true. But yeh, whether or not that is a self fulfilling prophecy is a different story, you give a medium more attention and more exclusive then people will obviously travel to there.


  2. Though I’ve been playing since the beta weekends, I’m fairly new to the actual fansite sphere of things so in terms of treatment I’ve little to compare this lack of attention to.

    That being said, it’s obvious from what I’ve seen on the sites I’m either affiliated with or keep my eye on (like this one) that there has definitely been a change over the years.

    I suppose I can understand some of the motivations behind this change: YT/Twitch gamers tend to have larger audiences which means more advertising. I’m typically not one to judge a business for behaving like a business, but this doesn’t rub the right way and it wouldn’t take much, I think to show support for other fansites.

    – Varr


  3. I came in right at the end of this conversation and saw all the “wow that was a good conversation!” tweets and was very curious as to what it was all about, so this has been really interesting.

    I’ve been writing about GW and gaming for about 4/5 years now. I guess at my most fervent writing peak I was writing 3/4 articles a week for my own site, a couple for other fansites and was a regular contributing author and editor on the now shut down (another victim of the kind of thing this whole discussion about) Talk Tyria (http://talktyria.net). On my own site I was never really accepted as a “fansite” more as a opinion based blog. Mainly, I think, because I was often relatively critical of ANet – even though I loved GW1 and love GW2. Perhaps the height of my controversy came when I criticised the whole GW2 community pre-launch for staunching any and all discussion on gaming with “well GW2 will solve all these problems anyway”, all I asked was for them to maintain a little perspective and allow discussion on gaming without shouting people down: http://dwpgaming.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/gw2-maintaining-little-perspective.html but ho hum. I attended community events on behalf of GuildMag (community lunch with Colin in London) and TalkTyria (Eurogamer, where I fielded questions from the community to the devs there). Just wanted to give an idea of the kind of contribution I used to make to the community.

    Nowadays (apart from perhaps being too busy to write as consistently) I have found the whole blogging experience to be quite unrewarding and I’ve been worn down by numerous poor or questionable decisions by ArenaNet, which has dampened my enthusiasm.

    If you want to write guides or advice columns you will be overshadowed massively by Dulfy – thats no disservice to the work Dulfy does, I think she and her team work very very hard, but she does appear to have access to materials way before anyone else – people aren’t going to read two guides on a subject, so they’ll go to the one on their favourites, the one at the top of Reddit and the one which has the data first – which is almost always Dulfy. Absolutely noone is on the same level.

    If you want to write critique then you simply aren’t going to get any attention from ArenaNet. I can’t blame them, they aren’t keen on shining a light on the murkier side of some of the things they’ve done (the whole gem/gold debacle from a couple of months ago springs to mind). I think since October 2010 (my first post) having written over 300 articles (I’d say 70% GW1/2 related) I have been retweeted by ArenaNet once.
    Reddit can be ok for sharing your work, but you have to dodge the downvote parade of people dving opinions they don’t like, rather than objectively bad content.

    If you just want to write about how much you love the game, then you are competing with YouTubers and Twitch streamers. And you encounter the problems detailed in your post above. User-created YouTube content was simply not as easy to produce back when we were writing consistently – so there was not as much competition. Now with editing and recording software being so easy to use the YT scene has exploded, though I wouldn’t like to try to compete with WP, MattVisual and Bog Otter.

    I’d love to go back to the blogging community which existed around the end of GW1 and into prelaunch GW2. I’m not sure what happened entirely. Talk Tyria kind of trailed away because the game did not live up to some of the expectations that the writers had, and other prominent contributors moved on to jobs at ANet (Elixabeth was a big writer, editor and contributor for us). Numerous other personal opinion blogs like mine trailed away, as blogs tend to do over time. As some people recognised, you have the dedicated few left and perhaps a small number of newer blogs such as yours, though I’d estimate that of the few I know the number now is around 10% of the number it was at peak. There are a few writers who still write regular critical content about GW2 and get hits – Lewis at TenTonHammer being a good example.

    I think my final point is that the reason the scene is not as varied as it once was is partly because ArenaNet give preferential access to certain fansites, give little to no recognition to wites like Verene who have been consistently writing fantastic content for years now and because, I think, the wave of hype preceding GW2 created an almost unique breeding ground for enthusiastic and exciting written content. We had a bright constellation of writers, fansites and content creators. For a time we rode the tidal pull of the breaking waves of GW2 information, but once the tide was at its highest there is only really one way for it to go and that was back out. Some really good writers are still there on the beach, left behind after the surf retreated but they need to scrap and fight against the tidal pull back out again.

    Its a shame. But it does give me hope to see writers such as yourself producing thoughtful and meaningful pieces for the community – and I think the discussion the other day shows that the same people I got to know all those years ago are still as creative and passionate as they were back then – they, and we, just need to be given the write impetus.


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