We all know that forums are a magnet for infinite QQing, trolling and flamebastic anonymous posts – I get this problem. I acknowledge that for the game developer, forums are almost a no win situation. However, I can’t take a game too seriously when there is a lack of official forums. Nor do I have much respect for the game developers who won’t host them – problems, bullshit and all.
When I want to delve into your game to understand the game mechanics, history, professions and economy, check the pulse of the community and get bonafide information, I need the game developer’s forums. You can support all the independent forums you want, but why should I as the consumer, have to surf multiple sites to get the whole picture, without ever being sure that it is in fact, an accurate picture in the first place.
I’m sure they have CMs trolling these sites but I would doubt that it’s at the frequency of developer managed sites. Nor do they have the power to lock or remove incorrect information on those sites. And as well meaning as the independent forums hosters might be, there is going to be a time delay between a representative from the game developer notifying some one in control on the hosting site that something is amiss and having it corrected. During that lag time, the internet being as ubiquitous as it is, who knows how many thousands of eyes may have already digested that information. This is one of my biggest dislikes about unofficial forums – game developers have ZERO control over the content and information.
Yes, there are reputable hosting sites that host many games and are as accurate and timely as they can be, given the circumstances. Often times however, they are splattered with adverts - some inconspicuous, some not so incomspicous. Do I need to mention the ones that are quickly being gobbled up by gold selling companies? Here again, as a potential consumer I say, why do I need to deal with that in order to get information on your game, if you want my money? From where I sit, a game developer topples many levels down in credibility with me as a consumer, when they don’t host official forums. If you won't invest in me, my relationship to you as a player of your game and consumer of your content - both the good things and the bad things, as any solid relationship must suffer, then I'm not investing in you either.
I read lots of gaming blogs. I listen to way too many podcasts. However, when it comes to game information, I only surf one place and that is the official forums. If Sony can stomach hosting forums, where people like to hate them just because, Blizzard can maintain forums with a ravenous, immature and bloodletting lot of players and Turbine can summon the courage to do it when people are just waiting for them to f-up another IP, other gaming companies have no excuse. You don’t get to hide if you want my money.
Can you imagine being employed – aka getting money on a continued basis, and the person whose handing out the money has no way of directly contacting you? Gamers aren’t employers of the developers for they games they play, but at the very least as a consumer, they have a right to demand information from the horse’s mouth. Even if we can’t reply, which cuts out the posting drama, I want forums with information on classes, professions, lore/backstory, patches, upcoming development and the alike. If not, I’m very V-E-R-Y unlikely to trust you with my money. Both the one time purchase of investing in your game and continued support by paying a monthly subscription.
Hellgate London, you fail. KK. Tnx. Bye.