/thwapp - N00b!!
By AnomalousSilence

“WTF!!! omgz Blizzard joo sux!!! wtf is w/ the shaman nerfs?!?11 nerf priests

wtf!!!”
“Go suck a Tauren, n00b.”

“SOE is all about the $$!!!!! They dun care about teh player base!!!! [email protected]#& you, SOE! Im leaving.”
“Can I have ur stuff? lol”

“Hi. I’m new here and was curious as to when Vanguard is going to release. I am so siked for this game. I’m playin WoW ATM.”
“Use the search engine! N00B!
/thwapp :P”

These are examples of the common official message board behavior of MMORPGs. Forums established by the producers of MMORPGs aren’t always the prettiest of places. “Nerfs” cause uprisings within MMORPGs, stirring up less-than-complimentary, or “flame” posts. When the producers make a change that is not universally popular, those select few who oppose the change post hate threads in the forums. Newbies surf to these official forums in an attempt to get help, unbeknownst to them that their question has been asked hundreds of times. Thus, they are often met with contempt and rudeness. It is due to these reasons, and many, many more, that the folks at Sigil are making one of the smartest moves in MMORPG history: shutting down the Official Vanguard Forums (the OVF).
           
Within the message board community, there are tens of thousands of topics and replies. This can often make it seem as if the entirety of the player base frequents the official forums. Typically, this perception isn’t anywhere near the truth.

 

Let’s use the first example, well, as an example! These “nerfs” are an attempt to balance classes and fix common issues. As in the first sample dialogue, let’s say that the Shaman class of World of Warcraft was “nerfed”. In that same patch, holy-specced Priests became significantly more powerful. “NERF TEH PRIESTS!!1” is heard throughout the realm of the official WoW forums from the many boys and girls who cry nerf, while Shaman are found loudly complaining regarding the recent changes to their own class.

It appears that those who play the nerfed class are focused on soloing ability, powerfulness, etc. and are not truly dedicated to their class. Some would even go as far as to hop off the Shaman boat and onto the Priest boat because it is the “flavor of the month” class. These people wind up in a continuous circle of classes, always jumping ship to the current most powerful and needed class.

Now, we have to ask: does everyone playing WoW post on the official forums? Of course not! The player base of World of Warcraft consists of players in the multi-millions. Sure, a hundred thousand at the very least post on the forums, but that is only a small fraction of the players. Most could care less about the message boards and are in Azeroth enjoying their time, caring less about the current best class or about nerfs.

It’s time to use the second dialogue as an example! If SOE, for example, makes a major change in EverQuest 2, there will probably be several thousand people who don’t approve. They threaten on the message boards that they are leaving the game. First of all, no one cares. Replies often consist of requests for free stuff from the fleeing player. Secondly, SOE isn‘t largely concerned. So what if one player leaves? There are hundreds of thousands left! SOE felt that the change made was better for their overall game.

Do the players who get annoyed and threaten that they will leave actually quit playing the game? While a small portion do hold true to their testimony, many do not. After they’ve wasted time whining to no avail, they continue playing EQ2. It’s what they love. It’s what they enjoy. A small, or often times even major, change to the game won’t largely affect the player base. After a few weeks of whining, it’s all good and they’re having a great time playing EQ2 once again.
           
The last example bothers me to no end. We are the future players of Vanguard:Saga of Heroes and the current community! It is a community which I was a proud member of at one time. Am I still? You bet! However, that sense of pride, the great feeling that I belonged to the best community of all MMORPGs, has diminished somewhat. While I still feel that we are the best community out there, there are continuous actions that have me anticipating the closing of the Official Vanguard Forum.

Newbies often come to the Official Vanguard Forums in search of answers . They are oftentimes looking for a new MMORPG to call home, and these newbies are looking for as much help as possible. They are often met with many a horrendous, rude reply about “doing research” and “using the search engine”. I mean, come on! Is it honestly so hard to reply in a kindly manner, giving the potential future player of our game, our world, basic information about Vanguard, listing off some helpful fansites, and directing them in any way at all?

While I have found this behavior in a minute number of rare cases, it isn’t always the norm. In fact, not too long ago, a particular “hello” thread was met with some /thwapping and an overall negative attitude. Nick Parkinson, a.k.a. “Glip the Gnome”, deserves credit for the following quote in the post he made by way of reply:

“Everyone was new once guys, and this is NOT the way we treat people just joining our community.

Repeat occurrences of the behavior displayed in this thread will result in bad things™ for those partaking in them. There is a report post button on every post, if there’s a problem with a thread simply report it, then ignore it. Personal attacks are never cool, regardless of who it is or what they are doing.

Locking this one, and my apologies to you AshanRai – you just caught us on an off day, it seems. :)”

I wasn’t around to see all of the posts before they were replaced by “Edit: Inappropriate post removed -Glip”, but my overall impression is that a newbie came to the forums and wasn’t greeted too kindly.

Again, it is this kind of behavior that picks and pulls at my every last nerve, far beyond the nerfing complaints and the generally negative attitude toward changes.

I praise Sigil for all that they are doing, and on top of that they are closing all official forums except for technical help. This is a first, so it is unknown, as of yet, how this shift will impact the community. My prediction is that it will go smoothly, and that the change will be an excellent one for the overall community of MMORPGs. Without an official message board, players who wish to participate in forum activity must congregate on the Vanguard: Saga of Heroes’ fansites.

With smaller communities, such rants and inappropriate postings will be removed much quicker than they would on an official forum (and sometimes this type of post is not removed at all, since the moderators are busy folk!). With fewer members on fansite forums and less inappropriate toleration, the complainers and negative people will have no where to go. The community will become significantly more positive overall, and the community of Vanguard will grow and strengthen each day.
The community of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes was sturdy and stable when I first arrived. Since then, its structure has slowly been deteriorating and its values have diminished. It will never fully collapse, however, with many good posters still around. With the closing of the Official Vanguard Forums, the community will build up once more and become better than ever.

I anxiously await the release day of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, and perhaps I anticipate the closing of the official forums and the migration of the players to the various fansites.


To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Vanguard: Saga of Heroes Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Karen 1
Karen is H.D.i.C. (Head Druid in Charge) at EQHammer. She likes chocolate chip pancakes, warm hugs, gaming so late that it's early, and rooting things and covering them with bees. Don't read her Ten Ton Hammer column every Tuesday. Or the EQHammer one every Thursday, either.

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