Name Two Things That Build A Better Community – Go.

In the wake of the announcment and discussions about Blizzard adding a new premium feature, Spinks has come up with some interesting thoughts on what makes a gaming community better than others.  It’s quite a short post but Spinks hasn’t cut the point short – she’s done a good job of saying everything that needs to be said but keeping it to the point.

So what does make a community better than others? Spinks takes a look at a particular MMO that has a community with a better reptutation than most and sees two major distinctions between it and other games – the amount of PvP in it and the IP (intellectual property – i.e. Star Wars) it’s based on, and then expands on these points to look at the sort of community they attract and grow.

We know that there are other factors affecting the quality of in game communities, such as the size of the game, and how much players are encouraged to interact. But I wonder how far the IP itself affects things. Some are likely to attract an older crowd, due to when the original IP was written/ popular, others have a reputation for just being more mature in general because of the themes involved (imagine a historical Roman Empire game compared to a Pokemon MMO.)

It’s a good point – I’m pretty sure most of us know which game we’d go for out of those options (the pokemon one, right?)

How about you – do you think certain IPs or certain styles of gameplay help build better communities?

_Quote taken directly from Spinks’ post

You can find Spinks’ Welcome To Spinksville homepage here_

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Community At The Pot

The other day I announced a few things like the fact that the Pot has a tendency to explode just now, we’re in the process of a logitech g110 product review and other such exciting things. What I didn’t mention was the quandary that’s been bubbling under the Pot’s surface for a few weeks: whether or not to add a community side to the Pot. You know, forums, artwork/fan fiction features, etc. A whole extra half to the Pot encompassing whatever community thingies a community of gamers might want.

It’s panned out in such a way that I’m putting that idea on the backburner for now. I blame the sunny weather. But I know there’s a community of gamers out there so I’m going for a happy medium. The Pot’s facebook page is getting a facelift.

We’re going to test out using it as a mini-community. Some of you have already ‘liked’ it and see its updates on your own facebook page. Up til now those updates have just been links to the Pot’s posts. From now on we’re going to mess around and trial extra things on the facebook page that won’t also be posted on the Pot. Ideas very quickly thrown on the table right now are:

  • A few extra links to blogposts not linked to on the Pot (rather like we occasionally link or retweet extra posts on our twitter feed but don’t feature them on the main page)
  • Questions aimed at getting a discussion going – I’m reliably informed (by every facebook page I follow) that folks can really get into facebook discussions. Quick alt-tab to facebook in between work tasks, amirite?
  • If you’ve got an MMO related facebook page, ping us in comments, facebook or email and let us know – we’ll feature it in the Pot’s like section too! Would be great to get a library of MMO facebook pages going so folks can browse what’s out there on the farce facebook!
  • Something MMO artwork-feature related, though I’m not sure how this will work yet. Thoughts welcome.
  • Other ideas are welcome – we want you guys involved, so get those ideas flowing.

We don’t want to spam your facebook page with 20 updates a day. This will be 1-3 extra things a day max, and might not even be every day. Especially at first as we’ll get it running slowly and surely.

/fb:like-box

If you don’t want to miss out on the extra, shiny new updates on facebook then feel free to like our facebook page – find it here – we promise not to hunt you down and run screaming up your street wearing green facepaints and waving foam swords. What liking the page will mean is that its updates go straight into your facebook feed.

If you don’t want to share your personal name or show your friends you’re a gamer, that’s fine – I understand that and still twitch about it myself sometimes. We’re not forcing anyone to join in on facebook and we’ll still be providing the same level of content we always do on the Pot so you won’t loose out. You’ll also be able to see everything that gets posted on the Pot’s facebook page by manually visiting it.

So if you do want to join in, see you over there and do feel free to stick the kettle on, pull up an overstuffed armchair that you sink into and let us know what you fancy seeing on the page.

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How Would You Save The World… Of Warcraft?

Zellvirae over at the Dead Good Tanking Guide has a quick post today. He’s not saying much himself this time: instead he’s pointing us to a thread on the EU WoW forums by hunter Dergas. Zell couldn’t have sung Dergas’ post any more praise, so I went to check it out – and ayup, I agree. Dergas’ post rocks, as do many of the comments afterwards.

So what’s all the fuss about? Dergas is saying that the world of Warcraft feels dead. He’s not bitching or flaming Blizzard for it – he’s making a statement, saying something needs to be done, then coming up with some ideas. A lot of them are drawing on things we’ve seen before in WoW and which he remembers as being fun and encouraging people to be social. A lot of them are also aimed at bringing server communities more to the fore without removing LFD/cross realm battlegroups.

I personally blame Dungeon Finder, cross-server battlegrounds (and even guild leveling to an extent) for this, but I cannot realistically expect Blizzard to get rid of those features any time soon.

Basically, I wish Blizzard would implement features that would encourage players to bond with other people belonging to the same server to foster a feeling of community. To make the world more alive by encouraging players to travel around Azeroth for whatever reasons.

His ideas cover both PvE and PvP improvements – encouraging more world PvP in given zones using daily quests, for example. I personally hate being ganked but the way Dergas has thought it through it’s a good idea: it wouldn’t impinge on my PvE activities and it would make people actually go to other zones. And that’s just the start. Many of the folks responding to Dergas’ post have good, constructive ideas too.

Go check it out. Full marks to Zell for pointing it out, too. He wants us to spread the word, especially as Dergas’ post is on the EU forums and is likely to get less attention from Blizz. So now it’s your turn! Think about how you’d revitalise the world and do what you can – comment on his post, here, or start a US thread about it.

_Quote taken directly from Dergas’ post_

_You can find Zellvirae’s Dead Good Tanking Guide homepage here_

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Friday Feedback – Needs You (or: One Post You Can Be Sure Isn’t An April Fools)

Friday. What better day than this to settle down, break out the cookies and have a chat? This is no April Fool’s, rest easy. It’s been a while since I’ve run a Friday Feedback post and I want to tell you a couple ofthings that are going on because I’m pretty damn excited. I also would like your thoughts on a few specific topics to see how things here are looking for you guys. So, grab a cookie or three (the mages made them fresh this morning). I’m going to split this into two lists of things that are just plain cool beans I want to share with you, and then things I’d like feedback on if you’ve got a mo.

Things of coolness:

  • Piggies – We all know Larisa’s quit blogging. Sadface! But what about the piggie blogging awards she ran yearly? Well, since she’s quitting the Piggies looked to be ending, but she’s given us the honour of carrying them on. I’m touched that she’d let us take over something so dear to her – and so  in respect of that we’ll be doing them in the same format Larisa did them, complete with piggie award pictures. They’re not due for a good few months now but watch out for them. Of course, if Larisa ever comes back we’ll hand them straight back over 😉
  • Product reviews – we’ve got a couple more product reviews cooking up. We started doing them a few weeks ago with Garona’s rogue guide (which was honestly awesome), and are looking to test out a few different things to see if we find anything that might really suit you folks. No spoilers just yet on what’s already planned but if you’ve got anything you’ve been thinknig of getting and want guinea pigs to test it first, let us know and we’ll try to get hold of it. The ones we’ve got planned will start appearing as soon as we have a little more time – expect one from me the week after next, and one from Hugh… when his film and businesses are less busy. We do swear to be 100% honest with them – they won’t be “go buy thiz is awesum luls”. If they’re good, bad or heinously awful, we’ll let you know.

Your turn – what do you_ think on…_

  • Article length/format – the Pot seems to have naturally gravitated towards an article length of roughly 300 words. Does that work for you or would you prefer longer/shorter/more of a mixture? No promises either way, I’d just like to get a feel for how the posts work for you guys now and whether there’s anything that’d encourage you to read more?
  • Idea – one liners. Sometimes I come across too many posts to feature in a day. If that happens again, I’m considering featuring any extra posts in real quick one liners in between the usual 2-3 posts per day. One liners would be enough to give extra posts a bit of a spotlight and an introduction for you readers, but wouldn’t give much detail beyond “this is awesome, go read it to find out more”. I think it’d give you guys more variety. What do you think about this?
  • Community – meaning both bloggers and non-bloggers. The blogger map went live and seemed to be popular (there’s room for more bloggers too), and competitions are turning into a fun thing to run too. The new blog roundups also seem to be useful. I’m working on a few new ideas to increase the site’s usefulness for everyone – bloggers and non-bloggere – as everyone’s part of the community and welcome to join in. So while I’m thinking and working on some stuff already, is there anything you really want to see on the site? Forums, extra/different spotlights (on guilds, players, addon developers..), more/less twitter/facebook useage, etc?
  • Feature game variety – our mission statement has always been to cover the MMOsphere, not just a particular game, though our posting structure is dictated to some extent by the proportion of blogs each game has. We’re very slowly mixing in some posts about other games, working towards our goal. That goal isn’t set to change in the short term but I’d like to keep tabs on how featuring a variety of games is going down with you guys?

That’s it for now. I’d really appreciate your feedback, whoever you are, on as much or as little as you’re comfortable to give. Alternatively, if you don’t want to answer any of those specific questions (though it’d be really helpful if you did) feel free to just highlight anything we’ve done recently that’s really worked for you. Anything goes – so long as it’s constructive! Well, hope to hear from you, and otherwise have a great weekend!

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[Updated] The Community Aten’t Dead

There’s been some sad news in the blogosphere. It took me by surprise somewhat – in fact, I found out through Vidyala’s post today over at Manalicious. Like many of us, she’s looking around at the community and the blogs closing one after another and trying to figure out how she feels about it. What she’s ended up with is a mature view on the community that deserves our respect – and agreement.

Vidyala starts off talking about some of her emotional pulls, and that empathically if someone else is hurting or laughing she feels along with them. And in the blogosphere recently there’s been plenty of lethargy and folks not knowing which way’s north. Vidyala says she’s felt it herself. But the crux of her post is the strong conclusion she’s come to: she, and we, don’t have to give up on writing about things we still love if others are.

I still have things to say. I still have people to talk to, and the WoW community brings me so much. You’re not even remotely done listening to me ramble, and I think that’s okay. In the wake of Tam leaving, and again with Larisa’s decision to stop blogging, I’ve heard people say things like “We can’t ever be the same without them,” or suggest that the end of their blogs is somehow a sign of the end. It’s bothered me that some comments seem to be that there will be nothing of quality left.

Vidyala’s calling for you to do something. She’s got a specific action for bloggers and for blog readers, and in both cases what she’s asking you to do is A Nice Thing ™ and could make someone’s day. She’s right too, it’ll also really help revitalise the blogosphere – and us – to remember that there’s still new blood with blogs springing up everywhere, and to know that readers do care. Vidyala’s set a great example; I really hope we can follow it. We aten’t dead.

Updated: and just to prove it, Fannon’s fresh off the press with a post in support of Vidyala’s rallying cry. He’s wondering what a non-blog reader player thinks of WoW at the moment – interesting question. And he calmly and stoically states the game will continue just fine without X or Y player because it’s much bigger than any one of us – and besides, there are a whole lot of new bloggers coming up, a lot of whom he lists. Good going, Fannon.

What do you think – is the WoW blogosphere going through a downturn and what can we do about it if so?

_Quote taken directly from Vidyala’s post

You can find Vidyala’s Manalicious homepage here_

_You can find Fannon’s Dwarven Battle Medic homepage here

_

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Blogger Map Is Live

Quick announcement to let you know that the blogger map’s live and working. You can find it in the top navigation bar above the header – alternatively here’s a link straight to it.

Beneath the map you’ll find a few notes on how to use it and some ‘fun’ facts, like how many markers there are on the map at the mo, and where the most blogger-populated places are. For now though, the main things to know are that while the map might appear a little crowded at first, cursor over and scroll in with your mousewheel to get a more manageable zoom. Then you can click and drag around the map to your heart’s desire to see who’s from where.

I’ve ussd the pin markers because they’re the best of the default bunch. They’re a little big and there’s a slight issue of markers part-concealing each other – particularly in heavily populated areas. It’s possible to create custom google map markers – maybe something flatter, like a small dot or other shape that doesn’t “stick out” from the map would be good – but I don’t have the clever coding fu needed to do this. So to anyone who fancies making some custom markers: go right ahead and mail them to us using the contact form – you’d be a star. I won’t be able to respond about it immediately but will get to it. It’s not essential to have our own markers but it might make it look even just a bit more special!

For now though, enjoy. Let me know what you think – as always I’m happy to take ideas, suggestions and comments for improvements. Also if you’re not on the map and should be (or if you are and want your info changed) let me know in the comments or via email.

Happy March, guys :)

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When raiding gets harder, the hard get… nicer?

I’ve been looking around for a simple guide as to when a guild’s ready for Cata raiding, and today, I found one, over at the redoubtable Screaming Monkeys. And lo, it proceeded to scare the living crap out of me.

The first thing that jump to my mind is that the gear jump between heroics and raids is nasty. Thought the jump between normals and heroics was hard? This is way worse.  And to make it worse there’s no gearing bosses this time around.

Remember when I said there’s no easy bosses to farm? This means that you get right  into the thick of things and you can’t expect fast progress right off the bat …

This means wipes, and lots of it without a real feeling of progression.

Oh, goodie. I’m grateful to the Monkeys for the guide, but at the same time from what I’m hearing I’m not even sure if I want our guild to go raiding now! I remember our weeks of wiping on the Lich King (at +10% and +15%) – thinking about it after we’d finally downed him, I came to the conclusion that actually, I didn’t really want to do that again. Six or seven weeks of turning up to play the same tiny little bit of a game, again and again – it might be challenging, but I’m not so sure it’s fun.

But maybe there’s an upside to all this. Arioch from Clearcasting‘s been thinking and she’ s pretty sure that the harder and more painful the game grind, the better and more mature its community becomes:

Due to the absolute time sink it was to get a pet card in the first place (not to mention all the deleveling to farm it) and the risk of it failing, people researched the fuck out of their tamer. If you didn’t have a guild tamer, you would spend hours looking for the person on the server with the best skill and the best reputation. If a tamer developed a bad rep, EVERY ONE on the server would know. They would be completely blackballed. No name changes, no server transfers, no hiding. You would have to start over from scratch – very time consuming, even if you were willing to pour real cash into it.

I’ve seen the same effect with Tale In The Desert – a game that’s definitely not about the instant gratification (as 3 hours of running through the desert for tar taught me in my first week of play). Brutally hard and extremely long-winded system? Friendly playerbase.

Of course, this probably varies system-to-system – I’ve never heard that Darkfall or EVE Online were super-friendly games – but still, it’s nice to think that maybe, if WoW raiding is getting more brutal, WoW players might respond by getting more responsible.

What do you think? Coincidence or cause?

Quotes were taken directly from Screaming Monkeys’ post and Clearcasting’s post.

Find Screaming Monkeys blog homepage here, and Clearcasting’s homepage here.

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Nostalgia For Old MMOs

Yesterday I mentioned Tobold breaking the news that there’s a new server for the old game Everquest. Spinks has taken up the debate and says that actually, no. Even solid lumps of gold wouldn’t get her to play Everquest now. And maybe we should be wary of that nostalgia feeling while we’re on this old game track.

Spinks is against anyone dipping their toes into the waters of an old game reborn. She’s coming across a jot grumpy – I hope I don’t insult her here but I had visions of Granny Weatherwax while reading her post – but it’s understandable. She’s got some good points: Everquest’s developers are probably counting on people wanting to feel the magic they remember from playing first time.

I can only assume nostalgia … everything and everyone was new, and maybe to reclaim some of their forgotten youth, especially if other ex-players can also be cajoled into going back. You can’t actually go back to those times, people know now which the best classes are, what the best shortcuts are, and I wonder how many of them really do want to spend hours camping the same spawn of mobs to level. I suppose we’ll find out. SoE sensibly gave old players the first month for free, which explains part of the popularity.

And as Spinks insinuates, what better time to do it than when there’s all kinds of blue air being thrown around about MMO communities? She also points out that MMO veterans are fiercely loyal about their chosen game and there’s quite a range, so not everyone’s giddy about Everquest. But her closing advice is sensible – and forward looking. Personally I’m with her: let’s go play something new on the market, right?

What do you think – would you replay new versions of old games to try to get the magic you felt the first time round back, or is it better to move on to new things?

_Quote taken directly from Spinks’ post

You can find Welcome to Spinksville’s homepage here_

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YAY For Lots Of WoW Awards

May I ask for your attention for a little while? I hope you’ve grabbed a drink, in case you haven’t help yourself over at the bar; it’s set on free for all tonight. This is a special occasion as you all know.

Larisa’s been a busy bee over the past few weeks. She’s grabbed two things – fun (y’know, the reason we play games at all) and the fact that the Oscar season’s coming up, and has mashed the two together. Along the way she’s prodded the community for nominations on a range of categories from the worst tabard in 2010 to the most memorable blog post to the best raid instance in game.

Over the course of the week she’s taken all the nominations and come out with a series of posts celebrating the nominees and winners of each of the categories. The first post was on Monday and got us salivating lightly by going through the raid and dungeon categories. Then Larisa posted up one post a day. The second post covers other bits n’ pieces we saw in game, like the LFD tool – all right, all right, quiet with the boos there! On Wednesday the post covering things that had most affected the WoW community arrived, then today the grand finale – the blogosphere awards.

This is a great series of posts. It’s not the first time Larisa’s done it, either. But this tradition of hers really feels like a bit of good hearted fun and at the same time brings the community together, giving them plenty to celebrate while we wonder what the new year will bring. And while you might think that 18 categories is already pretty impressive to manage and send out big yays for it sounds like she’s considering adding more categories to the list for next year. Can’t wait to see it.

And nope, we’re not just featuring these ‘cos we’re biased given we won a category.

Yes, amongst the many awesome winners (We Fly Spitfires, Manalicious, Shades of Grey) we’re absolutely delighted to say we won the award for 2010 Most Noticed Blogger Breakthrough! Wow! We’re utterly chuffed – it’s champagne and instancing night at MMO Melting Pot HQ tonight!

Big thanks Larisa, and those who nominated us. You made our day, and those are the kindest words yet said about the Pot.

So now it’s your turn – let’s have a three cheers for Larisa’s WoWOscars, and also for anything you enjoyed be it in game, in blogosphere, or in community, for WoW in 2010?

_Quote taken directly from Larisa’s first post, on Monday_

You can find The Pink Pigtail Inn’s homepage here

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