What If? Exploring the potential closure of Class Role Forums

Yesterday’s news concerning the closure of the Class Role forums for EU posters raised some debate on Twitter about what implications this might have, particularly if this practice were applied to the U.S. forums as well. As it turns out, US players needn’t have worried- Nethaera confirmed that that there were presently no plans to do so.
In this light, the closure of the EU forums is perhaps more of a reminder of the disparity that exists (both player and developer activity-wise) between the U.S. and EU forums. I could devote this post to discussing this disparity further, but it would probably diverge too heavily from my intended topic. So, for the sake of succinctness, let’s agree: The U.S. forums are currently a lot more active than the EU ones, and thus potentially closing any of them would probably result in a more vigorous response from the community.

I began to consider a “What If” scenario- suppose the Class Role forums on the U.S. side were also slated for closure? First thing’s first, let’s be clear: The current Class Role forums are divided into Healing, Tanking and DPS. The stated logic behind shutting them down on the EU side is that there is a desire to concentrate player discussions in existing forums.

In the past, it’s been no secret that the WoW developers have not paid as much attention to the Individual Class forums as they did to their more broad spectrum Class Role counterparts. The stated rationale has been that the former are largely filled with pointless whining and lobbying for buffs, which thus results an echo chamber effect that detracted from more valuable feedback. This is not to imply that the individual class forums have not had their uses- only that, for the purposes of feedback, it has thus far suited the developers to pay more attention (officially, anyway) to the Role forums.

This has meant that a great deal of the player community that actively participates in the forums has come to recognise the Class Role forums as more of an “official” avenue towards Blizzard-Player communication (social media such as Twitter aside).

Let’s analyse some of the potential Pros and Cons such a move could have on the U.S. forums:

-On one hand, it can kill off a great deal of useful, inter-class discussions. Being able to have knowledgeable players compare mechanics side-by-side can sometimes be useful feedback in an of itself by showing the developers how players perceive things. The developers recognise this, and have said so in the past.

-On the exact flip-side, more often than not, inter-class discussions quickly descend into “Blizzard loves your class/spec more than mine!”-esque whinefests. Just for the sake of proving my point, I loaded up the Damage Dealing forums and clicked on the first random thread that caught my attention. I’ll let the results speak for themselves.

-Concentrating feedback can be a good thing because it means less spread out forums for the developers to trawl through. It’s a matter of simple math here: Going through threads on four potential avenues of feedback is easier than going through seven.

-Conversely, it can also mean that a lot of that potential feedback is lost when one is restricted to specific class roles. Sure, the intrepid Rogue or Warrior poster can stop by the Death Knight forums, but chances are that they will be limited in how much inter-class perspective they can offer before they stray into the “not on topic” offence.

Ultimately, all one can do is speculate. The harsh truth of the matter is that the majority of WoW forum posters will not be affected by these changes, given the discrepancy between EU and U.S. activity. There’s plenty of debate and discussion to be had here about how this negatively affects the EU community, and perhaps this move should give U.S. forum-goers something to consider about the current state of our own forums.

That’s all from me for now though. Until next time, have a pleasant evening.

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