Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Guild Shenanigans

It seems that there has been some excitement over on the official Star Wars: The Old Republic forums.

A couple of days ago Joanne Laroche (who seems to be one of BioWare's community managing people) posted the following message on the guild forum:
Hello everyone,

Now that the Guild Hall changes have been implemented, here are some important things to note:

1) The Sith Empire and Galactic Republic sub-forums are now viewable only. Posting is no longer available in those sections.

2) The sub-forums will remain viewable until next Friday, August 7, 2009. So please gather any information you might need from the existing threads before then as they will no longer be viewable after that date.

3) Guild Recruitment is now available in the main section of the Guild Hall in the form of sticky threads. You will now have the choice of Galactic Republic, Sith Empire and a new Undecided category.

EDIT August 4th, 2009: We have now added a "Mission Statement" to the guild recruitment forms. This will assist those that wish to say a few things about their guild.

We hope you enjoy these changes and we wish you the best of luck with your guilds!
But people didn't enjoy those changes at all and the backlast wasn't pretty. And while there is something to be said for the changes that BioWare was implementing (see Tyler Rowe's detailed justification here) the community members also made some very good points (such as Drahl's post quoted by Sean).

But showing once again how amazing BioWare really can be Sean Dahlberg had the following reply today:
As all of you are aware, we've had a few changes in this area of the community lately. We've been closing watching the community feedback on this to see how the changes were received.

During our Community Team meeting today, we talked about the situation as a whole; from the community comments to the reasons the changes were implemented to what adjustments we might make.

Currently, the plan is to re-open the sub-forums and add a new one for those guilds that are currently undecided as to where their allegiances lie. We will then move the guild listings to these forums.

While we are reinstating these forums, there will be some changes. We want guilds to have an area to actively promote and discuss what makes their guild unique. To ensure these areas are used properly and not just "spammed", we will be fully moderating (posts must be approved) the discussions in these areas.

More details for this will be coming soon but we wanted to let you all know that we have been listening and are planning to make some adjustments.
Though I am certain that this still won't make some people happy it at least takes care of most of the concerns people had while still solving most of the reasons for the change to begin with.

What's more, since people can't just spam posts anymore but actually have to contribute constructively to their guild recruitment threads this might also encourage guilds to show more constructive behavior in general. Instead of guild just being happy to let their recruitment threads run and spam it now and again (and I know I've been guilty of such for guilds I ran in other games) they're now encouraged to participate more actively in the community so that they have something of value to post in their threads (such as roleplaying events and guild meetings that they might hold), giving people looking for guilds a much clearer picture of which guilds are active and how.

Of course, the main drawback of this system is that it will require much more moderation effort on BioWare's part. Now they'll have to go through all those post that people might wish to make in the guild recruitment threads and manually approve or deny them. Hopefully the fact that posts are actively moderated like that will mean that there will be fewer spam posts in general (particularly as time goes on while people learn what kind of posts are and aren't accepted), but it still means a lot of extra effort.

If BioWare can indeed maintain that then good job to them and much respect. If not then, well, we're still no worse off than we were a few days ago.

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