Monday, 31 August 2009

The Importance Of Forums

In truth, this topic should be entitled 'The Importance(?) Of Forums'. I've said from the very beginning that guild forums are not necessary. When you and your officers are dedicating 100% of your time running activities in-game, then why should you want to stretch yourselves even further and have to moderate a board as well? Furthermore, if your members are enjoying playing the game, then they have no real reason to spend their time trawling around pointless subjects or posting raid strategies, boss loot and similar information which is easily found on World of Raids. I've always been of the opinion that forums are a waste of time to set up and even just getting people to window out and register can be a pain in the arse.

A guild forum/website can be of some use though. For instance, I was recently playing a riveting Versus game of Left 4 Dead with some strangers. Following the match the opposite team were impressed at my natural skill and invited me to join their clan. I told them I'd consider it and went off to kill some more zombies. Hours passed and I found myself half bored to death while simply browsing the 'net. Then the website address of the clan I was playing with earlier popped into my head and I decided to check them out. Thanks to their great, professional-looking site I was tempted into submitting an application.

But what if they never had their own website? I would have never given their little offer to join up a second thought. If you're one of those guys who doesn't like to recruit directly then simply forwarding people to a well-made website is possibly the best thing you can do to encourage them to join up. A summary of your goals and accomplishments presented in the right format will bring legions of promising new folks into your ranks.

Fellow blogger and avid WoW fan Larísa also recently made a claim that a guild forum is a great way to check up and see if your guild is 'healthy'. She argues that a decline in activity on a forum is a very negative thing and should be treated quickly. While the post admits that many guilds function well without a forum, it's silly for a raiding guild not to have one. On the contrary, I believe that with the advent of in-game tools such as the Guild Calendar, guilds can run pretty smoothly without having to talk things through constantly via a forum. If you think discussing strategies is a necessity, then set aside an evening to talk things through with your raiders on /g or on Ventrillo. Granted, having a forum does make things run a lot smoother and can reflect the social atmosphere of your guild quite well. Conversely, I've known many guilds that have progressed straight through Ulduar and beyond without a piece of external communication (aside from TeamSpeak) between them.

Yep, forums can serve as another useful platform for people to bond. Who doesn't like looking at the real life pictures of people you play with, especially if they're hot? Websites have always proved to be a useful recruitment tool too and they let you brandish your guild's achievements at people passing by. Just remember the other side of the argument: Forums are also another way for drama to spawn and must be moderated fairly frequently. In addition, why are people posting on a forum when THEY COULD BE FARMING FOR FLASK MATS FFFFFFFF!!!?!??!?!!?!

In summary:
  • This isn't 2004. You don't necessarily need a forum to co-ordinate your guild effort any more.

  • However, they can be a great, subtle recruiting tool and they easily let you see if people are getting along well.

  • Moderation is key in many ways. Make sure no one is stirring crap and causing drama and ensure that people spend more time actually in the game.

1 comment:

  1. I think you're overlooking the usefulness of asyncrone communication. If you don't just copy-paste strats, but make adjustments for your own set up and situation, if you want to make evaluations and gain knowledge and improve together, a guild forum is invaluable, provided that you're not a guild with infinite syncronized online-time where people spend 5-6 nights a week online at the same time.

    We have 3 raid nights a week and we would hardly put off one of those to discuss tactics instead of raiding. This can be handled very well out-of-game imo.