So, now that everything related to the Real ID fiasco has settled, I think it is time to evaluate the OTHER changes coming to the World of Warcraft forums. Some of these other changes are well overdue, and some of them should really help to make the WoW forums a better place to be. So, lets take a look at the goodies coming to the forums when Cataclysm hits.
First up, we’ll get to rate up and down people’s posts:
- Players will have the ability to rate up or rate down posts so that great topics and replies stand out from the not-so-great; low-rated posts will appear dimmer to show that the community feels that they don’t contribute effectively to the conversation, and Blizzard’s community team will be able to quickly and easily locate highly rated posts to participate in or to highlight discussions that players find worthwhile.
I think this is a great change! There are many times when I wished a troll post would just go away so that we could focus on the real “meat” of a conversation. Gone are the days of having to tell trolls why their post is dumb. Instead, you get to just rate their post down into oblivion. This is something that wow.com introduced to their reply system at some point, and I really like the ability to rate people up and down based on the quality of their comment. This is a great change! It punishes trolls by making their posts less important.
- In addition, individual topics will be threaded by context, meaning replies to specific posts will be grouped together, making it easier for players to keep track of multiple conversations within a thread.
This is also good. A lot of the time, you have multiple conversations going on, and it looks like this will work the way that it does on wow.com, where you can reply to specific replies.
- We’re also adding a way for Blizzard posters to “broadcast” important messages forums-wide , to help communicate breaking news to the community in a clear and timely fashion.
I’m not really sure what this means, but I hate having to search through a dozen different forums to keep on top of the important breaking news, so if this works well, it can be a huge “quality of life” change for the forums.
- Beyond that, we’re improving our forum search function to make locating interesting topics easier and help lower the number of redundant threads, and we have more planned as well.
The search function is often broken and has never really worked well. This change is very appealing to me, since people often have to use google to search for relevant forum threads, or they just post the same thing over and over again because the search function didn’t work for them.
And most importantly, we will not be forced to post using our real names! Instead, we’ll continue to use some version of character names, where we can keep our real life info private on the forums if we want to. With the above changes, however, we’ll already have a huge quality of life change without having to sacrifice our own personal information. We have made many friendships with other people just based on knowing each others’ character names, and I think that the forum changes will make it a better place to be, even when we can remain more anonymous if we want to be.
We won’t really know what this all looks like until they release the new Starcraft II forums in a couple weeks. I look forward to being able to continue posting on the WoW forums once Cataclysm hits. I’m glad that Blizzard decided to not have to make me choose between posting under real names or not posting at all. However, these other forum changes (now) look really great. I look forward to many more years of posting helpful feedback on the forums!
Note: I’m waiting for a new beta build to evaluate before I post more druid-related Cataclysm talent & ability feedback, since we know a lot is going to change “very soon”.