Wizards Shutting Down Their Forums


4th Edition

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Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Clearly the Paizo forums are doomed. If we follow the announcement's line of reasoning, that is ;-)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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How unfortunate. I'll miss you, CharOp.


I'm not entirely happy about this decision, but I think it may have been the right choice.

Gaming forums really helped me stay in this hobby. I initially disliked many core aspects of 3.5, and several subsystems. The online community helped me learn to enjoy parts of the system and hobby in ways I hadn't before. I can say without hyperbole that without gaming forums, I wouldn't have stayed with the hobby nearly as long as I have. WotC certainly benefits from the customer base having access to communities like forums.

But virtually none of what I just said is attributable to the WotC forum. There are scores of vibrant, active communities discussing D&D 5e, 4e, and 3.5. The WotC forum isn't even one of the most popular ones. I've never even made an account on the WotC website, nor did I have any plans do.

The fact that Wizards of the Coast owns that forum doesn't mean its special among gaming forums, nor that it is better at helping people than any other gaming forum.

Way back in 2008, Wizards announced that they were condensing the various 3e subfora on their website and moving them to an 'out-of-print' section. Many members of the community didn't like the reorganization...so they moved to other forums. 2008 and 2009 saw a lot of new threads on homebrew fora across the internet, with homebrew writers moving years of 3.5 homebrew from the WotC forum to other websites. And not much of anything was lost in the transition. The community continued, but was no longer shackled to the tech team of a corporation with different ideas for the forum than the community had.

Unlike the WotC forum, the Paizo.com forum does have something that separates it from other gaming fora: it is closely integrated with the Paizo.com online store. But aside from store integration, the Paizo forum isn't particularly special, either. Even someone looking for advice related to Pathfinder may be better off going to GitP, ENWorld, RPGnet, or other websites than here.

The WotC forum doesn't have an online store connected to it. WotC sells their PDFs on OBS, and their printed books on Amazon and in brick-and-mortar stores. All it does is give people a place to talk about the game, but we have that space without the WotC forum.

The shutdown does mean that we will need to work fairly quickly to archive the most-referenced content on their website, or move it to other forums (i.e., popular homebrew, Stormwind, Oberoni, Pun-pun, and the few guides that haven't been moved already).


It's been a long time since I was over there, and like others I think I've forgotten my password. It doesn't sound like the best idea for them to do this, but they've gone down avenues I wouldn't have suggested in the past. Perhaps they know what will work.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Best guess: someone realized that this is the only way to kill Pun-Pun.


I got so mad about this that I went to my openSalon account to log in and post an editorial about it...


I play dnd5 twice a week
I rarely used the wiz forums....I found them ugly to navigate, and not very busy, so I won't miss them.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
cartmanbeck wrote:
Seriously, shutting down their forums? How could they think that's a good idea???

I think shutting down a bad forum could be a good idea.


Speaking for myself, and in spite of attempts to do so, it wasn't an easy place to integrate into. I can only imagine what a prospective new player looking for answers experienced. Hopefully there'll be a more robust offering of posts around these parts in the aftermath. Also-hopefully, some of the more prolific issues that went on frequently won't survive any migration.

Ultimately, I'm not terribly surprised. I think this was more about trying to preserve the "rebrand" of D&D than anything, however, rather than WotC winding down or anything of the sort.

Sovereign Court

Sad but not a surprise.

Sovereign Court

Holy Cow. Not sure how I feel about it. Where are people migrating to? I would predict giantip, enworld, rpg.net, and the like...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

To tell you the truth, I meet this development with mostly indifference. Like WOTC said, the cool crowd had long left that venue for more interesting pastures.

Quite frankly most of the concern is really over archived discussions that get referenced a lot. (like Pun-Pun) but aren't really creating much in the way of new conversation.


I have heard the current day Wizards forums community described as toxic, and someone else on another forum site used the word cesspool. I don't know the validity of these statements since my last post on their forums was probably in 2007, but if true maybe they just want to clean up the riff raff in one fell swoop?

Sovereign Court

I have seen forums go toxic before (or start off that way, in some cases). Sometimes a clean sweep is best. I don't know how true these statements are, but I have had a lot more luck on other forums in regards to D&D in general. I just haven't been on the WotC forums in many moons.

I wonder what the consensus will be from the emigrants.

Sovereign Court

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I dont think its a clean up as much as it is a give up. It takes a lot of effort to maintain welcoming, interesting, and constructive forum communities. WOTC right now seems to be streamlinging D&D into an efficient brand machine. In those cases a dialogue isnt that important with your customer base. They can still get the word out via social media but dont have to worry about conversations and lingering "toxic" communities. If they need feedback they will send out surveys and such. Essentially, WOTC just decided its not important to maintain a vibrate forum community and use other tools instead.


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Makes you appreciate what Paizo has provided and maintained for us right here.

Sovereign Court

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I'd agree, the moderation is top notch. We should give them a million dollars. And a pony.

This post has been edited.
-Moderation team

Sovereign Court

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... but seriously, they do a fantastic job. I've never seen a forums so keen on moderating problems before they happen, and ensuring harmony, and I say that as a former RPG forums moderator (for boards that are now defunct).


I guess it makes sense if the traditional message board is becoming obsolete. But I am not one of the followers to get full on board with facebook, twitter, or tumblr. Maybe that is more of a statement for a specific age group, and the influx of young players to 5E.

I could also see it as a way to control the message, where they only post announcements via third parties, but have no official mechanism to critique the company.

I doubt 5E players with flock to the Paizo board and agree Enworld is the best candidate.


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Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
[WotC] should have stuck to Magic the Gathering instead of entering the role playing game business which they apparently know little about and care less.

A full response to this comment seems ill-advised, but I just wanted to correct you on this:

If Wizards of the Coast hadn't bought D&D when TSR was going under, it's almost guaranteed we wouldn't be playing Pathfinder today. It's very possible we wouldn't even be playing D&D. Wizards saved TSR because some of the people in the company really loved D&D and didn't want to let it die, even though it wasn't believed to be worth a lot.

Wizards of the Coast saved D&D. Whatever bad choices they have or haven't made since then, we're all better off that they did.


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Wait a minute... a high percentage of threads that Kobold Cleaver posts in are inevitably locked. How many threads did KC comment on in the WotC forums to cause them to shut down the whole forums?

;)

Scarab Sages

Gambit wrote:
I have heard the current day Wizards forums community described as toxic, and someone else on another forum site used the word cesspool. I don't know the validity of these statements since my last post on their forums was probably in 2007, but if true maybe they just want to clean up the riff raff in one fell swoop?

Interesting. It would be nice to know what constitutes a "toxic" by Internet standards - does Cracked.com hit that marker, for example? How about the current state of World of Wacraft?

The Exchange

I'm just tossing in my 2 bits and mirroring other people's statements when they say this or similar: WOTC forums became difficult to navigate, always seemed to function in a non-intuitive manner, and were difficult to search through for content.
Perhaps this is for the best....I don't where I will end up discussing 5E but Paizo has been a mostly positive experience so I am leaning that way although the population is a bit sparce. EnWorld is something I never got into because I was always here but I will have to explore that option....anyone have any experience there that can give a review of the site and how the people there are?


Kevin Mack wrote:
Is this not what Games workshop did? I seem to recall it's not exactly working out well for them.

Back in 2006, yes. As for how it's working out, they're a £120m-£150m company as they were before and remained after.

From talking to someone involved in the decision, the general feeling among the people who worked at GW was that their forums had a tiny percentage of good, interesting discussion in among a large pile of dross and a huge heap of foulness that they really didn't want people to associate with their games. I suspect WotC watch their forums with the same view.

Fake Healer wrote:
Perhaps this is for the best....I don't where I will end up discussing 5E but Paizo has been a mostly positive experience so I am leaning that way although the population is a bit sparce. EnWorld is something I never got into because I was always here but I will have to explore that option....anyone have any experience there that can give a review of the site and how the people there are?

They're moderated with a light hand, though not as light as the WotC ones. There's a hard core of posters who are still fighting the edition wars. The sections discussing any game other than D&D are very quiet most of the time. I find the PbP section hard to navigate. The Story Hour section is rather good, and the Auction house is moderately so.

RPGnet is a site I use a lot more. Moderation is much stricter than Enworld. D&D has a section to itself, but it's a site where other subjects get as much or more attention. The PbP section is excellent. The site has a very good review section. If you're looking for a D&D site and not interested in other things then I wouldn't say it was the best choice; as someone who's thoroughly disenchanted with all forms of D&D I find it much more tolerable.


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I am going to be a counter view here. I think it is a good decision. The forums were perhaps 10% quality posts to arguments and filler at best. I really feel like wizards has made huge strides with being accessible through Twitter and Facebook, in fact I find them more accessible than the Paizo staff, with a few exceptions. Many companies maintain a social media presence and have no forums, and do just fine.

I actually find that these forums, which granted I take some pleasure in reading, often portray paizo customers, if not Paizo themselves in a negative light. I have taken away more than one negative experience from them, and that experience has coloured the way I feel about Paizo as a brand.


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They failed because I wasn't there cracking jokes and coming up with 200 aliases, or is that a little egotistical...

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Alan_Beven wrote:

I am going to be a counter view here. I think it is a good decision. The forums were perhaps 10% quality posts to arguments and filler at best. I really feel like wizards has made huge strides with being accessible through Twitter and Facebook, in fact I find them more accessible than the Paizo staff, with a few exceptions. Many companies maintain a social media presence and have no forums, and do just fine.

I actually find that these forums, which granted I take some pleasure in reading, often portray paizo customers, if not Paizo themselves in a negative light. I have taken away more than one negative experience from them, and that experience has coloured the way I feel about Paizo as a brand.

The (dis)advantage of Facebook is that most people aren't anonymous there, making posting stuff like "when I read feat X it felt like the designer slept with my mother, why wasn't he fired yet???!!!" slightly less encouraging given that your own mother may read it and your actual real life friends might discover just what kind of jerk you are.

On the other hand, it makes it possible for your mum/husband/boss/kid to see that instead of being a serious adult person, you are a man/girl-child playing with toy soldiers in your basement. Which will likely discourage many people, given the fact that our hobby is full of insecure introverts who don't quite enjoy the inherent extrovert narcissism of social media.

At the same time, Paizo boards allow for PbP, have several features missing from Facebook (spoiler tags, dice rollers) and well, they're Paizo's property, so they can police it the way the see fit and have all those nice boilerplates such as "all things posted here belong to us" or "unsolicited material won't be read" that help you out if you're in this kind of business.

And on the top of it all, there are all those people who kind of wish computers and IT in general never evolved past glorified calculators, and getting them to interact with you using all those newfangled channels is counter-productive.

So it's best to have both worlds.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Sorry Gorbacz!

I had no idea she was your mother!

If only I'd been on Facebook...

Sovereign Court

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It makes me wonder if perhaps they will co-opt online play (PbP, campaign management, etc) through other avenues, much as they've done with virtually every other aspect of their customer needs. It's pretty savvy, though not especially endearing.

The Exchange

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Gorbacz wrote:
Alan_Beven wrote:

I am going to be a counter view here. I think it is a good decision. The forums were perhaps 10% quality posts to arguments and filler at best. I really feel like wizards has made huge strides with being accessible through Twitter and Facebook, in fact I find them more accessible than the Paizo staff, with a few exceptions. Many companies maintain a social media presence and have no forums, and do just fine.

I actually find that these forums, which granted I take some pleasure in reading, often portray paizo customers, if not Paizo themselves in a negative light. I have taken away more than one negative experience from them, and that experience has coloured the way I feel about Paizo as a brand.

The (dis)advantage of Facebook is that most people aren't anonymous there, making posting stuff like "when I read feat X it felt like the designer slept with my mother, why wasn't he fired yet???!!!" slightly less encouraging given that your own mother may read it and your actual real life friends might discover just what kind of jerk you are.

On the other hand, it makes it possible for your mum/husband/boss/kid to see that instead of being a serious adult person, you are a man/girl-child playing with toy soldiers in your basement. Which will likely discourage many people, given the fact that our hobby is full of insecure introverts who don't quite enjoy the inherent extrovert narcissism of social media.

At the same time, Paizo boards allow for PbP, have several features missing from Facebook (spoiler tags, dice rollers) and well, they're Paizo's property, so they can police it the way the see fit and have all those nice boilerplates such as "all things posted here belong to us" or "unsolicited material won't be read" that help you out if you're in this kind of business.

And on the top of it all, there are all those people who kind of wish computers and IT in general never evolved past glorified calculators, and getting them to interact with you using all those newfangled...

(emphasis mine)

Aren't all girls children anyway? ;)

All those advantages you noted make some amount of sense, but I suspect from a management point of view they pale in comparison to, "wait, there are fans who want to discuss our products and we can make more of them do that in public arenas such as Facebook and Twitter by shutting down our forums? So we save money by shutting those down *and* we get free advertisement? deal!"

Clearly a move that limits the option of the customers is not meant to improve things for them but for the company. Financially, I'm pretty sure shutting down those forums is not a bad idea.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For some target groups, sure.

But p'n'p RPG gamers are a very specific group. What will work for video gamers won't necessarily work for p'n'p'ers.

And there's the whole risk of any given social media outlet going the way of Myspace.


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From ENWorld:

"Here's WotC's full announcement:

Choosing to retire a former foundation of our community was not an easy decision, but we feel that we must adjust our communications structure to reflect where conversations about Wizards of the Coast games are taking place.

Social media has changed significantly over the last ten years, and discussions about games aren't exclusive to company-hosted forums. The majority of community conversation takes place on third-party websites (such as Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and many other fantastic community-run websites), and it is up to us to evolve alongside our players.

We encourage past and current users to retrieve any information you want to retain from the Community Forums for both Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. The shutdown will occur on October 29, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. PT. We want to provide enough time for our forum members to move their content, and we recognize that given our forum's vibrant user base and extensive history, this may take time. Any information still on the forums on the cut-off date will be deleted.

Thank you to all of our past and current forum users. You helped build our community into what it is now, and we look forward to continuing to interact with you on our many active social platforms."


O.O

:I

o.O

>.>

:(


Let "emoticon-y" and more "verbally"... why? Are the forums just too unpopular? Too expensive? Too toxic? I'm really curious what the basis for the decision is.

"The majority of community conversation takes place on third-party websites" makes it seem like their company site is just... lost popularity. But, given the power and influence of M:tG, that... that's hard to believe.

EDIT: Huh. Okay, threads blended. That... was a little confusing. But let me find interesting discussion!


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[Warning! Mega post incoming!]


Huh...

So my general impression is that traffic/useful posting was really really slow versus other gaming sites. If so WotC might very well be justified in dropping the forums.

If it is not, it is a odd choice since a game with a slow release schedule like 5E could probably benefit from a forum where people can share ideas and homebrew stuff.


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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Gambit wrote:
I have heard the current day Wizards forums community described as toxic, and someone else on another forum site used the word cesspool. I don't know the validity of these statements since my last post on their forums was probably in 2007, but if true maybe they just want to clean up the riff raff in one fell swoop?
Interesting. It would be nice to know what constitutes a "toxic" by Internet standards - does Cracked.com hit that marker, for example? How about the current state of World of Wacraft?

People are constantly calling Paizo a "toxic community", so I'm thinking the threshold is pretty low. "Guy once said something rude to me on an edition debate; this is basically Reddit guys."


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Remember kids, always recycle your arguments!

Sovereign Court

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Life Sized Tacticslion Prop wrote:
[Warning! Mega post incoming!]

#5minutesleft #poweringup #notevenmyfinalform


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A-... actually, I don't really have anything to add at present. S-sorry. >.>

Sovereign Court

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Clever diversion...

Scarab Sages

This is actually a part of a larger trend of companies shutting down their forums/comment sections obstensibly to 'better engage the community' but in reality is so they don't have to deal with moderation. look at the spam problems Paizo has on occasion. I bet Wotc gets them too, as well as your usual trolls and inflammatory posters. They just don't want to actually deal with the whole 'customer base' aspect of running a game company.


Seems possible that they grew increasingly discontent with new players showing up to official forums with questions or introductions only to be subjected to a 30 page wall of pedantic quibbling over definitions of words and game mechanics that have no bearing on the poster's question. Worthwhile discussions did occur, but more often than not it was the usual suspects following one another through each thread and drawing the same lines in the sand.


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Life Sized Tacticslion Prop wrote:
[Warning! Mega post incoming!]

Sorry guys, my Tacticslion Prop has gone rogue, I'm afraid I might need to put it down.


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Eyes start glowing red

[Initiating Terminator Protocol]

Community & Digital Content Director

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Removed a post and reply. Again, let's leave defamatory comments about other online communities out of the thread.


Meh. I don't like it because it seems like every forum I have been on is dying for one reason or another - especially with adblock and other convenience tools. I know a lot of people rely on third party data storage which is also changing markets, and owning personal data systems is expensive both in real estate, power consumption, and the hardware itself. Most companies also have to rely on licensed software to manage their systems.

A forum as large and deep as WotC has to be extremely expensive and likely brings very little revenue to the products. So while I am sad to see it go even if I never posted there, I don't think it is a death knell.

The Exchange

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Brimleydower wrote:
Seems possible that they grew increasingly discontent with new players showing up to official forums with questions or introductions only to be subjected to a 30 page wall of pedantic quibbling over definitions of words and game mechanics that have no bearing on the poster's question. Worthwhile discussions did occur, but more often than not it was the usual suspects following one another through each thread and drawing the same lines in the sand.

Plus if you move the discussion to facebook/twitter/whatever you get free advertisement by getting to show off large groups of people being excited about your product in social media.

Don't know how good this is for the health of the game though as you can't really have the same kind of discussion you have here on a site like facebook.

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