EDIT: added a third comment.
Two posts I’ve written on Q23 boards. Discussing the old days and how/why the community changed and isn’t anymore strong and useful as before:
Yes, after the transformation from Waterthread to F13 the community splitted, mostly between Corpnews and F13. Neither of them is an extremely active place since the focus on games has been gradually lost. So there’s still a community but without a shared passion and interest anymore.
F13 seems to have slightly different plans but it’s again, imho, just another sign of a lack of a purpose. I’ve commented about this here (it will be moved here with another copy here).
I feel like I’m the only one left who really miss the old attitude.
Other places I read are Grimwell and Anyuzer, both the homepage and the forums. Another new extremely interesting writer is Cosmik. So good that at a point I was convinced it was Lum under a fake identity (and I still have some doubts).
In the last few days I also managed to discover some old drama if someone is curious (here or here) and (here or here). Perhaps I’ll find some time to write more on my personal conclusion about what I re-discovered. Peoples think that it’s about the past and it has less than zero relevance, while I think it is extremely interesting and useful to understand many aspects of the current situation (about mmorpgs in general).
In a couple of posts from this old thread there’s one of the two reasons (the other is Lum) about why the community didn’t hold:
I always came here to read critical points of view on MMORPGs. When the devs and serious gamers come out and talk candidly about the direction and design of their games, thats a pretty unique thing that is hard to find anywhere. Anywhere else its heavily moderated and managed by professional PR people who are deathly scared they might piss someone off. With the latest changes, the best part of these forums die.
The days of developers saying anything that hasn’t gone through the PR sieve are pretty much gone anyway.
The community didn’t hold because all of the core members with interesting shit to say were either hired by MMORPG developers or burned out on MMORPGs. Really there are only so many bunnies you can bash. It’s a lot of bunnies, quiter a bit more than an outsider might reasonably expect, but it is a finite number. When the last bunny fell, two groups remained; on the left fudgepackers like eldin, snowspinner, schild, etc, who did their damndest to profit off a huge truckload of buggywhips when everybody else was cruising in automobiles (f13) and on the right the remains of the in-joke crowd, noble but bored and boring (corpnews)
So anyway, the burned-out ones basically recycled in-jokes for a year or so, then when that got old many migrated to different pastures, like this one. Not that the level of chatter is any better, really, but the in-jokes are different.
I think your definitions are correct, Corpnews has that even on the forum rules:
In general, the only points where a reply of less than one line quoting a post of longer than one line are acceptabe are “Psycho.”, and these must only be used by those who know and acknowledge the true power and meaning of the phrase.
use of the “die in a car fire” brand of replies is restricted.
But I don’t agree on the reasons why the community didn’t hold. As I hinted above I have defined two general factors, both equally important and my starting point was one of J.’s comments:
If the demand for someone holding a mirror up to the gaming industry is so great, someone ought to be able to do it, besides him.
1- Lum was a “special” writer. He was and is talented in a way that cannot be simply copied or inherited. It was important how he wrote and not really what he wrote. “What” is something you can study and learn to reproduce but “how” he wrote was his special quality. This is all about Lum and has *nothing* to do with the industry or the mmorpg genre.
2- The relationship between devs and the community. Or as GBob says: “forcing game companies to engage the player base in a real dialog”. The presence of devs is the other missing half. With the time even the most open game companies like Mythic have learnt to retreat and barricate in the ivory tower (follow the link for a full immersion in the past). Their first principle is that the community is the enemy. Avoid any concession.
Those two reasons prevent the community to be strong today and the same two reasons worked together, back in the days, to build that community that now has no sense. One was a complementary to the other.
Just a related update I find extremely interesting. This is what Lum is writing on his blog:
I think the “secret” to ltm.net that most people missed was that I thought the vast majority of this stuff was, well. Funny. I took it seriously, but not too seriously. It was a fine line. I mean, in the end, we’re talking about Dungeons and Dragons, people.
And it’s exactly one of my recurring thoughts. Even if I dream about trying for myself to write better, I always know I cannot because my english sucks. But even with a proper english I know that I wouldn’t be able to write so well as he does for a simpler reason: my sense of humor tends to suck too.
Then there’s the auto autoirony and the capacity to not take yourself and the other things too seriously and dramatically.
And this fits perfectly with something that Blaze wrote a pair of weeks ago:
Lum, is a good writer and can make people feel what he is saying. He is also a heck of a comedian when he puts his mind to it.
(btw, he quoted me, only the first line belongs to J. – I claim back my poor english…)
It’s again *how* we write, not *what*.
And when I personally think about whether I can contribute or not I simply realize that I cannot solve that point by myself. So I just hope someone else picks up the challenge.
At least I know that I suck at this. Perhaps without much autoirony, but self-conscious for sure.