Normally, I don’t do a “U SUCK (insert game development company here)” because it doesn’t do any good. But things have been so thoroughly bungled in this launch that I have to say something or I’ll explode.
No, it’s not anything to do with the servers or gameplay. It’s to do with community building.
1. Guild Allies and Adversaries. For months, guilds were told to pick their allies and adversaries and that Bioware would “try” for them to be on the same server. From the reports of several guilds I know, this was not even close to the case. The assignments were no better than random. Because the assignment were given hours before pre-launch, this caused guilds to be scrambling at the last moment to make arrangements that they could have made months ago, had they known that the allies and adversaries system was not going to work at all. Which leads me to…
2. Forums were Down. Ok, forums need to be down for maintenance, I get that. But having the entire community site down, private messaging included, when you needed to coordinate with other guilds after the allies thing got borked was awful. You couldn’t even SEE the guild members of any guild, let alone try to speak with them.1
3. There are no server forums. That’s right. The forums are back up with no forums for servers. How are we supposed to reach out to our community from THAT?2
In SWG, each server had a community and a culture. People who played for even a year still remember people on their server who were not in their guild. In WoW, we barely had that from the beginning, and it was eroded by the dungeon finder and server transfers. Each guild was essentially an island.
A week ago, I really thought that Bioware was trying to build server communities and was super-excited. Now, I feel like we’re slipping into “each guild is an island.” And I don’t like it.