#0 - 2010/11/04 09:54:50 PMDear "WoW community",
Not to disparage the fine people that work at Blizzard but I seriously think many people have the wrong idea about the forums and the game that they pay to play every month. Take a look at the main page of the general forum. Here is a sample of some threads:
http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=27495546279&sid=1 - Heirloom Cost
http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=27509096847&sid=1 - Do NOT Go Free to Play Blizzard...
http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=27509096735&sid=1 - No tanks
http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=27497536661&sid=1 - Hey Blizz, Keep "The Insane" Title
What these threads have in common is that they are addressed to Blizzard. There are really three types of threads: troll threads, player discussion threads (addressed to the community), and these appeal to Blizzard threads.
Now what many people don't understand is that appeal threads are completely pointless. Most people do not understand this at all because it goes against a cultural practice that we take for granted.
Let me explain. In western society we have a kind of expectation that when we commit to something, monetarily and in terms of time, that we have at least some say in it. If we get a job for example, we expect that we can at least talk to the boss even though we have no actual power. If we buy a meal at a restuarant, we expect that we can have an input on how we would like it prepared and served, and complain if it isn't up to scratch, even if we have no power. This expectation is so pervasive that we take it for granted, and the only exception to it is the personal property domain - if we are invited to somebody's house for example, we don't expect that we can criticize them about their lifestyle or home purely because we haven't commited and we haven't paid. It's therefore not appropriate for us to think that we have any "right" implicit or explicit in regards to being part of the process of someone else's home.
With World of Warcraft there is both a monetary commitment, and a time/effort commitment. Blizzard also happens to supply forums complete with "community managers." It seems that WoW is therefore an open process where players have a say, that once they make their commitments they become part of the World of Warcraft community of which Blizzard is a member along with staff, commentators, and other players. This is basically accepted by most players without even thinking about it, because it goes along with the implicit accepted social convention.
But this isn't the way Blizzard approaches it. Simply put, and I know a lot of players do understand this, you aren't part of a community, and you're not even really a 'personal' customer like someone at a restaurant. You are for lack of a better term an 'impersonal' customer, or $15 a month. That's it. Now I'm not saying this is a bad thing, but everyone that goes on the forum really, truly needs to understand this basic fact before posting.
You are not part of a community.
You do not have any personal connection with Blizzard whatsoever.
You are $15 amongst $180,000,000.
The forums are for players to discuss things amongst themselves. That is it. The entire extent of the thing. Like a creepy old guy Blizzard is quite happy to listen in on these private conversations about itself, but to think that you are actually communicating with Blizzard is simply proposterous and far more of a fantasy than a magical world of elves and orcs.
Because the implicit assumption that we have a say, that we are part of a community, envisages Blizzard as this company that invites people to join their gaming community, that works with the community to improve the game and benefit the community. That isn't Blizzard. Blizzard is simply a company, and WoW is Blizzard's baby. To Blizzard you aren't part of WoW, Blizzard is WoW. Blizzard owns WoW the same way you own your PC. It's their property and they will do what they want with it. That's simply it. And they're completely correct and right in approaching it like that. Discussion might influence them, the same way overhearing a conversation about the newest game or program might influence you in what you do with your PC, but it's yours. Full stop. The idea that your PC is part of a community to which you belong simply does not make sense. So it is with WoW. It's a player forum, not a hotline to Jeff Kaplan.
TL;DR: Stop posting things addressed to Blizzard you idiots.