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Tales from the Neighborhood: Subreddits, Twitch Channels, and Multi-Game Guilds

By Jessica Cook on April 15, 2015 | Columns | Comments

Subreddits, Twitch Channels, and Multi-Game Guilds

Back around 2008 – the prehistoric era for MMOs – the vast majority of blogs were about just one game: World of Warcraft. Sure, there were a few great dedicated Warhammer Online bloggers and a handful of folks who were still writing about classics like EverQuest and Asheron’s Call, but for the most part everyone was playing and writing about Blizzard’s juggernaut of a game.

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What a difference seven years can make! Today it’s rare to find a blog that is dedicated to just one title. As the number of current MMOs skyrocketed, so did the breadth of topics that inspired writers. No matter what you’re playing right now, from classic Final Fantasy to the latest WoW patch, there’s a post on an MMO blog out there right now discussing it!

This week’s blogosphere highlights reflect the many games that inspire us. For example, multi-game guilds are popular now with an increasingly migratory MMO playerbase, but do they actually hurt player retention and long term plans? Warlords of Draenor may be losing the attention of some hardcore World of Warcraft fans, but is Final Fantasy 14 a good alternative? Are subreddits more useful than official game forums? Is there anything good to watch on Twitch for MMO fans? And finally, can a video game change your life for the better? (Spoiler: the answer to that last question is “yes, totally”.)

We’ve got answer to all of those questions and more in the newest Tales from the Neighborhood!

As more and more players become MMO nomads who play a number of different games rather than dedicate themselves to one, the idea of a single-game guild has fallen out of favor. But have multi-game guilds become their own worst enemy? That’s the question raised -- and answered -- by Isarii at The Errant Penman. Multi-game guilds have the flexibility to maintain their community no matter what their members may happen to be playing, but Isarii suspects that removing ties between games and guilds actually hurts players who are looking for a long-term home. Multi-game guilds can be focused on the “next big thing” and while that might suit someone who wants to dabble in a number of games it can leave behind those guild members who enjoy dedicating their play time to a single title.

Vrykerion of the Land of Odd has had a long love affair with the Final Fantasy series in all of its incarnations, but in his post My Favorite Final Fantasy he focuses particularly on how Final Fantasy 6 saved his life. As a child Vrykerion was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and he played FF6 while coming to terms with his diagnosis. Vry recalls a scene near the end of the game where the heroes have a thoughtful conversation with baddie Kefka on the meaning of life, and at the time it helped give him context for his own life and struggles. Vry’s post is not only great reading for Final Fantasy fans but also serves as a lovely reminder that games aren’t always just about fun: they can also change how we view ourselves and our world.

Speaking of Final Fantasy, The Grumpy Elf has been dabbling in Final Fantasy 14 due to frustration with his primary game of WoW and Warlords of Draenor. Elf writes his thoughts in point form in the post “Monday Random Thoughts” but his frustration with Draenor’s loot system is clear: removing the ability to buy gear through valor points and putting everything at the whim of that old foe the Random Number Generator has removed the “carrot” that kept Elf playing and having fun. When players lose hope of ever getting an upgrade they can also lose their reasons for logging in to a game at all. Meanwhile Elf has been playing Final Fantasy 14, and while he appreciates the lively player population he also laments the constant whispers from gold spammers and lack of mods. It seems popular, he writes, but it’s no WoW replacement.

Fans of Everquest 2 have already had to deal with many changes since Daybreak Games took over from Sony Online Entertainment, but Wilhelm of The Ancient Gaming Noob has noticed one that may still be in the works. In his post “Daybreak and Forums and Reddit”, Wilhelm point out signs that the official EverQuest 2 forums may be “outsourced” to a Reddit page soon. Fellow Daybreak titles H1Z1 and Planetside 2 already have active subreddits where the devs and official community managers post instead of forums, and it looks like EQ2 may be heading in the same direction. Wilhelm points out that while using Reddit as a third party forum provider is easier and cheaper for the game studios, it also provides tools to ignore and minimize negative posts via the downvote button. Wilhelm seems skeptical that moving from official forums to a subreddit will keep Daybreak’s players happy.

Jeromai from Why I Game spent last weekend farming experience points in Path of Exile, and to help keep him entertained during the grind he started delving into the world of Twitch channels for MMO players. Despite finding a few things to watch and even subscribing to a channel, Jeromai is still puzzled over the value of Twitch and livestreaming games. Watching streams of games that he doesn’t already know isn’t very interesting, while watching people play games that he does know isn’t very educational. Jeromai eventually tries watching eSports on Twitch, a genre that does well in that format, but is eventually turned off by unknowledgeable commentators. While by the end of the weekend Jeromai got his farming done, he remains unconvinced about the entertainment value of Twitch.

That’s it from the blogosphere this week! If you have a great post that you think should be featured here leave a link in the comments below or tweet me at @Liores.

Jessica Cook / Jessica "Liore" Cook is a longtime MMO blogger, fan, aficionado, and community goodwill ambassador. She hosts the MMO podcast Game On, and writes the weekly column: Tales from the Neighborhood. You can read more at www.lioreblog.com.