Truly a wretched hive of scum and villainy. But necessary.
Friday I mentioned the world of DDO resources, but limited myself to blogs, podcasts and videos. I avoided Twitch because I remain completely bewildered by Twitch. And I avoided forums and wikis because … well … no good reason, I guess, they just didn’t seem to fit in.
Until the comments section when I was reminded that I had not mentioned the DDO Vault. And the forums.
So let’s talk about forums and wikis.
The easiest to write about because it is all good, the DDO wiki is the star of the entire DDO community. This place contains documentation on just about everything in DDO, largely written by fans, and edited by a small community of extremely talented and devoted DDO Wiki editors.
In all seriousness, and with due regard to the many, many DDO-based resources that have been popping up in the last year, the DDO wiki is the single greatest thing on the web that involves DDO. We would be lost without it.
There is no downside to the wiki. It is all awesome, through and through.
Next up is the official DDO forums. Seeing as how the forums are run by Turbine it is not surprising that this is the best place to get official news about DDO. The official forums (generally referenced as just “the forums) are the most-visited DDO resource, and the one that has the most contributors. Release notes, developer diaries, announcements, all right there.
Some of the forum contributors – regular people like you and I – have added value too, and their best work is stored in the forum Hall of Fame. Other threads of interest pop up now and then. And of course thread after thread with game information, character builds, and relevant conversations.
But it is not all unicorns and rainbows. The forums are not a free-speech zone; they are a corporate PR activity, and are kept scrubbed of detritus that detracts from the corporate message. There are topics that one cannot even mention without undergoing some form of discipline. For instance, the DDO Vault, which we will discuss in a moment.
A bigger issue with the forums is the way that opinions coalesce into groupthink and stifle many forms of input. Every internet posting site attracts people who rage about anything with which they disagree, and the forums are no exception. Many issues attract one cluster in favor and/or another in opposition, and it is common for posts to be drowned out by the back and forth of the various cliques and factions, to the point where the original post becomes irrelevant. Even developer posts which are intended to gather original ideas and input.
Maybe I should say especially in developer posts.
Nonetheless, the forums remain the best way to learn about the game and the game direction.
I neglected the Reddit DDO subreddit until I was reminded. Again. I was reminded once before too.
It’s not that I don’t like reddit. It’s more that I don’t know how to use the forum correctly. It displays threads in descending order of which has the most upvotes, meaning the same threads tend to stay in place, which makes navigation more difficult for me. There is a New page, and Hot page, and a Rising page, and a Controversial page. But not a “rank in chronological order” page, and apparently my mind requires that kind of ordering to make sense of forum threads. Nor am I ever able to find anything when using their search tools.
But this is a limitation of mine, not of reddit’s, and it shouldn’t be held against them. There is small but active community in the ddo subreddit, one that seems to remain upbeat while also being informative and helpful. Sort of a best-of-all-worlds place, and one where I should spend more time.
If only I could figure out how.
I had a hard time deciding how to describe the DDO Vault, or whether to include it at all. It is the most active DDO fansite, I think, no one keeps verified numbers, but the Vault has several active threads going every day. It is the best place to find information about topics that are forbidden on the main forums. Meaning, negative news about the game, bans and especially, exploits.
Unlike the main forums, the Vault is unmoderated; a true free speech zone. As a result it is NSFW, and often hard to wallow through, with many threads consisting largely of juvenile attempts by posters to one-up each other in insults and puerile trolling contests. I don’t think there is a single page on the whole site that does not contain a penis or someone being called a penis or at the very least, a dick joke.
But nonetheless, it serves a valid purpose, we need some place where we can talk without PR-based restrictions, and many of the people who frequent there clearly love the game. Even Turbine developers have posted there, rarely while still working for Turbine, but still it has happened.
I don’t mind the dick jokes. But I do mind the way that the entire site is constantly spewing hatred towards someone I know and admire: Jerry Snook a.k.a. Cordovan, who has been put in the impossible position of being the forum disciplinarian while at the same time being the community face of DDO PR efforts. People who are banned from the forums are banned by Jerry, and end up on the DDOVault vomiting bile towards him as if it were something personal he did to them.
Hey, you pride yourself on how outlaw you are, you make a point of breaking the rules, okay, be that guy. But own it when you get caught, and stop blaming others for your own behavior. No one cares that “you can’t prove it for a fact” as if this was some kind of court of law where proof was necessary. You knew what you were doing. It was not Jerry, it was you, and you know it. Now man up (or woman up!) and own it.
Yet, I keep reminding myself, the Vault serves a valid purpose.
I have been a Vault member for years. It’s not a secret, most people make up new names and try to hide behind anonymity but my Vault name is “geoffhanna” just like it is everywhere else. I am mainly a lurker, but I’ve posted when I thought I had something to add to a topic that was worthwhile. I don’t visit or even lurk every day. Most of the posters there have become so negative. Lots of haters, competing to see who can write the most hateful things, to each other and to the world.
If I spend too much time there I find myself feeling negative about the future of the game. As if the dross and hate were somehow contagious, or like maybe it is a pool of hate and if you dive in, you still have some of it on you when you climb out.
After much internal introspection, I chose to include it in this list of resources. It is a necessary evil. Although I wish it weren’t quite so evil. It didn’t used to be, but there was some kind of schism last year and many of the funniest and most interesting people left.
It does serve a purpose. But if you go, I suggest you bring an alcohol wipe or other disinfectant.
Apply liberally on exiting the Vault.
🙂 😀 🙂