Jun 152015

the DDO Vault
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 DDO Wiki

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.

The Forums

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.

The DDO Vault

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.

🙂 😀 🙂

  30 Responses to “More DDO Resources: the Forums, The Wiki, Reddit, and the DDO Vault”

Comments (30)
  1. I agree with the forums. It seems one cannot post anything without getting blasted from some angle or another.. whether it’s right, wrong, subjective opinion, or just for the pure purpose of spouting venom.

  2. Seems like you also enjoy being “Kärringen mot strömmen” (directly translated as “the hag against the current,” but what it means is to not follow the crowd). 🙂 I tend to do that “just because”.

  3. If nothing else, the DDO Vault has a great build section, with some very knowledgeable people giving great advice.

  4. I was just coming to post exactly what grim did. Lots of really knowledgeable people there, if you can deal with the juvenile asshattery (which I have partaken in myself) that goes on. I think I prefer the builds section on the Vault over the official forums. Probably because there are no “sacred cows” on the Vault. If you think someone’s idea is shit, you tell them. It doesn’t matter if they are well known or unknown. It doesn’t matter if they have 7000 posts or 7 posts. Of course some people react to the Vault like a 7 year old first learning that shit is a bad word and he can use it to make people uncomfortable.

    I used to be an incredibly prolific poster over there, but now not so much. It’s certainly changed. Whether for the better or for worse.. well I guess that depends on your perspective.

    The fact that there is a place for people to go who have been banned but are STILL that passionate about DDO should say something. Of course some of that passion is very negative, as you’ve noted. But I genuinely believe that some (majority? most? I don’t know honestly) people who are there are there because they really do love the game, and a lot of the negativity and angst (is that the right word?) is because they’re seeing the game they love change and evolve in a way that doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    As far as the shit that gets piled on Jerry.. well a lot of it does go too far. Bringing his personal life into it, for instance. If you don’t like the way he does his job (which can’t be easy) that’s fine, blast him for that. If you hate that he shows obvious favouritism to some and obvious disdain for others, that’s fine. But leave the man’s personal life out of it.

    Anyway I’m glad you did this blog, and didn’t shy away from mentioning the Vault.

  5. I wish I could tolerate the vault. I’m not a prude nor am I easily offended, but since my computer is in our living room and I have small children, I can’t visit it often. Really can’t have my 8 and 12 year olds seeing some of the avatars and signatures of the people in there!

    • Why not (see the images etc) would be my answer as a fellow parent! Oh, and you can easily block the signatures out if you want.

    • If your browser is FireFox, NoScript can be set to block a lot of objectionable content automatically. GreaseMonkey can block it all, but it requires a bit more know-how.

  6. I avoid the DDO Vault like a Paladin avoids a whorehouse. It may be necessary for some, but I seek another way, even if it causes me disadvantage. Further, I write about ways to enjoy the game that may seem mundane to those who reside there, and in turn, I’m sure the content there is anathema to my goals as well. Guess I play Lawful in my life as well.

    I’m a regular contributor on the DDO Wiki and keep its information accurate as I’m able (with a few new bits as I find them). And I will deal a thousand sizzling cuts with a jagged, rotting slice of bacon to anyone that thinks of insulting the developers or Cordovan in any official forum thread or posts to my blog.

  7. Dose it seem to you that recently Cordovan and the rest of the ddo team to a lesser extent has started a more open transparent policy? I Notice a trend in that direction anyway. That said the forum wars can escalate and usually do escalate over the weekend when there is little to no contractually obligated moderation going on. This tends to either crystallize the group think you mentioned about the forums or sometimes facilitate more honest discussion, and brainstorming or collaborative efforts. I think Cordovan has been reacting positively lately to some open dissent. Just my limited point of view 2 copper.

  8. Nice post Geoff!! The Forums can definitely be a tricky thing to navigate but there are a lot of useful posts out there between all of the flaming and troll wars. I haven’t ventured too much into the DDO Vault, although I do go over from time to time to see what insights might lie over there concerning a few things here and there. Sometimes I go over there to try to discern what the latest exploit is so that I can warn my guildies about them. The few times I have gone over there, they do seem to be pretty “vocal” about some topics and people which is pretty discouraging.

  9. I would also stress out that DDO Vault has by far the VERY best Build section that you can find anywhere. Also, while yes, Vaulties may be hard to digest, they will help you with any build idea you have, if it is at least a little salvageable. Also, another advice sections are excellent as well.

    While I have very little sympathy towards excessive profanity used there, due to the amount of information, knowledge and experience many people over there have (and the ability to speak without some psycho hitting report button like Uurlock), DDO Vault became the main forums for me. ANytiem I venture to official boards, I feel that the people there are simply much more… causal.

  10. The problem with the DDO forum is that Jerry (Cordovan) plays favorites. I know of many people who have been banned for saying things that Jerry’s pets are allowed to say without penalty.

    • You know Ragnar, I see that every time I visit the Vault. Every time. So maybe you are right. But it seems to me that it is always “this guy” or “I heard about” or “it happened to my friend”. When people post the full details of what happened (which is not a common occurrence) it doesn’t actually turn out like that it all. But I don’t lurk there every day and I miss a lot: maybe you can point me to a specific incident?

      Regardless, this is an inevitable side-effect of the fact that Turbine insists on keeping everything discipline-related on the hush-hush. Super Secret. It leads to speculation and accusations. Maybe you are right. But maybe you are not, and there is no way to know either way.

      But then I have been on record as favoring public discipline for awhile. the industry seems to be moving that way now; maybe there will be an adjustment at Turbine too, someday.

  11. Spider wasps…..

  12. [Comment edited by geoff to remove a probably accidental pejorative]

    Oh, look! Someone thinks they are being funny by ‘down voting’ every comment (and reply) made before 6/17. Yeah, that’s right – I saw what you did. But, there’s nothing that can be done about juvenile behavior…

    …except, of course, mock it and/or become juvenile oneself. PFFTTT!!!

  13. The Vault was particularly great when it started. It certainly gave a place for a segment of the player base that needed it. I joined the Vault, I have posted, using the same name as my DDO forum name. In fact, the players who formed the Vault were some of the best and most helpful players on the DDO servers, When the Vault started, the racier joking and poking fun at Fernando was all couched in still helping players. I think this has been lost and buried compared to what the Vault has evolved into today.

    I find the nuggets and tidbits of great information – not exploits – are far and few between these days.
    I still lurk there now from time to time but the atmosphere there has turned very poisonous. It was one thing to talk trash at times and exchange inside jokes with friends. It is another to spew constant invective and venom. That isn’t healthy in game or out of game. I also find it a disconnect to constantly attack and spew venom at something many of those same players seemingly love to play, I guess you hurt the ones you love, but seriously, the anger is unhealthy.

    As for exploits, well, that is a problem. It hurts the game. Why does the incessant need to cheat and ultimately hurt the game have to be such a driving force? I guess I simply don’t understand the ultimate rationale of the pixel show-off you can gain from exploits. But, to me, the public Vault has evolved into: DDO is dying, this *name a feature* part of DDO is terrible, Jerry bashing, player bashing, and a request for exploits.

    The Vault was not always like this – it used to more fun and less angry sour grapes.

  14. Geoff, It’s terribly disappointing to read that wrote such a slanted article regarding 3rd party forums, a wasted opportunity.

    [Edit by Geoff: The remainder of this comment has been moved – in an edited form that omits portions that are personal attacks – for use as today’s DDOGamer topic. I’ll post a link when the article becomes available]

  15. Well reasoned and sensible post about the different venues of DDO information and community. Very good job of staying 98.5% objective.

    Let’s just be honest about the Vault. I admit I’m not going to try and be objective, as it has a really bad rep for a reason.

    The Vault isn’t safe for work, no matter what they tell you. Jiggling boobs and naked butts are not acceptable in most workplaces. So, if you dare to venture over, do it at home.

    If you are a female gamer, lurk only (with thick skin), posting in any capacity will only get a long string of insults. Once they sense a female in their presence you are automatically a mass collection of the same old insults. Discussions of your weight, your looks, told that you should go back to do nothing more than giving someone a sexual act and so on. Many of the biggest posters in the Vault are the poster children for misogynistic gamers. They don’t care what you know, how long you’ve been playing, how serious you take the game; once they know you have ovaries, well imagine blood in a shark tank.

    The build section isn’t all that interesting. Many of the builds solely rely on game exploits or are cheap copies of builds on the Turbine DDO forums. If you post a build there, just be prepared to get a wild slew of misinformation after they get done fully insulting you.

    It is not a new player friendly site, new players draw the same response as female gamers. If you ask new player questions, just be prepared to get no tangible answers and then be insulted for simply trying to understand.

    Out of the sea of people on The Vault, perhaps three are decent enough to talk to. The rest should be sterilized.

    • There are a lot of people over on the Vault. And a lot of them have a lot of love for our game.

      That doesn’t justify anything, but it should be said.

      • If your on the Vault and you love the game. Odds are, you’re a lurker ;p

        • Wrong, DDOChica.

          • @ddochica And why is your gender important if/when you lurk or post in the vaul or in any place? In the best case you will get annoying pm, in the worst what you discribed. You are a player, a gamer, a lurker whatever.
            No need to publicaly swing your gender, preferences or other stuff, is not relevant.

            Try that, will save you headaches.

  16. I find the Vault full of interesting information and deranged humor. It’s fun.

What do you think?

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