So Dem New Forums...

So, by now, I believe most players have had the chance to hate experience the new forums. If you have not, then as of today the forums still look like this:

(I don't have screenshot of the old forums to compare it to, so just imagine it. D:)

Firstly, if you have not seen the announcements, Greywulf is back from vacation and Xand has been forced promoted to the head of the newly-created night shift. Now, after a couple days, I have (like many others) learned to adapt to the new forums - but, by doing this, we neglect some fundamental flaws that I will go more in-depth on, further in the post.

If you have not seen it, Superman0X posted a thread about the changes here. Now, within one day, most people have realized that you now average 1-2 more clicks to navigate to where you want to go in the forums.

Now, from an organizational perspective, these new changes ARE more "streamline" and organized. The problem is that it neglects the question of if we NEED the forums to be more "streamline". (For example, labelling every container in your house of its use is more organized, but is it necessary?) It seems that the GMs fail to realize this distinction. The forums are a way for players to communicate amongst themselves and convey ideas that the GMs may have interests in. By making it more "streamline", because the GMs will it, it now neglects the mass population that the forums are made for. If the players, the ones using the forums, don't like the changes, then why is it that the GMs have the final say? It's not like the structure of the forums effects the profits of a business. Shouldn't such a trivial thing be decided by the community that relies on it?

It is very clear that although the main page had more sections before, it was not so cluttered that you needed to streamline it down. It is clear that each section before had one section frequented the most. You could click right into the sub section that you wanted. Not only could you click less but, personally, I could also see the last topic posted in that frequented sub section, so I would not have to click in to see if I cared about what was mentioned. I frequently just refreshed the main page to see which threads were being responded to and if any were worth clicking. Now with the General Discussion, which is generally the most active sub section, being grouped with Events, which is currently most active due to Bad Acts, there would be no way to catch all the new topics in General Discussion, unless you spam refresh. This leads me to click that sub section constantly to see if a thread responded to is of interest. This is but just a small concern about the general ease of browsing but, nonetheless, important as many share the same view of the much easier older forums.

Now, my main and BIGGEST concern is nothing so petty as wasting precious seconds clicking a couple of extra times to see some threads. It is the way the problem was handled. Some of you have noticed as of late, by talking to me, that I have been more pro-Aeria. The way Xand was handling things were much more in the best interests of the players (i.e. the flying turkey). The second thing that I noticed, for better or worse, was the quick action. Whenever a topic jumped to 10 pages overnight, for example, in the morning, Xand would be on top of it, addressing the issue (again, for better or worse).

This WAS NOT common before Xand showed up (i.e. the crystal sword). The common way of dealing with everything was: *sweeps under GIANT ToS rug* and then /delete. A common practice was preaching that they would do something in the near future but, in actuality, they would just sit around, twiddling their thumbs - much like we are seeing now, with the forum overhaul. They hope that in a week, a new problem will come up and you'll forget about the forums so that they can tell you to wait a week on that problem too, thus creating a neverending chain of, "Let's all pretend the stuff didn't happen!"

By this, we will soon be seeing some old Aeria tactics resurfacing, like the thread censorship. Xand promised change when he first joined, and there was. Even if he only had bad news to answer with, he always addressed the concerns that the players cared about. It felt almost like the players' opinions were being at least being HEARD. The first step is at least listening before anything can be expected to happen.

To bring the point back to the forums: it was clear that the mass majority DID NOT like the new forum changes, yet they insisted that you'll need more time to "try" out the forums. Does this not seem like the older administration's tactics of handling a problem without addressing the issues? Seems to me that with Xand gone, things are slowly slipping back to the way it was.

Will we continue to a path of better communication between the players and GMs, or will we go back to the older ways? With Aion finally released, a lot of players won't even bother voicing their opinions and will just leave. The Aeria Server might even die before the J-Server, all because of a lack of communication... (Remember the comment about GM/GS "douchbagery"?)

Aaro Note~ : This thread opened up as of September 28, led by Superman0X, based on "feedback" about the forum overhaul.