|You should have one. Really, you should.|
This isn’t a post about how you should have an Authenticator on your account.
It isn’t about how there’s been a sharp increase in account compromises because a bunch of people got Diablo 3 for free and need to remember how valuable everything on a Battle.net account is, not simply to Activision. Three people in my immediate sphere have been hacked in the last week. Gold farmers are nothing but clever, but you can make it hard work for them. Authenticators, anti virus, nothing is 100% certain, but you’d not leave your car unlocked or your laptop unattended in public. That’s how valuable your Battle.net account is. It makes sense to protect it.
This is a post about what else is valuable on your computer, and not simply to you.
Community has become a significant contributing factor in how designers pitch and promote their games. Look at TOR and GW2 if you want evidence of this: GW2 posted a Facebook message pre-Memorial Weekend assuring people they didn’t need to plan around a Beta event, and that there would be no testing. TOR is making a fairly big deal of including their community in lots of major decision making processes, I think because it has become apparent that if you want your project to succeed, there is a core of people you need to be listening to. I could go back to Mass Effect here as the ultimate example of acknowledging your fanbase, but that’s probably a different argument for another blog post (several, in fact) The people playing matter, of course they do, but what matters more is the community they foster as a result. Positive word of mouth is a truly Legendary item.
What happens however when you fall out of love with your game? If your player base is small, and people leave for good: Game Over, time to move on. Reach a certain critical mass of ‘population’ however and stuff starts to happen when people get disillusioned with the particular location of the virtual world they once loved. Many don’t actually leave the sphere: they hang around, even if they’ve stopped playing actively. If the community is large enough those toons become mobile: I can server transfer, I can find a group of people I feel more comfortable with using social networking. Gamers become migrant workers, shopping around for a place they like, willing to bring their skills to new people’s causes. Its even happening to our modest guild: you garner a decent reputation, then even total strangers will take a chance on you. Friendships can be forged on far less, after all.
With Cross Realm raiding you don’t even have to move, but over time people still do, to be in the same places as new friends they make, and the game self-perpetuates.
When I think about the blogging community I have become a part of over the last year, I’m staggered at the sheer range of personalities and attitudes that exist side by side. Yes, there are moments and flashpoints, but in the main people are remarkably tolerant, and amazingly generous in people’s moments of crisis. However, I think there’s still a lot of work to be done in making people feel they really are part of a place where they are important, and where their voice matters. It can sometimes be very lonely out here: just because no-one responds to a post or has nothing to say when you Tweet, it doesn’t mean that people don’t care. It just means there’s a lot more to a community than the people who make the noise. Everyone sometimes appreciates the comfort of being a silent majority, especially if more pressing individual issues come to the fore. A true community isn’t just about the big events and the contentious topics, after all.
If you’re having a bad day, you should feel able to talk about it with your friends, wherever they happen to be. If you don’t like the place in your game you are at right now, you have the power to change it, it just takes confidence to make the move. If you know deep down it is a place you want to stay in, then you just need to find the right spot that fits you. That’s where the community comes in: talk to them, ask their advice. Sometimes a change is all you need to completely reinvigorate yourself. However, if deep down you know the answer is to not be part of this place any more, then have the confidence to move on. The true friends you have made will understand and still be there.
Never forget you are part of something significant the moment you choose to share your thoughts with others: in game, on a blog, in a group. What you feel and say does matter, and you may be surprised who is listening when you do.