Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Lurkers, Unite

Recently, Frelorn (the LotRO Community Manager) released the names of the 2015 Player's Councils (PCs).  Yes, "councils" - plural.  It seems that LotRO has a dedicated PC for PvE and a dedicated PC for PvMP (that's, "Player vs. Monster Player" - LotRO's version of PvP).

I find it interesting that there seems to be enough interest in PvP play that LotRO dedicates an entire PC to it.  But that's not really the point of this post.

No, the point of this post is that shortly after the list was posted, the forumites began their (expected) complaining.  Chief among the complaints is something akin to following, actual quote*:
"Furthermore, there are at least three of the people in this list that have never even been mentioned on the forums before this thread showed up. Do they have experience with posting on forums at all, or interacting with the community?"
Seriously?  It escapes me as to why anyone would believe that a prerequisite for being a member of the PC is to be "known" in the fora (sorry, "forums").  As if only someone who is well known in the forum community could possibly know anything about the game or have an 'informed opinion' on it.

Speaking for lurkers everywhere, just because one does not post (often) does not mean one does not read or even know what is going on.  I am a frequent reader of the LotRO (and DDO) fora (sorry, "forums") - especially the Dev trackers - but you will find very few posts from me (in the LotRO fora [sorry, "forums"]; I do have some in DDO's).  Reading will give you more of an idea for what (some of) the game community's thoughts are on various topics than posting ever will.  Just because one is not known to the posting community does not mean they are unfamiliar with what is being posted.

But besides that, one does not need to ever visit a game forum to play said game.  Oh, sure, there is (usually) a lot of great information that can be found in game fora (sorry, "forums"), but it is not necessary for actual game play.  And if you play the game, chances are you have opinions about it.  Of course, it's hard to believe that one would even know anything about openings in the PC if one did not read the fora (sorry, "forums") in the first place, but that is irrelevant to having an opinion on the game.

It has been stated time-and-time again that Turbine's PCs are (essentially) focused feedback groups.  Nothing more.  And that Turbine's goal is to have as wide a representation of the player base as possible - they want a variety of views, not a bunch of like-minded clones**.  The PC cannot dictate anything - they can make suggestions, but it is the Devs who always have - and always will - have the final say.  If the Devs wanted to, they could completely ignore any and all feedback provided by the PC (and while this may happen on occasion, that would defeat the whole purpose of having a PC, so I doubt it is the norm).

So, as I see it, the only real prerequisite for being on a PC is to be actively playing the game.  And anyone who thinks that PC members should also be known to the forum community before being chosen to the PC simply comes off as an elitist.  Besides, the application process used will probably tell Turbine more about how the applicant can provide good feedback better than simply being known by the forum community.

Because not everyone who is known by the forum community is known for their quality feedback; some are just well known as being jackasses.

* The post was quickly removed for violating the rules of conduct, but posts containg quotes from it still linger.

** Not that they always have different opinions.  I'm sure there have been cases where they all agreed on something.  Even if it was "this Dev-proposed thing is bad".

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