Neverwinter Forum Closing No Cause for Alarm
9:28 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
Something about the nature of the industry -- and the fact that a lot of games do actually fail before even making it to store shelves -- leads people to assume the worst; when this tendency is coupled with poor communication, you can have a virtual riot on your hands in seconds. Yesterday a perfect example of this took place at the Neverwinter Nights web site, after the site forums (run by Interplay) were suddenly closed and all references to BioWare were removed.
Many people assumed right away this was due to the fact that BioWare is actually suing Interplay, the future publisher for some of their titles, for lost or underpaid royalties from past projects. The moderator's very unhelpful explanation that he "could not explain" why the forums were being closed only fanned the flames.
24 hours later, all has been made clear. The Interplay forums related to this game have been closed not out of spite, but simply to make room for a new set of official forums run and moderated by BioWare staff instead of Interplay. The purpose of this is to bring the fan community into direct communication with the BioWare staff developing Neverwinter Nights, a critical link of communication for those fans who plan on developing their own online modules for this expandible online RPG. Though the game is still months from shipping, we've never seen such a rabid fan community. Here's an excerpt from the PR:
BioWare Corp. today unveiled its new plan for game community development. Last month, the award winning developer of the Baldur’s Gate saga announced the creation of a new position, the BioWare Community Manager, that will act as a community evangelist for BioWare. The next phase of the plan will occur tomorrow, October 17th, 2001. BioWare will then unveil the first of the Official BioWare Message Boards designed to provide the gaming community with a forum where they can interact directly with the game development team.We're sure those boards will be flooded with new posts by the end of today. Stop by and perhaps you can put in a good word for the Mac version of this online RPG. As of this posting, the new forums have yet to appear at the BioWare web site, but they are promised by the end of today.
The BioWare message boards are part of the company’s multi-phase strategy to improve customer service and fan communication. " The recently created Customer Service Technician position is already considered a success by everyone here. " Said Greg Zeschuk, Joint CEO of BioWare. " Later this week, we’ll be unveiling our message boards. Our Community Manager will help focus this effort, and our fan community will have the best access to BioWare it’s ever had. "
"The Neverwinter Nights community includes some of the most inspirational and supportive people we’ve ever had the honour to work with. It’s important that we have a clear understanding of their needs, " said Ray Muzyka, Joint CEO of BioWare. " As we’ve grown, we’ve recognized the extreme importance the fan community has in the game development process. By hiring a Community Manager and setting up our own message board, we can only improve our customer service and fan relations. "
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