This week saw the unusual occurrence of Jagex directly requesting some fan sites to delay releasing a quest guide for the much hyped Mourning's Ends Part II quest. At the time of this article being published, two major fan sites have refrained from releasing their guides, however many other guides can be found on other fan sites. Frankly, I am appalled and disgusted at Jagex's actions.
According to my sources, a Jagex mod contacted a Tip.It Crew member via private chat in-game and things got rolling from there. I find this extremely unprofessional and expected better. The reasoning is that they have put an above average amount of time and effort into creating this quest and would like users to have the full satisfaction of solving the very hard puzzle involved in the quest. Hence, any guide released would give users the answer and ruin things from a Jagex point of view.
As mentioned, two major fan sites have “respected” this request but my gripe is not with them. They should not have been put in such a position and I'd like to further elaborate on some points I have with respect to Jagex and their interaction with their community.
If one thing is lacking from Jagex as the people in charge of RuneScape as a massive online adventure game, it is the community aspect. I have seen many other gaming sites with a pro-active and involved approach with respect to fan sites that essentially keep the game alive by providing information and help to users and effectively publicize the game. What can you find on RuneScape.com? Only a very brief FAQ page of little help.
What can and should they do? Firstly, they need to set up and run a structured fan site program where web masters can meet certain criteria to be come “official fan sites” and get listed on RuneScape.com. These sites can be offered a set of exclusive content and images for use on their site.
I would also like to see Jagex appoint specific liaison officers to co-ordinate with fan site owners on various issues with respect to many key issues. These include the nature of content offered on fan sites, use of third party clients as opposed to the official client, selling signatures and images for RuneScape items on fan site forums, the sensitive topic of hexing and many more critical topics. I challenge Jagex to step up to the plate and be pro-active.
They can significantly improve their own official forums by improving its layout, functionality and usability. A search feature would be invaluable. They can make a section for user submitted material to contain pieces of fiction and poetry, and of course a galley of fan art is necessary. There is plenty of scope for improvement if they show the willingness to work more with their community.
Lastly, I'd like to return to my original point about the ME2 quest guide request. The fan sites who have not released guides are in no way affiliated with Jagex and should be under no obligation to fulfill their ludicrous request. Their top-most priority is their users and how they can help them. It should be up to the users to decide if they do or do not want to use the guides provided. Jagex have damaged the reputation of the fan sites that have honoured their request, undoubtedly impacted on their advertising revenue and perhaps even reduced their user base.
Once again, I urge Jagex to review their policies regarding their community, in particular fan sites such as this, and then make the much sought after improvements.
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