As technology advances, and online communities shift to adapt, we take it as a kind of default proposition that new sites and platforms should be better than old ones. Reality, of course, has different plans.
Take Discord. It’s a great platform! A huge improvement over older ideas, and a convenient combination of a number of outdated messaging and communications services. If you want to hang out in a room with friends, in a place you can both type and talk to each other, it’s perfect!
Discord excels as a means of real-time communication, for people talking in the moment. What Discord is not good at, however, is being a long-term repository of information, the kind of place you can ask a question, get an answer then have that answer remain easily accessible for months, years or even decades to come.
So it sucks that companies continue to close forums, which are excellent repositories, and try and shift those communities to Discords, which are absolutely useless at it. I said this in 2021 when Bethesda did it, I said it again in 2021 when Eurogamer did it. I said it last year when Gearbox did it and am now saying it again in 2023. You need to stop this shit. These are apples and oranges.
The latest company to make the mistake is Amazon, which made the decision to close the forums for both New World and Lost Ark, and move those communities wholesale to Discord. Here’s how the decision was announced on Lost Ark’s forums:
As we continue to explore new and amazing opportunities to meet and engage with our players there will be times where we will evaluate our current ways of engaging players. Forums are a venerable staple of the history of online gaming and have served as the primary point of contact for gamers and developers for quite some time. With the launch of our official Lost Ark Discord along with the features, functionality, and accessibility for players we have made the decision to embrace Discord as our primary engagement platform for Lost Ark moving forward. To help us add as much value as possible to our Discord server, we will be sunsetting the Lost Ark forums which will allow our staff to focus on providing quality engagement opportunities in a central, and easily accessible platform.
Our plans on Discord are constantly evolving and we will be looking to utilize the platform to the fullest extent. We will be finding ways to have engagement opportunities that encompass all aspects of Discord such as live voice, gameplay streaming, live chat, and forum threads. It will also offer easier and more intuitive access to community run initiatives like Looking for Group, Guild promotion, etc.
You will also find us investing time into growing our presence on the Lost Ark subreddit, so be sure to keep an eye out there as well.
What does this mean for the forums now?
Starting May 1st, we will be removing the ability for users to post to the forums but we will be having them remain visible so that any sort of content that users would like to save will be available for them. During this time we will be cataloging all of the historical feedback that players have left, assuring that sentiment and feedback left is not lost.
After that process is complete, we will give one final reminder that the forums will be finally sunset, at which point our URL will be redirected to our Discord 2.7k and other social media pages.
Thank you all for your continued passion around Lost Ark! We look forward to you all joining us on our official Discord. There are many awesome ideas we are going to be working on to help grow the fandom of Lost Ark that our teams are excited to roll out to everyone.
See you in Arkesia!
No! So much of what you said there is bullshit! And anyone who has used both a forum and Discord knows it! Forums aren’t just a place for people to make initial contact with a developer, they’re places where someone can ask a question, get it answered officially then have that answer easily searchable for thousands or even millions of people going forwards. Discord, even with its recent “forum thread” feature, is just nowhere near as good for this.
What sucks here is that fans don’t want this, this has been made clear repeatedly (in this case too, as PC Gamer’s collection of negative feedback shows), but it just keeps happening because companies presumably see it as a way to save a tiny amount of money and resources.
It’s very fun to know that major publishers are spending hundreds of millions on marketing but can’t keep a forum open. Very healthy industry. Carry on, everyone.