- 3 replies
Hi everyone, I hope you are well. I want to talk to you about my concerns and why I think we need change if we want the modding scene to survive. For those of us (myself included) who originally come from and have deep roots in Modcraft, you might wonder what's the point of creating a new website. I'm going to try my best to explain my point of view without pissing everyone off and causing a flame war. I'm also not very confident with that statement, but hey, I tried. Let's begin:
First and foremost, the WoW Modding scene simply isn't as active as it used to be. With the decline of WoW's subscriber base, a lot of people have also been leaving the modding scene as well. Some of us might look at this and think of it as justification for Modcraft's inactivity, but let's take a closer look: The most recent census for World of Warcraft's subscriber count is 5.6 million, a far cry from what it used to be. Though how many of us have considered how big that number actually is, despite it being a huge decline? Think about it. How can we be struggling to keep the modding scene alive when there's still 5.6 million players who love Warcraft, most of which are young, creative, computer-literate people? Let's also consider the tens of thousands of people who know how to access and play on private servers, as well as the 5+ million who are sitting on the bench hoping that Legion will revive WoW and they can start playing again.
Don't get me wrong when I insist that this is all because of lack of effort. I mean, Modcraft really is a great website to learn about modding and connect with other people who share the same passion, but it's still very lacking in several aspects. So, what's wrong all of a sudden? Nothing in particular, Modcraft is the same as it ever was and everyone seems just as satisfied as they ever were. But this mentality has led us to set our standards way too low. Still to this day, all you read are people complaining that there just isn't enough modders working on tools or collaborating on projects. Can we take just a few moments to wonder why there aren't people doing these things?
Maybe it's because nobody knows about WoW Modding? Modcraft is running on some free web-hosting service, at least from what I've been told. Plus it has made no known effort to advertise. It also has a ".de" extension, which cripples its potential to reach audiences that aren't living in Germany. The domain name itself is also heavily obfuscated and hard to remember. Wouldn't we prefer a more desirable name such as "model-changing.net" to make us easier to find? And maybe we could also put more emphasis on making the users (especially newcomers) feel like they're getting a user experience that they deserve?
To me, the most important aspect of any website that I'll be spending a lot of time staring at, is the color scheme and design. Though, it's easy to understand why some people prefer functionality. But ultimately Modcraft doesn't excel in either of these senses. The design is white on gray on gray on black on black, and it comes packed with an assortment of graphical glitches as well. It may be functionally sound but it's still an outdated phpBB forum which lacks basic modern features and a visual WYSIWYG post editor. And beyond these aspects, the only thing that Modcraft is really good at is content, albeit outdated with lots of broken links.
At this point I hope you at least understand my concerns, even if you don't fully share them. But what can we do as mere users to help improve Modcraft? Well, me and Skarn started working on a new website in July as a surprise gift to the modding community. Before we finished it we requested Steff's involvement so that we could focus our efforts and use our website to help improve Modcraft. Steff was offended that we kept this project a secret, even though we were just trying to making a meaningful impression. He then declined our offer and explained that he was already working on a new website. and he didn't agree with our approach. These events occurred just a few days before the ambitious Modcraft Community post showed up, which inevitably never saw fruition.
It has now been four months since Modcraft set its course towards a new website, yet we've only seen a few positive changes; new moderators, and some post pruning. The most significant change came off as very undesirable, as expressed by the majority of our users. That of course was the removal of the username ranks such as Advanced Artist, Contributor, etc., which a lot of people worked very hard for and didn't ask to be removed. With that being said, the only other major change within the past five years was the removal of the shoutbox; once again, an unwanted change. Nowadays Modcraft's activity is dwindling even further and the only moderator who is around anymore is schlumpf (praise his dedication), and Steff hasn't posted at all since October 19th. I believe it's safe to assume that this new "Modcraft.io" website isn't actually coming, especially with Maruum, Noggit 1.5, and other projects holding higher priority. We need to accept the fact that there won't be any progress if we sit around and wait for other people to do it for us.
So... Let's start a new community! An organization that does not innovate cannot survive. So let's hold our own leash and walk ourselves outside. We've given Modcraft its chance, we've given feedback and made suggestions, asked for featured projects and a shoutbox. Mostly everything we've ever asked for has been ignored. The few things that have actually been implemented were done so in a way that suits higher opinions and not what was actually asked of them.
My proposal is as follows: Let's bring back the shoutbox and the username ranks. Let's switch to a paid website host, better forum software (Invision Power), and a better domain name for search engine optimization. Let's cast aside what Steff literally referred to as a "good totalitary system" and start emphasizing the needs of our users; the people who have nurtured our community for years.
Despite our instincts to be conservative, let's add new features, not because they're necessary, but because they're nice. Let's spend 800 € on our website design because I'm fucking insane. And let's finally stop talking like we haven't done these things already, because we have. Me, Skarn, and Prokion have worked many months to bring this website to you, and it is now finished. You need not ask what the difference is, see it for yourself. We understand that some people actually prefer phpBB over Invision Power, Modcraft over MC-Net, and this design over that design. But we fight for the greater good and I believe there's something positive here for everyone.
You'll find many useful features that come pre-packaged with the IPS Suite on our website, as well as many plugins and custom modifications tailored to our purposes. All of these are improvements. We've also utilized the Invision Power modular applications to create different sections to our website, such as the Portal, the dedicated Releases section, an image Gallery, our Projects directory, and the Tutorials board. And of course, you can make use of the really cool social media tools such as user profiles and proper message inboxes as well.
Remember, we did this all as an act of charity. There is nothing of value for us to gain here other than satisfaction. We don't have a Maruum agenda. We worked relentlessly for months to make this happen, and it was only to help improve the community that we love. Our community really deserves more than what it had. Unfortunately, our offer to merge our efforts with Modcraft and move forward as one was denied. But that won't stop us. WoW Modding is our passion, and we really want to see it thrive again--even if it has never truly thrived.