Now lets begin this discussion by agreeing that in general messageboards tend to generate a lot of material that isn’t very mature. In fact I’d go so far as to say that messageboards are probably an inherently flawed communication medium and that they are not useful for any sort of communication other than short messages. Reasons for this are fairly apparent and posted in many other sites so I’ll not bother with reiterating them.
That said, what is it about GW and GW games that seems to generate such a confrontational attitude between the company, gamers and fans of GW games?
As puerile as some forums can get (for every good post on TMP for instance there are three or four of less than stellar quality) it seems to me that GW forums (or non official forums that discuss GW games) tend to devolve into… well into something that makes one not want to participate.
Now contrast this with the Warmachine or the English Confrontation forums.
Both of them have the same sort of posts one tends to see on messageboards from eager fans. The “this is so kewl” type of thing that is inevitable and sometimes rather endearing since its always nice to see people enthusiastic about their hobby. But in both of these messageboards I’ve never seen the type of arguments, pissy comments and flames that seem to define GW messageboards.
So what is it about GW games that creates this difference?
It can’t be age. Some of the oldest gamers I know are Epic gamers.
It might be that the very popularity of the games means that the audience that comes to a messageboard is greater and thereby generates more bad posts and more poor posters. Its an easy argument. Usenet became almost unusable once large ISPs like AOl started to funnel millions of new users into it. So there is something to be said for the argument that popularity will generate more assholes posting to your messageboards.
Part of the problem might be GW itself. The company either inspires loyalty or hatred and in those sorts of conditions people tend to take their positions more seriously than they need to. In some places that term “GW Fanboy” gets tossed around as a pejorative term when people say anything positive (or not suitably negative) about GW as well so is not just GW fans that can act like imbeciles online.
But I am still left with the reality that almost every negative online experience I have is in relation to a GW related messageboards. And I know that I can be just as annoying and confrontational as the next person but given that I am the single “known” factor in all my experiences with these other online communities it still makes me think that the motivating factor in this case is GW.
So why does the company generate such hate?