Martin Kerstein has a post at the ArenaNet blog, discussing their community building plans for Guild Wars 2. The information he emphasizes in the post is:
Let me point out the two biggest changes in the ways we interact with our communities between the original Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 right up front: we will have official forums, and we will not have a traditional fansite program.
The large and growing fan community — including GuildMag and our friends at other Guild Wars 2 fan sites, blogs, and forums and in the social media world — have become too diverse for ArenaNet to support in the same way they did for Guild Wars: we’re “victims” of our own enthusiasm. Instead, ArenaNet will be introducing their own official forums.
As the community round-up writer here at GuildMag let me give a hearty endorsement for that. When I started doing a weekly newsletter of what was new in the Guild Wars 2 world a couple of years ago, I could easily do it in about 10-15 minutes, visiting the usual sites and checking for new material. Now, I gather posts from the official site, from traditional gaming sites, from fan blogs, from forums, from Twitter, from RSS feeds, from our community email, and I still get tips from guild and alliance members to articles I didn’t find using my usual tools. We are a very talkative, inquisitive, and eager horde! And I’m just linking to this stuff … I can’t imagine how the ArenaNet community managers find time to sleep with all that activity to stay on top of and respond to it all.
To achieve our goal, we also need our fans in all the different communities to be proactive. By working together, with you bringing amazing and great community projects to our attention and us highlighting them for the broader community, we will be able to build something great and lasting that will benefit each and every one of you. To help facilitate this, we will give you tools like our wiki and specialized forums that allow our passionate players to freely collaborate and share assets and ideas.
Being proactive doesn’t seem to be a problem for Guild Wars 2 fans! But our community is now so widespread and fragmented that nobody can realistically keep track of everything (believe me, I try).
And now the challenge ArenaNet is hoping to take on with their new approach:
Our ultimate goal is to create an environment that is respectful, welcoming, inclusive and friendly. We want to create a global community where people will feel at home, and an environment that will foster both creativity and collaboration.
The main goal is to be inclusive, not exclusive, to encourage collaboration between communities, and to generate an atmosphere that is helpful, friendly, and above all, respectful. There is an unfortunate tendency in some online communities to encourage behavior that is detrimental to the fun of a lot of players by allowing a rather toxic and unwelcoming atmosphere. We want to set a new standard and make the Guild Wars 2 community a mature, friendly, helpful and inclusive one that is recognized throughout the industry as being so.
While I fully support their goal, it is going to be a major task for them to discourage the griefers and trolls that are far too common in the gaming world. I hope they can achieve this without resorting to heavy handed tactics.