So, Massively’s closing on tuesday. The whole affair, though, proved to be a somewhat positive thing; the community loving that site is a good thing to see these days. There have been lots and lots of encouraging comments, blog posts and so on. While we are “between Massivelys”, i wanted to write down some thoughts about what Massively was like and hopefully, what it’ll be like, soon.
The community is strong in this one
I spent some time thinking about what it is that made Massively unique in this industry- i mean, there are other sites, like mmorpg.com, tentonhammer.com, mmogames.com and zam.com, but to me, they fail when it comes to providing the “Massively experience”. I think this has a lot to do with how personal, subjective and full of character the Massively writers are. Sure, we all have our favourites, possibly those who cover the games we each play, and for me, i like Justin Olivetti, MJ Guthrie and Jef Reahard the most. Bree’s also great, especially when she does some no-bullshit-writeup. But she wasn’t in the front rows often since she became the Editor-in-chief and lost her three main games in one year. It’s quite a team, when you think about it- Justin and MJ are almost always positive, taking a glass-half-full view on the games we all love, while Jef…well, i haven’t seen Jef happy since starting to read Massively. But he has always been a strong proponent for MMORPGs being virtual worlds, a sentiment i share.
The other writers are also great, of course. Eliot’s and Larry stick out because they are the ones who mainly stick to one game; this is something that you can feel when reading someone’s articles. The knowledge of the game is there, as is the love for it.
Oh yeah, this paragraph was about the community. It is noteworthy that 98% of the comments in these last days have been very positive and expressed the will to “do something” in order to not lose Massively’s writers and community as assets. Twitter handles were exchanged, i too dusted my old Twitter account off although i wanted to get a new handle with this blog. Speaking from my perspective, there aren’t too many community members who seem to be following the others, as in me, but i can’t fault anyone for that- i was a silent reader, mostly. That is something i will change in the Massively-to-come.
It seems to be clear that the staff will strike out on their own. They hinted at this being a possibility several times.
So what can they do? Patreon seems reasonable- go for a subscription model, make us pay for content. I’m sure, right now, there will be a lot of people supporting their efforts. But i also have to say that Patreon is also a bit risky- they could lose subscriptions over time. I don’t know if a Kickstarter is possible, but it would have the benefit of a lot of money rolling in right now instead of a monthly stipend that could be cancelled at any time. Still, when we think “Online Magazine”, Patreon would possibly be the way to go.
Also, they’ll have to move fast. I don’t want to be Negative Nancy here, but all these people telling them they’ll support Massively? They mean it, but give them time to realize that a world without Massively isn’t some kind of strange alternate reality one couldn’t imagine before and support will dwindle. Right now, people are emotional- hell, i am- and while one could say that it wouldn’t be the good thing to do, i’d advise to take advantage of that. They’ll get the most money 1 or 2 weeks after the closure- later on, it will become less with each passing day. They have to make their move. WoW Insider seems to be ready to go on february, 3rd, and i’m looking forward to see what they cooked up and i hope, Massively’s writers have something, as well.
While i think it’s really sad to see WoW Insider go, my first concern is Massively. I’m not so sure why they don’t join forces, though. I think it’s reasonable to assume that whatever both teams come up with, that it’s not going to be as large-scaled as what they were before. I think if they banded together, put the readerbase on one project, they’d both win.
Even if AOL didn’t interfere much with what Massively wrote and did- at least it didn’t seem much- there will be some changes coming. As said, i expect the new project to be somewhat smaller. Also, when your readership directly pays your bills- either by Kickstarting your idea or in a Patreon-style-subscription format, they’ll hold you accountable. That said, i think if it’s going to happen, the quality of Massively Next will be even better than what we have now. Also, the staff could write stuff that they’re passionate about- maybe we’ll see more roleplaying topics, maybe we’ll see more opinionated articles like the Soapbox. The Massively team has our hints as to what we’d like to see.
Anyhow, with this team together, i can see a really good, cooperative blog/news page coming up, and i could even see how it could be even better than Massively- at least for us, the readers. I’d hope the authors would also come out on top, but that remains to be seen.
Putting your money where your mouth is
So Ex-Massively author Rubi Bayer asked us to put our money where our mouth is. And i can tell you, i’m totally willing to do that. Since the €/$ – conversion rate is messed up right now, i can say that i’d put 10€ (wow, that’s only 11.30$ right now) a month in- if it was a monthly payment. Otherwise, i’d look into what combination of one-time-injection and subscription would work for me.
As for Rubi’s asking to help those authors out- i’m with her, maybe one should do that in the meantime. But i can also tell you this: first of all, i won’t be able to support everyone- it wouldn’t make a difference to either of them if i tried to, say, split my 12$ in three parts or something. Also, i’m slightly worried that if it works out “too well” for one of them, they might not be hungry enough to get Massively Next going- but that’s silly, maybe. And then there’s a third reason: whatever i’d put in, i’d send it off to Massively Next when it comes up, so the injection would only be temporary and i’ll feel terrible when i transfer it over to the new Massively.
Nevertheless, i think i’m going to become a Patreon of one of them- still want to sleep over it, but i’m positive. No question, though, that i’d pay for the Massively-team-new-site.