Blizzard moves all Battle.net games to Discourse

Kaelon

Adherent
Joined
Aug 14, 2008
Messages
281
This is probably old news by now, but for the past year, Blizzard has been steadily migrating all of its own in-house custom-designed forums to Discourse, and it has done a beautiful job of customizing the Discourse stack for its community of gamers and video game players.

https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/wow/
 

Alpha1

Administrator
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
4,120
That looks awesome! Sites do respond a little slow from my side of the globe though. Its good to see your sites are doing so well.

Could you please share your opinion about the pros and cons of discource? Especially for customized big boards and networks.
 

Kaelon

Adherent
Joined
Aug 14, 2008
Messages
281
That looks awesome! Sites do respond a little slow from my side of the globe though. Its good to see your sites are doing so well.

Could you please share your opinion about the pros and cons of discource? Especially for customized big boards and networks.

So, full disclosure, while I have a lot of colleagues and professional contacts at Blizzard and in the gaming industry in general, I am not a Blizzard employee and was not intimately involved in the forum transition. That said, I know a lot about what went on and also evaluated Discourse for use on my other gaming sites.

In my view, Discourse is not an appropriate solution for most classic discussion-based forum communities. It is, however, a great solution for faster-paced social experiences. There are several reasons for this:
  • Conversations are not threaded, they are linear with threading-like references.
  • Discourse is on a Rails stack, and is notoriously resource-hungry. Self-hosters will find themselves spending ~60 min a day managing and maintaining the installation and optimizing their servers.
  • Though it is open source, managed hosting for this offering is expensive since Discourse.org is in the hosting business, and other third-party hosts offer cookie-cutter installations.
  • Blizzard had a dedicated web team spend over a year custom forking Discourse and then slowly migrating boards over (and they made the decision to just migrate ~2 weeks worth of posts, and then archiving all of their older content).
  • UI is streamlined and highly responsive, and has a mobile-first approach which will appeal to current web users across platforms.

For people who typically post less than ~150 words per post, Discourse will work just fine. But for admins who are used to tweaking installations and who, they themselves, are not developers, customizing Discourse is not for the faint-hearted. Other forum platforms, like Flarum, seem to mimic the major UI innovations that Discourse advanced (such as in-thread summarizing) while maintaining a more accessible code-base. But this largely glosses over a single glaring problem afflicting all of us these days:

Forums are essentially a dead medum, and outside of niche discussion communities, will not capture significant new audiences at the pre-2008 activity levels. For a growth-based experience, we should be investing in micro-blogging and hyper-discussion platforms, more similar to Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat -- though these, too, are now archaic compared to the media-rich video-centric experiences that are driving over a third of content creation on the web today. For networks of users creating content, going mobile-first with an emphasis on video would be a better investment of time rather than trying to use a platform like Discourse to catapult your content engine -- which it will not.
 

Alpha1

Administrator
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
4,120
Ah, I see. I'm not familiar with the WOW & fantasy game niche, but remember your site was in the Fantasy Game niche. I see Aelyria is still using vb3 and is not related to blizzard.

Thanks for the explanation.
 
Top