Since everyone else is writing about the community, I figured I would chime in here.
I have only been an integral part of the Guild Wars Community for a relatively short time compared to a vast majority of you. That might cause you to not take what I have to say as seriously as others, but please listen as I feel that I can offer some valid insight being a "newcomer".
While I have not been in this community as long as most people, I have been a part of the gaming community for quite some time. I was previously part of the EverQuest 2 community and I had a bit more involvement in that one than I did in the previous EQ community which is 1, at least offline. I think the reason I was more involved in that community was because I was a guild leader and I felt more obligated to get involved offline. I frequented the game forums and followed certain people on Twitter and Facebook. I didn't get too involved in events since the game is rather huge. At this time, the game was actually split into two games and I was part of the Free-to-Play part of the community. For the most part, that community was very pleasant. A lot of us knew each other and would talk in game and we all knew who were good guilds and who were not so good guilds. It had it's dark side as well, but I think that happens with most communities, regardless of how many good people there are in there. I just never felt very integrated into that community, though. I played the game, I had my guild we were a pretty tight-knit group of people and that's all we really needed for a while. Eventually, the game grew stale for me and others and we parted ways. That led me to the Guild Wars 1 and more into the Guild Wars 2 community.
I came from EQ2 kind of bored and needing something different. I wasn't really expecting to get integrated into the community since I didn't know much about it. My boyfriend and I started our characters (he had played the game previously but quit when he felt he couldn't go much further) and at first, we just went at it as a duo. We tried to join a guild at first but they turned out to be kind of lame. Some people would be turned off by this, but he had already been in the game before and assured me that not everyone was like that. We then left to start our own guild but it was just the two of us since we didn't really want to be guild leaders again so soon after EQ2 (although I did all of the leading, he just had the officer title heh). This worked out for a month or so but it got lonely and the content was becoming more challenging for us.
Then I heard about this event that was going to happen soon called Pink Day in LA, hosted by the Gaming World Entertainment Network, or GWEN for short. All I knew about it at the time was that it was some online radio station run by gamers. I thought that was kind of neat so I decided to check out this event coming up.
So the day of the event came and I went on the website and started streaming the radio station. I didn't really know what to expect but I went in with an open mind and I was blown away. I only planned on spending an hour at the party and I think I ended up staying for the whole thing and then some. I had a BLAST! It was the most fun I have ever had in a video game and I think I told that to several people that day, too. I didn't know you could have so much fun at a player run event because I had never been to a really good one like this.
I also ended up joining one of the guilds that was helping out by hosting a district. Freaks of Society, in case you are interested. I started talking to Salmon Avenger and Darth Chain and Gaven McCloud and I got along really well with all of them. At first, I wanted to maintain my guild because I thought some of my guildies from EQ2 would come over, but at that point, I didn't really want to be a guild leader anymore and just wanted to follow. We both left the guild and ended up joining FoS. One of the best decisions we have ever made.
So you might be thinking, "Well that's a nice story, but what's the point of all this?".
The point I'm trying to make with this long diatribe is that this is the best community I have ever experienced. It welcomed me with open arms and I have never been happier in a community as I am in this one. I also want people to realize this and to not be turned off by the negative Nancys in our midst.
I think Mr. Kerstein said it best on his blog post:
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. source
For me, I have already experienced this. Not only with the GWEN folks and my own guild and alliance, but with the writers and community managers themselves. These are some of the nicest and most passionate people I have ever met. And unlike other games, they actually talk to their fans...any fans, not just those who are heavily involved in the community (GWEN Dj's, etc.). They treat you like a person, not just a dollar sign or a number.
Shouldn't we give them the same treatment? Shouldn't we treat them like they treat us? Also, shouldn't we show others who are interested in the game what an awesome community we are?
I know you can't stop every troll or every flamer and you can't make everyone happy. Our community management team does a fantastic job at keeping their cool, though. Martin and Regina and Stephane are my personal heroes and they are the reason I want to be a community manager one day. I'm not just saying this to "suck up" either. I truly mean it. They are the type of CM's that I hope to be one day. I really admire what they do. They are like the CM trifecta haha.
I admire all of the CM's, but those three hold a special place in my heart since I have seen the most interaction from them and have had the most interaction with them (at least with Regina).
My personal opinion regarding the official forums is that I can see them as a good thing. Every community is going to have their niches and smaller communities. I still plan to be on the main forums and frequent the forum I mod for and the forum I write for. I already do something like this and I'm constantly bouncing around to different communities. I am friends with everyone and I don't feel like I have to constrict myself to one forum or one site, except for ones that I spend a lot of time on, which would be the writing and moderating forums I'm on. Even then, I'm not on those as much as I'm on Twitter and that's where most of the action happens anyway.
I wouldn't look at this as splitting the community apart or even focusing it. It's just another aspect to make the community better. I plan to use the main forums mainly for a source of news or information or to recruit for a guild. I plan to stay at my other two forums since I am already integrated in those communities. You don't have to choose, you can have more than one option.
Let's just keep all of this in mind and try to make this the best gaming community ever!