As most involved WoW fans already know, Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street (lead systems designer at Blizzard) became a familiar name on the WoW forums throughout 2009. After Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard made a substantial effort to increase community interaction between players and developers in its official forums. This new strategy often seemed to feature Ghostcrawler at the helm, answering the most important questions and providing the bulk of WoW-related announcements. But now, after more than a year's worth of drama, locked threads and a messy forums landscape, the question is raised; should Blizzard have done anything differently?
Not long after patch 3.3 launched last week, players hit the official forums like a ton of bricks (as per usual, following a major patch). Many practiced restraint, and wrote non-inflammatory posts about the new patch's class mechanics, balance and various bugs. But others responded as many forum members have come to expect; with long-winded diatribes about Blizzard's incompetence, and personal attacks against the developers (many of which are directed at Ghostcrawler, due to his prominence within the forums as an "unofficial" spokesperson for the company).
The WoW.com editorial offers a decent response to the issue, suggesting that flame-inducing posts need "to either be shot down en masse, or [...] ignored," and reminding the community that it "needs to understand that it doesn't have a solid grasp on class balance and general game design." The editorial also warns of what the community stands to lose, now that players are finally getting more developer feedback and interaction than ever before.