Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Discussion: More About RPG Message Boards

It's time for that most cherished of RPG Blog II institutions, Friday Discussion. Nothing too serious, nothing too heavy, just gamers talking about the hobby they love.

Today's topic is something we've discussed before, but that I wanted to come back to. There's actually a couple of parts to today's question:

-Do you frequent any RPG message boards? If so, which ones and how often?

-Do you feel those boards are a) more useful, b) less useful, or c) about the same as they were a few years ago?

-Has your presence on RPG message boards increased, decreased, or remained the same in the past couple of years?

Thanks for answering, and have an awesome weekend!


1d30 said...

I used to frequent RPG message boards. I got tired of the undesirable personalities that burbled to the surface of what often became, and I think this is fair, a fetid pit. This varies from board to board, and the OD&D board especially is worthwhile.

Nothing cools my enthusiasm for D&D like seeing, in succession:

Yet another thread proposing a Jedi prestige class,

Another argument over some minor technicality in the rules (bonus points if the poster is a player demanding that everyone acknowledge that his DM is an ignorant bastard),

Another thread about a recursive exploit that allows a player to create a character of ridiculous power,

Another thread about Celestial Vampiric Ghost Space Half-Platinum-Dragon Half-Drow Conquistador/Paladin/Cavalier/Samurai/Viking/Ninja/Robot/Pirate/Avatar "build" with an expected package of magic items, six hundred acronyms, seventeen source books, and a huge rant on why this is "legal" and your DM is an ignorant bastard for not letting you play it,

Pointless flames between different camps of troll,

Regressives who argue that the new thing sucks, early adopters who argue that the old thing sucks, self-declared geniuses who argue that everyone is lame for arguing over it,

Admins who either ignore the board or who rule it with a spiked, poisoned gauntlet,

And spending too much time posting.

Instead I glean what I want from a forum and move on. There are typically some good ideas - diamonds in the dreck so to speak- but I just can't bear to participate.

Dr Rotwang! said...

For me it's decreased greatly. Although I've been hitting The Haven again in the last 2 or 3 days, it had been...let's see. A year, more? since I'd been there.

No real reason taht I can cite, though, short of I didn't have anything to say.

Jeff Tillotson said...

Don't frequent message boards much any more. I like the community aspect of many of them, but find I don't have the time to "keep up". Many of them seem to be more chat rooms that forums.

I come from the good ole days of message boards. It took effort and resources to stay connected. So, one would use offline message systems. It worked like this:
1. Dial in and download the messages since your last download.
2. Read them and respond at your convenience.
3. Upload your replies the next time you logged in.
4. Finally if it was a global message area, wait for those replies to replicate around.

Nearly everyone had to work with this constraint so messages had content. Not a lot of "me to" messaging.

Those were the good ole days of gaming in the electronic space. Now you kids get off my lawn.

Carlson793 said...

I used to frequent various D&D Minis boards (WotC, MaxMinis), but when I stopped playing and trading... well what's the point?

Likewise, when I get into a game, I'll hit the publisher's message boards for a bit, see if I can pick up any useful information. That usually results in one or two nuggets for every ten to twenty complaints about this or that element of the game and/or flame war... Not really worth it in the long run.

For a brief while I was hitting the "generic" boards (EN World, and the like), but there's just too much stuff on those sites to bother sorting through, especially when any nuggets are sure to hit one of the blogs I'm subscribed to if they're "important."

No, any more I generally just stick to a couple Louisville, KY boards (hometown) and a Central Kentucky board (might be something crop up worth the hour drive).

Joseph said...

The only one I read with any regularity any more is Canonfire. Every once in a while I'll still pass through Dragonsfoot or Knights & Knaves Alehouse just to see if any new thread titles catch my interest, but that's more of a quarterly endeavor at this point.

I used to be a lot more active, and frequented other boards. Nowadays I find the blogs are my choice for getting news and reading interesting ideas.

Oh, Jeff; I remember the BBS days well. And back in the day when AOL still charged, and before that when some of us paid $19.95 an hour to go on CompuServe. *shudder*

KenHR said...

I frequent RPGsite, RPGnet and Dragonsfoot. I check in on several other sites on a more sporadic basis.

Definitely not frequenting them as much as I used to; even took a 2-month break from them a while back.

I find less and less use in message boards as time goes on, other than as a time-filler at work. The same discussions that were going on when the Dragon was new recur with disturbing regularity. Some boards have settled down to the same handful of posters shouting at one another. Most don't tolerate opinions that fall outside the norm for that site. Lots of people (mods, admins, posters alike...and I'm not just talking about a single board here) treat RPG discussion as Serious Business. Most discussions have little to do with actual play, anyway.

Reverend Dak J. Ultimak said...

I've been visiting DDi and enworld's forums for 4e, recently. But mostly to see how other people feel about certain products.

I don't remember how they were years ago, I don't frequent forums much, in general. I'm usually there for information.

It's only increased recently because of my disappointment in how WotC has been handling D&D 4e's online initiative. Other than that I go looking for reviews and opinions on certain things.

I used to visit Necromancy Games's forums. I used to really like their style, but they're dead now, and I haven't checked out the new stuff the new company, who I can't remember their name. Dead Frog? Something like that.

Carpe Guitarrem said...

Myth-Weavers was my big one, but a large part of things was the time commitment. I did enjoy the gaming I had on there, though.

Giant in the Playground forums are my other big, though I mainly frequent them to keep tabs on the anime thread and the non-RPG gaming.

I've just not really had much time for them.

Tenkar said...

Necromancer Games morped into Frog God I do believe.

Deinol said...

I frequent Paizo and Kobold Quarterly. I infrequently stop by enworld and the ffg forums (for their 40k rpgs). When I'm looking for info about a specific game I might occasionally stop somewhere else.

Aaron said...

The closest that I come to being a regular on any RPG message boards is being a part of two RPG-related groups on LinkedIn.

They're not very active - mainly because LinkedIn is a professional, rather than social, networking site, and there aren't very many industry folks in the groups. But that's cool, as once you're a grown-up, RPGs can't be the center of your life in the same way they can when your in high-school or home for the summer from collage. By the same token, since everyone uses their real names (pretty much - the fakes tend to be easy to spot), the trolling is much reduced, nearly to the point of non-existence.

Simon said...

I've been frequenting the site - essentially a question and answer based community centered on RPGs - It's more Q&A driven that opinion or chat driven, so it has managed so far to avoid flame wars and trolling and the like

Spawn of Endra said...

I came back into gaming last year via mostly old school blogs, and I tend to prefer blogs to boards. I don't like the message board interface for one, but I guess at this point in my life I don't have the patience to put up with anonymous dipshits entering "discussions" (whut-whoa! am I being an anonymous diphit hypocrite? Well, I'm 37, I've earned my hypocriticism, get used to it.). I prefer to evaluate each blogger on their own merits, and admittedly in terms of how they are received by others in the 'community'. Then I go to their blog. Forums and boards are people screaming at cross purposes about shit.

Consonant Dude said...

Funny, I decided a couple of days ago that I was done with forums and activated my blog :)

As I explained over there, current RPG message boards just aren't satisfying me in any way, shape or form. They tend to become monolithic over time and I feel guilty by association. Furthermore, I think blogs actually accomplish the same things and more. I get to share my thoughts, learn stuff and what's more, I don't bother people who aren't interested in whatever I have to say that day. With powerful networking tools and how blogs are linked through search engines, I think they're just plain better.

Maybe I'll change my mind but so far, I feel really good about the decision.

seema said...

get into a game, I'll hit the publisher's message boards for a bit, see if I can pick up any useful information.

Brandon said...

I stop by the message boards at least once a day.

Zachary Houghton said...

Thanks for the feedback and comments, guys. Good, honest stuff.

NukeHavoc said...

I used to frequent the Greytalk listserv, but I grew tired of the various flamewars on the last. When Sean Reynolds threw up his hands and left the list, I decided I'd had enough as well.

I rarely, if ever, visit the major RPG forums; I've never found them particularly conducive to the kinds of conversations I wanted to have. Nowadays I pop into the Order 66 forums ( when I have a Star Wars: Saga Edition question, and head to Atomic Overmind Press ( to talk about my Ragnarok game.

Mostly though I just post to my gaming group's own forum. It sees a dozen posts or so a week, and that's usually enough to keep me busy. :)

Tobacco Magnate said...

Me. I tend to frequent just a few regularly. Dragonsfoot, Goblinoid Games, WEGFanForums, and Once every few months I will stop in at SJGames Forums just to see what is up at Steve Jackson but that is an infrequent thing anymore.

I try to avoid the trolls and flame wars when I go. All but tend to be friendly communities with nice folk. Guess that is why I tend to visit them the most often.

Dr Rotwang! said...

Oh, and I got real fucking tired of The RPG Paran-er, Pundit, too. Sincerely, he really queered the whole deal for me, resulting in me throwing out the bathwater, baby and all, so sour was the taste in my mouth.

Shawn Merrow said...

The only RPG message board I go to on a regular bases is the Palladium Books one. Have known some of the members there for over ten years.

A lot of the boards I used to go to are gone from the companies going out of business or just closing their boards.

I used to be on a bunch of mailing lists but they also died off. The same goes for the newsgroups.

clash bowley said...

I am about the same, just at different fora. More at RPGHaven, lest at RPGSite and RPGnet.


RPG Downloads said...

I'm surprised at the positive environment at RPG Revolution. I'll check out some of the others you guys have mentioned ;)

Tommy Brownell said...

At the moment, I mostly just go to the RPG Site...which is kinda odd.

For me, at the moment? Less useful.

Mine has currently decreased...mostly because I am so damned busy right now. I only go to game/system specific boards when I am actively playing those games...I stopped going to The RPG Haven when it kept being down or refusing to let me is generally too much traffic for me to more than browse on the schedule I'm currently that leaves The RPG Site, pretty much.

Hopefully that will change if/when I alter my current employment status.