I’ll Never Forget the Fond Memories at WoW Insider

You might have seen some of the alleged rumors and news going around yesterday about Joystiq’s demise. How does this affect WoW Insider? Well, WoW Insider is under the arm of Joystiq which is also owned by AOL (along with Massively). Heck, #SaveJoystiq was trending all day earlier. I’m sure the support from many of the readers was well received by the writers. If anything happens to Joystiq, the sister sites would feel the effects. I’m sure if there were anything official to announce, it would happen soon. Until then, I’m going to take a moment and be all sappy. I’m almost never sappy.

Matt? Show emotion? Please. But indulge me just this one time on a trip throughout the years and the awesome writers that I am proud to have worked with (and played alongside).

WoW Insider was my first big break. During the Spring of 2008, then editor Liz Harper signed me to write a weekly Priest column. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t have any formal training or a post secondary degree completed yet since I was still in university. All I had was this blog as my portfolio. The Warcraft blogosphere then was completely different. There wasn’t an Icy Veins yet and WoW Head was still in it’s infancy as just a database. WoW Progress didn’t exist until 2008 and on. Elitist Jerks was the place to go for class discussion and theorycrafting. All these community sites and forums for classes never existed and MMO Champion had one of the more horrendous looks at the time (but at least it was organized and neat). I can’t say for certain what the oldest Warcraft fansite is, but WoW Insider would definitely be up there. I never did find out how the idea and the initial production of the site began.

WoW Insider wasn’t the first place to go if you wanted patch notes, raid guides, or blue posts. MMO Champion and WoWHead both filled that quite handily. If those two were the head and brains of Warcraft fan sites, then WoW Insider would’ve been the heart and soul. There are easily hundreds of opinions and editorial pieces published over the years that highlighted initiatives by players, challenged designer decisions, and offered advice on all sorts of topics. Yeah, some of it was fluff but I can’t deny the impact or the community aspect and the way it brought people together.

I’ll never forget that chance Liz gave me.

I’ll never forget the lore debates between Mike Sacco, Matt Rossi, Anne Stickney, and Daniel Whitcomb late at night.

I’ll never forget Alex and Daniel’s constant back and forth regarding each Mass Effect game, the characters, and the choices.

I’ll never forget Dan’s numerous lolcat pictures where he seemingly had one for every possible situation.

I’ll never forget Mike Grey and his calming influence or the lessons he taught about the business side of things.

I’ll never forget Adam’s liberal use of facepalm Picard pictures.

I’ll never forget when Anne introduced me to the mimosa nor all the new Starbucks drinks she came up for me to try.

I’ll never forget how I managed to rope Joe into being one of the Shaman writers.

I’ll never forget Lisa who was like the English teacher you wanted that did not use a red pen whenever you screwed something up.

I’ll never forget Fox because seriously, how can you forget Fox?

I’ll never forget Allison Robert when she won the informal headlines contest for page views hands down with “Naked Women Playing Cataclysm Alpha”.

I’ll never forget Olivia who literally showed me what tenacity and hard work looked like if they chugged energy drinks.

I’ll never forget Robin’s encouragement in making an appearance during WoW Insider guild events (I was a shy fellow).

I’ll never forget Dawn and her relationship with Ruthers, the Yak. She was always the better Priest.

I’ll never forget Sally or Kristin and the perspectives they brought to the discussions which made me re-examine my own.

I’ll never forget Chase Christian and our hilarious exchanges about how bad the other’s healer class was.

I’ll never forget Christian Belt and his nigh-legendary rivalry with about every Warlock columnist who ever tried to wage a war of words.

I’ll never forget the revolving door of Warlock columnists until one Megan managed to break the curse.

I’ll never forget the sleepless nights leading up to patch or expansion drops and the work we put in to ensure all the basics were covered.

I’ll never forget the readers (and the email comments which can never see the light of day).

I’ll never forget the fun and planning that went into Hello Kitty Insider.

There were numerous other individuals who were there. I feel like there are going to be a few others that I have forgotten. Amanda, Liz W., Big Red Kitty, Big Bear Butt, Basil, Frostheim, Chase H., Scott, Josh, Matt W., Kelly, Stacey, Lissanna, other writers, and then there were the support teams operating behind the scenes who helped ensure the site was running. One of the best editorial teams I had the pleasure of working with.

The Hypothetical

If you follow editors Adam or Alex on Twitter, they’ve both been posting hypothetical questions.

I am going to emphasize that it’s all hypothetical.

It would be nice if this was the 24th century and money wasn’t a thing anymore. But writers have to pay the bills, put a roof over their head, and put food on the table. For some, freelance writing is a part time gig. For others, it’s a full time career and profession. I think there’s a few things that the corporate overseers could’ve done better and should’ve evolved with the changing internet. If a game can make over 50 million dollars from crowdfunding alone, then that needs to be examined as potential revenue stream.

Here’s a few options I can think of that seem to work well for the sites below:

There’s the Starcity Games model where they have a nice collection of accessible articles and a premium selection of written content. However, It could be spun so that premium content would be available later for free (and that those interested in supporting the site would get a first crack and view premium content first).

Another model is to follow in the footsteps of the TotalFark and Reddit Gold programs that allow users to provide a modest monthly subscription donation which includes optional ads, special site-wide perks, and awesome deals with select partners.

The last one I can think of is New York Times and Wall Street Journal model which places everything behind a paywall (and this would be the least likely route since the hypothetical site wouldn’t last very long here).

Whatever ends up happening, this is all research into hypothetical situation that might not occur. Either way, I encourage you to let them know directly (or you can respond here).

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. While it is sad to see a place like WoW Insider go, it will likely be for the best.  I think that allowing them to move on into new directions will be great for most of them.  And all this “hypothetical” talk is a good thing.  Get them out of an obviously failing parent, and out on their own.

    Like you said, most people who want patch notes or a big database of items will go to MMO-Champion or WoWHead.  The people who want the lore and the editorial columns will follow their writers to their new destination.

    I wish the WoW Insider team luck, and look forward to seeing what you all have in store for the next chapter.

  2. I feel for the people who will loose income if this happens, but I have always wondered how in the heck these sites cover their costs, much less make a profit.

    I hate to say it, but there just isn’t enough content on Wowinsder to get me to pay $5 much less $10 a month for it.  There are just to many other places to get the information.

  3. @JohnG228 It was purely ad driven. But with all the people today using various forms of ad block, it’s enough to put a dent. There were other income stream methods but it was a business decision from the top. Nothing to do with the editorial staff or anything. 

    Is there an amount you would be willing to part with?

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