Having played World of Warcraft for a long time now (almost 9 years), I’ve seen the way the community has changed over the years. WoWInsider was a HUGE influence on that.
When I started playing, game blogging was barely a thing. There were a few communities – Elitist Jerks and the official forums and the like – but not much else. You generally went to Thottbot for your information ad read the comment section. Then there was an explosion of gaming blogs. They became the go-to resource for all things gaming. If you wanted to know something, from boss strategies to crafting to pvp, to class-specific information, there was a blog (or 10) for it.
Then along came WoWInsider. And it was good. Really good. And the WoWHead. It was good as well. And from these, there became less need for gaming blogs. Why scour the internet for information when it was almost certainly on WoWInsider or WoWHead?
As a blogger, I did resent them, somewhat. I had become pretty involved in my rogue-related blogging, and the fact that WoWInsider’s rogue columns were just plain better than mine irked me a little. It helped ease the sting when they linked to my blog and brought me thousands of views. Still, it was soon after this that my blogging started to decrease. In my mind I sometimes blamed them for stealing the thunder of WoW-bloggers, but in my heart I knew they were just excellent writers who were putting a lot of time and effort into their work.
Since then, WoWInsider has been my number one WoW resource. I know that some people call them shills for Blizzard, but considering how much I love the game I’m not actively looking for WoW critics.
Seeing how they have been the dominant online presence (outside of the official forums) for WoW for years now, to me this marks another shift in gaming communication. Is this because of the recent predominance of Twitter as a gaming community? It it because there are fewer gamers?
I’m sad to see them go.
And I hope on Tuesday when their site closes they will make an announcement that they are setting up shop in some other part of the internet.