2old2play is changing everything. This post is something I’ve been thinking about writing for almost 2 years now. With the release of the new consoles, great new games on the horizon, and our current goals of producing new content outside of 2o2p, I think its finally time to rip off the band-aid and put it all out there. I will warn you however, this is going to be long winded and a bit opinionated. So pull up a chair next to the camp fire and settle in. Whether you’re an old member or new, this is a post for the entire 2old2play community.
To begin with, if you are still checking 2o2p on the regular you’ve probably noticed a trend in the past few years. Major clans have universally decided to leave 2o2p and start their own sites. Player contribution to the main forums has slowed to a crawl, and the general feeling on 2o2p is that of malaise. I’ll go a bit into what caused this, but for the most part I want to talk about how we plan to “fix” it. The good news is traffic overall on the site is much higher than ever before for our external content.
Before we get into all that, lets talk about Version 2-Version 3, perception, and the fracturing of our community. If we go back to the history books of 2o2p, just before the launch of V3, I was worried about failing to release a new version of the site. It took entirely too long to get the new version up with the little free time I had, and we were already seeing a trend. Clans were relatively happy at the time, with the majority of them growing or steady. However on the outside of those clans the site was near death. Public forums were ghost towns, new members were locked out of meeting people because clans were so closed, and massive clans who enjoyed our recruitment would ultimately leave. I’d review analytics and see tons of new members coming in, but none being picked up by clans, and a steady drop of old members.
I’m sure other people will have a different outlook on V2 than I did. Rose colored glasses often change our outlook on the past, but for me, V2 created a site where no one cared about 2o2p as a community outside their own groups, and instead it was looked at as a free place to host their own clans. This isn’t what 2o2p V1 was built on and I suppose that model is fine if we continued to provide a large amount of incoming people to form new clans of their own, but that isn’t something that we could really sustain without a ton of exposure outside of 2o2p. So in the end what was happening is clans ended up choking out the freelance player base on 2o2p until we didn’t have a pool of new players willing to start clans of their own anymore. On top of this larger clans with no allegiance to 2o2p outside of our forums decided to leave and start sites of their own. This was all well before V3 mind you. It’s also when I figured out that 2o2p was really no longer a community and had a limited life span.
Side bar time! There is one trend that I notice more than any other with my 10 years on 2old2play. When clans leave 2o2p they usually take every ideal that I built 2o2p on with them. Well, all but one. They keep the 25 and older rules, build their forums blogs and news, and some even keep 2old* branding that they got from us (yikes!). The one thing they don’t do however is allow other clans to form on their site. As much as clans enjoyed the 2o2p forums when they were on them, they all know after building their ranks on 2o2p that closed clans are a problem. They fractured and insulated the community and so far not ONE clan that has left 2old2play has built this idea into their own model.
So with all that in mind, I felt like I needed to get V3 out ASAP. For some dumb reason I thought it would be some sort of salvation. Maybe new shiny stuff would be enough, right? I ignored the systemic problem that had been eating away at our community and powered through. I was too afraid to make the real changes that needed to happen in fear of pissing off long time members and instead launched a buggy, slow, and unneeded change to 2o2p. This was just the catalyst needed for clans on the fringe to rally against. While most bugs were fixed relatively fast, most had made up their minds within the first few days.
On top of this, things like Facebook, Twitter, cheap hosting, and the decline of forum use in general were growing drastically. Since clans on 2old2play didn’t really use it as a place to talk about video games anyway, these other avenues made a lot more sense. Even clans that I was in moved most of their discussions to faster platforms like Gchat, slack chat, IRC, or Facebook. And truthfully why wouldn’t they? When I’m talking to friends I’d much rather do it via something instant like chat rather than a forum post. The “type” of post on 2o2p (mostly in clans) had outgrown the theme of 2old2play and ultimately the site itself. Even now, I chat with most of my 2o2p friends on iMessage, slack, or text.
Our current state
What do we do with 2old2play now after all these years? I suppose I could just shut things down, however I’ve made tons of lifelong friends here and want that same experience for new gamers in the future. Instead the plan is to go back to the 2o2p of 2005 and really open up our community. Back then we didn’t really care all that much about clans and conversation was geared toward grouping up, gaming, and talking about our experiences online. So with that he is the current plan for 2o2p V4. Please read through everything before freaking out!
- All clans forums will be removed from the site. I think this one is pretty obvious, but we don’t see a need for clan forums anymore and would like to go back to the small and simple single group site of before. We know this will probably cause a LOT of people to leave the site, but for the overall health of 2o2p it’s important. Also, we’re fairly ok with people leaving as this doesn’t affect those that are loyal to the 2o2p community, which is really the people we want to focus on serving anyway.
This obviously doesn’t mean we will just nuke your forum from space without talking about it first. In fact if you have a clan forum based on a game (for example MTGO clan) what we’d love to do is just make a MTGO forum for you and any people interested in MTGO online. Our goal isn’t to just get rid of long time members, but instead to make sure both new and old members can all discuss the same games we love. The focus should be the GAME and not the clan behind it. If this is something you want to do, I’ll be sending PMs to each clan before we move forward.
- Divisions/Groups will be made into their own game forums and division forums will be removed from the site. One of the best things to happen to 2old2play was Forza and our racing community. It was proof that an open forum can not only work within 2old2play, but also grow. The leadership and people that make up our racing folks are some of the best 2old2play has to offer.
With this in mind, game forums going forward will all follow this model. For example, Forza folks will take full ownership of all racing game forums they want. IE if you’re into Forza you will be posting and discussing in their open forums. If you do something that is against their rule set, you will be dealing with their mods. Game forums in general will all need this type of ownership (especially the larger ones) and our hope is that leaders will come forward to take ownership of a game forward and help direct that community. People often ask me what they can do to help 2o2p and honestly this is the type of help we need at the game level.
- Off site clans websites will not only be allowed, but encouraged. If you decide to leave 2old2play and do your own thing after this change we totally get it. We’re taking away your private area and while that sucks, we obviously hope you will stay with us for the banter and chance to meet even more amazing people. However if you don’t stay then we want to network with you. The plan is to have The 2old2network gaming community outside of the site itself. We will link our sites, allow you to recruit on the forums, and even post network events each week to drive members around our network. We hope that this is help with the issue of poaching members and also allow for a transparent method to recruit and promote clans.
Our goal with this network is not only for current clans either. I will be reaching out to most of the clans who not only were a part of 2o2p, but older gamer clans in general. I don’t believe for a second that 2old2play is always the right choice for older gamers 100% of the time, but if its not then we’d at least like to be able to help find those people a place to call home. So if you’re a current clan who is leaving or an old clan that left long ago, let’s work together to help build a stronger bond with all gamers over 25. Feel free to get in contact with me to learn more about our plans for 2old2network.
- Events will be a major part of 2o2p. As with the 2old2network, the core of 2o2p has always been events. This goal will become our main focus with the revamp as we build more ways for gamers to connect through our events than before. Tournaments, leagues, and meet ups will play a major role as we bring new web-based tournament software directly to the hands of our forum leaders and event planners. We’re hoping this sparks more reasons for people to want to group up and build events around our members.
- Removing clutter, and deleting old users. As part of any revamp, we’re going to have to wipe down some dusty areas. For one, we will be deleting non-active members and pruning our membership based on last log-in time. Currently the idea is that we keep any members who have logged in within the last year and remove the rest. Any logins with dead emails will also be deleted and removed from the system. We will also be getting rid of a major chunk of our forums and focusing only on game the community actively plays. This might mean that you only see a few gaming forums at first, but the goal is to only expand when needed. Any content not related to gaming can always go in off-topic! We are planning on adding a tagging system into our forums so that content inside of forums can be tagged and followed in their own threads as well to keep clutter at a minimum.
Because of this clean up, site will also become simplified. In navigation, the Content and Web shows tab will be merged and pruned, Community and Forum will become forum, and the groups tab will go away completely. There will be more of these design changes discussed as we get closer to finishing the site, but the main goal with this clean up is to focus on the community and providing people with more ways to meet up and discuss games while anywhere on the site.
Doodi you’re ruining the site again!
I’m sure this will be a large portion of the feedback I get for a lot of these changes, but keep in mind the goal is to build a 2o2p that everyone wants to be a part of and not just a hosting platform for other clans. Without question we’re doing something here that may mean a huge loss for 2o2p. I’m sorry if that’s the case, and I truly do wish everyone is willing to stay and meet new gamers. However I think we’ve made some decent compromises for clans that leave with the 2old2network and really can see a lot of great things that come out of reaching outside our walls. My only hope is that current and new members find 2old2play a great place to meet gamers and form relationships online. Transparency is the key going forward and after 10 years I hope you guys are willing to give us a shot for 10 more.
There is so much more to share in terms of functionality changes, site structure, and leadership, but I think this is more then enough text to take in for the time being. As always feel free to comment your hearts out as we move 2old2play into the future in the coming few months. Thanks so much for the memories and I hope to build some more with you soon!