Remember when we asked everyone to please stop making Discord servers for things that shouldn't be Discord servers? Apparently Amazon wasn't listening, as it has revealed plans to shut down the forums for its New World and Lost Ark MMOs in favor of—you guessed it—Discord servers.
"With the launch of our official New World Discord along with the features, functionality, and accessibility for players we have made the decision to embrace Discord as our primary engagement platform for New World moving forward," Amazon said. "To help us add as much value as possible to our Discord server, we will be sunsetting the New World forums which will allow our staff to focus on providing quality engagement opportunities in a central, and easily accessible platform."
Aside from swapping out the game name, the Lost Ark forum closure message is identical.
Forum posting will be disabled on May 1, although the forums themselves will remain up for an indeterminate time so users will have a chance to save what they want to keep. Amazon "will be cataloging all of the historical feedback that players have left, assuring that sentiment and feedback left is not lost." Once that's done, the forum URL will be redirected to Discord servers (New World, Lost Ark) and social media pages. Somewhat oddly, given that it's pulling the plug on its own forums, Amazon said it will also be increasing its presence on the New World and Lost Ark subreddits.
The response to the plan from forum users is not great. Some of the pushback is a bit overwrought (one thread on the decision to end the forums calls it "a horrendous, vile mistake," which is pretty heavy) but plenty of users make the valid point that Discord and forums are very different tools designed to serve very different purposes.
"Discord is obviously useful for many reasons, most gamers use it," New World forum user Gavyne wrote. "But it’s a terrible place to have a back & forth discussion on several topics, as well as search for data & content."
"While the chat layout on Discord serves a better purpose for small talk and one-liners, the bulletin board forum layout however gives a much better overview for deeper discussion/analysis, easier to access and have far better and more tools for formatting," Julezer added. "People in general also put much more thought into posting on a forums than in a chat. Looking at your current Discord layout it is in no way capable of replacing a forum. It will very quickly end in a disorganized mess."
"It is impossible to have an engaging discussion in Discord, it is a real time chat app," NSilva wrote on the Lost Ark forums. "There is absolutely no fucking point of leaving feedback or posting if users can’t easily read all the related messages. Even if you post stuff there it is just gone, out of reach forever after 2mins."
I'm an old forums guy myself (I still occasionally find myself thinking about the old, long-lost BioWare forums) so there's definitely some bias at play here, but I have to agree with the sentiment that this isn't a great move for New World and Lost Ark players. Forums are a litany, a place to share considered thoughts and find arcane knowledge buried in time; Discord, by comparison, is an unruly tavern: Great for meeting with friends and fighting with strangers, but very much a "moment in time" sort of thing.
Luckily, New World and Lost Ark players have other channels for forum-like communications, including Reddit and Steam, so the closure of their native forums doesn't represent the complete end of civilized interactions. Even so, it's kind of a bummer: Call me old-fashioned if you will, but big games deserve their own forums—Discord may be a new way of doing things, but that doesn't mean it's better.