By Timmy 8 Comments
With the quest system in place for a little while now, the pros and cons of the feature have begun to show themselves. No doubt the site has experienced an influx in page views, which probably means success in the eyes of the creators. I have been viewing many more wiki pages to complete quests and add to my site xp, and in turn have actually learned more about video games. For this reason alone, I would consider the quest system to be a success. I have actually browsed through dozens of pages related to games and franchises that I've never played, including Final Fantasy and Mega Man. While reading over these pages didn't really increase my desire to play the games, I feel that learning more about some landmark franchises in the video game industry is somewhat of a requirement for someone that spends some of their free time playing video games.
The system is not without its negative aspects though. The increase in site activity is no doubt beneficial to Giant Bomb and Whiskey Media in a business sense, but at what cost to the users? Some choices in quest requirements seem to contradict what constitutes a strong web community, like encouraging users to write the first comment on a story or video. How could that possibly contribute to a positive experience when everyone is simply posting "Yay!" or "First" in the comments section? Anyone that spends the time to watch the video and think of something intelligent and constructive to comment will be pushed farther down the line in favour of the aforementioned brainless posts. I guess it shouldn't matter to me so much, since I'm really there to watch the video or read the review, but it still makes me wonder if that's what other people are there for.
Like anything involving the work of many, the quality of the content will vary from person to person. An interesting situation is that of the quest, Dear Diary. Encouraging people to start writing in their blogs will increase the amount of user-generated content on the site, but that doesn't mean that this new content is necessarily beneficial to the Giant Bomb community. Blogs that simply feature a sentence or two of rambling or maybe a link to a video will not improve the user experience. The forums make up a large portion of the experience of many users, and requiring people to make a thread will not always result in well-thought-out posts about their favourite game or hamburger. Does it add anything to have people asking how to spell forty, or creating troll-bait threads about nothing in general?
I guess I'm somewhat of a hypocrite, since I'm writing my first blog on the site to finish a quest, but hopefully this small piece is read by someone with interest in preserving a respectful camaraderie on the site. I don't really plan on continuing the blog since I don't really like broadcasting my opinion very often, but I guess this sums up my experience so far in relation to quests. Overall, I think it's very helpful in exposing people to parts of Giant Bomb that they may not have used often, or perhaps did not know existed at all. If you can get past the useless content, you'll probably find something insightful, relevant, and maybe even genuinely comedic.