As someone who has covered EVE Online's Council of Stellar Management for years, the news that Activision-Blizzard was forming a "World of Warcraft Community Council" immediately caught my attention. I thought to myself, "There is no way this could work like the CSM." A quick review shows a couple of big differences.
First, the members of Activision-Blizzard's council is picked by the company. With the Council of Stellar Management, CCP organizes an election and players pick the members. One can argue which method is best. The WoW team announced a more specific goal than CCP.
One of the key goals with this program is to encourage discussion with players from a wide variety of different playstyles. To help ensure this, part of the application process will involve sharing your areas of interest and expertise. Whether it’s cutting-edge raiding, playing alts, completing achievements, accessibility, or collecting transmog, we want to know your perspective and ensure you’re heard. Therefore, after one year in the program, we plan to unflag Council members and open the application again. All WoW players will be free to apply at that point.
The other is the lack of a non-disclosure agreement. Unlike CCP, Activision-Blizzard does not plan on discussing any unannounced future plans with their player council. I need to point out something I believe might get forgotten in the future.
Please note: this program is focused on sharing current and past game experiences; it will not provide access to unannounced game information.
Before continuing, I should point out what the WoW team plans on happening.
- Once players are selected, they’ll be given the ability to post in a new discussion forum that is publicly visible to everyone.
- In this new forum, we’ll ask members to share their experiences and perspectives on anything in the game, and some topics may be started by Blizzard developers and community managers.
- Responses and updates from Blizzard will be posted there so they can easily be discussed by the entire community.
- A private discussion will also be setup for Council members to encourage direct interaction between members.
- Separate conversations between smaller groups of members and Blizzard developers will be encouraged to ensure players with differing perspectives are being heard.
This sounds a lot like the Council of Stellar Management. I think the last point means there actually be private conversations between council members and developers. The CSM also does the same. However, all the CSM conversations are covered by an NDA so any accidental slips are covered and the player base wouldn't expect the information to come out. What happens if a developer slips up and reveals information the WoWCC shouldn't hear? Something to ponder.