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Edit: Just read through the chat conversation between @LessPop_MoreFizz and @Mark Trapp and it seems I was a little unclear. When I bring up the promotion in conjunction with the MOP 25-man beta raids, I meant a question/answer contest about MOP in general. That is, we wouldn't limit the contest to questions about 25-man beta raiding, we'd just hold the contest at the same time as the 25-man beta raids are going on, and work with the guild we're sponsoring (Midwinter) to advertise and drive interest to the promotion.

I think it would be valuable to do this while we have the opportunity to work with Midwinter. My question was whether that would make sense for the site, or if we should wait until the actual release date and forgo the opportunity to capitalize on traffic from Midwinter's streams.

Edit 2: After discussing with a few of you and reading the answers below, I've decided to go ahead and give this a try. Midwinter is getting a lot of viewers on their streams right now, and I'd love to try to get some of those people to check out Arqade. I'm aware of some of the reservations and they are duly noted. If this doesn't work out well we will definitely take that into consideration when thinking about betas in the future. Also, the contest we hold during the MOP beta raids will be pretty small, so it won't preclude us from doing something bigger on the actual release date, if that seems like something we should do.

I appreciate all the feedback!


This site has seen a lot of promotions in the last couple of months. Some, like Diablo 3, have been hugely engaging, involving site takeovers and appealing to a large sector of our community. Others, such as the League of Legends contest that ended today, appeal to a smaller sector of the community and don't capture everyone's attention.

What I'm wondering is how you feel about the frequency of these promotions. Clearly we want to capitalize on important events, game releases, etc, but I don't want to overwhelm or divide the community's attention too much.

The reason I ask is because Mists of Pandaria beta raiding has begun, and with the release date being set for September 25th, 25 man beta raiding will probably start soon. The League of Legends contest just ended today, and we're working on putting a Tribes: Ascend play night and SMITE beta giveaway together.

With all these things, would a promotion for the Mists of Pandaria 25-man beta raiding be too much? Would you rather wait until the official release in September to have a contest?

Please share your thoughts below. Keep in mind when you're answering that the goal of these promotions is capitalize on awesome events and game releases in order to get even more great Q&A and new users on our site. We don't want to run too many contests and have people feel overburdened/not know which one to participate in. So, while you may want as much free stuff as possible ;-) don't let that be what dictates your feedback here (I know that won't be the case for most people, just had to point it out).

Thanks in advance!

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    I personally feel like any sort of competition for beta raiding would be a bit much. Full release, sure! But a beta's a beta, it doesn't really mean much, things could and will change. I love the frequency of the competitions we're having, just as I said, beta is beta. Also hoping that there's something going on for Guild Wars 2 launch (even something small). – Mr Smooth Jul 26 '12 at 21:10
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    I have nothing against frequent contests. Run as many contests as you want! My only concern in this case is running a contest about a beta. The WoW-players among us will be better able to say whether that makes sense, but my gut reaction is that it seems sketchy. – Invader Skoodge Jul 26 '12 at 21:11
  • @StrixVaria The exception to the beta rule, in this case at least, would be if they did one of the SMITE beta giveaway. It has the ability to become widely available to all. Upon activation of your beta key, you are given 3 more beta keys which you can give to friends! =D – Niro Jul 26 '12 at 21:22
  • The idea of tying in a contest to the Mists beta is that it's a prime moment for eyeballs on raid streaming. It's a 'first look' moment for a lot of people who will be playing the game instead of watching a stream that Arqade has sponsored during release week. – LessPop_MoreFizz Jul 26 '12 at 22:29
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz just added an update, hopefully clarifying. I'll pop into chat later today to answer any questions in case it's still unclear. Thanks for all your comments. – Lauren Jul 27 '12 at 14:56
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    Lots of talk so far has been about MoP being beta, but to address the main question: Contests are awesome. Arqade is awesome. By all means keep continuing adding up the awesome. – Wikwocket Jul 27 '12 at 21:21
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I think the frequency of contests isn't a problem: I like that there always seems to be something going on here. And I think a MoP contest is a great idea. My main concern is with the timing of the advertising.

I fully get the benefits of doing it before launch during the Midwinter raid streams: there's a captive audience, it's one of the only things even sponsorable in WoW, there's some chance we can pre-seed the site before launch, etc.

The problem I have is that, by starting a contest before launch, we're incentivizing a class of questions we at best tolerate.

Sure, a lot of stuff isn't going to change before launch, and this will only get better as we get closer to September 25th. But it still increases the amount of out-of-date information that'll either just sit there or have to be updated later on. And I'm not really convinced MoP is in a stable state: they just released pet battles to the public last week, and they're still doing very controlled raid and challenge mode tests.

And beta problems aren't real problems. At the end of beta, everything gets wiped in preparation for launch. So, let's say this contest happens as close to launch as possible: people aren't going to be asking questions about situations they're actually facing because it no longer matters: they'll be asking about situations they might face later on, after launch. I don't want to say that they're just going to be speculation questions, but it's in that territory: questions we can't really answer well until after launch anyway.

Looking back at our previous successes like Skyrim, Mass Effect 3, and Diablo III, the thing that really did it was having an enthusiastic player base asking and answering questions literally minutes after the game launched, priming Google's index for people looking for answers on launch day.

Skyrim, ME3, and Diablo III were all really hyped games that were naturally right up Arqade's alley, so it was easy to explode with new questions immediately. I would've thought WoW would be as well, but we tend to struggle to field WoW questions, and we didn't get a whole lot of questions when Cataclysm came out. So, in that sense, I can see the value of trying to drum up interest before launch: people will check out Arqade now, then come back for launch.

It doesn't seem like advertising a contest days (weeks?) before launch can replicate that special sauce, but I could be wrong. It seems like casual visitors (the people who would follow an ad) wouldn't choose us first on launch day over all the established places to get WoW info (Wowhead, the forums, Elitist Jerks, MMO Champion, etc.), especially if we're not actively seeding the site with questions and answers ourselves.

So at any rate, to maximize quality, ideally I'd like to see the contest start at launch, not before, and try to find some way to get our current user base to start asking and answering questions immediately to attract the googlers.

  • Great answer and very informative. Thanks! – Lauren Jul 27 '12 at 14:44
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    @Lauren No problem! I rewrote my answer based off of the conversation in chat and your edit: I definitely favor a launch-day contest over a contest during beta. – user3389 Jul 27 '12 at 15:29
  • Good points. I actually wanted to hold this pre-launch to capitalize on traffic from streams and get some searchable content out there before the actual launch. If we're the first place to have good MOP info, we'll get more traffic from Google searches when the game is released too. That might outweigh the costs of having outdated content. We can always do some kind of clean-up effort on the questions asked during beta too. Just a thought. – Lauren Jul 27 '12 at 17:12
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Let me start by saying thank you. I think you and the rest of the SE team running the promotions have been doing an excellent job, and I really hope we continue to see more promotions targeted at an increasing number of gaming communities.

Secondly I'd like to say that I think the second LoL contest was a huge improvement over the first one. I think the new rules page you made up really helped to improve the average quality of posts we received, whereas with the first LoL contest there was a lot of just terrible posts which we had a lot of trouble dealing with. So good job on that!

Now onto your actual question!

I think the contest/promotion frequency has been great, and I'm glad to see you're branching out to more and more gaming communities. I don't see any need for you to be concerned about slowing down the frequency of promotions.

As for your second question... betas are tricky. Since things can change so drastically during a beta in can result in answers quickly becoming outdated and forcing us to update them. This often causes the most problems with newer users who don't understand you can comment on a question (or add a bounty) to have outdated answers updated, which will result in them posting new duplicate question asking for updated information. Since the promotion will (ideally) bring in a lot of new users, I think this would result in an increase in the number of these situations if such a contest was targeted at a beta, which could prove difficult for us to deal with.

So in general I would say no to betas, but I think it's something that will vary from case to case. Is MoP a beta that will be good for us to target? I'm not sure, I'm not a WoW player, but I would lean towards yes. MMOs tend to experience a lot of changes during a beta, and Blizzard games in particular tend to experience this.

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