I know that the European forums (beta) are off to a rocky start, from what reports I've heard, but the NA forums have been around long enough for us to get a feel -- and I want to ask, what are your impressions?
I'm a little hesitant to leap into them with both feet. I'm not really a forum kind of guy (oddly enough, when you have a blog, anything you might want to say in a forum you can post there instead), and I'm a little weirded out by the setup of the Official Forums (OF). First of all, it does look slick, and the recent addition to using your main as a character profile is a great addition. But I'm still unsure of what's going on inside.
The first thing I look for -- and many others, I'd assume -- is a "general" discussion board, the catch-all chat board that the majority tends to read first and comment on the most. Yet, unless I'm missing something, there isn't one for the OF. I'm pretty sure this is deliberate, to get posters to focus on a particular topic (and thus, a subforum) instead of just mouthing off in a general area, expecting to be heard and responded to by every dev in the building. Instead, the busiest forum board is -- by far -- their Future Features Suggestion Box. Thousands upon thousands of comments, ideas and changes have been dumped into here, which goes to show that one of the biggest reasons people are using these forums right now are to gain a voice to Mythic and hopefully get more attention for their suggestion.
Some of the subforums can't be fully viewed from the front forum page, for some reason, and require an additional click to check out. I don't like that. There's also odd boards, like a "Crafting Tradeskills" under the Dungeons and Quests board, which is completely unnecessary considering there's a Crafting subforum of its own. I also searched in vain for a dev post aggregator.
It's a bit restrictive on purpose, and I think it's going to go a long ways to keeping people on track and tactful in communicating. And any forum that makes a point to have players post guides and tips is welcome in my book. Whatcha think?