Sixen and the Beginning of the Battle.net 2.0 MVP Program

Discussion in 'Site History and Blizzard 1st MVP Story' started by Sixen, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. Sixen

    Sixen Active Member

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    It's been quite some time since I promised to post this story, but I figure better late than never! Below you can read about the death of the legacy MVP Program, birth of the 2.0 program, as well as some mentions of the Fansite Program.

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    Short about me...

    I began posting on the original Starcraft Battle.net forums in March of 2004, just discussing strategy and shooting the breeze. I recall seeing an "MVP" poster and was enamored. I managed to find myself in the Technical Support forums where there were some easy questions I was able to answer, and for some reason, was completely enthralled with the idea of helping people and fascinated with the MVP program... Not only was I helping people, but they were listening! At the time, I was still pretty young, so seeing these interactions about something I loved was pretty cool for me. I modeled myself after previous MVPs', like Negafox and VS40FRESH, and did hours and hours of research into the MVP program to learn everything I could about the program and it's previous members. I posted in the Technical Support Forums for years, eventually also spreading out and helping in the World of Warcraft Customer Service and Technical Support forums, as well as the World of Warcraft QA forums, as Elzix. Once SC2 and Battle.net 2.0 was released, I remained posting on both the Legacy and World of Warcraft forums, as well as the brand new Battle.net 2.0 forums, and have been a regular on the Battle.net forums ever since I started.

    Due to my many years of assisting players on the forums, I was honored in World of Warcraft with my own item, Sixen's Skullcap.


    The Death of the Legacy Battle.net MVP Program

    This begins a few years before I was officially made an MVP and before the Battle.net 2.0 program came around. During these few years, the Legacy Battle.net MVP Program was mostly forgotten about, with the only real MVPs' being the World of Warcraft ones on the other set of forums.

    The last Legacy Battle.net MVP was added on September 23rd, 2005, this was the Starcraft MVP, Shockwave. From there on out, the Program began to die out, members stopped posting, until there were only one or two left that were still active, from around 20. It was also during this time I began speaking with Negafox and learned more about what the MVP program was all about.

    On May 21st, 2007, there was an update to the Legacy Battle.net MVP Program. The WoW Community Team had taken over the Legacy Battle.net Forums, allowing the MVP Program to be split up into two different sections. The Community section would be handled by the CM's, and the Tech Support section would be handled by the normal Technical Support. In addition to this, the Tech MVPs were told they should no longer post outside of the Tech Support Forums using their MVP account. They were told to create new accounts should they have the desire to post outside of the Technical Support Forum. This new rule was so there would be a differentiation between the Community MVPs' and the Tech MVPs'. Unfortunately, because this was still the old forum software, there was no way to set differentiating flags on an account, per forum.

    One month later, on June 29th, 2007, all of the current MVPs' were deflagged and stripped of their status. Two of the MVPs' at the time, DanielP. and MetalDemoness, confirmed Blizzard wanted to repick the current MVPs' from scratch, as the Community Team wanted to get some new blood. Another MVP for non-World of Warcraft would not be chosen until 2010, and to this day, there are still no Legacy Battle.net MVPs'.

    Worth noting, but not extremely important, was a strange post in the Tech Support Forumst, which was deleted within minutes, by the user iamninjatoo@Northrend who had received the MVP flags. This user had no previous post history, no stats on War3 or TFT, was in no Clan, had no Forum Signature, and had no Battle.net Profile. This was likely Blizzard testing out flags on an account, but this is just speculation.

    While the Battle.net MVP Program was gone, Blizzard essentially used the Blizzard Friends List (of which myself and several other previous MVPs' were a part of) to keep track of those of us who actively assisted on the forums.

    On September 4th, 2007, I was invited to a brand new private Fansite Program forum, to discuss the state of the Fansite Program as well as advocate for a new MVP Program with other longtime fansite administrators, like LordOfAscension (SCLegacy), AJ (Starcraft.org), and others. This private forum lasted until April 2008, when the remove was requested to be removed, as it was not an acceptable form of communication.

    Also, as a little tidbit, the Blizzard Tech Support Battle.net channel was deprecated on/around March 19th, 2010.


    The Birth of the Battle.net 2.0 MVP Program

    Since I had been such an advocate of the previous MVP Program and had pushed and pushed for a new program to begin, I had been able to speak with the new head of the MVP Program for several months before the program was officially announced. During this time, we talked about logistics and looked for MVPs' to represent the SC2 community forums and the first wave of the new program. The Battle.net 2.0 MVP Program was announced on August 4th, 2010, and the first three MVPs' were chosen on September 24th, 2010. These first three MVPs' were myself (Sixen), ExcaliburZ, and BeamMeUp (who resigned about a year later). At this time, I also fiercely advocated for a more cooperative program experience. I pushed for a private MVP forum, which I knew we were going to potentially get for the Fansite Program members, which was created several years later. Also worth noting of the new program, MVPs' would don an avocado-shaded color of text, not the good ol' dark blue we had been accustomed to from the Legacy Battle.net forums (with the World of Warcraft MVPs' originally posting in a light green), nor would the 2.0 program members receive special avatars. Though, there were many talks of giving MVPs' game-specific avatars. For example, one of the original concepts for SC2, was to give MVPs' an SCV avatar during Wings of Liberty, a Drone avatar during Heart of the Swarm, and a Probe avatar during Legacy of the Void.

    It was also around this time that the World of Warcraft forums were moved over to the new Battle.net 2.0 system, allowing all World of Warcraft MVPs' and Starcraft 2 MVPs' to post cross-game and retain their MVP status. This allowed people, like myself, who were fans of all Blizzard games, to assist players cross-game, and again, still retain the MVP flags. Though this did raise some issues, should MVPs' be allowed to cross-post? Luckily, the solution came out in November (as seen below).

    Over the next few years, I was more active than ever, on all three major franchise forums, as well as the Legacy forums (before they were taken down). Nothing extremely mindblowing happened, until February 2012, with the exception of these few events that I have noted below. Perhaps this is where a currently active MVP (TheSkunk?) could add more to what I have below. My "prime time" was probably from about 2005-2012.

    On February 20th, 2011, a long-time and prominent World of Warcraft MVP, Palehoof, who had been one of the original World of Warcraft MVPs', had a public breakdown and announced his "retirement" from the program.

    On August 30th, 2011, an MVP distribution list was created to allow all MVPs' to communicate amongst themselves, as well as to allow non-MVP forumgoers to recommend/suggest MVPs' to Blizzard, by emailing the distribution list.

    On November 23rd, 2011, all MVPs' were categorized into Game/Specialty, myself being the only generic multi-game/specialty MVP.

    On February 9th, 2012, a series of blog posts was released on all three major franchise websites looking to recruit MVPs' to bolster our ranks with larger numbers and streamline the MVP Program once more. At this point, Blizzard had decided they were going to utilize the MVP Program differently than they had before, and this was a major turning point to where we are in the current day program. The program would no longer be a small, tight-knit group of posters, who had put their time in, and had posted positively and constructively for years. Now, the program would be bolstered to about 5x the size it currently is. Personally, I disagreed with this. I had come into the program with memories of the "old" program, where it was an extremely small group of individuals who had been honored with the MVP title. However, speaking objectively here, this wasn't necessarily a bad thing for Blizzard, it's simply solving a business problem they had with the forums. Simply put, ~25 MVPs' would not suffice for the swelling size of their forums, especially during employee off hours.

    On September 5th, 2012, Blizzard started the Guild Mentoring program and gave all Guild Mentors MVP status on the forums. When the Guild Mentor program ended on December 18th, 2012, some Mentors remained as MVPs' because of the superb job they did.

    On September 6th, 2012, the private MVP forums were finally created (one per game), to allow communication between official MVPs' and Guild Mentors'.

    Circa September 16th, 2013, Blizzard began giving out MVP titles to many administrators and staff of Fansites. These last three events helped enlarge the quantity of the members in the MVP program.

    At BlizzCon 2013, myself and Eldacar hosted an MVP meetup, and had the opportunity to get all the MVPs', as well as a few Blizzard Community Managers' together to hangout for a little while.

    Early 2014, the Legacy Battle.net Forums were taken down, and a single "Classic General Discussion" subforum was added to the generic Battle.net Forum community.

    On October 14th, 2014, Blizzard added an MVP icon to thread tags, to show whether or not an MVP has posted in that thread (very similar to how it shows Blizzard employee tagged threads).


    Current Day

    It seems like MVP forum activity has died down immensely, from my point of view. In my mind, this started happening in late 2012 when Blizzard introduced a lot of new MVPs', ironically enough. Private forum posting seemingly died down, as well as the use of the distribution list.

    Throughout my few years of MVP-dom, I had essentially acted as the MVP of MVPs', championing new initiatives and advocating for new features and events, keeping the MVP history on wowpedia and the Starcraft wiki up to date, as well as helping other MVPs with situations and responses. As an MVP in the current program, you take an unexpected amount of abuse from trolls, though I can't say it wasn't like this in the previous years, haha. Unfortunately though, in recent years, I've been busy with work and life, and thus have been much less active on the Battle.net forums. However, I do still hold the MVP title and do continue to help on occasion, especially when organized informational threads need to be posted for new games, :).
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014
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  2. The Helper

    The Helper Administrator Staff Member

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    Woot Woot!!!
     
  3. The Helper

    The Helper Administrator Staff Member

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    Do you have a link to the wowpedia MVP history? The Sixen's Skullcap is ultra cool! Love it! Thanks for sharing!!! I will update the index later Real Life is a calling...
     
  4. Sixen

    Sixen Active Member

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    Added it to my post, but just FYI, it's here.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. The Helper

    The Helper Administrator Staff Member

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    Awesome! Thanks!
     
  6. FireCat

    FireCat Oh Shi.. Don't wake the tiger!

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    Nice "better late than never" indeed!
     
  7. Sixen

    Sixen Active Member

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    +16 / 0 / -0
    :)
     
  8. The Helper

    The Helper Administrator Staff Member

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    Bump
     

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