But I want things to happen. So I thought, what can we - the players - do? What can the AJ community do?
First of all, content.
I think everybody agrees that WoW PvP is pretty hard to get into just due to the knowledge required to be successful. Generally speaking, you need to know a lot of things before you can even really enjoy the game and understand what's going on. 40-60 abilities per spec, subtle but important cooldowns, various lethal combinations of cooldowns/spells and their approximate potential, all the important defenses, various interface scripts/addons that could help you, et cetera. This game is only fun when you can actually anticipate things, know when to play safe or when to push (based on their cooldowns), know which things to interfere/stop to prevent your team from using major cooldowns, know when you can be stopped or not... and all this meta game is possible only if you know the game well enough.
It's pointless and nearly impossible to cover all of that in text or video guides. However, what can be covered are all the basic things that new people will ask, like: which talents and glyphs to use, how to gear, gameplay basics (which spells to use, which combos to try and pull off), what is my role in rbg/arena/xyz, which team mates/classes should I look for, which counters to my combos to look out for, where do I place my portal/gate (example of a spec-specific question), which things should I prioritize while I'm new, are there any addons or macros that will make my life easier... You can cover pretty much all the theory.
These basic guides are so valuable, it surprises me that people completely abandoned writing them. When I log on a new class and don't know even the very basics, like how to deal damage most efficiently, I really wish those guides still existed. I just want to get into the head of an experienced [with the spec] player to get answers for all my basic questions; even if I'm guessing what the right answer is, being certain about it would help the learning process a lot. You don't need to make it an in-depth guide where you write 10000 words for every viable comp, you just need to point in the right direction, explain your mindset a little bit, share set-in-stone knowledge (gear/talent/glyph setup), and give some general tips and thoughts. No more, no less.
Back when those guides existed, I would browse other classes guides just to get a better idea of how other classes work. It actually helped me a bit, because I could anticipate certain things better and/or stop them in advance. Sure, I would probably learn it myself even if the guide didn't exist, but that would probably take more time and more losses.
I'm not even mentioning the old matchup guides on AJ back in TBC. We literally had a whole section dedicated to those, i.e. guides about certain comps and how they're played vs other popular comps. It was brilliant.
What do we have today? I'll take the time to open every single sticky on every class forum:
TLDR: there's only two sticky threads that are up to date at all: Rets and Rogues. Shamans have no guides at all. There's tons of guides and stickies that weren't updated since Season 9 - that's more than 2 years ago! I even found a thread that was a sticky since May 2009, good old WotLK! Come on!
And the worst thing is that all of this outdated information is still getting views, because it's stickied. Because nobody cares, and because there's no new content. It makes me wonder what content editors are doing. No offense guys, but I see some content editors and moderators posting fairly frequently here, yet you can't at least unpin threads that are outdated for several years to not misinform people and to make this very forum look a bit more representative? What do new users think when they see Season 9 info stickied? Uh.
Look at PvE. It's the same game, it has the same problems, but there's so much information about PvE compared to PvP. Go to icy-veins.com and look at the class guides. Remember old Elitist Jerks guides. There's also noxxic.com (I love the concept of this one, but too much bad content). There's a bunch of very popular youtube channels dedicated to boss guides, and they're also available on icy-veins. It takes me a few seconds to find any info I need in PvE. Why don't we have this in PvP anymore?
If we actually help people improve, maybe they will be slightly more interested?
Secondly, forum structure.
Look at "Ask a Gladiator" section. Most threads have 0 replies, occasionally there's a reply, rarely a conversation (mostly trash). No wonder, there's no incentive for a Junkie to ever visit that section. I'm willing to bet that most of the replies in that section are because people randomly bump into those threads via the "fresh threads" stream on front page, "view new content", last post or similar, not by actually visiting the section. It's not that everybody is a douchebag and doesn't wanna help, it's the forum structure not helping that happen.
Class forums, I only visit the warlock and occasionally the DK one, but both are inactive. It wouldn't surprise me if all the other class forums are also inactive - people don't even bother to report sticky threads from Season 9... So I wonder, why are class forums still junkie-only? They could be the perfect place to answer questions and educate people. I used to post a ton on class forums on official forums just because I enjoyed answering questions and helping people, while at the same time refining and reviewing my own knowledge constantly.
Same thing goes for the 2v2/3v3/5v5 subsections of the general discussion section. I don't think they serve any purpose whatsoever anymore. You could drag them out and let non-junkies access them, so there are actual discussions about 2v2/3v3/5v5 matchups instead of being a collection of threads about end of season wintrading.
With some decent moderation, this could work wonders. I don't mean EJ-esque strict moderation. Just remove all the trash replies and warn/ban douchebags. It won't be that hard, really.
Leave general as it is, of course. I'm not suggesting to remove access limitations completely, but right now the non-junkie section is like a ghetto. All I'm suggesting is a bit more integration at the cost of inactive forum sections. Everybody wins.
Speaking of inactive forum sections, another thing that bugs me all the time is all those out of date, useless sections:
- "Blizzard 3v3 Tournament"? TR is down for ages now. And why not call it something like "TR Recruitment" because that's all that it's for? All the actual tournament stream discussions happen in the News threads.
- "Theorycrafting", what's the point of this one? Existed for years, a grand total of 54 topics.
- "NAO Invitational Tournament", when was the last NAO?
- "Content Feedback", I fail to understand what is this for. All the "content" on the site has comment sections for it, why does this section exist? People mistake the "macros" subsection as a forum to ask help with macros, too
I don't think it's healthy when some 20 sections are dead inactive. It sort of reminds you that the game is dead and there's nothing you can do, you know.
And lastly, be nicer to each other. When there's no textual references and all experience and knowledge is shared verbally, it matters more than ever.