Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Value of Reviews by Tucker "Temorse" Noyes

Why Should I Write an Event Review?

Event reviews are one of the most important, yet underutilized tools in our community.  Event Holders and their teams often put countless hours of their time and effort into throwing an event, not to mention money.  As a player we pay an event fee to help cover the cost of events, but we should also be willing to commit what is a fraction of the time it took to prepare for the event to review it.  Event reviews aren’t about gratifying the event holder, although in some cases they will involve that, but also to let the event holder which things they tried worked and didn’t work for you.  There is a lot of talk about players not enjoying events, or events not having content that players enjoy, however we have many events that go by with few to no reviews.

If you feel that there isn’t a lot of content that engages you in the game, then you should review events that you feel should be offering, or who claim to offer that content.  There is always varying responsiveness to event reviews, but you will find that many, many event holders take to heart what their players have to say, and will want to cater, when appropriate, to the interests of their player base.  In addition a lot of new mechanics are play-tested at events, and having some concrete feedback of how those mechanics went makes an event holder's decision to keep or ditch those mechanics a lot easier.

Writing an Event Review

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when writing a thoughtful event review.  It is certainly easy and convenient to verbally let the event holder know a few things they enjoyed on your way off site, but it is much more impactful if you write those thoughts down, especially because after throwing an event most event holding teams are pretty fried.  The two best ways to submit an event review are either by submitting it through the event review system on Realmsnet, or by sending it privately to the event holder either via email or social media.  Using the Realmsnet review system (which can be done by clicking the Event Archive option under the Events drop-down and clicking Post Review), is the best way to review an event.  This system has some built features specific for event reviews, and also has the added benefit of being public, so other players can look at these reviews to see if the event is something that would interest them in the future.  When reviewing an event via Realmsnet it is important to focus more on the content of your review than just the challenge and fun ratings.  While those ratings are a helpful way to visual your experience at the event, they aren’t as helpful as pointing out specific things you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy.  You can also rate other peoples reviews on Reamlsnet, for those you think are particularly accurate or those that you think may be unfair.  It is important to note that even if others have made a lot of the same comments that you have made, it is still important to review the event.  From an event holders perspective many people making the same comments is more likely to enact change, rather than if it seems to be the opinion of a single individual.

The other option if you don’t feel comfortable posting in a public forum would be to contact the event holder directly with your review.  Sometimes this is helpful if you had an experience at an event that you would want to keep the in character aspects of the event secret, or if you are just more comfortable with a private message.  However, you should never use an event review as an excuse to privately harass or berate an event holder over a negative experience at an event, event reviews should always be constructive in their criticism.

However you choose to review an event, it is always important to remember to review the event sooner rather than later, generally within one to two weeks of the event being thrown, so that your experiences are fresh in your memory.  Sometimes it is wise, especially after a negative experience, not to review an event as soon as you get home, but to wait a day to really think on your experiences.  Many event holding teams will look over and discuss event reviews in the first one to two weeks, so it is important that if you want your opinion heard that you should review in that timeline.  If you don’t have a chance to do so, it is still helpful to post event reviews.

Event reviews are a tool that we as a community should strive to use more often.  Many events see over fifty players, but only a fraction of those players take the time to give feedback for the event that they attended.  One of the ways we can all work to improve the game and raise the bar for events is to write quality event reviews and for event holders, take stock in those reviews.

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