This month’s CARDS & BOARDS has CHEE YIH YANG talking to a local trading card game community that has thrived through Facebook and a blog.
BACK in January. I wrote about how there will be more virtual communities rising out of the relentless assimilation of social media and its web-related spin-offs in our lives.
This month, I talk to an individual who’s managed to start up a blog that features contributors from a local community of World of Warcraft TCG (Trading Card Game) fans.
Karry Lim Hock Soon, a 35-year-old system administrator, had been living and working in Cyberjaya when he was bitten by the World of Warcraft (WoW) MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) bug.
His fascination for the online game soon translated into an obsession for the card game as well, which debuted back in 2006 (Upper Deck Entertainment made the game then). While he was in Cyberjaya, he initially found it difficult to locate players, until he stumbled upon a Facebook community based in the same locale.
A casual game between two players at a recent boardgames/card games expo at MMU Cyberjaya.
This was the WoW TCG.my Facebook group, facebook.com/groups/wowtcgmy/, which was then made up of mainly Multimedia University students.
“I played with the group for several weeks and was thinking about taking the group to the next level. That’s when I decided to start the blog and get writers within the group to contribute to the blog,” said Lim.
Online sounding board
Team CyberWOW (teamcyberwow.blogspot.com/), the blog that was started by Lim, is also affiliated with Cryptozoic Entertainment, who now produces the WoW TCG. (Upper Deck Entertainment lost the licence to make the TCG several years back to Cryptozoic.)
The articles cater to not only hardcore tournament players, but also the more casual WoW TCG crowd, with introductory-level articles that teach the less experienced on ways of rising to the top, and succeeding.
Naturally, the ultimate objective of the blog is to get more players clued in on the wonderful world of WoW TCG. For the uninitiated, WoW TCG is played between Heroes that have different “Classes”.
Each Hero class has its own unique strengths and weaknesses – the Warrior for example, is the typical “tank” class, sporting plenty of Equipment such as Weapons and Armor, but the Mage bears almost no Equipment, and instead relies on an arsenal of deadly spells, called Abilities.
The WoW TCG is thus very familiar to online gamers, as it’s essentially a cardboard treatment of the same virtual universe. The learning curve is reasonable, and is only slightly more complicated than the likes of Magic: The Gathering.
The game had a good start in Malaysia when it first burst on the scene, but faded away around the same time that Upper Deck started running into widely-reported troubles and delays of expansions. It picked up again once Cryptozoic revitalised the franchise, and WoW TCG got another major boost when local comic and game shop franchise, Comics Corner, started distributing the game again this year.
Grinding on successfully
Lim thinks social media played an important part in the sustenance of his local community. He feels that it’s made it easier for everyone to be kept abreast on what’s the latest events, in a real-time manner.
“Social media is another way to bring in new players and promote the game. I do not want this game just to cater for players who play the online game, but to all TCGs fans.
“Without social media, WoW TCG itself, and our community would not be a success and will not be where it is now,” said Lim.
So what are some of the key ingredients in ensuring a successful blog? He reckons that having a consistent stream of content works great. Having fresh content is important, so people keep coming back.
Right now, Team CyberWOW aims for updates at least once or twice a week. It doesn’t sound terribly intensive, but it’s harder than it seems as his group of gamers need to devote time to contribute articles.
Most importantly, Lim also aims to give as much local context as possible.
Articles written from a first-person perspective on player experiences in various events give a glimpse to everyone on what WoW TCG is really about.
Go check them out if you have not, at teamcyberwow.blogspot.com/.
*CHEE YIH YANG is now off to make more spells for the fledgling Blood Bowl Team Manager Card Game league. E-mail the esoteric gaming nut at email@example.com if you have comments, questions, hot gaming news and tips, and trading lists and deck ideas, for both Magic and World of Warcraft. Check out his blog at blog.rage.com.my/category/cards-and-boards, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/arcturus_mengsk.