Ubisoft have launched something called the Assassin's Creed Council which appears to be a souped-up version of a devblog with a promise of some exclusive content and a side helping of "community". I have been going through the comments to see what I can learn from the community. So far I know someone made a real life hidden blade using a drawer runner, some power tools and actual blades.
Right, I guess we should cover what the Council is in a touch more detail:
"The Council is the number one destination for fans of the Assassin’s Creed universe, and provides direct access to the people creating the game for an exclusive 'behind the scenes' take on the series. Members will always be kept up to date via direct live information from the Producers, ensuring they are the first to have all the latest information.
"Members will also be able to decide the look and fate of the Council by posting their own content, up/down voting other contributor's content, as well as electing members to form an exclusive 'Council Chamber', who will win a trip to the studio, meet the development team, and participate in special events."
Regarding the bit where you decide the look and fate of the council, it just sounds like deciding the look means "posting stuff" and then rating other people's posts so upvoted things get shown. So, I guess a subreddit but controlled by Ubi? The incentives include badges and levels. The bit about "fate" is a bit more woolly but I guess it relates in part to this: of the high level community members Assassin's Creed Studios say they'll pluck 30 out to form a VIP Council.
To quote the gruff guy on the intro video, "you could become a real part of the Assassin's Creed adventure, proposing and discussing ideas on the next episodes with the licence creators." They will also get stuff like special event access. I'd wondered if it would be a bit like EVE's Council of Stellar Management where the players elect people to act as their representatives when discussing stuff with CCP but this sounds far more arbitrary and about Ubi picking out particular contributors based on their own criteria.
I'm looking through the badges right now because I was curious about the incentivisation - look, I get weirdly nerdy about that, shush. Some seem destined to improve the sort of metrics you use in a meeting to demonstrate "engagement". There's a Serial Poster badge awarded for 4 posts in a month because "your activity serves the community" which is about incentivising volume of posts. Spread The Creed is awarded for sharing a certain volume of content. Eagle Vision is when you upvote something early on which later makes it to the top 10 most voted list so if you want that one why would you not just like all of the posts you ever see, assuming one will reach the top eventually?
There are others that are more geared towards quality, or at least popularity so they reward upvotes or positively rated comments or being highlighted by Ubi staff. I assume it'll largely work around the content people actually like (these things seem to shake down to a basic like or dislike system) so not a real concern but I always find it a bit odd seeing incentivisation over volume or indiscriminate sharing when you're building a community.
"Pip, that's fascinating," I hear you say without a trace of sarcasm, "But is there anything else I should know?"
Look, I dunno, it doesn't quite seem finished in some ways. The formatting seems a bit borked when looking at it on Chrome, images not in their right boxes, text not wrapping properly in the comments section and I don't know what's going on with the various modules as you scroll down the homepage - they don't seem to interlock properly. But if you like Assassin's Creed things then there are a lot of Assassin's Creed things here.
"But Pip," you cry again, interrupting an episode of Holby City I have started watching. "What is the price of council membership?"
It is a Uplay account.