Originally Posted by Dwamur
I hear your argument. You're saying "take one dev, or half a dev, and devote her to API improvement until U7. We'll take it from there."
Okay. That's a good argument. Now - let me take this seriously and ask: How can something come of it? Is the plugin author community coherent enough to act on this vision?
One possible action would be a marketing drive. Create a website, with content created by plugin authors, that acts as marketing. "Here is what we have done. Isn't it cool? Here's what we could do. It's even better! We'll do it for free. We need you, Turbine, to do this" (and "this" should link to a page with highly detailed, highly technical action items that a manager can give to a dev to implement immediately).
Then, once the site has been up for a while and has good, engaging content, including humorous videos - keep in mind, this would be a marketing effort, so it has to be light-hearted and positive - set a day during which plugin authors will advertise in-game. Plugins will already have been coded to display a message in chat when they start on that day, and every hour thereafter (details TBD, provided you can get date/time from the API and the community doesn't come up with something better), to the effect of "we are ready to make this game even funner and more full of bacon, for free! Turbine, do your part and enable us to do this. www.moarbacon.org".
How about it, plugin authors? Is this a bunch of trollshaw lynxes that cannot be herded under any circumstances, or can the authoring community rally behind a marketing push?
I'm probably biased, since I've only had limited experience with modding communities (mostly WoW, and some single player games), but one thing that struck me about the WoW plugin community (when I briefly rejoined WoW at the start of Cataclysm) was a bunch of plugins saying, "we no longer use the incoming healing library" or "we no longer use the threat library" - and the reason was, Blizzard had finally gotten around to adding that functionality to the API. But the plugin authors weren't waiting around for Blizzard to add the functionality, they went off and hacked it in, and people would use the tools even if they were crude or weren't perfectly accurate. And it wouldn't surprise me if that was the sort of signal to the UI devs that you're looking for - that, there's this crude tool, and it's horrible and inaccurate, but people are using it because they really want the functionality, and they'll grab at anything that provides it, no matter how badly it works.
So, I think the challenge to us, as plugin authors, is - use the functionality they've provided to the fullest (I mean, there's my plugin handling fellowship/raid vitals, and that's it. And it's being written by someone that doesn't understand the design philosophy behind what's probably the most popular set of WoW raid vitals in existence - which is kind of funny from my end, but probably less funny from the user's end). Go off and write something that the API doesn't explicitly support. Or better yet, write something that people are going to say, "you can't write a plugin that does X" - write a threat meter, write an equipment manger, write a skill cooldown tracker. And if you do that? ...well, at the very least, it'll give the devs a signal of what unimplemented features there's a demand for. At the best? Incentive - "that's what people who are willing to put the effort in wnat, and if I implement this, I can give it to them", inspiration - "imagine what they could do if they had more access, had a more expansive API?", and satisfaction - "look at what they've done with the things I've added to the API."
I mean, I'm too lazy to do that, because quite frankly, it sounds like work and effort and bunch of other tedious stuff, but if you want to send a signal to the devs - that's how I'd go about it.