Shawn Fanning's Rupture: social software meets WoW

Shawn Fanning's second post-Napster startup will be far more L2P than P2P -- set to launch sometime next month, Rupture is a virtual social community for World of Warcraft. The details regarding the functionality of the site are a bit slim, but it's clear the project will go beyond something like Warcraft Social, which is a completely external social network to WoW, as well as beyond the data extraction functionality provided by Allakhazam via WowReader and Thottbot via Cosmos plugin. Rupture will reportedly pull in-game data and publish it to a personalized site guilds can use to track stats and better manage their playing.

Rupture's investors include Ron Conway and Joi Ito, venture capitalist and level 60 mage of We Know fame. Considering Ito's investment history in social software and stated interest in developing guild management tools, my hunch is that Rupture will look a lot like groupware for guilds. As an officer in my main guild, I'd agree that current in-game management tools are lacking. Tools like GEM are a start, but the idea of a one-stop shop for guild management is appealing. A web-based tool would also be ideal for officers and players who can't fire up the WoW client at work but might have time to log in to the website during the day. Of course, many guilds (including my own) already have their own websites with forums and DKP tracking, so the question will be whether this tool will be compelling enough to replace or augment home-grown systems already in place. A hosted solution like Rupture might be a great solution for a new or smaller guild to access a central management space without requiring someone to have the tech-fu (and the time) to hack something together via PHP Nuke and EQ DKP, etc.

What do you guys think -- does your guild get along just fine with your current management systems? Is there a market for this kind of tool?

[Thanks, Undying]

This article was originally published on WoW Insider.