EverQuest II has a history of complexity and depth often lacking in other MMOs. Players can be passionate, impatient, forceful, understanding, triumphant, technical, or blasé, sometimes all in the same posting. This can be a double-edged sword for the management of its forum and game communities. We quickly see through attempts to placate, and we can tell when the EQ2 Community Team have not anticipated or prepared for player outrage or confusion over a policy decision.
A successful Community Manager is not simply an extension of the Public Relations department.
A good CM must act as a liason or ‘man-in-the-middle’ between designers and developers, company management, marketing/PR, and the players or customers. They must play traffic cop, alerting the correct people to issues which are being reported and on the flipside, keeping an ear to the ground for upcoming changes and policies which might stir up dissent.
I refuse to accept the idea that “no matter what SOE/EQ2 staff post, players will be unhappy.” This is not only a cop out, but has been proven patently untrue in the past. EverQuest 2 has had a number of popular and/or effective Community Managers that have engaged the community and made players feel that their input matters. Of course EQ2 has also had its share of absentee forum guardians who sought only to maintain order or an air of positivity.
The activity level of outlaw forums such as EQ2Flames has directly corresponded to whatever vibe has flowed from EQ2 forum management. Just within my time, the tone has ranged from a prohibition against anything negative, to incredible freedom, to environments which would make Delores Umbridge giggle.
Has irreparable damage been done to the trust between EverQuest II’s players and its creators? Is there an opportunity for this damage to be undone? Anything is possible — after all SOE just re-hired Brad McQuaid to continue working on ‘Vanguard’.
After a few short months at the helm, Eric “Piestro” Cleaver passes the torch to Colette “Dexella” Murphy as EverQuest II’s new Community Manager.
My name is Colette, but you’ll get to know me as Dexella. I’m thrilled to be joining SOE and the Community Team as your EQ II Community Relations Manager. I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to you, as you’ll be seeing a lot of me from here on out!
Let me tell you a bit about me and my journey as a gamer. I began early on as an annoying five-year-old who tried to sneak in play time on an original NES that I wasn’t supposed to touch. When I entered middle school, I was given a deck of Magic: The Gathering cards as a gift, which led me to join our after-school “Game Club.” It was in our meetings that I developed a real love for gaming. By the time I entered college, I was spending many sleepless nights playing Sims and other games when I was supposed to be writing papers and finishing Chem labs.
When I first met my husband, he got me to begin playing SOE games, including EQ II. I’ll admit, I haven’t played nearly as much as most of you, but I’m getting there and loving every single second of it. You’ll see me in Norrath as a Wood Elf and I’ll confess, I’m a crafter. Right now, my favorite thing to do is decorate my house, especially with items I craft myself. I’ve been focusing on leveling up my tradeskills, though I do enjoy adventuring, too (except for when I have to kill Ice Manes or other lion-like creatures, just a personal quirk of mine).
I am a new employee here on the Community Team and at SOE. It was when I attended my first Fan Faire in 2009 that I knew I wanted to become part of this company and team. Before coming here, I worked in education as an advisor and professor. I liked those jobs, but I kept hope that I would be able to make the career switch in to the crazy, wonderful world of SOE. It took a few years, but I am overjoyed that the stars and planets finally aligned and I am now here with all of you.
I look forward to getting to know all of you in game, on the forums and Facebook, via Twitter, and, of course, at SOE Live! You can also hear more from me on our podcast on July 10!
See you soon,
Colette “Dexella” Murphy
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