PCGamer: What It’s Like to Manage a Gaming Community on Fire

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

A great article from PCGamer.com:

Micah Whipple didn’t believe in Real ID. It was unveiled in 2010 as a new social initiative in the Blizzard forums, effectively forcing players to register their real names instead of Battle.net aliases to cut down on the witch hunts and treachery that so often define anonymous, online public spaces. Whipple thought the policy would be unsustainable and unenforceable, but as a World of Warcraft community manager it was his job to go to bat for it. The CM role is simple: be a plebeian, embed yourself in the community, serve as liaison between publisher and community, and most importantly, stay optimistic.

What that really means: when the players got angry, Whipple was paid to run into burning buildings. Sometimes he was a firefighter, and sometimes he was a meatshield.

..

As violent as it was, the Real ID pushback was managed. But at a price. Real ID was one of the more painful experiences in his life. “I think [Real ID] actually woke me up a bit, and made me realize my employment with any company is a partnership, and not any kind of debt or life-oath that I need to repay,” he says.

“[Being a community manager] requires a huge amount of empathy, so of course if you’re reading negativity day in and day out it’s difficult not to take at least some of that with you,” continues Whipple.

Read More at PCGamer.com

 

EQ2Wire Asks: Who were your favorite Community Managers for EverQuest II and why?

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Comments (15)

  • Feldon

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    Kiara — She was familiar with the game and empathized with players and went to bat for us over numerous issues rather than just giving us platitudes and the “company line”.
    Luperza (Maggie) — She is a player first and had a ton of enthusiasm for the community. She has a fantastic on-camera presence.
    Afista — She was already a big part of the EQ2 community and it felt like she was our representative, like we had some voice at the company.

    Reply

    • Katz

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      I don’t remember most the ones that some of you mentioned but I much preferred forums under Maggie and Afista. There was a more positive, friendly atmosphere.

      I don’t know if the change is due to moderators, posters, or having so few personnel for moderation that it is an unbearable burden. I also know that I have no way to know what gets deleted and therefore don’t know how toxic some posts might be.

      I’ve probably said it so often that it sounds like a broken record, but for me, my attitude about the forums changed drastically when the lore, guide, and fan site news and announcements areas got removed. I took that as a signal that those things no longer mattered and it was a disturbing thought. OR it meant that whoever was in charge was so completely disconnected from the game that they had no idea that they mattered to begin with. Either way, it made the forums seem foreign and disconnected from the actual game.

      Reply

    • Zhaan

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      Yes those are my choices as well Feldon!

      Reply

  • Necromancer

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    Always thought Kiara was the best because she actually was the voice of the community and I always felt like she at least tried to voice the concerns of the majority.

    Reply

  • Betony

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    Feldon, I totally agree with you. They are also my choices.

    We actually had representation, feedback, in-your-face, get over yourselves (to the posters) type of feedback at times. They were absolute breaths of fresh air in this boys club/gamer gate mentality atmosphere.

    Reply

  • Moose

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    To be honest Moorguard and Blackguard were my favorites. They didn’t nut cut you over the bullshit the rest did/do now.

    We could argue and bicker and wrap up a discussion without it being killed, you try that now and the little bitches there lock/delete the discussion.

    The piss poor mods they have now and shortly after some of the others left is what started Eqflames and then the eq2 page on Reddit.

    I think there should be the ability to let things get heated and not be closed.

    Feldon would be good if he didn’t get forced to squash things. He lets us bitch and such without cutting things short.

    Reply

    • Sands

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      Those two were the best. They would join the players in the game for events. I remember them leading a raid on Qeynos, and spawning Nagafen in the Baubbleshire to eat the little ones.

      Reply

  • EQ3orGoAway

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    Kiara and Blackguard were the two best in my opinion. Wish one of them were back at the helm.

    (Insert 5 hours and 10 million words about how much I hate Radar X here)

    Reply

    • EQ3orGoAway

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      I should add a comment about Kiara.

      She discovered that I was in the hospital recovering from injuries I sustained as a result of my service in the Army. She got a bunch of people from the EQ/EQ2 SOE team to send me EQ2 stuff, t-shirts, expansion, toys, all kinds of stuff with the EverQuest logo on it. I was in awe. It’s something that changed my opinion of SOE as a company.

      Radar X undid all of her hard work at CS/CM and PR.

      If you’re reading this thank you Kiara and all the devs that chipped in on that monster sized care package sent to Walter Reed Hospital! It was exactly what I needed at the time.

      Reply

      • Anaogi

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        Damn. This is the first I remember hearing about that, and that says a lot of positive things by itself.

        Reply

  • Occam

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    Kiara & Moorguard were my favorites.

    While different than a Community Manager, I feel there was more cohesiveness in general back when each server had dedicated GMs (this was in EQ1 prior to EQ2 launching). You’d see the same GMs in general chat every day, which led to the community feeling that we had a direct connection to the devs.

    Once they let some of the GMs go and the remaining GMs were bounced from server to server, the tone of the community began to change. I would venture to say that was (arguably) the beginning of the Us vs Them mentality that dominates the community now.

    Reply

  • Whilhelmina

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    Definitely Kiara. She was the best ever (and a Dark Elf of course *whistles*)

    Reply

  • Lillya

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    NAYLIE! The Guide GM for AGES. She rocked. And then they got rid of her, and then her replacement. Zatozia? No clue who is in charge now.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      Naylie got drummed out of the company. Very sad. Now it’s RadarX, Mepps, and Roshen.

      Reply

  • Tom

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    Kiara and Luperza hands down for me. Does Roshen even still work on EQ2?

    Reply

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