So says Icy. Mindeth thy Icywiz…
On Gear and Level Caps
I play a LOT of video games. Mostly MMOs. I’ve casually met employees (not just community managers), usually completely by chance, in most of them. As a person who podcasts about MMOs (not just KingsIsle ones), I have a LOT of opinions about community management, marketing, and what paying customers can legitimately expect for their hard-earned dollars.
On top of that, I like to play devil’s advocate. And I’m pretty cynical.
If I were to see an employee of any MMO sporting the best gear of the game, my immediate assumption would be that it was just put in their inventory because they work for the game.
And that would really cheese me off. I WANT the game employees to have to grind for their gear.
First, I want them to feel my pain. That’s right. I’m petty.
But on a more practical note, if employees don’t grind for gear like the rest of us mere mortals, how do they know if drop rates need to be fixed? We WANT employees seeing the game through our eyes.
This goes hand-in-hand with level caps. If I run into a Community Manager who I know is fairly new to a game, and his or her toon is level capped, I assume the boss just had a top-level toon put in the new employee’s account during orientation.
That makes me mad. For the same reasons. You can’t know the game if you haven’t played it. You can’t be responsive to customer’s concerns.
In short, I’d rather see people from KingsIsle in the same crap gear I have unless they have taken us along the journey of farming their gear so that I know they got it the same way I did.
If you think that KingsIsle employees are somehow obligated to spend free time outside of the office leveling or grinding…you’re wrong.
I’ve never known employees of any game company other than KingsIsle to interact with players/customers on their personal social media accounts. There have actually been scary incidents of Blizzard players tracking down employees (and their parents) IRL. I think it’s foolish, to be honest. But remember, I’m admittedly cynical.
If you happen to track down someone’s personal Twitter, good for you. But it’s not a “fast lane” to getting what you want out of a company. If you have a problem with your KingsIsle account, write to Mr. Lincoln.
If you pester a KI employee via IRL means and you get blocked on their personal account…well…go cry in your lunchbox.
Hermione Granger does not work at Kinglsle
Some people might think that every person on a Community Management team should each know every last thing about the game. I don’t think any one person COULD know everything about Wizard101 (or Pirate101). A lot of the people who created the games don’t even work there any more. I’m sure everything is written down somewhere, but no one person knows everything.
So, questions might come up during live events that employees can’t answer off the tops of their heads. It doesn’t mean they aren’t good at their jobs. Maybe they just got nervous.
Personally attacking someone, and saying “it’s just my opinion,” is weak sauce. Calling someone a Nazi is way, way beyond attacking someone’s job performance.
Would you like someone to go on Twitter and post a list of things he or she doesn’t like about you? No. So don’t do it. Sure, no one can stop you, but it reflects more on the attacker than the attacked.
That’s a nice way of saying it makes you look like a jerk, and that’s what people remember…you being a jerk. So if you want to bring about change (instead of just blow off steam), sleep on your rant before you hit “post.” You might find a way to word things more constructively in 12 or 24 hours…and people might take you more seriously.
Wizard101 has millions of players. Whenever someone in the community says “most players” feel a certain way about something, that implies they have consulted literally millions of people. I think it’s possible that most of the people we talk to agree with us…but that’s something very different.
Bringing it in for a landing
If the boss thinks the person is doing a crap job, the boss lowers the boom. That doesn’t mean you can’t write to Mr. Lincoln and say “this is what I’d like to see in a Community Manager.” You can even get a bunch of friends together to sign a letter that reflects how you all feel.
But publicly attacking someone for his or her job performance, with a mish-mash of personal and professional information you have on that person, isn’t going to get you far.
So, everyone who would like to blather about what I meanie-pants I am…the line forms to the left.
P.S. I will say that calling ANYONE a Nazi is one of the most tasteless things you can do. Would you call someone an “ISIS” or an “Al Qaeda?” It’s along the same lines. Just because the Holocaust happened a long time ago doesn’t mean it’s okay to take what happened to Jews and other minorities and make it into the punchline of a joke or an insult against someone’s beliefs.