WoW’s lead deveoper on how to manage community – lessons for LLs

A short one today.

We all know how bad its been around Second Life regarding Linden Lab’s non-communicative stance. There’s general agreement that this silence does a lot of harm to the viability of the platform, though disagreement on the specifics and degree.

So how about a very different stance’s POV.

Ghostcrawler of World of Warcraft – a developer who posts so much to his game’s forums that its easy to thing he’s just a guy in the community service / customer support section with no real authority… yet he is also the game’s lead designer. As in; the buck stops at his desk.

He’s just done an interview and given some of his thoughts. Its an article that everyone at Linden Labs ought to be required to read:

Q&A: Greg Street, ‘World of Warcraft’ Lead Systems Designer (Pt. 1)

Q&A: Greg Street, ‘World of Warcraft’ Lead Systems Designer (Pt. 2)

Biggest point:

“World of Warcraft” fans might know you as “Ghostcrawler” on the message boards. How did you get into engaging directly with players in that way?
That started back at Ensemble, just as a way to try and simply communicate directly with players. So often the players and the designers are separated by layers of PR people and community managers and everything gets diluted and filtered. Players want to give us feedback, and social media is a great way to have a conversation with normal people. Us being on there and interacting is how we get insight into our players. A single passionate user can steer the direction of the forums in a certain direction, but no one player can represent all 10 million. So it’s great for us to actually ask questions when someone posts something and find out why they feel how they do.

From the gamer’s point of view they like to know that they’re being taken care of and that all the time and energy they invest is taken seriously and and not for granted. They’re happy to pay a monthly subscription to play the game as long as we’re going to continue polishing things, making new content, and recognizing the value of the customers.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. isfullofcrap
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 12:41:09

    Notice the use of terms there: player, gamer, user.
    But ends with “the value of the customers.”

    -ls/cm

    Reply

  2. Pussycat Catnap
    Apr 13, 2012 @ 07:44:07

    Nod.
    But I don’t see that as a negative use.

    We’re all “players” and “users” of the platforms, and companies being responsive to that is serving the needs of their “customers”. In a sense, he’s recognizing that his customer is the players, not some stockholders, not a mysterious VC in the background, nor some hopeful future business partners. The folks he has right now in his game – those are his customers. 🙂

    He’s also giving a nod to whackadoodles; “a single passionate user…” but not in a dismissive way. And he shows he knows how to handle them even despite their nature – to make them a resource.

    Reply

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