Community (Managers), Communication, Assets & Streams – and Open Letters…

In this post we want to highlight a well-thought-out piece of feedback by JanneMoonmist. Janne runs a site at http://janne.coreside.com, which features theorycrafting and tools for the game, and is a veteran Neverwinter player. On Tuesday they pondered about community management, or the lack thereof, and some related topics on Reddit. It’s lengthy, but we would advice you to read it thoroughly, because it contains a lot of valid points, criticism and suggestions. After consulting with the author we decided to copy the post in its entirety to give it the most exposure it can get. Have fun reading through!


Recently, with a planned site update, few video criticism posts, and few discussions on discord I’ve come again to the same issues. As it’s being a new year season, and there should be judgment if people receive gifts or coal. I think it’s a good time to bring it up again.

But before, first of all, while blunt, this is not personal, we can like someone but they can improve on what they do, and we can dislike someone and they can be great at their job. Second, this is my subjective impression. Third, while I don’t do video content, not intend to do, I do have ‘some’ experience in presentation of content, but as with all things at the great interwebs it’s up to anyone to accept or not any feedback or criticism.

And last but not least, lack of fluff doesn’t make feedback not constructive. While it’s advisable when feedbacking specific cultures to use the sandwich method — explanation — I find it insulting when empty fluff like “I see you put a lot of effort into this” when the meaning is “I couldn’t find anything good to say, but I have to put something positive here” So, I’ll skip this entire idea.

To the point/s:

Assets

Why what for other companies and games is trivial, in NW is impossible to get? A new mod comes out, can we get a clean map so people can make guides and location maps? There are dinos, great, where are the dinos icons? Why the powers, feats icons, etc.. are not available? Mod 12b brought several new RP items to consolidate and replace the old ones, where the icons for those? Lets have some Reddit flares for classes? No can do. No icons.

It’s amazing that after several posts, PMs, and requests on stream there is no response for a basic request, that most other games not only provide, but push, because it promotes their community and community assets. (And before someone points me to the wiki, think how things got there, and we shall just keep on going )

Streams

This is in regards to the official streams only.

  1. Technical preparation – When a person comes to lecture hall, or class, or conference room, or any place they need to present something, they come earlier than the starting time and check that the projector, mic, powerpoint, what not works. This is not done at the time of the start. It should be done before.
  2. Content Preparation – Multiple streams the premise was “This is not a serious stream, there isn’t agenda”. – No, this doesn’t work, if there is a need to make mod release maintenance stream, there are plenty of topics to discuss and engage the viewers. It takes preparation, and not improvisation. Showing empty handed and hoping that someone will pass by in the corridor is not content. Nor starry mounts.
  3. Structure – almost a year ago, with the tavern streams, Iv’e posted on some forums that if you have an hour stream, plan it (and this even includes those extremely important give aways), here a simple example that was based on the tavern 9 months ago:
    • 10min hellos, technical problems(because checking before is a no no) intro, and introductions.
    • 2min give away fluff
    • 5 min new things they can’t actually discuss, and the same trailer again. (this should go away and be in the first 10 minutes, but I’m being realistic)
    • 2min give away fluff
    • 6 min go over patch notes changes of the 2 weeks
    • 2min give away fluff
    • 10 min discuss burning community topics of the 2 weeks, and if they were passed along. There is some alleged list that community managers and mods pass to the devs, lets hear it, or the gist of it.
    • 2min give away fluff
    • 10 min the fanart and things showcase. That should also include builds and sites, but…oh well
    • 5 min go-over and closing

A clock is not an evil word, keeping it on time is not a bad word. An official streamer is a host. A news broadcaster, and not fluff streamer. If I wanted to see someone play, I would look for someone who does that for a living, but we will get to it.

  1. Content itself – As I’ve mentioned:
    • Please, there are a lot of streamers, videos and what not that stream the game itself. I don’t want to see more of it. It has no benefit not to new players, not veteran players. If I wanted to see the game, I would have logged in.
    • Giveaways – I understand that people like them, but half the stream is a give away? What can be done with a twitch bot takes 30 minutes? And later some people never get them, or it’s late, or what not.. Why the codes can’t be generated in advance and PMed on twitch immediately?
    • “Not serious stream” – The last streams all are not serious, then why we need them? And when is the serious informative streams ? How about covering the hot topics from last week or two. Most important bugs that you have escalated? Upcoming events on the calendar… Special event like winter? Great explain how it works, show the prizes. Rehearse in advance, and check the picture / video work. Where are the serious streams then? “Not Serious” is not an excuse for it to be improvisation.
    • Want to showcase work? Help the viewers that may not be reading the forums / Reddit, etc. There is plenty of helpful information to show, build, sites, cover preview forum, and patch notes. It’s all there in your official forums….
  2. Presentation
    • Please introduce the people who join the stream. Dan, Benny or what not, doesn’t tell me a thing. A Person joins in, if there is time “Hi Ben, please tell the viewers who you are and what you do”. If there isn’t time “Hi, Ben, this is Ben, he is a lead systems designer, he decides the loot drop rate, the class balance, etc.. all the things you so love to hate..”
    • Private jokes are not funny – “Alice and Bob drove in the car, and Carol joined and they didn’t find a parking space. And it was hilarious”. I don’t know who Alice, Bob, nor Carol are, neither your 300 viewers…. (Btw., those names are not random, anyone familiar? link )
    • Please don’t turn 90 degrees to us. We are virtual, but we are there, at the camera – when standing on a stage except when inviting someone to a stage, a speaker or a co-presenter will rarely turn full 90 degrees to the audience even if the other co-speaker now speaking. Same as with a group of people, you will not turn your back to one member to look at the speaker, you will position yourself to be in view of both.
    • The room – Dark small room with a camera on the side, and no place for people to sit.. I’m sure there are better places…

I have more, but I think this is enough…

AMAs

In the last years there was a single AMA, and it met with great participation and IMO immense success. Not because everyone like the answers, nor everything was answered. A lot was skipped and some answers (and some questions) were of dubious value. But it was communication, on a significant scale. And I think everyone would agree that it was a huge step in a good direction (in terms of communication). What was the lesson learned from it on the community management side? “People liked it, there were a lot of questions. Next time we will not allow questions up front” Or in practice, lets not do any more of those….. Seriously… The one thing that finally got massive response.. and the reaction is instead of organizing more, is to suffocate it before it was even born? How? Why? What is going on? I would like to believe that it’s not because finally organizing something of value takes more time than reposting a blog from last year, but lately I’m more cynical than positive.

Official forum and moderation

This is not about moderators, and please lets not go into this. But about the structure, and hierarchy. There is only one person that is has the final word in all things forum, and it’s the community manager. It feels like a shadow government? Or a Regency and not management. Not a single word spotted, not in personal cases, and not in policy.

Community Content

To extend upon the assets issue. There is complete lack of cooperation. And I’m not talking about niche content like mechanics explanation. I’m talking about streamers, youtubers, community sites that have more traffic than all the official put together. So where is the ‘outreach’ program? The rules and to participate? Or just a mention in the streams? An official list? A blog post?

Initiative and job description

Some time ago (few months), after some heat about community management job, “What is the community job description” as it happens, I know the poster, and it was a question in full faith. They believe, IMO, that the community manager does much more than it appears to us and as such should be given more slack. There was an answer, that can be summarized as “A fluffy unicorn that rides the clouds”. Unfortunately / Fortunately, in NW, at least of what I saw, the players are a bit older than the usual FPS match and even if not, please, do not insult our intelligence. If something of the above is not in the community manager job description, ok, then what is? As I see it, it’s supposed to be the link between the players and the company, (in part so we wont need to ping devs). The person who should inform us, aid us in helping each other, and in turn get more players and healthier community. When there are threads with no response, 3k unread mails, PMs that probably were never read.. I don’t think it works as described..

I want to add, that not everything should work, and yes, there will be a lot of mistakes. Only those that do not do, do not make mistakes. And because of that, initiative is appreciated, for example Andi joined a stream (joined the discord) with 3 streamers. I don’t think it was a success, the streamers asked a lot questions that it was obvious that Andi can’t answer, nor can’t have the knowledge of, like CW combat walk speed (it’s the same as the rest of the classes, test it, it’s just the animation is meh). But the idea and initiative is commendable. The same with better prepared streamers, or better prepared questions can make it work. So lets see new things.. Something… Anything.. It’s been a year..

Final words

At the end, it’s not doom and gloom, but it’s also not getting better. I hope that the above points will help in improving the communications, ‘team’ work between the community and help altogether (or even reach someone).


What’s your take on the community management, communication and handling of assets? Do you agree with Janne? Share your thoughts in the comments below and visit the corresponding thread on our message board!

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