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Community Team Informal Q & A

Gosh. It feels like I've been talking a heckuva lot about Blues today, what with two special events planned for tomorrow and the Community Team mugging for a photo op with a pair of giant plushies.

Ryuzaaki clearly hadn't had his fill, calling an impromptu Q & A session on the official forums so that we could all learn a little bit more about our favorite Blizzard posters. His original post follows, with responses from several CMs after the break:

As a community many of us are familiar with those oh so elusive Community Managers who patrol these forums posting whenever they feel the urge. However, for many people not many know much more about them other than the blue name. The idea of this thread is to allow CM's to talk about themselves or allow the community to ask specific questions. 

So to get this started I'll ask a few of my own questions here: 

1. To many of us its known that Bornakk and Zarhym are actually close friends *and that they work right next to each other*. So to continue on that, when did you both first meet, and what were your first impressions that caused you to become such good friends? 

2. Where has Neth been? We miss you = (. 

The next few are in general towards any CM's. 

3. Many kids have the desire of working in a gaming field as they age, but did any of you truly expect to actually achieve such a career? If not what was your dream job as a child. 

4. As CM's you all maintain your own characters in game that you have played as fairly as everyone else. What has been your most humorous situation to happen in game? In regards to the fact that people may be rude to you and be completely oblivious that you are in fact the CM's on the forums? 

As not all CMs directly answered every question (or in any particular order, for that matter), responses are being grouped by general theme:

On interacting with fellow players in-game (Note: CMs do not use their forum names for their characters):

Eyonix: There was a guy in my first guild who hated eyonix with such great and terrible passion, but at the same time, genuinely liked me. He'd rant to me, some of my most awful things I'd ever heard, about some devil named eyonix.

Nethaera: I had a similar experience as Eyonix. They didn't like me (Neth) at all and were sure I couldn't PvP out of a wet paper bag, but would pvp with me (my character) on a regular basis in game. ;) It didn't bother me and if anything just gave me a laugh.

Zarhym: The realm I'm on right now has a lot of people with very... colorful... personalities. I joined a 25-player pick-up group last week to kill Razorscale for the weekly quest. There was a guy in the raid with a ridiculous name and I made a joke about it before the raid began 'cause someone asked him if he was there. He and a few other people spent a good five minutes tearing me apart with as many insults and profanities as they had the patience to type correctly -- well, mostly type correctly. I laughed it off, and told him to relax and that I was kidding. I spent a good portion at the beginning of the raid politely mocking him, especially when he reset Flame Leviathan by accident by kiting him past the back barrier (who does that?). By the end of the raid we were the best of friends. 

Between pick-up raids, the Dungeon Finder and Battlegrounds, I've had my fair share of interesting interactions with people in the game. I always give people the benefit of the doubt and respect them from the start, but for some of the more abrasive people, I'm not quite so restrained as I am on the forums. ;) 

Zarhym admits his favorite class...

My warlock was my first character ever. It holds a special place in my heart. Based on my current gameplay focus though, I'd have to say my favorite class right now is the death knight. I wasn't very familiar with endgame melee gameplay before getting my death knight to 80, so it took a bit of adjusting, but I love the class style. It's a remarkable melee complement for those who like playing warlocks. 

...and tells us what it's like working with Bornakk.

We first met each other when I joined the community team. We didn't know one another very well until we had to work together more often. Our friendship mostly stems from sharing similar job responsibilities, hanging out while working at various gaming conventions, our close proximity as far as seating in the office goes, and guild raids. 

It's one of those cases where two very different people end up getting along quite well. If you saw the picture Bashiok posted of the community team, we're a fairly diverse group of people. We have vastly different personalities, points of view and interests, though sharing similar career responsibilities brings us all pretty close together. It's part of our job to keep the community engaged, so we're pretty good at working through our differences internally and maintaining a tight-knit support structure. ;) 

...except for Eyonix. Dude's totally weird. :p

On CMs having any influence on game direction:

Zarhym: Not quite, though we have shared general ideas. They give it to us straight if the idea isn't good: "this is why this wouldn't work," or "this is why we wouldn't want to do something like that," or "that'd be cool, but it'd be low priority given the resources we have dedicated to X feature."


Authority? Our department manager definitely has the ability to pass direct feedback or proposals to our executive managers. We have a direct line of communication with the developers. 

I played Guitar Hero with MikeMorhaime a few weeks ago at a fellow employee's birthday party. Does that count? 

What exactly does a Community Manager do?

Zarhym: We do a lot of behind the scenes community work, planning contests, coordinating with all departments at Blizzard to make sure we have the right messaging to provide players when applicable, work closely with all of our developers to work up previews of upcoming content for all of our franchises, edit and compile the patch notes, coordinate web and forum messaging with our counterparts in all other regions, interact with fans at gaming and trade conventions, etc. We're sort of a jack-of-all-trades department within public relations. 

What's up with GM Island? Is It real?

Zarhym: Yes. The game masters who respond to you in the game are doing so through a separate chat/support tool. They're not actually using the game client to whisper you, however, logging into the chat client means the character they use to contact players with is logged into all of the realms they need to. While GM invisibility exists, it makes it safer and easier to have a simple storage/port point to keep all of these characters out of the normal game world.

Do other CMs choose your avatars for you?

Eyonix: Naw, we choose our own avatars.

If you had a dream vacation, where would you go?

Nethaera: New Zealand - I always thought it seemed like a beautiful place to visit. 

Yes, some of the questions are real softballs, but others are provide some valuable insight into the way things work at Blizzard, if you've ever been curious. There are more responses in the full thread, which will likely continue to grow as more questions are asked, so keep your eye on it!

Reader Comments (1)

The GM Island thing is repeated. Jus sayin'.

Cool stuff though.

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterReavijinoo

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