Community Teams Evolve
I’ve seen a lot of community teams. I’ve not seen a large change in quality between them either. For those that don’t know, community teams are responsible for keeping in touch with the people that actually play the game. They collect player feedback, and relay that information to the game’s developers. This is how they come up with new features and content. Until recently, my feelings towards community teams have been lukewarm at best. The past year, however, has changed that.
The Best Community Team
Planetside 2 has the best community team out there. They don’t just stick to forums and press releases. The have a variety of sources for interaction with their community. A couple of these approaches are very innovative. The most impressive to me is their Friday Night Ops stream. Every Friday night they stream live from 8pm-10pm EST. They host Q&A chats, group up with guilds to blast other units, and so on. The live part is what impresses me most. Anyone can wrap a prerecorded program up in a bow and make it look nice, but live with who knows what kind of chaos is as genuine as it gets.
Friday Night Ops isn’t the only thing the Planetside 2 community team does right. Another innovation is the introduction of the Roadmap. It is a player-centric development plan where players can vote on what features they want to see implemented next. Their Twitter account is another great place to see the community team at work. I once saw an irate player tweet at the official @Planetside2 account about how a gun sucked, except with much different wordage. A community team member actually responded to them, publicly over Twitter, asking that same player for more feedback.
More Than One Great Community Team
Planetside 2 doesn’t have the only good community team. Red 5 Studios, makers of Firefall, do a lot of community outreach over Twitter as well. I’ve seen the Guild Wars 2 team actually admit a connection problem was on their end. When’s the last time you saw a game publisher admit any problem was on their end? Trion Worlds, makers of several popular games, also does a good job at not just reaching out to players, but responding to them. I’m sure there are more great community teams out there, but these are just the ones I have noticed that stand out among the games I have played.
Which community team do you think is the best? What is the most important thing a community team can do?