How Wander’s launch devastated its community manager

What is it like to be the community manager of an MMO that was infamously called the worst PlayStation 4 game ever? That’s the question of the day for Emma S., the community manager of Wander.

Emma shares how she got involved with the Wander project as a volunteer and worked her way up to CM and social media guru. She describes jumping into the role at launch “beyond stressful” and “insane,” feelings complicated by a massively buggy and unstable release.

“Never underestimate the tremendous wrath of an immeasurable horde of irate gamers,” she recalls. “Within half an hour of launch, Facebook and Twitter had exploded with incredibly nasty comments. Though they were horrible, they were also honest. I hit the ground running. I read and answered every single post and comment as it came though. My stomach sank further with each passing notification. I felt was like I was being punched from the inside with every new comment.”

Emma did say that some fans rallied around her and the team to provide encouragement and even pizza. However, the toll of handling the launch and subsequent trials kept her working so hard that she got sick, had her car towed, and nearly went broke. She’s proud of the game, although she left the project this month to pursue her career.

It’s an interesting read that shows how much abuse and how many trials community managers go through. Read it and maybe consider being a little nicer to your CM today!

Source: Kotaku. Thanks to j3w3l for the tip!
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64 Comments on "How Wander’s launch devastated its community manager"

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lanessar
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lanessar

I was admin and Community Manager for my Neverwinter Nights Persistent World for a number of years.

All complaints were directed to the Complaints Department.

The Complaints Department was a level 60 dragon named Alzuraith in a prison area.

Stress was non-existent after I implemented the complaints department.

EmmaS
Guest
EmmaS

Geering EmmaS Jacra 
It’s really me :) And thanks!
I actually wouldn’t have minded staying at Wander but there were good reasons that were keeping me from staying, that and I finally had to after and look out for myself. No one is is going to do so!
I know Loki is continuing to work super hard on the game, along with everyone else. I think between both him and Aaron (artist) they’ll be taking over community management/SM now and I wish everyone there the best of luck and my gratitude.

schlag sweetleaf
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schlag sweetleaf
Geering
Guest
Geering

Gas Chamber Gerhan I don’t think the problems she suffered through were from giving a fuck.

From what I’ve read, she does have thick skin, but the overwhelming volume of feedback & mounting list of things to do can start to grate on you after a couple of hours, nevermind days. 

I agree with http://www.livefyre.com/profile/73844209/ below, as I will with anyone that posts a Louis CK video to back up their posts, that if the game had launched in a playable state, this wouldn’t have happened. But it did & Emma did not quit or broke down throughout the whole thing.

That’s something noteworthy.

melissaheather
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melissaheather

Dystopiq that’s why we are going to miss Smedley more than the natives on Skull island missed King Kong after they took him away. 
“all the terror, power, and mystery of nature is gone.”

Geering
Guest
Geering

EmmaS Geering Jacra Is that really you? Pay no attention to my wisecrack, the article was just written in a way that made it sound a bit funny. Well, as funny as having your car towed can be, that is.

Listen, lots of respect for you & what you were able to endure. I know negativity can wear you down, no matter how mentally strong you are, especially such a vast amount in so little time. I especially liked the bit when you said you wouldn’t take the all the vileness personally. That’s something not many people can do – even though they should – I applaud you.

You have an emotional maturity that’s sorely lacking in the world today.

This actually got me interested in the game & I hope everything gets sorted out before long. I’ll definitely give it a try. It’s already on my wishlist.

Again, kudos, props & all that for you.

I hope you can find a job somewhere where you can call the shots. I’m sure you’d make an awesome boss!

EmmaS
Guest
EmmaS

Geering 
Leaving
the office at 6.28am, tow away zone starts 6.30am. I Only found out after
the fact that the area has very, very predatory tow trucks that work on
commission. They literally park and wait for the clock to tick to half
past and they tow you. Cafe owner downstairs gave the heads up. $400+ to
get a car out of impound.
The broke part. Well, broke is broke.
Working on a project where you never got paid, not even once, and you
were already living off what you had only on hand an in your account… yeah. If it was possible to be paid, I
would have asked it so, and I did. But at that point, as per the article,
there wasn’t any money to pay anyone at all.
Jacra 

Also, I wasn’t
oblivious. I knew well, too well, about the issues with the game. I
didn’t ‘sell’ myself, I did it to help someone who was obviously in need
of an extra set of hands in an immediate way. My only “crime”
(figuratively speaking) was being helpful to the point where I
temporarily forgot to look after myself because it was an exceptional
circumstance. I ended up being fine, I got through it, it was an
incredible time but I definitely feel I’m better off having gone through
it.
If I go back into CM/PR, having done Wander and it’s extreme
circumstance, I’m confident I am prepared and can handle challenges.
Hopefully I’ve been able to supply some answers to your questions :)

Gas Chamber Gerhan
Guest
Gas Chamber Gerhan

Emma, you need to cultivate the fine art of not giving a fuck, because that’s the kind of thick skin you need as a CM, especially for any kind of online game full of people that will act like raging 5 year olds when shit goes wrong.

Nate Woodard
Guest
Nate Woodard

I’m banging my freaking head on the desk right now! akedlankgabg  I mean seriously?? I cannot for the life of me understand how people think it’s okay to act this way.  I DO NOT CARE how anonymous you think you are on the internet.  Find something more constructive to do.  Remember kids, early access is just that. Early. It’s not finished yet.  Know what that means, kids?  It means, that there’s still time to fix what’s wrong with the game.  

But at least you gave the developers a chance right? Oh.. yea.. whoopsie.  What you did do, is work someone to death trying to answer the questions that were in between your hateful comments.  What you did do, is cause that person to become physically ill. What you did do is cause that person to quit her job, a job that she never intended to have to begin with, no less.  

But hey, why not just yell some more obscenities because YOU PAID for EARLY ACCESS to a game that may or may not have been ready to go.  I mean, sounds real smart to me!  Way to go community.  Just keep smearing the name of gamer in the mud.

Jacra
Guest
Jacra

Geering 
I hope that interview doesn’t backlash on her career as it says (it seems) she was oblivious to the products … quality, the gaming community she was supposed to serve, sold herself without reasonable pay and did not enforce boundaries to ensure her own physical & financial safety.