The Daily Grind: What makes a really great MMO community manager?
When Funcom hired new community managers a few weeks ago, some readers questioned why we'd cover it. Big whoop, community managers are glorified retweeters, right? Yeah, not so much. A talented community manager can work a playerbase and keep everyone happy even in dark times. "Sinking, panicking games dump their CMs overboard first, not realizing their CMs are the best at bailing," I argued at the time. "Hiring good CMs is a good sign in a lot of ways."
But as I think more on it, I have a hard time pinpointing a single common-denominator quality for the CMs I think are particularly wonderful. Some of them win affection by seemingly responding to queries around the clock. Others "tell it like it is" or climb down into the trenches of the game with the players themselves. Some will buddy up to vocal gamers, while others stay professional and honest. Personality clearly has a lot to do with it -- and so does the nature of the game's playerbase. I suspect that the community team for LOTRO has it a bit easier than the team for EVE Online (although maybe not much!).
What do you think makes a really great MMO community manager? And whom would you hold up as the ideal CM in the MMO genre?