Pulling the rug out from under you

Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, developers of Stargate Worlds, fired their Community Manager this week. Their claim (which I believe) is that they wanted a CM who was local to the company. Now, I can completely understand that preference. Working in Seattle this summer allowed me to be so much more helpful than I could have been at home. And even now, back at school, it’s much harder to stay in touch and keep up with everything that’s going on around the office. But, what happened at CME is something very different. Because it is extremely hard on a community to take the CM who they’ve come to know and love, and throw them out for someone completely new.

I’m not like all the other forumgoers who claim that this will ruin the community, blah blah blah. But I do think that there is a balance through the development cycle of when taking away a CM can be beneficial, and when it turns harmful. CME didn’t cross that line, I’m fairly certain. Yes, right now it sucks that we lost Katie, who everyone knows to be awesome and sweet and just fun all around. But I bet in a few months, or whenever the beta starts, we’ll be just as happy as we were a few weeks ago.

However, try firing the CM right before launch. It’s possible complete chaos will reign. Your community builds up this trusting rapport with the CM, and to have them lose that will also cause them to lose faith in the company a little. Yes, you can build it back up with someone new, as I’m sure CME will do, but it takes a lot of time and effort, during which many players might not be willing to put in everything they had been putting in. I know that I, personally, feel less compelled to help out on the forums, because I know Katie’s not there to help out. I remember reading that some of the community helpers there wanted to quit in rage after hearing about it, but, thankfully, they all stayed on.

Anyways, point being, there’s a balance there. I think CME will be fine from this occurrance, but other companies might not be so lucky.

PS. I need to watch the Star Wars trilogy again.

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