– Premise –
For the last 35 days I’ve worked on the Larian Studios 2nd kickstarter as some kind of community manager. It was for Divinity: Original Sin 2.
I learned a lot during these 35 days and I wanted to write a few lines about it.
– Why? –
A few years ago, when I was still working at Ubisoft. I created, with other people, the online collecting card game Might & Magic : Duel of Champions. This was my first professional experience with community back then. Not because I was interacting with them but because I was ready every one of their feedback all over the Internet. This created a sparkle in me that wanted to push me toward community management. Long story short, this never happened (there was no opening).
A few years later, working for Larian, I discover how incredible our community is. I went from a world where the loudest people were 99.9% negative about the work you do to a world where the loudest people are 95% positive and constructive about what you do.
In short, I really wanted to do something to work with all of them.
– How? –
How did I managed to end up as Jeff – High Commander of the Brotherhood of norD?
Well, all thanks to Swen, Larian CEO, he just allowed me to do so!
You know, when I started working at Larian I also started reading almost anything I could find about the company and I just kept doing the same when the Kickstarter launched. I was reading everything on our forum, on reddit, on the Kickstarter comment section and all around the Internet where I was able to find data or people talking about it.
At some point I just asked Swen if I could be part of the small team who were working on the Kickstarter and he just said yes without hesitation. The fact that I was in different time zone than all the others also helped a lot.
– The magic –
Something happened on the Kickstarter comment section when I arrived. You know, all the people who were taking care of the Kickstarter except Swen were Writers. As you may know, I’m a Level Designer.
I learned that the community was following the Devins. A cult they created around the Writers. (Devin is a writer).
Since I’m a Level Designer, I created a paradox in that Devin universe and some of the people on Kickstarter started to follow me instead. I’ve no idea why though… I then created The Brotherhood of norD (norD is my nickname).
Really fast, I went from a no-name to someone people were eager to talk to.
I started to be really present on the Kickstarter comment section, I also started posting a lot on our forum as myself, Jeff, the Larian Level Designer.
Lots of crazy stuff also happened during that 35 days, people created things about me, about the furry hat I was wearing and all. Crazy I must say!
– Watch out on what you say –
Writing in the name of the company you work for is something fun and stressful. You need to think twice (and more) about everything that you say/write.
Fans will mostly take everything that you say for granted and/or they will interpret it on their own. Then they will post that somewhere and then, you’re done.
I made a mistake and even if, in the end, it turned out pretty well, I felt really bad about it.
You know, I speak French 99% of the time. My English is far from perfect. So sometimes I want to say something but I don’t use the right word because my vocabulary is kind of limited. This was part of my mistake.
Basically, two RPG communities that have a pretty nice rivalry were doing a fundraiser for our Kickstarter. One day, people were talking about it on the comment section and I decided to have a look at both. They were mostly at $4000 each. They both wanted to rise to $10000.
I said on the comment: “They should merge together so they will be closer to $10000.”
This was the mistake.
The word merge was the mistake.
I didn’t knew, but it was mostly like if I would have asked North and South Korea to merge together. Not that I’m comparing both community to South and North Korea but it felt like it.
Since, like I said, English is not perfect for me. The thing that I really wanted to say was: “They should both merge their funding so there would get closer to $10000.
Why was it a mistake?
Well, people of the community were also on the comment section obviously and they saw that. So they quoted me on their forum and I really looked like an idiot I guess.
I really learned something there.
I can say to you that I was thinking twice before posting anything after that.
I felt so bad about it that I even stopped all interaction with the community for a whole day.
– I hate hearing myself –
Swen needed to travel to San Francisco for TwitchCon. So since it was going to the United-States, he decided to do a stop in our studio in Quebec. That was the first time he was able to come visit us for months.
One of the cool idea he had was to do a Kickstarter update showing Larian Quebec team. Since I had some kind of reputation now and also because I’m a veteran (he really like to say that) I had to speak about Level Design and also myself on a camera.
You know, us, Québécois, are not the best English speakers normally. Especially when you learn English all by yourself like me.
I hate my English accent so much!
Doing that video was a great experience though. That was cool to see how they were doing that from the inside instead of just seeing the finished product.
I think we had to redo my part ten times!
When the update went live, I watched it and obviously, I heard myself speaking.
– And now it’s over –
These 35 days flew really fast. It feels like I posted for the first time on Kickstarter yesterday. I must say that it was probably the most exhausting 35 days (especially the last 2) of my career.
For something like 30 days, I was doing community stuff ~16 hours a day. (Not that anyone asked me to do it but because I wanted to do it). I was also answering questions and speaking with people when I was home. Even on my cell phone when I was not able to be close to a computer! Kickstarter, reddit, twitch, forum and other stuff all open at the same time.
I know now how to manage a Kickstarter campaign and deal with people of the community for sure!
I’m exhausted and happy!
But I’m also sad.
Now, the Kickstarter is over. I won’t have these awesome interaction with the people out there anymore.
The last two days were incredibly fun. I was on stream for ~32 hours in two days. That was the best part of all this for sure.
– End notes –
I’ve said that countless time in the last few days but I’ll say it again.
Thank you to every single one of our ~45000 backers.
They helped us reach more than 2 million dollars but mostly because they are so supportive!
I learned a lot because of you people.
I’m already looking forward for the next one.