In case you missed it last week, Tony Rey, Wildstar’s community manager, posted a really touching and heartfelt video that featured him and Wildstar’s social media manager Sean Clanton flying out to Indiana to meet one of the game’s fans, Jennifer Baugh. What makes her special is that she happened to tweet in response to a Vine regarding Wildstar’s launch saying that the game coming out was going to help her keep her sanity while her son went off to boot camp. Tony and Sean thanked her for her service as being a service mom but also dropped a ton of swag on her head.
It was supposed to represent the power of social media, but I feel that it made a much larger statement about community. Wildstar dropped this video the same day that the now-infamous editorial on Polygon about a lack of inclusiveness in gaming, and here was at least one video game community saying, “Hey, it doesn’t matter who you are, we will help you out and care about you.” This feels special for the fact that the video game community at large is exceptionally unfair to women, especially those who are older. This video threw all of those notions out of the window – that gaming moms are only ever the befuddled Angry Bird gamer, casually playing Bejeweled on their iPads. It’s uncharitable to everyone and it’s not even true.
All of the women I interact with online who are hyped for Wildstar (and even some who aren’t) were crying out of happiness for this mother in Indiana because it felt nice to see a woman gamer, a mother, unfailingly accepted and supported in the community. No checking of her “credentials”, just a warm welcome to someone who was in need of some cheer. She looks like some of us. That’s a big deal.
This is starting to not be surprising to me, this idea that Carbine in particular is full of pretty welcoming folks, especially in their social media presence. As someone who has seen many gaming companies lose goodwill or credibility by how some of their employees interact with their audience, I spent the weekend seeing all sorts of Carbine employees from top to bottom be courteous, thoughtful, gracious and kind. Whether it was Cougar putting up with our jokes about protecting the servers from raptors, Non wondering about gendered terms, or Jen Gordy being her usual stunning self, it feels like Carbine is a company that is friendly and appreciates what their fans do and say in the social media sphere. I don’t feel terrible for being a woman, having social justice concerns, or approaching people with possible problems.
Speaking of positive tweets…
Sadie Might Not Be Dead?
Thanks to Soragrey, my blog post went straight to the eyes of Wildstar’s Creative Director Chad “Pappylicious” Moore and he actually responded! Seeing this kind of response from Wildstar’s premiere story guy was kinda mind-blowing, as was this admission:
@soragrey Hey! I like the article (keep playing and writing!)…but why does everyone always assume that we've seen the end of this story?
— Chad Moore (@Pappylicious) May 22, 2014
While I do know why most people presume her to be actually dead and the story finished (for the reasons I stated in the blog post), it was nice to see not only a reflection of the concerns we have but it was nice to see a developer listen and respond with transparency. It might not be the 100% perfect response I was hoping for but it was miles better than anything I’ve ever seen, especially since I was not expecting him to read my blog! Whoa!
I think the take away message from this is that Carbine feels like a company with more awareness of what an incredible tool social media is, not just for interaction but for fostering the kind of community they want around Wildstar. By being so friendly, accepting and open on Twitter, Reddit and Tumblr, they have the ability to let players feel like they are “in” on the discussion going on and in a way that makes people feel comfortable.
I can only say that I support this all the way.
Note: At the time of this blog post, Jennifer Baugh’s GoFundMe for her husband’s cancer treatment/bills has not been completely funded. Maybe stop by and donate?