Even though our last column talked about community in Wizard101, it’s worth yet another mention as the way that the community is supported and built by the KingsIsle team is definitely something unique and special in the industry.
In December when MMORPG.com announced the Players’ Choice Awards, KingsIsle’s Pirate101 landed on top of the heap. A lot of players opined that the vote was skewed by first time registrants on our site because of “advertising” by the community management teams behind both Pirate101 and Wizard101. The thought is a curious one as one has to wonder why it is that putting the word out that “HEY! Our game has been nominated for a big award at MMORPG.com! Go vote!” is a bad thing. If every other nominated game’s community management team had done the same, it’s possible the outcome would have been different. It’s a moot point now as far as the Players’ Choice Awards thing goes so let’s not go down that particular road again.
The point truly is that KingsIsle has invested a lot of energy and time in its community managers and those community managers have taken their jobs very seriously when it comes to making sure that players feel welcome, needed and valued. It doesn’t take a very long look at the Wizard101 site to see how much the team works to keep the community engaged both in and out of the game.
Each month, the community team publishes the Ravenwood Bulletin, a newsletter that is geared specifically and only at the community. The only mention of any type of corporate game news comes in the form of an introductory paragraph that mentions, for instance, the arrival of a special in-game NPC around certain holidays. Pat O’Gold has arrived in the Spiral, according to the March Bulletin, with Eggbert hopping into the game later this month.
In addition, the community fansites are celebrated and linked. That in and of itself is awesome but it goes further than simply a mere mention. KingsIsle provides its fansites with opportunities to run contests for their communities. You see, with KI, it goes beyond the company website and extends out into the wider fan community with its support.
Harold Argleston also has his input with a book of the month. It’s KI’s way of encouraging their target pre-teen and tween audience to read. Not such a bad idea for older players either! The book often celebrates something magic-related which is only fitting given W101’s focus. This month, however, the book is set in Africa with a trio of bumbling detectives charged with finding some lost children. The point is that KingsIsle openly acknowledges its responsibility to the larger community by encouraging folks to read.
The Bulletin is rounded out with a drawing lesson for one of the in-game characters or monsters followed by a question/response and links to the weekly Feedback Friday on the game’s social sites, important links such as one to Ripper X’s First Impressions video, new blog sites that have cropped up, and the monthly Abracadoodle comic.
That’s just the community letter! The team also publishes monthly Producer’s Letters, Game Update notes and features important announcements and information on the site forums as well as across social media.
As a game company, KingsIsle has a firm grasp on the importance of community and it does not sit back and take that fact for granted. The company actively tends and grows its community with their support and acknowledgement of fans and fansites and by keeping the core gamers engaged on many levels. If every game company spent half the time the Wizard101 team does keeping its community happy, there would be a lot more satisfied and happy gamers in this world.
Are you involved in the Wizard101 community? What aspects are the ones that catch you eye? Let us know in the comments!
Suzie Ford is the Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com
Check out some of our Wizard101 columns of days gone by: