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Michael Bitton: PAX Prime Meet 'n' Greet Post-mortem

Column By Michael Bitton on September 05, 2012

As community manager here at MMORPG.com, I work with my team every day to ensure our forum community is a great place to partake in discussions on all manner of subjects, but one thing I’ve been trying to do over the past year is help to extend the MMORPG.com community outside of our forums.

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The most basic way of doing this is by interacting with users via social media. Yes, yes, I know most of you reading this are probably scoffing at this notion, but our forum, Facebook, and Twitter communities are all worth our attention and have different needs.

Another way of extending our community outside of the forums and website is through the establishment of an official MMORPG.com guild in a number of hot new games. We’ve done this so far in several games. Most recently, The Secret World, TERA, and now Guild Wars 2, though the latter was actually an idea initiated by community members themselves during the Guild Wars 2 beta weekend events.

This year, we’ve also begun putting on Meet ‘n’ Greet events during some of the year’s most prominent fan conventions, namely both PAX shows in Boston and Seattle. Our event at PAX East was the first event I’d ever put on and we did it without a budget. We all met up in a hole-in-the-wall bar in Boston and had an awesome corner of the bar all to ourselves. I’m being sarcastic here. The arrangement at the venue was disappointing, but thankfully, people showed up and still had a great time. There was a lot of great conversation to be had and it was fun meeting our readers in person and enabling our readers to meet and mingle with each other as well.

For PAX Prime, I really wanted to do something special. With an official budget and a location suggested by one of our readers (who showed up at the first Meet ‘n’ Greet!) we put together a proper event with food and drinks, and a special surprise for our readers: the Trion Worlds and ArenaNet teams! Trion’s Scott Hartsman and Russ Brown were in attendance, along with ArenaNet’s Colin Johanson, Jeff Grubb, Mike Z, Bobby Stein, Rubi Bayer, and more! All of us here on the team are fans of the games these folks toil so hard on and it was a great opportunity for us to be able to chat with them at length away from the rushed convention floor. For our readers, it was a great opportunity to not only meet their favorite developers, but to also share their own feedback about these games face-to-face and hear what the developers themselves had to say about their ideas and opinions.

I’m really glad things went as well as they did and for those of you who came out. I hope you had a great time. I wanted to take a moment to publicly thank both Trion Worlds and ArenaNet for dropping by. We really do appreciate the gesture.

I do want to use this week’s column to gather some feedback, though. So below you’ll find a couple of questions I’d love to get your thoughts on:

  • Did you attend our Meet ‘n’ Greet? If so, what did you think about it? In what ways do you feel we can improve on these events going forward?
  • I’ve previously struggled with the notion of having developers be a fixture at these events. I want these events to be about you, the readers, but now that I think of it, having developers on-hand really enhances the event. Being able to mingle with developers as well as your fellow community members is clearly a win-win in my book. Do you agree? Disagree? Tell us why!
  • Were you aware we had a Meet ‘n’ Greet at this year’s PAX East and PAX Prime? We’ve been messaging about it via the top banner on our site, the forums, Facebook, and Twitter. If you were somehow unaware the event was taking place, in what ways do you think we could improve messaging to you about these events?
  • Would you like us to try to include some activities at future Meet ‘n’ Greets? If so, what would you like to see?
  • Lastly, if you have any other miscellaneous thoughts or feedback you’d like to share on these events, let us know in the comments below!

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