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Tony Jones Interview

DC Universe Online Interviews - By William Murphy on October 22, 2010

Tony Jones Interview

Recently DC Universe Online picked up a new community manager in the guise of Tony “RadarX” Jones. A long, long time ago, and in a website far away he and I used to work together on all manner of MMO things. But time marched on, and now Tony’s down in Austin, Texas being all important and “kind of a big deal” as SOE Austin’s new Community Manager. Luckily the fine chap found some time amid his hectic new schedule to sit down and answer a few questions for his old coworker. We chatted about all things DCUO, from what being the game’s community manager means, to the beta process, and what players can expect in the coming months.

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MMORPG.com:

Previously you worked with the PoxNora team, but admittedly it must be a whole new ball game to be working on the DCUO community. Care to give us some insight on what your day-to-day work is like?

Tony Jones:

The PoxNora Community is honestly like none I’ve ever worked with. They are a dedicated audience with very honest expectations and truly were a unique group to work with. Yes moving from a strategy game to an action oriented superhero MMO game was about as different as you can get.

My work varies from day to day and I’m fortunate that I like to stay busy because there is always something to do! What you will see is the normal things you’d expect a Community Manager to do like read forums and talk with players What you won’t see is me staying on top of everything that happens regarding DCUO. I sit in on meetings with Producers to learn about what each team is doing and analyze it for community impact. I also work with our marketing and public relations teams to help promote the awesome videos and interviews they get. It’s honestly a lot to take in some days, but I love every minute of it.

MMORPG.com:

Now that you’ve been doing it for some time, what’s the hardest part you’ve found about being a CM? We MMO gamers will often be the first to admit that we’re a fickle bunch. But we can’t be your biggest challenge… can we?

Tony Jones:

One of the biggest challenges I find in being a Community Manager is staying on top of everything happening to a game. One of the benefits of this position is in order to do things effectively you need to look at the big picture. You see what Programmers, Designers, Artists and others are doing in order to anticipate how it will look to the community. Imagine yourself in a large office full of people and trying to know what everyone is doing and you get an idea of what it’s like.

That isn’t to say a community can’t be challenging. I don’t know a single Community Manager who enjoys bringing bad news but sometimes its reality and we do our best to present it in the best way possible.

MMORPG.com:

It has to be a unique position, managing a community for one game across two distinct platforms. Obviously the game’s not out yet and things could change at launch, but are there some fundamental differences between the two communities, or do you view them more as one cohesive unit?

Tony Jones:

I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with a number of PS3 players at Dragon Con and San Diego Comic Con. Their expectations are a little different than what you would find in a PC player. One of the biggest differences is many console players have never even tried an MMO before as there are so few available for them. I believe the opposite is true for PC players. They have experiences and ideas they want to see based on previous MMO games where console players are going to have experiences from God of War, Uncharted, etc...

It’s unexplored territory for the most part so I’m both anxious and excited to see how these two groups interact.

MMORPG.com:

As you’re probably well aware, players were starting to get worried about the game and the silence from within the DCUO camp. Now it seems that some of the pressure has been eased since the delay was announced and NYCC showed a lot of the game and the character create. What else can players look forward to learning in the coming months, and will things be less quiet now that you’re on-board?

Tony Jones:

: I know we have some really exciting things lined up to show. I’m a huge comic geek so I squeal like a little girl at certain parts of this game and I can’t wait for you guys to see some of the content. We obviously have Beta that everyone pre-orders will get into and our Battle of the Legends event which is going to be absolutely amazing. I have no inhibitions about communicating with our community and I can’t wait to interact with all of them. More importantly I know there are a lot of developers who are even more excited about talking to the players.

MMORPG.com:

Beta’s right around the corner now too. Can you share with our readers how the process will be structured? Will it be basically an open sort of experience where you just toss people in and tell them to play and bug report and give feedback, or will it be more structured and segmented into specific testing phases?

Tony Jones:

It should be a mixture of both. We obviously want everyone to log in, make their character using all those options we showed at NYCC, and become a superhero or supervillian. There may be times where we want to polish player vs player or a certain area of the city and ask that everyone plays there. The testers we have in now have been very accommodating and given us some great feedback which has improved the game tremendously.

MMORPG.com:

Lastly, can you go in depth into what’s left for fans of DCUO leading up until launch next year? We still haven’t heard much about Secret Identities, or what more specific powers are available for instance. Will we be seeing more of that info before the NDA drops closer to launch?

Tony Jones:

As the NDA drops and we release more information about powers I think everyone is going to see there is a great variety of powers that are not only balanced but fun to play.

I can tell you one thing as a former journalist. Not being able to talk about exciting things because of an NDA can be just as unnerving as not being able to see what’s happening. It’s an important practice but we sometimes have to sit on our hands with anticipation.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.