We asked Tamat about new methods of community interaction, the hotly anticipated experience boost patch and even some personal questions about our new community manager. You can never really know enough about the person serving as the conduit to your main MMO -- at least that's what we tell them!
Massively: What steps will the team be making towards improving the channel between developer and player?
Andrew "Tamat" Beegle: While the Aion team already interacts with the community utilizing a number of tools (forums, event presence, official Web site, facebook and twitter), there are always ways to enhance and improve communication between a game development team and its players. In this regard, we've been making giant steps forward. We've started a weekly Eye on Community series where we answer questions that we receive from the community and highlight activities going on at Aion fansites. Another way we're working to enhance communication is with our monthly address to the community that speaks to the driving current concerns of the community. With those in mind, we're also working diligently to build the official website and forums to deliver exactly what players want.
These are examples of a few ways we plan to drive the overall communication. However, one of our secondary goals right now is making sure we communicate that we're receptive to the feedback that we've been receiving from the community.
But communication is not all about addressing serious issues. Stay tuned, as we have quite a few fun ideas planned that our players will want to look out for.
Can players expect the experience boost patch any time soon?
Tamat: Definitely. We've taken a good look at the current quest reward experience, and we should be increasing the amount of experience rewarded for a high percentage of the existing quests in our next update. Additionally, we've been reevaluating the experience rewards characters gain for individual kills. Ultimately, we want to make sure that each individual experience boost is in the best interest of the game, and as you can probably imagine, that takes time to properly evaluate.
What's your biggest priority coming into the position of North American community manager?
Tamat: The need to enhance the communication between the Aion team and the community. Thankfully, the entire NCsoft West team is committed to improving community relations, so there is a lot of opportunity to do just that.
How much control does the North American/European team have over the evolution of the game?
Tamat: The west plays a vital role in the overall success of Aion. All branches of the Aion team contribute ideas and information to each other for consideration. We evaluate each territory's individual needs and priorities, and then we plan accordingly.
That is a large and ambitious task with a game of this scope and size. Though it may not always seem immediately evident from the outside, we're in constant communication with the studio in Korea. Many of the changes implemented during the last year have been a direct result of that communication. That same influence has resulted in many of the future enhancements that we haven't announced yet.