Client Spotlight: Trion Worlds

This month, our Client Spotlight shines on Trion Worlds, a fun and energetic game development company that offers a diverse range of engaging escapism, from the popular online role-playing game Rift to their latest release, Atlas Reactor. We were delighted to speak with Linda Carlson, the company’s director of community relations, as she offered a peek behind the curtain to learn about how the makers of some of our favorite games interact with their player community.

Tell us about Trion Worlds. Sounds like a fun place to work!

Trion logo artWe are a company that makes games that we want to play. Everyone here is a game player, from people in finance on up. The CEO is a huge game player as well! Passion for gaming is extremely important here. We’re not a huge company, so our focus is on making games fun and accessible, at a fair price.

We have a large variety of games, everything from Rift, a traditional MMO model, to Atlas Reactor, which is more non-traditional. It’s amazing—we need to come up with new words to describe it. It’s doing extremely well in beta testing. We have a great collection of established, successful games, and we always have new ones in development.

Who makes up Trion’s community?

Atlas ReactorThe audience varies by game. With Rift, the average player is probably ages 28 and up; a lot of people in their 30s and 40s play Rift. The long-term game appeals to older audiences. Other games skew younger. Devilian and Atlas Reactor appeal to males 18 – 24. Rift and ArcheAge have a large number of female players. The tone of each game varies tremendously. Trove is highly competitive and fast-paced, and skews younger. Also, those who advance to the endgame and continue playing the game a long time tend to skew younger.

Talk a bit about how game companies interact with players.

Typically, any game company will set up a forum. We also maintain a presence on social media — Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and sometimes Instagram. Our forums are still the main place where we hold long, measured discussions with players. Twitter is more in-the-moment; it’s there and gone, it’s instantaneous. Facebook offers a little more interchange of ideas, but it’s more ephemeral; people don’t see last week’s posts. Forums and Reddit are best for more long-term interactions.

Reddit is run by the player community. People voice their opinions and are not subject to a game company’s rules or moderation guidelines. They just have to meet the requirements of Reddit’s volunteers.

DefianceForums often skew to the negative. Happy people are busy playing the game. But if they run into problems, are unhappy with a change to a game, or are dissatisfied, they want the company to hear of the trouble. And when people are unhappy with a game — or if something happens to make them angry — they often don’t express themselves in a civil fashion.

We used to have a community manager looking after our forums. But what happens when they go home at night? They can’t just relax and watch television, because they’re worrying about what was going on in the forums. They’d have to wake up during the night to check on things, or someone would text them if there was a problem. Is something important happening that they need to convey to the dev teams? Same thing on weekends and holidays. The community manager was stuck moderating and forwarding feedback. This had to come to an end. We had to obtain external moderation.

RiftModSquad offers the best combination of value for money invested. The people on the front lines, from moderators to customer-service agents, will make or break a company, in quiet ways that may not even show up on spreadsheets at the end of the year. But they have a huge effect on the players’ perceptions of how our company supports its game and players.

How has it been working with ModSquad?

I’ve been working with ModSquad for six years. I started at Trion last year, and already had a ModSquad relationship from an earlier position. Our community managers no longer have to focus on tasks that just anyone can do, like moderation. They can now focus on actual engagement, problem solving, and carrying issues forward, instead of dealing with day-to-day minutia and maintaining the tone of the forums.

We have such a good rapport built up with the Mods that we don’t need regular meetings. We always keep in touch via Skype. Now we get more time off and can sleep in peace, knowing that if something goes wrong, we don’t have to worry about it. We know ModSquad will take care of it.

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