• Natalie Markovits

How putting the voice player in the center of the organization helps optimize your player experience

Hello and welcome to Affogata’s podcast: Let’s talk customer feedback. We had the pleasure of hosting Fernando Ferri, Communications Manager, Team Lead at Wildlife.


Fernando has been working in the video game industry for nine years now. He started as a Player Support Analyst, and quickly found his passion in helping players and giving them the best experience possible. Riot Games was his first experience in the industry, and he learned a lot about how big developers manage their massive player base and all the challenges that come with it. Fernando now works at Wildlife Studios as a Community Lead, and together they are building the best communities for their players.



Players become emotionally connected to games and when companies decide to make changes to the game, implement new features or make new releases, players will start conversations online on multiple channels to discuss their opinions with other players. If companies are not analyzing this feedback, they are missing out on a lot of valuable information. Are companies really putting the voice of the players in their strategic decisions? How do companies cut through the noise to find the most relevant feedback?


Check out what Fernando had to say about all this in this amazing episode!


Audio


Transcript


Host from Affogata:


How does player feedback influence your day-to-day as the communications manager team lead at Wildlife?


Fernando Ferri, Communications Manager, Team Lead at Wildlife


Listening to player feedback should be every Community Manager's priority, and that's precisely how my Community Manager operates here at Wildlife. We closely monitor what our players are saying. It helps us prioritize our design decisions, identify bugs and other potential risks, and understand the impact of the content we're putting out there. You can have 7, 14, or 30 days reports with players' feedback and sentiment, but you need to look at that feedback and sentiment daily because you might be missing some great opportunities if you don't.

Host from Affogata:

How do you collect player feedback and how do you and Wildlife in general implement the voice of the players in the optimization of your games?


Fernando Ferri, Communications Manager, Team Lead at Wildlife


To collect player feedback, we use Affogata to do which is great because it lets us collect feedback from different sources, which has been a game-changer for us because we did have challenges in the past regarding sources. We generate 24h feedback report after the release of every new feature/content. We use that information combined with in-game data to quickly respond to potential risks or improvement points.


I have a great example of a change we went back on, thanks to player feedback. A few weeks ago, we tweaked the parameters of one of our features related to player progression. In less than 24h, players quickly shared their discontent and issues with that change, so we analyzed the feedback, and their sentiment and decided to do a full rollback until we could find a better solution.


So, if we would have not been looking at feedback, if we would have waited longer to analyze the feedback for this change, users could have had a bigger impact n our metrics and everything else. Having a practice of looking at feedback on a daily basis made a huge difference.


Host from Affogata:


There must be a lot of noise and millions of conversations in your communities at Wildlife. How do you handle all of this data and how do you manage to find the most important feedback from your core players?


Fernando Ferri, Communications Manager, Team Lead at Wildlife


It can be challenging to narrow down all that noise to actionable and valuable feedback. Thanks to Affogata's robust search engines, we can create queries using keywords and other elements that allow us to generate reports based on the parameters set. That way, we can look for specific topics on our social channels.


For instance, we know most of our core players are on Discord, we have over 30K messages on a daily basis on our Discord, and by using Affogata and searching for keywords related to "matchmaking," we can see what our most engaged players are saying. So, it makes it really easy to look for that specific feedback, or specific topic or feature, so it makes a huge change.


Host from Affogata:


How do you decide what player feedback to listen to and which one not? Where do you find the balance?


Fernando Ferri, Communications Manager, Team Lead at Wildlife


It all comes down to experience, knowledge of the product you're responsible for, and the tools you have available. A lot must be considered when deciding what feedback is valuable to the product. Volume, frequency, and impact are the most common ones.


Let's say we released a new character, and a vocal minority on Twitter is complaining about that character being too strong. That type of feedback alone does not require immediate action, but you should keep it on your radar. If the feedback persists, we check with the internal team what the performance of that character is in-game: win rate, usage, etc. We can tie them together, so this vocal minority is saying something that is persistent over weeks, and it is something that we should maybe roll out a balance change, or something else to try to fix the situation.


It is complicated to try to find the right solution, but when you know your community and your players, it makes it a lot easier.


Host from Affogata:


How important do you think is for gaming companies to listen to the voice of their players and make relevant changes? How much do you think companies are really doing it? Is it a trend, a buzzword or is it really happening?


Fernando Ferri, Communications Manager, Team Lead at Wildlife


It should be every company's priority and even part of their values to listen to their customers, players, or whatever you want to call it. Community is an unfair advantage that you must learn how to leverage. That's thousands, sometimes even millions, of users testing and using your product, finding bugs, and providing feedback. So, if you are not fostering that community, taking care of your players, and listening to them, you are missing huge opportunities.


I'd say that plenty of companies claim they listen to their players, but in reality, not many actually do. Building a strong and healthy community is much more than publishing social media posts and saying that "listening to our players is the most important thing."

You need to know how to foster a good relationship of give-and-take with your community. There needs to be communication between the two parties to acknowledge players' feedback and importance. You need to be transparent, otherwise, you are just saying you do things and you are not doing anything with that feedback and players will feel that everything they say is falling on deaf ears and eventually you'll lose that advantage you have, which is your community.


Host from Affogata:


We know the gaming industry is a very competitive one. How do you manage to stay ahead of the competition? How do you create communications strategies that resonate with your players?


Fernando Ferri, Communications Manager, Team Lead at Wildlife


Paying attention to what your competitors and other great companies are doing is really important. You can learn from their success and failures.


Listening to your players is also a great way to build strong communication strategies. A great example is how Wizards of the Coast started their Friday Night Magic events. Players were organizing these events on their own, so they realized that was an opportunity to create an official event based on it, which turned out to be a huge success.

Your own players will tell you what they like and dislike, what works, and what doesn't. That information, combined with your expertise in the product and community, will give you the tools and material to build successful communications strategies.


Host from Affogata:


Fernando, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to participate in today’s podcast. It was super interesting to learn about your take on the importance of player feedback and how to utilize it to create the ultimate communication strategies to optimize your games and build more long-term relationships with your players.


Thanks for all of you listening and don’t forget to visit us at Affogata.com.




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