Prologue: Rejana. One of the employees at CipSoft who has been around and this year will be celebrating her eighth anniversary with the office. She's seen almost everything in the positions she's held - from head tutor, to head gamemaster, to current community manager and fansite coordinator. Although not so much on the public side as her co-workers Tjured and Mirade, Rejana must be one of the most dedicated to be doing the job that she does day after day. Throughout this interview, you will read through the years of her employment at CipSoft, up through her current title today, even with some feedback of the current community, player proposals, and perhaps future activities that could be seen one day in Tibia. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the read!
TibiaNews: Hello Rejana, and thank you for giving us the time to sit down with you! First off, how did you discover Tibia?
CM Rejana: Well, after I was finished with university, I was applying for all sorts of jobs, mainly in the support area of different companies. I stumbled across a job advertisement from CipSoft, and thought: wow, that's interesting. So I checked out Tibia and enjoyed the game - as a free account player at first. When I then got the job, I played a lot more, and was grateful for the gratis premium time I received, which let me log in much quicker. Back then there was still quite some waiting period to log in for a free account player.
CM Rejana: I started working for CipSoft in spring 2004, I think.
CM Rejana: Actually, it was the fact that the job wasn't a typical job. It sounded interesting to work for a game, since I love gaming. I like working with computers, like the English language, and I wanted a job at which I could be in touch with people, too. The job here combines all of that.
Then there are some very positive side effects that working for CipSoft has. For example, you don't have to start work here at 7:30 am, you can come in later, too.
Getting more work related: I was used to answering questions and emails from previous jobs. What was pretty amazing and special though, was getting acquainted with the difficulties people need support with in an MMORPG. Tibia was my first MMORPG, and there were situations that needed solutions I hadn't anticipated. There were many discussions about character names, about Tibia Rules, about what is ok for a player to do and what is not ok.
Back then, we were also ingame with gamemaster characters, and there were indeed some special moments then. It always felt good when an ingame situation could be solved, or when players were simply happy to see you and wanted to take a picture :o)
In the beginning, we were allowed to play at work. That was pretty cool. The first couple of weeks Manina and I had to learn a lot. Guido told us about Tibia's history, explained a lot to us about gamemasters, about the Rules, about the game, about what the support for players should look like. So in the beginning, the job was mainly playing Tibia, listening, and learning. Once he saw us fit enough, we joined Solkrin with the support processes, like answering emails, being online gamemastering, etc.
TibiaNews: What is your favorite part about Tibia itself?
CM Rejana: I love the fact that you need to interact with people. For me that's what makes Tibia very special. Your actions do matter, and what you do influences other people. You can shape your world, place items whereever you want to. That has a bit of a realistic feeling.
I also love concepts like "a bag in a bag in a bag in a bag in a bag....". That would be so awesome if that could be done in real life. I'd have one crate in my apartment and would organize everything else in it. XD
CM Rejana: Yes, I do have a regular Tibia account for playing account. I just recently started a new character and I'm playing from time to time together with Tjured and Mirade. Since I'm also actively playing Lotro though at the moment, I spend more time there than in Tibia, admittedly. So - it's casual, and I play maybe once or twice a week for a bit. I enjoy the online atmosphere a lot and I like to play around. I'm not a quick leveller...
CM Rejana: Yes, I enjoyed that a lot. I like working together closely with a team. After being head tutor, I became head gamemaster, and now I work closely together with the fansite admins. So most of the time I've been working here I was always responsible for a smaller team.
CM Rejana: Well, the gamemasters were long time players, and honestly, most of them knew more about Tibia than I did myself. So it was a bit awkward at first to suddenly be the head of a group, and not having as detailed knowledge as they had. The gamemasters were an awesome group though and it was usually fun working together with them, too.
CM Rejana: Yes, I enjoyed that, though it was also quite hard sometimes. Sometimes you had to make decisions that were not liked: you had to remove a banishment for example, because there just wasn't enough proof to keep it up. The gamemaster who issued the banishment on the other hand was certain that the banishment was correct. So conflicts did come up, too.
It's actually pretty difficult to decide about a situation, sort of as a referee, even though you weren't present yourself. That really got to me at times.
CM Rejana: Leaving a team is always sad, because of the people you leave behind. Jobwise though, it was a good decision to become a community manager. I don't regret that step at all.
CM Rejana: Not being involved in the rule enfocement anymore was actually a relief for me. The community management department hadn't existed before Neofine (Mirade) and I started (together with Andasstra, who's not with CipSoft anymore today). So we could take part in shaping our own work, that was pretty special as well.
CM Rejana: I'd go for the community manager position. I like the variety the job offers, for example writing articles, reading forums, collecting and evaluating feedback, working together with the fansite admins, discussing strategies, doing polls, and so on - and I like the fact that I don't have to decide anymore about rule violations.
CM Rejana: The department was just being formed, and everybody could apply. We hadn't decided to apply for the job together. Several people applied, and I guess that also "the bosses" thought that we made a good team. I think that we complement each other quite well. Mirade loves working on the forums, and became lead community manager quite quickly - and I prefer working together with a smaller team. So we could split main responsibilities easily.
CM Rejana: The reason for that was mainly that our former names were associated with a certain job, like for example gamemastering, and answering questions about rule enforcement. So to make the transition easier, and to make a cut there, we chose new names, sort of got a new identity.
CM Rejana: Well, usually Tjured is here first, Mirade comes in second, and usually I am the last one to get to the office. Then in the beginning, we talk about things that have happened, exchange news and then everybody procedes with daily business. I check the fansite emails and the fansite board, and answer emails and posts, and then do whatever else it is I need to do then. Analyse the feedback from the feedback form, read fansite forums and collect feedback there, think of a new poll, write an article for the website, or answer interview questions :p (ok, that doesn't happen very often...), for example.
We also often talk over strategies about how to react to a problem or to a change, or we attend meetings with the developers, so that we know what's going to happen in Tibia, and what's on the general agenda for Tibia or the our other products.
CM Rejana: Actually, yes :p I have my first coffee at home nowadays though - and then usually I have another one at work, but not right at the beginning when I start. Usually around noon or a bit later...
CM Rejana: I'm actually quite amazed how easy it was. Tjured fits the team very well. And since he's a long time Tibia player who's played Tibia already for years, it's also quite useful to have him here. Mirade and I do play, but we both have never reached the high level content. Tjured is more experienced in that area, also when it comes to PvP.
CM Rejana: I'd take Mirade and Tjured with me. I know them best from all employees here, and we really are a harmonic team, and often share a couple of laughs during work, too. So being on an island with them for a week would probably be fun.
CM Rejana: Yes, like I explained earlier, I really enjoy working together with a team. I also think it's awesome that there are some Tibia players who enjoy the game so much that they decide to dedicate lots of their free time not only to playing the game, but also to creating a fansite for it. Many fansites are not "professional" (professional is probably the wrong word here...). I mean the fact that their admins or creators do not earn a single dollar with them, they rather pay real money in order to provide their fansite for the community.
CM Rejana: Yes, I visit fansites often. I read their news and their forums, that's part of my daily business. Since TibiaBR's forum is actually the most active one, I'm there most often. I use google translate and try to understand what's being said there, since my Portuguese sucks, to be honest. It's sometimes actually quite funny to read texts that were translated by an automatic translation programme... ^^
For the question which fansite I like best: that's difficult to say, all have their own charm and own style. I can say though that it's the statistic sites, TibiaLottery, and TibiaCubix for example, that I visit less often, since feedback wise, there's not much going on there. That doesn't mean though that I don't like them. As you might have noticed, we CMs have had quite some fun already cubixing, and we also look at statistics from time to time.
CM Rejana: Mirade and Tjured attend the Auditorium mainly. Tjured also spends some of his time on TibiaME and on the proposal board. Mirade, as the lead community manager, also often has organisational meetings and is busy with monitoring and planning. I'm mainly responsible for the fansites, and for the feedback forms and polls. We all take turns in writing featured articles. Mirade also mainly writes news, however, Tjured often helps out, and I do too, sometimes.
For us CMs it's important that we can replace each other, so while we all have our special fields, we all know enough about the other work fields that we could jump in if necessary.
CM Rejana: I really liked the concept of the Royal Painting contest that we did together with the fansites. I think it's great if players can do something that will then be transported into the game. Such events will always be an exception though - also not everybody enjoys such an event.
An event at which most players would participate in - that's difficult, since there are so many different tastes.
TibiaNews: Since we’re on a similar topic, what is your favorite world quest?
CM Rejana: I love the idea of Demon's Lullaby, or the Piece of Cake event. It's fun :o)
CM Rejana: Well, since there are so many Tibia game worlds, manually controlled ingame events like that could hardly ever be organized or carried through on all of them. So I really doubt that an event manager in that form would be hired. It is possible that our support for ingame events might increase at one point, however, at the moment this is not planned.
CM Rejana: This is in the back of our minds, too - however, for the same reason as the event manager position, it is unlikely and pretty difficult to carry through. There are only three of us here, and there would be 77 game worlds we'd have to attend at the same time, not favoring one or the other game world. It's possible that other ways of communication might be implemented or installed at one point, however, I doubt that the three of us will be able to have an ingame focus that would satisfy most players. Ingame encounters will remain somewhat special occasions, I assume.
CM Rejana: First of all, a proposal should be well thought-through, and it needs to fit Tibia. And it needs to be something that more people would enjoy. The community manager in charge checks a proposals like that, and then either adds it to the list, or not.
We know that at the moment it's not a perfect situation on the proposal board, and there are ideas on how our work there could be improved. Tjured would be much more suited to answer that in detail though, since he's been working on the proposal board lately.
CM Rejana: Yes. For each update there are planning meetings. In such meetings, we CMs present player proposals.
The product management then decides what will be implemented in an update. Since there are currently many open topics that need to be worked on in Tibia, though, for example PvP or vocation balancing, "nice to have" proposals often get postponed, because the employee who would have to implement it is needed for something else.
CM Rejana: I personally would love to have weather effects, and on a more practical side, hotkey sets for each character, not only in the Flash client, but also for the stand-alone client. I love the market by the way, that was a feature that I had hoped for for quite a while, actually :o)
CM Rejana: We present player proposals and ideas, however, the decision is not made by us.
CM Rejana: We have a regular meeting with the product maangement once a week, in that meeting we forward the feedback that we collected in the course of the week and talk about special topics. Then there are also regular meetings with the content team in which also feedback gets exchanged. Next to these meetings there are sometimes "out of the line" meetings, if something needs to be discussed that's not part of the daily routines, or daily business. So - quite many :o)
CM Rejana: I'm not sure what you mean by "hope for the future community of Tibia". Do you think the Tibia community is weak, or fragile, or not working? If so, I don't agree. Tibia's community has grown a lot over the years, and therefore also changed. I wouldn't call it better or worse, though. It has simply evolved and changed.
Maybe people who experienced that growth might now perceive the community as - not as "tight", "helpful", or "friendly" - as they knew it. Reason for that could be though that there are so many people nowadays that you don't know everybody anymore. In the early days, it was almost like everybody knew each other.
When you have such a big community as the Tibia community, you can find many sub-communities. I'm pretty certain that the familiarity and trust among the members of a sub-community is similar to the global situation in the early Tibian days, though.
In Tibia the building of sub-communities is underlined by language, for example. People who speak English kind of flock together, as well as people who speak Polish, Portuguese, or any other language that a noticable part of the Tibia community speaks.
So to answer the question - what would I do to change the community? I wouldn't try to change the community. I'd try to adapt my work to the communities needs'.
Of course I'd try to be a positive influence (after my definition of "positive"), but whatever I'd do, some people would like it, others wouldn't.
Personally, I think that since really the largest part of the Tibia community speaks Portuguese nowadays, that having a Portuguese speaking community manager could improve the community work quite a bit, for example and would be in my sense "adapting the work to the communities' needs", and not vice versa...
CM Rejana: One word only? That's impossible. There are so many facets of the Tibian community. The Tibia community ranges from funny to serious, from caring to not caring, from soft to harsh, from role-playing to power-gaming, and so on. What combines them all? All these people have an appreciation for a 2D game called Tibia, a game that tries to offer all these facets in return.
CM Rejana: I adore squirrels, I simply love their way of life. For once, they hibernate. During winter, that's the smartest thing you could do.
In spring time and the rest of the year, they jump around, and have fun, and collect food for the next winter. So when it gets cold again, they sleep in their hide-out, wake up only to eat, and then go back to sleep. Perfect life! :o)
CM Rejana: Yes, we are all here really amazed at how well Tibia's Facebook page is going. I'm personally into Twitter and Facebook and all that, and could see us using Twitter in a much better way, too - but to be honest, currently I wouldn't put more time into Twitter than we already do. I doubt that it would pay off in any way. Facebook though is great - 100,000 fans! Yoooohoooo!!! Have you seen the awesome video from our graphic artist? I do like a lot what you can do on Facebook.
CM Rejana: Hmm... maybe one day. I think if we'd extent in that area, putting more work into Twitter would be a first step - but that's just speculation. At the moment it's not planned to open up a blog, or to start using Tumblr.
CM Rejana: Well, Facebook (for the social media part) - and communication with players, that happens mainly on the Auditorium on tibia.com ;o)
CM Rejana: Well, to be honest, I don't think that CipSoft will open up an office in the United States. If that would be the case though, I'd still be available to help set it up, of course, however, moving completely to the United States would currently not be an option for my life.
TibiaNews: What is your favorite thing to do on your "off-time?"
CM Rejana: Meeting with friends, and having a good time together.
CM Rejana: Hmm... hard to decide... my cell phone or my iPad...
CM Rejana: Besides some games that I play (Do you know Astroslugs?), I just love the star walk app. I'm really amazed by that.
CM Rejana: Schnitzel, either with french fries, or fried potatoes. If you ask me the same question again though on a different day, my answer might be different... :p
TibiaNews: Your favorite color?
CM Rejana: orange or blue, depending on my mood.
CM Rejana: Friday!
TibiaNews: Favorite season?
CM Rejana: spring time!
TibiaNews: Favorite band/musician?
CM Rejana: Oh, I like Morcheeba, Jack Johnson and Pink Floyd, for example...
TibiaNews: Thank you so much for taking the time out to sit down with us and answer questions during this very busy time! It's much appreciated!