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Category: Developer Appreciation Week

Developer Appreciation: NCSoft and Carbine Studios

Developer Appreciation: NCSoft and Carbine Studios

This was originally posted on MMO Games on 27 April 2016. It is being re-posted here to archive the work I have done in case the original website ever shuts down.

This week is Developer Appreciation Week—a blogging event that began in 2010 with the intention to simply shed positive light on the gaming industry, and appreciate the game development teams that have done so much for the MMO genre. You can read more in detail about this years’ event at Tales of the Aggronaut.

Belghast puts it succinctly in the introductory blog post.

“The good folks in the games industry enter it because they love video games, and often times have a life long goal of ending up there. The industry itself is a really rough one, and we can all see how caustic the communities can be when they turn against a game or an individual.”

Today, I want to share some appreciation for NCSoft and the Carbine Studios team.

Carbine Studios Developer Appreciation

Carbine Studios was founded in 2005 by seventeen former members of the World of Warcraft team. Carbine Studios was acquired by NCSOFT in 2007, and now functions as a subsidiary of them focusing on their own game, WildStar, as well as providing a great outlet for community interaction.

I want to give a shout-out and a big “developer appreciation hug” to all of the developers that reside at Carbine Studios, both currently and formerly. While I will be focusing on some more current members to thank, specifically for their work and dedication, it should be noted that overall neither of these games would be around if it wasn’t for everyone involved throughout their time at NCSoft. So, to the development and community team working at NCSoft, whether it be on Blade & Soul, WildStar, or any titles that comes our way, thank you for all your hard work and dedication!

Blade & Soul Developer Appreciation

Akli “Youmukon” Amichi – Youmukon is one of the Community Managers for Blade & Soul, focusing on the French community for the game. His main role is to be the link between the Community of Blade & Souland NCSOFT’s different teams scattered around the world. Prior to working on Blade & Soul, Youmukon was the French Community Manager for WildStar. Outside of Blade & Soul, Youmukon enjoys various interests, and is always interacting with the community—in both English and French. That’s dedication, folks. Thank you, Youmukon, for all your hard work on both titles and being front-and-center for the games you love.

Jonathan Lien – Jonathan is the Assistant Producer for Blade & Soul, and does a little bit of everything—gathering and analyzing feedback, building test plans, and planning strategies. He has worked hard to adapt Blade & Soul to a Western audience while preserving the integrity and core experience of the original game. He goes out of his way to listen carefully to feedback of the fans and takes care to make the game the best experience for the players. He is extremely active on Twitter, engaging with fans and listening to them. Thank you, Jonathan, for your hard work and dedication to keeping Blade & Soul’s heart.

Julianne Harty – Julianne is the Brand Manager for Blade & Soul. She is one of the experts on the team, and the hub from which the information comes through, including trailers, art assets, and even obscure lore. She believes that the community is the most valuable asset to the game and tries to engage them as much as possible. She works hard to incorporate feedback and suggestions, and she pays attention to the community voice in order to make Blade & Soul the best it can be. Thank you, Julianne, for always taking the time to value the community.

Nicolas Coutant – Nicolas is the Producer (NCSOFT West) for Blade & Soul and also serves as a communication hub for the game. He helps coordinate the team internally and has worked hard to help remove the stigma associated with Korean MMOs. He has helped to provide an experience to players that helps to shatter their prejudices and initial conceptions of Eastern MMOs. He hopes to always provide the best to the community. Thank you, Nicolas, for your constant dedication to the genre and the game.

WildStar Developer Appreciation

Chad “Pappy” Moore – Pappy is the Creative Director for WildStar, but he is best known as one of “the lore guys” for the game. His dedication to the game is second to none, and his passion for making the game better always shines through. He has recently implemented “DevConnects,” a series to engage the community to better understand what the players want from the game, and he has been following through on these suggestions to the best of his ability. Thank you, Pappy, for your constant consideration and interaction with the playerbase of  the game.

Kristen “Caydiem” DeMeza – Caydiem is the Senior Content Designer for WildStar, and has dabbled in almost everything the game offers players. She is one of the developers who goes out of her way to encourage community interactions, and is always available to answer questions and concerns, even if she has to answer with, “I don’t know, but I’ll pass the information along.” Thank you, Caydiem, for always being one to interact with the community and address their concerns as soon as possible.

Deirdre “DD” Hollis – DD is the Community Manager for WildStar. She started as a part of the community team and has worked her way into the role of Community Manager. As her handle (Sunshine) suggests, she is a ray of sunshine to players by always being the most positive she can be on both social media and live streams. She is always available to answer questions, or shoot the breeze, and makes it a point to be as knowledgeable on player concerns as she is able. Thank you, DD, for always being there when players need a pick-me-up and an ear to listen to with concerns for the game.

Gary Astleford – Gary is the Senior Story Designer for WildStar, who goes out of his way to interact with the community for any of their lore and story related questions or concerns. He spends time weekly carving out hours in which he answers questions and thoughts related to obscure WildStar lore via long Twitter threads with players, and he is always excited to share new tidbits of lore that are coming. Thank you, Gary, for being “the story guy” we get excited to converse with.

As I mentioned before, there are so many Developers and Community Relations members that deserve recognition at Carbine Studios for their work, dedication, passion, and love they’ve put into these games and their fan communities. Show your developer appreciation today by thanking your favorite Carbine developers for all the hard work they put in day-to-day to make our lives a little more fun.

August 2019 Note: This post is (27/31) of the Blaugust 2019 event! You can find out more about Blaugust over at Belghast’s blog. I (Chestnut) created a Twitter list of all participants. UltrViolet created an OPML file of all the bloggers to import into your feed reader.
Developer Appreciation Week 2015

Developer Appreciation Week 2015

Today marks the final day of Developer Appreciation Week for 2015. Lots of folks around the blogosphere have been thanking Developers in games that have made a difference in their life (even a small one) left and right.

While there have been many games I’ve played that have made a difference in my life, whether they be console, handheld, or one-shot computer games, I would like to specifically thank the MMO developers out there.

Why? Belghast said it best:

I have a hard time viewing these companies as the evil empires they are made out to be. No one sets out wanting to make a horrible product, and no one deserves to feel like they are hated by the people that are supposed to be their fans.

So, without further ado, here are my thank yous to the following development teams, in no particular order (well, the ones I’m playing currently are the first three).

WildStar

One of the things I can say for WildStar, is that the devs really do listen, even if it takes them a while to be able to implement things. They’re also some of the most active developers I’ve seen in the social media sphere, and they truly care about their community. Two of the community team (DD and Tony) take time weekly to hop in game and stream their leveling adventures, and invite the community to not only watch, but to participate in the game itself. All of the devs are on Twitter, and make sure to foster interaction with their community on Twitter as well as official forums. I’ve even heard rumor they’re on Tumblr and do the same? But Tumblr baffles me, so I’ve no idea. Regardless–the dedication the team has to the community is what has kept me around (aside from an awesome guild). And a special shoutout to both DD and Buster for being able to take time out of their personal schedules on a weekend to sign in game and help with a player run event (ThaydFest). I’ve not known other devs that would do the same–hopping in TS and following directions from players to make an event super awesome special.

The Secret World

Chaide and I first purchased this game when it came out, but did a monthly sub instead of buying the veteran-lifelong sub (or whatever it was called) because of some finances. But we very much enjoyed the game when we were playing it, and as we’ve gotten back into it with a friend for a Let’s Play, I feel like we’ve gotten more into it than when we first bought the game. What we love about this game in particular is the lore and the quest design. So I want to send my shout outs in particular to lore team and the quest design team. The puzzles, while difficult, are lots of fun and very rewarding to complete. And the lore is robust and based upon so many horror mythos that it is amazingly… real! It feels real.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Not only is this game visually appealing, but it is entirely immersive. I can get lost for hours doing lore-related items, crafting, or even “time-killers” like the Golden Saucer. And not only that, the developers have designed the game in such a way that it benefits higher level players to (1) be nice to folks of all levels and (2) visit lower level zones. Because of the game design, the game feels more alive in all zones than some other games do. So, thank you, Squenix, for sticking with ARR and revamping it.

Star Trek Online

While I don’t particularly play this often, I have a soft spot for everything and anything Star Trek (yep, I’m a Trekkie, though I do enjoy some Star Wars every so often). What this development team has done with the game is expand upon lore that is both relevant and important, and I can’t say enough to be able to be a part of a world I grew up always wanting to be a part of. They have done a great service to both the Trek community and IP, and they deserve major props for keeping things as cannon as possible amongst all the versions of the IP they incorporate. This is a game I’d love to get back into occasionally.

EVE Online

One of the big things EVE has going for it is developers who care what the community at large thinks. They have summits where the community votes on whom they would like representing them each year, and then these representatives meet with EVE developers and share what the community at large is looking for. I know it’s not the only game out there that does this (LOTRO is another that comes to mind), but it’s the only game I’ve played that does this. So, thank you for caring, CCP. o7

Neverwinter

Neverwinter was a lot of fun for the little time I played it. I never got into it full time for long bursts–it was mainly 2 months here, 1 month there… but it was always enjoyable. I want to thank the devs for deciding to design an “armory” where players could create their own campaigns and content for other players to experience. This is the reason I kept going back for more–to see what Old Jerry was up to next. Or to play that Lovecraft-themed dungeon just one more time. The nice thing is that it’s FTP, so I can do that.

World of Warcraft

As many would say, this was my “gateway” into the world of MMOs and spending time with a community of players that was close-knit. It’s what got me into blogging initially–for wanting to break out of my shell. So while I have parted from WoW, I will always thank the developers for a lot of things–a way to bond with my husband when we first started dating, a way to make new friends, a reason to move to Georgia for graduate school, and a way to start coming out of my shell and trying to make myself a better person. So, thank you. For being a very big chapter of my life as I transitioned from undergrad to graduate school and a huge change in life moving away from home.

In General

And to developers in general, I’d like to thank you all for everything you’ve done. And know that even if we QQ a lot, deep down, we have a lot of reasons to thank you for making our lives better in so many different ways.