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Community Engagement Process

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Estimated reading time: 10 min

Mega Cat Studios


Community Engagement is all about connecting with our reviewers and players where they hang out—the “frontlines.” The vibe should be the same whether we’re chatting in the reviews section or on community discussion forums. It’s all about keeping our language, tone, and vocabulary consistent regardless of platform.

As of September 2023, Kei and Becka are diving deep into community engagement. Becka’s also rocking the lead role in the Marketing Department of Mega Cat Studios. Kei Casi, heading the engagement on Steam reviews, community discussions, and Xbox reviews for our games like WrestleQuest and Renfield: Bring Your Own Blood, crafted this guide to help us nail the engagement process.

Tasks and Expectations

When diving into community engagement, there’s a bunch of stuff to keep an eye on, analyze, and roll out. At first glance, these pieces might seem all over the place, but once you dive in, you’ll see how they all click together.

  • Monitor the Steam reviews and, by extension, the ratings.
  • Monitor the Steam community discussion forum.
  • Monitor the Steam miscellaneous tabs (artwork, etc.).
  • Write a response to Steam reviews and community discussions.
  • Monitor Xbox Partner Center reviews and, by extension, the ratings.
  • Write a response to Xbox Partner Center reviews.
  • Gather feedback, filter the relevant items, and relay to the team.
  • Organize the feedback in a sheet for later observation.
  • Return to players for updates from our team.

Things to Know

Jumping into community engagement? Great! Before diving into those reviews and forums, there’s a bit you should be clued up on. Sure, we could throw out a generic response, but that might be our one shot at grabbing a player’s attention. The right response can flip a negative review to a positive one or even turn a critic into a die-hard fan. Plus, who knows? We might just dodge those pesky hate comments across our channels.

So, ready for the lowdown?

  • A community engagement Cat should know the current status of our projects.
    • Stay in the loop about our project updates. You don’t need the whole playbook, but at least the highlight reel.
    • Make the Project and Associate Producers your new best friends. They’ll be your main sources of info. Oh, and occasionally, you might sync up with a dev about those pesky bugs.
    • Pro tip: Always circle back to the producers for the 411 on where a project is headed. They might drop hints about what’s coming up, which you can sprinkle into your replies.
  • Every community engagement Cat should read, at least once, one of the most important guides to responding to negative reviews: Indie Game Joe’s The Ultimate Guide—How to Respond to Negative Reviews on Steam and Why Customer Relations is Important.
  • Got some cool pointers from James and Zack for our community engagement Cats:
    • Your posts? Make them real, chatty, and straight-up.
    • Skip the apologies. Instead, thank ‘em for hanging tight.
    • Be humble and relatable. Tone down the self-praise, and stay away from making things sound more complex than they are. Seen the Steam forums? Pretty laid back, right? So, instead of saying, “We aim to offer top-notch gaming experiences,” how about “We just love making fun games for you”?
    • Check this response style: “Hey FollowCondex, noticed the Argentinian pricing issue you mentioned. I’m on it. If you’re keen on more updates or feedback, hop into our Discord (link). I’ll keep you posted on the pricing fix!”
    • Don’t overdo the apologies. If feedback says, “The game’s confusing,” hit back with, “We’ve jazzed up the tutorials and UI. Should be a breeze now!” Keep it positive and forward-looking. That’s some advice from Manko!
    • And hey, remember what Zack said:
  • Embrace feedback and corrections; they’re stepping stones, not setbacks.
    • Remember, you did not create the English language, and you’ll most likely make a mistake or two. If you have English as your second language, it’s an even higher order. Be kind to yourself and accept the things you fall short of.
    • Stuck on wording? James, Zack, and Dan are here to help. Remember, chat English is different from textbook English, so don’t hesitate to tap into their expertise.
    • Let’s connect with our players. Answer with confidence, listen keenly, and always bring that friendly touch!
  • Finally, read this fantastic excerpt from Steam itself about participating in the discussions. It also expresses the topics on what you can or cannot reply to.

Things to Have

Awesome! Now that you’ve got the hang of the tone for reviews and threads, remember there are a few tools out there to help you respond. Each has its own pros and cons, but let’s be real: a personal touch in a message just can’t be replicated by any tool.

  • Grammarly
    • Grammarly is a game-changer, not just for responding to comments and reviews but also for general team communication. The basic, free version might do the trick if you’re pretty solid with your English. But I’d give Grammarly Premium a go. It doesn’t just fix grammar; it tweaks the tone and offers clearer rephrasing. Just remember, while it’s great how you say things, it can’t grasp the context or the why behind what you’re discussing.
  • ChatGPT3 or 4
    • Alright, so we’re talking AI here. Like any tech tool, it’s all about playing to its strengths. It’s a lifesaver when you’re knee-deep in similar-sounding reviews, saving you from the mental slog of sounding like a broken record. But here’s the catch with ChatGPT3/4: its responses can feel eerily similar. If someone looked at a few back-to-back replies, they might clock that they’re chatting with a machine. There’s this uncanny precision in how it crafts responses.
    • This is where your magic touch comes into play. You’ll often find a line or two that needs a sprinkle of human flair. Your job? Spruce it up. Make it feel like it’s got a human pulse behind it. Maybe swap out a fancy term for everyday lingo. Let’s keep things real and relatable!
    • Direct ChatGPT in the Right Direction
      • When we’re using ChatGPT, we try to be there as much as we can in order to add that human element to the responses. Granted that you’ve read the review beforehand, you’re armed with the knowledge of what kind of response you’d like ChatGPT to type out.
      • For example, someone left a detailed but negative review of a game. If you used the prompt: “Write a response to USER’s negative review of GAME.” You’ll most likely get the vaguest reply from ChatGPT, although it might reference a few things in the review to make it more personal. Do NOT be lax about this.
      • That said, you should think about the kind of reply you want. In the example above, the review was detailed, showing that our response should also be detailed. Are they outraged? You could indicate what kind of tone you’d like ChatGPT to have—apologetic? Not so much? You decide.
      • One of the go-to prompts for WrestleQuest’s negative review goes like this: “Write an appreciative but not very apologetic response to USER’s negative review of WrestleQuest. Add the context that we’re fixing this ISSUE as soon as possible.”
      • Be creative on how you want ChatGPT to sound! But remember, negative reviews need to be answered very carefully. The reviewers typically expect more information to answer their questions and validate their feelings. When you’re at a loss, always refer to Indie Game Joe’s article.
  • Google Translate
    • Alright, here’s a tool for those reviews not penned in English.
    • Now, it’s got its quirks. For instance, if someone references specific in-game jargon, like how “Dramatic Moments” in WrestleQuest translates uniquely in Chinese, you’ll need to keep an eye out. But hey, pair this tool with ChatGPT3-4, and you’re golden for getting the gist of what the player’s chatting about. Once you’ve got a response drafted, just give it a once-over to ensure it vibes with the reviewer’s initial message.
    • Got a teammate fluent in the language? Bingo! Reach out. Take our own Xiao Han, for instance – the whiz ensuring our Chinese reviewers’ messages are on point. If not, no sweat. Pop the ChatGPT response back into Google Translate. Just tag on a little note: “Hey, I gave Google Translate my best shot. Hope that’s cool!”
    • A solid strategy? Keep it simple. Stick to the basics. When you rely on Google Translate, straightforward phrases tend to stay truer to their original intent. It might not be flawless, but hey, we’re doing the best with what we’ve got!

Collecting and Organizing Dataa

While handling community engagement, think of yourself as the central Cat, the main hub, sifting and sorting heaps of insights from our players to the studio. Both cheers and jeers will land on your desk, and your task? Streamlining this data in a way that helps the team tackle responses or even spin them into their own actionable tasks.

So, how should you go about it?

  • The Producer and You
    • Most likely, all information you gather would be reviewed by the Producer; however, the project’s producer time is also valuable. They have limited cogload, so you’ll have some streamlining to do.
  • Streamlining the Information
    • This is closer to data analysis than community engagement; but hey, here you are, and you have so much information in your hands.
    • Our players’ gameplay experiences are their own. Meaning, that their run of your game will be independent of what others say. That said, there will be multiple instances in which the same things will be said over and over, especially recurring bugs and broken things.
    • You have to get a general idea of these notes and merge them together in one line item for your report to the producer. Do not put an unnecessary load on their mind as much as possible; their brainpower is needed for many important things.
  • Prioritize Your Items
    • If it’s something broken and considered a blocker, this is a code red. This should be reported to the producer or dev assigned to you as soon as possible, and let them know. If it’s not on their radar, good! It means you’ve called out a particularly nasty instance. If it’s on their radar, that’s also good. You’d never know if nobody from the team caught this instance yet.
    • Bugs and blockers should never linger in the community forums or reviews. If the blocker persists, you’re going to have to answer many people by holding on, and the due date was yesterday when they were playing.
    • There will be instances when our team will need more information from our players. As much as possible, especially if their message is short, ask for more details about the bugs they encountered. What is it? Where is it? What did they do before that happened?
  • Quality of Life (QoL)
    • These are the kind of notes that our players demand that we implement in our game. Quality of Life (QoL) notes are very important because these updates flip negative recommendations on Steam to a positive and avoid negative feedback altogether.
    • This is the part where we often say, “We hear you loud and clear.” But be careful: Do not overpromise. Do not give the wrong impression to our players about This is the part where we often say, “We hear you loud and clear.” But be careful: Do not overpromise. Do not give the wrong impression to our players about features that are out of our scope. You can always report back to our producers if you’re unsure what and what not to speak about.
    • These notes are minuscule, sometimes subjective, but they are notes that often make you say: “Oh! That’s a great idea. That’s makes things easier.” They should improve the overall experience of a game. Small, easily implemented features that reduce the clunkiness of our game or polish our existing features.

 A blocker is an instance in the game in which the player cannot proceed no matter what they do. Games should never have blockers and this is the type of wording that you don’t want hanging around unresolved.

Establishing Camaraderie

There will be familiar faces and familiar names in the forums. The community discussions are the battlefield of this warfare. No holds barred, and everything is put up for criticism and praise in the forums. How should you navigate these dangerous waters?

  • Respect and Standard Decorum
    • Always remember that you’ll be in charge of the studio account. That means you’ll be speaking for the company: “Remember, your response is public, so it’s not just this guy reading it, it is everyone else on Steam too. Think about how you want the company to sound to them too.” (Manko, 2023)
    • You’ll need to be confident in your answers, not overly apologetic for the things that fell short upon, and keep the image that we’re capable and that we hear them (which we are and do).
    • Never engage in a flame war with someone in the forums. Any form of name-calling, passive-aggressiveness, and untoward behavior is never acceptable. If you’re unable to restrain your tone, ask for the help of ChatGPT in making a level-headed reply.
  • Choosing Your Battles
    • Not all threads deserve your input. Pick the right moments to chime in.
    • Keep this in mind: Remember, you do not speak for the company because you speak as the company. So, personal biases and opinions? Tuck them away. Steering clear of divisive topics and heated debates is your best bet.
    • That said, it’s absolutely cool to jump into threads seeking guidance or our expertise. If players are flagging bugs or voicing their feelings, you’re on deck. Just be sure your responses don’t overpromise. Whether it’s confirming a bug, pledging to dig deeper, or simply acknowledging their sentiments, always keep it real. And if there’s a new feature we’re definitely rolling out, feel free to spill those beans.
    • Lastly, don’t be that spoiler who ruins the fun. When assisting players, stick to the specifics they’re grappling with. Chat about the broader game mechanics, sure, but never spill details about that secret side quest waiting in the wings. After all, they’re playing to discover what’s next, right?
  • Hello, Old Friend
    • Certain names will start to stand out as you comb through the forums. You’ll recognize these regulars, whether they’re spreading positivity or offering constructive feedback. 
    • After your initial interaction with someone, it’s a fun touch to refer to their username in a more abbreviated form or even give them a friendly nickname. It infuses our replies with a bit more character, reminding them that behind the screen, there’s a real person. Yep, we’re real humans over here!
    • And here’s the cool part: more often than not, these community members will start addressing you in friendlier tones. Some might express gratitude, others might be taken aback, and the naysayers? They often mellow out. Remember, as the go-to community engagement Cat, your role is to ensure everyone feels acknowledged and valued. In a world buzzing with enthusiastic fans, this personal touch is our secret sauce.

 And even then, this matter is subjective. Be mindful of features that we haven’t made an official announcement about or things we’re working on that are still considered in-house only.

Sample Replies

Here are several samples of actual reviews and replies:

An actual negative review of our game, WrestleQuest.

The constructed reply to the review above.

An actual negative review of our game, WrestleQuest.

The constructed reply to the review above.

A direct example of a review from Renfield: Bring Your Own Blood that we flipped from a “NOT RECOMMENDED” to “RECOMMENDED.”

This is the crafted reply to the negative review above. Take note that we’re acknowledging their misgivings, therefore validating their feelings and experience, and also, we’re offering how their experience can change in future updates.

A direct example of a review from Renfield: Bring Your Own Blood that we flipped from a “NOT RECOMMENDED” to “RECOMMENDED.”

This is the crafted reply to the negative review above. Take note that we’re acknowledging their misgivings, therefore validating their feelings and experience, and also, we’re offering how their experience can change in future updates.

An actual negative review of our game, WrestleQuest.

The constructed reply to the review above.

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