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Warframe’s Rebb Ford on Community Management

(typing) – My name is Rebecca Ford and my current job title is
live ops and community director. – [Danny] Cool, current job title. What was your first job title? – Community, no I think it
it was just intern. (laughs) So that actually is true, intern would’ve been the first one. – [Danny] When did you start working here? – I started my internship
in January of 2011. – [Danny] Cool, had you ever
worked in the industry before? – I was still in third year of university, so I sort of just came and never left. – [Danny] Did you finish university? – I did, I did. No one ever asked for proof
so, but I did, its true. – [Danny] Where did you grow up yourself, was it close to here or? – I am from Burlington, Ontario, which is about an hour and
a half away from London, which is sort of in
between Toronto and London, like smack in the middle. – [Danny] And I’m guessing you came to live in London because of the– – I actually came and studied here. So, the university I went to is just, like 5 minutes up the street. So, that’s where I
studied and then I had a, MIT is the program I did which is like a, not literal MIT. – [Danny] Right (laughs) – No, but it is called MIT and basically it’s like a media studies and I tried to focus it to be
on gaming and then here I am. – [Danny] How big is
the community team then? – Right now it’s
technically eight full time and I have two part time interns
from the program as well. So, I sort of started
as an intern from MIT and kept that going cause
I felt that if people were interested in games that
they would be a good fit here. – [Danny] So when you
first started working here what were DE working on,
like what was your focus? – When I first started we were
finishing The Darkness II, so that was just sort of at
the tail end of development, and I didn’t have a role
in any of that really, I just kind of came to the studio and figured where I could help. So I was doing like launch
parties for the products and just general office things, like not really hands on. And then I slowly, slowly started
really wanting to do that. Well, I always knew I wanted to do that but I didn’t really know how
to get started, what to do. And I just stuck around
and then Warframe really started becoming a reality
in early 2012, just mentally and then it really hit
the ground around July and I knew at that point that
would’ve been an opportunity, and luckily the people that I
worked with felt the same way, so they were like “Yes, this
will need community support.” And I was like “Yes, I will do this.” – [Danny] So, pre Warframe,
was there a community team? – No. – [Danny] Okay, and when
did you figure out that, oh shit, we need a community team? – Probably when we realized we were gonna do it
all ourselves, so yeah. It was like okay, not
only do we need community, we probably need to support these people, so I started the support
community forums, all that stuff. So, really when you’re talking
when Warframe launched, this is 2012, this is us
putting an install file on our website that we made in
house with a static background and just base website registration. We didn’t even have an in-house web team, we used a local web development
team, duo (laughs) really, to sort of stage up the access points to what Warframe was at the time, which was basically a 5gb install that you sort of had behind
one layer of account creation and we were slowly sending out, you know, a little bit of buzz at the time was getting people to sign up and then once we had enough people and we felt that the
game was barely playable, we let people into this closed alpha. So, at that time they were
sending out alpha keys and people came in and we realized okay, people signed up,
people are installing, they probably are gonna
wanna talk about the game, so we had forums and we had, I think, trying to, 2012, this is, this is hard. – [Danny] Its a ways. – Yeah I know, but basically we had a little bit of support,
we had the forums up, and then we were realizing
that this could be something. – [Danny] Yeah, what was the increase in, could you sense an increase
in communication with the community or that the community was building from that point? ‘Cause there’s a lot of games where maybe the amount of people who
are playing is rising but that’s not necessarily interfacing with the developer anymore. – I think we were so, I don’t
wanna use the word desperate but I’m kind of going to, we were so desperate for this to work that we wanted to be in the thick of it as this alpha phase was happening. So, we wanted to see
what the problems were, where the issues appeared
to happen for the game, for the bugs, for all these things. And it really just had us glued
to our communication outlets which would have been the
forums at the time, exclusively, just watching, replying,
looking, seeing what’s going on. Like, what’s happening to
our baby, it’s out there! Really, it was a very desperate time. So, you’re very carefully
monitoring the situation, engaging in the situation,
playing the game too to see if this is even the right way to go with our first hotfix, first
update, whatever it may be. – [Danny] So at that
stage were a lot of the, what was going into those hotfixes? Was it predominantly stuff
that the development team knew they needed to
change or was it sort of pivoting based on feedback
from the community? – So, I think early
on, if you look at our, luckily we have a wonderful
archive of all this information, which I sometimes glance upon just to see, you know, like, what did
we do in October of 2012? And the answer is very poorly documented, but documented nonetheless, aspects of the game changes. So things like changing
meshes for Warframes, changing powers, fixing really bad bugs, doing very, sort of, at the time it was a bit rough ’cause we didn’t really
know what we were after. We didn’t know what we
were harnessing on to. If you asked us in 2012, and
you are asking us (laughs), in 2012 did you think Warframe
would be what it is today, the answer would have been like, what are you talking
about 2018, Irish man? This is not that game that we’ve made. But yeah, it was crazy. And what really at that
time was the most scary was doing free-to-play,
and doing it wrong, because we were doing it wrong, early on. We were selling power,
and we were, you know putting together this market, I guess this access point
for our free-to-play ideas which were, yeah, selling
power, which was very bad. We had no customization to
speak of really, at the time. We didn’t really have a lot at the time, except a fun, free, downloadable game that you could shoot and be a ninja in. – [Danny] Right, what was the, that period of time between
the PC sort of beta stuff and when it eventually
came out on Playstation 4, how much of a gap are
we talking about there? It was like 9 months or something? – Yeah, so the beta itself,
on PC going into open, would have been March 23rd
or 20th, around that time and the Playstation 4 was a launch title, so we were in November, 2013. So within the same year
we went from open beta PC to launch title on PS4. – [Danny] Right, what was the
mood at the studio back then? ‘Cause it seems like you were already sort of rushing to try and maybe buck some of the issues of the PC version and then also trying to
launch on a new console, for launch seems like a lot. – It was, and its never slowed
down so this is the norm, which is great ’cause there’s
always something going on. If you look at, basically, so 2013 we’ll say, we come back to the studio, I
think on January 10th, 2013, we took out the pay to winish things that we realized were horrible. And we realized it because
the community was like, whether they paid or not
they were hating this thing and we were like, wow
this really is awful. So, out it goes. 2013 starts off with the DNA now slightly radiated to be fair free-to-play. We never started this by saying, yes let’s be bad free-to-play. We said, we need to make
this game free-to-play ’cause it’s the only way the
company is gonna stay around. So, then we realized, okay,
the company really will do its best if this game is fair. So, of course you want to
do that from the outset. Then we realized that the community would kinda have the best perspective on that ’cause they’re the ones
that are using time or money to participate in this game and you don’t want any of those people to feel bad about what they’re playing. – [Danny] Right – So 2013 starts off, DNA becomes as strongly rooted in fairness and community as possible. We launch open beta, you know, Total Biscuit does his video around the same time and
then we launch on steam and it just, boom. Ya know, it all takes off from there. And, that year saw clans
get added to the game, which was a community social structure that was pretty interesting and we, of course, support it to this day. Whether or not it’s supported perfectly, of course, is subject to debate. So we’re seeing the game take off, were adding new content, new
Warframes are coming out, there’s more places to play and then we have our sights
set on launching on PS4. – [Danny] Right. So, I guess the sort of
pivot, it sounds like that that’s where the
optimism started to come in. – Yes. – [Danny] Or just like
around that moment where you sort of changed the DNA. – I can kind of put my finger on the most optimistic I’d felt, which was when we started
our founders program, which was sort of our own
Kickstarter version of the game, which was basically, you can
become a founder of Warframe and that means that you’ll sort of have meant it was successful if
it turns out to be that way. And I remember watching realtime as the first Grand Master
founder purchase came through, and at that point that was someone spending $250 to support Warframe. That was like the moment
when I realized people will, like, people care about
this game as much as us. ‘Cause were putting the holy
last ditch effort into it and they are supporting
that last ditch effort, so we clearly have a relationship. – [Danny] Right, was there a worry when you did have that change
around that time, that you’re fundamentally changing the game, and maybe people who
complained about it before, or people who weren’t
complaining will now complain when the people who were
complaining will be satiated? Or did you kind of know that, oh no no, the community
is saying we need to rethink the way were doing this free-to-play and it’ll hopefully– – Yeah, they were in. There’s always gonna be a
variety of voices within whatever tools you use to communicate and people were along for the ride early on, which was great. There was a willingness to
support the risks were taking and if they didn’t like them there was willingness to tell us. There’s always been a pretty strong way to talk back
and forth about these things, ’cause we started our dev
streams that year as well. So, February 2013, so
five years ago this month is when we sat down on the
couch for the first time and were like, alright, what’s going on, and just talk back and forth about it and that sort of built
this bi-weekly rapport of heres what’s coming,
heres what’s changing, oh you didn’t like that,
lets talk about it, and just so on and so forth. We’re on our 106th, so. – [Danny] Community sounds
like its listened to. – I think that’s what we try. I mean, there are, I think at this point, I don’t know the number, but on the forums at least,
it’s a publicly visible number, so you’re talking over 3 million
potential voices to talk to and then there’s on the community team now there’s eight of us and then the development
team reads as well, so you’re talking a ration of like 3 million to maybe 200, right? So, how do you have conversations in that? Well, you try, first of
all, at least you try. And you try and build
areas of communicating that cover that ratio which
will never be in our favor and that’s something, its tricky to do, and its tricky to do right. And I’m not saying that
we’ve done it perfectly because no matter what,
sort of right now the way people are talking, like
I just got back from my desk, there was a video up about
like, DE does it right and communicates right
and all these things, and like that’s a really
scary microscope to be under. Basically, it’s a really
scary time to be put on a relative pedestal in the industry because we’ve just done what, we’ve done our best in our isolated, London, Ontario, Warframe ecosystem, right? And its always been that ecosystem alone. We’ve never been under the spotlight in the way that we have in
the past, even month, I’d say. – [Danny] Right. – And it’s a little scary because you see the desire of, like even you know, I play whatever,
I play a lot of games and I participate in a lot
of communities on my own and I like when devs engage. I like to know what they’re thinking. And then you see a lot of, a lot of angst, and I think
a lot of just uncertainty about how much gamers can
influence what they play. Because, they want to influence them ’cause they like to play,
’cause they spend a lot of time and they spend a lot of money and we do to, and we like that, and we just like to
have that back and forth and yes we’re gonna make
mistakes that piss people off, and we don’t feel good about it. But sometimes you just are in a position, like if you’re running
Warframe for five years now it’s not always an easy five years and it’s the best five years
of my life, no matter what, like I’m not saying this
is grim or anything, but to have a community that
feels listened to is probably, I feel like its a part of my
life that I’m very proud of but I also understand that not everyone always feels listened to in every industry and every game and its really something special that I hope we can continue to do well. – [Danny] But that sounds
like a very mature response because the core to public
opinion is incredibly fickle. – Yes. – [Danny] And you can be
on the pedestal one moment and then cast down the next – Yes, its very easy to
make a single mistake that can destroy a lot of goodwill that you’ve spent five years building up. And we definitely continue to make decisions and release content and iterate on feedback and change things. And that’s never gonna change but I think what is changing is the way player bases react to those changes and we are blessed, fortunate,
and extremely lucky to have a very understanding community and I don’t know if ’cause over five years we have a relationship in that respect. Like, its not were coming out of nowhere, we have five years here, but I don’t know. It’s just it’s very interesting to watch. I get nervous. (laughs) – [Danny] Let’s talk
about some of those great decisions you made that have
worked very well actually. Actually, when you mention,
and you touched upon it and I do want to touch
upon it myself as well, I’ve watched a bunch of,
I’ve actually talked to Total Biscuit over the past
couple of weeks about Warframe, and I watched a bunch of like
Jim Sterling’s videos as well. – Oh my God, okay. – [Danny] How important do
you think that stuff was? Those videos were at that moment, to like get you guys recognized? – Okay, so the original Total
Biscuit WTF is Warframe video is definitely, in terms of the
public gamer consciousness, there was a before that video
and an after that video. – [Danny] Right. Like no question in my mind. And for me that was very indicative of how important it is to sort of reach this
viewership and everything. And I don’t wanna say that
in like a needle finger, lets get the viewers, ’cause that’s not what I’m trying to say. What I’m trying to say is
people love looking around and finding new sources of entertainment, so, ya know, Youtube is one of those. – [Danny] Right. And it seems like you’ve
been one of the more proactive developers in terms of interfacing with something
like Twitch for instance, especially with the drops. Like, that seems like an
incredibly clever tool to use. Can you talk about the idea,
like how that came together and how successful its been? – I think we have a pretty,
like we love Twitch, we’ve been on it for five
years doing our dev streams and any opportunity we
get to participate in something cool for our viewers
we’ll pretty much seize it and work with it as best we can. The drops one, I think a lot
of people in our marketing team were privy to basically
this campaign, this idea so they had this sort of vision for what it could be for Warframe. And on the dev side we
had a lot of interest in basically trying something cool, especially with the launch
of Plains of Eidolon, which was, again I said
there’s like a before and after Total Biscuit video in 2013 and there’s also now
like a before and after Plains of Eidolon. So, it was like this huge moment. Anyway, drops was super cool
and it allowed anyone watching to get cool stuff to support
the Warframe collector mentality, or just wareness for the game. And people streaming Warframe
were sort of in on it and it was a bit
controversial in some ways, like people thought we
were viewbotting and stuff and it was like no, this
is the power of free shit, so don’t forget that. Yeah, it was fun. – [Danny] Are you at all responsible for interfacing with
Warframe partners at all? – Yes. Yeah we started the partner
program a couple years ago, so we knew we had a lot
of, basically it goes back to the first, I think,
Youtube video we ever saw of someone covering Warframe and we were like, oh my God
this is, this could, you know. And we became friends with
those people and talking to them and then we realized there
was a way we could make it a bit more special and meaningful and then on the community
team we had Drew, who worked on the partner program first, and now two people support it and we have, I think, over 200
partners that cover Warframe. So it’s pretty crazy. – [Danny] Do you think, perhaps,
part of that has to do with the fact that you’re not exactly the largest development team in the world? You don’t have like a
huge PR machine in-house that like, maybe you were a
bit more willing to sort of hand over some of that to
people in the community, like to let that flourish. – I think its a combination of things. Our pace of development is
so fast that really the only, well, I don’t know, I don’t wanna say the only people that care about it, but like, if we release a new weapon that matters a lot to the players, and who better to champion that message than a player themselves, right? So you have people on Twitch and Youtube that know the game really well and can really give a
interesting perspective on whatever it is we’ve released. Whereas, and the press do a
great job of coming into the picture when it goes beyond
the Warframe language, right? Like, it’s really hard to tell someone that’s never played Warframe, oh the alt fire of this
rifle is really great, ’cause they’re like, I don’t
even know what that means. But if you tell them, oh its open world, its like, ah yeah, okay that’s cool. Or like, oh there’s giant
bosses, it’s like, oh yeah. So there’s like a pretty
clear line, I think, for me of like, okay
people that like super, the super fans, right, like
these partners are people that have put so much time
into just playing the game, and usually loving it, and
whether they don’t love it sometimes, they also
make videos about that and they tell us, like, you
guys really fucked up this stupid shit, what’s going on at DE? And were like, oh, (laughs) that sucks. – [Danny] Can we talk to, I
mean, did you have trouble getting press to play the
game, like to cover the game? – Early on, definitely. Like there was like the early
appeal for press, I think, was like, oh this is a, like
if they paid attention in 2005 with the E3 Dark Sector reveal, you know? Like, some people remembered
that and covered it and then the game wasn’t
exactly replayable. Like, it was replayable,
of course, but it wasn’t, it wasn’t the best
first impression, right? – [Danny] Right. So we’re talking, early first
impressions were not the best. Fact. Now it’s a different story. I think its still, you know, the new player experience is a bit tricky but it’s a much different scenario now and now, thanks to Douglas,
sitting over there, I’ve been getting more
press questions now that are from a place of that meta. Whereas before it was it was like, the story was great and we had
a lot of great press support from people early on and
there was some moments where, you know, the game just sort
of fell under the radar. It just did its thing on a weekly basis, we were churning away, we
were never slowing down, we were going going going going. And then Plains of Eidolon happened and now it’s like a different
era of coverage, I think. – [Danny] Right, and
you need that tent pole probably to get the media to watch, right? – Yeah, I think a little. – [Danny] What about the, do you think there was like
a reticence to cover it because it had the words
free-to-play attached to it? – I think so. I think at the time that was
a soiled diaper, I don’t know. (laughs) A soiled something. – [Danny] Term? – Yeah, so it was tricky and again we were making mistakes early on and it’s just, it was, the early Warframe was a very different time, ’cause it was just, like,
the players loved it and we had a really strong
community that supported us, and that’s kinda all we needed, and that’s all I wanted to work with. That’s it, that’s all I needed, was someone to talk to about
Warframe that would talk back with, even sometimes, a deeper
understanding than I had about why they liked or
didn’t like something we made. And that, to me, was
like, okay, yes, done. Like, were good, let’s
just keep doing this. – [Danny] Is there anything
that sticks to you as like, things that were introduced
to the game between the start and today that
the community were like really jazzed about? Maybe not Plains of Eidolon itself, ’cause its obviously such a big moment, but like any sort of
aspects of the game that were put in that people really enjoyed. – I think certainly when we
expanded our customization that was a huge part of what made people like the game
better, just at a visual level. Which is, you know, you like to look at what you’re looking at, I don’t know. When we redid the melee
system and the parkour system, those overhauls were particularly
well received and much requested, so it wasn’t like
we just surprised people like, here’s a new movement system. We spent months leading up to it, showcasing it on the dev stream, looking at it, we had people worried about movement nerfs and we
made A B testing videos to show them this is
actually how far you can fly. Like, yes you’ve lost
a bit of the bugginess of the accidental Zoren coptering but youve gained a fluid
movement set for every Warframe, regardless of melee weapon you’re using, which was a pretty, you know. That’s some Warframe jargon for you. So someone will appreciate that I’m sure. – [Danny] Let’s talk
about the jargon, because this game is unabashedly
unique, in terms of. Like, let’s just talk
about it visually even, or just in lore or anything like that. In an era in which games are increasingly more and more, sort of,
they share commonality, do you think that’s to
Warframe’s advantage, the fact that there is this sort of like, you guys have your own language? I feel like its like goths
in high school, right? – Yeah (laughs) – [Danny] Where you have this
terminology you all share and you have this subculture I
guess it is, probably, right? – Totally – [Danny] And, people have to get into it but once they’re into it
then they’re kind of in. Within the community, do you think that’s like a strength for you guys. – I think so. I think it’s a weird, organic, sci fi world that is distinct to Warframe. Like, that’s it, and
that art style definitely was the original draw for
people to check it out and it has been the reason that
a lot of people stick around because, yes, the actual
game play loops and the, you can call it the
grind, derogatory or not, but the grind feels good, at least for me and a lot of people that play. But that art style and
the wrapping that it’s in and the uniqueness of each character and the level of customization
of those characters, like these things are weird
and they are good weird. – [Danny] And even down
to vocabulary that’s used. You don’t just use the word cat for your cat-looking alien cats. – No, no, it could not be a cat. – [Danny] Right. – It’s a Kavat of course. There is no internal gospel of Warframe, but if there was one version
of it would have the entry of give everything a Warframe name. – [Danny] Right – And you can kinda see how
that happened over time. Like, early on we had one of our amazing programmers naming our weapons. Like, the sniper was just
called the Snipetron, and it still is, that’s still in game, but now you see names that are
appropriate for each faction and the Corpus names are Plasmor and really sort of techy sounding. And then the Grineer ones are
like the Stubba and the Stug and just like more visceral sounding. And that was an evolved
language dialect over time. – [Danny] Let’s talk a
little bit about Tennocon. I’m guessing you were involved in that a decent amount from the start. – Yes, yeah. – [Danny] What was the impetus to do it and did you think you’d get
a lot of people coming out to London, Ontario to celebrate
this weird free-to-play game? – Well, we got you to London, Ontario. But, 2016 Tennocon was just
an idea to do it on our own because we had done so
much on our own up til then that we felt, or at least I felt, that I was sick of
traveling, I was, I still am. But yeah, I felt that we could do it. I felt like our community was tight, our community would come,
I believed they would come. I knew they would, that some
portion of the community would want that experience
and it turned out to work. – [Danny] Can you explain what
that first Tennocon was like? What was the focus? – Scariest time of my life. Feeling it would all burn
down and fail and be horrible, but it was good and it worked
and we had people come. I think one of my favorite tokens from it is the wall we built of like, sign where you came from and everything, and then you just look at the map, like I went to Chapters and bought a world map to put on it or something, actually I might have bought it on Amazon. Anyway, and people started
signing where they came from, and of course there’s a
little Ireland one from, one of our Youtubers is Irish and you can see he came from there and then you have Korea
and Japan and Russia and like all of Eastern Canada and U.S. of course being the bulk of it. But then you’re like,
holy shit, people came. – [Danny] Do you get a sense of where, or how people stick around? Is it a type of game where people come and they play for like 3
months and then they bounce out and then they come back or do
you have a lot of retention? Do you have any sense of that? – Typically, like in present
day data analysis of Warframe, it sticks for a lot of people. Once you’re in, if you’re in
for more than like a week or so you’ve really taken to the game and the returning veteran
rhythm is quite frequent as well and you can kinda see, like I think the only publicly
available concurrency data is on Steam Graphs, so you
can sort of use that to get an abstract version of what our non-Steam, plus Xbox, plus PS4 looks
like, in terms of things. And that’s actually the hardest part about Warframe’s life, I think, is the fact that it’s clear from that data that Warframe needs to
update to stay alive. The longer we don’t update, the less people come
to check out the game, the less people stay in the game. So, you have those two competing schools, stay in the game and come play the game, and then you have us, who has this five year, now 30gb behemoth that needs to be updated to stay alive. – [Danny] Right. – So how do you explain to someone, that you’ve been talking to, that we will fix your bug, but we also really need to add this new
thing or people won’t come. And they’re like, well stop
adding shit, you should fix it. And you’re like, we have to do
both, and we have to do both. And we’ve been really, really clear, I think over the past year
we’ve really emphasized that because it does suck
sometimes to have the, because again, were under
this microscope, right, – [Danny] Yeah. – So the next video that’s
gonna come out a month from now I’m sure is, you know,
some bug video about how we’ve ignored the rotting
vestigial pinky of Warframe because we wanted to add the new shiny. And, I think that is something that anyone at a games as a
service will have to deal with and I’ve seen it happen,
I’ve seen PUBG videos like, – [Danny] Right. – Like you see it, so it’ll happen. And the health of the game, of course, is determined by those additions. But what’s really interesting, going off now, last week we
released an update that again, you see the health of the
concurrency on that Steam, it goes back up because we
released a really big update. You can see it happen, it had some bugs, were fixing them this week. – [Danny] There’s an element of laying the tracks ahead of the train
though, it seems like. – Yeah, yes, yeah. – [Danny] That I’m sure
has its own difficulties. Then how do you, like for instance, it seemed like there was
a fairly sizeable jump when Plains of Eidolon came out. – Biggest in the history of the game. – [Danny] Right, so is
that then terrifying ’cause then you’re like, oh
we need to crank out one of these big updates every once and awhile. – Yeah, (laughs) yeah. Yes, that particular jump was the most insane thing to witness, ’cause that was, for me, my four and half, Warframe for me at that point
was four and half years old, and to see it go to that was
like, what are we gonna do? What have we done? Will we ever come back to
this with our next open world? Will the next open world repeat this, is that why people are coming? Have we burned too many
bridges because maybe a part of this is something
people didn’t like ’cause it felt to grindy. Like it took us two weeks after that peak to really balance the economy properly and do all these things, ’cause that’s just the pace we work at. So, how many people dismissed Warframe because of that out the gate. Or how many are willing
to come back right away because the next open world is something they’re totally after. – [Danny] Was open world something that you’re community was telling
you they wanted before that? – This is like the weird
three degrees of translation because people had talked about Warframe open world for a long time and we really only started
working on it in 2017, March. Right, so we didn’t really
have anything in the 2015 plans when people were like, oh make open world. I think we pretty much
sat and said, no no no no. Because we did say no, ’cause we meant no. But the three degrees of
separation from the community asking for open world
versus us releasing it. What was happening was,
we were doing our routine and Warframe’s routine
is great and it lasts and it has, sometimes I think
it has a saturation point of people needing a pivot for Warframe. So, two years prior the pivot
was cinematic quests, right. Came out of nowhere, no one
was sitting there saying I want a story that’s gonna surprise me, but they were saying I’m bored. So you do you treat boredom? With ambition, right? So, you kind of have
this repeated scenario where you can see your players are bored, they’re asking for stuff, but what they’re really saying
is they’re bored, right? And yes, you can deliver
this feedback loop of okay we’ll buff this
Warframe, we’ll change that, we’ll change these missions, and that matters a shit ton. That matters so much. But to treat the boredom
at a different level you need to shock and awe. – [Danny] Right. Interesting, it’s almost like
the things you need to do are A, listen to he community and B, not listen to your community– – Well, I’m saying, basically
take your vitamins every day. You will be healthy, you will be happy, it’s good for you, it’s good for us. But, sometimes you need
a new flavor, right? So you’re still trying to
keep the maintenance up, of this back and forth relationship, but you need to change things sometimes. Because if we had just
released a weapon week after week after week after week
for the last five years, we wouldn’t be sitting here
having this converstation. – [Danny] Right. – What we did do was we continued
to release those weapons, but we added cinematic
quests, we added Archwing, we added Lunaro, which turned
out no one really plays, which is fine, you’re allowed
to make mistakes, that’s cool. But you need to try. – [Danny] Right. And it does seem like its a game that has, its sort of built upon
different layers or foundations and there are some aspects
that are super popular and some that are, like
the PvP stuff doesn’t seem like its particularly popular and also hasn’t really
been updated that much, maybe because of that. – Correct. – [Danny] So, at a certain
stage do you start trimming? – Yes. – [Danny] How does that sort of– – So we, I shouldn’t be
smiling when I say yes, ’cause it makes parts
of the community sad, which like right now we announced last week that were trimming
something called Trials, which is our only eight
player content type, and its because we can’t
really support it properly. It’s very buggy, it’s very, you know, its not particularly well populated but the people that do populate
it are some of the more, they love it, so how do you
take that away from them and like shake hands and say thank you, like its very difficult. And actually, I think
this is the first time we’ve publicly trimmed something like that at this peak Warframe size, and its not been a smooth process because you take away
something from someone who’s invested three
years in that game type. Not so good. And we sat on our dev stream,
we looked and we said, here’s why were doing
it, here’s our reasons. It doesn’t make them any happier, it might make them
understand a little better but at the end of the day
it’s, the trimming part, you don’t really wanna do it
unless you absolutely have to. – [Danny] Can you speak to
like, are there sub communities within Warframe that
just like to specialize in different things, like fashion framing? Can you speak to some of those? – I think so. I think there is, there’s a
lot of little sub communities. There’s obviously the
customization communities can go very far with what
they offer in that respect. There’s a lot of min maxing communities that are looking for the best possible way to get your loot grind on. There’s the enthusiast
for the pet companions, people that really only
play with the cats and dogs and why they defend their choice. I’m trying to think,
there’s a really really sort of growing lore community now. Like, trying to decipher the whatever we’ve added to the
game to make sense of it. I think one of the most viewed Youtube videos from someone is like Warframes Lore Until Now, and its like 30 minutes of
just like, here’s everything. Each Warframe sort of
has their own fandom now, which is really interesting. There’s like diehard Banshee enthusiasts. Each character has sort
of taken on their own, I guess it’s kind of similar to Overwatch when people are like a
Hanzo main or something, we have our version of that,
which is pretty fun to watch. – [Danny] What are some of
your favorite Warframes? – Me, personally, Nyx
was my original favorite. I think Mesa is a close second for me now, she’s our gunslinger. I really do love them all
equally so it’s hard to be like, but Nyx would’ve been my original go to. – [Danny] And, if you had
any dream for Warframe for the next year, what
would you see it be? Where do you want it to go from here? Do you want it to have more players or are you guys happy with the
amount who are playing now? Is there anything you
wanna fix in particular, what are you sort dreams for it? – I would say, this year for Warframe. My dream this year for
Warframe would be that the people that play this
game and genuinely have fun continue to do so in ways that we can surprise
and delight them with. And that they can come
around and feel good about what we’ve brought
to the table for them. (atmospheric music) (typing)

Reynold King

100 Replies to “Warframe’s Rebb Ford on Community Management”

  1. We have a few more extended cuts from our Warframe series coming in the next week or so. We're looking to publish out chat with James Schmalz as well as perhaps one more (probably Steve Sinclair). We'd love to hear what extended cuts you'd be most interested in though. Feel free to let us know!

  2. The Warframe online community is one of the most fanboyish I've ever encountered. They will defend Warframe till blue in the face and deny any problems with it while giddily attacking any competitor.
    My conclusion from this is that this woman is very good at her job.

  3. Rebb is a treasure inside of a treasure (DE).
    It can't be overstated how much I appreciate the symbiotic work between them and the community and how much it benefits Warframe as a product.

  4. She's so amazing, and stunningly beautiful, i love that she's in warframe, literally it wouldn't be the same without her.

  5. Space mom .. I need her to have my babies .. She is the reason our community is so epic . We all respect her, we all love her, we all trust what she says.

  6. Only been playing wareframe for about three weeks and I’m having a great time. I got my friends to try it and they also like it. It’s hard to put it down… so fun. One of the best games ever

  7. This is how you’re supposed to be a community manager. She’s the best! All the other studios need to take notice and try and hire community managers like her.

  8. Wow this came out 8months ago and I still come day and watch this while I'm playing warframe,,,, I just love warframe lol

  9. I heard Darkness II and I was, "wat", then I googled and I learned that DE is pretty damn old. Never really paid attention before.

  10. What about a cross-counseling with PVP aka Frame Fighter and Concave to rewards like Nightwave linked to your counsel account.

  11. God poor DE. Every time they talk on camera they seem so self-conscious and careful not to sound greedy because pretty much all of the rest of the entire industry is fucking garbage.

  12. You can hear how emotional she is. Shows how much they care about the game and community. It’s a beautiful sight

  13. Nice to see a frank and nuanced talk about game dev. Sounds like DE are doing their best to be fair and to balance ambition with stability.

  14. is it wrong to be like inlove with my mom like i feel like its creppy but it feels good to be i have problems >_>

  15. The sad part is eventually the “trimming” is eventually going to extend to entire platforms having the game unplayable because the older generations drag it down and they need to shake those generations off to keep going

  16. the community is willing to listen and understand and cut some slack because DE has built so much goodwill because THEY listen and understand EA and all its horrible ilk has so much to learn

  17. Nice and great flowing interview. Also I like how longer her hair was, back then. Plus, the model that company has built has been pretty intelligent, and uniquely helpful for the community. Creating some content based on fanbase culture is a fun and appreciative idea to boost the support up. Keep the audience engaging, and getting a kick out of the shit that DE pumps out, season after season. And I like it!

    Now the thing they have to work on, is the over reliance of the wiki for newer players trying to find certain items for a blueprint. Without the wiki, these players will have no idea where to go to find these resources out. Unless they grind randomly for them, which might irritate them over time. This should be changed, so that components would be split into two lists, one for current hold and the other discovered. Another would be hints, so that it wouldn't be too obvious, outside of Quests.

  18. We truly don't deserve Rebecca, she's been such a great community manager through the years and continues to just be the best.

  19. as a free to play player. i enjoyed the game. it was awesome. i bought some platinum for about 5$ so not entirely free to play. but needed a material and then my farm journey started.
    i farmed for hours. i started crafting everything was good. i waited 12 hours to craft my stuff. then 3 days i waited for the warframe. and BAM! you dont have room to claim your warframe.
    and now im out. was a good game until i hit the pay up $$$ wall.

    and before you say its free to play and that you can just trade plat with other players. well stop and think about it where did those players get the plat from?. the game isnt free to play you cant unlock everything in the game unless you or another player pays up.

    i dont mind games asking for money. ofc. they should. but this F2P phenomenon is the most expencive shit. and there should be laws against it.
    ever heard the stories of people spending 70.000$ on free to play games?

    some of the worst models out there is in the card genre. like hearthstone and mtga.
    since rotation deletes your money.

  20. I suppose this is something I should expect by now, genuinely good life advice from out of nowhere. "Boredom is solved by ambition"

  21. And yet despite all that effort and time put into community management DE still thinks that Grindframe is all fun and engaging. It’s not. It’s demanding, like a lot. All the time you have to invest doing repetitive missions over and over again, being frustrated about low drop rates, random RNG metas and understanding the complex stuff as a newer player.
    Maybe (like, seriously) you should improve on rewarding your loyal player base willing to put hours into WORK just to unlock and build interesting parts of the game.

  22. Should make it cross platform, Microsoft/Nintendo/PC would work good. Sony won’t be in but cut your losses and let’s do it! I wanna play my toon on my switch😋

  23. Thank you, [DE] 🐈🐕 Ok now I want a squirrel or koala for an arm accessory. Or at least let us have bird companions! I do not send those Emperor Condrocs for nothing! I want one to be a pet, running around the orbiter

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