ArenaNet officially announced a couple weeks ago that Rubi Bayer would be joining the Community Team. I met Rubi personally (and finally) at the Fan Day, but I’ve known her for much longer for her Guild Wars work. I jumped at the chance to interview her when she crossed the threshold in to ArenaNet, and I am very thankful that she was able to take some time to answer a couple questions a midst a major life change (access to Guild Wars 2) as well as taking on a new job, tons of beta feedback, and learning Martin Kerstein’s… intricacies. Without further ado.
You’ve made it to the big leagues with ArenaNet. Can you tell us a little about your background, and how you ended up at your dream job?
I’ve been a Guild Wars fanatic since back at the beginning of 2007. It was my first MMO, and I fell head over heels in love with it. The gameplay, the world, the community—I loved it all. Over the past five years, I became very involved with the community in-game, having fun and helping out where I could. In 2009, I joined the Massively staff as a contributing editor. I served as the lead writer for Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 coverage and started the Flameseeker Chronicles column, which gave me the opportunity to become even more involved with the community. It also gave me the privilege of getting to know quite a few people on the ArenaNet team, and they all had one thing in common: they were genuinely happy with their jobs and eager to go to work each day. When you combine that working environment with a game that I love so much (and one in development that I’ll love just as much, if not more), it really is a dream job. When the community team asked me to join them, there was no way I could say no.
A few months ago, Regina gave an excellent description of what an ArenaNet Community Manager does at The Vigilant. What role will you specialize in? What are your strengths in community management?
I’ll be serving as the Social Media Coordinator, helping with the ArenaNet blog—as you’ve probably already seen!—and helping with both the original Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 communities. I’ve got a familiarity, affection, and respect for the community, combined with a desire to see the community become better and better. We’ve already got one of the greatest communities in the MMO space, and I want to see it really shine with Guild Wars 2.
Is there anything you will miss now that you have transitioned behind ArenaNet’s doors?
My Massively coworkers. This was a transition to something great for me—really a dream come true—but every new beginning means an ending somewhere, and I had to say good-bye to a group of people that I love and respect very much. I still talk daily to those in the group who are nearest and dearest to me, but it’s not the same as working alongside them each day.
What advice do you have for people looking for work in the video-game industry, and what community opportunities should they be looking for?
Love what you do, warts and all. If it’s just a paycheck for you, or if you want to do it to grab some virtual fame and be an Internet rock star, it’s probably not going to end well for you. Everyone involved in the development or ongoing care of an MMO will have days filled with epic wins, rainbows, and kitty cats, but they’re also going to have days filled with fires to put out, angry people saying nasty things about them personally (and possibly about their mothers), and days when it feels like the pile of work screaming for attention is a million miles high. If you can get through all that and still love it, you’re well on your way.
Other than that, keep an eye out for opportunities with games you love in locations you wouldn’t mind moving to. Help your game’s community on a volunteer basis in the meantime—do some setup and prep work for big player-run events, jump in on forums, reach out and get to know your community. That will help you get acclimated to the ups and downs of dealing with a game community. (An added benefit to this is the practice you’ll get holding your tongue when someone is driving you crazy. Learn to avoid Internet fights and flame wars. It’s a good skill to have.)
Now that you work at ArenaNet with access to great things, are you still excited mainly about the elementalist and engineer in Guild Wars 2, or has another profession grabbed your focus? What’s your favorite race?
If anything, I’m even more excited about those two professions. They’re all great, but everyone’s got a favorite or two, right? The asura are absolutely my favorite race. Don’t tell them I said this, but they’re so adorable I can’t stand it. A human elementalist and an asura engineer will be sharing the title of “my main” at launch.
Bonus Question: What’s your favorite item at the complimentary ArenaNet mini-mart?
This one’s easy: the Reese’s Pieces! It’s going to be hard not nibbling on those eight hours a day. I love those things.