Regular updates for video games have become standard practice in the video game industry. Partly because of this shift, a new internet creature was born.
Anyone who frequents video game forums can spot a troll fairly quickly, but what happens when said troll makes some points other users agree with?
Although troll posts are often irrational, fabricated, offensive, and profanity-ridden, even some rational people may hop on the troll wagon. Before you know it, you have yourself a few sparks that could become a wildfire at any moment. Yes most of these posts can be brushed away to the depths of a server in a basement of an inconspicuous office building because they are rage comic worthy rants. However, as a PR professional in the video game industry, you will come across the occasional post that appears to be the work of a wild rage-filled troll. This troll is smarter than other trolls. This troll actually THINKS. This is no troll.
Now is the time to take a few deep breaths and remember your college days. All of those long hours spent writing the perfect thesis and supporting it with 10 pages of facts backed by your 20 page bibliography. When it comes to this person making claims, no matter how wild, and they are supporting them with accurate information, you need to respond. ASAP. Separate the facts from the opinions and respond to this person. Address how the developer is tackling each issue, or thank the person for bringing a new issue to light to look into.
The last point is very important.
Rational and informed people understand your development team cannot possibly catch every error no matter how much alpha and beta feedback it goes through. People playing your company’s game will trust you more if they know you listen and look into issues they present in a rational manner. Admitting to missing something right away will not make your company look idiotic. This will make it seem more authentic, but appearing authentic is not good enough.
Do not say programmers are looking into an issue when they are not. The development team may be working on issues it feels are more important. Do not spit out some corporate-speak such as, “we are aware of this issue and are working to fix it.” Although the programmers may not want to reveal what they are working on, you can still give people enough information to keep them out of the dark.
Of course, for every rational person there are 5 irrational ones. However, dealing with trolls is a tricky business. Stay tuned for how to deal with those monsters.