Hello ladies and gents!
I’ve been struggling with this for a long, long time. I’ve written and erased, written and erased. It is very difficult for me to admit, but I am beginning to fail you. It is nothing I am doing wrong, but it is what my health issues are causing. I am losing more and more time to serious health issues, and thus, losing much of the time that I had to put towards you all. Before things get too serious on my end, I wanted to go out on a high note, and work on easing-in my upcoming replacement, so that when they take over, you all will be in good hands, and have an awesome representative who can be the intermediary between you – The Reddit WoT Community – and WG.
Now that I have that out of the way, for the newer among us who were not here to remember what this community was like in the past, I had better give a history lesson from someone who not only lived it, but put in countless hours behind the scenes to rebuild and strengthen not only this Community, but our ties to our NA (and as a side-effect of this, now the EU) offices.
When this all started and I was voted into this position by the RDDT clans Leadership, the WG NA offices were in the middle of moving from California to Texas. What lines of communication we did have were completely broken, as our contact at the time – MeatheadMilitia – was caught up in the move, along with a lot of turnover in the Reddit leadership ranks that caused this communication line to get severed. This community (NA, EU, and SEA to an extent) all felt neglected. It was not unreasonable to feel this way. We really did have nothing. No communication. No feedback. Nothing. What little crumbs of info we did get often came from poorly translated blogs/leaks from the RU community.
During this time, I took the brunt of a lot of nasty parts of this community. All simply because I wanted to improve things, make us stronger, get more people to love the game, and not least of all – to get communications with WG opening up again. At first, the communication lines with the NA offices were purely because I wanted to continue to offer you wonderful prizes for Community Nights. During the process of this, it became so much more than that. I spent many hours talking with Meathead, TragicLoss, DomoSapien, CabbageMechanic, and 1984BigBrother. Many hours they probably did not have to give, as during the move from California to Texas, things at the NA offices sorta ‘broke’. A lot of NA-specific projects that were well loved by our community fell apart (though recently started to come back, with TankRewards.com being one example of this).
During all of this, I was learning from failures to become a better coordinator. There were several failed contests (I honestly tried! Sorry for the screw ups!), attempts at intra-reddit clan tournaments (again, sorry I failed so badly at this!) and a couple of issues at a couple of the Community Nights. During all of this, I did my best to find a way to become an intermediary of sorts, to try to earn your trust that what you were saying was not only going to our NA offices, but was making it to the Devs, Publishers, and other teams. There were a lot of headaches and heartaches in doing so. We now have (compared to what it used to be) unprecedented access to the NA offices, EU offices, and the Devs that even 6 – 7 months ago, I would have thought impossible. A year ago? I would have been locked in a loony bin for suggesting the Devs would come and interact with us directly (they have now done so twice!, along with the Publishers, and more to come in the future!).
For the first time in years, it honestly does feel (at least to me) that our opinions do matter, and that the main WG offices are giving the NA and EU regions more attention – attention that I truly believe was honestly lacking. Before you all say it – yes, I know, the main WG offices are slower than a TOG II* with a broken engine and dead driver when it comes to actually making changes. That frustrates me just as much as it frustrates you. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll hire a new head of balance that makes the devs OP so they can work faster?
All joking aside, I was trying to be a positive influence on this community. I tried to be a good ambassador and representative. I wanted to show WG what the best of us were capable of. During all this work I was doing, I suddenly was reached out to by the EU offices. They wanted in on this “Reddit thing”. Thanks to our wonderful mod team, I was able to help prove to them that there was a sizeable EU contingent here. They now have people at the EU offices dedicated to Reddit and community interaction here. As a beginning of me starting to take steps back and preparing to leave my role, I found an EU representative to be to the EU folks and employees what I have been to the NA folks and employees. I am sure you all have seen the efforts of IronPuma – most recently with the Dev Q&A that he helped set up just a few weeks ago.
I would like to think that in the time since I took this position, that I made a positive change to this community. Communication lines not only opened back up, but we now have regular interaction with NA and EU offices, which is something we never had before. We have now had the Developers and Publishing Team come and interact with us directly, which is something we never had before. We have a lot more players coming here, seeking information and seeking to give feedback. The community has grown. We have wonderful contributors who put together a lot of information that is easily digestible and often loved by the members here. I really believe this community has changed for the better, even if this community is a bit peculiar and bi-polar at times.
Though I was accused of it dozens of times, I never was a WG employee. I never had any special privileges. I was given no preferential treatment by the NA (and eventually) EU employees. Do you guys want to know a secret? A startling revelation that I learned while doing all of this volunteer work? The next paragraph is a state secret, so please don’t leak the details! Go ahead and skip it!
I was polite to the WG reps I reached out to. I treated them like friends. Surprisingly, despite all efforts by trolls to convince me that being angry and that telling others to die of cancer is how to communicate with WG to get their attention, it actually turns out that treating others with respect and dignity is a great way to get your efforts recognized. It is a great way to get them to want to interact with you and assist you in what you are doing. Unfortunately, (and I wish I was kidding about this), I had just as many ‘well wishers’ that wished nothing but cancer and death upon me. On the bright side, at least you are keeping me in your thoughts!
Oh yeah, I lost my train of thought. Basically, I wanted to thank each and every one of you (yes, even you, the people who hate me and make no secret about it). Without you, I wouldn’t have had a community to work hard for. Without you, I wouldn’t have had people to try to design contests for, to try to do cool things for, and unfortunately, to sometimes fail at those efforts for. Without you, I wouldn’t have been able to keep pushing through and making massive strides not only in being a better Coordinator, but also in fixing communication between us and WG.
So, it is with a heavy heart that I must announce that after the Community Night in September of 2019, I will be stepping down from my position as NA Community Coordinator. In the end, I am really hoping that I was actually able to change this place for the better, and that whoever follows in my footsteps (I will let our leadership decide) is able to keep the communication lines open, and continue to represent us in a wonderful light.
I will be sticking around, though. Someone has to teach the new Coordinator the ropes and get them ready to be an even better representative than I ever was or could be. As an aside, you don’t build a network between the players and the regional offices (basically from scratch) and not still have a finger in the cookie jar. I’ll still do the occasional info-gathering stuff and submit it just because I enjoy doing that, and I might even be able to wriggle out a cool contest prize once in a great while.
You might have noticed that I have said over and over that I hope that I am leaving this place in a better state. I was raised in a family where we were taught to leave a place better than the way we found it. I was taught to make improvements to any place I stayed at, so that others that follow behind would want to stay there as well. I hope that all of you want to stay here, and that for the new people yet to come, that they find a welcoming community where they can find their own niche.
Again, thank you for allowing me to earn your trust. Thank you for allowing me to be your voice and representative. Thank you for all of the wonderful motivation you have given me the past year, in my efforts to make this community, and our interactions with WG, much better than they have ever been.
TL;DR – my doc – in her funny appalachian way of colloquialisms – says I have “old lady disease” and I am currently struggling to find a way to not become permanently crippled in the very near future. Turns out, a nearly 37 year old man with Osteoporosis (have already broken my back from it) is a bit of a medical abnormality, and it takes a lot of your attention to relearn how to do a lot of tasks so they don’t turn your body to oodles of bone noodles.